"Modern art is what happens when painters stop painting girls and persuade themselves they have a better idea." John Ciardi

Equipment Questions
Q. What is a taboret?
A. Artists sometimes refer to the cabinet they use to store materials as a taboret or tabouret. These are often lower in height than the usual drafting table surface or easel and can as a convenient surface to place your palette and brushes on. In addition to the one shown here I use a 60" wide by 15" deep stereo cabinet to store papers and other materials. See my studio for other storage ideas.
taboret rolling cart

Q. What do I need to set up an art studio in my home?
A. The most important thing in my opinion is to have an area that is used exclusively for your art, no matter how small the space. A professional artist I know outfitted a closet in a condo for an amazingly complete studio. Here are some ideas for starters:

  • full-spectrum lighting, preferably fluorescent
  • a drafting table and/or easel
  • a taboret or table for palettes and paints in use
  • filing cabinet for records and resources
  • bookcase for art books
  • storage for art materials
  • storage for papers, canvas and finished works
If you plan to do your own framing, you'll need additional storage and work surfaces. See these articles for more on studio setup and visit my studio for more ideas. Keep in mind, though, that you can start with a lot less. I used a card table in our bedroom for several years, stacking papers and finished paintings against the wall in a corner. Don't let the lack of a fully equipped studio keep you from making your art!

Q. How can I remove color stains from my watercolor palette?
A. I use the special non-abrasive cleaner for ceramic cooktops on my John Pike palette and a couple of other plastic palettes that were badly stained. Works like a charm! Be sure to wash the palette with soap and water and rinse thoroughly before using it again. There may be a little beading at first, but that seems to go away in time. I know of two other methods. Rub the palette with a soft cloth moistened with mineral spirits or Goo Gone cleaner. Then wash it thoroughly with soap and water.

Q. Is it better to use brushes made of natural hair or synthetics?
A. Depends on what you're trying to do. For most watercolors, I like kolinsky rounds and sabeline or light oxhair flats because they hold so much water and paint. If I'm working really wet, synthetics seem to give me more control without flooding the paper. There are a lot of brushes available now that are blends of hair and synthetics, but you do have to be aware that some contain more synthetic fibers than hair. For acrylics, I use synthetics and bristle brushes, because I don't want to ruin my good watercolor brushes, which are generally too soft for use with acrylics anyway. Oil painters can use all three, according to their preferences.

See these articles for more on equipment and visit my studio for ideas.

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