Ann Marie Coolick
I get asked maybe 10 times a day what kind of paint I use and what colors I use. These are incredibly broad questions nearly impossible to answer in a short DM, so I'll put it all here for you to bookmark and experiment with as you wish. It's taken me nearly 20 years of thick painting to figure out exactly what materials and tools work best for me, my process, and my goals, which might not be the same for you. I'm sharing what I've learned so you can use it as a launching pad for your own experimentation rather than a duplication of my work. Please be mindful to experiment with your own artistic voice and subject matter that is true to you!
**This is not sponsored by any of the following companies.
Oil Painting Supplies. Gamblin Artist Oils is my preferred oil paint because the consistency is very buttery and the colors are excellent. They often have imperfect tubes on super sale so give them a follow on Instagram here to get updates on when they're available. They go fast! In terms of mediums, Gamblin's Cold Wax is my go-to. It's made of beeswax and will dry no harder than a candle, leaving a smooth, matte finish. I mix about 25% wax into the oil, and make sure not to over-mix because it could get drippy and not as buttery when applied. You can find these products at any art store, but I generally shop at Dick Blick. In terms of exact color choices, I have pretty much every color in stock and mix them to attain specific color variations. Color mixing is something you will need to experiment with on your own to find what works best for your style. Some of my favorites are naphthol red, hansa yellow, dioxazine purple, radiant white, emerald green, and phthalo turquoise.
Acrylic Painting Supplies. While there isn't much comparable to the texture of oil paint, there are certain mediums paired with Heavy Body acrylics that can almost mimic oils. For acrylic painting it's super important to use only the Heavy Body variety. I stock up on large jars of Golden Heavy Body Titanium White and a variety of smaller colored tubes by Golden and Liquitex. If you are on a budget but still want thick, Utrecht will get you pretty close to the look. Definitely avoid any of the following types of paints if texture is your main goal: soft body, basics, house paint, or non-brand name. I use a couple different types of mediums that will help maximize texture and maintain peaks. Liquitex Super Heavy Gloss Gel can create sculptural effects that maintain their high peaks, with a slight shine when dry. Peaks can also be held very well with Golden Extra Heavy Molding Paste. Start with small jars and see if you can tell the difference.
I suggest purchasing at least five different knives in a range of sizes and shapes and playing around until you find your go-to favorites. Check out the knives at art stores and don't be afraid to delve into knives for cake decorating. Some of my favorite knife sets and offset frosting spatulas are available on Amazon here. Always get stainless steel because they are more solid and will last much longer than the plastic varieties.
This piece below was painted with a 4" offset frosting spatula available on Amazon.
Let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy!!