Acrylics: It's A Love Hate Thing

Acrylic paints are without a doubt the type of paint I have the most experience with yet sometimes we're just not friends. Every so often I feel the urge to raid my paint box and create a new piece of art but I always experience the same feelings throughout the process which always stops me from using acrylics as my main art materials for my work.

Number one would have to be the consistency and I'm talking about when it comes to doing the fine details. I can't seem to work the paint comfortably and it's either too thick or I've watered it down too much so that it's gone all transparent and useless. For larger areas though I adore the consistency and blending colours together is one of my favourite things about this type of paint.

Alice in Wonderland

Next up would be surfaces to paint on. I used to enjoy painting on canvas but I much prefer the canvas material when it's not been stretched over a frame. I believe it's called calico but it's a method I picked up on at Sixth Form; it was so much fun and the paint has a wonderful effect on the naked fabric. I've never primed my canvas's however, so next time I get one I'll be doing this and seeing if it makes a difference to my relationship with painting onto them. The other downside to canvas that I don't like is how expensive they can be and also storing them once they're finished. I  much prefer to paint onto a thick paper designed for acrylics so that it can easily slip into my portfolio.

I do however love how acrylic paints layer up and the stunning range of colours. Mixing new shades is endless and I also love that I can save my mixed colours for the next day if I don't manage to finish my work, by sliding my palette into a carrier bag and folding the end over to keep it relatively air tight. The paint is a little more firm the next day but once I'd added just a drop of water and given them a mix they're good to go.

My favourite acrylic paint brand would have to be hands down, Winsor and Newton and I've been using their acrylics since I was around 14. I do need to be careful which colours I get however as a couple from their range (I believe it's a grey and a black) have bone black in them which is charred down animal bones and I'm making a big effort to stay away from art supplies that contain animal ingredients or are tested on animals. Out of everything I've encountered so far in the cruelty free world, it can be a little more tricky finding the information for art supplies than things like makeup and beauty but luckily there are sites like the Vegan Womble who collect information and pop it into one place for ease.

What is your favourite type of paint? I'd love to try gouache!

Thanks for reading,

A Desk Revamp

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that my desk space has had a huge update. Over the bank holiday weekend, we made the potentially foolish decision to go to Ikea on the Monday to replace our lounge rug. We got up early and set off for the Nottingham store and when we got there we were fist pumping seeing it so quiet and quickly got ourselves inside with a big yellow bag. We were in and out perhaps within 40 minutes and as we were leaving it was starting to get super busy. You can imagine how smug we were that we'd managed to slip in and out with very little agro. Of course, a trip to Ikea always results in you coming home with more than you planned, but at no point did I think I'd be coming home with a new desk.

It was something that had been discussed often in the Woolley household and as I work at home, having a good work space is a lot more important than you might think. I spend at least 8 hours a day in my studio room and whilst I'm incredibly happy to do what I love for a living, my desk was always a bit of a bugbear. We got this desk whilst living back at Flat 4; it went with our aesthetic perfectly and was a bespoke piece from a now closed Etsy store. It's an industrial style workbench with a reclaimed wooden surface, dark metal legs and a decent sized space to work on length wise. The downside was the surface was uneven, which made drawing on the desk or using a mouse (even with a mousemat) rather difficult. I always found myself having to pad my drawings surfaces out well so that the table levels wouldn't cause my paper to rock or my pen to slip. Width wise it always left me with eye strain as my computer screen wasn't able to sit back far enough, my keyboard always wobbled on the table too due to the unevenness and although it's a stunning workbench, it wasn't really a practical desk for what I do. We'd spoken about getting my office a new desk and using the old one in the spare bedroom where James does a lot of his own art and whilst we were in Ikea, we had a mooch around.

As soon as I saw the desk I knew it was the one. I remember watching Sex & The City the movie once and there is a scene where Carrie is shopping for a desk with Charlotte; she tells Charlotte that with the right desk comes the motivation to work and she was right. Whilst I have always been motivated to work from home, I have discovered a whole new love for the space I do my work in. We got the desk in white, since my studio is tiny and black would have made it look even smaller and it's a corner shaped design with a lot of storage surrounding it. There is a hidden trap door where I keep my candy stripe bags for orders, 4 shelves, a little cubby for my mini drawers and plenty of space over the top for storage boxes and trinkets. I adore it.

It's made such a huge improvement on how I feel within my workspace and I feel so much more organised with all of the storage it has to offer. I also grabbed some pretty boxes from Ikea too to put my paints and craft materials into and I think I'll be grabbing a couple more when I go back in a couple of weeks time!

Thanks for reading,

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