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Masterson's Sta-Wet Handy Pallet
As I mentioned in my last post, I have owned a classic Sta-Wet pallet before, so I knew it was a winner before buying the Handy version, which is smaller than the classic one. It works the same way, though. You have a wet sponge topped with a piece of acrylic paper that has soaked in water for some time, and both are encased in an air tight container. Paint stays wet for days!
This product gets first billing in this post because it has saved me many headaches and made painting much more enjoyable. Acrylic paint dries fast, even if you use mediums to extend the "open" time. Nothing ruins a painting session like coagulated and dried up paint on your pallet. It is wasteful because all you can do is scrape the old paint off and mix a fresh batch. While it is annoying when you are working on smaller projects, it is absolutely unsustainable if you are painting large canvases.
There are many variations of this type of pallet, and you could make one using household items, but I chose to go ahead and get the Handy pallet because it is inexpensive. You still consume paper and other items when you use a hand-made version, which usually requires some type of paper or rag toweling and parchment or tracing paper. I can use these last two types of paper as substitutes for the official Sta-Wet refills, and the replacement sponges are quite cheap too.Whether you decide to make one or buy one, You will be happy with the result!
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints
I enjoyed using these acrylics far more than I did the Daler Rowney Simply paints, and I am not shading the DR acrylics. They were not that bad for the price. If you can only afford the super cheap DR Simply paints, it is better to give them a try than to have no paints at all. But I think the Liquitex Basics are an incredible value for your money. They are a high-quality student-level line with a softer body and lower pigment load than the famous Liquitex Heavy Body Professional acrylics. That is not to say they are lacking in pigmentation, however. They are rather brilliant and blend like butter.
I bought the Classic Set that includes the three primaries, pthalo green, black, and white in 4 ounce tubes. I also bought the burnt sienna separately. You can make any color using the primary shades, black and white. I happen to like having earth tones on hand (burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre) because I use them a lot. I had to get the burnt umber and yellow ochre is another brand (Arteza, also affordable and great quality).
The only tube I haven't used is the black one, and that is because I try not to use black paint at all. I mix my black from the primary shades or by mixing a primary with burnt umber. This is one of those classical art tips that can be used with any colored medium, whether it is oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, pastel, etc. Straight black can look "dead" or muddy.
Over all, I have had no issues with the flow and consistency of the Basics. They are easy to work with and mix and blend beautifully. They worked well with the Liquitex Basics Gel Medium and the Golden Satin Glazing Fluid. I want to say that a skilled artist could use these paints to make pieces that rival gallery oils. I am not quite that skilled, but I enjoyed my results just the same.
Bomega (or "Keep Smiling") Paint Brushes
I already had a lot of brushes, but no filbert shaped ones, and I love filberts. My other brushes are mostly from Royal & Langnickel sets I have bought from Walmart, but my Walmart did not have any filberts in any of their available sets. Amazon came to the rescue, of course. I found a set of nine Bomega brand artist filbert brushes that were under $10 and had excellent reviews. I loved them just as much as the other reviewers, so I bought the matching sets of pointed round and angled flat brushes too. These have long handles and each type comes in several sizes from 0 to 16.
I have used many of the brushes already, and none have shed or fallen apart after a good amount of painting, rinsing, wiping, and scrubbing. They have a nice spring to them for synthetics, and at this price (each set ranges from $7.99 to $8.99), it is impossible to waste money on them.
There is one strange thing I want to mention, however. Even though all three sets had identical packaging and came from the same seller and manufacturer, two of the sets were branded "Bomega" while the angled flat set is labelled "Keep Smiling" as the brand. Then the brushes themselves are marked differently. The filbert brushes are marked "Artist Brush" on the handle, the pointed rounds are marked with "Bomega", and the angled ones say "Keep Smiling". It's weird, but this does not affect the quality. Maybe the company is still trying to get their branding right. I'll add a photo of three brushes below. I'll just call them Bomegas since two sets have that name on the product cards.
I hope you enjoyed my reviews and my video. I am in the process of filming and editing the final part of the eye painting study, and I will share that in my next post, which will be packed with more reviews of my recent art supply acquisitions.
Have you used any of the items I mentioned in this post? Are there other affordable art supply brands that you want me to review in the future? Please let me know in the comments!