Set concentration and focus. But how?

I moved houses. Unfortunately, these 3 words don’t tell you how exhausting it was. This move and the previous renovation of the house took all of my strength. So much power that unfortunately there was no room in my brain for playful, easy creativity and blog articles that deal with it. But sometimes that’s the way it is. It is necessary to concentrate on the most important and essential things. Fading out everything else and sometimes saying “no” so as not to be distracted from what has first priority. To join forces. Now you are probably wondering what I’m getting at. Especially since this blog is about painting and creativity. But – my move made me think about concentrating on the essentials. And that is sometimes necessary in painting, but also in the rest of life. Painting can be relaxation. But when your head is full, the deadline pressure is great and you have too many construction sites, it will be difficult to let go completely and to really get into the flow. But what to do On the one hand, it is important that YOU set your priorities and the focus and no one else (yes, I know, I can talk well, my children are out of the house and grandchildren are not yet in sight) You also set the time frame that you set for YOUR Need things. And don’t let yourself be dissuaded from setting your own priorities. On the other hand, it is sometimes difficult to focus yourself. Finding out what really has first priority. Not to get bogged down. If you still manage to shovel free time for yourself and your art, then I have a tip for you: Lower your expectations and accept what shows up. The life situation in which you find yourself will probably be reflected in your work. That’s really authentic. The move helped me to put things in order. Finally sorting through the chaos on the desk, in the appointment calendar and in the head. So that I can focus again on what is essential for me: painting. So it was all the nicer again 😉to paint right at the beginning of the new year (and after a successful move including the crammed basement in the studio. If I was initially still worried about being able to get involved, I was in my element for the first second. It was a relief to dive into my world and that of color. The pictures for the next exhibition were made with great clarity, because I could let myself go and still know what I wanted. During the renovation phase that would not have been possible . Through the thoughts described at the beginning, I noticed that setting focus can also be related to the image design. A few questions I would like to ask you: – Which picture theme do you want to convey, what is your important picture message, what is the picture about? If you answer these questions, it will be easier for you to part with the insignificant areas that are causing too much chaos😉 – Have you formally managed to achieve concentration in the picture? Are there points of view that guide you through the picture? Or do you not even know where to look? Answering this question also helps to track down the essentials. – If you have focal points in the picture, do they direct your gaze to the message you have set? Or do they counteract this and draw your gaze to other places or even to the edge of the picture, where the gaze is quickly lost? Even with a spontaneous and process-oriented way of working, it is good to pause and take a look. These three questions will help you to become clearer about the content and form of your picture. And so the lack of writing during my mammoth relocation project was perhaps good for something after all

Determination – do you have it or do you need more of it?

Today I finished a series in the studio. I have to say it has taken me a few times longer to get pictures to the point where I am satisfied. I am a master of layering, who discards and paints over again. Who likes to look for a long time. I often paint simply because I want to paint, the process is so incredibly exciting and not because I want to achieve a great result. Sometimes it also takes time to find out what you (woman) really want. But when I was working on this series, I was very clear. There was no long torch, no hesitation , no fussing around. Very color-intensive (but these are mostly my pictures) but also with dynamic brushstrokes, a lively series was created that corresponds completely to me. On the way back from the studio, I pondered what was special about this series. It became clear to me that it is the determination that is expressed in every brushstroke, yes also a certain security and confidence that the picture will succeed. Synonyms for determination include energy, fearlessness, clarity, determination, and courage . I have already written about courage here in this blog, but also about the opposite, namely fears and doubts. Today I would like to encourage you to go to work with courage and determination. To hold on to your intention to be creative with energy and determination . Not to lose sight of your goal, not to let it stop you. And by that I don’t mean that you bite into your image, that you obsessively hold on to the first idea or that you force the final “perfect” solution. Or break it over your knee when you’re really in no shape to be creative. No. Because the “biting” will also be visible in your picture and thus it will not appear ” loose “. Believe me, I also know it: the uncertainties, the questions and the doubts. This usually only takes place in the head and then finds expression in your picture. With this series it became clear to me that my work has more power if I don’t hesitate. Try to paint more from your feelings, less looking for solutions with your head. Just do it , feel and feel. I know it’s not that easy sometimes. Of course, it can go a long way to gain determination and not hesitate. The more often you do something, the easier it is for you to trust your skills . And that’s an important factor in tackling things boldly. And if you act decisively, you may have to let go of other paths and possibilities. It can happen that you paint over the most beautiful part of the picture. But only in this way can you make decisions freely and with great clarity. In my day-to-day work at the studio, I have noticed that the men in my courses more often approach their pictures with this determination, great clarity and more self-confidence. Women are more critical of themselves and more likely to doubt. This observation is of course not always true, but it is common. So now especially to the readers and painters: Stay tuned! Show yourself in your painting with all facets in all shapes, colors, traces and curves. Do it! Accept what shows up and don’t be so critical of yourself and your work. Trust in what you have worked out so far. Stand by it. Make yourself visible! Because this way you can reach the next level of painterly freedom with ease.

Color, color, color

Do you feel the same way: When you see a nicely sorted collection of acrylic paints in an art supply store, your heart rises? A box of colored pencils or chalks in all colors makes your heart beat faster? The earthy shades of the ocher quarries in the French Roussillion put you in a color frenzy? Special evening sky moods make you rave about? A wonderful set with pigments will set off a head cinema, what could you paint with it? Clear case: you are infected with the color virus like me. Sometimes I just want to own and guard these special materials like the apple of my eye. For example the XL box of water-soluble oil pastels that I just wanted to look at and not use because they were so expensive. Or the wooden box with the pigment jars bought directly in the south of France to take the beautiful colors home with you.   I suppose your heart beats for color too, otherwise you wouldn’t have ended up here with this article. But today I would like to look at color from very different angles.   Color perception From a physiological point of view, color is the reception of stimuli from the eye’s cone systems. These stimuli are first converted into opposing colors . In the brain , these arousal patterns are interpretable as colors t. From a psychological point of view, color is not only the processing of external sensory stimuli by the retina or brain function, but can also be viewed as a product of the subconscious (nervous system) and as stored information. Source: Bildsprache 1, Kerner and Duroy, p. 112 Scientists have been trying to fathom and analyze the phenomenon of color vision for centuries. The research of Isaac Newton (1643-1727) forms the basis for our understanding of color today. The English doctor Thomas Young (1773 – 18299 was the first to recognize that color is a sensation . Source: Imagery 1, Kerner and Duroy Color systems There were already attempts to organize the colors in systems in antiquity. The poet (and natural scientist) Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) also studied the phenomenon of color for a long time. Among other things, he dealt with the “sensual and moral effect of colors. So he classified yellow in the category “serious / dignified, warm” as cheerful and cheerful, or blue in the category gracious / grace, dark as receding, pleasant and empty. Johannes Itten (1888-1967) worked as a master at the Bauhaus and his theory of the 7 color contrasts is taught to this day. Harald Küppers (born 1926) developed another color concept . It was of the opinion that in Itten’s color wheel, the shades designated as basic colors are not really basic colors, but mixed shades. Incidentally, I also agree. All other shades can be mixed from the primary colors primary cyan, primary yellow and primary magenta . Not from Itten’s basic shade of red, as this color consists of yellow and magenta. Source: Duden Art – Basic Knowledge School In the past centuries, however, color often had an additional symbolic value. This symbolism can have a completely different meaning in other cultures and can be understood differently. The meanings have also changed over time: For example, red was seen as the color of the devil in the Middle Ages and green was the color of love. The effect and the symbolic meaning of the colors: Source: Duden Art – Basic Knowledge School Yellow looks warm, cheerful, extroverted and the symbolic meaning can be friendliness and optimism as well as recklessness, envy and jealousy. Orange looks exotic, lively and active and stands for joy, liveliness and fun. Red is very exciting, powerful and sometimes eccentric and symbolizes power, passion, love, but also aggressiveness and fire. Violet appears introverted, extravagant, melancholy and often stands for power, theology, but also vanity or renunciation. Blue has a calming, serious, longing, cold and distant effect. It stands for harmony, cleanliness, calm and passivity and peace. Green has a calming, fresh, natural, cheerful and young effect. The symbolic meaning is freshness, relaxation, hope, nature but also immaturity. White appears pure, empty, light and sometimes sterile and stands for purity, order, lightness and innocence. Black looks pessimistic and sad but also mysterious, solemn and serious. It stands for grief, end, hatred and misfortune   The how The different art styles in painting are characterized by their very special and in some cases pioneering use of colors. In Impressionism, the fleeting and rapidly changing impression of the moment is captured by painting. The light of the moment and the resulting colors are put together in fleeting and sometimes shimmering brushstrokes and with a lively style. At the beginning of the 20th century, expressionism increased the expression of color by painting . The shapes are simplified, in some cases almost flat. Strong, pure and contrasting colors become the absolute expression of emotions. The color is used separately from the naturalistic rendering and is intended to create a suggestive effect.   Color as material Initially only used as a coating and varnishing material in industry, acrylic paint has been used by artists as a versatile material since the mid-1950s . To this day, acrylic paint has a special charm, because the forms of expression can be more diverse than with hardly any other painting material. How is the colored area set, with brushwork ? Rich in shape and contrast or with a soft transition ? With structure (materials) and impasto relief ? Or light and translucent? This has an effect on the expression in terms of mood or can be used to create a color or aerial perspective (pure, bright warm colors are assigned to the foreground, everything behind is bluish, grayish, lighter ). The painting tools are also important for the specific, individual expression in the picture. Finally, two more examples that illustrate how the choice of color tones give the picture a completely different message. In his book “Thinking Like an Artist” Will Grompertz describes how the dejected and melancholy Picasso began to immerse his pictures in a mysterious blue color tone in 1901 , thereby shifting the mood of his pictures towards sentimental. On the one hand, this now matched his emotional state perfectly; on the other hand, it was the beginning of his “blue period” which made him known as “Picasso” and brought about the breakthrough. A wonderful article is devoted to the color blue in issue 4-18 of the magazine “Einfach.sein” . In “53 Shades of Blue” it is, among other things, attempts to make the blue of the sky measurable, but also some emotional worlds are hidden behind the color. “There is boundless longing in blue” it says there. The artist Andy Warhol is also concerned with the effect of the color blue (compared to red), so in simply. sein to read. By choosing the color of the background, he made one and the same woman portrait appear completely different. On the red ground on the woman THAT CONDITION dynamic / self-confident , on a blue ground , however,dreamy / wistful / serious . In process-oriented work, this means for us to pause and see HOW the spontaneously chosen colors work . Material as such, sensory perception or symbolic medium. No matter. In addition to all the theoretical approaches, color breathes life into artistic work and is very practical for every artist as a means of transporting their own handwriting . The possibilities and color combinations are inexhaustible. How about leaving the old paths for once and daring to try new colors in order to observe how the expression in the picture changes as a result? Painting remains an adventure that is always fascinating.

6 tips to strengthen your intuition and make you more creative

Often people come to my courses who want to learn to paint more freely . You want to loosen up and get to the image results with more ease . They have to function in everyday life through work and family and are therefore used to the mind taking the lead and spreading out so much that there is no place for intuition. Lately I have been reading more often about “ gut feeling ”, which ideally is placed next to the mind. Your gut feeling can help you to make decisions in a flash, without your mind weighing all the information for hours. In painting, it often doesn’t help you if you’re just in the “head”. Why? Even if you have mastered all the compositional rules perfectly, the picture may still lack the lightness, the specific swing or the disturbing factor that makes the whole thing really lively and individual. Often I only find pictures interesting when the rules of composition are turned a little upside down. The gut feeling can develop from the experience . In my opinion, it is good if the knowledge slides down a floor and you are more likely to “ feel ” what is to come next. You are then able to play freely with these rules and gain ease, but also your own clarity , because you do not cling to the rules of composition and bite into them.   How do you get out of the mind into the feeling, into your intuition? It is a good idea to open all your senses while painting: To really look carefully is an art that strengthens your perception. But also the other senses like hearing, taste, smell, feeling can help you to work less from the mind. Now you might be wondering what this is about now? Why can hearing be important for painters? I think all of this is good for perceiving more sensitively. There are people who take in their information primarily with their eyes, but there are also people who are auditory-oriented. Others have to feel something to feel what’s going on with it. So: what does it sound like when the paint is warped on the canvas? Does the brush rustle? How does the material you work with smell? Do you feel the pressure with which you guide your painting tool and how does it feel in your hand? To expand your possibilities, it is great if the less developed senses have something to do. And because “tasting” is really difficult when painting, there is a delicious lunch in the studio during all-day courses that stimulates all the senses🙂   Linking the left and right hemispheres of the brain Even if scientists do not agree, I am convinced that by activating both hemispheres of the brain, you can be holistically creative. Among other things , the left hemisphere  should be responsible for the rational handling of tasks. Logical skills, numbers, language, facts are ascribed to her. She has analytical tendencies and likes order. The right half of the brain  is more about fantasy, rhythm and feelings. It should be spontaneous, creative, intuitive and visual and also likes chaos. By networking the two halves, you can benefit from both sides. This can be done, for example, by working with both hands, for example with 2 pens in the right and left hand to draw in yourself (also crosswise). You can also try to approach tasks differently than you are used to: e.g. using your untrained hand to paint or draw. Then you also train the less pronounced half of the brain.   I am a person of movement. Although I also like “lying down” in all its variations (on the sofa, in the hammock, in bed, on the beach), I often only manage to change perspective through movement. I can also relax better through movement than through absolute rest. In the resting position, the thoughts circle in my head all the more, but through the movement I feel my body and the mind is calm ! Try not to just sit or stand in one spot during the painting process. Get moving, go around the table or easel, or put the picture on the floor so you can work with more momentum . You will see how the expression in the picture will change.   Can you only work when you feel like it or would it be helpful if you look for like-minded people with whom you get together too regularly and stick with it, because the communal experience  in the group inspires you? Or is it better when you have peace and quiet, are alone and you can concentrate fully on yourself? Try out how this aspect affects your painting.   How does the room have to be so that you feel comfortable  and you get into a good painting mood? Do you have to cover up or make space to work undisturbed  ? How must the noises be like the light? Does music inspire you or do fragrances open your senses? All of this can help you let the thinking fade into the background for a brief moment.   Stress and too little time kill creativity, as does too strong an inner critic and expectation pressure (also that of other people). Likewise distraction. Switch the phone to quiet when you go to the studio so that you can really get involved in the ” feeling “!   In one of my last week’s courses I had a participant whose intellect first wanted to ” understand ” the further procedure in the picture and who thought many, many steps in advance. After a while the saying came: “I’ll just do it!” Then I knew she was ready to put her mind back a little and dare to venture into the unknown and the unexpected . And I was allowed to accompany you in this important step !  

Angelika, what are you doing with the picture edges?

I am often asked that and I had already told you in one of the last blog articles that I don’t pay so much attention to the edges of my work. However, there are different views and options, which I will briefly explain to you below. 1. You leave the edges as they are . It can also be seen in the large art houses: the traces of work that arise in the painting process can be found on the edge of the picture . Running tracks and splashes are therefore desirable in this case. I think this is an interesting option, it sometimes gives the viewer an insight into how the picture was created. 2. You consciously work in the edges . This is particularly recommended for deeper stretcher frames (XL frame strips) or for picture boards (Casani boxes). I drag all colored areas, lines or collage paper around the corner. The edge is treated like the front of the picture. By incorporating the wide picture borders, I came up with the idea of ​​working on cubes in order to bring the design into three dimensions. 3. You draw at least the color tones around the edge of the picture, a similar color scheme is enough . But since I work the pictures in many layers, I don’t know what the final color will look like until the very end. It is therefore advisable to wait until the work is completely finished, otherwise you will be more concerned with the edge than with the actual motif. 4. You tape off the edge. I’ve really never done that before, but I’ve seen it many times with participants. That way, the edge remains sparkling clean, of course , but looks like a foreign body depending on where the picture is hanging. This can work well on white walls, but less so on colored walls. When viewed from the side, the white border quickly becomes an unwanted focal point. 4. You draw a dark color from the edge to just over the front edge of the picture. This then works like a frame and a bit decorative. The dark edge gives the picture a hold and looks immediately refined. I have seen this with some colleagues. This can make sense, especially with abstract structural images, because the edge then appears calm. 5. You choose a frame, for example a shadow gap frame . Admittedly, that is simply too expensive for me. Since I paint a lot, I sell more often and I rearrange my work at home at least as often, it doesn’t make sense to frame the pictures every time. At times I would have to store them very carefully. But if you really have a great job that finds its final place, a suitable framing can increase the effect of the picture enormously.  

Getting into abstraction – possibilities and ways

My style of painting lies between object and abstraction. Sometimes it’s the inner pictures that I paint, landscapes that I have saved somewhere. But sometimes I also work from photographs. In doing so, I do not implement them one-to-one, but play with different forms of abstraction. The motif is sometimes more, sometimes less easy to recognize. Before I explain the ways to get there, the first question that arises is what abstract or abstract means. An abstract picture is a picture without the character of a representation, so it avoids any reference to representationality. Today’s definition of abstract painting is any form of a simplifying representation that reduces natural impressions. I would call this abstracted. One of the first abstract painters can be called William Turner (1775-1851). In his painting, he was very interested in the mood of the landscape, often only vague outlines can be recognized and the forms begin to dissolve. Another forerunner of abstraction is Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890). The impressionists wanted to depict the object at the moment of its acquisition. Dynamics, emotions and brushwork played a major role. This can be studied very vividly in Van Gogh’s work (e.g. starry night or wheat field with cypresses) The next intermediate step between representational and abstract art was Cubism. The view of cubism made it possible to simultaneously take different perspectives in one picture. Who does not know them, Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) portraits of women that show the figure both frontally and in profile? Kasimir Malewitch (1878 – 1935) “Black Square” from 1915 can be seen as the big bang of abstract art . It marked the beginning of non-representational art (Suprematimus).   So abstraction means: • no correct appearance of objects • Form resolution simplification • Exaggeration or independence of color and geometry • Gestures, traces, brushwork How can we get into abstraction? So it’s either about reduction or exaggeration. For example, you get into the reduction • by working over a large area without form contrasts • by omitting the details (e.g. by placing tracing paper) • by changing or simplifying the color tone • Achieve an enlargement by changing the section, by zooming in as with the camera Exaggerate by • Increase in the stroke of the brush • More expressive coloring (e.g. complementary sounds) or alienated coloring • Dissolve surfaces with structure through material or tool The transitions are flowing from realistic to abstract (simplified) to very abstract (non-representational). Even if you work freely and start abstractly, it is possible that forms and arrangements arise in which you can discover something concrete. Whether you go along and pursue what has arisen or destroy it in a picturesque way is a decision that you can make again and again. The question that arises again and again is how exactly you work out a motif. Sometimes it is more exciting to just hint at a motif and leave it to the viewer what he sees in it. A personal translation and interpretation of a situation is what distinguishes our images from photos. In the best case, your personality and your special way of working will also be reflected in the picture. It is often assumed that abstract works are not art and that no artistic talent or craftsmanship is necessary. Really “good” art is only the hyper-realistic rendering of a situation. My opinion is that abstract painting is the most difficult of all, because there are only a few clues in what has already been seen. Everything that arises comes from ourselves. Nobody says how it should be. Sometimes it’s not that easy, but we can use this freedom!

My favorite material: neon paint

I have to admit, it looks very toxic in the tube: fluorescent paint. But I love it especially in the shades of neon magenta and neon orange, and not only because it lights the way to bed at night. It can really be used universally and can do more than the first glance suggests. So what can you do with it? Mood and light With neon color you can conjure up a great mood in your pictures. It’s practically like turning on the light. You can either paint directly with the colors or cover similar tones with a thin glaze later. This has a great effect, especially with red tones, because red tones often become dull after drying. With a magenta glaze, the red remains brilliant. In addition, a glaze brings depth into the picture. Fluorescent watercolor paints Neon watercolor paints are also available in specialist shops. Especially when I’m out and about with the sketchbook, I like to take the glowing pots with me. This allows me to achieve a wide variety of sunny and fresh tones by mixing with the conventional colors. And since I like to paint less realistically and to exaggerate a bit, I am very happy to discover this material. Neon oil pastels You can also use fluorescent oil pastels , for example. to set reflections or flashlights on surfaces. Neon-colored lines bring light and lightness into your picture. Even with somewhat dull or overpainted structural grounds, you can revive the surface with the oil pastel and a neon-colored pastel remains shiny. Pigments Fluorescent pigments, which can be used with various binders, also have a great effect. With acrylic emulsion (similar to acrylic binders, only more liquid and shiny), the result is a shiny, luminous and translucent surface that can stand in exciting contrast to rough structural backgrounds. Rubbed into a cold wax, the neon pigments appear a little more matt than when used with acrylic emulsion, but still transparent. It also lets the lower layers shine through. Combinations with other color tones Basically, the neon colors go with all color tones. But they are especially great with their dull and broken color tones. For example, with gray-beige-white sounds, the neon color unfolds its full radiance and brings tension into the picture through this quality contrast. These colors work just as well with rust elements – again a special quality contrast. You can either use a thin layer of neon acrylic paint, light coatings with the oil pastel, or you can add the fluorescent pigment directly to the mass when mixing the iron primer and then let it oxidize. This creates rust tones with extreme luminosity. I know such material trends come and go. But the epoch in which a picture is created can often also be recognized by the type of color tones used. I don’t think that the neon color will be a milestone in retrospect. But it’s just fun to work with.

How do you achieve lightness in the picture?

Paint relaxed and easy A few years ago I worked with a lot of material in my pictures. Structural compounds and pastes, bitumen, marble waste and thick rusty surfaces. Gladly materials with a “life of their own”. However, thick layers of material often appear heavy. But that’s not all. It also depends on the painting how the design looks in your picture. My work has changed over the years, and its appearance has become lighter and lighter. At first unconsciously, then consciously used. I still enjoy working in different techniques and with a wide variety of materials. Often times, however, a brush, paint and a few pens are enough for me today. What is important for pictures to radiate lightness and looseness? 1. Transparencies Perhaps it is because I have mainly done watercolors for many years, but I also like to work diluted with acrylic paint. I let the paint run and flow, using liquid Indian ink so that the layers of paint run into one another naturally. They result in transparent, shimmering surfaces. Transparencies also bring depth into the picture. You can also work translucent with undiluted acrylic paint, e.g. B. with a linoleum roller. In this way you can create overlays in the picture, ie mix large and small shapes and use them stacked on top of each other. 2. Loose brushwork A loose brushstroke contributes significantly to the lightness of the picture. In doing so, I always try to find out how much unrest the picture can have. I also combine the structured area with a lot of brush marks with very calm elements, with little noticeable brush marks. 3. Play of lines An airy play of lines brings a lot of lightness into the picture, especially when the lines are delicate or sometimes thicker and thinner. It is also a way of enhancing the contrasts in your picture. 4. Organic, naturally created shapes A geometrical representation is constructed in the vast majority of cases and has a more uncomplicated effect. That’s why I use organic shapes that are created. Either through painterly and “intuitive brush swing” or through techniques in which the forms arise naturally, such as. B. pourings or washouts. 5. Dynamic arrangement Look for less static arrangements, but also work with diagonals, i.e. not only use vertical and horizontal arrangements. You can achieve a different effect just by placing the elements. 6. Coloring Last but not least, the coloring is important, whether your picture looks light or heavy. Powdery pastel tones or lightened, mixed colors have a lighter effect than pure colors, which are more striking. Ultimately, however, it is also a question of personality, with which image design options you feel comfortable. Everyone has their own preferences. For me it is the case that the reduction of materials leaves more and more space for my own painterly handwriting. It slows me down less, but lets the images emerge with ease. That can be seen and felt.

Paint sustainably

Small things, big impact! As you read the headline of this article, you might think: That too. Now she’s also adding her mustard on this subject. Especially since sustainability is used in all sorts of sensible and nonsensical contexts and is sometimes misused to promote advertising. It’s not that I’m an environmental activist. And there are a few things I could do about myself. In fact, the best thing would be to forego creative work entirely. But that is definitely not possible. People have always felt the need to express themselves artistically. And there are definitely different forms, if I wasn’t allowed to paint, draw or be creative, I would wither. So this is not an option. Nevertheless, my perspective has changed over the years. I’m looking for solutions how I can work creatively, but still not produce tons of unnecessary garbage. But everyone has to decide for themselves how the priorities are set. Sometimes there are small things that don’t hurt, but in the long run and in large measure they have an effect. Here are a few of those little things that I practice to reduce the junk Disposable gloves, Zewas or paper plates I hardly ever use such things. Washing hands, old tea towels, old T-shirts or empty plastic packaging that are already there anyway also serve the purpose and can be used several times. I don’t need a fresh plate every time, a sturdy cover made from wall paints or acrylic binders is very durable and can also be used with water-based glazes without softening. An old glass or plexiglass plate is also great. If the disposable cup is frowned upon, why not the disposable, palette, cardboard plate too? Use existing tools or misuse them You don’t always need the very best artist quality, you can also use existing tools for your painting. Dish brushes, rubber squeegees from the hardware store or pot sponges can withstand a long time. You can prime your pictures with remnants of white wall paint. A mixture of dish soap and sunflower oil can replace the solvent for your oil paint. Work with surfaces that can be revised Since I’ve been an artist for many years, I have a lot of painted canvases. A very large amount, really. And for some time now, I have rarely used a completely fresh canvas. In the majority of cases I recycle old pictures. Pictures that are outdated because I am at a different point in my development or pictures that I have never really worked out anything new and which are a repetition of earlier work. I can let such pictures go again and form the basis of a new design. Among other things, because I often over-paint the old pictures, I hardly ever varnish my work. It is difficult to get an absorbent primer back on a very smooth and sealed surface.   Keeping the paint moist for the next day of painting I need a lot of paint for large canvases. But sometimes it’s hard to tell how much. Sometimes I put the paint directly on the canvas, then I can save myself the detour via the palette. If I have leftovers on the palette, I wrap them with the packaging film from the freshly bought canvases (mostly those of my course participants). If I can’t paint for a long time, I spray a little water over it with the spray bottle. The acrylic paint will last for a few days. Should I still have leftovers that I need to rinse off, I first remove most of the paint with an old rag or dirty paper before cleaning the palette. This means that less acrylic paint ends up in the sink. Maintaining materials well Unfortunately, many artist’s brushes no longer have the long service life they used to have, these are my experiences. But if you handle your material well, you will definitely benefit from it for longer. When I wash the brushes (which I usually only do at the end of the painting session, as I work wet on wet with the different shades) I then place them on an old terry towel to dry. I don’t put them in a jar, otherwise the moisture will pull into the clamp and the wood in it may swell. The brush hairs fall out quickly and the brush becomes unusable. Now and then painting on paper For me a playground: Working on paper. We use less material than when using stretcher frames and it takes up less space to store the finished pictures. In addition, you can let off steam on paper, because it is “only” paper. You can cut it wonderfully to change the composition or cut it into pieces to make cards, bookmarks, etc. out of it (if it doesn’t seem to work as a whole). You can also later integrate it into acrylic paintings. Collect materials and include them in collages Some participants bring real treasure chests with them: The collections of special papers, old documents or newspaper clippings are great to use in collages. I also enjoy self-made sketches twice: once when I draw them and a second time when they find a place in a picture. Patterned or structured fabrics can also be worked in perfectly. You can make it yourself and only touch it if necessary.You can use natural materials with acrylic binders (or white wall paint, if the structural compound should be white) to make the structure yourself: sand, ash or colored earths are structure and first coloring at the same time. And because you only do that when you need these substrates, nothing will go bad or firm.