Thursday, September 14, 2006

Materials Girl

I’m running low on art materials. It’s time to restock.
I’m a total paper, paint and brush fetishist. I love the delicate smells of watercolour and fine papers. I love the acid smell of enamel – even if it makes my nose bleed, deadens my tastebuds and leaves tiny but still noticeable white blotches on my skin. I love the way enamel glides on and disperses, smoothing out any traces of my brush. The smell of raw canvas reminds me of the first paintings I made, when I stretched and primed them myself in Queensland’s tropical heat.
I am in love with the colour and texture of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour on Fabriano Uno 180gsm cold pressed paper. I tried over 20 different kinds before I found this one. I’m pretty sure it’s no longer being made. In any case, I bought every piece I could find in Sydney, and searched the rest of Australia (and overseas, using the internet) too.
For opaque coverage and block colour on small works, I use Matisse Derivan Acrylic paint. My favourite paper when using thicker layers of acrylic is 100% Cotton Museum Board. It doesn’t buckle and has a fine, soft texture. It also comes in an almost photo white. I like to be able to leave some paper bare.
I've always loved lead pencils in HB, 2B, 4B, 6B. I don’t care what brand they are as long as the lead’s not broken inside. I love ZIG Memory System Writer pens. They’re pigment ink, acid-free, archival quality, light-fast, waterproof, fade-proof and non-bleeding. Each pen has two tips, 0.5mm and 1.2mm. I bought about 20 of them, a few years ago, from one of my all-time favourite art supplies shops Neil’s Art Store, in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
When I was in my teens, some friends who did graffiti turned me onto Posca paint pens. I don’t use them a lot in my artwork because they’re a bit thick, and I’m not sure about their archival quality. I still use them for labelling, though, ‘cause they mark just about any surface, and part of me likes them for nostalgic reasons. For writing, I only use black Uni-ball Eye in Micro. I like the flow of the ink and the silver/grey/black of the pen itself. I bought some Winsor & Newton visual diaries, but I don’t love them like I do everything else. The paper feels strange on my fingertips, it’s so smooth it’s almost abrasive, if that makes sense. I try not to think about it when I use it because I haven’t found anything better yet.
I don’t have a favourite brand of small brush, but I like cheap soft synthetics in a range of sizes - square tips for acrylic, and calligraphy shape for watercolour. For larger works, especially enamel, I only use Purdy brushes.


Lauren said...


David Howard said...

I have been drawing with the old EE and EB for over 20 years. Staedler recently renamed then 7B and 8B. They are very dark and rich and great for mixed media work.