If you are looking for a great table-top easel that is very durable but also incredibly priced I have found a winner! I just bought the one pictured above from Lakeshore Learning and I LOVE it. Check it out here. It would come in handy for the drip paintings we will be making during the first week of class.
There will be a variety of painting projects during my online class and you can choose any painting surface you want for each painting. My children have been using canvas, canvas panels and paper. I like each one of them for different reasons. Stretched canvas looks great and is ready to hang on the wall. Canvas panels are 1/8th in thick boards that have canvas stretched around them. Panels are my favorite because they are rather cheap.... just a couple dollars each or less and they do not warp like wet paper. They also look great in a frame. Often times we use plain paper as well. Paper is great because it is cheap and sometimes my children like to make the same painting in variety of different ways and there is always an endless supply of paper. So paper allows for more experimentation. Plus if you want to do a large painting, paper is much cheaper than canvas. I think it is important to know that you can use acrylic paint on anything. You can paint on fabric, glass, cotton, linen, cardboard and more. Feel free to experiment with a variety. If you are trying to keep to a tight budget than you can stick with just paper and it will look great in a frame if you choose to hang the artwork up.
I generally buy the "Value Pack" canvas from Michaels. They come in packs of two and are primed and ready for painting. A canvas that is primed means it has been painted with gesso to prepare the surface for painting. Gesso tightens up the canvas and seals the surface making it water-proof. Most canvas and art panels are sold primed. In college art classes we made our own canvas - I would love to explain how to do that in a future post. I find Michael's value pack canvas to be pretty good quality. If you want to stock up on canvas and you are looking for a great deal try to find the Artist's Loft Super Value Canvas packs from Michaels. Sometimes they are out of stock at my Michaels. They sell a 10 pack of 8 x 10 in size canvas, a 7 pack of 11 x 14 in, and a 5 pack of 16 x 20 in. Each pack is sold for less than $20. The thickness of the canvas is ok, I prefer thicker. But it is just fine for young kids, and the price is right. If you are heading to Michael's don't forget to print this coupon which is good through this Saturday. Oh and I just found this coupon that is good through March 26th that is 40% off any regularly priced art supply.
I also buy my canvas panels from Michaels. However you can buy them from Roberts, Hobby Lobby, Reuels, Dick Blick, Cheap Joes, Amazon, Joann's fabric and many other places. I don't find much of a difference between the brands. The ones pictured below are from Amazon.
As for paper my children use everything from printer paper to construction paper to professional paper such as the ones pictured below.