Painting is a great hobby, but let’s face it—art supplies are expensive! The cost of canvas, paint, brushes, and all the new colors and mediums that are introduced each year can all add up.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have ‘art patrons’ like the Medicis to cover the cost of all these materials. But these money saving tips can help you get the materials you need without breaking the bank.
Money saving tip # 1: Re-use canvases
You probably have a lot of unfinished paintings lying around in your studio. Now think about whether you’re ever going to finish them—and if you know, deep in your heart, that you won’t, then recycle them! It’s best to use student-grade white paint rather than gesso, which is too thin since it is designed to act as a base layer.
You can also recycle painting paper. Use the back. Even the papers where the first painting seeped through to the other side can still be used. Take this as a creative challenge and think of ways to incorporate the ‘stain’ into your
To recycle water color paper, lift off the watercolors with a damp cloth. Dab it gently, taking care not to damage the paper fibers. If that happens, you’ll have trouble controlling paint application—the colors will spread too much.
Money saving tip # 2: Paint smaller formats
Smaller paintings use smaller canvases and smaller amounts of paint, too. Plus, they may be easier to sell. Not everyone has room for a wall-to-ceiling canvas, but even casual art enthusiasts may like having a mini-painting propped on their office table.
Money saving tip # 3: Experiment with scraps
The easiest way to save money is to avoid throwing away money! Don’t trash the paintings that didn’t work out. If you can’t reuse the canvas, consider cutting them up to use in a collage, or add to a new painting for additional texture.
Money saving tip # 4: Control the amount of paint you use
One way to stretch one tube of paint is to opt for glazes rather than the impasto effect. However, if you’re a fan of the textured effect of impasto, consider using texture paint to build up the ‘body’ or use student-grade paint for the underlayers. Collage materials, like fibrous paper or even newspapers, can also help add texture and color to a painting.
Money saving tip # 5: Save the best paint for the last layer
You can use student grade paint for the underlayers or foundation of your painting, and then add the final layer and details with artist grade paint. You can also make your own student grade paint by mixing your current paints with mediums. This will retain the intensity of the color and make it easier to blend once you use ‘pure’ artist grade.
Money saving tip # 6: Buy quality materials, but buy less
Instead of springing for the complete color range of paints just get the colors you tend to use frequently, and mix them. This will also inspire you to learn the art of color mixing, a valuable skill for any artist. For example, you can start with the basic palette of the split primary colors, a viridian, and a burnt
sienna, and white.
The same goes for brushes. You don’t have to buy every single size or shape, just the ones you need and use often.
Money saving tip # 7: shop at online art stores
Art supplies are considered “niche” products so traditional stores will charge higher to make up for the low number of sales. You will probably get better prices at online art stores like Dickblick’s or Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.
Photo from markpicture.com