Category: Tips

Tips in Painting on Large Canvases

Spolarium_Luna
The Spoliarium by Juan Luna, 1884. It measures 4.22 meters x 7.675 meters.

Many artists dream of painting on a bigger canvas. If you have an idea or inspiration that cannot be captured on standard size canvases, going big is your way to go. However, if you’ve never painted on a large canvas, you can be intimidated and overwhelmed with the thought of creating big-scale art. Here are some tips that can help you overcome your fears on painting big.

Tip #1. Gradually paint on bigger canvases. Help your mind, eyes, and hands to adjust painting on a large canvas. Every couple of weeks or so, try to paint on a canvas which is bigger than the previous one you used. This practice will help you get comfortable and get used to painting big. With a small canvas, you’re working on a limited space so the details are smaller, lines are finer, and you finish quicker than painting on large-scale canvases so, you may have to practice your brush strokes little by little until you reach your desired canvas size. Learn from your mistakes and correct them along the way. Don’t be in a rush to work on a large canvas.

Tip #2. Know the scale of the painting. Are you using a big canvas to fill it with small details of a complex subject (e.g. historical event) or are you painting a big-scale of a small subject (e.g. portrait, nature). Find the balance among the subject, the size of the canvas, and your painting style. Remember, just because the painting is bigger, doesn’t mean it’s better than ordinary size painting. Some subjects are perfect for larger canvases while some are best with small canvases.

Tip #3. Use bigger brushes. Bigger brushes will help you finish the painting faster. You can cover larger areas of the canvas and you can loosen up a bit when painting, like a child painting freely on the wall. Stand back from the canvas and see if you’re on the right track.  You can still use small brushes, though, if you’re more comfortable with them and if the style of your painting requires them.

Tip #4. Divide the canvas into sections. Working on a big painting can be overwhelming. Using your sketch as guide, try to divide the canvas into sections and do one section at a time until you finish the whole painting. You can also try breaking down the elements of the painting and before you know it, you’re on your last brush strokes in this painting.

Tip #5. Be patient. Since you’re painting on a large canvas, naturally, it will take more time to finish and to dry, so be patient. If you’re an artist who get bored easily or can’t delay gratification, then creating large-scale paintings is not for you.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Types of Stretcher Bars

Stretcher bars play a major role in the appearance of a canvas artwork or Giclee printing. The quality of wood and the structure of the stretcher are the key to easy stretching which produces a better print quality and longer life for a canvas. It is also important that you choose the right stretcher for your canvas depending on the type of canvas you will use, the size of your artwork and weight and texture of the weave of the canvas. The following are the types of stretcher bars and their uses.

stretchers

Medium/Standard Duty
Medium duty stretcher bars are the standard stretcher bars with raised and rounded edges which significantly reduce the friction of stretching. It provides a tighter and more even canvas face. It also reduces the stress placed on the canvas and the person doing the stretching, as pliers lever the canvas around the frame.

Light Duty
Light duty stretcher bars are great for those smaller paintings or giclee prints that will be framed or won’t benefit from a thicker bar. They have a beaded (rounded) edge that holds the canvas and flat part of the bar slightly apart. The rounded edge greatly relieves the stress on the canvas and person framing. A tighter, more uniform stretch is the result of this feature because the canvas flows around the smooth edge.

Medium/Heavy Duty- Goldilocks
Goldilocks medium or heavy duty stretcher bar is an expensive option because it is in demand for those who require a substantial side profile for their valuable art work. It adds to the intrinsic value of the art without having to spend more. This stretcher profile is frequently used for the stretching of giclee and other prints.

800px-Light_stretcher_bars_assembled_disassembled_051907

Heavy Duty-Midi
Heavy duty Midi bars offer you an exceptional quality at a very reasonable price. Like all other gallery wrap stretcher bars, their edges are created to impart a smoother stretching with less resistance. These light-weight bars are also perfect for reducing the overall weight of the frame. Straight-grained and lightweight these bars are perfect for also reducing the overall weight of the frame.

Super Heavy Duty
The super heavy duty gallery wrap stretcher bars are known for their impressive mass as well as strength. It is very useful when you have to stretch that large canvases and paintings. It is also ideal for smaller frame applications where very high tension is required. They are usually made with a brace at the back for added strength.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

How Stretcher Bars Are Made

www.canvaslot.com
www.canvaslot.com

A stretcher bar is a wooden frame that is used as wooden framework support (usually made from pine) on which an artist fastens a piece of canvas. It provides a steady tension to the canvas and gets the canvas artwork very flat and taut on the frame base, and thus makes it ready to be placed in a picture frame or to simply hang it as is. A stretcher can be bought ready-made as four parts that you just fit together, or you can just buy a pre-stretched canvas at canvaslot.com or you can just do it yourself. Here’s how.

Materials:
• 1×2 inches (2.5-by-5.1 cm) wood (4 pieces)
• Hand saw or power tools
• Miter block
• Staple gun
• quarter-round trim (4 pieces)
• Pencil
• Hammer
• Headless nails (not longer than the width of your quarter-round and 1×2 inch wood combined)

Step 1– Choose the type of wood you want to use. The sides should measure 1 by 2 inches (2.5 by 5.1 cm). Measure the wood according to the desired dimensions then cut with a forty-five degree angle at each end. You can use a miter box to make good, equal, 45 degree cuts at each end so that the wood fits together properly at the corners.

PinFrame-3-Marking-2nd-Cut

Step 2– Bring together the edges of the cut wood on a flat surface and use powered staple gun to secure the corners by placing 3 staples over the line where the corners come together. Staple the rest of the corners and do this on both front and back of the joints to make the entire frame become very strong and rigid.

PinFrames-11-Stapling

Step 3– Cut the trim pieces with whatever tool you used on the other pieces of wood. Place one flat side of the quarter-round against the stretcher bars, and the other flat side facing outward. The curved edge of the quarter-rounds should be facing inward toward the center of the frame. The purpose of the quarter-round pieces is to raise the canvas off of the stretcher bars. To secure the trims to the frame, nail them with headless nails. Do this by spacing the nails at 4-inch (10.2-cm) intervals to keep it solidly in place.

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When the entire frame is finished, it’s time to start stretching the canvas. By stretching your own canvas, you can not only save money, but get something you’re willing to experiment on. You also get a canvas that’s exactly the size you’re after.

Image source: www.younghouselove.com

Tips in Abstract Painting

The techniques used to create abstract art consist of either a pattern or random system of lines, shapes, colors, or splatters of paint. The overall flow of design needs to always be kept in the back of your mind as you add more and more to your creation. Your art techniques will be much like following a method of steps.

abstract

1. Layout
Sketch the patterns that you wish to create by drawing them in the canvas with a pencil charcoal. In this way, you are able to outline the figures that you want in the exact places. The great thing about learning how to paint abstract art is that you don’t necessarily require any form of subject matter. But this step is important for you to be consistent in your concept.

2. Background
This is the first layer of color you will be applying to your painting. This layer of paint is just the base of your painting so it has to be a thin layer. This is achieved by using small amount of turpentine to the color you are using. Try to make it a point that the color of your background will enhance the composition of your painting.

3. Top color
This is where you will start painting out the framework of your images over the Bottom Color. This is the time where you bring your sketch to life. Planning your colors will make your abstract art more interesting. Discover your own abstract art technique and don’t hesitate to be creative.

4. Details
This is where you put whatever small details that you find necessary before determining your art completion. This is also the step where you can add some more expressions and character to your abstract painting. There are no confines of rules when working with the imagination to produce a beautiful piece.
In order to properly learn how to paint abstract art, you first must begin to appreciate that a lot of what you are trying to produce on the canvas is governed by the nature of your own technique, intention and your inner vision. It takes a lot of passion and imagination to create an abstract art.
I believe you can never really learn how to abstract paint because it is more on an instinct. When trying to paint an abstract art for the first time, remember that you don’t really have to get it right. If you’re not satisfied with your work then keep on going. There is no finish line or mistakes in abstract painting. As long as you convey to your audience and have mutual (not necessarily the same) appreciation of your art.

Image source: www.wallpaperabstract.com

Tips on How to Understand Abstract Art

Interpreting an abstract art doesn’t have to be so complicated. Just like interpreting more realistic paintings, there is no fixed right or wrong way to look at it or understand it. . Here are some tips that you can take into account when viewing abstract art.

Claudie-Bastide-2
Abstract art by Claudie Bastide www.claudiebastide.wordpress.com

Create a connection with the art. The artist has probably carefully considered your role as the viewer of the painting and wants it to speak to you on some level. The connections you make with a piece of abstract art may discover a whole new meaning. Artists are open to hear what different viewers uncover in dialogue with their artwork, even if it’s nowhere near the artist’s original idea. Just the thought of allowing yourself to be taken in by their painting will make them feel satisfied with their art.
Do not try to interpret abstract art by looking at the title given to the work. This will more often than not confuse you even more because you will try to look for the title in the painting instead of looking for the concepts and other more important things that the art can offer. Try not to be influenced by the title then you will see that it is so much easier to understand it, irrespective of what its name suggests.

Abstract art by Brian Potter www.brianjpotter.com
Abstract art by Brian Potter www.brianjpotter.com

Do not let other viewers to influence your interpretation when trying to figure out a piece of abstract art. This may lead you to believe that you do not ‘understand’ abstract art and you’ll try to modify your own interpretation. When seeing a work of abstract art, you have to see what the scene means to you and what emotions it evokes in your mind. It may not be the same as anyone else’s opinion, but this will be your unique interpretation of the work.
See it as more than a single, isolated creation: there must be a context to truly appreciate a work of art. Every painting is created within a particular environment, and if you do not understand that environment, you will never be able to appreciate what the artist has to offer you. This is why, when you study the work of a particular artist, it makes sense to learn something about his life and the culture in which he lived.
Do not focus on physical aspects of the art but instead try to see the energy, the darkness and brightness, and the shower of emotions that these things reflect and you will find that you finally ‘understand’ abstract art. Let your eyes play with the colors of the painting, slipping around the geometry, following the twirls, twists and turns, dipping in and out of the surface.

Image source: www.abstractartistgallery.org

5 Ways Artists Can Protect Themselves From Online Scams

art.computer.securityThe information age makes its easier for artists to introduce, promote, and sell their paintings using the Internet. Artists can use the services of numerous online art galleries and social media networks to establish their art business. They can also set up their own art website or art blog as platforms for their online business. The Internet makes it easier for artists to do business but unfortunately, there are scammers who also take advantage of technology. As an artist, you must protect yourself and prevent becoming a victim of art scams.

Ways to protect yourself against fraud:

1. Be skeptical. If you receive an email or an offer that’s too good to be true, it probably is. Artists are vulnerable to these scams because they are hungry for fame, excited to make that first sale, and eager to make connections in the business. Signs to look for in a scam email: wrong grammar and spelling of words, urgency to buy, and the so-called buyer insists on arranging the shipment of the painting. Check out the Internet for the lists of email scams, including popular scammer names and email addresses.

2. Establish strict rules on accepting check payments and money orders. To protect yourself, never accept postdated checks, third-party checks, and checks where the amount is more than the agreed upon price for the artwork. Don’t accept overpayment wherein you have to refund the excess amount. For money orders, request the buyer to send payment from a trusted, domestic bank.

2. Make sure the payment is correct and has been cleared. Do not ship the painting unless the check or money order has been cleared in your bank. It takes three weeks or longer before a bank clears checks and if the check you’ve deposited turned to be a counterfeit, your bank may charge penalty fees on you.

3. Protect all online transactions. Use a trustworthy online payment service such as PayPal which protects both you and the buyer. If you’re buying art online, see if the web address starts with “https” or has a padlock symbol. These signs mean that the website where you are placing payment is secure and financial information such as your credit card number is encrypted when it is sent.

4. Be vigilant against computer viruses, trojans, malware,etc. Use the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them updated. If a virus attacks your computer, it can lead losing all your files, including the commercial photos of your paintings. Activate the firewall to prevent online criminals from accessing your computer and getting vital information on your art business.

5. Report scams. If you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to your State Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Affairs. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Image source: www.cnn.com

Guidelines for Artists in Packaging Paintings for Shipment

shipping-blank-canvases

Transporting artworks is part of an artist’s life. If you have an out-of-town exhibition or seminar, running an art business, or selling and collecting paintings, shipping paintings is very important. Shipping paintings can be a bit risky. Paintings are delicate and you must take utmost care in packaging, and handling them.

Here are some guidelines to help you in packaging paintings. Note that, despite best efforts, there are still some uncontrollable factors such as bad weather, untrained art handlers, rough roads, etc. that could damage your paintings while in transit. These guidelines will help you send your paintings safely and lessen the damage (if any).

 

Before shipping
1. Assess your shipping needs. Know the size, medium, and condition of the painting. Fragile, old, or antiquated paintings will be more damaged when shipped so it’s better to transport paintings which are less fragile. But, if you really need to ship a painting that is fragile, you have to take a different approach in packing and shipping it.

2. Consider the distance the painting has to travel. The farther the painting has to move, the more vulnerable to damage it gets. When the painting has to be shipped in great distances, remember that many handlers will be in between Point A to B.

3. Decide which transportation is best to use in moving your painting. Can you move your painting by hand, by car, by truck, or by plane?

4. If you will need a shipping company, search for a trustworthy company and determine the policies, restrictions, and cost of their service.

Packaging
Packaging your painting by yourself can save you money, if done correctly and with the right supplies. Here are the steps:

1. Make sure you have these packing supplies on hand, especially if you’re running an art business.

  • Boxes
  • Palette tape & wrap
  • Cardboard pads
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape
  • “Fragile” stickers

2. Measure the dimensions of the painting. Give a 2″ allowance all around the piece which will serve as a buffer against the outside world.

3. Starting from the back of the canvas, wrap the palette wrap tightly around the painting and cover the entire surface.

4. Cut small slits on the plastic at the back of the painting to let the piece “breathe.”

5. Put the cardboard padding on the table. Place the painting on top of the cardboard padding and measure the width and depth of the painting. Double these measurements and add few more inches if you want and mark these on the cardboard.

6. Cut the cardboard using the measurements. Create a second box using the cardboard padding. Put the painting inside and secure the box with the packing tape.

7. Tightly wrap the bubble wrap around the second box. Tip: Put another layer of bubble wrap on the edges of the box as extra cushion since the edges of the painting or the frame are more prone to damage when shipping.

8. Put the bubble-wrapped second box into the outer box. Fill any spaces with additional bubble wrap. If there are a lot of extra spaces, you can opt to cut the outer box to fit the second box.

Tips for Caring and Handling Acrylic Paintings

Acrylic_care

Acrylic paints were introduced in the 1950s, much later than oils, but museums, galleries, and art collectors have included many acrylic paintings in their collections. Artists have experimented and used acrylics on canvas for its versatility of use and quick drying time. The properties of acrylic paints differ from oils so the maintenance and caring for acrylic paintings is different from oil paintings. Since acrylic paint is relatively new compared to oil paints which have been used in art for centuries, people are just starting to know its aging characteristics. For now, the best way to preserve and lengthen the life of acrylic paintings is by preventive care.

Here are the tips for caring and handling acrylic paintings:

Cleaning
Currently, there is no concrete guideline how to clean an acrylic painting. Below are just suggestions that you can do at the moment.

1. Use a clean towel or a feather duster and lightly remove the dirt on the surface of the painting. Acrylic paintings gather dust more easily than any other medium so you may have to dust them frequently.

2. If you want to keep off the dust, put the painting in a protective frame. Acrylic paintings have electrostatic charges on the surface which attracts dust and a protective frame will prevent dust from accumulating.

3. Don’t use water, soap, or household cleaners when cleaning acrylic paintings. Most cleaning agents have ammonia which can damage your painting. When you use cleaning sprays in your house, make sure that your acrylic painting is not nearby when you are cleaning to avoid excess droplets of the spray go to the paintings.

Maintenance

1. Keep acrylic paintings away from direct or extreme heat, cold, and humidity. Acrylic paint becomes soft around 60° so display your paintings far from ovens, stoves, heating lamps, or any other source of heat inside the room.

2. Don’t touch the surface of an acrylic painting. Your fingernail may accidentally leave a dent or put extra pressure on the painting which will lessen the value of the piece.

3. Mold growth is a common issue in acrylic paintings. There is no solution for it yet that would retain the original paint of the piece. The best way to lessen mold on the surface is to hang the painting in a room where there is less humidity.

Transporting

1. Put the acrylic painting in an effective packing case that would protect it from damage. According to this website, a packing case should be able to do the following:

  • Support the painting, insulation and cushioning foams
  • Protect the contents from impact and puncture without serious distortion
  • Maintain a sealed environment
  • Protect against intrusion of moisture
  • Provide handles for lifting and moving
  • Survive a multi-venue tour without compromise of any of the above functions

2. Include instructions for unpacking and repacking outside the container. The recipient may not know the proper way of unpacking the painting so proper instructions should be provided by the sender. These instructions are important especially if there is a dispute about any damage caused by shipping, unpacking, or repacking of the painting.

3. If you have to transport the painting by rolling it, here are tips:

  • Allow enough time for the painting to be completely cure.
  • Put a polyethylene plastic onto the surface of the painting before rolling.
  • Roll and unroll the painting at room temperature. A heated room will melt the paint while a cold room will cause cracking.
  • Roll the painting loosely and evenly to prevent adhesion or ferrotyping.
  • Once packed, secure the painting with a tape.

Image source: www.goldenpaints.com

Tips for the Maintenance and Handling of Oil Painting

maintenance_Evans
Maintenance by David Larson Evans, 2012.

Oil paintings, whether you created yourself, acquired from an auction or an heirloom, have much value. You have to take care of its maintenance, handling, and storage. Paintings last a long time and to lengthen its beauty and life, proper care must be given to them. Museums and art galleries spend a lot and they go at great lengths just to keep and safeguard their paintings. As a painter or as an art collector, you must know some information on the maintenance and correct handling of your pieces. Here are some tips:

1. Handle the oil painting by the frame. Don’t touch the painting surface to avoid leaving natural oils from your skin.

2. An oil painting canvas is pliable, so don’t put an object at the front and behind the painting which could press the painting and leave a dent, or worse, cause a tear. If there is damage in the painting, you could do your own repair but if the piece is an heirloom or has much value, it’s better to ask a professional art restorer to do the repair.

3. When transporting an oil painting, place cardboard or thin plywood on both sides of the painting and put bubble wrap around it to secure the painting. Don’t stack paintings on top of the other.

4. When you are permanently storing a painting, put it in a custom-sized plywood container and brace the painting to avoid movements. Don’t store the painting in your attic or basement since the environment in these rooms are not favorable for paintings.

5. Don’t expose your painting under direct or extreme sunlight, cold, or humidity. These conditions will cause the paint to fall off, weaken the canvas in time, and ultimately damage your painting.

6. The best place to “store” a painting is by displaying it on a wall. Paintings are created to be viewed and admired, not to be hidden under the basement. Hang it in a place without extreme temperatures. Don’t hang it near or across a window, fireplace, or any room with much humidity.

7. Don’t hang paintings in hallways or any room where there are lots of movements and where it can be knocked or scratched. The best room for a painting would be a room where people are comfortable, a room where the temperature is controlled, not much heat or cold. Keep your paintings away from fireplaces, heaters and radiators.

8. Use two hooks when hanging a painting to provide enough support and balance. The painting should be high for people to see but not too high to put a strain on the viewer’s neck. If you are hanging a painting in your living room, the best spot is above the sofa, above head height of anyone sitting.

9. Use a soft-bristled brush to dust the surface of the painting to prevent dust from accumulating.

Image source: http://www.dailypainters.com

How to Repair a Damaged Canvas

You’ve finally finished your masterpiece. After hours and days laboring on your painting, carefully putting your inspiration on canvas, you’re excited to display it. Unfortunately, you or someone else accidentally ripped a small area on your painting. What do you do?

Don’t panic. There are two ways to repair a torn, ripped, punctured, or damaged canvas: patching or lining. Before fixing your canvas, you have to consider some factors that would affect the end result of your repair. If the damage is small, patching would be a good remedy. Patching is a quick and easy solution to tiny punctures, L-shaped tears, and small tears. For damages affecting a large area or if the small tears are located in several areas, lining is the best way to fix the canvas. For old oil paintings, professional art restorers prefer to do lining since most aged canvas are brittle, fragile, and more susceptible to damage when not reinforced.

tear-canvas-repair

Patching
Here are the steps for patching a canvas:

1. Smooth out the area where the tear is located. Clean up any fibers that may have unraveled.

2. Cut a piece of canvas with at least an inch wider than the tear. If you have a lighter weight canvas than the one you’re repairing is best to use.

3. Glue the patch at the back of the tear. Use acrylic-gesso or an acid-free glue in patching. Apply a thin layer of glue to the patch. If you use too much glue, it will only squeeze out of the patch and get on the front of the canvas which will leave an unnecessary stain.

4. While the glue is still wet, check the tear at the front of the canvas. Use a pair of tweezers to put back loose threads in place. Carefully arrange the threads to fill the damage.

5. Inpaint the patched area, if needed. If it’s your own work, it would be easier to repaint the repaired area.

Tips:

  • Work with patience and care.
  • Hire a professional art conservator or restorer for fixing valuable and antique paintings. They can do a more refined repair of an old painting.
  • Patching done in a busy area of the painting is less noticeable than a patch in a solid area.
  • Just because the patch is located behind the canvas, doesn’t mean you will do a sloppy repair. Make the patch neat and professional-looking so if someone sees the repair, they won’t be dismayed with the whole painting.

Image source: http://painting.about.com