The Price of Art Supplies!

I won’t publish the photo of the painting panels that cost $134 for a pack of 10, 8×10 in., panels, it might not set well with the store or the brand.  The panels were double sided which, since they were marketed as handy for outdoor painting, could be ok. But what if both sides ended up being something you would sell? If they were only for studies, then there are much cheaper panels made of paper, or heck, why not repurpose something like cardboard coated with gesso? For keepers, two sided does not make sense. For disposables, expensive does not make sense. Nonetheless, it speaks to the fact we can’t sell our work for peanuts!

The other panels I looked at had suddenly jumped in price since I last bought a few for work I did this year. Small uncradled panels that used to cost me two-six dollars were now more like six to ten dollars. Cradled ones were insane! One brand of cradled panels in 8×8 in was about $25 and that was the “sale” price! I looked at the labels of at least three or four brands. One that had formerly been all American made now had  “Made in China” on it. So there goes any advantage to paying more for American made.


My favorite brush cleaner, 24 oz tub, lasts me at least a year!

Usually, I wait until I get a coupon or there is a sale, to buy the large size or really expensive items. Michaels seems to be the only store that carries the large tub of my favorite brush cleaner. Even at half off with a coupon it’s not cheap, but it lasts a long time so over time it’s still economical. Last time I bought a tub, about a year ago, it was in the 20’s or 30s, now it is over $40. It’ll make me consider switching to a liquid that I bought some small bottles of to try, to see whether they are more economical, but I doubt they will be. The solid cake as in the picture has virtually no waste, an important factor in how economical it is to use. Also never evaporates or dries up and can’t spill!

Brushes have always been costly for good ones. Lately, the good ones seem to be of less quality though, making me consider cheaper ones. A number of ‘good’ brushes are also made in countries known for cheap junk. The heads wobble in the store; you know they won’t stay on long at home! Before quality and prices took their last jumps up/down, I had gotten a good varnishing brush. I can tell the construction is kind of shoddy but I’ll glue its head back on if it comes off. The brush itself is really nice, though.

Some of my brushes are from the 1980s! Some of those are still in great shape. I’ve taken good care of them. Any time I think I can’t get all the paint out, I leave the brush cleaning lather in it, shape the tip, and just leave it that way until I use it again. That seems to keep paint from drying permanently in the bristles if you have a tough one. Just rinse it out before you paint with it!


Some of my brushes drying.

Other brushes, especially round ones that are supposed to have a nice sharp point, may not last long as the intended shape. I just go ahead and use them for scumbling or other rough uses. When they splay really badly, they make great ‘grass’ and ‘hair’ brushes, more random and natural looking IMO than the special effects brushes cut to do the same thing. (Top brush in photo above.)

The cheap replacement for it, (middle), has bristles that aren’t packed very tight, so paint can still be up in there no matter how carefully it’s cleaned. I leave the lather in it to try to keep it from becoming splayed.

Bottom brush is a favorite for applying isolation coats and top coats of acrylic medium, as its fine, soft bristles don’t leave marks and it holds a lot. The head is cheaply attached, but I’ve had good luck simply gorilla-gluing heads back on to brushes, so will do that if/when I have to.




A women painters group I recently joined decided we all needed to challenge ourselves with the color green, since so many of us said it was our least favorite color. That prompted me to start something I’ve been putting off; making a sketchbook into a color mixing chart like I did years ago and foolishly threw away in one of my many moves. Just started today, with swatches of all the greens I had on hand. Next, I’ll do some mixing samples with other colors to make my own greens. And so on.

The little painting isn’t done yet, and not sure it’ll end up being my “Green Challenge” piece.

What are YOUR favorite or least favorite colors? Are there any premade greens you like or dislike? My favorite ready made green is Golden’s Green Gold. I have others on hand but that is one I would have a hard time living without. It’s quite transparent. Even though I don’t much like green, I like Green Gold. Sap Green is another I kind of like. And, to do the challenge, I made myself buy a small tube of Chrome Green, a color I haven’t bought since I did oils back in the 80s. I kind of like it, so far, but most of it has been covered up in the little painting.


8 thoughts on “The Price of Art Supplies!

  1. Such high prices! Yowee. Brushes with wobbly heads? Not good…
    Brushes from the 80’s! Hooray for well made tools that can last a while – and for caring for them so they do.
    Love that little painting!
    Green gold is gorgeous.
    My favorite color seems to be deep yellow, the orangey kind.
    Hey, “Tiny Works” sounds like it’ll be super – !

  2. My favorite color is pink of course, but lately I have been trending toward the blue family.I think as we get older, our taste changes when the grey’s start coming.(hahaha) Black maybe my least favorite color. Just found your site, i too live in the great state of Arizona. Have not been to the Herberger Center in years-may have to take a trip…

  3. Hi, Cindy! Re your disabling comments: ::whew:: Glad I never enabled them on my portfolio site. I’ve had a couple of people (strangers) complain to me via the contact form that they thought it was at best odd and at worst rude not to allow commenting, but after the scare I had with that stalker guy at the beginning of the year I don’t care. WP publishes our IP address with the email that delivers comments to people and there’s no way to disable that, short of buying “spoofing” software (which costs $$$ and creates other problems). I didn’t know what else to do.
    Now copyright entanglements, too? YOWWWEEEE!!! Good idea to stay safe if that turns out to be the way to go.

  4. ::runs back:: Sorry – got pulled away and forgot this part: Most of the artists’ sites I see that are solely portfolios (with CV, statement, events, etc. added) don’t allow for comments either. Comments seem to be a blog-related thing so I don’t feel odd about it. Why shouldn’t we have everything the way we want and no comments, too, if we don’t want them?

    • I agree, if a site is a ‘real site’ and not a blog, it’s better without comments. I like having comments on my blog though, and hate to do away with them going forward. We shall see. if it turns out it’s not really an issue, I’ll turn them back on. I honestly dont know how they think that’d work. I mean, look at Facebook and other social media platforms, and POD sites, where you cannot disable comments and where people CAN post images quite easily, often memes, etc. Do they expect nearly the entire world is going to ‘register a dmca agent?’ At times it is information overload and I just can’t read another word. So they are off for now, til I see something more encouraging. (On new posts. I am unsure what kind of process it’d be to remove them on ALL posts from way back!)

      • We can set a tome limit for closing the commenting process, which could solve the problem of having people add comments to old ones ( like i did here). There’s a comment section accessible from the Dashboard whre comments can ( I think) be deleted as easily as posts can. Well, i think so but will have to verify that tomorrow when i’m on the desktop again, cant get to my Dashvboard on the phone. Tes, i like having comments tto & wish i felt safe doing that but i dont & nevee will sgain (except on my private account a to the few peopel who can see it. Wow terrrible typos not fixing them fingers are 2 cold ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️

Experimenting with Comment Settings, in case you don't see a way to leave one.

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