All Posts by ArtSupplyHouse

Cleaning canvas paintings​

Cleaning canvas paintings​

We are regularly asked about cleaning paintings.  Here is the basic process we use to cleaning a painting.

For cleaning a painting we start by removing the painting from the frame and cleaning the back side of the painting.  Yes, the back.  There can be a lot of dust and dirt accumulation on the back of art.  Sometimes the dirt get in between the canvas and the stretcher bars and this needs to be removed or it can damage the art.

Next we remove dust and dirt particles from the front by gently wiping the painting down with warm water and ammonia.  We can also use a gentle soap, like baby soap, to help clean the front.  We do not want to use any strong chemicals at this time.  We constantly dry the painting during this process so that the moisture does not reach through the back of the painting and damage the adhesion of the paint with the canvas.

Next we remove the old varnish.  Old varnishes oxidized and yellow over time.​  The varnishes are usually removed using solvents and other strong chemicals.  Removing the old varnish is usually what scares most people because we are exposing the original paint and they don’t want to damage the paint.  You should feel confident bringing it to a professional.  Removing varnish layers is a regular practice.  When the varnish is fully removed we allow the painting to fully dry and sit in appropriate UV light for anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour to help dry and brighten the coloring.

Next step would be to patch any tears in the canvas or to the paint itself.  We apply canvas patches to the back of the painting using an acid free adhesive, or at times, bees wax and a hot iron.

We repair the painting on the front by carefully color matching each section of the painting one brush stroke at a time.  This is a highly detailed process and requires careful and precise color matching.  Each color is carefully compared to the original to match the original painters color mixing style and application process.

Finally, we can reseal the painting by applying a new varnish layer over the painting, usually damar varnish, that will perform better and protect the painting for many years to come.


Respect other people’s art work


I just had a customer enter our store to pick up a picture frame.  It happens a lot since we are a high end frame shop. What happened next scared me…

The customer walked behind our counter where we keep our completed customer orders and began to handle completed frame projects.  We do not allow customers into our work shop or behind our counter.  Nor do we allow anyone other than trained staff handle other customers artwork.  I immediately interrupted the customer and politely asked her to step back so I could help her.  I informed her that we can’t allow customers to handle other people’s artwork.

This may not seem like a major issue to everyone, but let me explain why it’s a big deal…

Was the customer thinking about her actions?  No, not really.  She had a poster framed.  It was a nice collectors poster part of a series, but currently only worth about $20 since it is new and easily attainable being still in production. (Note: the entire series if you have it is worth thousands).  The customer in handle other peoples artwork was not really respecting other people’s artwork.  Nor was she handling the artwork with the care we demand of our staff.

The customer was visibly upset at my correction of her actions.  I apologize.  She complained that I should have something posted and should have more consideration for her since she has brought a lot of work into our shop.  I thanked her for her patronage, that we truly appreciate her.  Then I explained in further detail…

We frame some artwork worth tens of thousands of dollars and have to take special care.   We can’t just go flipping through artwork without giving it special care.  And all our staff is trained to give this same special attention to every piece of artwork that comes into our shop.  In order to protect every piece of art we don’t allow people to just go through it.

According to her actions she wasn’t thinking about collectors artwork.  Though I didn’t say so, her careless actions could have seriously damaged a priceless and irreplaceable piece of art.

Was she happy when she left?  I don’t know.  I think it all turned out okay.  But she may never return to our shop.  And I would regret it.  At the same time I hope any company I take my business to would take sufficient care and precautions with my artwork.  I know we did with the lady who came into our shop… and she benefited from our actions… whether she knows it or not.

Sometimes our actions, or our artwork,  upset other people.  This is unfortunate.  We don’t have to agree with them or their actions.  The most we can do is try to respect them and their artwork.


Laura Mark Finberg

It’s Monday.  Time to showcase another artist!



Laura Mark Finberg

Pennsylvania wildlife artist Laura Mark-Finberg’s paintings have been described as “windows unto the soul” of the animals she paints., During a career that has spanned more than twenty years Laura has explored a vast array of subjects in her quest to help the viewer understand a little more about the animals she paints. Laura is meticulous in her research and attention to detail and demonstrates a flawless search for truth in each paintin.

Working primarily in acrylic, Laura’s technique is to build up layers of paint to create the detail, depth and reality of her paintings. According to Laura,”Unlike oil paints, acrylics are difficult to blend as they dry so fast; consequently, I use a lot of transparent washes or glazes and build up layers of paint.” Eyes are her favorite part. “Sometimes I’ll do the eyes first. If I’ve created life in the eyes the rest of the painting seems to paint itself. At other times I’ll wait to the end, almost as if there’s a reward for completing a piece.” “My favorite subject are the predators. Unlike some animals there is such awareness in the eyes.”

You can see Laura’s work at

I’ve included some of her work below…

lmf4 lmf2 lmf3

Steve Hanks

It’s Monday.  that means its time to showcase another artist.

steve hanks

Steve Hanks is an amazing watercolor artist.  I mean absolutely amazing.  He combines both a mastery of color theory and realism with the light airiness of watercolor to produce some of the most moving watercolor art I have ever seen.

Though many of his subjects are family friendly, a number of his paintings are highly sensual and do include nudes.

You can purchase his artwork at

I have posted some thumbnails of his artwork below.

sh - Aspen Winter sh - catching the rain sh - northwest coastline sh - the journey is the goal

Freelance artist 101

The first thing to understand about making money with art is that you generally wont make your entire annual income on one art project.  Generally speaking, you might make anywhere from $20 to a couple thousand on a project.  It’s rare for an artist to make much more unless they are working on a very substantial project. Art is around us every day.  Its in the sheets on our bed when we wake up (some one designed them) to the clothes we wear, to the product packages we buy.  Art is literally everywhere. I recently spoke with an artist friend I have been working with.  Late last year I encouraged her to pursue art as a full time career.  This year she’s on track to make close to $10,000 all from her artwork.  Not bad for a first year’s effort!  And she did it all while working other jobs and attending college.  As time goes by she will continue to develop clients and income streams and make more money. So here’s the big tip this week: plan on and find multiple sources of art income.  Plan on having multiple art projects. In the coming weeks I’ll provide you a list of art projects you could use to make money with you art skills.    

The Etherington Brothers

 It’s Monday – that means it’s time to showcase a new artist! The Etherington Brothers are a fantastic comic art duo.  One brother does the artwork, while the other comes up with the snarky story lines and text.  I’ve followed the Etherington brothers for a number of years.  They have an amazing artistic sense and hilarious concepts.  Check out their website at They also have a kickstarter project here: I’ve included some of their artwork below. etherington DELUXE COLLECTION SKETCHBOOK BY LORENZO ETHERINGTON UPDATE 4 etherington Long gone don by lorenzo etherington brothers 14 etherington Monkey Nuts tall banner flatetherington ROBOT CONCEPTS ART by Lorenzo Etherington 3    

Make money with Art Material reviews

 Are you an artist? Want to make some EASY money? Review an art material and provide the information to the Art Supply House.  We’ll give you a $10 in store credit.  (Cash payments can be arranged, but there are certain additional legal requirements) All we need is the following:

  1. Come into the store and find a product on our shelves to purchase.
  2. ASK US BEFORE you do the review.  We may already that item reviewed and we only pay for the initial product review.
  3. Provide a written review or video review.  Make sure to include the following:
  4. the product name
  5. a description of the project you used the product on
  6. 3 images  of the product and your project.  These images should be something like:
  7. a picture of you holding the product
  8. a picture of the product in the middle of your project
  9. a finished picture of your project
  10. Email us the review.

Its really that simple. So call us, or stop on by and ask about providing a review of an art product and start making money TODAY!

How to avoid becoming “The Starving Artist”

The reason for the stereotype… and how to avoid it

I was inept at making money with art until…

I was always a gifted artist, drawing from an early age.  I remember my mother would ask me what I wanted to draw and then make dot to dot pictures for me.  As I grew up I became a better artist, eventually starting art school at the age of 15, but something always held back from committing to make art my career.

Then, when I was about 25 I had a light bulb moment.  And I couldn’t stop coming up with ideas on making money with art.  I had met Joel Siebel, an illustrator who had spent almost 40 years working for Disney and Hana Barbarah (the guys behind Saturday morning cartoons like the smurfs, scooby do, pinkey and the brain).  It wasn’t anything he said particularly – it was the accumulative of many conversations we had.

It happened fairly quickly – and it was like heaven opened up and angels were singing. The flood gates had opened.  And I couldn’t stop coming up with new ways of making money with art.

Artists are wired wrong

Lets face it… some people are just gifted.  Some are gifted with athletic ability.  Some are gifted with scientific understanding.  Some are gifted with “how to make money”.   And some are gifted by being able to make AMAZING art.  Yes, we can all improve by practice and hard work… at the same time we each have our own natural gifts.  It’s the way we’re wired.  It’s our natural bent.

Science indicates that artistic ability comes from the right side of the brain and analytical ability comes from the left side of the brain.  (Hence the book “Drawing on the right side of the Brain”).  Artists use the right side of their brain for visual creativity, while business people use the analytical left side of the brain for business decisions about how to make money.  And THAT is the basic reason we have this concept of the starving artist.  Artists are literally not wired to make money.

Artists are naturally disabled against making money

So artists, designers, mechanics, and the like tend to be right brain people using their artistic skills.  Scientists, accountants, lawyers, and the like tend to be left brain people using more of their analytical skills.  But it’s not either or.  You’re not left brain or right brain.  You are both.  Artists just tend to have stronger right brains and weaker left brains.  So we live in our right brain.  And when we have a problem, even a left brain problem, we try to solve it using our right brain.

This is why artists struggle with making money with art.  Making art is a right brain skill.  But creating a profitable business is largely a left brain skill.   So what ends up happening?  The artist often gets a job working for someone else who understands business and either does artwork on the side, or uses their art skills as an employee like as a graphic designer or something.

This isn’t bad… we all need to eat, right?  It’s just the cold hard truth.  Its a natural disability.

Here’s how you fix the problem… change your thinking

There is hope.  You can overcome this natural disability.  But it does take some work AND a change in your thinking.  If you aren’t willing to change how you think… then this wont work.  I can’t stress this enough.  It was Einstein who said…

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein

But that’s easier said than done.

Learn from successful BUSINESS minded people

When you want to learn to be great at something you go to a professional and get them to teach you.  Then you practice your tail end off.  Eventually you might even go off on your own and start your own company.  The problem is when it comes to being a financially successful artist, this method doesn’t work.  If you go to a great artist, they can teach you how to become a great artist.  And they’ll probably tell you to do a lot of artwork, get your work in galleries, get in as many shows as possible, and work your tail end off, and just maybe you can make it.

This answer is not a sure fire way to make money with your mad art talents.

Do you see the problem?  they can teach you to become a great artist… but they can’t necessarily teach you how to become a financially successful artist.

To become a financially successful artist, making a nice living with your artwork, you need to listen to great business minded people and apply their type of left brain thinking to your right brain art skills.  IF you do, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make money with art.

Don’t just make art. Make money with art.

Making money and making art are 2 different things.  Don’t confuse them.  If you only want to make your own art – then you have to accept that you might not make much money.   But if you are willing to make money using your art skills.

Do you see the difference?  Making art puts the art first.  Thats fine, but the goal is making art, not money.  Money is secondary.  Making money with art puts making money first, and the artwork second.

Making money with art does not make you a sell out… it makes you smart.

Some artists really feel that focusing on making money with their art skills is acting like a sell out.  That’s a lie.  Get over it.  If you have art skills and you make money with those art skills that’s called being smart.  What would you say if you knew the most amazing guitar player in the world and they  wanted to become a plumber (or something else) and only playing occasionally on the side.  You would say it was a pity.  It was sad. No, it’s not sad – its a tragedy!  It was horrible that they would waste their God given talent like that.

And you’d be right.  And the same goes for artists.

Your talents are there to serve you, not you to serve your talents.

I admit it now – art is deeply philosophical.  It stirs our souls.  And it should.  But does that mean you shouldn’t make insane amounts of easy money as an artist?

Artists should realize that art is just a skill, a talent, and you can and should put it to work FOR you. this is the best way to honor art and artists.

Great art is a reflection of life, a reflection of people.  Great art is a recognition of the beauty of creation and mankind.  In a sense art bows to man and honors man.   Using your art skills to benefit you as an artist is the only way to really honor your art skills and artists.

If you REALLY want to honor your art skills, give them the credit they deserve.  The highest form of art is to become a financially successful artist.

There are a million ways to make money with art… and here they are…

There really are a million ways, and more, to make money with art.  The trick is to make money with your art skills, not just your art.

Do you see the subtle difference?  One puts the emphasis on your skills.  The other puts it on your art.  Focus on applying your skills

Murals, window painting, nail painting, portraits, and more are all ways to apply your skills to make money with your art skills.  I’ll talk more about these in future.

The trick is to find a perceived need (someone who desires art) and find a way to fill it using your skills.

Here’s the cliff notes to making money with art:

It really is easy to make a decent living as an artist.   Just follow these steps:

  1. Artists are not naturally wired to make money with art
  2. Artists need to change the way they think in order to make money with art
  3. listen to business minded people to know how to make money with art
  4. to make money with art put the idea of “making money with art” above “making art”.
  5. Making money with art isn’t evil – it’s good. And you’re smart if you do it.
  6. there are MANY ways an artist can make money
  7. To make money with art discover how to apply your skills and fill a perceived need.