Blog: Painting Tips

This blog is full of painting tips and techniques, product reviews and much more. Many are aimed at the beginning artists but there is plenty of the professional as well. The series called Busting the Myths of Oil Painting is very popular and has some lively debates in the comments. There are articles on art materials, pastel and techniques. I hope you will find the articles useful and fun.

Click the categories below to  view all articles within it

Busting the Myths of Oil Painting
Technique & Materials
Art Business 

Examples of posts within each category: 

Busting the Myths of Oil painting

Can I still use Oils when Pregnant?

I received a message the other day from fellow artist Anneke , asking me about safety issues with oil painting when pregnant (congratulations Anneke!). Now I think you all know I am no medical doctor, nor a scientist who knows all about toxic chemicals. So please just take my advice for what it is; just advice…

Oil Painting: What’s in a (Brand) Name

Working with good quality paint does not make you paint better and become rich and famous, does it? But choosing the right paint does make a difference and can make your painting life much easier.

Brush Work

A question I hear very often is which brushes to get when you start out in oil painting.  The number of different types of brushes is endless at any art supply store! There is bristle, synthetic or natural hair, there is round, filbert, bright or flat, long handles or short handles and the list goes on. In…

Sophie Ploeg oil painting Giselle

25 Oil Painting Myths

So many oil painting myths are still going around. Do not use black, use a medium, oil paint is toxic; the list goes on and on. In this article I try to demystify oil painting once and for all!

How to Organise your Oil Painting Palette

Organising your oil painting palette can be a personal thing. But many artists actually set up their palette in very similar ways. In this article I show you my way of laying out my colours. Organising your Palette I don’t set up my palette very often. I don’t have set painting sessions but paint whenever…

How to Prepare a Copper panel for Oil Painting

Painting on or with copper has a long history. Copper based pigments have long been an important source of colour for artists. But copper plates have also functioned as a support for paintings, instead of the more familiar canvas or wood supports. Copper was especially popular in the 16th and 17th century and those paintings…


Technique & Materials

Painting Lace

Painting lace is an everlasting challenge. Not ever will I manage to perfectly suggest its refinement, transparency, softness, crispness and beauty. But I will keep trying and explore different approaches and develop various techniques. I can at least try to show you how incredibly beautiful it is. ​In this blog post I will share some of…

How to Avoid Overworking a Painting

Overworking is a very widely used word amongst painters. People often worry they have overworked something and tutors warn for overworking a piece. But what is overworking and is it something that should be avoided? Can you overwork a pastel painting as well as an oil painting and so does it apply to all painting?

The Most Popular Painting Posts of 2017

It is that time of year again that we take stock and make new plans! So to take stock I will give you the ten most popular painting posts of 2017 for this blog. Next week I will list the most popular posts that are not on painting. To make new plans I would like…

Hughes Easel

As you might have read in an earlier post I have been on the hunt for a new easel for a long time. After much deliberation I finally decided to go for a Hughes Easel, handcrafted from solid American oak in sunny Florida by helpful chap Don Andrews. Don patiently answered all my questions about…

Studio Pictures

Here are some photos of the studio, work in progress and photos that I took during my working progress.  Some are straight from Instagram, a site I use a lot to share photos (do follow me there if you can), others I have shared on Facebook or not at all. You might see some sneak…

Organise your Studio

As it is the Lets-Get-Organised month on the blog I cannot skip a good tidy up. Artists are infamous for being messy! But if you ask me, I think it is all hearsay. Who doesn’t love their boxes, folders, drawers, baskets and bins? All together it can still look a tad messsy, I must admit…


Canson Mi-Teintes Touch pastel paper

Review: Mi-Teintes Touch Pastel Paper

Canson Mi-Teintes Touch is a new pastel paper to me. Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about the best pastel papers on the market. Fellow artist and friend Jane Gardiner suggested Canson Mi-Teintes Touch which she uses regularly for her drawings. I trust her judgment so put it on my list ‘to try’.…

How to Care for a Pastel Painting

Last week I wrote a blog post about pastel and this week I would like to expand upon this with some info on how to care for a finished pastel painting. With good and careful care and pastel painting can last for centuries. After all, pastel is pure pigment-the same pigment used in making all…

Ten Handy Pastel Painting Tips

After a long break I got my pastels out again and did a small still life last week (‘Blue Pile’, see below). Pastels are such a wonderful medium. Yes, they are messy, but I love how you can get such instant colour, and how you are painting and drawing at the same. While painting I…

Pastel Storage

Storing pastels is always a topic of conversation amongst pastel artists. Well, until you find the perfect solution that is. And I think I have finally found it. In an earlier post I wrote about organising your pastels by colour, value, brand or type. In this article I thought it might be useful to go…

The Dusty Side: Soft Pastel

Updated December 2017 Pastel is one of the loveliest art materials out there. It is immediate, uncomplicated and can be incredibly soft and delicate as well as bold and expressive. I fell in love with pastel as a child and have never stopped using them. I learned to paint while using pastel. It taught me…

Cretacolor Pastels

Cretacolor Carre Pastels are hard pastels that are nice and easy to use, hardwearing, and affordable. They are great for sketching as well as painting, but limited in use through its small colour selection and the lack of single sticks to replenish your set.


Artists’ Book Shelves

What Do Artists Read? Or do artists just like to look at picture books? It is both of course. My book case is full of books to just leaf through and find inspiration in, as well as books on painting techniques, art theory and of course I have a lot of art history books. When…

Top 10 Best Books on Painting

There are a lot of books on painting out there. And I mean a lot. They range from simple beginners books to technical tomes for the advanced. Some are full of nonsense, others full of pearls of wisdom. So how do you choose if you want to know a bit more?

Vibrant Oils by Haidee-Jo Summers

Book Review Haidee-Jo Summers is a wonderful painter well known for her lively plein air paintings. She is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and an associate member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. I have met her a couple of times at various art exhibitions in London and always enjoyed…

500 Portraits Book

The National Portrait Gallery has published the second edition of the wonderful book 500 Portraits 25 Years of the BP Portrait Award.  My 2013 Self Portrait with Lace Collar is featured on page 250 and the last chapter covers the Travel Award winners and their projects from 1991 up until my Lace project in 2013/14.…

The Miniaturist

If you are in the UK you might have watched the tv adaptation of The Miniaturist on the BBC on Boxing Day. It is a two-part series, based on the book of the same title by Jessie Burton. The Miniaturist was published in 2014. I read the book last year and really enjoyed it, so…

Steal Like an Artist

Steal like an Artist is a little book full of pearls of witty wisdom by Austin Kleon. An author who draws, as he describes himself, but he is also full of practical, funny and down to earth advice for any creative soul. Read it. Keep it. Worth it.

Art Business

Call for Entry: Open Art Exhibitions

Let’s get our work out there! One way of doing this is by submitting work…

Sophie Ploeg Studio

Working for Free and Getting Exposure

Overworking is a very widely used word amongst painters. People often worry they have overworked something and tutors warn for overworking a piece. But what is overworking and is it something that should be avoided? Can you overwork a pastel painting as well as an oil painting and so does it apply to all painting?

Building an Amazing Website for Artists: Final Tricks

    In this final post about building a website for artists, I want to…

How to Get Your Work on Show

Now that you have painted some decent pictures, how do you get it into galleries? How do you get your work ‘out there’ and on show? Here are some tips for beginning artists.

Buffer v Socialpilot

A post for fellow bloggers….. Art lovers, please excuse the off topic post

5 Reasons why Artists use Social Media

Social media is huge. Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users and Twitter 330 million…