Plein air
Image courtesy of Suzie Baker

According to plein air painter Suzie Baker, “The best way to make a lot of money as an artist is to sell art supplies!” She explains: “We are suckers for art materials and gadgets, aren’t we? Sometimes, however, the best tools aren’t sold in art supply stores.”

Here is a sneak peek from Suzie’s collaborative list of must-have tools of the trade (as seen in Artists on Art magazine)!

Plein air "art supplies" -
Suzie Baker’s moll stick (aka back scratcher), nestled right in with her paint brushes (

1. Retractable Back Scratcher, aka Moll Stick

“This cost me less than four bucks at my local pharmacy,” Suzie says. “Its curved scratching end rests on top of the canvas to steady my hand for detail painting, and fits neatly in my brush folio. Plus, I can use it to get oil paint onto those hard-to-reach places on the back of my clothing!”

Plein air "art supplies" -
A glimpse of Charlie Hunter’s art supplies (

2. Cotton Swabs

“Although an inexpressive mark making tool, cotton swabs are invaluable for lifting paint when one is counting on one’s surface to be the lightest light,” says Charlie Hunter.

Plein air "art supplies" -
John D. Cogan, painting with acrylics en plein air (

3. Sorting Container

John D. Cogan keeps his acrylic paint fresh and instantly accessible in this plastic sorting container.

Read the full list of “Art Supplies (That Aren’t Art Supplies)” in the January/February 2019 issue of Artists on Art magazine (Issue 33).

So, what are your favorite art supplies that aren’t? Comment below or use the hashtag #NotArtSupplies on social media to tell us about them!

Learn about Suzie’s new art video workshop, “Color Magic for Stronger Paintings” (preview below!)

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