Few of the snags that discourage moms in pursuing their art careers include less storage space for art materials to fit in, no extra space for setting up an easel or bench, health concerns in case kids accidentally inhale or consume any toxic art medium and last but not the least dealing with emergencies while painting. Today, I’m going to share some ideas related to accessible Arts tool kit worth investing in as now we are not only artists but moms too. With kids playing around the house all day long, we must consider precautions to avoid any undesirable set back. Check out the following list and have a go at what suits you best.
- Canvas Pads/ Paper pads
- Convenient Easels
- Brushes and Tools kit
- Disposable paint palette
- Shelf/ Cabinet as a storage
- Kids safe mediums
Canvas Pads/ Sheet pads
While you’re just starting off to practice, avoid investing in large sized canvases and sheets. They require an extra storage space and won’t be handy to put away in case you need to attend to your child or any other gig comes up. Canvas pads and watercolor sheet pads are available in multiple sizes. Sizes that are mostly used include A2, A3 A4, and A5. They are certainly quick to grab and easy to stash away without getting uptight about ruining your paintings.
Choose convenient Easels
The day I decided to start over, first thing that popped in to my head was “where would I place my canvas pads or frames while painting?” The idea of owning a legged easel drifted away the moment I visualized my boys tripping over any of the legs and hurting themselves. I needed compact, portable and convenient to-put-aside easel that wouldn’t get in the way of my usual life routine. I found the following fit for the purpose:
- Wall easels
- Table Top easels
- Box Easels
The idea of wall easels seemed most convenient as they required no floor place at all and could be mounted on the wall at appropriate height, away from kids reach. Unfortunately I couldn’t find wall easels at nearby art shops or on-line art stores in Pakistan. To get them made on order we must have a correct knowledge about measurements and specifications to avoid any technical blowouts. If you’re considering wall easels then try and mount shelves or a small storage cupboard on either side of the easel to make painting process hassle free.
French easels don’t seem to be much different than a regular box easel, except that they come with added features. They might turn out to be heavier as well because they consist of everything that is required of an easel, compactly fixed together, ready to assemble. Usually, they contain a built in storage box for paints, palette, brushes and supplies. The legs are folded and fixed on the sides of the box and conveniently come in handy outdoors. Indoors, however, the easel might take a lot of floor space when assembled completely and stood on legs. Attached in front of the easel is a “canvas holder” which adjusts easily at any length of the tilt.
Plain Box easels work fine for me indoors, as currently I require minimum accessories attached. They are usually light-weight portable easels and don’t come with a tripod or any extra drawers. If to be used outdoors they can be placed on the ground or any stable desk. I already own a study table which functions perfectly as soon as I place my box easel on top. They are convenient to travel with and can be assembled, effortlessly. They are mostly suitable for small size canvases and sheet pad and are ideal for initial practices. The box when closed serves as a storage for supplies and small size sketch pads. Above all, they can be quickly put away as soon as you’re needed elsewhere.
Brushes and Tool kit
All of us are aware of the amount of time we dedicate to keep our brushes safe and clean. I had never preserved my paint brushes in a brush kit, earlier, instead I always opted for a huge Jar. Jar helped me with an ease of access and the only shields which protected them from dust were the brush bristle covers, which I happened to loose every now and then. However, now that I have kids sneaking around my art stuff and running off while secretly hunching over a tightly clenched paint brush in the hand so that “mama can’t see!”, I put them away in a brush and tool kit as soon as I’m done painting. Kids might even chew on bristles and accidentally swallow. To avoid such harmful consequences its essential to take effective measures. The kit comes in multiple sizes and is usually compact and manageable.
Disposable paint palette
Yes, we are all aware of the effort we put in scooping some moments out of our daily schedule and dedicating those to making art, scraping paint palette and keeping it clean can turn out to be quite another nerve-racking task.
Disposable paint palettes have made the cleaning process quicker and uncomplicated. Above all, it doesn’t give me an excuse not to paint. I mostly use water proof polystyrene foam trays as a palette and dispose them off as soon as paint starts to build up. Its light weight and can be placed in any direction( vertically against the wall or rested on table top) for convenience without having to worry about paint splotching any of the things around.
A shelf or cabinet at height
Installing a cabinet or a shelf at an arts working space is not as complicated as we consider it might be. At home, when there is little space to work we should consider “walls” as our repository. Installing shelves at a particular height from the floor would allow you to work freely without stressing yourself about kids reaching or grabbing any thing that might turn out to be harmful for them. The cup of water used for painting, wet palette and knives & brushes filled with paint can immediately be placed on top of shelf as and when needed.
Kids safe mediums
Try using kids safe mediums at-least until your kids are old enough to protect themselves from inhaling toxic and harmful paint chemicals. I started off as an oil painting artist and explored different mediums along. I had worked with pastels, charcoal, pencil colors, glass paints, fabric paints and watercolors. When I was in the process of re-starting my art career I also had to think about the medium that I would work in, as now, painting in oils, pastels and glass paints was no more an option. Oils and glass paints consist of harmful fumes and pastels are made up of toxic chemicals which can be easily inhaled by kids.
During the process I wondered which medium would work best with such boundaries and found “acrylic” paints fit for the purpose. The more I studied about acrylics the more I fell in love with the medium. Acrylic paints are versatile in nature and kid-friendly at the same time. Unlike oils, pastels and glass paints, the fumes do not pollute the air. Watercolors and pencil colors are among other safe mediums to work with.
Being a busy mom and finding time to follow a passion requires an equal amount of energy and proper planning. Valuable hacks mentioned above can come in handy as and when needed.
Picture reference for Rue wall easel: https://www.pinterest.com.au/jerrysartarama/
Picture reference for box easels: https://bestseekers.com/best-painting-easels/