"Know Your Materials, Inspire Your World."

oil paint on glass paletteWelcome to the Muse Art and Design “Know Your Materials” blog!

With so many different kinds and brands of art supplies available, selecting materials to make art can be a confusing and overwhelming experience.  That’s why Muse Art and Design offers artists more than aisles full of supplies.  Our staff of artists have experience using the supplies we stock and have specialized knowledge of a wide variety of materials and techniques, from traditional to new innovations. You’ll always find a fellow artist working at Muse who’s glad to talk to you about your art and help you find solutions to get the results you want.

To help you get the most from the materials you use for making art, our blog contains articles about:

  • art materials and techniques
  • artists and art organizations in the Portland region
  • motivation and inspiration for artists
  • announcement and coverage of local art-related events
  • answers to commonly asked questions
  • fun facts, quizzes, quotes, and contests

Supplies for Art aren’t always “Art Supplies”

By Muse | February 21, 2015
Thanks to Muse for writing today's post

household objects as art supplies Last week we had the opportunity to watch Eugene-based artist Geoffrey McCormack demonstrate some of his techniques for achieving richly saturated backgrounds with watercolors and liquid acrylics. Although he uses traditional artists' paints and papers (fully pigmented artist-grade paints along with high quality watercolor...
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A Guide to Water Media

By Muse | February 1, 2015
Thanks to Muse for writing today's post

water media -Muse Art and Design   - What is gouache?  How is it different from watercolor? - What is the difference between watercolors in pans and watercolors in tubes? - How can I tell if a color will look the same between different brands or kinds of paint? - Can acrylics...
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I Hate Music! – a Lesson for Artists

By Muse | January 26, 2015
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"Word of the Day to Draw"  - Orchestra   Leonard Bernstein wrote a charming song for soprano with piano accompaniment called "I Hate Music." "I hate music!" the singer exclaims over dissonant piano chords, "But I like to sing." The gist of the lyrics is that 'Music' is all about...
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Choosing Brushes

By Muse | November 17, 2014
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by Jolie Guillebeau For painters, the tool that matters most is a good brush. Paint can be adjusted to get the right consistency, canvases or paper can be gessoed, sanded, or sized,...
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charcoal: powdered, compressed, willow and vine

By Muse | November 10, 2014
Thanks to Muse for writing today's post

There are three main kinds of charcoal: powdered, compressed, and willow or vine. Powdered charcoal is the most basic type because it is an ingredient in compressed charcoal. Powdered charcoal is well suited to ‘toning’ large areas of a surface, but can also be very messy. Compressed charcoal...
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paints: opaque vs. transparent

By Muse | November 3, 2014
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The opacity or hiding strength of a paint describes how it interacts with light. Opaque paints are more reflective (not to be confused with "shiny"). They cover and hide what’s under them. Transparent (or translucent) paints allow more light to pass through them. They are ‘see...
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artists’ paints: series numbers

By Muse | October 27, 2014
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Paint manufacturers generally group their selection of artist-grade paints into 5 or 6 distinct series, according to the cost of the pigments used in each color of paint. These series are marked on the tube, generally with numbers (series 1, series 2, etc.). Paints with lower...
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paper: what is vellum?

By Muse | October 20, 2014
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Although most people have a specific idea of what they are looking for when they ask for "vellum," the term vellum is actually used describe a variety of different types of paper. Some vellum papers are heavy, while others are thin and transparent. What these papers...
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how dangerous is oil paint?

By Muse | October 13, 2014
Thanks to Muse for writing today's post

People frequently express an unfounded concern that painting with oils is dangerous and toxic. They’d like to experiment with oils but are nervous that oils are environmentally hazardous and a danger to their health. These concerns are based largely on common misconceptions. There is nothing inherently toxic...
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