No matter how expansive an artists collection of equipment is I am pretty sure I will not be alone in admitting there are a handful of things every artist reaches for again and again. Ask anyone who creates anything at all and they will have items they simply cannot live without!
Here are my top 5, can't do without items. Remembering I paint with oils so this list is weighted towards that!
1. Paint colours:
These 4 colours feature in pretty much every single painting I make. They are my absolute staples and I get anxious when I realise I am running low and know I don't have chance to run to the art store for more that week! Especially Titanium Buff which I have only ever found online. As long as I have these 4 colours I can paint something.
2. Square tipped brushes
I am obsessed with square tipped brushes and use them all the time. Despite painting with oils I prefer synthetic brushes over hogs hair as my style leans heavily on soft blending and I find synthetic brushes don't leave the brush marks in the paint like hogs hair brushes do. I sometimes use an angled brush when adding in wave texture, but square tipped brushes are by far my favourites. I find them very versatile and have them in lots of different sizes. My favourites are the very reasonably priced Graduate brushes by Daler Rowney.
Painting with oils necessitates the use of additives and mediums. I cannot stand turpentine, the smell is so toxic it makes me feel physically sick. So instead of turpentine I use Sansodor by Winsor and Newton. It does the same thing but has no scent. I use Sansodor mixed in with linseed oil for my painting medium, to clean my brushes and to rub any mistakes off my canvas.
4. Baking paper
This one might be a little surprising but baking paper has always been one of my favourite things to use as a palette. I used it when I first started painting and could not afford disposable palettes. I moved to a glass palette in an attempt to be more sustainable but I accidentally smashed it and as yet have not replaced it, so back to baking paper it is. The things I like about using baking paper is firstly its affordability - you can get 10 metres for just a couple of pounds. Secondly it is so easy to get hold of, any supermarket will have it. Thirdly, you are not limited to the size of your palette, you can tear off as much as you like. Fourthly, the paint doesn't dry out very quickly on baking paper, which means your palette is usable for longer. And lastly it is so easy to dispose of. Just roll it up and pop it in the bin. No scraping required!
You can never have too many jars! I use tall jars for storing my paintbrushes, palette knives, pens and pencils and everything else you can think of. I use a lidded jar to keep my medium mixture in when I am not using it. I use little ramekin jars whilst painting for the medium and the solvent. I use little dessert jars to prop up my paintings whilst I varnish them and whilst they dry. My partner despairs about my inability to throw out a jar, but you never know when you might just need another one!