Low-Tech Painting Tools I Can’t Live Without

I've got a clamp-on gooseneck daylight lamp that illuminates one small patch at a time. Not good. You want a daylight lamp on a moveable stand. This one's got a 150 watt bulb in a reflector with a wooden handle at the back end so you don't burn your fingers when you turn it. It's actually got a clever ball joint at the top of the stand which puts it a few steps above the usual clamp lamp.

Free-standing adjustable lamp with daylight bulb- essential.

A gooseneck lamp clamps onto the shelf of my easel, but a wrestling match ensues every time I need to redirect its frustrating little beam of light on another tiny patch of picture. Best use: casting bright, color corrected light over the palette. I needed a moveable lamp on a stand and was pleased to find this one, a strong daylight bulb in a metal reflector with a cool wooden handle at the back end. There’s even a clever ball joint to make rotating easier. I know I’m cheap, but I can’t believe I waited this long to buy a good lamp: I can finally see what I’m painting. You can’t have enough good light.

Best cheap painting fixer ever: a grayscale value finder. I can never tell by eyeballing a picture where the values really are; all I know is the whole thing's too damn dark. This little card will verify that, yes, it's too damn dark.

Best cheap painting fixer ever: a grayscale value finder.

I can never tell by eyeballing a picture where the values really are; all I know is the whole thing’s too damn dark. This little card will verify that, yes, it’s too damn dark. Since I constantly misplace these things and get painty thumbprints all over them, I keep a bunch handy.

A hand mirror will shock you. I don't mean when you catch sight of yourself frowning or wrinkling prematurely. Reverse the painting and see the mistakes, instantly. No, this isn't fun. But it's useful.A hand mirror shocks if used properly and I don’t mean if you catch sight of yourself graying prematurely.  Reverse the painting and see your mistakes instantly. Such fun!

Watching paint dry. This one's just been oiled out, meaning it's finished and dry, and a 50/50 mix of Galkyd and Gamsol has been lightly brushed on and left to dry. This serves to even out the different levels of dullness and gloss. Good video tutorial by Gamblin is here.

A newly done painting that’s been brushed with a 50/50 mix of Galkyd and Gamsol and left to dry. The procedure is called “oiling out”(a new phrase for me) employed to even out the surface’s different levels of dullness and gloss. Kind of like varnish, but you can go back and paint on top of it. Good video tutorial by Gamblin is here.

I made the matched set of low-tech canvas-varnishing props in the photo above by eating six pints of gelato, not all at once and not by myself, God help me.

By the way, does anyone know where I can buy a reduction lens- the opposite of a magnifying glass? They’re outstanding if you work in a little room and can’t back up very far. I wish I still had one, but it seems they’ve gone out of production, or fashion. It’s just another useful tool, nothing fancy; my kind of implement.

Happy Friday.

About these ads

About zeladoniac

Debby Kaspari travels the world with sketchbook and binoculars, drawing and painting in wild and not-so-wild landscapes. Norman, Oklahoma is her home base, and she lives there with her tropical ecologist husband and a mackerel tabby named Gizmo.
This entry was posted in Art, Art materials, Art Studio, oil painting, painting, Shopping! and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Low-Tech Painting Tools I Can’t Live Without

  1. Marci says:

    I just live the way your brain works! Hugs.

  2. Becky Way says:

    Have you tried Triangle A & E for the reduction glass? Your work is incredible, as usual. And I’m glad to see your studio is ALMOST as messy as mine ;-)

  3. zeladoniac says:

    Awesome, Becky- I bet they have one there. Not too far to drive, unless it’s snowing out. Thanks for the tip!

  4. KnitNell says:

    Very interesting Post. Wasn’t aware of grayscale value finders – I will keep an eye out for them. I often use a mirror to check my soft sculptures but hadn’t thought about it for my sketches – makes sense. Cheers and thanks.

  5. Amanda Roe says:

    Hi!
    As for a reduction lens, couldn’t you flip a set of binoculars around an look through that way. Just a low-tech thought. Now, if you want it for your camera, well that is a different kettle of fish.

    • zeladoniac says:

      Amanda- thanks for the great solution, which I had at hand all along and never thought of. Brilliant!

  6. Seana says:

    Your work is beautiful. And thank you so much for mentioning the trick about a reduction lens. I’d never thought of it before

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s