Shopping For Paint With Your Phone

Like many artists, I go through art supplies like water. I’m constantly shopping to keep my paint stash stocked, so I don’t run out of my favorite Sunflower Yellow right in the middle of a project.

paintAI store my paint in plastic shoe box sized drawers, which are the perfect height for craft paint bottles. I have three drawers right now, sorted by colors: red/pink/purple; yellow/orange/earth tones; blues and greens. As you can see, I store them upside-down. This helps keep the binder from rising to the top, and reminds me to shake each bottle well before using it.

paintBWhen I feel a craft store run coming on, I grab my phone, open each drawer, and snap a photo of the bottles. Storing the bottles upside-down shows me the actual paint color, rather than the printed dot on top of the bottle, or the color on the label.

Now, I have a photo image of all the paints I already have, to carry with me when I shop.

paintFIf I’m running low on a specific color, I take a close-up photo, showing the brand and color name. This one happens to be Americana Tuscan Red, my favorite red.

paintDWhen I’m out shopping, these photos help me figure out which colors I don’t have, but should. For example, it looks as though I don’t really have a good, dark purple. I have one, but it’s on the blue side. Maybe I should look for one that’s less blue. On the flip side, I do not need another bottle of primary red paint.

paintEI also use these photos to help me from buying the same five colors over and over again. (Hello, Anita’s Heather, Hot Pink, Tangerine, and Island Blue.) I can zoom in on the photo, and match the bottom of the bottle in the drawer to the one I’ve chosen. It looks like I don’t really need this bottle right now, since I already have two bottles of pretty much the same color in the drawer.

This idea can work with all sorts of supplies:

  • Can’t remember which brand of gesso you really love? Take a photo of the label, and carry it with you, so when you see a sale, you buy the right one.
  • Want to expand your selection of brushes? Take photos of the ones you use most, so you can see the name and size number. That way, you won’t buy a brush you already have.

How will you use this tip when you’re shopping for supplies?

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