I work with knitters, and a student recently told me,
“I don’t like the way my stuff turns out.”
When I asked her what kind of yarn she used, she replied,
“Oh, I just picked up something cheap. I didn’t want to spend money on something that probably wasn’t going to work out.”
Whether you’re knitting or painting, you’ll get the best results when you use the best materials.
While a novice, or even an intermediate, does not need the most expensive items in the store (interestingly, many professionals do not shop at the tippy top themselves), they also don’t want the two-quart tubes of student grade paint and cheap, cheap brushes, all slathered onto loosely woven, won’t-stay-stretched, canvas.
If the colors are weak and the brushes imprecise, the results will be disappointing.
The Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, discovered the major difference between student and professional grade art supplies in one of his early quarters of teaching, when he recommended a starter watercolor kit to his students while he used the materials from his own studio for his demonstrations.
“I know I’m a beginner,” one student said, “but even though I’m following you step by step, nothing I do looks at all like what you’re doing.”
Steve picked up her brush, dabbed it in her paint, and swept it across his canvas.
“Nothing I do looks like what I’m doing with this paint either,” he said.
From that point on, he recommended his own paint choices and brushes to his students, limiting the colors and brush choices to decrease the cost.
Yes, it costs more. No, you don’t have to overhaul your entire studio at once.
But bit by bit, buy up.