Thinking back through this past year, I had a great time practicing and experimenting with different art supplies. But there are some that stand out against the rest. Before this year flows into the next, I want to share my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2021.
Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
I've been using these paints for years, but I rediscovered how much I really enjoy using them this year. With all of the abstract paintings I've been creating, I love the thick, viscous quality the paints have. These paints easily hold brush strokes and textures. And the high pigment loads are exactly what I'm looking for in my materials. Because I mix my paints with various additives and mediums, I need them to hold up in terms of opacity and richness of color.
Another reason I love these paints is that they're lightfast. I sell my work, and I need my materials to last over time. (See why using archival materials is imperative if you sell artwork in this post.) I never worry about my work fading, cracking, or flaking away when I ship a piece to someone. As I've worked with various Liquitex products for years, I'm confident in the quality and longevity of their paints and mediums.
This piece was created with heavy body acrylics. I think it really shows the beauty of these paints.
Golden Light Molding Paste
This is a newer acquisition, but I can't imagine my studio without it at this point. It is such a fun additive to incorporate into my acrylic paintings. The amount of texture I get from this paste is out of this world. I don't know how I was able to work without texture in the past. Adding textured areas to a painting adds so much in terms of depth and it really changes how we interact with a piece. Plus, this additive builds on itself so nicely, meaning you can really help designated points pop. Another thing I love about this paste is that it can get very transparent depending how thin you spread it. It gives a really cool effect when layering over other areas.
As the name describes, this is a light paste, so it doesn't weigh very much. In fact, when I'm working paint into the paste with my palette knife, it feels sort of like a mousse. But it packs a punch for how light weight it is. It also maintains its body and volume once it's dried. I haven't used other molding pastes, but I have spoken with artists who have had their work deflate once it dried. I think having this product in my supply cabinet is a great way to avoid that and build up beautiful texture. I still have plenty left in my small jar, but I'll definitely be buying more whenever I run out.
You can see the incredible amount of texture it adds in this closeup of my last acrylic painting.
Golden Glass Bead Gel
This gel is another newer purchase, but, like the molding paste, I can't imagine working without it! The little beads are such an interesting way to add texture to my abstract pieces. This gel is also really well mixed, and the beads never settle to the bottom of the jar. That means you don't end up wasting any product trying to mix it back together, which is something I really appreciate.
The glass bead gel is also capable of different levels of texture. I can have it piled on top of itself for a more concentrated texture or spread it out to have a thinner, more "airy" looking texture. I also love how it looks when brushing another color over it. Because the beads stick out from the canvas, they catch the paint as it passes over, leaving the painted areas beneath to poke through. I feel like I've used a lot of the gel, but when I open the jar it looks like I've barely made a dent - so it looks like this will last me a really long time. With all of that said, I highly recommend adding this to your supply list. You won't be disappointed.
You can see little patches of this gel throughout this paitning.
And that's it for my top art supplies for 2021! I hope this inspired you to try out something new or use up something you already own and love.
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Thanks for reading and happy creating!