My favourite things

My favourite caddy
An incredibly creative friend of mine rocked up to church a few Sunday's back and said "I saw this and thought of you" while handing me a strangely shaped green shopping bag. "Open it when you get home," she said.

So I did.  And what I found puzzled and delighted me.  A caddy, with removable tin cups!  And then I discovered that I had a ceramic pot that fit in the middle for the rags.

Now I am officially in love  with my new caddy.  It holds my big tubes of oils, brushes, pallet knives and those pesky rags.  But more than that, it makes me happy when I am working.  I can't help but smile, and feel a little bit special.  

This caddy has character, and a story to tell.  Now I get to be a part of that story.

My favourite drying tool
I bought this from our local $2 Shop for $5 (am always puzzled by the pricing inconsistency of these stores).  Anyway, it is a really useful tool.  Rather than hang socks to dry, I hang wet paintings.  It gets them up and out of the way.

While it's pretty easy to clip paper from it, I'm still trying to figure out how to get the pegs to grip on the deep canvas...hmmm...

My favourite art book
Finding your visual voice by Dakota Mitchell, North Light Books, Cincinnati, Ohio  - the website given in the book.

This book has been instrumental in helping me find the style of art I would like to produce.  It has a lovely blend of artistic information, activities for you to try and opportunities to make decisions about things you like or don't like.  

I particularly like the chapter that deals with colour - this is when things really started to click for me - and I often go back to this book for ideas or inspiration.

Revealing my nerdy side. The layout is really eye catching, the hard cover makes the book durable and the internal spiral binding means it will lay open flat.  And, the book glue doesn't invoke a gag reflex.  

My favourite furniture - my stool
I love this stool that I rescued from a fiery grave.  I gave it a coat of white paint and, on impulse, green checks on top.  It has moved with us several times, and is a very practical piece of furniture as it doesn't matter if I get paint on it.
There is only one little catch with this awesome stool.  It wobbles a bit.  Actually, if you aren't careful you might find yourself embarrassingly unseated.  So, if ever I offer you a seat on my favourite stool it might not be the compliment you think!

My favourite way to manage colour
Getting my head around colour, what works together, what doesn't, how to judge the tone of a colour, learning the rules so I can break them, has been a challenge.  Actually I should say, a journey, as I have a long way to go when it comes to effective use of colour.

One of the tools I have used which has just been so helpful is the sliding colour wheel (as modelled here by Twin 1).
The way it works is that you slide the little windows around and choose the colour that you want.  The other little windows give you a variety of information about the choices you can then make.  So you can think about the tonal variation (something that is on my mind a bit at the moment) or you can look at various colour schemes that you might like to use (e.g. split complementary, analogous etc).  

As you become more confident with colour you can use it to help you get through those problems like "How can I add life/movement to my piece?"  Go complimentary colour. Or "Why are my tones not actually tones?" The colour subtly shifts with the change in tone but we tend to not notice this.  This can result in tones being too close. Boring! 

Now...where did I leave that colour wheel?

My favourite painting pallet
It is still too hot to sleep,  so I thought "why don't I go on about something else I love to use?".  And here I am!

I don't think about this item very much until it runs out and then the whole world ends.  With no time for cleaning, and a particular dislike for doing anymore than I absolutely must, the disposable painting pallet has become my best friend.  The sort of Bestie who supports you through the creative process and then happily cleans up after you! 

Here I have torn off the top sheet of the disposable pallet that had leftover paint (to the left) on it I wanted to use.  I mixed on the fresh sheet (to the right), used the other paint and then when I was done folded the sheets and put them in the bin.  Seriously convenient!

My favourite eraser
I know it might sound dumb, but there is nothing better than an eraser that you know you can trust.  Too many times I have grabbed for any old eraser only to have it work as a smudging tool leaving a shadow or eating a hole in my paper.  For a long time I went for the kneadable erasers that I could manipulate into shape and these worked just fine but there were times when I needed the eraser to have a bit more back-bone than that.  I never really did anything about it - why bother, erasers are erasers. Right?

Then one day, in my favourite art shop, my daughter begged me to buy her something, anything.  My thinking was "as long as it doesn't cost me too much" and so she chose the Factis Softer eraser S20.  I came away glad it was only a few dollars and she was happy she had something new.  Later that day I was too lazy to go and get my own eraser and borrowed her new one.  

I loved it!!! And was now the one begging...please could I have it and I'll get her another one.  She obstinately refused (pity I'm not that strong willed!) and I went back to the store and bought my own.  It erases cleanly, is gentle on paper, feels nice in my hand and doesn't smell yukky. 

PS:  No vested interest here, just a crazy lady going on about stuff she really likes :D