Sharing my Favorite Art Media!

After years of receiving this question I am finally compiling a list of my favorite supplies (see them all together here)! If you are like me I know most of us are admitted art material junkies. For those of you who don’t know much about me, I embrace my style as a wabi-sabi, semi-abstract, botanical-loving, color theory nerd. Because I have a curious mind I have embraced a variety of media, which has been so much fun really, and created a depth to my work that I love to play with.

So after 20+ years of painting, allow me to introduce to you my shining stars…


First off, I am a water-based media painter. I also explore mixed media. But my baseline is acrylic paint and ink. Of course I love Goldens and especially some of their new colors, like this color, its creamy light mint perfection. Oh and this one too. Also obsessed with this one! Golden’s new light and titan series are a modern painter’s dream.

I also adore Hobein acrylics, they are so lush and delicious, you almost want to eat them. The Luminous Rose is just so beautiful, especially paired with the pale green by Golden. Yummy! Subtle complementary theme heaven!

You can also try the whole rich set. Its safe to say I’m in love with any and all art supplies made from Japan.

High Flow Goldens are so much fun to play with, a real treat. They are like acrylic inks but with more opacity or coverage. They are nice to play with over the inks to create contrast and yet still have harmony in their consistency or flow.

I’ve also recently fell for the Americana colors, and the paint quality is pretty good for the price! The colors are to die for. Its like they read my mind for a dream palette.

Also, to go with all those heavy body acrylics a tool like this is essential for making flat opaque layers! Plus its great for real texture, a principle of art. As my students know I love talking about composition, elements and principles to create a well contrasted, wabi-sabi, asymmetrical piece.

Paint Pens and Such:

So back on over to Japan, they really are art media geniuses over there! The one art media that changed my world (besides inks, we will get to that in a minute) is Uni-Posca pens. I luuurve them. Lurve. Simply can’t get enough.

Posca just came out with a new natural color line and it is fantastic, actually my favorite of all. Or buy like me and get a full line… I promise you won’t regret it! The black and white pens, all tips are essentials for creating. I usually use the fine tip or bullet point myself. Perfect for outlining a gorgeous delicate motif over flowy saturated heaven.

A new product discovery that I recently found are these paint pens, which have a fine tip point. I especially love the colors!

Also, these white beauties are a gem if you like to do mixed media work on watercolor paper or Aquabord, etc. Obsessed with these pens truly! I know I am not the only one. They have the most beautiful gel line tip that stands out so starkly against everything else!

Then there are the Kuretake pens, hmm, so buttery. The Japanese make some fantastic paint pens! Metallic beauty but not too metallic!


And yes, lest me not forget about INKS. Acrylic inks have also rocked my world. Its how I get those fluid wabi-sabi feathered lines that I adore so much. Acrylic inks like this set make that all happen. I also use India inks too, which are a little more translucent and flowy. And no one can pass up the gorgeous boldness of a good black ink like this one.


Ok now lets talk about surfaces or substrates. This is another thing that makes me different that a lot of artists. I have introduced this to so many students and now they are obsessed too! I paint on a variety of wood panels but also I love love love Aquabords. I know they can be a bit pricey but they are so much fun! I also paint in large watercolor sheets and watercolor canvas boards now too which are more affordable. Canvas is OK for me, but I love the subtly these substrates bring!

Mixed Media Play:

So, I find NeoColor II water-soluble wax crayons amazing for blending and creating soft lines that sink into your work once wet.

Did you know that Origami paper can also make the most beautiful collage work? The patterns and colorways are to die for.

Also, if you are going to do collage its essential that you varnish your pieces. I like this which also has a slight gloss to it, that both adheres and then coat thin bit of varnish to finish off the work once fully dry. You can also spray your varnish with products like this one.

Again, you can find the entire list here to make it easy-peasy for you. Enjoy dear artist-maker and be sure to share your results with these new gems!

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11 thoughts on “Sharing my Favorite Art Media!

  1. This was sheer bliss to read! There were some old favourites of my own there and I’m very excited to try out ones I’ve not used before too! Thanks Alena for the inspiration. Hope you’re having a lovely day. Jess x

    1. Love this post! Can you please share the brushes you use? The ones I have are bad quality and they shed 🙁

  2. You are so generous and awesome, Alena. I miss you and painting with you. Will keep this post bookmarked for the future. xoxo

  3. A great sharing thank you dear Alena. I love posca pens and have been an avid user since experimenting with them in your class a few years ago. Thank you for the continued inspiration.

  4. Hi Alena, Can you share the brushes you use in your work? I always end up with bad brushes that shed 🙁
    Thank you!

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