Easy Beginner Sunset in Oils

Hi friends! I am away today so I am unable to live stream but I recorded a video for you instead. It is a beginner oil sunset painting!


Feel free to paint it in acrylic or gouache if you prefer! This is a real-time tutorial so relax and enjoy!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.


Don’t forget you can get 45% off any class in my online school with coupon code OFFLINE45 through Labor day! Have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!


LIVE: Painting on Aluminum?!? Really? Learn All About This Fun Surface Today!

Hi friends! I tried a fun new surface yesterday and I thought I would share it with you during today’s live stream because I think some folks might find it very useful. Aluminum panels have many advantages. They are lightweight, double-sided (a smooth shiny side that would be nice for mounting art, pop art, vinyl transfer or silk-screening and a rough side that grips paint and primer beautifully), archival and easy to frame. That said I found this surface took a little getting used to. I did this painting directly on the brushed aluminum side.


For today’s live demo I have primed another panel so we can see the difference between primed and unprimed. Because the surface is slick you can’t afford to waste many brushstrokes or you will have an oily muddy mess on your hands. To be honest I think this surface is much better suited to acrylics if you are not priming first (yes I said “better for acrylics” don’t be shocked) so I am looking forward to working on a primed version next because I like a smoother surface to paint on and these are lighter than wood panels. I also think it would be really fun to use one of these panels with alcohol or India ink. I will have one panel left after today so let me know if you would like to see that. Here is the reference photo I used to paint the apples.


You can watch the live broadcast or reply in the video player below but if you want to chat live with fellow “frugalites” or ask me questions as we go be sure to watch on the YouTube watch page.

Tutorial Sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.


Edited to add more notes about painting on Aluminum panels…

The primed aluminum panel worked a lot like a gesso board or primed hardboard panel with the advantage of being lightweight. I think to take the most advantage of the unique surface I’d use it unprimed with a permanent transparent media such as alcohol or india ink. I think either side would be fun to experiment with and yield beautiful results. I found painting directly on the unprimed surface a bit frustrating as I was trying to complete the painting all at once and I felt like my paint was sliding around. I’d recommend in working in layers and allowing drying time between them. If using oils I recommend Lukas 1862 as they dry to the touch overnight.

A note about the Charvin Extra Fine Oils…

These are a very high-end paint and a bit more spendy than I usually use. They are made in small batches and triple milled for a smooth buttery consistency and the color load is robust meaning you get lots of color in a small amount of paint.  The paint is made with poppy oil rather than linseed oil (they say to reduce yellowing but the kit I got has a bottle of linseed oil in it which seemed odd but I did not need it on the silky smooth surface of the AlumaComp board) and it uses high-grade pigments with a range of 205 colors. The tubes have hand-painted swatches of the color at full strength which can be deceiving as the rose in my set looked black straight from the tube but turned into a lovely mauve as white was added. I can see how it would be a useful deep shadow color in floral paintings. I wasn’t familiar with some of the colors in the landscape set I received from sponsor Jerry’s Artarama but I found them to mix well and perform as expected for an artist grade oil paint. I think they are a bit pricey for beginners but someone who has experience with oils will enjoy and appreciate the subtle differences in quality in these paints. *Charvin also makes an extra fine acrylics line as well.

What do you think of painting on aluminum? If you want to give it a try I recommend starting on a small panel to see if you like it before investing the time and money of a larger one incase you don’t care for it. It’s growing on me but it was pretty aggravating at first getting use to the slippery surface (kinda like going from driving a big pickup truck in 4-wheel drive to a sports car on an icy road LOL!) Once you get used to it you can see the possibility it holds! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you live at 12:30 on YouTube, til then happy crafting!

Beginner Oil Painting: Peonies

Hi friends! Today I have a fun and relaxing oil painting tutorial that would be a good project for someone who would like to try out oil painting for the first time.


I am using water mixable oils which behave exactly like traditional oils (slow drying, rich color, buttery consistency) without the need of stinky solvents. You can simply use water to rinse your brushes and thin your paint. The misconception is that oil paints are stinky and fumey but that’s not quite true, it is the solvents that can be stinky and harmful. As with any paint though you should respect it and work with it as it is intended in a safe manner. I’ll share safety tips at the end of the post 🙂

This tutorial is sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.


Studio safety tips!


  1. Don’t eat your paint! I know this sounds silly but it is important to keep food out of your studio and to wash your hands properly before eating and drinking. I have dipped my paintbrush in my coffee before and luckily I noticed it before I took a sip! 🙂 If you do want to have a drink handy use a covered water bottle or travel mug. This will also save you from spilling your drink on your art! Also if you use a cup for paint water or a dish as a palette don’t use them again for food.
  2. Get the gloves! If you are worried about absorbing chemicals into your skin you can wear surgical gloves. I prefer to use a barrier hand cream but I am not too worried about absorption because I don’t get that much paint on me and I don’t often use the toxic stuff. I know the chalky feeling of pastels give some people the “oogies” so gloves would be a great solution to this!
  3. Say it, don’t spray it! Watch how you apply your paint. Many paints (especially expensive quality artist ones) are not meant to be spray applied due to hazardous chemicals in the pigments. Read the labels before you airbrush or spatter your inks and paints and never blow your pastel dust. Instead tap the paper into your trash so the dust falls down and doesn’t get kicked up into the air where you might breathe it in.
  4. You gotta keep it ventilated! Our paints, sealers, fixatives and adhesives can emit fumes. Even the odorless products are not great to breathe so you need to make sure you have air circulating. Cracking a window and using a fan is great or wait til the end of the day to use the worst offenders and then let your studio air out overnight. Listen to your body, if you start to feel light-headed or get stuffed up open a window and take a break. Some people are more sensitive than others so when possible take a whiff of a potential product at the store before buying to make sure you can tolerate the smell.
  5. Protect the pets! Dump out rinse water (or cover it) at the end of the day so curious cats won’t imbibe your delicious paint water. Also store wet paintings up on a high shelf or easel so they are not walked on or rubbed against….don’t ask me how I came up with this tip…
  6. Watch the young’uns! Your art materials are perfectly safe if used as intended. The labels will tell you if there are hazardous materials and often how they should be handled and whether they are safe for children. And “safe for children” also means if used for their intended purposes.  Obviously you don’t let your kids drink glue or eat crayons. Still, the best way to keep your kids safe in the art room is to always supervise them. If you can’t, then, an inexpensive latch on the door too high for them to reach is cheap insurance. If you can’t block the kids away from your supplies as they are in a shared space use containers that the little ones can’t open. This is one reasons I don’t particularly like odor free products like Gamsol. It looks and smells like water even though it is a powerful solvent. It makes me nervous because small children or pets might not know the difference so always I keep it in its original safety capped container. *Gamsol is a great product for dissolving colored pencils and I use it but the fact that is has no odor freaks me out!

I hope these safety tips made you aware of potential dangers without scaring you. There is no need to be afraid, just be aware of what you are using and how it should be used and you will be fine. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

LIVE today at 12:30pm ET: Magnolia Flower in Oils (you CAN use Acrylics too!)

Edit: Here is the finished painting, it was hard to get a good shot while the painting was still wet so I might update it in a couple of days:) Replay of the tutorial is below:) Have a great weekend!


Hi friends! I hope you can join me for a  live painting tutorial on YouTube today!

I felt like doing something a little different so I created a collage and stenciled background to do an oil painting on top of. Here is the video of the background in case you want to prepare yours the same way.

Background Video (recorded)

You can watch the live tutorial (or the replay afterwards) of the magnolia flower painting in the player below but if you want to chat with fellow painters or ask me questions live be sure to tune in here on YouTube today at 12:30pm eastern time.

Sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama!
Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing!)



I will update this post later today with a photo of the finished painting! Happy crafting!

Cherries in Oil Paint Tutorial

Hi friends! Tonight I have a quick oil painting tutorial for you!


Watch the video to see how!

I am using St. Petersburg Masters Class oils from Pro Art Supplies

About this paint:
Good pigment strength and high quality pigments
Rich buttery consistency
A little goes a long way-great coverage.

Here is the reference photo I used by Bec Bartell on Paint My Photo.


I hope you are have a great day and til next time happy crafting!

My “Cleanish” Palette!

Hi friends! I’ll never be known for my housekeeping ability but for an oil painting palette clean-ish is a good thing!


Watch the video to see what I mean!

Over time the grey patina that builds up on your palette will make color mixing easier. Remember you are creating an art studio, not an art supply museum, use those supplies and let everyone see the evidence of a life lived creatively!

If you are looking for an in-depth oil painting class may I suggest Paint and Pallet Essentials: A Beginner’s Guide to Oil Painting from fellow Craftsy teacher Jay Senetchko (it’s 50% off today!) or The Oil Painters Handbook  by Tony Curanaj to get you started in the fun and exciting medium! Remember, all crafty classes are in high-definition and you can access them forever so you can take your time, learn at your own pace and refer to them again and again! And if watermedia is your cup of tea be sure to check out my new Craftsy Class Mix it Up Mixed Media Step by Step at 50% off! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!





A better brush cleaner for oils {YOU can make!}

Hi friends! After painting that rose the other day in oils and sharing what was in my paintboxes I decided that I wanted to do more painting with traditional oils. To do this I needed a proper brush cleaning station. I do not like to be wasteful with solvents because I do not want my hobby to cause harm to the environment (or my pocketbook) and also I do not want my kids or pets to accidentally get into them. That is probably why I have not painted much with traditional oils since my children were born but they are 12 and 10 now and understand studio and workshop safety. Today I am going to show you how I make an oil brush scrubber.


DIY brush cleaner instructions:

  1. Fold up a piece of aluminum screen and shove it in a jar (I used a clean spaghetti sauce jar) and fill with paint thinner or solvent of your choice. Tip: You can save old ripped aluminum screen from windows for this!
  2. To use, first wipe your brush on a paper towel to remove excess paint then swipe your dirty oil paint brush across the screen and the paint will easily knock away and settle at the bottom of the jar. When you are done painting for the day it is a good idea to wash your brushes with soap and water.

After you have used the jar for a while you will have a build up of sludge on the bottom. The screen in the jar will keep the thinner fresh at the top so it can be used for months without needing to be cleaned. When the paint sludge gets too high (you just keep disturbing the sludge when you try and clean the brush) you need to clean it. Here is what you do:

  1. Let the jar of thinner settle so the sludge and the solvent are separate.
  2. Pour off the clean thinner gently, as not to disturb the sludge, into another jar or clean soup can.
  3. Use a pair of pliers to pull the screen out of the first jar and wipe it off. *At this point you could just throw away the jar with the sludge and screen in it (but you can reuse it so that is up to you).
  4. Scoop out the sludge and wipe out the jar. Place the screen and thinner back in and you are ready to paint! Top it off with more fresh thinner if needed.

Disposal of the sludge. I save my jar cleaning until trash day. When I am done douse the cleaning paper towels with water and place them in a soup can in the trash. The goal is to do as little damage as possible. You could also save an old paint can and put your paint sludge in there and save it to take to a hazardous waste center if you prefer. Remember that oily rags plus heat can equal fire so please be careful. With this method most paint will end up on your canvas and not in your trash and that is frugal and better for the earth.

One more thing! I do not use this thinner to thin paint for painting. I would pour a bit of thinner in a palette cup for painting with, that way you can splurge on higher quality thinner for that and not waste it.

Now, this is not the only way to clean brushes. Some artists opt for a solvent free method by wiping their brushes off then cleaning them in cooking oil then washing them in dish soap. I have tried this but found it was not as effective however if you have an allergy or another reason that you cannot use thinner it is a workable solution. Find a method that is right for you and if you have a good method for cleaning oil brushes please let us know in the comments. If solvents just seem like a pain you can always choose water-mixable oils, most oil paint companies have come out with their own and they are pretty good, actually the inexpensive Reeves brand are super soft and buttery and mimic traditional oils very closely so don’t be afraid to give them a try. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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