Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Studio Tools 2011

Since its award season I thought I’d post Part 1 of My Annual Best Art Studio Tools and Helpers. Here are my Top 5 2011 “Golden Mannequin” Awards...
Best Overall Studio Helper: My iPad
My big splurge item last year.  But, if you already have an iPad I probably don’t need to convince you how fabulous they are. At first I didn’t really think it would be a “must have” in the studio. Now, I use it everyday--it's always in reach of my easel. 
I also enjoy listening music and podcasts such as Artists Helping Artists. Since I tended to keep my larger laptop in my office, the iPad’s also a handy time saver for checking a website for show deadlines, check out a Youtube demo, the weather, my calendar, my mail etc. It’s also great for travel (plane sketching with the art apps!). I’m certain I’ll continue to find more art and studio uses for it. All around, an A+ artist tool.  
My studio mascot gray tabby Dash is also a wonderful muse and studio helper, but he's one of a kind.

Best Organizational Tool: The Wonder File!
OK, a bit embarrassing, but from the first time I saw the late night TV ad, I knew I had to have one. I have two (one red, one black) and could easily fill a third. Like a fold able scrapbook, I use it mostly for organizing those pesky reference photos into categories like: floral, horses, still lifes, abstracts, figures, landscapes, etc. As you may read in some reviews, it’s not perfect (the elastic straps kind of crunch thinner printer paper, pocket sizes a bit odd, etc.) but it works better than my loose file folders. Plus, if I need to take my reference photos with me, I can just grab it and go.

Best Storage Tool: Mayline Oak Flat Files
Many years ago I found a vintage 10 drawer Mayline oak flat file cabinet at an office liquidation center. It’s a giant oak whale and it cost more than my sofa, but I it's a must have for storage. It safely stores a ton of unwieldy materials such as full 22x30 watercolor sheets, mat board, random collage scraps, yupo paper, illustration boards, prints, large drawing pads, my art clear bags, etc. I must have over 100 items in there. The large flat top can also be used as a work surface and the drawers have handy changeable label tags.  Can’t imagine where in the world I stored all these items before “Moby” came into my art life.      

Best Painting Tool: Rubber Tipped Scrapers/Shapers
I’ve mentioned these tools before--I use them for both oil and acrylic painting particularly when I’m working on a firmer surfaces such as canvas board, Masonite, or illustration board. You can find these firm but flexible rubber tipped tools in a variety of shapes and sizes. They used to be hard to find but I just spotted some the other day at our local craft store near the painting knives. And of course you can order them on line. Runner up: Oil paint Sharpies for my line work--love the gold and silver!   

Best Green Tool: M. Graham Non Toxic Walnut Medium
Thank you, thank you Graham for making this. As I’ve mentioned before, the more I paint the more chemical sensitive I become so I don’t tend to use much medium anyway.
But when I do, it’s nice to have this option. Runner up:  I use Turpenoid Natural for all my clean up now. Pop up baby wipes are pretty nifty too.

I'll be back in a future post with the rest of my Top 5. In the meantime, have a great weekend and as always if you have any questions about art supplies, studio tips, or my classes please contact me.

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