Favorite Things Top Ten, Number 2: Twinrocker Paper

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Assisi Guardian, Watercolor, 24″ x 22,” on Twinrocker Paper, currently in the Kansas Watercolor Society’s National Exhibition at the Mark Arts Center in Wichita, Kansas, Juror, Dean Mitchell

I grew up in a small town in northern Indiana, called Logansport.   Unbeknownst to me not more than 30 miles away was a small factory making handmade papers for stationary and watercolor.  I drove by it many times on my way to Purdue University, where I went to college when I would drive home for a “home fix” and to have my mom make my favorite meals.  She is an excellent cook, and I’m proud to say I have inherited her skills!  

www.KimMinichiello.comWhen I started painting in watercolor I visited an Indiana artists at his home gallery and studio, Terry Armstrong.  He was showing me some of his latest work and I loved the paper he was working on.  It was Twinrocker.  Then he sat me straight up when he told me it’s made in Indiana, in Brookston!  Thirty two miles and thirty-eight minutes from where I grew up!  What are the chances of that? I always go and stock up on paper when I visit my mom. I blogged about one of my visits to Twinrocker, here

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You can order a sample pack to try it!

I love this paper for a variety of reasons.  It’s the only handmade made paper made entirely in the United States and I like supporting this business!  I love the weight of the paper, the texture, and the type and amount of sizing on it.  My preference is for the rough texture, but I have also used the cold press.  I can’t explain it but the paint flows differently on it than other papers I use.  It’s slightly more expensive but totally worth it for me! 

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 7, IKEA Wall Shelves

www.KimMinichiello.comWhen I set up my studio after I renovated it  a couple of years ago, I added these shallow  IKEA wall shelves so that I  could have a space to display and store my paintings.  What is nice is that I can change them out and have different work up at different times.  They come in lengths of 22″ and 45″ and I put one 45″ and one 22″ together to make one longer shelf.  The crazy IKEA name is, RIBBA.  I think they have discontinued the RIBBA shelf and that name is exclusively being used for their picture frames, but they do have what they are calling a picture ledge, and it’s crazy IKEA name is, MOSSLANDA.

If  you crack up over all the crazy IKEA names, then you will enjoy this video of this guy accompanying his girlfriend on an IKEA shopping trip. It’s a hoot!

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 8, Moo Eraser & The Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad

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The Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad & the Moo Eraser

Technically there are two things here, but since they are both erasers I’m counting them as one!  I discovered the Moo Eraser a couple of years ago at the Florida Watercolor Society Convention.  What is so special about it you might ask?  I’ve actually been able to erase pencil marks off of my watercolor paper after I have put paint down.  No other eraser I have used does this without destroying the surface of the paper. They are very gentle on the paper surface and don’t create a lot of small crumbs. I also use it while I’m drawing my image on the paper if I need to erase.   I can cut them in small pieces to get sharp edges and corners. They are kind of hard to find but when I find them I stock up.  It’s the only eraser I pretty much use for everything except for a kneaded eraser occasionally.

You might ask what on God’s green earth is the knitted puffy thing.  I have been using the Alvin Dry Cleaning pad as a designer,  since I started drafting back in the…. well let’s just say back in the day before computers and everything was hand drafted.  It’s a knitted bag full of small eraser crumbs that when you squeeze out deposits them on your paper. When drafting it removes the extra graphite on your vellum that can cloud up blue prints.  (OK now I’m really dating myself.) I use it now to lighten the graphite if it’s gotten to heavy after I draw my image on my watercolor paper. Just squeeze out a small amount of crumbs on your paper and then rub the pad lightly over the drawing. Another indispensable tool at this point is a drafting brush.  That’s a freebie so there really will be 11 favorite things.

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Drafting Brush

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My Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 10

In the spirit of Oprah and fellow Hoosier, David Letterman, I thought I would do a “My Favorite Things, Top Ten List,” this holiday season, all art related of course!  Maybe you could add these things to your Christmas list or give to artist friends or loved ones!  Let me know if these are your favorites too in the comment list or if you are anxious try something out yourself.  So let the list begin…

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The Aquarellable Stabilo Pencil # 8046 

 I love this pencil for life drawing.  I was partial to just the black Prismacolor pencil, but the beauty of this one is, I can go over and melt it with water to create value and washes.  It comes in other colors too as well as graphite, but I prefer the black.

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I don’t always use water, this is just straight pencil no water.  I just the waxiness of it to get really light and then really dark marks.

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