Selecting The Right Color: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know And More

By Nicole Tinkham

Ever find yourself staring at a blank canvas even though you have a complete composition already laid out in in your mind? The hard part is over; you have all the ideas but can’t seem to actually get started. Here’s why: you’re having a difficult time selecting your color palette. If you ever find yourself so unsure of which color to select that it prevents you from starting a painting altogether, you need to read this blog. We’ll dive into everything you ever wanted to know about selecting the right color and more. This will help you get started right away on your projects because you’ll already have it in your mind what colors you want to work with.

Color palette

The first thing you’ll want to do before starting a painting is determine your color palette. This is usually a main color with a few supporting colors that go along with it. When it comes to realistic paintings, you’ll want to choose colors that match your subject as closely as possible. Otherwise you’re totally open to selecting whichever colors you want. Having so many options is typically where the trouble lies though. Every color portrays a certain feel so let’s begin there. Think about how you want the viewer to feel and what message you want to get across then determine which color below aligns with that best.

Reds = Passion, Explosive
Blues = Bold, Clean, Intelligent
Greens = Simple, New
Purples = Elegant, Smooth
Yellows = Joy, Bliss
Pinks = Power, Glamorous
Orange = Energy, Creativity

Hue vs Tint vs Shade

When selecting colors, it’s also important to understand the difference between hue, tint, and shade. This will give you different variations of a color. Hue is the pure color without anything mixed in with it. Tint on the other hand, is a lighter version of the original color as it’s mixed with white. Shade is then the opposite. It’s darker than the original color and mixed with black.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel is an excellent tool for any artist whether you’re a total newbie or experienced. We always recommend having a color wheel on hand. This tool will lay out your color options and help you pair colors up to form your color palette. On your color wheel, you’ll find the following colors.

Primary Colors = Blue, Yellow and Red

Secondary Colors = Green, Orange, and Purple

Tertiary Colors = Amber, Chartreuse, Teal, Violet, Magenta, Vermilion

Color Schemes

Once you have that main color selected, it’s time to think about your supporting colors. This is where using your color wheel really becomes helpful. Use the following color schemes to help you determine your supporting colors. They are proven colors to work well together.

Monochromatic = These are colors within the same section of the color wheel. They will be the same color but in different tints and shades.

Analogous = These are colors that can be found on either side of your main chosen color on the color wheel, one on the right and one on the left.

Complimentary = These are two colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel.

This simple guide for choose the perfect colors can be used for more than just your painting project. It can be used to help you find a frame for your project, determining what color to paint the walls in your home, decorating, and just about anything else that involves color choices. Investing in a color wheel will be the key to success especially if you’re a beginner artist but it’s also a great way to think up fresh color combinations that you may not have thought of before. Save this guide and use it whenever you get stuck choosing the perfect color for your project. No longer will color choices hold you back!

5 Small Art Mistakes That You’re Probably Making

By Nicole Tinkham


You are an amazing artist! Whether you’re an experienced artist who’s been creating for awhile or a total beginner, there’s always room for improvement. In fact, these five mistakes that you could be making are ones that you probably already know. But it’s always great to have a reminder. We’ll touch on everything from the media you’re working with to washing your hands before starting a project. Seriously, these are super basic but must-know tips. Read on for 5 small art mistakes that you’re probably making and how to fix them.

1.    Your environment is off

It sounds so simple but let’s face it, artists get messy. It’s just what they (typically) do. Before you begin working on a project, clean up your space. If there are any projects with wet paint, get them out of the way. Gather ALL of the supplies you’ll need before you begin working. Also set your space up to make you feel more creative. Move your easel by the window, move some plants over to the area, and do whatever it is you need to do to get in the zone.

2.    You’re not patient enough

Are you impatient?? No worries if you are, we and many other artists who we know can relate. Remember that it’s important to take the time to let your ink and paint dry completely to prevent unwanted smudging. If you’re working in oils, the struggle is real! You can always use mediums that will speed up the drying time though. Dry time isn’t the only struggle artists face with impatience though. Work with many details can take time, learning takes time, improving your skills takes time, great ideas take time to come up with. Art in general takes time! Take a deep breath, get focused, and try not to rush things.

3.    You’re not working with the right media

Use the right materials! It’s so easy to pick up the closest brush and start creating but it may not be the correct brush for your particular project. If that’s the case, your desired effect could be off and frustration can creep up on you. For example, if you want fine details you should use a small liner brush, not a large flat one. Pick the right supplies for the desired effect and know that quality supplies do go a long way. If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure which supplies are best for your project, just ask! We’re always here to help (call us at 941-747-2995) or ask a fellow artist or instructor. We’ve found that the art community is super supportive so don’t be afraid to speak up and learn from others.

4.    You forgot to wash your hands

This is a simple one but so important and especially so when drawing! The oils from your hands can affect the paper you’re working on and how the pencil lays on it. It’s something you may not think about since when the creative mood strikes you just jump right into it, right? But a quick wash is best before beginning a new project.

5.    You overwork yourself

Everyone needs to take a break. It fuels you to keep going and be more productive. We know many artists who work straight through the night and get very little sleep. We understand that nothing can stop that creative mind of yours but we suggest listening to your body. When you feel overly exhausted, it’s time to take a break. When you’re totally drained and can’t think of any ideas or aren’t moving forward with a project, it’s time for a break. Trust us when we say those breaks will pay off in the long run! You’ll return with a clear mind, ready to go!

You are a talented artist (we’ve seen your work and know this is a true statement 🙂 ) but the little things in this blog make a big difference. As you learn new things, it’s easy to slip up on the small things you’ve probably heard a thousand times in the beginning. Just keep these 5 small art mistakes in the back of your mind on your next project and see the improvement. Even small improvement is still moving you forward! Keep on going artists, you are doing incredible.

Is A Hake Brush The Brush For You?

By Nicole Tinkham


We recently showcased our brand new display of Hake brushes (now with more variety) on our Facebook page and have received a lot of interest and questions on how to use these brushes. There’s nothing fancy here. Hake brushes are basic, inexpensive and larger, used mainly for wetting the surface or for washes in watercolor paintings. They may not seem too exciting but these unique tools are definitely different to work with. Since they’re so inexpensive, we highly encourage you to try them out! Here are just a few more things you need to know about the Hake brush before getting started.

What is a Hake Brush?

A hake brush is an oriental wash brush with a long, flat wooden handle used in watercolor painting. The brush is typically synthetic, squirrel, goat, ox or bristle. These brushes hold a lot of water so they’re perfect for wetting the surface, doing a large wash, or for picking up excess paint. There are things people love about the Hake brush and there are things that frustrate some artists. The downside of a Hake brush is that the bristles can fall out easily. The good thing is, this type of brush is inexpensive and is perfect for holding water if that’s what you’re looking to do. It’s also a soft brush so it won’t lift previous layers of color.

How to prevent the loss of hairs

A simple trick you can do to prevent your Hake brush from losing its hairs is to remove as many loose ones as you can and then apply crazy glue at the bottom of the bristles along the handle. Using a needle, you can press the glue even further down into the center of the brush. Be sure to let the glue dry completely before using it.

Different options

As you can see from our new display (YAY!) below, there are many options when it comes to the width of Hake brushes. Which one you choose really depends on the project you’re working on. You’ll notice different handle types but the bristles are consistently flat among all options.


Is it for you?

Not every supply is for every artist especially when it some to the unique Hake brush. Yes, the hairs fall out and the brush tends to be a little too bendy for some artists liking. But they also hold a large amount of water, great for wetting the surface or creating washes, and they’re totally affordable.

We recommend the Hake brush to anyone who…

•    Needs a boost in their artwork. When the creative juices aren’t flowing, we always recommend trying something new and different to mix up your style.

•    Works on large pieces.

•    Does not give up easily. These take some time to get used to (like any other new tool you aren’t used to using).

•    Is on a budget. Hake brushes are inexpensive so why not pick one up and give it a try?

•    Likes to work wet. These are great for washes since they hold a ton of water!

•    Goes with the flow. We’ve heard many stories that every Hake brush is totally different.Artists find certain ones they love to work with and others they dislike. Don’t be too discouraged if they don’t work out for you!

Have you or would you ever give the Hake brush a try? Let us know in the comments and how your experience has been with them.

Top 13 Tricks For Storing Paint Brushes

By Nicole Tinkham


A great painting starts with a great brush (and paint, and canvas..). The point is, quality supplies make all the difference in your artwork. We aren’t saying to buy ALL high end supplies when first starting off though. It takes time to build up your collection. But what we do recommend starting with is a really good brush, or a couple of them. Once you fall in love with your ideal brush, you would want to go the extra mile to keep it perfect, right? Cleaning and storing your brushes is a huge deal when it comes to making them last longer. Storing paint brushes is simple but there are certain things that must be done a certain way! Read on for our top 13 tricks for storing your paint brushes, making them last much longer.

1.    Never store brushes bristle down in water or solvent.

2.    Once clean, store brushes vertically with the bristle up or horizontally.

3.    Fill a glass jar with marbles and store brushes handle down in the jar.

4.    Allow brushes to dry on a towel, preferably propped up on one side with the bristles facing down.

5.    Use carriers to transport brushes to and from a workshop but open it up to release the moisture from the bristles.

6.    Don’t stress if your brush gets “bed head” from being stored in a wonky position. You can always reshape the bristles with some warm water and a gentle massage.

7.    After cleaning brushes and removing the excess water, reshape the bristles with your fingers before allowing to completely dry.

8.    Hog brushes for oil paint should be stored (once completely dry) in an airtight container to prevent moth damage.

9.    Bin holders! There are a ton of different types, sizes, and styles to choose from that are made specifically for storing brushes. Some are plastic containers and you can also find roll up brush holders. These are great for storing a bunch of brushes and for transportation.

10.    For transportation, you can use food storage bags and containers.

11.    DO NOT store your brushes with paint still left on them. Rinse and clean well with warm water (not hot).

12.    Once a brush is rinsed, shake out the water versus squeezing it out.

13.    Never store a damp brush in an airtight container.

If you take the time and effort to pick out the perfect brush, you need to take the time to properly care for it so it lasts many years to come! We know experienced artists who still have brushes from when they first started. Anyway, if you take care of your brushes, they will take care of you. Be sure to clean and store them properly using the top 13 tricks mentioned in this blog and your favorite brushes could last your entire art career.

6 Ways To Get Motivated And Finish Your Artwork


By Nicole Tinkham

“Art Attack: The overwhelming feeling of having so many creative ideas at once and not enough time to do them.”

Many of our artist friends experience these “art attacks” and feel totally overwhelmed. They stop what they’re doing to begin something new and have a difficult time getting back to previous artwork to finish them up. Or sometimes they go into a piece excited about it and get stuck halfway through. Maybe they aren’t sure how to do a particular technique and they lose their drive. Regardless of what’s causing them to stop a project, artists have SEVERAL unfinished pieces, according to our Facebook poll. There are some artists with 50+ projects that they can’t seem to get around to finishing! With that being the top issue we’ve been hearing about lately, read on for 6 ways to get motivated and finish your artwork.

1.    Remember your strengths

It’s a fact. When we’re really good at something, we are more motivated to do it. So if you’re stuck on a project, ask yourself how you can make your special talents shine to finish it off. If you just don’t know what to do next, look at some of your favorite artwork that you’ve done in the past. What do you like most about them? Can you incorporate that into your current piece?

If it’s a lack of skill that’s holding you back but you already have an idea of what you want to do, you need to study it! Look up YouTube videos, browse books, ask artist friends, or take a class. Fill your mind with knowledge and practice it every day until you get it. It may be a challenge but remember that the little stumbles along the way mean you’re growing and improving.

Take action: List out the skills and techniques you’re really good at. This will not only give you some ideas for the unfinished project but it will also boost your confidence. You may even be inspired to learn something new.

2.    Do it for fun

Sometimes what holds us back from completing artwork is the fear of messing up. You may notice that it’s more difficult to finish artwork that you’re making for someone else or trying to sell. But when it’s just for fun and you do it because you want to, you’re free to be loose and play a little more. Take the pressure off yourself and remember why you choose to do this every day, because you enjoy it and have fun with it.

Take action: Look back at some of your early artwork, the work that you did while learning, experimenting, and playing. You were creating these simply because you enjoyed doing it. You had no other agenda. Remember the feeling you get when you create just to create and apply that to the work you’re struggling to finish. Remember there are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.

3.    Adjust your environment

The place in which you create has a huge impact on how you work. Have you ever noticed that a certain song, place, sound, scent, time of day, or emotion gets you in the mood to create? These are like triggers telling your body you need to be doing it. So if you’re feeling a little off one day, it could be your surroundings. Before getting out that painting from the past, set the mood and get in your creative place.

Take action: Take a look around you. Are you in a creative space? Is there anything distracting in the area? Do you have good lighting? Take everything into consideration. If this doesn’t work, try something different. Take your work outside if you’re used to working in the studio. This often times brings new inspiration.

4.    Set a deadline

We admit, the word “deadline” feels way too structured when it comes to having fun with your artwork but sometimes a set date is exactly what you need to get moving on a project. Set goals for yourself, get focused, and aim to meet those deadlines! Even if the artwork is just for you, still set deadlines that you’ll strive to meet. Having an accountability partner can help you with this. Check in with that person to keep on track with getting it done.

Take action: Take a look at the projects you want to finish up within in the next few months. Now open up your calendar and set a date that you will have them done by. Be sure to set progress deadlines as well for larger projects so you can see how far you’ve come and be sure you’re still on track with the big deadline.

5.    Leave your comfort zone

Doing something totally out of the norm could cause new creative ideas to spring up. When you try something new and even a bit scary, you take yourself out of your element which could benefit your artwork as well as yourself. Your “something scary” doesn’t have to be art related though. Any different experience can cause a shift in your thinking. This shift could bring about new creative ideas for that project you’ve been putting off.

Take action: Make a commitment to something you’ve never done before that takes you out of your comfort zone. Sign up for a class, take a trip, or attend an event that you normally wouldn’t.

6.    Get focused

Sometimes what holds us back from getting things done are distractions. Have you ever experienced artist ADD where you stop halfway through a project to begin on another project that just popped into your head?  It’s difficult to stop that creative mind of yours (and we wouldn’t necessarily want you to) but we recommend getting super focused on the project at hand. Eliminate all distractions including your phone! If a creative idea pops into your head jot it down in your sketch book and continue with your project.

Take action: Get your unfinished piece out and everything you need to work on it. Make sure all other unfinished work is out of sight so you can focus on the one you’re planning to finish.

We think it’s great that you have so many creative ideas that you can’t keep up with them all. We don’t want you to stop being creative but we also know that having a ton of unfinished artwork can be overwhelming. Plus, it’s important to show completed pieces that you’ve been working on! Every artist has their own way of working and we completely understand that. Some artists work well on multiple projects at once. Try these helpful ways to get motivated to finish your artwork but choose to go with a method that works best for you. Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t get motivated at all. If a piece is doing nothing for you, paint over it! Do something different with it. Take it in a new direction. We are always changing and something we were once excited for may not give us that feeling anymore. There’s nothing wrong with going with the changes and evolving as an artist.

Whether you finish a piece of artwork or not, just remember to keep creating! Don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in a particular piece that you no longer want to create.

4 Techniques To Create Energy In Your Brushstrokes

By Nicole Tinkham


If you’re looking to do something a little different with your paintings, it may be time to add some TEXTURE! In some artwork, artists try to hide brushstrokes but other times visible brushstrokes can create a really unique effect that adds to the painting. The concept sounds easy but getting brushstrokes just right can be challenging. There are many different ways to achieve the look but here are our favorite techniques for creating energy in your brushstrokes.

1.    Use a palette knife

A palette knife is an all-in-one artist tool that’s great for both mixing paint and actually painting with. You can apply thick impastos for a unique texture. A palette knife is a great way to add layers (wet paint on top of wet paint if you want) and create brilliant texture.

25 Tips For Using A Palette Knife

2.    Use various brushes

PLAY AROUND with brushes! There are so many different sizes and styles (big, small, angled, round, flat, filbert, natural, synthetic, soft) and each one will produce a different effect. Experiment with various brushes, moving them around in different ways to make brushstrokes more dynamic.

3.    Use a thickening medium

Using a thickening medium gives your brushstrokes more dimension and creates a fascinating texture. If working with oils, we recommend Galkyd Gel which will hold your brush marks. Feel free to experiment with different types and see what gives you the results you’re looking for.

4.    Use the scratch through technique

This is an interesting technique with oil paints that is actually used to prove a wet on wet painting was done all in one session (artists often sign their artwork this way). To do a scratch through, use the tip of your brush handle and scratch through the wet oil paint, revealing the color underneath. It may take some practice but play around with it until you get it just right.

As you experiment and play around with your brushstrokes, remember that they should add to your painting not take away from it. Your brushstrokes should not be the subject of the painting. Quality brushstrokes should have meaning behind them. They should show a certain mood, emotion, or story. They should be done purposeful and not just to do them. Sure they could be loose, random, and fun as long as that’s the feeling you want viewers to get from the painting.

We know that every artist is different. Some try to eliminate brushstrokes and others try to accentuate them. We’re curious, which type of artist are you? Let us know in the comments!

19 Things You Need To Know About Water Soluble Oil Paint

By Nicole Tinkham


If you’re an oil painter and have been for awhile, you may think water soluble oil paints are just for amateurs. However, we’ve recently been asked what the difference between traditional and water soluble oil paints are so we looked into it a bit further. Our answer is no, water soluble oils aren’t just for beginners. In fact, there are many benefits of using the water soluble version in addition to the elimination of toxic fumes. For instance, they’re super easy to mix and paint will dry a little faster than traditional oils (woohoo!). Sure, water soluble oil paint is perfect for the beginner but it’s not only for the beginner. Give it a chance; it may be the perfect solution for you! Read on for the 19 things you need to know about water soluble oil paint before getting started.

1.    Perfect introduction for the beginner oil painter.

2.    BONUS! No toxic fumes so it’s safe to use around family and pets.

3.    Van Gogh, Holbein Duo, and Winsor & Newton are some water soluble oil paints we recommend.

4.    These are not water-based paints. They are actual oil paints with the same pigments as your typical oil paint. No, you cannot use them like watercolors because they are in fact oil paints!

5.    Water soluble oils cannot be reactivated with water once dry (just like regular oils).

6.    Water soluble oils are perfect for traveling (especially on a plane) since they don’t require solvents.

7.    The oil in these paints is modified so there’s no need for solvents. Bonus! They also clean up way easier. All you need is soap and water to clean brushes.

8.    Water soluble oil paint can be used just like traditional oil paint on canvas. They have the exact same texture and consistency.

9.    Traditional oil paints can be added to water soluble oil paints in small quantities.

10.    Water soluble oils don’t go as far on your canvas as traditional oil paints.

11.    You still cannot paint over a dry oil painting with acrylics.

12.    Water soluble oil paints are workable for up to 48 hours and are just as permanent when dry as any other oil paint.

13.    Thin water soluble oil paint by mixing in some linseed or walnut oil, not water (it can turn muddy).

14.    Water soluble colors are very easy to mix.

15.    Use either a glass or wood palette when painting with water soluble oils.

16.    Water soluble oils come in bright vibrant colors which make it more difficult to muddy up the color.

17.    Extra paint can be stored in an airtight container.

18.    A few colors may be slightly more transparent than the traditional oil paint version.

19.    Paint will dry a little faster than regular oil paint. Also note that certain colors have different dry times (same with the traditional version).

Oil painting can seem overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be! If the toxic fumes are holding you back, water soluble oil paint is your best solution. These are not just for beginners although, it is a great way to start out if oils interest you. As with anything, we urge you to just give them a try. You never know, you could like these much better than traditional oil paint. Or maybe you’ll decide to work with both! The choice is up to you. Just have fun and experiment.

Tell us, what’s one thing you love about water soluble oil paints?