But it's really important to know the staying power and the quality of your work. And to not try and sell a piece that you created with cheap paints or on a cheap service.
Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions, where we're talking about hot topics for the season, that'll make a difference to your art. I'm your host, Marijanel, joined by my co-host, Charla Maarschalk. Let's get to it. Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. We're here with hot topics of the season. And I have been doing a Q and A with Charla asking her questions that all the artists and students within Bold School are often asking. And Charla, you're the expert. So, we just love to ask you questions.
Maybe a few things.
Okay. So, in our Summer Sessions so far, we have been covering even like some practical questions, um, you know, things like, how do you finish the sides of your canvas? What do you varnish with? And what's, how do you keep your acrylics from drying out? If those episodes haven't aired already, they will be very shortly. And, um, so we're talking about all these really useful kind of hot topics, and there is a hot topic, and I don't mean for it to become controversial, but...
Or, maybe we do.
Or, maybe we do. Artists are wondering this. Um, what is the importance of using professional grade paint versus economy or student grade paint in our artwork? Now, before you answer, I just wanna make a definition here. I just wanna make a distinction that when I say economy or student grade, I am not meaning Dollar Store paint. I am not meaning cheap, $1.50 cent tubes that you are doing a craft with.
Why? But why?
New Speaker (01:49):
I am referring to a, still a pricey paint that is found in an art supply store that would be labeled student grade or economy, um, that are often premixed colors, but they're vibrant. They're pretty good quality. I would call those student grade or economy in my distinction, versus, almost double the price artist grade quality, high-end paint. Is there anything important that an artist needs, uh, especially one going pro, needs to know about the differences between our price point and paint economy versus pro paint and, and like how we have to approach that?
Well, I'm not a pro in knowing all of the differences. I know there's some people we could have on here that would list out every fact, and ingredient, and every reason. But, um, for me, it's for me, when I wanna go pro um... Okay, I'm gonna start with a story from my dad. One of the things he said is,
Which, by the way, I need to say, I, like, Charla's dad is the best. So, listen closely to the story. He's, he's a man
he's a smart man.
New Speaker (03:10):
that you all wish you would know. She's painted him before. His, his face to me is a portrait because it's one of her most stunning portraits.
He's called The Fisherman.
New Speaker (03:19):
Yeah. It's called the, so I just had to interject that, that we love Charla's dad. So, tell us what your dad says or the story.
So, the saying, he says is, you got, always gotta know what's under your feet. Know what's under your feet. And he's a fisherman. And he became, he started, he started small boat fishermen, and he worked his way up to big boat fishermen who would go 200 miles offshore and fish for crab and shrimp. And, um, he knows his stuff, and he's like, know what's under your feet because when you're 200 miles offshore, I mean, that's insane weather. And you're out there spending a ton of money and fuel to get there. And you, you need the gear to get, get the fish and get the catch, but you also need to keep you and your crew safe, 'cuz that's the most important thing is your safety. But what's the point in being out there if you can't get the fish. So, he's like you have to have good quality gear.
And if you've got any interest in doing well in the business, just spend the money and get the gear. And it meant it was important to them because it was, it was life and death. But I think when it comes to succeeding in life and doing well in, in your vocation and doing well in business, having the right gear is really important because it, it makes you able to do the work well. And when you do the work well and you spend money on the gear that you're doing to create that work, you can actually sell your work for good prices. You know, if you're going to the dollar store and you're buying a $3 canvas and $2 paint, you're gonna get a $5 painting. And you're, no matter how it's... There is truth in that an artist can create amazing things with anything, with any tool, right?
But the quality will matter because you're only gonna be able to do so much with it, and it can disintegrate, and it can die. So, for us to know, what's under our feet means in a hundred years, will our work still be alive? Will it even still exist? Will it be wrecked by light? Will it be torn up because the canvas is so thin? For my dad, it was, will I lose a crew member if I don't have the right gear or the right safety measures or whatever? So, we need to know it's under our feet because we need to know that we can do anything with that, with that tool or with that paint and well, and I wanted, it will last.
I wanted to be careful that to, to clarify that I'm not in this question, I'm not meaning dollar store paint. I'm still meaning those higher, high or higher price point economy paints that there's like a few differences. And, and I've, I've learned a little bit. I'm by no means pro at knowing these differences either. But I do know that the binder and the minerals that are used in the differences between economy and student and an artist grade paint, that the binders are higher quality, that the pigments are more pure. Now, the question for me lies in what I guess, what is our purpose for that end piece? Can you practice color mixing, um, as proficiently with an economy grade student grade, like if you're doing practice pieces, can you practice just as good as, as you could with the pro paint? Um, part of me believes you can.
So, like, I've, I've often thought when I'm doing practice pieces, I would use more of economy paint, um, practicing, meaning these quick studies, um, where I just need to learn how to mix that CAD red and that, you know, warm yellow kind of thing and, and what that means. And, and then, and then I can take what I learn and use the pro paint. But one thing I do find is that the thickness of the body is different on those paints. And so even if you study in the economy paints, you almost have to relearn in the, the heavier bodied paint. Um, what do you think about those things, Charla?
Yeah, I think, um, they're all really important considerations and I think you can learn color theory and you can study and practice with lesser quality, you know, cheaper tools so that you take the pressure off yourself. 'Cuz I know when I'm using an exhibition canvas and my heavy body Golden paints, I don't really wanna just be painting stuff I'm gonna throw away.
New Speaker (07:49):
So for me, it, it made a big difference when I allowed myself to go buy canvases at the craft store rather than the art supply store and do some studies with those canvases. But I did always stick with the same paint because I do, I wanted to practice being able to use that paint well, and I really wasn't interested in having lots of different paints to use, but at the same time, if you're wanting to use like the, the lower price point paints, you need to practice how to use them.
But just, you just gotta know, like it's really just the considerations and knowing that if you're going to practice in one paint brand, like even going from Liquitex, which is, I think still a very high quality paint brand, going from Liquitex to Golden, they have a different, uh, viscosity, right? So, you just have to recognize what those are. You just have to know the supplies that you're using. But if you're gonna go from a Dollar Store paint practicing to a Golden paint when you get a commission, you are going to mess up because they're very different paints. Even from the economy ones, which are often more transparent and liquidy to the Golden heavy bodies.
New Speaker (09:03):
If that's what you wanna use, that's what I use. It's a different experience. So, you just have to know how to use those and what the differences are.
But then going to color theory, you can learn color theory in, you know, using any tool that has color. You could learn color theory with colored pencils or watercolors, but every single brand has different qualities in their pigments, and their pigments are always gonna be a little bit different. None of them are ever gonna be perfect or ever gonna be pure. So, if you're moving from, uh, one medium to another medium, or one paint brand to another paint brand, you have to be aware that even Cadmium Red is not gonna be the same Cadmium Red dark, or a teal, like they can label it one thing and actually be completely different in a different brand.
I had this little epiphany come to me when you were talking, and it's, it's like, we need to not only know our theory, but, and, but we need to know our medium.
New Speaker (09:59):
And then we need to know the brand within the medium. And so there's like three components there. You can't just get paint and hope to learn it all with just that brand. Like it's.
New Speaker (10:10):
It's an entire process within those three things. The, um, the theory itself, like you said, you can learn color theory with any medium, but then you have to learn the medium, the, the color theory within that medium cuz a watercolor paint, mixes, those colors together so differently than a heavy body acrylic golden versus an oil . Yeah. And then, so then you learn your medium and the mixing within the medium and then you learn the brand because at some point you're choosing your brand.
Yeah. And so like one of the stories I tell is when I decided to do, to start doing studies on the cheaper canvases, but keep my same paints. I started, as I was doing my studies, I was way more relaxed. And you know, there was no pressure. This wasn't gonna be a masterpiece. It wasn't gonna be in a show. And then all of a sudden, I started creating pieces I really liked on these little cheap canvases. And then the question arose to me, like, do I sell these with the same cost, the same price? Do I put them in shows even though they're on a cheap canvas? And the answer to any everyone I asked was, well, do you consider it art? Like, do you want to sell it? Do you consider it art? And so there's, there's a lot to take into consideration.
And I don't think the answer is ever a simple yes or a no answer. If you are an established artist and you have a name, and you have collectors, they might want that piece, and they don't really care because they, they are recognizing the value in your work. They already know that your work is, is good and that, you know, you've, you're a pro artist. So, they'll take this little study and like, actually you can buy, um, like some like, like a Monet or a Van Gogh, you can buy their sketches. I'm probably, I don't know I've ever seen a Monet sketch, but from a lot of these great classic artists, you can buy their sketches and they're really expensive. So, there is value in actually selling those, that level of work as well. People are, will still be interested in it is as an established artist, but it's really important to know the staying power and the quality of your work.
And to not try and sell a piece that you created with cheap paints or on a cheap service that you know is going to degrade and not last, you have to take that into consideration when you're selling it and not, not try to present it as something that it's not. It doesn't mean it's less valuable.
New Speaker (12:33):
There's a lot of work that, uh, I mean a lot of installation art, I don't even understand the installation artwork, but people pay for these pieces that are actually gonna degrade and die really quickly, but they, they sell them for money. I, I do not understand that world. I'm not gonna be a voice in that world right now. But, um, you can, you can do a lot with your work. You can really do anything with your work. Just understand what you've created and understand what, who is buying it, and why they're buying it as long as they're not buying it with the intention of collecting this and in investing and hoping it's gonna go up in price and in 50 years they'll sell it or it's their retirement budget or something -- and then it's dead in 20 years because you used something that's gonna eat away at the canvas.
You know, you can experiment, but know what you're doing. Just understand what you're using.
Know what's under your feet.
Yes. Know what's under your feet.
I'm not even sure if we fully answered this question, but I think,
no, I don't think we came close.
I think what we've done is we've provoked some thoughts.
To, to challenging artists, to know what's under your feet and whether you're using economy priced paints, or you're using the professional grade, you know, what's under your feet, and you know, the purpose and what you're doing with, with that and how it's affecting the outcome and the long term, um, quality of your work.
Yeah. The longevity that's excellent word. So, thank you for joining us today on the Bold Artist Podcast for this thought provoking conversation in our summer sessions. Make sure you're on our email list. Go to boldschool.com. Find us here on YouTube on the Bold School channel. And we're on all audio apps if you prefer to listen on audio, you can hop onto Apple, Google, or Spotify. Look up the Bold Artist Podcast. And of course on Instagram @boldschoolinc. That's right. And until next time, Keep Creating.
And know what's under your feet.
Know what's under your feet while you're creating.