Ultimate DIY Ergonomic Vertical Palette

As the saying goes, if you ask three painters what their favorite palette style is, you will somehow end up with four answers. Over the years my preferences and tastes have evolved as I searched for the perfect palette setup. Like many, I started with a cheap plastic thing and quickly upgraded to a small, inexpensive, and rectangular wooden palette. Once I started using a Mahl stick and needed my left hand free I adopted a glass palette that I placed on the table next to me while I sat and painted. While studying at an Atelier I learned [...]

Categories: Guides & Tutorials, Painting|

How To Eliminate Glare When Photographing Artwork

The first impression of your artwork matters most and in today's age that will most likely be a photo. You may need to submit pieces to galleries, post on social media, send out newsletters, or update your website. Whatever it is, paintings are notoriously difficult to photograph but paying for professional shots for each piece quickly adds up. Thankfully, a small investment and a little practice will give you great results, perfect for online use and even small art prints or reproductions. There is a lot of advice on the internet on how to minimize glare when photographing artwork, [...]

Categories: Guides & Tutorials, Painting|

How To Sharpen Your Pencils the Atelier Way

Similarly to how your brush's size will restrict the level of detail you can get in a painting, finely rendered drawings are a result of finely sharpened charcoal or graphite pencils. With a little practice and a bit of patience, you can turn any pencil into a high quality artist's tool. Recommended Materials & Tools Preferred Charcoal or Graphite Pencils Utility Knife (Hooked) Razor Blades 220 Grit Sandpaper I suggest a hooked carpet blade instead of a more traditional straight razor blade but technically either will work. I have found the [...]

Categories: Drawing, Guides & Tutorials|

DIY Wet Panel Carrier

For the longest time I struggled with how to carry wet oil painting panels after I finished Plein Air painting. Depending on the session, I would either end up carrying the panel open to the air, taped to a palette, or slid into a pizza-box styled contraption. Neither option allowed for multiple wet panels and both were fairly awkward during the hike back to the car. It wasn't as much of an issue when I was Plein Air painting with a heavy French Easel, as I never wandered too far from my vehicle, but as my painting kit got [...]

Categories: Guides & Tutorials, Painting|

Ultralight Backpacking Sketch Easel

This is a culmination of several passions of mine. I am an avid hiker and backpacker, an artist, and compulsive DIYer. Trained as an oil painter, a part of me has always been frustrated that oils were too heavy and messy to pack into the backcountry with me. Inspired by the peerless James Gurney’s sketch easel design, I set out to build an ultra portable, ultra lightweight setup. My goal? A minimum functional weight of under one pound. Welcome to the One Pound Painting Project: an ultra portable, extremely lightweight, backpacking easel and gouache paint kit. It isn’t pretty, [...]

Custom Toned Paper Gouache Sketchbook

An amazing, ultra portable sketch easel needs an equally appropriate sketchbook. There is a long tradition of painting with gouache on toned paper, but unfortunately the smallest premade sketchbook I could find was still 6x8”. With a little DIY spirit though, we can change that and have the perfect 4x6” gouache sketchbook (3x6” paintable surface). Materials Strathmore 462-206 400 Series Toned Tan Mixed Media Pad, 6x8"  - 15 Sheet 3/4" book rings Recommended Tools Razor Paper punch (preferred) or hole punch Drill & small bit Pencil Ruler Instructions [...]