Liz Wiley

{We love you, Mom!} Your Local Gift Guide for Mother's Day Shopping

Whether you’re shopping for your mom, a friend, that coworker two cubicles down who is always covered in cat hair or your bestie who’s expecting, we have the perfect Mother’s Day gifts from makers right here in the DFW area. Shop local, shop small and support your community. It’s a win all around, if you ask us. Here are a few of our favorite finds for all the moms in your life.

Gifts for Teachers: Show your appreciation with a handmade gift

Studio Snapshots: Liz Wiley

It’s time for another behind-the-scenes look at an Etsy Dallas studio. This time we have a special Q&A with Liz Wiley as well as a look at her workspace. 

What mediums do you work with?
I make paintings on canvas using oil and acrylic. I used to work only with oils, then I started experimenting with acrylic paints for my “1 painting a day series” paintings, because I needed them to dry fast. Now that’s about all I use unless a customer requests I use oil paints.  
How is your workspace set up now?
My studio is located in a large commercial space. The front wall is ceiling to floor windows. I love all the light. Sometimes I don’t even turn on the lights. 

I have a 4' x 10' steel table in the middle of my room that I had made to work on. There is a shelf for baskets with tools and a rod to hang rolled canvas. In the corner I have a shelving system to hold all my paints. I keep brushes and tools on the top. 

I have a small office space in the back. There is a desk for my computer, book case and three idea boards. Plants everywhere. I don’t usually have the best luck with plants, but they are doing OK so far.

How is it different from when you started?
I started working in the garage at our house. It was hot, cramped and not very inspiring. The biggest difference is the amount of work that I am able to accomplish in my studio v. the garage (where there were too many distractions). I am also able to create larger paintings. It’s so inspiring to have a dedicated space to work.  

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
I just love having my own space to work. I love that I can leave my works in progress out and not worry about it being in the way or getting touched by my little kids.

Painter shares 5 tools of her trade

Liz Wiley creates beautiful paintings using oils and acrylics. She is sharing five of her favorite tools with us. If you're expecting something obvious like paintbrushes and fixative, you're in for a surprise. And if you're a budding painter, you may want to add these to your art supplies.

Thrifty Trowel  
This is my most used tool. I think it’s traditionally used for tile work. It’s a square piece of plastic that has different designs on each edge. One is smooth and the other three have different spacing notches. I use it to apply, smooth and scrape paint. It's wonderful at applying the paint without leaving brush marks. Tube Wringer
This little tool is great for getting every last drop of paint out of a tube. You pay a lot for that paint. Don’t throw it out because you can’t get it out. They make a plastic one, but I use the heavy duty metal one. It will be the only one you need to buy, because it will last forever. 

These little bottles are great for creating thin continuous lines. The tips are closed so you have to cut them to get the paint out. There are also bottles with metal tips. You can get an extremely thin line using these. The secret to using these is that you need to thin the paint so it will come out. I use Liquitex Fluid Medium. Try to limit mixing your acrylic paints with water. Using water will weaken the paint and it may flake right off the canvas. 

Catalyst Tools
I love these tools. They are like a brush only they don’t have a brush head. It’s a flexible silicone.  They are just so different. Almost like a soft palette knife. Think baking spatula. These are amazing at applying paint in a smooth finish. They are also useful for mixing paint. 

Camera (in my case, a cell phone camera)
I know this is a little unusual for a tool, but I find that I use it for every painting. Taking in-progress pictures helps show the evolution of a piece. Looking at the picture on a computer provides a different perspective. I can easily catch things that need to be changed. Reviewing the photos makes any design problems more obvious. I think of it as the modern day mirror. And after you've finished the painting, you have an image ready to post on Etsy so you can start making sales.