Beautiful, Quality Paintings Start with Beautiful, Quality Materials


Quality materials are very important to me and I feel strongly that using great materials adds to the long-term value of a painting. As an art collector, I think it is important for you to understand the value of the fine art work you are purchasing, not only in how it makes you feel when you see it placed in your home, but also the care that was used to create the piece. Here are some of the materials I use in my paintings and why they should matter to you.

My painting substrates are typically either canvas or wood panel. The gallery-wrap canvases use heavy weight cotton canvas stretched on kiln-dried, heavy-duty pine stretcher bars treated so that they will not warp. They are prepped with acrylic gesso. My wood panels are created from heavy birch wood and made in the USA. I specially treat the panels by using Gamblin’s Oil Paint Ground on the painting surface and I use stain with varnish added on the sides. Using oil paint ground is a lengthy process, but I find it creates a less absorbent surface which allows the oil paint to be more colorful, vibrant and beautiful. Both surfaces are treated with care and are made to last.

I use the best quality paints that I can with a high pigment load for rich, color vibrancy. Typically, I use oil paints created by Michael Harding, Gamblin, Williamsburg and M. Graham. I do not use a lot of additives, but will sometimes use Rublev Oleogel which is a high quality fat medium. When the painting is dry to the touch, I will use a retouch varnish by Chelsea Studios. The painting can not have a final varnish until it has been dry for a year, so the retouch varnish helps the painting stay protected during this interim time while allowing it to cure appropriately. After a painting has cured for over a year, I will varnish the painting with Gamvar to seal it. If a painting has sold before that year is up, the collector is encouraged to bring the painting to me after a year so I can varnish it.


I am a voracious learner and I am continually looking for ways to improve my processes and my skills. I take great pride in extending that pursuit for perfection to my materials. If you have any questions about why I use a material or other tools I use in my studio, please feel free to contact me at andie@andiefreeman.com.