Speedpainting 101… Part 2 Materials and Equipment

Posted: September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

Before I get started, I feel the need to give a small disclaimer. The way I speed paint is not necessarily the way you’re going to speed paint. You need to experiment with what works for you. Here’s what works for me:

easel-free-canvasEasel: I have four easels that I use in my traveling presentations, with a fifth that I am trying to figure out how best to use. My favorite easel is the model shown to the right. It stands about seven feet tall and can take a surface of about five feet. I’ve worked with other easels in the past, but this one works best for what I do. It has a really easy height adjustment and works extremely well. The downside of this easel is it is quite large and I need every bit of the length of the back of my minivan to store it. The other difficulty is I once ministered in a place with a low ceiling and it didn’t work out too well (fortunately I had another shorter easel). Still for my money, this is the best. I have two of this model, one my wife got me for Christmas, the other one I picked up at Michael’s for about $80 with a great coupon and a sale. Normal price is about $200.

When looking for an easel for speed painting, sturdiness is a factor. When I started, I used a travel easel and it didn’t work well. Speed painting is a contact sport. You can’t help but hit your surface pretty hard when you’re going that fast and you don’t want an easel you can easily knock over. (I had this happen once. It was not fun).

Tarps: This might be the most important thing, especially for those of us who work in churches and other places with nice, expensive, carpet. I used to use the clear plastic stuff on a roll, and frankly it was a pain. I now purchase industrial tarps. They’re usually blue plastic, but I found some that are brown on one side and grey on the other. I find they look nicer since most of the places I go have brown or gray carpet. You also can’t go wrong with a little gaffer’s tape to stick them down, especially if you set up in a high traffic area.

lg_b22913_masonite-hardboardPainting Surfaces: I gave up using canvasses a long time ago, for this reason, they are ungodly expensive especially in the large sizes used in speed painting. Most of the places I go do not have large budgets and the cost of canvasses got really prohibitive really quickly. Instead I use a substance artists have painted on for years. It’s called Masonite, or hardboard. It’s used as sub flooring and you can get it at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. They will even cut it to size for a small fee, which they sometimes wave. I always paint mine with a thin coat of black acrylic paint. (Why I work on black surfaces is a topic for another day.) My easels (and most easels) all have a grove in the part that holds the canvas in place. That groove is for holding panels. I usually try to get 3/16 thick if I can get it, but 1/8″ works as well. There are a number of nice features to Masonite. It ships flatter, it’s a bit sturdier, and it’s piles cheaper. Also if you make a mistake or no one buys the painting, you can always add another coat of black paint to it and reuse it.

That’s all for now. Next time, we’ll look at paint brushes and a bit more on technique.

God bless!

  1. […] been posting these posts (1,2,3,4) to tell you about how to do the actual paintings and there is more to come, but I wanted to […]

  2. Alexxaz says:

    What is the best type of paint to use on this surface?

  3. Alexxaz says:

    Like the best paint on preparing the surface with black. And 1) what’s the name of this easel? 2) do you have to sand and prepare the hardboard before painting the black background?

    • amokarts says:

      The frame is known as an h frame easel, made by Artist’s Loft. It works very nicely and if you catch a sale at Michaels, you can get them pretty inexpensively. As far as treating the surface, I personally don’t sand it. It may increase adhesion but I haven’t had any issues. I paint them with Artist’s Loft black acrylic. It’s flow paint and comes in a quart squeeze bottle. This has worked for me, but of course you will want to experiment and find what works best for your style. Many artists use liquid latex paint for their speed painting, for example, but that doesn’t work for me, mainly because I paint in a lot of churches and the flying paint would get me disinvited very quickly… 😀
      Hope this helps,

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