"Tips 'n' Tricks" ..Handy Hints to help you..!

oil paint and artists brushes on artists painting palette

We hope you benefit from these handy painting and drawing Tips ‘n’ Tricks.. This is only a small snippet of the information delivered at our art classes. Much of the art class information is not available in books and comes from Don’s own painting and drawing experience.

Post us your feed back via our art classes ‘Contact Form’ along with any of your own painting and drawing Tips and Tricks, or helpful ideas and if appropriate, we can share them on this page for others to try.


** Clean water and in 2 containers is always best when painting with acrylics. Only 1/3 fill the containers so you can swish the brush about to clean it and partly filled containers minimises splashing. One container to do initial brush clean and 2nd for final brush clean. Change the water whenever it starts to get dirty.

** Add a little dish washing detergent to the water makes it easier to clean brushes and also decreases surface tension of water during painting.

** Do not leave your brushes stand in your water wash containers as this can cause brushes to get a memory of a curve which can be difficult to remove and can ruin a good brush.

Coloured Grounds:

** These are colours used to prime your canvas or board before you start your painting and a coloured ground can create moods and/or colour themes for your painting. To create, prime your canvas or board with paint that has been tinted with your chosen colour so as to create a coloured ground to paint onto.


** Practising your monochrome tonal range in paint and/or pencil can develop much needed awareness skills when working on a normal tonal paintings or drawing.

** Ellipses or difficult shapes can be more easily recreated by placing them inside a surrounding simple box shape. Then draw that same simple box into desired position and at the size required for the complex shape, then recreate the complex shape inside your simple shape again. Eg. Ellipses, Peoples ears, etc..

Reference Photographs:

** Do not use a flash when taking photos for reference in painting or drawing. (The flash flattens your subject with direct front light and removes subject form modelling which causes the subject to appear very flat and washed out)

** Hint: Reference photographs.. Use 3/4 side lighting to light your subject and this will create good shading and modelling..

Pastel and Drawing:

** Place some sheets of newsprint paper or similar paper beneath your actual drawing paper which will create a firm but slightly softer surface for you to draw against. Also make sure your backing board is completely free from lumps and bumps as these come through and cause impressions or effects in your final drawing. (Same for Pastels)

** Sand paper can be used to create a desired shape or point on your pastels or pencils when you require a specific use or effect, or they are too blunt for use.