Back to the Basics: Supplies

I am a self taught artist, and I have never really thought about my approach or how I would go about teaching others the skills that I have learned over the years, but I hear a lot of people assume art is a “gift” or a “talent.” I suppose this is true to some degree, but I believe that everyone is in fact an artist and that “talent” lies in the perseverance and overcoming the urge to give up every time you get discouraged, whether it be from an external factor or your own.

There is no right or wrong way to paint, but all artists face the same challenges. My hope, in sharing some of my own experiences and techniques I have developed, is to inspire some of my readers and to help them avoid some of same the pitfalls I face.

Let me begin by explaining that I use acrylic paint on canvas, and I use a glazing method. This method can be particular daunting at first, but it is incredibly enjoyable and forgiving once you get the hang of it. As I said earlier though, there is no right or wrong way to paint, but if you do not find this method enjoyable, it may not be a style that is right for you.

These are my supplies:

Golden Acrylic Paint

Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Gloss)

Masterson Sta-Wet Premier Palette (tray, acrylic paper, and sponge)

Brushes, I prefer a 2 and 4 Round “Simply Simmons”

A lucky water glass (I’ve been using this mason jar since I first started. Haha)

Fredrix Ultra Smooth Portrait Grade Canvas or Masterpiece Elite Portrait Smooth Linen Canvas

Photo references

(preferably your own photographs, but if you are not into photography or have friends who are, there are many stock photography web sites where for a small fee, you can purchase nice quality photos to use as reference. Just be sure to read their policies regarding copyright.)


All of these items can be purchased online or at your favorite art supplier. I have tried many brands of acrylic paint over the years, but I prefer Golden exclusively for the color and consistency of the paint. Feel free to experiment with any brand you like, but even if you are a beginner, I highly recommend buying the best paint you can afford. I have found that anything “student” grade or economy is frustrating to work with and gives poor results.


About Susan Van Sant

My name is Susan Van Sant, and I live in beautiful Grand Rapids, MI. I am a self-representing artist and have been creating and selling my artwork across the globe since 2007. Each painting has been carefully rendered on either stretched canvas or gessoed wood panel. I prefer acrylic paint, using a glazing technique with many layers that appear to “float” upon another which results in almost a dimensional quality with gorgeous depth of color. The edges are painted black, so the artwork can hang with or without a frame. Highest quality materials are used, ensuring my paintings will last many generations. My fine art prints are hand-pulled by me, the artist, ensuring the best possible likeliness of the originals. View all posts by Susan Van Sant

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