Must Have Materials #1: Brush Scrub
I just wanted to share about this handy little item I picked up recently for cleaning my brushes. Pictured on the left is a little white disc with spikes running through it which I picked up for .60 cents. It's a marvellous tool for cleaning your brushes by striping out all the paint simply by dragging the bristles through the spikes. Do this before and after soaping your brushes in order to get all your paint out.
Alternatively you can also use an old toothbrush. Just soap up your brush and lay it flat on the surface and then move the toothbrush in sweeping motion across the paint brush towards the tips of the bristles. Do this multiples times on both sides to get all the paint and soap out and then rinse.

I highly extol the value the "Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver", pictured on the right. They have a whole line of soaps but this particular model comes in a container with a lid which is excellent for transporting, cleaning small to medium brushes and not getting soap all over your hands. But if you aren't as picky as me, a simple bar of soap in your hand will work equally as well. The key is to keep your brushes clean and healthy!


artsmarts tip: tupperware palette
The latest must-have "gadget" being advertised at your local art store is the re-sealable stay-wet palettes designed to keep your acrylic paints for sustained usage. A starter palette is $20 and then you have to buy re-fill sheets that you have to pre-moisten and put inside the container. I was contemplating purchasing this type of palette but the labour and the cost put me off. Fortunately there is a much more cost-effective and practical way to preserve your paints. I discovered this trick while flipping through John Hammond's inspired book, "Free expression in acrylics" and I found a photo of him using a tupperware container!
He didn't make any specific mention of his ingenious device but give it a try and you will be pleasantly surprised. Your paints will stay wet for days if not weeks. As an added bonus you can use the lid as a mixing palette, though I still recommend using a broader tear-away palette just for ease of use and to avoiding muddying your colours too much within your tray. The container throws in lightly into your bag for outdoor painting, doesn't leak and the paints don't shift and mess up inside. Acrylic paints always peel off and wash away very easily so you can wash out the tupperware container every so often when your paints eventually do dry out. Give it a try, it's great!

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Transporting a Wet Canvas
This is little technique I learned when I first started to learn about Oil Painting and the perils of transporting a wet canvas. It comes in very handy for Plein Air Painting when you're painting outside and need to transfer your work home.

The things you will need for this are a roll of tape, a set of four pushpins and of course, a pair of same-sized canvases-- freshly painted!

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Drawing and Shading Tutorial

I have always been asked about shading in my drawings so I devised this video, broken into 3 parts, to show exactly what process I go through to achieve smooth textures in my drawings.

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Watercolour Demonstration
My first entry/technique to share with you comes not from me but from the latest newsletter from Curry's Artist Supplies. This store puts out a very informative newsletter four times a year announcing upcoming sales and sharing some really helpful techniques and demonstrations.

As a burgeoning watercolourist myself, I found this particular article useful in illustrating the different stages required in achieving a more realistic look by adhering specifically to the lines of a somewhat tight drawing and working from background to foreground. Also notice how sparingly the layers of watercolour are applied so as to avoid an over-worked look.

Watercolour Demo: Rusted Truck

Welcome to Artsmarts!
Hello and welcome to Artsmarts!

This blog has been created as a reference point for all sorts of art tips and tricks that have come in very handy for myself over the years. I have taken many art courses and studied many art books and I just wanted to create a space on the internet that will host these ideas in one place for your convenient reference. I initially had a lot of trouble finding information on the Internet about some of the techniques I will be talking about so hopefully there will be something new for everybody who visits my blog.

Over the next couple of days and weeks I will be adding content and I'm happy to receive suggestions and techniques I may never have heard of, so please send me an email at if you have any ideas you would like to share. My own ideas will only carry this blog so far. My intention is to build this site for future reference and then see how long it goes, maybe not for long, but the information will remain.

So please keep tuned and have a great art-making day!


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