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What do you need?

Painting shouldn’t be complicated. One of the first things to put people off is the thought they need a lot of equipment. This isn’t the case. It’s easy to think that with the sheer volume of choices around types of paint, brush sizes and that’s before you even get started with colours… However, I use the same 5 colours and 3 brushes for every single Paint Along. 

Here’s what I use:


I use acrylic paint. It’s easy to use, widely available, inexpensive and dilutes with water.


The colours I use are black, white, blue, yellow and red (which I sometimes replace with a magenta pink, just because it’s my favourite!).


The price of paint can vary. On the whole, really cheap paint is often quite transparent which can be frustrating as everything ends up looking dull and you need so many layers of paint for colours to show up. Spend a little more on a brand such as Daler Rowney, Reeves or Royal & Langnickel and you won’t go far wrong. Annoyingly, you find paint comes in sets of eight colours or even more…and you only need five. However, I’m sure the extra colours won’t go to waste when you inevitably get the painting bug!

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Where to buy materials during lockdown


Here’s some options to purchase paint online during lockdown. Out of lockdown, you’ll find these brands at places such as The Range, B&M, Home Bargains. The Works also has its own brand, Crimson & Black, which does the job nicely for a good price. I just find their delivery a little pricey…




Reeves £20 for 6 x 200ml


Daler Rowney £14.35 for 5 x 120ml


Super cheap option (might be a little see through) Chiltern Arts £9.70 for 8 x 120mls


Something to paint on…


For me, there’s three options: Stretched canvasses, canvas panels and art board. Stretched canvas are the wooden frames with white canvas stretched around it…you’d find these in The Range, Home Bargains, B&M etc. Canvas panels are the same but without the wooden frame, the canvas is just stretched over a panel, so these are slightly thinner. Art board is like a very thick cardboard but isn’t shiny like cardboard, so it absorbs paint. I use the latter because it’s thinner than the other two options, which makes it easier to store and frame. I also find paint dries quicker on art board, and I hate watching paint dry!


What I use: Art Boards A3 pads of 10 for £17.59 (£1.70 each) 

Note: If using art boards, I tape them to the table using masking tape all the way around which stops it moving around. The added bonus of this is when you take off the masking tape, you are left with a lovely clean white border around the painting. 


Other options:


£14.99 for 7 Canvas Panels (£2.15 each) 11 x 14 inch


£11.99 for 3 Stretched Canvas (£4 each) 12 x 16 inch 



Brushes can be a minefield…different shapes, different materials, different sizes and don’t get me started on the different names they all have. I’ve whittled that down to three brushes that I use for all my paintings…I can’t do complicated. I use a relatively big (about 2cm wide) flat top brush (literally has a flat top), a medium round top brush and then a super skinny small detail brush. They’ve got fancy names, but I don’t know what they are. I look for a nice tapered point on brushes and a quick tug to check whether the bristles are all in securely. That’s it. The frustrating thing is, you tend to have to buy sets of brushes, usually 10 or more, when you only really need those 3. However, keep the rest for when you fancy experimenting. 


Here’s some options: 


£8.57 for 5 brushes - these look a good size with all three brushes needed.


£5.89 for 6 - these all look a bit on the small side but they’ll be fine. 


Other useful bits:


It’s handy to have a hair dryer to hand. You’ll find you build the paint up in layers and each layer needs to dry before you can add the next one. A hairdryer will speed up the process and stop you watching paint dry!


Water pots - it’s handy to have two pots on the go if you can, one to wash your brush and the second to thoroughly clean it. 


Pallet - something to mix your paint on. You could buy one. Don’t. Literally, you can use anything from the lid of a takeaway container to a saucer! My pallet of choice is the humble paper plate, you can’t beat it. 


…and that’s it. It really doesn’t have to be complicated. 5 colours, 3 brushes and something to paint on. It’s fun art, not fine art. Just enjoy it! 

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