New Colors; Limited Palette; Comments?


Photoshop Elements doodle, Cindy Schnackel. Gradient tool, brush tool, ‘plastic wrap’ filter.


There are some “super-colors” out now, that are more intense than traditional pigments. Availability ranges from No Way, to Out of Stock, so I’ve not tried them, but am curious!

The first is Vantablack , which only one artist, Anish Kapoor, has access to. It is so dark that it makes anything painted with it appear as a black hole, (so I’ve read). Something about nanotubes…

Around the same time as Vantablack hit the news, we learned there was a new blue that was more intense than all others,  YInMn Blue (possibly even more intense that Klein Blue ?). YInmn blue is made with a new process, too, and from some rare minerals. [Edited to add I happened to run across a paint brand that might be offering Yin Min Blue pigment powder eventually: Derivan makes Matisse acrylic paint.]

Recently, I read about the “Pinkest Pink” on Blouin Art Info about artist Stuart Semple’s fluorescent pigments. The artist’s site also offers green, yellow, and a glass glitter. These are available to everyone EXCEPT Kapoor. Though I don’t know if Semple actually expects to enforce the disclaimer that you are not Kapoor, and won’t supply Kapoor with the pigment, it is an interesting statement about Kapoor’s exclusive use of Vantablack.

An artist I know locally has said he has some of the Pinkest Pink and that it is really intense. I’m anxious to see what he does with it. In the meantime, the price is not bad, so I plan to try it when it’s in stock again.

One wonders how different these new colors really are, or if photos online do them justice. It’d be great to see works in person that were created with them, and fun if we could try them out. Seems like they’d be best for artists who use large fields of more or less unsullied color. My work might not show them off to their best advantage, however, artists are inspired by new things, and I could see finding a way to use them.

Do you think you’d like to try these? If you did, would you feel like no other black, blue or pink would satisfy you anymore?


I’d love to know what you think about the new colors, so tried to turn Comments back on, but they are not showing up! I’ve been through my dashboard settings for discussion/comments etc, with a fine tooth comb, and checked or unchecked all the appropriate boxes, (the same places I was in when I turned comments OFF a few weeks ago). Still, no Comment option appears on new posts like it should. It says I can turn comments on or off on each post, too, but there’s no option to do that while creating or editing posts, that I can find.

[Edited, the old format apparently wasn’t supporting making changes, but I dared to click the new improved editor and that does have a way to turn on comments on individual posts. Still working on figuring out why turning them back on for everything wasn’t working.]

Of course, no one can leave any thoughts on that, either, because the Comments do not work.



Deciding to go out plein air painting later this month required thinking about a limited palette again, so I don’t have to carry as many paint tubes. (I didn’t want to include fluid acrylics as the lids can pop open.) Away from the house, I didn’t want to be thinking, “Damn, I wish I’d brought _______.”

Often, when painting at home, I end up using a palette that’d be considered “limited,” but the particular colors vary from piece to piece. I like having a lot to choose from. Some become favorites and are in most paintings, like ultramarine blue, whichever yellow makes sense at the time, and red iron oxide. I can always grab a brighter red, or a premixed purple or green, or a cerulean blue if need be. I prefer to mix greens, though Green Gold is a favorite premixed green.

After doing some research on plein air sites about what colors regular plein air painters take with them, there was not just one answer, but quite a few sites/artists mentioned the ones in the photo. They are SOHO’s Alizaron Crimson, Golden’s Ultramarine Blue, and Derivan Matisse Flow Primary Yellow, (which was the closest yellow I had in a tube form to the cadmium light or lemon yellow some plein air sites suggested).  This worked very well to make secondary colors plus a functional “black,” and a range of browns. I’ll also take titanium white.

We’ll be painting in the desert most likely, and there is a lot of color there. By the time our winter rains have made the spring flowers bloom, it will be a riot of color in some areas. The rest of the time, the desert still has plenty of rusty reds, purples, and dusky greens, plus usually brilliant blue sky.

As for an actual palette, I have a Stay Wet plastic kind with a sponge and special paper, but it’s large. I might just take plastic lids from food containers and pitch them in recycling when I get home. I will already have to carry water for painting and drinking, and at least a cursory brush washing, so the Stay Wet Palette may be too cumbersome. We shall see.

I have Golden’s Open gel, so the paint will not dry quite so fast. Wasn’t quite willing to start a whole new kit with Open colors, but maybe if drying is too fast and a problem out there, I might eventually switch over, at least for tube colors.

Some good finds:

A decent tripod type easel for only $20! While the wooden French easels with space for supplies are very tempting, they were kind of expensive for an activity I haven’t even tried yet. And heavy…most were made of wood.

A small, lightweight cart to carry everything, and even if I never use it for art again, it is a stand in for my “old lady cart” when the wheels finally fall off. The new cart has bigger, rubbery wheels, than than my old cart which is only made for use on paved surfaces.

Building Armatures & Testing Paints


Doesn’t look like much now!

A large cardboard cone, the start for an entry into the Mutant Pinata show that occurs in March, and will be at Chartreuse Gallery. Beatrice Moore, who has done so much for the arts especially on Grand Avenue, has organized this show for years. It’s pure fun! My husband started an armature too, and if he blogs about it I’ll link to it.


Four legs, so far.

I have a plan for this animal, but you’ll have to wait and see what it’s going to be! I jammed the cardboard tubes through holes and gooped them up with gel medium. By morning they were dry and quite sturdy. There will be a lot of layering of cloth strips soaked in liquid acrylic medium, plus other parts. Maybe some paper mache. You never know.


This scoop makes a good bird head.

I forget what product these come in, but it’s the 2nd or 3rd I have. One is already the ‘skull’ for a finished sculpture, and this one soon will be. I like reusing things that’d otherwise go in the trash or recycling, to build armatures for 3D pieces. Art should last many years, even centuries if cared for. If anyone xrayed my sculptures they would find lots of empty containers and other bits and bobs that attracted my eye.


Paint Test

Tested some liquid acrylic paints. Other than where the dark colored masking tape that covered parts of it tore up the paper, the paints held up well to a couple of days out in the sunlight. All of the colors I tested had good lightfastness ratings to begin with.  No need to make your paint tests completely boring when you can make monsters!

“Exceeded Expectations”


It’s always nice when a product works BETTER than you expected!

A few months ago, I was experimenting with doing a collage on a terracotta or saltillo type floor tile as the support. I decided the tile was too heavy to be practical and abandoned it.

But, I had already sealed it on all sides and edges with Golden paint co’s GAC 100, an all purpose acrylic medium that is also a good sealer.  I’d also already adhered parts of an old vintage magazine page in a way that would look aged and peeling. I then sealed all of it with GAC 100, and left it on the patio for months, while I thought about whether to do anything more with it.

Once I decided it was just too darn heavy and would require too much futzing around to hang it safely, I decided to turn it into a stepping stone by the water hose. I laid it face down in the perpetual mud there, and fully expected the bits of magazine page would come off if or when I ever got around to lifting it to check.  Well, it was laying in mud, water, and 110+ sun and heat all summer so far, and I decided to turn it over this weekend.

To my GREAT surprise…it was completely unaffected by the sun, heat, and long mud bath!

The GAC 100 held up in every way.  I feel confident now that it must be a pretty durable product, and it’s what I have been using to seal the wood scraps, etc, that I’ve painted on to do some of my ‘recycled art’ like the ‘Recycled Rooster’ on an OSB scrap, and the painting, ‘Good China in the Bad Desert’ which is on a scrap of hardboard.  I also use it as a painting medium sometimes, as I believe it dries a bit slower than regular acrylic gel or fluid mediums.  It does not seem brittle, which is often a trade off for really durable clear acrylic products, but it is probably not quite as plastic when dry as, say gel medium.

GAC 100 dries clear and glossy. As with the above mentioned paintings on lumber store scraps, I have used it as a sealer on surfaces I think might need sealing, before I gesso them, or sometimes just the GAC 100 if I want the surface to show through.  (If I want the end result to be matte, I coat the final work with fluid matte medium, instead of a glossier acrylic varnish/medium or more GAC 100.)

BTW this is not any sort of official endorsement. I shared this blog with Golden on their Facebook page and they seemed happy to know about this experience.  I was not paid by Golden, and I am not guaranteeing you can soak your art in mud and expect the same results.  🙂

Economizing on art supplies; preserving your work

Whether you want to make your art supply gift card go further, or you are into recycling, what are your methods of stretching your art material dollars?


The above picture is a 4 ounce jar of specialty paint that retails for nearly $40, but is most valuable not in the jar, but on a canvas!  The tub of brush cleaner was a pricey item because of its sheer size, but purchased with a 40% off coupon, it was not at all scary.  It keeps my brushes nice and I use it a lot.  It also keeps well, (unlike the paint). The brush is one of my favorites and is nearly 30 years old and still in excellent condition. It was an expensive brush but has has really held up, making it more economical than a string of cheaper brushes that don’t last.  Taking good care of it helped, too.  Below are some tips I’ve learned over the years.  I hope you’ll comment and add yours!


Shop the screaming sales!  Obvious, but if you’re not a natural born shopper, (I’m not!), you need to remind yourself.  Only caveat is don’t overstock on perishables, they may dry up before you can use them up.

Sign up for email coupons on art supply sites.  And/or “Like” their page on Face Book, they often post coupons there.  Don’t worry if they expire, there will be another one coming.  Having a valid coupon on you at most times, helps defray the cost of the items you use up fast or might otherwise skimp on.

Avoid “False Economy.”  A $40 jar of paint that dried up waiting for you to think of “something special” is a sad thing. Special is Right Now.  Your buyers don’t want a jar of paint, they want a painting. Use it or lose it!


Shop the hardware stores, and ask at construction sites if possible, or snag materials that someone’s throwing out, for scraps of wood and other surfaces to paint on, and even mismatched house paints, etc.  Worried about archival qualities of these things? Most will outlive you even in a landfill let alone if primed, painted, and taken good care of. But house paints are not formulated to be light fast as long as artists paints. Those may be best for temporary art, base coats, etc.  Be up front with your buyers, e.g., “painted on reclaimed lumber.” To some buyers recycling is a plus, but not all.  Give discarded material a sniff test…things left on the curb for trash pick up for very long can be scent marked by passing stray dogs and cats…ewww.

Reuse your own art.  Paint over things!  The old masters did it, and gessos and primers do a good job of hiding and sealing off old work, so you can repurpose the canvas or board.  Use broken ceramics to make mosaics.  Cut up old drawings you were going to trash, and make collages. Make sculptures out of found objects including some of your work that you weren’t going to keep.


Use acrylic mediums more. They can extend expensive paints a bit before they lose tinting strength. They make textured surfaces, without using up expensive paint for it. Mediums are the material that paint pigments are added to, so they are not a lesser quality product than paint, they just aren’t colored.

Buy good quality paint. It has more pigment so it goes farther, is often easier, more satisfying, and therefore faster to work with, and is less likely to deteriorate.  I firmly believe that, A) a big reason kids give up on art is because they’re only given cheap, disappointing art supplies, and B) cheap supplies may have their uses, but you need to know their properties compared to “the good stuff” before you can apply them to their best use.

That said about paint…Have a set of cheaper, or older worn brushes, for work that’s hard on tools. Like outdoor murals on brick walls.  Save your best precision tools for when they are really needed and/or for final detail work.  Old brushes are also good for scumbling, drybrushing, etc.

Buy some good brush cleaner with one of those half off coupons, and keep your good brushes good for a long time.  Other cleansers may seem ok until your varnish suddenly has bubbles in it or paint build up in a good brush ruins its point.  Rubbing alcohol will dissolve old acrylic, sometimes, if you have a brush that seems ruined.  Never leave brushes soak sitting on their points/bristles, they usually never come back from that once bent.

Save short stumps of colored pencils, etc, for a travel sketch kit.  You can use a pencil holder if they are too short to hold.


I won’t begin to tell you how to actually preserve mediums I don’t work in.  I can tell you that I use mostly acrylics, and I’ve read quite a bit on paint science.  I’m currently going with the theory that good acrylic paint should just have a clear acrylic top coat, some call it an isolation coat.  Google this, there are numerous methods, and opinions.  Some say sealed acrylic paintings are not porous, some say they are. You will need to find what works best for you. But I do believe paintings need some sort of clear coat between them and the world.  And, work on paper almost always needs to be framed and matted and under glass.  Never let the artwork touch the glass, it can stick.  Store drawings between leaves of glassine paper or baking parchment.  I have found these two papers to be about as non-stick as anything.  Pastels, which I no longer do because they are just too fragile for my liking, need extra care! Dorland’s wax medium can be used as a final protective coat on some types of art. It requires applying and waiting for it to dry, then buffing, but for certain types of work it is a nice finish.

Capture your work with a digital camera or scan it.  Even if your recycled, unconventional art begins to fall apart, you could sell reprints indefinitely with a good high resolution digital image.  Not sure what varying definitions exist as to “high resolution,” but as an example, the Print On Demand art site I’m on has pixel dimensions for all their products, and if it’s not at least that big, it won’t make the product. Save a big file.  Make smaller versions for uses that only call for small (low resolution) images.  So, photograph at high resolution, scan at high resolution, then in photo editing software programs, make your various smaller size versions as needed.

Before you sell your originals, always get a good digital capture of them.  If it’s a piece you would want to sell large high quality art prints of, spring for a professional photo shoot or commercial scan. You might be able to save money by having several done at once.

Though copyright registration has not been required since 1989, registration with the U.S. Copyright Office,, does have advantages should you ever have a serious infringement case.  So, if you have images that could be seriously infringed on, consider registering them, preferably before you publish them, as that is when there is the greatest advantage.  At the very least, do some due diligence in controlling infringement on your work by learning to do “reverse image searches” and “DMCA takedowns.”  (Google the topics, and see my Journals on Red Bubble.) Preserving your images as yours, and keeping others from claiming they did the work, or from selling them, is important, particularly if you are, or want to be, selling your work.


Email and Face Book sources to sign up for notification of sales, coupons:

Dick Blick:

Jerry’s Artarama:


Arizona Art Supply:

Technical how to info and products:

Tri Art paint:

Golden Artists Colors info on “isolation coat” and varnishing:

Liquitex combination Varnish and Medium:

Digital, and copyrights, preservation:

Google: Rheni Tauchid, and/or, The New Acrylics, or look for her two books in the library or book stores. Tauchid wrote the books as a consultant for the Tri Art paint company, (acrylics), and she talks about varnishing, isolation coats, and use of mediums.

Google: photographing scanning artwork and read methods, and opinions on when it’s better to scan or photograph, and tips on avoiding glare, fixing minor problems etc.  I personally scan anything small enough to scan, and photograph larger pieces.  If anything more than a minor adjustment is needed in color, contrast, etc, then the scan/photo is probably not good enough and needs to be done over if possible.

U.S. Copyright Office:

Art Theft; copyright infringement; find it and act on it:

Search more. Suggested terms:

  • making your own art canvases
  • art on unusual surfaces
  • recycled art
  • storing artwork
  • varnishing oil paintings
  • framing artwork
  • preserving artwork on paper
  • varnishing acrylic paintings
  • acrylic isolation coat
  • protecting pastel paintings
  • art fixatives
  • Dorland’s wax medium


You Tube for tutorials/demonstrations: