Stephen McAllister - Wildlife Artist


Here is a list of the supplies I personally use each and every time I am in my studio. Please feel free to follow the links I have provided for more information on any of the products shown. I have no affiliation with any of the manufacturers below and earn nothing from them, they are just the products I use.
Best Santa Fe Easel
Easel - San Pedro model by Best Easels
My easel is the centerpiece and most important piece of equipment in my studio. I use a Best easel from Richeson Art Supplies in Wisconsin, USA. This model is very versatile and can support everything from the smallest piece of artwork right up to the biggest size I work on.
I don't go overboard on purchasing expensive brushes, some of my favourites and most-used brushes only cost a few dollars.
Painting Surface
99% of my paintings are done on primed hardboard, either 1/8" or 1/4" thick (depending on the size of the work). I purchase large hardboard panels of 4' x 8' or 4' x 4' and cut them down to the various sizes myself. Then they go through a long process of multiple coats of gesso, sanded between each coat. I am not a fan of painting on canvas. I know it's extremely popular as a painting surface but it doesn't work for me for two main reasons; I don't like the 'spring' of it when I paint, and I much prefer painting on very smooth surfaces.
Acrylic Paints
Acrylic Paint
I use acrylic paints from a few different manufacturers but the majority of my tubes and bottles are either Liquitex or Golden. I really like the Liquitex soft body paints but also use the heavy body paints regularly.
Sta-Wet Palette
I use Sta-Wet palettes made by Masterson Art. These are great at keeping my acrylics workable between painting sessions as they feature a tight fitting lid and a water soaked sponge underneath the palette paper. If you are tired of throwing out dried up paints, I would highly recommend giving these palettes a try!
I use an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush. It's a dual-action airbrush meaning I can control both the amount of air and the amount of paint coming out by pushing down and pulling back on the trigger at the same time. An airbrush is not a mandatory piece of equipment but I like using it on some pieces for softer backgrounds and blending.
Badger Airbrush Compressor
I use a Badger airbrush compressor (model AS180-15). It's a great little compressor, only weighs 8lbs, has plenty of power (57 psi) and is extremely quiet. Just an FYI .. the little suction feet on the bottom are great for limiting vibration but they don't keep it in place. I have mine 'leashed' to the leg of my shelving to keep it from wandering around my studio!
Wall Mirror
A mirror? Yep, a mirror. I learned this trick from one of my favourite painters, Robert Bateman. Many, many years ago I read him talking about having a mirror in his studio so he could look at his in-progress pieces in the mirror. It really helps me for two reasons; it helps detect if something is off. Sometimes it looks fine straight on but in the mirror it jumps out. The other reason is it allows me to see my larger pieces from 'further back' as my studio is quite small.