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.
I 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.
When 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.
If 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.
When 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.
I 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?