One of the biggest hurdles that artist say keep them from painting is not having money to buy supplies. I have to admit good quality paint does cost. Especially if you are painting on a regular basis. Most of my artist friends spend a ton of money on paint and painting supplies each month. Using a little creativity there are ways around it. In this next section, I want to talk about ways you can get supplies at lower cost or no cost at all so that money will not be a barrier to answering the call to paint.
You see over the past 10 or so years I have found several ways to get around spending lots of money on painting supplies. I love quality to paint as well, but there have been times where I had to buy a lower grade paint simply because of my budget. There have also been times where I wanted to buy a nice big easel, but because of my budget I just settle for painting on my kitchen table.
What I am trying to say is that I didn’t let my limited budget stop me. I can give so many examples of ways painters like yourself can cut cost and and still create some amazing paintings. I will be giving you a few examples of how I pushed through creating paintings even though I was on a shoestring budget. Now if limited budget is not a factor to you, by all means skip this blog post!
Your barrier may be something else, but if budget is a factor keep reading to find ways to offset some of cost of painting materials.
Use What you Already Have
This may seem a little strange, but for some reason a lot of times we think we need to have some grand old studio, expensive paint, and the best canvases on the market before we can explore our painting voice. Well I have news for you, you really don’t! What I have found is that a lot of things are just another excuse for us not to get started. You don’t have to have a grand old easel, or a large studio to express yourself. The things you have right now really are just fine. Now if you don’t have any paint or painting tools at all, you will have to purchase a few.
But before I get into that I want to just give you some examples of how you can just start off by using what you have. Many of you may already have a couple of paint tubes and brushes. You can just use those until you buy more paint and painting tools. Now some tools and types of paint do work better than others depending on the type of painting you are doing; however, using what you have will get the ball rolling and get you used to getting in the habit of painting.
Another thing you may not think about are the surfaces that you use, and where you can find them. I prefer canvases and wood in my personal art. If you don’t have any canvases you can paint on things you already have such as wood and glass around the house. Just make sure you gesso the surface first before you paint so the paint can adhere to the glass.
What I am basically saying is, that you have things all around that you can use to paint and improve your painting skills. Hell, for my one of my assignments that I did for a class I took in graduate school, I painted the entire series of paintings on cardboard. Yep cardboard! My instructor loved it!! So don’t let anything get into your way of painting and improving your painting skills.
The only one that can hold you back is you! I have found that if you have a wil,l you will find a way. If you just look around you there are a number of ways to get painting done with a limited amount of supplies and limited budget. Just look around you and opportunities will appear. Don’t miss out on using the resources that you have around you.
There are people you know who work for different companies or have things lying around that they would love to give you. Just asking can help you get wood, glass, canvases, paint and other painting tools if you are just willing to ask. I can think of several people that I know right now that can get me wood to paint on, discounts on paint, tools etc. Look around and you will find a myriad of resources already at your fingertips.
Start off Small
Using the resources around you will cut cost, next follow the rule of start off small. If you are on a limited budget, start painting smaller paintings with small canvases or panels. This is less straining on your budget. Some of you may find it difficult paint small because of the restriction in size, but trust me this can help you in the long run. Your small paintings can be used as small studies for your large paintings.
Your small paintings can also help you improve your skills. They can also be a great way to practice color schemes and compositions. If you are like me and participate in art shows, small paintings are a great way to sell your work for those who just want smaller pieces or aka (impulse buys). I can’t tell you how many times people have bought some of my small pieces that were just studies of my larger paintings.
Starting off small just doesn’t mean painting small, but also starting small. A lot of times we have all these ideas in our head and feel like we have to do them all at once and this can be a bit overwhelming. Especially after you have been to a painting workshop or watched a bunch of painting tutorials on youtube. This can make you feel you need to buy all the supplies those artists had bringing about a feeling of frustration because you can’t complete the paintings you desire to paint due to your limited budget.
This holds a lot of us up from creating a painting. One thought leads to another and you end up not doing anything. So to overcome this, cut it down to just one painting at a time instead of trying to paint several paintings. Start painting one painting at a time and this can be less overwhelming and more efficient on your budget.
I know this can be a little difficult if you’re eager to paint a bunch of paintings that are just burning inside of you, but trust me if you want to live a life as an artist and you are on a limited budget start off small. Figurality and metaphorically this tip will save you in the long run.
Buy Inexpensive Supplies
Buying painting supplies can be expensive. You have paint, canvases, easels, and other things that can be very costly if you paint consistently. If you are like me you want to the best paint and supplies to get the best feel and cool for your painting. They say you get what you pay for, that is true with some painting materials. That goes for paint as well as brushes. If you buy cheap brushes, you can feel the difference and it takes away from the whole painting experience. Also, if you buy cheap brushes after a while you will be buying some more.
However, there are ways to buy quality paint, brushes, and other art supplies at a lesser cost. One way is to check out sales at your local art supply store. I’m sure they have sales going on during various times and seasons throughout year. The next best way is online. There are a plethora of deals out there that you can take advantage of by simply doing a little surfing on the net to find the best deals. Amazon, Micheals, DickBlick, Jerrys Artarama, and Cheap Joes are some of the best just to name a few.
There are also some private companies who make specialized canvas and wood panels that I use via ebay. So do a little surfing and see what deals you can get for a lesser price on supplies. My main point is don’t let money stop you. Yes, supplies can cost; but start small and get what you can at the moment if money is an issue. If it isn’t, keep it moving. The main goal is to get the ball rolling and focus on painting on a consistent basis.
One of the best ways I have been able to buy supplies is when I do commissioned work. Commission work is basically someone asking you to paint something for them as a gift, for their home or other. This is one of the quickest ways to make money to help pay for some of your supplies. Here’s how it works. Assuming that you have already painted and people have seen your work, people ask you to paint a painting for them.
A one of kind painting by you. What you do is ask for half up front, and the remaining balance once the painting is finished. When you get your deposit, you can use some of the money not only for the painting that you are painting for them but also more supplies for new paintings for yourself.
Preserve Your Paint
A lot of time when I paint with a palette knife I use a lot of paint and sometimes I may squeeze out more than needed. And a lot of times once I am finished painting I have a lot of paint left on my palette and it usually dries out and I can’t use it again. So it basically a lot of wasted paint that I could have used for other paintings. This can be a little costly if this is happening all the time.
One way to preserve your leftover paint; this is something I need to do today, is buy a paint tray saver. You can buy these at your local art store or hobby shop life hobby lobby or michaels. You can always buy them online from Amazon and art sites like Jerry Artarama. While I am typing this I’m thinking about how I need this for myself! I have wasted a lot of paint because I didn’t save the leftover paint.
This may not be a big deal so much if you are painting with oils. This would really save me if I just used my leftover paint for my small paintings that I sell when I have people who want to buy small and inexpensive paintings from me.
Use Wood or Masonite Board
When I first started painting I always painted on canvases. That’s pretty much how most artists start off and pretty much how we as graduates from collegiate academia are taught to paint their paintings. After graduating from school and experimenting with painting on different surfaces; I enjoyed painting on wood and masonite board. One of the reasons I fell in love with the wood and masonite because I like the painting experience when I painted my palette knife on a harder surface as opposed to the canvas because of its buoyancy.
The masonite board and wood don’t’ have that bouncing effect which worked better for my art with a palette knife.. But most important is that masonite and wood is so much more inexpensive as opposed to buying canvases. For example on 16×20 canvas may cost 10 dollars where I can purchase a large masonite board and have it cut into several 16×20 sizes for the same amount of money.
So instead of one painting for 10 bucks, now I have 4 to 5 pieces for 10 bucks. This may not be of interest to you because it requires a little work and you may prefer painting on the canvas; but if this does interest you can be a great cost effective way to save money.