What you need.

Do you want to play along? Do you want to create art for fun and profit? (Ok... just for fun, really...) Then here are a few things you may find useful to have when the challenges are posted. I understand that a lot of people are willing to buy basic supplies but they just don't know what to buy or what to do with them once they buy them. Hopefully this will take the mystery out of some of it (I've even included photos because I have had people ask "What does this stuff look like?")

Remember, none of these are "required"; let's get real, you're not being graded on this.  And there isn't a lot on this list.  But please know you can do any of the challenges and still find your creativity without ever having to purchase anything.

Alright, so here are some things you might want to look for if you're ready to take the next step and buy some supplies and get messy:

Gesso - Simply put, gesso is a primer.  Use it on canvas, wood, fabrics, newspapers and any other porous materials you want to use as a base for your creations.
  • Though artist supply stores are a definite source, gesso can also be purchased at A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby or Michaels in their fine arts/painting sections, and these stores usually have a weekly coupon you can use.

  • Gesso comes in a few different forms.  You can buy a liquid in bottles or a little bit thicker variety in tubs.  When the time comes to use it, I'll explain what to do.  But if you want more info up front, Aisling.net has a really great gesso info page that's definitely worth reading over, especially if you've never used gesso before:  http://www.aisling.net/journaling/gesso.htm

Gel Medium - I don't even know where to start; I use this for everything.  If you're contemplating buying supplies, you need to buy some of this.  

Canvases/books/stuff to create on and with - This is one of the most important things I will say here: Recycle.  Keep an open mind next time you're at a garage sale, thrift store or dollar store.  You can buy old books and gesso over the pages and use them as art journals or buy old paintings and gesso over them to use as new canvases.  Reclaimed lumber is also a good base for creating, especially mixed media pieces - take a piece of scrap plywood, throw some gesso on and sand it and you're ready to go!  The bottom line to all this is to keep an open mind and a use different point of view.  Just because it's not an "art supply" doesn't mean it's not an art supply.

Photos above: a kids coloring canvas I bought for $1, gessoed over and used for a mixed media collage.  The photo on the right is to show was underneath before I gessoed it.  I didn't worry about the faint image showing through because I ended up painting a blue/green background over it.

Photos above: $0.50 clearance canvas I bought at Old Time Pottery and plan to gesso and re-use for something else.  These canvases are especially great because they already have hardware on the back so they can be hung on a wall.

Pretty much anything can be an art supply if you use a different point of view when looking at it; yard sale jewelry can be pulled part and used in pieces, clothing tags are sometimes mini pieces of art on their own, bobby pins make interesting looking paper clips (especially with a few beads or a charm hanging from them), newspaper makes a cool background for collages when gessoed over lightly so some text shows through, even some colored cellophane candy wrappers are pretty... it's all in how you look at it.  Try to look at the shapes and lines and colors rather than the way it's "supposed" to be used.  You'll be amazed at what you start to see when you look around. 

When you do find something you like, something that you think is pretty or just looks right to you, buy it if you can (but don't pay a lot!  Garage sales and thrift stores are our friends.)  Keep a shoebox or something similar around to house your stash so you have something to use when inspiration hits.  

The only other things I'd say you may need is a few inexpensive paint brushes for applying gesso and/or gel medium (I use my fingers a lot if you want to know the truth... but that's just me...)  If you wash them out well with soap and cold water after using them they'll be fine.  Also, a decent pair of scissors like the Fiskars Non-stick are a good idea.  Again, these are things you can purchase at AC Moore or Hobby Lobby using a weekly coupon to save yourself some money.

So that's it.  This is a relatively short list because there is no one project to prepare for.  These challenges are personal and one person may be inspired to create a collage while another takes a photograph, so there's no set list of specific things you need.  

P.S. If there are supplies any of you feel are absolute must-haves, feel free to leave them in the comments section so other people can reference this as needed!


Bets said…
Incidentally (around here at least) AC Moore, Joanns and Michaels all accept one another's coupons (newspaper or mailing list) - I am forever saying to some checkout person "oh, hell, I brought the wrong coupon, this one is for Michaels" and they just grab it, look it over and key it in.

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