Here Are A Few Of My Favourite Things – Part One – Art Spectrum Oil Paint

Australian Artist Mia Laing
Image Australian Artist, Mia Laing

If you are serious about your art, quality materials must become your ongoing mantra and focus. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…and again and again…and again.

Quality Matters.

Ive been selling my art for ten years now and have been a full time artist for the last 6 years. I sell online via my own website and Bluethumb and from traditional galleries, such as Gallery Aura, Gallery 360 and cafe gallery’s such as Repeat Offender. With collectors scattered across the globe and a contract with Lalaland,  launching greeting cards and merchandise in February 2019, maintaining my professional branding is very important.

From very early on in my art career, I was lucky enough to have a trusted mentor drumming into me the importance of quality art materials…starting from the base upwards – stretchers, gesso, paints and varnish. Use inferior products and you can forget about selling yourself as a professional artist.

Clients notice shoddy craftmanship…its their money you are playing with. I wrote about that here. Why put professional paint onto a crappy light weight canvas that will sag and warp over time? Why gesso with chalky house paint and then find it creates an inferior subsurface for your expensive paints? Why use gorgeous paper and then paint with cheap dull student paints? Get the idea?

Aim to use the best quality materials that your budget allows, throughout your whole process, not just in one step of it. Good quality often saves money in the long run.

So…Lets make 2019 the year of Quality Materials!

Art Spectrum – My Number 0ne Paint Choice

(Disclaimer – I am not sponsored by Art Spectrum…I use and fully endorse their products through personal choice.)

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‘Meet The Locals’ (available) oil painting from Rottnest Island by Mia Laing

If you are wondering where I am working from, I’m in Perth, Western Australia. The land down under – Sun Sea Surf and all that. Being a proud Aussie, I endeavour to buy Australian made where and when I can (though I do love my British made Rosemary and Co brushes but that’s for another favourite things post!)

I’ve been painting with Art Spectrum oil paints from the very start of my infatuation with oils. All these years and experience later, they are still my go too paint choice. Ive tried a few other brands and I’ll admit that one or two Gamblin paint tubes have snuck into my studio, but Art Spectrum paints make up 98% of my paint selection for their price, quality and superb choice of colours and specialising in unique Australian colours. I dare not count just how many of their 105 colours I actually own…Yikes.

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Art Spectrum is 100% Australian owned. A family run company that started as a co-op in 1966, run by a group of artists to produce materials that would meet the needs of the local art community in Melbourne, Australia.

The founder, David Keyes Snr, an artist and art lecturer at RMIT, and now his son David and partner, Tamara, have grown Art Spectrum into a leading Fine art Brand in Australia. They produce Oil Colours, Watercolours, Gouache, Pastels, Inks, Primers, Mediums, Varnishes and Solvents, as well as a wide selection of complementary supporting products, many of which I also use. Their oil paints are traditionally milled and offer permanence, safety and stunning performance.

Art spectrum is widely available across Australia and has distributors in New Zealand, India, The United Kingdom and the USA. Their prices are competitive, if not lower, than many other paint companies.

If you are new to oil painting, I would suggest you start with just a handful of colours and learn to mix further colours from a limited palette. Its an incredible skill and one Im glad to have. Though my studio collection of colours has grown immensely over ten years, I have go too colours I cant live without and the rest are purely for ease and choice and because I have a colour addiction… Oh yes I do.

My core palette

(Colours that form the basis of most of my colour mixing)

  • Titanium White
  • Spectrum Crimson
  • French Ultramarine
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Viridian Green
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Spectrum Yellow
  • Alizarin Crimson
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Watermelon by Mia Laing 101x101cm
  • I also adore Turquoise, Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue, which I use throughout my underwater paintings.
  • 4 parts Spectrum Crimson, 1 part Viridian Green and 1 part French Ultramarine make my black.
  • I often under paint in Raw Umber and do a tonal wash in Burnt Umber.

Fire away with any questions you may have about oil painting, paints, processes…or my paintings! Look Art Spectrum up via their website:

Art Spectrum

Instagram (groovy milling videos!)

and Facebook.

What’s the favourite item in your studio? Just in case I need it too!

Sign up for my newsletter (which only arrives in your inbox every few months because…life.) to get more tips, tricks and art news. I will endeavour to post a long list of my favourite studio things this year!

Mia x

1 thought on “Here Are A Few Of My Favourite Things – Part One – Art Spectrum Oil Paint

  1. Great post, Mia. I love reading about your materials and preferences. And mt husband also reads your posts and learns lots.

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