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  • If you have an artists' brush which has been damaged by standing in water.  Dip the tip into water, squeeze into a point;  wrap tip tightly into newspaper and bind with sticky tape.  Leave for 24 hours and when you remove the wrapping it should be nearly as good as new.
  • Rather than use a palette for mixing paint you can use your easel.   This is much easier and the easel can be used when exhibiting work in galleries.   (I assume this would not work for water colours!)
  • To add interest to paintings you can sieve soil from the garden and cook gently in a saucepan (no water).  Mixed with acrylic paint gives unusual texture and colours.
  • Use a cardboard tube to keep brushes in - this allows them to breathe and they will not go mouldy as they can in plastic containers.
  • A cardboard box with an open side and the top cut into a lid makes ideal framing for still life objects.  The lid can be opened to change the light effects.
  • A rectangle of card with the centre cut out (to form a frame shape) can be used as a composition aid to "frame" objects you are drawing.  Held near to your face for landscapes and further away for portraits.
  • An old toothbrush can be used for adding texture to paintings.   Load the brush with paint and then, with the brush near the paper, rub fingers along bristles which flicks the paint onto the paper.  Great fun if a little messy.   Children would love doing this.
  • An old teabag stirred in water makes an ideal colour wash to take away the whiteness of paper.  Remember to use within four days otherwise it grows fungus!
  • If tubes of paint get "gummed" up and the lid hard to remove, don't try to force the top undone as this could split the tube.  Put some hot water into a bowl and hold the top of the tube in the water for a short time.  Remove from the water and the top should open easily.
  • To keep paints moist on a palette for several days, cover with clingfilm after use.
  • If painting outdoors and you want to mix up a lot of paint, use an empty tray of individual yoghurt pots (or an ice cube tray).  This can be placed inside a suitably sized sandwich box and covered with a lid.
  • If you make a mistake when painting in oils.  Scrape off the surplus paint with a razor blade so that when it is overpainted it will not show.
  • To remove grease marks from paper, sprinkle talcum powder over the grease mark and leave overnight.  The mark will have gone in the morning.
  • Fix up a washing line to dry paintings and, thereby, creating more room on surfaces.
  • Keep rubbers (erasers!!!) clean by storing in an old film canister.
  • When transporting very large paintings over short distances, balance them (edge on) on a roller skate or skateboard for easy manoeuvrability.
  • If you run out of charcoal but can find a dead willow twig, wrap it in tinfoil and put in hot oven. Carefully remove from oven and unwrap foil.  Willow will now be charcoal.
  • When painting outdoors wear waterproof trousers these will keep you clean, dry, and warm and allow you to sit anywhere you choose.  You just have to hope you don't meet any of your friends!





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