Category: Tips

Ways to Create Texture to your Arwork

Putting texture in your artwork is a great way of adding a bit more life and character to an otherwise flat area. Brush strokes can create texture but there are other materials that you can use such as an old credit card or a cardboard or alsost anything that you can apply your paint with. The addition of some texture into a painting gives it a whole new dimension. Adding some highly textured areas against some very flat areas gives the painting wonderful contrast. Here are some tricks that you can use to create different textures to your artwork.

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Use some binder medium such as Impasto gel. Glue down the appropriate literature and add three or four good, solid coats of impasto gel, and a glaze or wash or two. Paint over the top of that with an image that is relevant to the text beneath, and allow the text to show through in places. The effect is a three-dimensional aspect to the surface.
Lay down multiple layers of paint. The different layers create a tactile effect on the painting by making its surface less even and smooth. Paint with different paint thicknesses not only by varying the quality and type of paint, but also with how much paint you lay onto the canvas.
Scoop on some modelling compound or something similar material, and create shapes or objects into the surface. This will create lots of wonderful texture.
Stencils are also a great idea. For example, lace is laid on the surface then pulled off after a healthy layer of texture medium of some description, is a lovely experiment. Try laying some clear impasto gel over a finished piece using lace or some patterned material. When it is dry, drag a dry brush over the top, and that pattern will be revealed. Some great patterns can reveal themselves through some very odd household objects.

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Use some shading and contrasting colors to create the impression of texture or to exaggerate an existing texture.
Spattering and stippling techniques can also create a very strong impression of texture because of the uneven layers of paint.

Other mediums & additives like impasto gel & modelling compound have texture and body already built in. A swipe with a palette knife or brush works wonders. These are just some of the ways we can create textured art. Use your imagination. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The range of textured art you can create is limitless.

Image source: www.etsy.com

How to Photograph Your Artwork for Online Display

Online art galleries and portfolios are the thing of today in terms of getting the word out about your art. Showcasing your artwork online needs to approximate the real thing and having good quality images of your artwork is a must. As an artist, you also need to keep visual records of your work—and whether you plan on selling your art right away or keeping it for years, you should always have up-to-date images ready to share.

Position your artwork almost perfectly upright
Put your artwork against a wall where it can stand on its own. It is not recommended that you lay your painting on the floor because it will be difficult for you to take a steady shot and you’ll block your light source that will create a shadow on your picture. When you take the photo, remember to tilt the camera slightly down to match the angle that the artwork is leaning – this will help minimize distortion of the original image.

photographing-artwork

Make sure that you have a sufficient, indirect natural light
Bring your artwork and your camera to a spot that’s full of bright light. Natural light is best. If the sun is too bright directly, bring your piece to a slightly shady area that’s still quite bright. If you’re forced to use artificial lights, get them as bright as possible, and reflect the light off of a white wall, poster board or another light surface to avoid over exposed parts in your photo. Look out for shadows, as well. If you use a flash, try taping a single sheet of toilet paper over it so it’s not so harsh.

Take a picture of your artwork
When you’re taking your photo, look at it directly from the front, so that the edges of the piece are parallel with the edges of the viewfinder. This keeps everything correctly proportioned.
Use a tripod so you won’t have to worry about hand shake or instability, and you can take time to frame your shot perfectly. If you don’t have a tripod, you can use anything that can hold your camera and your hands in place like a table or a box.

Avoid too much post processing
I f you think that your photo needs editing, then, you may do so. You may bring them up in Photoshop or whichever photo-editing software you use. You can remove some imperfections like cropping out the background and adjusting the contrast to approximate the real image. Do not overdo your editing. Remember that you want to post an image of your actual artwork not an edited version of it.

Image source: www.adcfineart.com

How To Fix Damaged Watercolour Paintings

Every type of damage in a watercolor painting has different procedures in order to clean and restore them. These procedures cannot reverse color fading but it can help prevent and stop further fading. Here are some tips that you can do for each type of damage.

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Water Damage
• Gently remove the painting from the frame and separate the watercolor from the glass frame immediately after it has become saturated. Mold also begins to form after saturation. Don’t leave the image in place pressed against the glass because the image will be bonded permanently to the glass.
• Lay the watercolor on a flat, dry surface. Leave the artwork untouched until completely dry. Lay the artwork on a towel, blanket or on dry grass in the yard.
• Mist the front and back of the watercolor with a light coating of spray Lysol. Do not substitute with a chemical that contains bleach. The damage incurred from the bleach is irreversible. Wait for the mold to dry out and become dormant. You will notice that the mold will become powdery.
• Brush the mold off of the watercolor lightly with a clean, dry, soft-bristled paint brush.
• Put the painting back into the frame.

Dirt and Debris
• Break a loaf of bread in half. Grab a handful of the white inner portion of the bread. Roll the dough into a ball.
• Scrub the dough gently against the watercolor painting.
• Replace the dough as the piece you are working with gets dirty.
• Brush the bread crumbs off of the watercolor using a clean, dry, soft-bristled paint brush. Make sure that all bread crumbs have been removed from the painting.

Fade Prevention
• Instead of using an ordinary glass, use a UV3 coated Plexiglas. This will reflect the UV rays that cause the color to fade.
• Move any watercolor artworks away from direct sunlight. Artwork with the UV3 Plexiglas will not prevent all UV rays from damaging the color in the painting. Direct sunlight can harm the color and raise the temperature surrounding the painting that can fade the colors.
• Avoid hanging watercolor paintings where the temperature of the artwork would rise above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid hanging on outside walls that are not properly insulated, over fireplaces or near furnace grates and windows with direct sunlight.
• Replace all florescent lighting with incandescent light bulbs. Do not use direct lighting of any type on a watercolor.

Image source: www.paintingdemos.com

Tips on How to Store an Artist Canvas

A perfectly pre-primed Canvas Lot piece, ready to take paint.
A perfectly pre-primed Canvas Lot piece, ready to take paint.

Canvas is a fabric usually made of cotton, linen, or a combination of both. It is available primed or unprimed, stretched or pre-stretched. You can buy a canvas in art supply stores or online, such as in Canvas Lot. Whatever the type of canvas you are using, you have to protect this essential material in your painting.

Unused canvas fabric
If you bought canvas on wholesale and you have some unused canvas left, here are ways on how to take care of your canvas:

  • Roll the canvas loosely around a firm center and cover it to protect it from collecting dust.
  • Store canvas away from direct sunlight or exposed to moisture or humidity.

Stretched and unused canvas
Here are the ways on how to properly store a stretched and unused canvas:

  • Store canvas vertically, standing along one edge. If you have several canvases, stack it face-to-face or back-to-back. The front side should always touch the front side of another canvas. Don’t stack canvas on top of another since it will lead to warping and cause it to sag.
  • Don’t store it in a garage, attic, or any room where you can’t control the temperature and where there is no good ventilation.

Stretched and used canvas
After you’re finished with your painting, here are tips on how you can store your painting as you await for its buyer:

  • Wrap the finished artwork in clean wrapping paper to protect it from dust and other pollutants.
  • Stack the painted canvas vertically against a wall, facing one direction.
  • Don’t store canvases face-to-face to prevent paints from sticking together.
  • Stack larger canvases near the wall and the smaller ones in front. Alternate the orientation of how the canvases are stacked.
  • Remove any eye screws, nails, or wires at the back of the canvas. If you have to attach hooks, screw the hook at the inner side of the stretcher bar. This avoids the ugly protrusions at the back of the painting and prevents poking, impressions, stains, or accidental tearing another stored canvas.
  • Use storage blocks or foam support to protect the canvas from the wall and neighboring canvas.
  • For oil paintings waiting to fully dry, store them in a room which is lit for a few hours of the day. Allowing the paint to dry in darkness causes the paint to turn yellowish.
  • If you are storing the canvas for a long period of time, place it above a rack to let air circulate underneath the paintings.

How to Frame Watercolor Paintings

Framing a watercolor painting is different from framing an oil painting on canvas. Know the purpose why you‘re framing your artwork and that is to display it in the best way and to protect it with a frame, mat and glass. Here are some easy steps and tips on how you can frame your own watercolor painting.

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Materials
Aside from glass, you need to protect the painting with a mat and backing (usually foam core), which should be acid free and archival, to prevent your painting from turning yellow overtime. Use a double mat because it looks better. You also need some acid-free cloth tape to attach the painting to the mat. The mat keeps the painting from touching the glass, which is very important. If you opt not to use a mat, then you need to put a spacer between the glass and the painting so they don’t touch.

 

Sizing
You have three options for acquiring mats and frames. The cheapest way is to buy a pre-cut mat and pre-made frame. Alternatively, you can purchase the equipment to cut your own mats, and even buy parts to assemble your own frames. Eventually you can save money by cutting your own mats, if you do enough of them, although I’ve found the mat material to be expensive unless bought in bulk. Finally, you can simply order what you need from a framer.

Frame
Finally, you need a frame. In general, the larger the painting, the wider the frame molding can be, but it’s all a matter of taste. Do, however, consider how the end result will look when you’re selecting molding. You don’t want to either overwhelm or underwhelm the artwork.

WatercolorFrameAssembly
Now that you have everything you need to frame your painting, you can now start assembling. Here’s how.
1. Wipe glass and make sure not to leave finger prints before placing in the frame.
2. Prepare you pre-cut mat and you can stack them inside the frame since they are thin. You can triple or double the matting with different colors if you want.
3. Surface could be plain paper, linen, silk, even leather, rice paper, can be textured and patterned.
4. Most mats are only available with a white core (the tiny part that shows when a bevel opening is cut). But a handful of mats do come with black core, green, red and yellow.
5. A common form of decoration on non cloth mats is the “French Line” or “French Panel”. These are lines drawn in ink or paint forming a rectangle around the opening. Could have several lines.
6. It is best to buy Acid Free mats. An acidic mat will fade and leak into the art work, causing “mat burn”, light brown marks.
7. So you have the matt, now attach picture with non acid tape to the mat. Place on glass.
8. Put the foam board, hold in place with framing points (look like small metal arrows).
9. Turn over, look at art work before inserting point in frame and across top of the foam board.
10. Lay the paper back attached to back of frame covering top to bottom, side to side (called dust cover).
11. Drive in fastners into back of frame, about 1/3rd down from top. String wire between fastners.

Image source: www.mimenta.com

Tips for Watercolor Painters: Brush Skills Part Two

painterlyPainterly Strokes
Dab an old #12 Serie 7 Winsor & Newton round red sable on a paint color and start by laying the full brush on the paper and lifting away cleanly. Try more short dabbing strokes across your paper. Rinse your brush and change colors. Keep your brush strokes uniform in width as you start to overlap strokes to develop shapes. Play with different groupings of brush strokes across your paper. Use as many color as you please. Continue laying down similar brush strokes trying different angles of attack. Allow your wet brush strokes to intermingle as you progress.

stabThe Stab
Start by dipping your brush into a color you want and gently poke or stab your brush into the paper. The effect that you want to see after doing this is to see a fanning pattern of the hairs as you push it into the paper. Continue doing this on your paper, adding some twist or spin to your stroke by rolling your brush in your fingers as you paint. Experiment with angles of attack to find the best spreading point for the brush you are using. Consciously try to shape the hairs as you press a stroke into the paper. Give it a little wiggle while the brush hairs rest on the paper to make them align. Rinse and switch colors and/or brushes. Continue to practice spreading and twisting your brush, building texture across the paper. Look for organic shapes and textures as you allow your strokes and colors to overlap and blend. This is another example of a what is considered a painterly stroke.

cutCutting Edges
“Cutting an edge” is a sign painter’s term for pulling a clean line of paint with your brush. A clean line being a line that is smooth and flowing with no irregularities. Consider each shape before you start to paint. You may lightly doodle the shapes first before painting. A round #8 Grumbacher Watercolor Classic red sable brush can be used in larger shapes a round #4 Kolonok 1001 Series Kolinsky sable for smaller shapes. If your brush is too full to get a proper point, touch it on a sponge, tissue, or towel to remove excess paint before you start. While you have one color in your brush try painting all the different shapes across the page in that one color. Rinse your brush out, switch colors, and repeat. For sharp corners use the very tip of your brush and start the brush stroke at the corner point of the shape. For circular shapes, start your curving brush stroke inside the edge of the shape and pull the stroke into position before continuing the stroke. Switch to a smaller brush and try some mini shapes.

Stuck in a Rut? 5 Ways to Get Inspired to Paint

inspiration

There are times in an artist’s life when he feels uninspired, unmotivated, and uncreative. It’s like there’s a creative lull, especially after finishing a major artwork. You feel like you’ll never be able to create another beautiful painting again, you’re tired of picking up your paintbrush and starting your first stroke on the canvas, you have no inspiration to work on. If you are in this phase, here are some ways which can help you get out of the creative block you’re experiencing.

1. Look around you to get inspiration. Get out of your studio and take a walk. Be conscious of your surroundings. Notice the things around you. Look with a fresh new perspective of your environment. Sometimes, because an object, a person, or an event is ordinary to you, you may not take notice of it. You’ll be surprised how simple, ordinary things around you can give you inspiration on your next painting. You’ll be able to express yourself more accurately if your subject is something which you can relate to, or something that you are familiar with.

2. Work on more than one painting at a time. This technique seems absurd. You are uncreative yet I’m suggesting you to work on two paintings. A painting, especially if it’s big-scale, can drain your creative juices in the long run. Working on the same project everyday can be a bit tiresome and tedious. To sort of “spice up” your painting sessions, try doing two paintings. If you’re finished with an area or element in the first painting and you’re feeling tired, you can then switch to the second painting. This allows you to rest your mind from the first painting and when you come back to it, you will see areas which you can improve and enhance.

3. Experiment with a different painting technique or medium. Humans are creatures of habit. We want to do the same things in the same way. If you’re feeling uninspired, try to create a new habit in painting. Learn a new painting style and start using it. This may be a trial and error exercise for you but as you go along, you’ll improve and hopefully, master this new painting style. It can even be your new signature style in your paintings. If you’re always working with oil paints, try using watercolors or pastels. Different media require different treatments, brush strokes, and handling. You may have to learn more about a new medium that you want to work on and studying about it may give you the motivation to start painting again.

4. Look at the artworks of other painters. Art galleries, museums, and art exhibitions showcase numerous paintings and other artworks. Seeing the creativity of other artists can also inspire you to do your own masterpiece. Look at the Internet for paintings done by famous artists and see if you can learn a thing or two about how use the same painting technique or materials in your own project. Check out art magazines to see what subjects are popular nowadays, who are the upcoming artists, or where you can get art lessons.

5. Meet with other artists. Get together with your art friends. If all of you are busy, schedule an appointment that all of you will keep. This is when you can share your ideas, frustrations, tips, problems, etc. Discussing with your art buddies can help you get fresh ideas, be motivated and refreshed. After a lunch or coffee with friends, you may find yourself filled with enthusiasm and eagerness to create another beautiful artwork.

Image source: www.thecreativecomplex.com

Tips for Watercolor Painters: Brush Skills Part One

Practice makes perfect. Every skill that we learn is perfected through constant practice until we perfect them and becomes a second nature to us. Aside from being a talent, painting is a skill that needs to be honed and mastered. Other more experienced watercolor artists have developed different techniques that created their masterpieces that we can also use and here are some of them.

band of colorsBands of Color
Dip your watercolor brush into a color until loaded and start to paint a continuous wavy pattern across the paper. Keep the width of the strokes equal as much as possible. Add more paint to your brush as needed and continue where you left off until you reach the end of the paper. Rinse your brush and dip it in another color. Make another wavy line right next to the first one but make sure not to let the washes touch. Leave white paper between each stroke. Continue doing this until you fill the whole paper.

thick and thinThick and Thin
Choose a color or a combination of colors. Dip your brush into the paint and make sure it’s not too wet. Start a fine line using the tip of the brush first then start putting pressure on the brush to make a thicker stroke then lessen the pressure until the line thins out again. Do this without lifting the brush off the paper. Reload your paint brush as needed. Rinse your brush and use other colors to make more lines using the same technique until you fill the paper. You can try to thicken your stroke where the adjacent line is thin, but in particluar, avoid touching the other washes with the new colors you lay down. Being able to instinctively thicken or thin a brush stroke on command while you are painting, and have it go where you want it, is a good preparation for your future masterpieces.

flickWrist Flick
The Wrist Flick is easily done with a decent round red sable or a rigger-style brush. Put paint in you brush and position the tip of the brush pointing towards you. Push the brush tip upward with a flicking motion creating a feathery point at the last part of the stroke. One technique that you can use is you can rest your brush hand on top of my other hand for stability and control of detailed flick strokes. Practice several times in each color you have. Vary the thickness of the strokes as you try to imitate grasses, branches, or even feathers.

There are more of these techniques. Watch out for par two!

5 Tips in Buying an Artist’s Easel

311px-Tripod_easelIn a previous blog post, I explained the different types of easels available to painters. With a wide range of easels out there, how do you choose the easel for you? Here are tips to help you in selecting the perfect easel:

Tip #1. Ask these questions to yourself:

  • What kind of painting do I always do?
  • What medium am I using?
  • What is my budget for an easel?
  • Where will I place and store the easel? Do I have adequate space?
  • Where do I usually do my paintings? Inside a studio or outdoors?

Your answers to these questions will help you decide on which easel is best for you. A tabletop easel is best if you like to paint small-scale paintings or you have very limited space in your room. Different medium require different easels. For example, if you paint with oils, use an A-frame or H-frame easel, or whatever easel that will provide you with a vertical working surface. If you use several medium such as oils and watercolors, a convertible easel is best. Aside from these factors, the budget and space should also be considered.

Tip #2. Check the sturdiness of the easel. The easel should be sturdy enough to hold your canvas, support the painting process, and will not easily topple. The larger the canvas you’re working on, the sturdier the easel should be. You wouldn’t want to work on a shaky surface wherein each brush strokes vibrate because the easel cannot give ample support. Make sure that you’re not buying a display easel which is lightweight and spindly. It is designed for showcasing paintings, and not for working on paintings.

Tip #3. Choose an easel that offers adjustability. Buy an easel which provides the greatest degree of adjustability. When painting, you may want to paint standing up or sitting down, you need to work on top of the canvas as well as at the bottom. You need to have an easel that can be adjusted to give you the right tilt so you can paint on different areas of the canvas.

Tip #4. Look for an easy-to-use easel. This tip is related to Tip #3. Check if you can easily use the screw and bolt mechanism of the easel. See if it tightens properly according to the height and angle you preferred.

Tip #5. Save money for a quality easel. Keep in mind that an easel is one of your biggest expense in painting. You may have to wait for some time and keep saving for a high quality easel rather than buying cheap easels. You will be using an easel for a long time so it’s better to buy an easel that would last.

Watercolor Painting Supplies for Beginners

Watercolor is one of the most versatile mediums to work with that you can paint your subjects from very controlled and detailed, to very loose and impressionistic. It is exciting and enjoyable but challenging and a bit frustrating at the same time. Now that you’ve decided that you want to try watercolor as a medium, you need to start somewhere and that is to know your materials.

watercolor

Paper
Watercolor paper is essentially blotting paper marketed and sold as an art paper, and the two can be used interchangeably, as watercolor paper is more easily obtainable than blotter and can be used as a substitute for blotter. Lower end watercolor papers can resemble heavy paper more while higher end varieties are usually entirely cotton and more porous like blotter. Watercolor paper is traditionally torn and not cut.

Paint
Watercolor paint consists of four principal ingredients: pigments, gum Arabic, additives and solvent. The term watercolor refers to paints that use water soluble, complex carbohydrates as a binder. Originally (16th to 18th centuries), watercolor binders were sugars and/or hide glues, but since the 19th century the preferred binder is natural gum arabic, with glycerin and/or honey as additives to improve plasticity and dissolvability of the binder, and with other chemicals added to improve product shelf life.

Palette
Cake and Pan watercolor sets usually have built-in fold out palettes that are useable in varying degrees depending on their size and orientation. For your tube watercolors you can use a flat white dinner plate or buy some inexpensive 6 or more welled plastic palettes like the ones you used in grade school for your tempera paints. A covered plastic palette makes for the least waste and most convenience if you are using tube watercolors. If you are getting serious, buy one.

Brushes-water-bent-150258Brush
A #8 round red sable watercolor brush is the best beginner brush to buy most especially when you can afford only one brush. Adding a round #4 and a 1″ flat would come in handy for detail work and large washes. Most manufacturers have starter sets that contain very usable equivalents.

Water
Find a glass or jar, or small bucket to hold fresh, clean water. Use two for rinsing your brush between colors, and for clean water for painting. Avoid hard water for it decreases paint solubility and flow. Tap water is usually fine

Extras
Some minor extra things that you will need in you watercolour kit is a pencil, a kneaded eraser, some tissues, and an old towel or paper towels, and a couple of large metal clips for holding your watercolor paper to a board.

Image source: watercolorpainting.com