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Artie Facts

*If you have an artists' brush which has been damaged by standing in water.  Dip the tip into water, squeeze into a point;  wrap tip tightly into newspaper and bind with sticky tape.  Leave for 24 hours and when you remove the wrapping it should be nearly as good as new.

*Rather than use a palette for mixing paint you can use your easel.   This is much easier and the easel can be used when exhibiting work in galleries.   (I assume this would not work for water colours!)

*To add interest to paintings you can sieve soil from the garden and cook gently in a saucepan (no water).  Mixed with acrylic paint gives unusual texture and colours.

*Use a cardboard tube to keep brushes in - this allows them to breathe and they will not go mouldy as they can in plastic containers.

*A cardboard box with an open side and the top cut into a lid makes ideal framing for still life objects.  The lid can be opened to change the light effects.

*A rectangle of card with the centre cut out (to form a frame shape) can be used as a composition aid to "frame" objects you are drawing.  Held near to your face for landscapes and further away for portraits.

*An old toothbrush can be used for adding texture to paintings.   Load the brush with paint and then, with the brush near the paper, rub fingers along bristles which flicks the paint onto the paper.  Great fun if a little messy.   Children would love doing this.

*An old teabag stirred in water makes an ideal colour wash to take away the whiteness of paper.  Remember to use within four days otherwise it grows fungus!

*If tubes of paint get "gummed" up and the lid hard to remove, don't try to force the top undone as this could split the tube.  Put some hot water into a bowl and hold the top of the tube in the water for a short time.  Remove from the water and the top should open easily.

*To keep paints moist on a palette for several days, cover with clingfilm after use.

*If painting outdoors and you want to mix up a lot of paint, use an empty tray of individual yoghurt pots (or an ice cube tray).  This can be placed inside a suitably sized sandwich box and covered with a lid.

*If you make a mistake when painting in oils.  Scrape off the surplus paint with a razor blade so that when it is overpainted it will not show.

*To remove grease marks from paper, sprinkle talcum powder over the grease mark and leave overnight.  The mark will have gone in the morning.

*Fix up a washing line to dry paintings and, thereby, creating more room on surfaces.

*Keep rubbers (erasers!!!) clean by storing in an old film canister.

*When transporting very large paintings over short distances, balance them (edge on) on a roller skate or skateboard for easy manoeuvrability.

*If you run out of charcoal but can find a dead willow twig, wrap it in tinfoil and put in hot oven. Carefully remove from oven and unwrap foil.  Willow will now be charcoal.

*When painting outdoors wear waterproof trousers these will keep you clean, dry, and warm and allow you to sit anywhere you choose.  You just have to hope you don't meet any of your friends!

Art related historic & modern Trivia


Color Mixing Class: How to Mix Chromatic Black

Why mixing and using chromatic black is preferable to using black from a tube.

From Jim Meaders,


The list of colors my painting students take to the art supply store does not include black. Instead, they learn to make a rich, deep color that appears to be black, known as chromatic black. It’s one of the first things I teach in my Painting 1 course after introducing the ‘split-primary’ color wheel.


How to Mix Chromatic Black


The more common way of creating a chromatic black is by mixing ultramarine blue with an earth color, but I teach my students a different mixture that gives an even richer, deeper ‘black’. It’s done by by mixing equal parts of Prussian blue, alizarin crimson, and an earth color (my favorite is burnt sienna, but burnt umber, raw sienna, and raw umber work as well).

When this chromatic black is added to white you get some of the most beautiful grays imaginable. If these grays are too blue for you, simply add a little more of the earth color to the original mixture, which will make the grays look more gray.


Create a Color Chart


I have a chart I made that shows what each chromatic black and the resulting grays looks like. For example:

Prussian + Alizarin + Burnt Sienna = Chromatic Black (+ white = gray)

Prussian + Alizarin + Burnt Umber = Chromatic Black (+ white = gray)

Prussian + Alizarin + Raw Umber = Chromatic Black (+ white = gray)

Varying the amount of white added to these mixes creates several values of gray.


An expanded version of my chart includes mixtures using Indian red, Venetian red, and Van Dyke brown. You get a different set of grays depending on which 'brown' you mix in with the Prussian and Alizarin.


Use Chromatic Black to Darken Other Colors


Mixing small amounts of your chromatic black into your colors will darken them without ‘killing’ the color like regular black would do. I tell my students that Prussian blue and alizarin crimson are ‘magic colors’. In my experience, most painting teachers don't include these colors on their lists of required colors, but once students discover all the possibilities of using these colors they never go back.

About the Artist: Jim Meaders has taught a variety of art courses and workshops for more than 25 years. Jim says his own work is an effort to draw the viewer into the subject matter of the painting through a different viewpoint and to leave them with a new sense of perceptiveness.

Art related helpful hints & tips

Doodle Tips

Artie is a teacher, loves art & 'silly' but interesting facts from the past & present art scene .. read some of his findings here..

Doodle is Artie's partner, she's always looking for shortcuts & helpful remedies to art questions .. read some of her tips here..

artie doodle