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!

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.

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!

13 Quick Tips For Mixing Acrylic Paint That Will Make Your Life Easier

By Nicole Tinkham

13 Quick Tips For Mixing Acrylic Paint That Will Make Your Life Easier

When getting started with acrylic paint, the best way to learn how to mix colors is just by doing it. It does take some time with experimenting but getting hands on with it will really help you improve over time. Remember that you can always paint over any acrylic painting you create that you don’t like. This always takes the pressure off a little. Also, a canvas with paint on it is a step above a blank canvas. Just go for it! Don’t become discouraged if your first painting doesn’t come out as planned. Keep on practicing and you will get there. Don’t worry we won’t leave ya hanging though. Here are 13 quick tips for mixing acrylic paint that will make your life easier. Let’s get started!

1.    Paint from the tube can look flat. Mix in some white for dimension.
2.    Get a unique look by not mixing colors all the way on your palette.
3.    Try mixing paint directly on your canvas (wet on wet).
4.    Tone down black shadows by adding some raw umber.
5.    Darken colors with brown instead of black for a richer more vibrant color.
6.    To create skin tones, mix all primary colors together.
7.    Add red paint to blue for a deeper blue.
8.    Acrylic paint dries a little darker so mix paint accordingly (just a little lighter than you want it).
9.    Once you mix a color you like, create different tones of the same color to work with.
10.    Your mixed colors don’t have to go to waste if you don’t use it all! Store them in air tight containers so you can use them later.
11.    Equal amounts of two complementary colors = brown
12.    Apply glazes on top of a base color to create new colors without mixing them on your palette.
13.    You can mix MILLIONS of different colors with just 3 tubes of paint. Click here to learn how.

You may be wondering why you should even bother mixing your own paint when you can just use the colors right from the tube. First off, mixing your own can create more vibrant eye catching colors that really make your painting stand out. Also, experimenting with mixing your own colors teaches you and helps you become a better artist. Don’t stress out over this. It should be fun and relaxing. Just play around with mixing colors before you start any big project so you have a better understanding before really getting into it.

Tell us, what are your best tips for mixing acrylic paint? Comment below and we’ll add it to this list.

13 Tips To Be A Photorealistic Painting Rock Star

By Nicole Tinkham

13 Tips To Be A Photorealistic Painting Rock Star

Have you ever found yourself admiring a photo and then realizing that it’s actually a painting? It’s crazy, right? Trust us, we’ve been there too. Although there is no quick answer on how these artists achieve the photorealistic look, we do have some pointers that can help you get started. Disclaimer: Photorealistic painting takes loads of time, practice and patience to get it right! Read on for what to expect when first starting out and 13 tips to become a photorealistic painting rock star.

What to expect

It takes time. A photorealistic painting won’t be done in just a few hours. It takes DAYS. There’s so much detail and precision that goes into it. Don’t begin with a mindset of quick and simple. Get your head in the game and prepare for the journey.

You will work in layers. MANY layers! You’ll start with the larger basic shapes and get more and more into the detail work as you add on layers. We’ll dive into this a little later but it’s important to understand the process before you begin.

You’ll have to step up your perspective game. Even a minor slip up in your perspective can totally throw off your painting. Accurate perspective is a MUST for a photorealistic painting! Keep practicing and adjusting until you get it just right.

You’ll learn to look at shadows differently. They are no longer shadows that you add on last. Look at them as shapes in various dark colors.

You’ll have to actually paint what you see. It’s so easy for us to fill in the blanks when we know in our minds what the object looks like. But sometimes that vision in our mind isn’t accurate. For photorealistic painting, you must really examine the object and paint exactly what you see. You’re totally relying on your eyes for this one.

13 Quick tips

1.    Before you begin, plan out the composition of your painting. More on that here.

2.    Practice first! Play around with different brushes and colors to make sure you get it as accurate as you can.

3.    Use a projector to create an outline for your painting.

4.    Or you can use a grid to get an accurate drawing. To do this you can draw a light grid over your reference photo and another grid over your canvas.

5.    Add a layer of gesso over the canvas before laying down any paint to eliminate the streak of graphite from your drawing.

6.    Your shadows should vary in dark colors but not be totally black.

7.    Don’t wait until the very end to paint in the shadows. Paint them as you go with everything else.

8.    Keep checking the perspective as you work to make sure everything looks accurate.

9.    Block in main color first before going into the fine details.

10.    Work in layers, mostly glazes (thinned paint).

11.    Work on a flat surface so your glazes don’t run!

12.    When it comes to reflections or shadows, paint what you actually see, not what your mind believes is there. This can be tricky but you’ll pick it up with practice.

13.    Quality supplies are a must! Invest in a really good set of brushes in various sizes.

The best piece of advice we can give on photorealistic painting is to just get started. Now that you know what to expect and some tips to help you succeed, you’re ready to begin. We know that this can be an overwhelming project but you’ll never get better if you don’t choose to start. Remember that it takes time. Don’t give up after one day of giving it a go. Keep on practicing and you will become a photorealistic painting rock star!

Tell us, have you ever done a photorealistic painting? What was your experience with it? What one piece of advice would you give a newbie? Let us know in the comments!