Favorite Art Supplies 2017

Hello friend! Today I want to share some of my absolute favorite art materials with you! These are the supplies I use for almost every painting and are my holy grails!

But first I want to apologize for the lack of content on my blog this year. (And apologizing is lame, I know!!). I’m currently in the middle of painting a new series – more details about this are coming soon – and I’m living with so many unfinished paintings that I didn’t post much on here.

And secondly: I’m working on video material at the moment. I’m filming lots of behind the scenes videos of me painting and want to get that going before I start with blog posts and Instagram again. I can’t wait to tell you everything about it soon! You’ll be the first to know!

BRUSHES

GERSTAECKER flat brushes, 2 & 3 inches

My favorite are these cheap flat brushes. Mine are from the German brand GERSTAECKER, but every cheap, flat brush would work. I love them because they get really scratchy and coarse over time. They give the paintings great texture and you are able to see the brush strokes in the finished painting. I love how it gives life to my art.

I also don’t need to take good care of them, they work even if I leave them in the dirty paint water for a few hours….or days. I usually work with a 50 & 70mm size, which is around 2 & 3 inches.

Also, the bigger the better! Don’t use brushes that are too small, it will make such a huge different in how loose your painting will look. Give it a try!

ACRYLIC PAINTS

GOLDEN acrylic paints – standard & fluid acrylics.

I always try out different paint brands, but there are some I come back to quite often. #1 is GOLDEN acrylics. These are probably the most famous acrylic colors out there at the moment, the pigmentation is amazing and they have a huge color range. They also come in different formulations, such as open acrylics (a slower drying version that simulates the feeling of painting with oil paints), heavy body or fluid acrylics.

The downside is that they are very expensive. If you are like me and like to waste lots of paint (meaning: putting thick blobs on your canvas or palette) this might not be for you. If you work on a smaller scale or already sell your paintings, these are definitely highly recommended!

I think the downside to having amazing art supplies is the fear of using them up because…well…you paid a whole lot of cash for them. If this is going to stifle your creative process I suggest opting for cheaper paints and upgrading when you are ready.

AMSTERDAM Expert acrylics

My favorite cheaper-but-still-awesome paints are AMSTERDAM Expert acrylics as well as the SCHMINCKE Akademie acrylics. They are both artist grade paints that just aren’t as highly pigmented as GOLDEN.

When I work with them I use my paints more freely and I’m not too concerned about my paint budget. They also have a great color range and are easy to get (at least here in Germany!). I think for most artists these are good enough for any work you do.

DALER ROWNEY system 3 Heavy Body acrylics.

The last on my list are these heavy body acrylics by DALER ROWNEY system 3. They are even cheaper than the others, not as lightfast and pigmented, but I do love their heavy body texture. They are very thick and creamy and perfect for parts of my paintings where I want lots of texture & color or for working with a palette knife.

WATERCOLOR PAINT

SCHMINCKE Horadam watercolor 1/2 pans

When I work on a painting, I use acrylics. When I work in my sketchbooks or when I’m on the go, I usually use watercolor. My watercolor paints of choice for their excellent pigmentation and lightfastness are the SCHMINCKE Horadam pans. I tend to buy the 1/2 pans because I don’t go through a lot of them and I love the portability of the small pans.

My currently most used colors are: 216 Pure Yellow, 369 Quinacridone Magenta, 495 Ultramarine Violet, 480 Mountain Blue (I’d recommend getting a single pigment blue though, it’s better for mixing colors), 349 Cadmium Red Light & 787 Payne’s Grey Blueish.

The colors in my palette that I don’t use as often are: 214 Chromium Orange Hue, 519 Phthalo Green, 524 May Green, 655 Yellow Ochre & 668 Burnt Umber.

SPRAY PAINT

MTN (Montana) water based spray paint

There is only one spray paint I know about that I can use indoors and that does not smell chemically, and it’s the MTN water based spray paint. Perfect for using street art inspired marks in your paintings, or even on paper. The only negative thing is that the caps clog up really fast. So always work exactly as instructed on the back of the can! (And buy plenty of caps….)

CANVAS FABRIC

I love stretching my own canvases. If you buy pre stretched canvas they are usually already treated with a painting medium that seals the canvas, for example gesso. I however love to work on pure canvas and want the effect of the paints sinking into the fabric.

I buy my canvas from a fabric wholesale, it’s usually a lot cheaper than buying the canvas from art supply stores.
I love to use a heavy cotton fabric (’sailcloth‘) that isn’t bleached. The natural coloring gives it more character in my opinion, especially because I don’t like to cover every part of the surface with paint.

WATERCOLOR PAPER

HAHNEMÜHLE Britannia matt & rough 300 g/m²

Lastly, these are my favorite paper brands to use! I love the HAHNEMÜHLE Britannia for smaller works. The matt (cold pressed) version is perfect for watercolor, the rough version is great for smaller acrylic works. It’s so rough, that it even looks like a canvas texture.

GERSTAECKER Jubiläumsblock 425 g/m²

For larger works I love to use an even heavier paper. My favorite paper that’s on the cheaper side is the GERSTAECKER Jubiläumsblock, my favorite more expensive paper is the HAHNEMÜHLE Cornwall. Both of them are very heavy and don’t buckle much (or at all, depending on your way of using them). I love to use them mostly for acrylic painting studies or whenever I don’t feel like working directly on canvas.

That was it for my favorite materials! I’ve probably missed something, but I’m definitely going to do more articles like these in the future, there are so many topics to talk about: Favorite apps I use in my workflow, favorite pens & pencils, favorite art books, etc.
Please comment with what you’d love to see covered!

See you soon and have a fantastic day!
Franzi

The Latest & Greatest

I’ll soon be back for more! Until then, enjoy a few of my latest paintings!

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Breaking Down Obstacles I" Acrylics & oil pastel on stretched canvas 30x45 cm / 15.7x17.7 inch available for 360 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Breaking Down Obstacles I“
Acrylics & oil pastel on stretched canvas
30×45 cm / 15.7×17.7 inch
available for 360 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Breaking Down Obstacles II" Acrylics & oil pastel on stretched canvas 35x30 cm / 13.8x11.8 inch available for 215 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Breaking Down Obstacles II“
Acrylics & oil pastel on stretched canvas
35×30 cm / 13.8×11.8 inch
available for 215 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Breaking Down Obstacles III" Acrylics on stretched canvas 45x45 cm / 17.7x17.7 inch available for 405 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Breaking Down Obstacles III“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
45×45 cm / 17.7×17.7 inch
available for 405 € + shipping

Love & light,
Franzi

The Silver Lining

„We are the silver lining in any and every dark cloud we could ever find. There is no need to go looking for the light when you bring it with you.“ – Tyler Knott Gregson

A tiny update today, because this painting doesn’t fit in with a collection. Just a stand alone kinda guy. Light breaking through stormy clouds. Enjoy!

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "The Silver Lining" Acrylics on stretched canvas 50x50 cm / 19.7x19.7 inch available for 480 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „The Silver Lining“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
50×50 cm / 19.7×19.7 inch
available for 480 € + shipping

Have a nice week & keep inspired! 🙂
Franzi

A Focused & Inspired Start

Hello beautiful people! I’m very sorry for the 2 month blog hiatus, I had lots of non-art-related work to do and couldn’t get time off to work on my own business & paint! But for now, let’s just step into the future with the good things in mind!

The last trimester of 2016 just started and it’s such an important time for me. The end of the year, it gets cold, there is so much time to work and all the distraction from holidays and going outside just fall away for the most part. The only bad thing is that it’s getting darker and darker, which is annoying for someone like me who only paints in daylight, but hey – we have to make the most of the time & conditions we have available, right? The best thing is, having 2,5 months time of the year left to just focus on ART & going forward.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Zen Garden" Acrylics & spray paint on stretched canvas 30x24 cm / 11.8x9.5 inch available for 150 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Zen Garden“
Acrylics & spray paint on stretched canvas
30×24 cm / 11.8×9.5 inch
available for 150 € + shipping

A little more than a year ago I started this 100 day painting challenge and I’ve been so happy and inspired since. I could have never imagined that I’d go back to painting one day. I was always quite taken aback by the traditional art market, it’s icons and the way everything had to be in line with the galleries and all the rules of what to do and what not to do to be a successful artist. As an introvert it is so freeing to not have to deal with a lot of these limiting beliefs. I do what feels right, I can grow daily and explore new ways to be an artist. I can do whatever I want to do with my business and find a way to be much more personally involved with my collectors. I’m doing what feels right to me, what I really want from my career, and not what I think an artist has to be to be successful.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Summer Salad I" Acrylics on stretched canvas 15x15 cm / 5.9x5.9 inch available for 50 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Summer Salad I“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
15×15 cm / 5.9×5.9 inch
available for 50 € + shipping

I’m very inspired with the idea of sharing inspiration. I love to learn and study, it’s just what I do. I don’t want to ever settle on working in a specific way, I want to find new ways to make my life the best life ever. I learn a lot and I love to share this part of me a lot more in the future. Especially on this blog. Writing is not my biggest asset (I’m a visual thinker, if you haven’t guessd already!), but I just try to get the message across.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Summer Salad II" Acrylics on stretched canvas 15x15 cm / 5.9x5.9 inch available for 50 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Summer Salad II“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
15×15 cm / 5.9×5.9 inch
available for 50 € + shipping

I’d also love to share inspiration in my paintings and the idea that you, lovely collector, will sit at home and be inspired by my art on your wall day in and day out. I’d love to work with you to commission paintings that really express what keeps you going in the right direction in your life. A daily reminder of your vision. I think sharing inspiration is one of the biggest things we can do as human beings. Always pushing each other ahead & in the right direction, realizing our full potential.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Summer Salad III" Acrylics on stretched canvas 15x15 cm / 5.9x5.9 inch available for 50 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Summer Salad III“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
15×15 cm / 5.9×5.9 inch
available for 50 € + shipping

Keep inspired & I’ll see you soon!
Franziska

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Lime Cocktail" Acrylics on stretched canvas 30x24 cm / 11.8x9.5 inch available for 150 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Lime Cocktail“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
30×24 cm / 11.8×9.5 inch
available for 150 € + shipping

Prague Vacation

Last month we spent a week in Prague. It was the first time I’ve went there, even though it’s not too far away from where I grew up. We experienced a beautiful city and met lots of great people from around the world, it was really fantastic.

For people with a smaller budget who love historical cities I can’t recommend it enough. It’s full of beautiful buildings and in contrast to, for example Paris, it’s so much cheaper to stay there (and a lot easier to experience the whole city by walking because the main ‚attractions‘ are all quite close to each other).

But, without further ado, here are some of my favorite phone images:

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I hope you are having a great day!
See you soon when I’m back in the studio 🙂
Franzi

Spring Collection

I’m in between vacations at the moment. We spend the last week in Prague and Berlin and tomorrow I’m going to visit my parents and then spend another 10 days in Mallorca with my mum. So, don’t worry if there’s not so much posting going on, I’m seeking lots of inspiration for the next year and new adventures.

I am always really inspired by travelling. These paintings here are part II of my spring collection and it was mostly inspired by Thailand and underwater life – snorkeling, fish, islands, iridescent water and colors everywhere.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Valentine" Acrylics on stretched canvas 20x20 cm / 7.9x7.9 inch available for 85 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Valentine“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
20×20 cm / 7.9×7.9 inch
available for 85 € + shipping

I won’t be doing another painting blog update before the end of August, but I might schedule a few images from my Prague vacation for you because the architecture was just so stunning. I felt like walking through a movie set most of the time.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Happy Happy" Acrylics on stretched canvas 20x20 cm / 7.9x7.9 inch available for 85 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Happy Happy“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
20×20 cm / 7.9×7.9 inch
available for 85 € + shipping

Otherwise I’m taking my sketchbook with me and I hope it’s possible to get a lot of beach painting done. I’ll update on my Instagram anyway, so check that out!

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Coral Reef" Acrylics on stretched canvas 20x20 cm / 7.9x7.9 inch available for 85 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Coral Reef“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
20×20 cm / 7.9×7.9 inch
available for 85 € + shipping

And now I finally need to pack the rest of my stuff and decide on which art supplies to take with me, which is never an easy decision 😀 I hope you are having a great month, smile and have fun and enjoy the summer!

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Painting With Light" Acrylics & spray paint on stretched canvas 40x50 cm / 15.7x19.7 inch available for 400 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Painting With Light“
Acrylics & spray paint on stretched canvas
40×50 cm / 15.7×19.7 inch
available for 400 € + shipping

See you soon!
Franzi

Get wallpapers of my abstract paintings for your phone!

Bored of the same old wallpaper for your phone? I think I’ve got a solution for you. I’ve made a little zip file from some of my favorite paintings from the upcoming spring collection.

Just sign up to my Mailing List HERE (or sign up below) and you can download them. They should work with all common smartphones. I only send an email every other month or so, so don’t fear getting spammed. It’s updates about my newest collections, current inspirations and just a general overview about what’s going on in my life. If you always forget checking for new blog posts then this list is made for you.

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Thank you very much for subscribing, I can’t wait to have you on my list and share all the great behind the scenes information with you!
Have a great day,
Franzi

Creative Flow vs. Exhaustion

Do you know the book Do Your Work? Check out this quote by the author, Steven Pressfield: „We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted, but we can accomplish nothing until we act.“!

You may wonder why it’s already two months again since I’ve last checked in on here. The truth is I’m in a very exciting creative discovery phase and I needed some time to be offline and just create. I started using Instagram again for daily micro blogging, so follow me there if you aren’t already for more regular updates!

But I’m still loving to blog and I’ve gone through a lot of experimentation in the last few months and definitely want to share a lot of it with you in the coming weeks. I’m usually a huuuge procrastinator. Not really because I don’t have interest in the things I do, but because I love to do so many things that I always jump from one activity to the next once I’ve mastered it and it’s no longer new and interesting.

A few weeks ago I read into Do The Work by Steven Pressfield. It’s a tiny little book and written on point, no talking for hundreds of pages, just quotable goodness on every page. It had a huge impact on me, because I loooove to do research. I love to learn, I love to journal, I love to figure out what to do and how to do it and how to do it well, but then I just procrastinate to DO THE WORK.

It really opened my eyes about the artistic process, similar to the 100 days of painting I did last year, how important it is to just be in the studio, just do the work and enjoy the process and don’t think about anything other than the moment and experiment. I feel so accomplished in those last few weeks, I kinda fear getting burned out because I’m SO much in flow that I can’t really relax. I’m laying in bed at night and think about all the great things I want to accomplish tomorrow. Guess now’s a great time to do more meditation!

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Thai Vacation I" Acrylics on stretched canvas 20x20 cm / 7.9x7.9 inch available for 85 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Thai Vacation I“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
20×20 cm / 7.9×7.9 inch
available for 85 € + shipping

I want to do a book review for you, show you some great quotes from the book. I’m also dying to read his other works, especially the The War Of Art. Some questions for you:
When are YOU in flow? How do you feel when you are creating and everything outside of you just blends into nothing? What are your favorite books on the artistic process? Tell me about it 🙂

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Thai Vacation II" Acrylics on stretched canvas 20x20 cm / 7.9x7.9 inch available for 85 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Thai Vacation II“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
20×20 cm / 7.9×7.9 inch
available for 85 € + shipping

See you soon & stay creative!
Franzi

March & April Painting Update

Hello everyone! It’s great to be back. The last two months I had a lot of ‚real‘ work to do and I’ve spent some great time visiting my best friend in Berlin, so with the little time I had for painting I decided to skip the documentation part of it and focused only on the artworks themselves.

Now that I have time again I’ve been photographing the paintings and try to catch up with the catalogueing and hopefully soon with my Social Media. I have to say that I missed updating this Blog in particular, because it really helps my work to reflect on it after it’s finished and think about in which directions I want to continue my journey.

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This painting series was inspired by the orange & pink colors in the background. It’s usually very hard for me to mix the perfect orange color, I guess I’m too spoiled by screen colors because I can’t seem to make my oranges vibrant enough for my taste.

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I’m really inspired to paint bigger at the moment. Because I’m painting at home it’s a bit of a challenge to organize alle my canvases and I don’t want to go really big if they don’t sell immediately. So for the next few weeks I’ve thought about working on paper instead and just try to adapt to the new format.

I have lots of canvas artworks still to upload here though, so I promise to be back at least once a week with an update and some more in depths posts on my process. I’d love to write more about inspiration in particular and show you some of my favorite current artists.

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Learning Curve I" Acrylics on stretched canvas 30x30 cm / 11.8x11.8 inch available for 180 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Learning Curve I“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
30×30 cm / 11.8×11.8 inch
available for 185 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Learning Curve II" Acrylics on stretched canvas 30x30 cm / 11.8x11.8 inch available for 180 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Learning Curve II“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
30×30 cm / 11.8×11.8 inch
available for 185 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 "Learning Curve III" Acrylics on stretched canvas 30x30 cm / 11.8x11.8 inch available for 180 € + shipping

Franziska Schwade, 2016 „Learning Curve III“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
30×30 cm / 11.8×11.8 inch
available for 185 € + shipping

Have a nice week!
Franzi

How To Photograph Your Paintings For Prints / Your Website

Today’s blog post is about how to photograph your paintings the right way, so that it can shine in your online portfolio, your Instagram page or give you a great template for print making.

As some of you might know, I’m a photographer and I know that I have better equipment than most people. But there are certain things you can do to make sure you get the best out of your photographs. Even with a smartphone you can at least get great looking photographs for your online portfolio. They might not be good enough to make prints from, but it’s good to get you started.

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Set up your painting on a neutral background. Gray card is optional.
Photograph is straight out of my camera and will be transformed into a beautiful print.

This tutorial is best for smaller work that you can photograph on the ground. Most people photograph paintings on the wall, but I always prefer that I can control the light a bit more when I’m able to move the painting around. Bigger paintings should definitely be photographed on the wall, with a tripod, which is even easier for getting steady images. You can still use my guide if you do it that way, just adjust the steps a little bit.

For this step you’ll need a white or middle gray background – a big sheet of paper or in my case just another blank canvas. Better go with a white as your gray might have a color cast and may not be a neutral gray. You can also use a gray card next to your image which helps you balance your colors in post processing later.

Make sure your painting is evenly lit! If you use light-reflective colors make sure that they don’t get a mirrored effect unless you want it that way (for example my Payne’s Grey is usually more reflective than other colors and so can look much too light in a photograph). Really try to look at the light that hits your painting, your eyes usually don’t notice shadows very well. Look if your background has the same brightness from top to bottom.

Also important are avoiding color casts from the sides (furniture, your wall color, trees in front of your windows, etc.) or from yourself. Stand on the shadowy side and try to cast no shadow on your painting when taking the photograph. Wear neutral clothing so that the color from yourself doesn’t transfer to the reflected light on your painting. Try to take the photograph so that your camera hovers over the middle of your painting, so that the perspective is as good as possible. (Edges of the painting should be parallel to your image edges in the end).

An overcast day, that is still very bright is best. Midday light works very well if the sun isn’t shining. Take your image as a RAW file if possible. If you don’t use a good camera make sure your settings are at least the highest resolution/quality possible for your device.

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After you have taken your photograph you should try to look at it at full resolution (zoomed in) to see if it is really sharp. So, it has to be in focus & it also has to be taken with a steady hand – no motion blur. Motion blur happens when you take photographs in too dark a room or if you have shaky hands.

The color correction process is a bit too detailed to talk about in this tutorial and depends very much on how good your camera is and what software you use. Most important is your white balance setting, so you need to change your colors with the help of the gray card or your neutral background. If you don’t know how to do that just google your editing program of choice + ’set white balance‘.

I also change certain colors of my image. Because I use neon colors in nearly all of my paintings my camera – even though a professional full frame DSLR – has problems with showing for example neon pink color the way it looks in reality. I have to push settings around in the color, saturation & luminosity tabs until I think that the photograph looks most like the original painting. This step is optional for you perfectionists out there 😉

Other important settings to look for: Contrast or Curves, to bring back the punch of your colors and don’t let the photograph look mushy. Exposure, Highlights or Brightness, I want my images to pop so I make sure that the white spots are really white and look amazing.

The rest is in the fine details and again, depends on your editing program. But white balance, contrast & exposure are in my opinion the most important for a lively looking photograph.

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When I’m done with all my color correcting I use some guide lines to see if my edges are perfectly straight. Here in this example I did a very good job photographing and need only some minor touch ups (Because I’m one of the perfectionists!).

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I select the image, and use Transform (Cmnd+T if you’re using Photoshop) in the setting Skew.

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I then drag the image edges around until all the sides of the painting align to my guidelines.

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Now I can crop my image inside the painting’s edges so that I have a flawless photograph for printing. In this case I photographed a square canvas. With the skew transform and because of the perspective it could be that the image isn’t a perfect square anymore. If you still want a perfect square you can usually set the crop settings to 1×1 before you crop your painting and it will make sure that every side is the same length.

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Lastly, after I made my crop I look how the image looks like on a white background, because sometimes you can see irregularities from you canvas edges you don’t want to show on your prints. You can only really notice those if your finished image sits on a white background (the way it would show up on paper). So, test it out.

If everything looks good, voilá! You are ready. If you worked with Camera RAW, save as TIFF. If you photographed in JPG make sure it’s the highest quality JPG your program allows you to save.

Franziska Schwade - Daily Painting 151115 "Bananas" Acrylics on stretched canvas 30x30 cm / 11.8x11.8 inch

Franziska Schwade – Daily Painting 151115 „Bananas“
Acrylics on stretched canvas
30×30 cm / 11.8×11.8 inch
available for 185 € + shipping

If you have any more questions, just ask 🙂 I hope it was helpful!
See you soon, Franzi