Ann McMillan Art
Fine Art in Color

Acrylic Supplies

Materials list for Acrylic Paint

A short blurb about brands of paint

(n.b. I have italicized brands throughout so that it is easier to understand the text.  If something is italicized, you should find those exact words on a tube of paint, or a handle of a brush):

I recommend Golden Open or Liquitex Heavy Body Paints, The “open” paints dry a bit slower, which makes them easier to work with (in my opinion)-- many artists prefer the instant drying time of standard acrylic.   At Michael's they have Liquitex Basic, please don't buy them-- they have too little pigment in them to mix well.  Michael's does have Liquitex Heavy Body paint-- that stuff is fine.   Also Windsor Newton Artisan is fine, but Winton is not.  Winton is Windsor-Newton's too cheap brand.  It has the same trouble that the Liquitex Basic has-- too little pigment to make a difference.  I will do a demo to show the difference in class. If you don't have enough paint or time to buy at the art store before class, please don't stress. I keep a stock of supplies in the studio at the Art Center. 

Here are the colors I will demo with and encourage students to use:

  • 1 Titanium white, 5 oz. tube.
  •  1 Cadmium yellow, or cadmium yellow hue, 2 oz. tube.
  •  1 Cadmium red light or red light hue, 2 oz tube.
  •  1 Ultramarine blue. 2 oz tube.
  •  1 Indian yellow or Cadmium yellow dark, 2 oz tube.
  • 1 Alizarin crimson, 2 oz tube.  If they don't have alizarin, "Magenta" or quinacridone red will do. 
  • either or both of  1 Cerulean blue, 2 oz tube and 1 Phthalo blue, 2 oz tube. 

Other supplies:

  • Spray bottle for keeping paints on the palette moist.
  • A few Flat or Bright Bristle Brushes-- 1/2 inch and 1 inch wide.  Flats are short and square, Brights are long and rectangular.  I have a small Grumbacher bright 1/2 inch brush that I think is just perfect for a beginner. I will take a pick and post it here in a bit.  Rounds are no fun. Hair or fur brushes are too wimpy for acrylic and oil; they are intended for watercolor.  Bristle Brushes, please!  
  • Medium for acrylic paint: There are many many acrylic mediums, the cheapest and easiest of these is water. Try one called “Golden Open Acrylic Gel Medium - Gloss” that makes the acrylic act a bit more like oil paint-- it thickens it, makes it go on the canvas more smoothly and slows the drying time a little. The result looks a bit more like a varnished oil painting.  Another good medium is one called Retarder, also by golden paints-- it slows the drying time.  Again, you are welcome to play with my supplies until you find what you like.  
  • A 16 x 20 inch or larger palette made of glass, acrylic, smooth painted wood.  Paper palettes are frustrating-- if you want to use one, please bring a bit of tape to keep it from wiggling.  
  • Cheap canvas panels about 12 x 12 or a bit larger for practice.  A canvas paper pad is also fine.  you will need tape to put it on a board for painting.  Fredrix or Artist's Loft are both reasonable and inexpensive brands for substrate. 
  • masking tape
  • Paper towels-- Painters like Viva. The paper towels in the studio just don't work very well.  
  • Paper grocery bag to use as a trash can. 

A note about quantities:

If you want to paint large, please buy two 5 oz. tubes of white and 1 each, 5 oz tube of the colors. The list above is for painting for a few days, on smallish canvases.  The above list is for tentative first-timers.  If you are ambitious or sure, the economic way to go is to buy paint in larger tubes.