Tagged: acrylic painting

Top 7 Art Destinations Around the World

The_Louvre
The Louvre, Paris

Artists can get inspiration from everywhere. But, if you want to see magnificent artworks from celebrated artists to inspire you in your next art on canvas, here is a list of art destinations that you can include in your bucket list.

Goreme Open Air Museum, Turkey. The Goreme Open Air Museum can be compared to a compound of monasteries. Visitors will be amazed at the chapels and churches carved into the rock formations with beautiful wall paintings (frescoes). Since 1984, the Goreme Open Air Museum has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the “Met,” is the largest museum in the United States. Established in 1870 in New York City, the Met houses over 2 million objects, and only tens of thousands are available for public viewing. Its permanent collection includes artworks from Ancient Egypt; pieces from almost all of the European masters such as Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, and Johannes Vermeer; and collections from American artists.

Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Museo Reina Sofia is Spain’s national museum dedicated to 20th century art. The museum houses an immense collection of artworks from Spain’s greatest masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso’s “Guernica,” a painting created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village, in 1937.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum which exhibits art works from The Netherlands. Its collections consist of 1 million objects, 8,000 of which are displayed for the public. Visitors can see paintings done during the Dutch Golden Age, from famous painters which include Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, and Rembrandt.

Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church and a Dominacan convent that also houses priceless masterpieces, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” During World War II, aerial attacks hit the church which destroyed almost all of the walls containing precious artworks. Fortunately, The Last Supper was spared and protected.

The Louvre, Paris. The Louvre is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” It is one of the world’s largest museums, occupying an area of more than 60,000 sq.m. It exhibits an extensive collection of about 35,000 artifact and artworks from prehistory until the 21st century. More than 8 million people visit the Louvre each year, making it the world’s most visited museum.

Vatican Museums, Vatican City. The Vatican Museums showcase art pieces from the extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church. Most of its artworks are from the Renaissance period, including Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, Leonardo da Vinci’s “St. Jerome in the Wilderness,” and Raphael’s “The School of Athens.”

To get the whole list of these art destinations, you can read here.

Image source: www.travelchannel.com

Best Restaurants for Art Lovers

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Dining establishments are now incorporating art in their décor to showcase their collections and to also entice customers. Aside from offering delicious food, these restaurants and cafés also serve as art galleries, displaying paintings on canvas, sculptures, and other artworks. If you’re an artist, or an art lover, check out these restaurants:

Casa Lever, New York. Casa Lever is a fine dining restaurant in Manhattan which displays modern art. Several portraits of celebrities created by Andy Warhol grace the walls of this restaurant. The portraits include Sylvester Stallone, Aretha Franklin, and Giorgio Armani.

Four Seasons Restaurant, New York. Four Seasons Restaurant displays changing galleries of Modern Art, including artworks from Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Helen Frankenthaler. There’s an interesting story about American artist Mark Rothko. Rothko was commissioned to create a series paintings for the dining rooms. He created the paintings with “malicious intentions” but then decided to return the advance payment and kept his paintings for himself.

The Leopard at des Artistes, New York. The Leopard is an Italian fine dining restaurant in New York. The dining area displays the six panels of wood nypmhs and paintings by American artist Howard Chandler Christy which includes The Parrot Girl, The Swing Girl, and  Fountain of Youth.

Tru, Chicago. The interiors of Tru looks like an art gallery, with its high ceilings, pin-spot lights, and white walls. It displays pieces from some of the best 20th century artists such as the King of the Pop Artists Andy Warhol, American geometric painter Peter Halley, and German abstract painter Gerhard Richter.

L’Escargot, London. Opened in 1927, L’Escargot houses an extensive collection of original artworks by some of the famous artists in the 20th century such as French painter Henri Matisse, English painter David Hockney, Spanish painter & sculptor Joan Miró, and Russian artist Marc Chagall.

Maxim’s, Paris. Maxim’s is famous for its Art Nouveau interior decor. It displays an extensive collection of illustrious masterpieces from the Belle Epoch. Maxim’s display more than 500 original, signed pieces from all over the world.

La Colombe d’Or, St. Paul de Vence, France. La Colombe d’Or is a hotel and restaurant located in an old medieval town in France. Paul Roux started it as a café bar in 1920 and then later opened an inn which attracted artists from neighbor towns. Many paintings now grace the walls of the restaurant since artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse who were frequent customers exchanged their works as payment for meals or their stay.

Image source: www.casalever.com

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

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.

Beautiful Paintings Using Painting Knives

Tired of using paintbrushes? Want to experiment on using other tools in painting? You can try using a painting knife. People confuse a painting knife with a palette knife, the terms are used interchangeably, but when applying paint on a canvas, painting knife is used. Palette knife is used to mix and blend paint colors.

Using a painting knife produces thick, textured art work which is great for creating impasto. Impasto is a painting technique, using a thick application of paint that makes no attempt to look smooth. Most of the times, oil paint is the medium used in knife painting because of its think consistency but acrylics can also be used.

Knife painting can be a liberating technique. It lets you play with paint using the knife to create different depth and texture to the canvas. You need to load more paint that you normally need to the painting knife. You can then rub, squish, scrape, whip, slice, dab, mix the paint and let it sit there on the canvas. Many abstract and impressionist painters use painting knives in painting such as Vincent van Gogh, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, and contemporary artists Frank Auerbach and Leonid Afremov. Most common subjects in knife painting include architectural structures, landscapes, and man-made objects.

If you’re looking at a painting and you’re not sure whether the impasto technique was used, look at the painting from the side. If you see lumps of paint on the canvas, you’ll be sure that impasto was used.

Here are some beautiful paintings which used painting knives:

Wheat Field with Cypresses_Van_Gogh
Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh, 1889.

Vincent van Gogh created several paintings in his Wheat Fields series. In the painting above, notice the movements of the clouds, trees, and the wheat field. Van Gogh used the impasto technique in this painting, and all the paintings in the series. He used bright, vivid paint colors to convey energy and movement.

Farewell_to_Anger_Afremov
Farewell to Anger by Leonid Afremov

Leonid Afremov is a Russian-Israeli modern impressionistic artist known for his use of painting knives in his artworks. He is also known as a self-promoting artist, using the Internet to promote and sell his paintings and not much relying on art galleries and exhibitions. In his paintings, you will see how he effectively used the knife in applying, mixing, and creating images. He was able to develop a painting style distinctly his own.

Image sources:
www.metmuseum.org
www.afremov.com

Painting Knife vs. Palette Knife: What’s the Difference?

Many people are confused between a painting knife and a palette knife. They look similar and are used in painting on canvas. So, what’s the difference between these two painting tools?

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Different shapes of painting knives

Painting Knife
About.com defines a painting knife as “a springy, shaped, metal spatula used for painting instead of a brush.” A painting knife is a tool used to apply paint which is made of metal with a wooden handle. It has a  crank or a bend on the handle, similar to the shape of a trowel, that helps keep your knuckles from touching the paint you’re applying. Eventhough it’s called a knife, a painting knife has blunt edges and is not used for cutting or slicing. Painting knives are available in different sizes and angular shapes: triangular, pear-shaped, rectangular, or diamond-like.

How to buy a painting knife
When buying a painting knife, choose the one with a flexible blade, one which has a good spring to it. The handle should be smooth, has a nice grip, and comfortable to hold. Make sure that the handle and the blade are firmly attached to avoid wasting paint or accidents.

How to use a painting knife
Using a painting knife is easy, just like spreading butter on sliced bread. Get some paint from your palette and spread the paint on the canvas. You can use both sides of the painting knife.

How to clean a painting knife
After using a painting knife, use a clean cloth to wipe off the paint. Use another cloth to completely clean the tool. If the paint has already dried, scrape off the paint using a blunt knife and a damp cloth. A painting knife with a stainless steel blade is more forgiving if you forgot to clean it immediately after painting. However, if the blade is made of steel, it is prone to rust if neglected.

Palette_knife
Palette knife

Palette Knife
A palette knife is a blunt tool shaped like a spatula which is used in mixing paint colors, mediums, additives, etc. and scraping paint off the palette. It has a longer, straight blade with a rounded tip, unlike a painting knife which has angular shapes. A palette knife is made of metal, plastic, or wood.

How to buy a palette knife
Choose a palette knife with a metal blade and wood handle. As much as possible, avoid a plastic palette knife since it breaks easily. It may be inexpensive than a professional palette knife, but if you are planning to use this tool for a long time, go with the metal one which is sturdier and can effectively do the work.

How to use a palette knife
Put the paint colors or pigments on your palette. With a palette knife, get a little paint from the colors that you want to blend. Dab, flatten, and mix the colors together. If you are adding another color to the blended paints, clean the palette knife first using a cloth before getting the third paint color.

How to clean a palette knife
Cleaning a palette knife is similar to a painting knife. Use a damp cloth to remove the paint from the palette knife.

Image sources:
www.about.com
www.wikipedia.org

Tips in Painting on Large Canvases

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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

Buy Fine Art From Amazon…Soon

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Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is discussing plans with about 100 art galleries in the US of selling fine art online. The e-tail giant plans to create another part in its site where it will offer unique paintings, prints, and other fine art pieces. Amazon has already organized cocktail receptions in Seattle, and other big art cities including New York and San Francisco, inviting galleries to join the plan.

According to WSJ, Amazon will charge the art galleries a monthly membership fee of $100 and will get a commission of 5-20%, depending on the sold artwork. Higher-prices pieces would be subject to lower commission rates. The membership fee would be waived for art houses which would partner with Amazon in selling high-end art until 2015. Amazon will be using a retail model, which means each artwork has a fixed price, unlike art auction houses where the highest bidder gets the art.

Online selling of fine art is a double-edged sword. Amazon’s plan is a great way for art galleries to reach more people. Art lovers outside the city such as New York would be able to buy great art without traveling to the city. At the comfort of their homes or offices, people can easily buy art, even without visiting the actual art gallery. However, a drawback of this plan is that people may be hesitant to buying expensive paintings without seeing the actual painting. Most likely, art buyers won’t pay six- or even seven-figures for something that they only see online. Unlike buying a book or a gadget online, serious art collectors would naturally want to see the artworks personally.

High-end online auctioneers such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s said there is a growing market for expensive art over the Internet. Sotheby’s BidNow program was able to sell a 16th century portrait of Giovanni Gaddi for $2 million in 2012. Christie’s have been accepting online bids since 2007. It revealed that 27% of its auction sales ($6.2 billion) last year came from online bidding and regular auctions. Christie’s was able to sell Edward Hopper’s oil on canvas painting entitled “October on the Cape” to an online bidder for $9.6 million.

As of now we’re not sure if Amazon’s plan to sell high-end art will come to fruition. In 1999, Amazon forged a partnership with Sotheby’s to sell fine art but it lasted for 16 months only because the jointly operated auction site, Sothebys.Amazon.com, failed to gain traction. Also, there are many online art galleries offering a wide range of art from numerous artists that already have established markets and loyal clientele.

Image source: www.gizmodo.com

Types of Painting Easels: An Introduction

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A-frame easel

Dictionary.com defines easel as “a stand or frame for supporting or displaying at an angle an artist’s canvas.” Easels are usually made of wood, steel, or aluminum and are available in different designs. Here are the different types of easels in the market:

1. A-frame or Lyre easel. The A-frame easel has a tripod design, meaning, two legs in front and one in the back. It provides a strong base  for your painting and it’s small size makes it easy to move and store in your studio. The legs are collapsible so you can just fold the legs and keep it in your storage when you’re done painting. If you have a small space, an A-frame easel is perfect since it will not crowd your studio. A-frame easels can hold small size canvases up to 75″ canvases.

2. H-frame easel. As the name suggests, an H-frame easel looks like the letter “H.” It has parallel vertical posts and a horizontal crossbar support. It gives sturdier support compared to A-frame easel but it’s quite bulky. An H-frame easel can hold bigger canvases, up to 84″-96″.

3. Single mast easel. The single mast easel is the simplest type of easel. It doesn’t offer the same support as the A-frame and H-frame easels but because of its affordability, many art students and beginners opt to use it. It occupies less space (great for small apartments and school studios), is collapsible, and easy to store.

4. Giant easel. The giant easel is made for artists doing large-scale paintings. It can handle canvases taller than 8 ft so naturally, this easel is stronger and sturdier. Due to its weight, transporting a giant easel is not easy. If you are consistently working on large-scale paintings, use a giant easel but make sure that you have a dedicated studio where you can use and store it.

5. Convertible easel. The convertible easel, also called hybrid easel, is the most versatile among all other easels. You can position your canvas horizontally or vertically, depending on the surface needed by the medium you’re using. This easel can accommodate the needs of painters using oil, acrylics, watercolor, and pastels. If you’re an artist who uses several media, the convertible easel is best for you.

6. Table top easel. The table top easel can be placed on a table and allows the artist to sit while painting. It is great for those who work on small-scale paintings and those who have limited space in their room or studio. It is portable and stores easily.

7. Plein air easel. The plein air easel is the easel that you can use outdoors. It has tripod legs and can have drawers and shelf to hold your painting supplies and materials. It can hold canvases up to 45″-78″ high.

8. Bench easel. The bench easel combines an easel and a bench. The design allows you to sit while painting. It is collapsible so you can bring it anywhere. It is great for plein air artists, art teachers, or for those giving demonstrations.

9. Display easel. The display easel is not for painting, just for displaying paintings only. It is made of lighter material so it cannot hold heavy artworks. Use the display easel when you are having an art show or any event where you need to showcase your work.

10. Children’s easel. The children’s easel is created for kids. It is adjustable and most designs have two sides, allowing a couple of children to work on their paintings.  It offers built-in storage where children can keep their art supplies.

Image source: www.wikipedia.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