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MIT blogger Ankita D. '23

MIT gave my pod free art supplies!! by Ankita D. '23

and despite being hosed, we used them

In January, I heard about an Arts at MIT initiative that provides grants of between $50 and $250 to pods and virtual groups for art supplies. The intention was to support “shared art experiences for learning, pleasure, and community building,” and anyone of any level could apply as long as they were an MIT student. I’m a casual artist who paints once in a blue moon, but my roommate is artsy and paints pretty often, so I suggested that we apply.

I didn’t really know what supplies to apply for at first. I wanted to try painting in gouache since it was an unfamiliar medium, and I wanted some good copic markers, but quickly realized how expensive they are. I settled on gouache and acrylic paint bundles, paintbrushes, a small copic marker set, paintbrushes, and a marker pad.

This proposal was a bit all over the place, so the folks at MIT Student Art helped me refine it a bit. They asked me what the purpose of my request was, and after discussing it with my roommate a bit, I decided that I wanted to explore painting in different mediums. The final budget went to the acrylic and gouache paints, paintbrushes, and 11×14 canvases, totaling around $170.

I tested the gouache paints very early in the semester, but used a tiny canvas instead of the ones included in the grant.

gouache painting

so tiny!

I’m pretty sure this was done in watercolor, but I used the paintbrushes from the grant.

watercolor painting

When it started getting warmer out, I invited my roommates (six other MIT sophomores) to paint in our backyard with me!

painting gouache

This is a painting I created to explore the use of color, light, and shadow. I used gouache paints because I wanted to have the ability to blend when necessary while also being able to place pigments down quickly. I really enjoyed how the color palettes the paints in the gouache bundle were separated into since they helped me understand how I wanted to separate warm and cool tones—I decided to use blues and purples for the skin color and warmer oranges and reds for the hair, which created an interesting effect.

all paintings

Here are all the paintings! The middle and left ones at the bottom are in gouache, and the rest are in acrylic.

Shoutout to Arts at MIT for the materials! My house had a lot of fun with them. I’m very grateful for all the ways MIT promotes student art.