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Basics Child Category

The Essential Palette

Palette Artists
The palette of artist Nelson Shank

The kidney shaped wooden palette has become the universal symbol of the “painter” and is essential to any artist using pigment.

A palette is defined as, “a thin and usually oval or oblong tablet usually made from wood,glass,etc., and used by painters for holding and mixing colors.”

There are several types of palettes. The type of palette to choose depends upon the art that you create.


  • Decide, if you want to be able to hold your palette in your hand. Does your art form require that you have mobility and need to move around?
  • Is it preferred that your palette is stationary on your desk or worktop? In the studio, choose the largest comfortable size to give you as much mixing area as possible.
  • Plastic & turpentine don’t mix! So choose accordingly.
  • White or gray palettes make it somewhat easier to judge the color value of your paints when mixing.



Glass Artist PaletteGlass Artist Palettes are intended to rest on a table surface rather than be held. It’s excellent for mixing large areas of color. The palette is perfectly smooth, easy on brushes, and non-porous. It cleans up with very little effort. The glass palettes are made from a very strong, a very breakable resistant safety tempered glass.

PROS: heavy duty and versatile, this palette is recommended for any artist looking for the most durable and all-purpose palette there is. Recommend for any painters, rolling printing ink, print-makers, etc.,

CONS: not recommended for travel, or when portability is required

TIP: To clean glass surfaces easy, use a heave duty razor blade glass surface scraper.



Clear Acrylic Artist PaletteClear Acrylic Palette‘s are great for artists that require portability. These palettes are sturdy, durable, and ideal for thick media mixing purposes. Acrylic palettes are nonstaining and scratch resistant.

Clear acrylic palettes are shaped like the traditional artists palette, while, plexiglass will be more of a rectangular and tablet like.

PROS: mobile and portable, these palettes are great for studio, field or class work. Designed for true color evaluation.

CONS: more difficult to clean, not meant for large amounts of paint medium.


DISPOSABLE ARTIST PALETTESCleanup is quick and easy with Disposable Palette Pads — just tear off a sheet, use it for your painting session, then throw it away.

Great for use with acrylics, casein, and oils, the palette paper pads are available in a variety of sizes, each containing multiple sheets.

Parchment palettes may also be used.

PROS: portable, quick easy cleanup,

CONS: expensive & wasteful long term option. Also wasteful of paint if you don’t use all paint on sheet.


Stay-Wet Artist PaletteStay-Wet Artist Palette‘s are excellent for artists whose medium dries quickly (i.e. acrylics) Sta-Wet Premier Palette saves you paint, money, and time by preserving the freshness of acrylics and other waterbased paints, both while you are painting and between painting sessions. Paints will stay moist on the open palette for hours. Once the lid is closed, the paints will stay in workable condition for days, even weeks.

The Premier Palette features a patented sponge insert and special permeable palette paper. Together they provide acrylic paints with a constant source of moisture. Simply moisten the sponge and lay it inside the tray, then place the palette paper on top. When the lid is open, your paints will have an extended open time. When the lid is snapped shut, the Premier Palette will maintain a moist atmosphere that preserves acrylic paints amazingly well.

PROS: keeps paints fresh and wet, especially valuable for artists who work with mediums that harden quickly like acrylics.

CONS: once the paints dry & harden it is very difficult to clean.


The wooden palette is traditional, but rarely used but was the favorite of the great masters.

The weight of the palette is essential, since you should be able to hold it for hours on end. The oval thumbhole should be sanded so it doesn’t scratch the skin.

Wooden palettes can be made from: birch, plywood, mahogany

PROS: lightweight, traditional

CONS: once paint dries, it becomes VERY difficult to remove


GLAZED PORCELAIN & ENAMEL PALETTESGlazed porcelain is a great material for artists’ palettes for several reasons. A brilliant, classic white surface ensures perfect color mixing since you are able to see the hue against a pristine, reflective background. The weight of porcelain palettes make them great for the studio since they don’t slide around or shift if accidentally bumped. The smooth surface makes for easy clean-up too.

PROS: easy to clean, great for mixing colors, great for watercolors

CONS: heavy, breakable, pricey


Plastic Palettes & Mixing TraysThese plastic palettes are lightweight and portable. Often shaped like the traditional palette. Typically plastic palettes are made of white plastic and contains a number of small convex “mixing wells.”

PROS: economical, portable

CONS: small, difficult to clean once paint dry, not very versatile


Atomizer Bottle: fill an atomizer bottle with distilled water. Lightly mist your palette with water when necessary to keep paints fresh and moist.

Liquitex Palette Weting Spray: Liquitex Palette Wetting Spray is an innovative, fluid acrylic resin that slows the drying time of acrylic color. It also improves color blending. Use it to keep colors fresh on the palette, and stop the paint film from “skinning over.”

Simply spray and re-spray as needed. Palette Wetting Spray thins color while maintaining film integrity. It is formulated with an anti-microbial agent to prevent mold. Use it repeatedly to re-wet the palette, or spray it sparingly on the canvas to increase open time.

FREEZE YOUR PALETTE: You will be shocked at how well this works. If you will be gone for a while and want to keep your paint fresh, put your palettes in a freezer. Paints can stay wet indefinitely (up to a few months). Just make sure to put the palette in an area in your freezer where it won’t get disturbed. It is wet paint after all.

QUICK FIX PALETTE: if you are in need of a temporary solution, you can use common items from around your house.  Old Magazines (The heavy plastic coated paper won’t let the paint bleed through), ceramic tiles, cookie sheet, board, or glass plate.

-article compiled & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts


Art & Creative Books: Community Favorites

Favorite Art & Creative Books

Knoweledge plays an essential role in our creative and artistic development. A recommended book with the right information can be as beneficial as anytime spent in a classroom.  The right book will improve our intellectual outlook and open doors of thought that may have been walls before.

We recently conducted a community poll, asking:

“What is your favorite book on art or the creative process?”

We were excited about the results: some of the books we couldn’t agree with more, others we had heard of but haven’t read, and some were totally new to us.

We look forward to adding some new resources to our library.

The best of the best art and creative resources are listed below:

Our Favorite Books:

(in random order)

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Thank you to all to added their voice. If you would like to…


If you would like to contribute on Facebook, become a Fan of us on Facebook, and click on the link below to add your opinion:

If you would like to join the discussion on twitter tag us @patronoftheart with #patronoftheartsbooks and let us know what your favorite book on art or the creative process is.

Send us a message & let us know what your favorite art or creative book is…

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Patron of the Arts- Creativity & Inspiration Crown

-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts

Basics Creative Tool Painting

EASEL 101: The Ease of the Easel

A Table Easel, one of the many different types of easels.
A Table Easel, one of the many different types of easels.


An easel is defined as an upright support used for displaying or creating a canvas, board, or panel (aka: surface area).  The surface area rests upon the easel from a range of about 20° to fully vertical.

Traditionally easels are used by painters to support a painting while they work on it, normally standing up, and are also sometimes used to display finished paintings. The vast majority of easel’s are typically made out of wood.

While, not immediately essential to the painter, once a painter introduces this tool to their process it quickly becomes indispensable. The easel lives up to its name adding an ease and flexibility to the creative’s process.


Types of Easel's
The Range of Easel’s

There are many types of easels to meet the various needs of each artist. Below you can find the description of each type, recommendations for purpose, and a link to what our research as the best selection and best price through Blick Art Materials.

A-frame Easels (Lyre easels):

A Frame Easel
A Frame

A-frame easels are easels with 3 legs – 2 in front and 1 in back, triangular in silhouette. Then are called “A” frame because from the center front the structure resembles the letter “A”. The Tripod design allows for a sturdy foundation for painting and this shape is easy to setup in corners or tight spaces. Most models rear legs flatten for convenient storage.

Canvas Range: holds surface area up to 38″-75″

Price Ranges: $50-200

Recommended for: limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale

Not recommended for: large-scale works,heavy works

H-frame Easels:

H Frame Easel
H Frame

“H” frame easels that most resemble the capital letter “H”. The shape of these lend for a much sturdier design than A-Frame easels. Due to their sturdiness H-frame easels are pieces of furniture, so it is ideal if you have dedicated studio space where you can leave them up. Some models come with storage areas for your paints and brushes. Any working artist will tell you that an investment in a good H-frame easel is well worth the money.

“H-Frame Easels derive a solid stance from their rectangular silhouette and their substantial rectangular bases. Several models accept giant canvases, most afford a forward tilt, and some have crank adjustments and paint tray features that offer even more convenience to the painter. These substantial workhorses command a presence in the studio. Many models can be collapsed for storage and transport, but they are heavier and clumsier in their collapsed state than A-Frame and Single-Mast easels.”

Canvas Range: holds surface up to 84″ – 96″

Price Range: $100-1500

Recommended for: large scale works, dedicated area (not very convenient to store), stable surface area support

Not recommended for: small scale works, tight spaces, or where portability is required

Giant Easels:

Giant Easel
Giant Easel

Giant easels are for artists who want to work in large scale, or extra large scale that is works taller than 8 feet(244 cm).  These Giant’s are especially sturdy and durable and can handle extra weight for heavy works that need extra support. Some models have the extra feature of  a double mast, or a winch to hoist heavy surfaces.

Canvas Range: extra large scale that is works taller than 8 feet (244 cm)

Price Range: $300-1800

Recommended for: large scale works, dedicated studio space, maximum stability for surface-area support

Not recommended for: small scale works, tight spaces, or where portability is required, requires lots of space



Convertible (Hybrid Easels):

Hybrid Easel
Convertible, Hybrid or Swing Easel

Named convertible because these easels convert from an easel to a table top. This configuration is meant for multi-media artists who work in a variety of mediums and whose creative needs vary. Convertible easels are more sturdy than A-Frame easels.

“Convertible and Hybrid Easels serve the artist who is not satisfied to work in one medium. Most are designed to accommodate the needs of oil/acrylic painters while converting to the needs of the watercolorist or pastel painter. Most closely related to the H-Frame family, these easels provide a maximum of flexibility.”

Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 84″

Price Range: $90-750

Recommended for: artists who work in a variety of mediums, great for artists who need ease and flexibility in their creative flow

Not recommended for: large scale works, small spaces

Single Mast Easels:

“Single-Mast Easels are the simplest of easel forms. Their more affordable architecture can be appreciated for its elegance but cannot be counted on to provide the same sturdiness or flexibility of the other traditional forms. Single-Mast easels are often seen in cramped apartments or school studios where their advantages are clear. They take up less space, they collapse and store with great ease, and they are generally more affordable.”

Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 72″

Price Range: $40-650

Recommended for: limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale, collapsable for storage, affordable

Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works, large scale works

Tabletop Easels:

Tabletop Easel

Tabletop or table mount Easels are great for artists who need to sit while working, artists who do not have a lot of floor space, or who prefer to work smaller. Available in many of the same styles as the larger floor models, the artist should be able to find the right style for their needs. These easels are perfect for artists who work in a small scale. Tabletop art easels are available in A-Frame, H-Frame, and single mast designs, with some models having room for supplies.

Some contain a drawer for holding art supplies, which is handy for artists who need to take their easel and supplies to and from home and school, for example. Depending on the specific model, some tabletop art easels can hold paintings up to 32″ high. The price range for tabletop art easels ranges from $15 – $200.

Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 72″

Price Range: $10-222

Recommended for: artists who work at a table or sitting down, limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale, collapsable for storage, affordable

Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works

Plein Air Easels (portable easels):

“Portable and Field Easels are designed for artists who plan on traveling with their easels, need to be able to easily move them around their studio, or who want to plein air paint. These easels fold to a compact size for easy storage and portability and are considerably lighter weight. These easels usually contain the minimal necessities to successfully use them effectively.”

Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 45″ – 78″ inches high

Price Range: $15-550

Recommended for:  artists that need portability, and to travel. Lightweight and convenient.

Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works,

Bench Easel (Art Horse Easels):

Art Horse Easel

Bench easels are for the artist who needs to have a place to sit. This type of easel combines a bench and either an easel, a drawing board, or another form of support bar. This allows the artist to sit while drawing or painting. They are collapsable for added connivence.

Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 24″ inches high

Price Range: $210-400

Recommended for:  artists that need portability, to sit and to travel. Lightweight and convenient.

Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works,

Display Easels:

Display Easels“Display Easels are not recommended for using as a working artists easel. They tend to be made from lighter weight material, for easier storage and portability, but because of this they cannot hold heavier signs or artworks. Available in either wood or metal, table top or floor models, and collapsible or not, we have something to fit most needs.”

Canvas Range: can hold works up to 55″ inches high

Price Range: $15-420

Recommended for:  display purposes only

Not recommended for: this is not a working easel, the structure does not have the stability to support any type of working art or artist.



Children’s Easels:

Childrens Easel“Children’s Easels are designed with the younger artist in mind. Designed to be shorter than traditional, adult style easels, they also tend to offer at least two sides to work on instead of just one. Some easels contain sides with dry erase panels, chalk board panels, or rolls of paper for drawing and painting. Many of these floor easels also have additional storage and trays for holding the child’s art supplies.”

“Display Easels are not recommended for actually using as a working easel. They tend to be made from lighter weight material, for easier storage and portability, but because of this they cannot hold heavier signs or artworks. Available in either wood or metal, table top or floor models, and collapsible or not, we have something to fit most needs.”

Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 55″ inches high

Price Range: $30-410

Recommended for:  younger children, to young kids this type of easel functions as a vertical standing table top with extras.

Not recommended for: adults- this type of easel does not offer range, flexibility or maneuverability that the mature artist prefers.



Would you like more information? Watch this short video about the various features on certain easels.

Shop Blick Art Materials, for the most extensive selection of artist easels.

The following resources were used in the compilation of this article:

Blick Art Materials (website)

Types of Easels (website)




Patron of the Arts- Creativity & Inspiration Crown

-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts

Fun Activities & Projects Painting Watercolor

Watercolor Postcards: Take Your Creativity on Vacation

“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.” – Jonah Leher

Travel refreshes life and creativity. A journey to a new place; seeing the world with new, fresh eyes takes one outside of ones comfort zone and puts ones focus in the now. Creative muscles always feel refreshed after some time spent away from the studio.



For my most recent trip, a cruise to Alaska, I brought watercolor postcards and a portable set of watercolors to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest. I often feel most creative on a relaxing vacation, so this project seemed ideal.

I like this project because you can either do it by yourself or in a group. The materials are small, lightweight and portable, about the size of a small paperback novel), all you need is a some water to rinse your brush, and water-color.


Watercolor postcards are contagious, once you find your creative zone, people will want to join in if you invite them. I enjoyed this project because now that I am home I have creative mementos to remember my trip by.  Once I was home I felt inspired to finish this project out.

On the corner of each postcard, I dated them with the month, year and trip destination. I then mailed them to my friends and family (being sure to include myself) that I had painted the postcards with.

On the back I wrote a short little note about something I enjoyed from the trip. At this point the postcards became more personal and valuable than anything that I could have purchased in a gift shop because now when I see the postcard I sent to myself I remember the experience of creating them with my loved ones.



Portable Watercolors
Watercolor Postcards

And if you really want to splurge check out this awesome travel case:

Art Travel Case

  • Project is completely portable, with all the materials fitting in an area about the size of a small paperback novel.
  • Project is appropriate and fun for all ages.
  • NON-Toxic
  • Make sure to bring extra brushes, and possibly a few sets of paint if you plan on doing this in a group.
  • Location Ideas: family reunions (family gatherings), camping, cruises, beach,picnics,any place relaxing and fun!)

Patron of the Arts- Creativity & Inspiration

-created, written & photographed by Lyrica Glory, founder of  Patron of the Arts

Creative Relationships Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe

1939, Probably Mexico City, Mexico --- Artist Frida Kahlo, in a Tehuna costume, with her pet hawk, 1939. --- Image by © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS
1939, Probably Mexico City, Mexico — Artist Frida Kahlo, in a Tehuna costume, with her pet hawk, 1939. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS

“There is something uncommonly heartening about bearing witness to the virtuous cycle of support and mutual appreciation between two creative luminaries…

“One of the most touching such exchanges was between two of the greatest artists and most remarkable women the world has ever known — Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Both were prolific letter writers — Kahlo in her passionate illustrated love letters to Diego Rivera, and O’Keeffe in her equally passionate love letters to Alfred Stieglitz, her lifelong correspondence with her best friend, and her emboldening missives to Sherwood Anderson. But what Kahlo wrote to O’Keeffe in 1933 was a wholly different kind of epistolary and human magic.

“Even though the Mexican painter had herself been dealt an unfair hand — including a miscarriage just a few months earlier, her mother’s recent death, and more than thirty operations over the course of her life after a serious traffic accident during adolescence sent an iron rod through her stomach and uterus — Kahlo didn’t hesitate to reach out with a beam of compassion during O’Keeffe’s moment of crisis.”






Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask Stieglitz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you ? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words. I like you very much Georgia.




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Basics Oil Painting

TOOLS: Choosing Brushes (oil paint)

Oil Paint Brush Guide- Which Brushes to Use


A paint brush is to an oil painter, what a magic wand is to a wizard.  That is to say that it is a tool that makes all the difference to the practitioner.  A good brush is well worth the investment and will get better once it is broken in.

Traditionally, brushes used for oil painting are made out of hog’s hair (bristle) and sable. Increasingly, synthetic brushes made from materials such as nylon, are becoming more and more popular. A good brush will hold its shape, in paint and on canvas, bouncing back to its original shape. The bristles should be firm, neither overly limp or to springy.

Oil painting brushes have 2 handle sizes- long wooden handle and which is up to 12 inches and short- meant for detail.

Long handle brushes are used in a horizontal position with the painting surface vertical.The long handle serves to balance the brush in your hand, centering the brush so the paint will flow better.

The size of the brush by the brush head with No. 1 being the finest and No.12/14 the broadest.


The three most important shapes for oil painting brushes are- flat, round and filbert.


flat: these have a wedge-shaped square tip. Flat brushes are primarily used for blocking in large areas of color, in the painting’s early stage.

round: these brushes taper at the tip. Round brushes are used to create a more linear/straight brush stroke.

filbert: these brushes resemble a finger tip. Filbert brushes are used to apply color broadly. Used on its side, a filbert gives a thin line; used on it’s broad side (flat) it produces a heavy thick brush stroke.


Sable: also known as “soft” brushes, and are used for finer detail.

Bristle: also known as hog’s hair. These are a stiffer bristle, and are therefore better for larger brushes.


If your looking at filling in the of your oil painting basic brush collection for oil painting, we recommend getting the following brushes:

Flats: #12,#4-8 and #2
Filberts: #12,#4-8 and #2
Rounds: #2 or #3

If you are looking to get the most value for money, we would suggest investing in a complete set of brushes rather than buying each one individually. Brush sets, contain most of the brushes that you need in addition to a few extra’s that are just nice to have. These sets generally tend to be a good deal.

Most major brands have great sets, but we would suggest checking out the following sets:

Set of Oil Paint Brushes

Visit Blick Art Materials, to see a comprehensive selection of brushes. Selection can be found here:


In order to maintain a long lasting relationship with your brush it is good practice to clean your brushes after each session. Integrate this extra step into your painting regime and this will drastically help prolong the life of each brush.

1. Solvent as a Cleaner
For oil paint use mineral spirits, or terpenoid.
-Start by wiping excess paint on a rag, removing extra paint will make the job much easier.
-Rinse brush in mineral solvent, it’s okay to use the used solvent from your painting session. Try to get all the paint off the bristles.
-Use RAG to remove solvent and paint on bristles.
-Rinse brush under running water.
-Once brush is clean, remove excess liquid from bristles and shape into correct form. Store upright in container to dry.

2. Dish Soap
-Wipe excess paint on a rag, removing extra paint will make the job much easier.
-Squeeze liquid dish soap into the palm of your hand. With water running work soap into brush bristles until. Work through, rinse and repeat until there is no more paint remaining.
-Reshape brush, and let it dry completely.
3. Fabric Softener
-Wipe excess paint on a rag, removing extra paint will make the job much easier.
-Mix together a gallon of warm water and 1/2 cup fabric softener.
-Swirl brush in solution, paint should begin to come off in the mixture. Shake off and rinse any remaining solution.
-Reshape brush into correct shape and let dry.
4. Vinegar
-Soak the brush in vinegar for an hour.
-Place the brush in an old pot and cover it with vinegar. You want the bristles to be completely covered with vinegar
-Bring the vinegar to a slow simmer on the stove. Simmer vinegar with the paintbrushes for a few minutes.
-Remove brushes, let them cool.
-Comb bristles, working paint out of the bristles.
-Rise and shape brush.


We have become huge fans of this type of brush cleaner. This metal brush cleaner features a grate at the bottom of the cleaning chamber that allows paint sediment from your brushes to fall to the bottom of the outer pot. This helps keep the fluid fresh for the next use, saving you time and preserving your solvent. The lid has a built-in gasket that forms an air tight, leak proof seal, preventing the smells and harsh fumes of solvents from escaping, and keeping solvents from spilling out.

Less expensive versions are made from glass and contain a metal grate at the bottom, and is also sealable.


Palette knives are mainly used for mixing and blending colors on a palette. Some artists use this tool as an instrument to paint with, although it generally is not recommended for most painting styles as it creates a heavy chunky stroke.

TIP: If you live in the United States, the best selection and prices come from Blick Art Materials, the most convenient and fast is Amazon.




-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts

Basics Oil Painting

Prepping a Surface to Oil Paint On (canvas,panel,board)


A surface area (or support) is the name given to a supporting surface on which all (oil,acrylic,etc) paintings are created, or carried out.

The most popular surface or support’s to paint on are: canvas (stretched & board), wood panel, board (i.e. masonite, gessobord) and stretched linen. (see, Detailed Information section below)

Many artists prefer to use panel or board because the surface is rigid, smooth and not heavily textured and requires less prep-work and priming. Canvas is flexible and heavily textured and requires extra work to get a firm desirable surface for painting.


Primer is the first coat of paint applied to the support. One of the main purposes of a primer is to prevent the color pigment from absorbing into the surface. A white coat of primer or Gesso keeps the brilliance of the paint.

Gesso can be purchased ready made. It is similar in consistency to acrylic paint and comes in a multitude of colors. Gesso firms the surface, preventing the paint from soaking into the support; giving the veneer a little more texture or “tooth,” enabling the paint to stick better.

Adding primer to ALL surfaces is HIGHLY recommended- with an application of between 2-4 coats before actual pigment painting can begin.

Apply first coat with a vertical brush stroke and apply second coat with a horizontal stroke to fill in the groove. For each coat alternate and repeat, letting each coat dry thoroughly.


(full supply list in the tabbed section below)


Based on ease, quality and convenience- we recommend a gessobord with a 3/4 inch +(plus) cradle, meaning the support is attached and thicker widths can also function as a frame. Take into account what you want your finished product to be.

Application of a coat of gesso is still recommended, before painting, even on gessobord.

Check Blick Art Materials for the best selection of Gessobord panels, here.


complete information on prepping your surface to paint on

(expand sections below)

CANVAS: The traditional surface of the painter. Canvas comes in both a coarse and fine weave. The texture of a canvas is called the “tooth” of the canvas. The “tooth” when primed becomes very responsive to oil paint. A stretched canvas is easy and lightweight (easy to ship).

LINEN: Linen is the finest weave of canvas. Linen is less likely to shrink or loose its shape than regular canvas. Cotton canvas more inexpensive but is more prone to distortion. Linen is on the pricey side.

HARDBOARDS: Hardboard is made from compressed wood pulp. This type of surface area is largely favored by artists because it comes pre-made, it is lightweight, inexpensive and strong. Hardboard should be properly primed so that acid or oils do not leach in from the board which could result in yellowing of the painting. (This includes Gessobord and Masonite, which are both brands.)

WOOD PANELS: Hard woods are more suitable to use as panels, as softer woods are more likely to warp. It is believed that paintings on wood panel are likely to last longer. Panels can be should be cut from well seasoned wood and be free of knots, cracks and or defects. Painting on wood panels can create a heavy painting, and is therefore not recommended for shipping.

*best hard woods to paint on include: oak, cedar, birch, walnut, or mahogany.  

(Visit Blick Art Materials, for our recommended selection of pre-made hard wood panels)


The “drumlike” tautness of a canvas is achieved by stretching the canvas over a wooden frame called a stretcher. The stretcher is a mitered frame in which the beveled corners do not press against the stretched canvas. Ready made stretcher bars can be purchased here, and a list of full supplies below for stretching your linen or canvas.


(full supply list in the tabbed section below)


When considering what size you want your surface area to be, consider using standard framing sizes. If you plan on doing an framing you will be thanking yourself.

Below is the Standard Canvas Size chart in both inches and centimeters:





gesso brushes


We recommend gessobord, and if you live in the United States, the best selection and prices come from Blick Art Materials.



Blick Art Materials has the best selection for all supplies and materials listed above.

These were the resources that were used in the creation of this article:
BOOK: The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting- With Notes on the Techniques of the Old Masters by Max Doerner
BOOK: The Complete Book of Painting & Drawing by Gerald Woods

If you require large quantities of Gesso, it can be made from scratch. Recipe to follow in a separate post.

Patron of the Arts- Creativity & Inspiration Crown

-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo:The Artist’s Wardrobe locked up for 50 years, Revealed

“I recommend her to you [Frida Kahlo], not as a husband but as an enthusiastic admirer of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and fine as a butterfly’s wing, lovable as a beautiful smile, and as profound and cruel as the bitterness of life.” –Diego Rivera

“Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako (2013) is a photographic record of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and belongings. Following Kahlo’s death in 1954 her husband Diego Rivera began placing her personal effects into the bathroom of their Mexico City house, “The Blue House”, which later became the Museo Frida Kahlo. Rivera gave instructions that this room should remain sealed until fifteen years after his death and it in fact remained unopened until 2004 when the museum decided to organise and catalogue the contents. Ishiuchi Miyako was invited to photograph these artefacts, over 300 unseen relics of Kahlo’s life.

“As a project Frida is both a departure from Ishiuchi Miyako’s normal practice and a natural conceptual progression. While moving away from the Japanese subject matter of her earlier series, the work reveals Ishiuchi Miyako’s continued obsession with the traces we leave behind both as individuals and as a society. In her earlier series, Mother’s (2000-2005) and ひろしま/ Hiroshima (2007-), she photographed previously worn garments, evoking the lives and memories of the people who wore them as well as the social climate of post-war Japan. In documenting Frida, Ishiuchi Miyako again respectfully sifts through the ephemera left behind by an individual and in doing so makes intimate revelations about one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists. Frida Kahlo (1907 -1954) was an invalid throughout her life. Having contracted polio as a child she was then involved in a near fatal bus accident at the age of 18, which resulted in numerous surgical interventions. In the aftermath of her accident Khalo constructed her iconic wardrobe to camouflage her physical ailments. Ishiuchi Miyako’s images document the traditional Tehuana dresses that both concealed the damage to her lower body and acted as a feminist salute to the matriarchal society from which they are derived. * Through her photographs Ishiuchi came to recognise the parallel between these traditional garments and the kimonos of her own country, an “ephipany” that is evident in the images themselves. Throughout the photographs there is a particular awareness, a tenderness that is inherent to a woman looking through another woman’s intimate possessions. As she painstakingly catalogues the chic of Kahlo’s sunglasses, the intimacy of her darned tights and the corsets that were to be the armature by which she survived.” -MICHAEL HOPPEN GALLERY


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Creative Tool Inspiration

EXERCISE: Artist Date, Assigned Play


An Artist Date, Assigned Play
An Artist Date, Assigned Play

An ‘Artist Date’ is a creative tool conceived by best-selling author of the Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron.

Directly from her website:

Artist Dates are assigned PLAY…

‘The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner wellof images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to askyourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”

The Artists Way- Creative Resource
The Artists Way- Creative Resource

Why is this an effective creative tool? Creativity can come to anyone who wants it but you have to put yourself, the artist, into a receptive to state in order to allow it.

Take yourself somewhere special- break the routine and do something that excites and delights you. Treat yourself a little extra special and it will open the door to inspiration. Blocks will become unblocked and new ideas have the potential to flow into your creative spirit, if that is your belief or intention.

The best word  in describing the Artist’s Date is flow (a steady, continuous stream of something). Artist dates help in increasing your flow of creativity. If you would like a little more inspiration in your life, take yourself on an extra special date.

(You can read more about ‘Artist’s Dates‘ in Julia Cameron’s best selling book, ‘The Artists Way‘)

-written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts

Fun Activities & Projects Patron of the Arts Exclusive

PROJECT: The Meaning & Magic of Dreamcatchers

Attach crystals, beads and feathers to the ting of the dreamcatcher.

“Native ancestors believe the night air is filled with both good and bad dreams. The legend of the Dreamcatcher is that it attracts the good dreams while catching in the center web, the bad.

The good spirit dreams float down the sacred feather into the psyche of the dreamer while the bad spirit dreams are held in the center web and burn off in the first light of the sun.

Believed to be sacred objects, dreamcatchers bless those with pleasant dreams, good luck, and harmony throughout their lives. Native cultures also believe that a good and easy nights sleep will allow the dreamer to remember messages and visions from the higher spirit.


 This Dreamcatcher also represents a medicine wheel with every component having meaning- according to Native American lore:

The web represents, the spider, the brother of life- infinitely repairing the eternal web of our existence. The spider weaves our life’s dreams and energy in the universal patchwork when the dreamer falls asleep.


The ring represents the Earth mother and the humble walk we tread upon her.

Covered in multi-colored textiles, the dreamcatcher represents the mind, body, spirit aspects of our personality, moods and emotions.

It is believed that we are related to all things, and that all things are part of us. The Dreamcatcher and medicine wheel are representative of such a sacred belief.

The ring and the web woven together represent love, honesty and purity.

All of the combined elements on the dreamcatcher represent aspects of earth, fire, water and ether- all things we need to live. Once the dreamcatcher is hung freely, it represents the element of air.

Also reflected are the qualities of love-  to “be” love and to love. To take risks, leave the nest and fly out on one’s own, it instills the ability to live and thrive beyond ones shadows.

Crystals attached to the dreamcatcher represent the element of earth. Imbuing it with the qualities, energies and magic of those specific stones. (Use stones that are conducive to the activation of the dreamwork- see recommended crystals in the tabbed section below).


The following resources were used in the compilation of this article:
“The Book of Stones” by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian (book)
The Legend of Dreamcatchers (website)
-Get more inspiration & ideas for your dreamcatcher from our Dreamcatcher Pin Board.

The best crystals for a peaceful and fulfilling dream state are listed below and have been compiled from “The Book of Stones” by Robert Simmons.

    • Moonstone – (keywords:mysteries, self-discovery, intuition, in-sight,dreams,the goddess) Moonstone is the talisman for the inward journey and meditation-taking one deep into oneself. What is revealed in that state are missing pieces or links to the puzzle. This stone connects one to the power of the moon. It is the stone of the High Priestess.
    • Rainbow Moonstone- These stones act as a prism that diffuses energy throughout the aura. It is a positive protection stone. It is particularly good for psychic protection and maintaining clarity of energy. These stones emenate great vitality, life force and exuberant joy. Rainbow moonstones offer the gifts of inner peace and harmony,emotional balance and strength, purification and transformation of negativity.These are like regular moonstones but with an extra dose. They also facilitate the opening of the rainbow light body.
    • Herkimer Quartz Diamond -(keywords: dreams,visions,purification) These crystals are manifestations of pure solidified spiritual light. They broadcast their own energies and magnify the frequencies of other stones. They emanate a high harmonious light. Their is a state of bliss and rapture in the vibration of a herkimer diamond. Dream work with Herkimer’s can be a wonderful experience.
    • Clear Quartz Crystal (keywords: programmability,amplification of ones intention,clearing) This is by far one of the most versatile and multi dimensional stones in the mineral realm.   Clear quartz can be ‘programmed’ by ones focused intention to assist in achieving virtually any any goal in inner or outer life. This is a stone of light and can be used for any metaphysical purpose.
    • Angelite– (keywords: angelic communication, gentle self-expression,serenity) The stones themselves emanate benevolence and serenity. Angelite is an excellent stone for dreamwork and can help one to remain lucid in the dream state and  to assist in remember the guidance received in dreams. It can also enhance the spiritual qualities of ones dreams. It helps with the exploration into the Akashic Records It can help in one understanding  and interpreting the symbolic content of  dreams and inner visions.
    • Smokey Quartz– (keywords: grounding,transmutation of ones negative energies,manifestation of ones dreams and inspirations) Smokey quartz offer protection from negative energies in ones environment, it cannot transmute unlimited amounts of negative energy by grounding into the earth. It is a stone for “keeping things clear”. Smokey quartz has a way of drawing the ethereal into manifestation.

May you be blessed with a beautiful and happy dream-filled life.”

-created, written & photographed by Lyrica Glory, founder of  Patron of the Arts

You can read more about Lyrica and her dreamcatchers directly on her website here, or see her available Dreamcatchers through her Etsy shop here