Tagged: canvas art

Tips for the Maintenance and Handling of Oil Painting

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.


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.


  • 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

The Most Reproduced Oil Paintings in the World, Part 2

Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso, 1932.

Here is the rest of the list of the most reproduced oil paintings according to Overstockart.com. You can read the first half here.

6. Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso
Le Rêve is a 1932 oil on canvas masterpiece by Pablo Picasso. As one of the most illustrious painters, art students have used Picasso’s paintings in training. Picasso used oversimplified lines, contrasting colors, and distorted depiction of his mistress. It was painted during the period when he was using women as subjects, different from his earlier works in the the Blue Period and Cubism period.

7. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre August Renoir
Luncheon of the Boating Party portrays a group of Pierre Renoir’s friends relaxing and having lunch on a balcony at the Maison Fournaise restaurant in Chatou, France. Renoir effectively used color, texture, and shapes to convey space among the characters.  He used mostly warm colors, from red to gold, the colors primarily used during the Impressionist period.

8. The Scream by Edvard Munch
The Scream shows a somewhat neurotic, hairless figure who is shouting. Edvard Munch created four versions of this piece (in oils, pastels, and tempera).  Many interpretations have been given to this painting — the iconic figure is in turmoil, desperate, shocked, anxious, or frightened. The painter used explosive strokes, contrasting colors and lines. He used soft curves in reds and oranges to represent the sky, and strong, straight lines in black and brown paints for the bridge.

9. Red Canna by Georgia O’Keeffe
Red Canna is an artistic representation of a flower. Georgia O’Keeffe depicted natural sources using abstract patterns. The painting shows the enlarged petals of the flower, as if under a microscope. Colors used are mostly reds, yellows, and blues. O’Keeffe said flowers are small that nobody notices them and this painting shows how she sees a flower, and she painted the size bigger than reality.

10. Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Persistence of Memory is a surrealist painting, showing images of soft, melting watches. The presence of ants in the orange watch represents death. Looking at the painting, it seems like an image from a dream. It is the best example of Salvador Dali’s theory of “softness” and “hardness.” Dali clarified that contrary to some interpretations that this piece was inspired by the Theory of Relativity, the painting was just a depiction of a Camembert cheese melting under the sun.

If you are a beginner in painting, you can try to copy any of these paintings so you can experiment on different techniques and color palettes.

Image source: http://www.pablopicasso.org

The Most Reproduced Oil Paintings in the World, Part 1

Poppies, Near Argenteuil, Claude Monet, 1873.

Art students can learn painting techniques and styles by copying famous paintings in art history. Copying trains your hand and eye coordination and lets you get a deeper appreciation of the arts. You can learn the different styles and painting techniques by studying these notable paintings. It inspires you to create something beautiful as well.

In 2010, OverstockArt.com, an online business that sells painting reproductions, revealed the top 10 list of most reproduced paintings. If you are thinking which painting to copy, check out this list for inspiration.

1. The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night is among Vincent van Gogh’s most celebrated works. The subject of the painting is the night scene in the village Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, southern France. It was painted during the time Van Gogh spent inside an asylum in the same village. The painting is filled with movements and contrasts, from the colors used to the quietness of the village vis a vis the swirling night sky.

2. Café Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was fascinated with nocturnal motifs and Café Terrace at Night was no exception. He was known for his innovative use of lines, textures, and colors. You can see the contrast between the yellows and blues to black paint he used in this piece. The roughness of the cobblestone street is a direct contrast to the smoothness of the cafe.

3. The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
The Kiss is an oil and gold leaf on canvas. It depicts a couple embracing with elaborate robes and ornamentation. Gustav Klimt used the Art Nouveau style in this painting. The male figure is identified with squares and rectangles while the female figure has circles and soft lines. The couple is intimately entwined while the rest of their bodies dissolve in a shimmering flat pattern.

4. Poppy Fields near Argenteuil by Claude Monet
Claude Monet lived in Argenteuil, France from 1871-1878. The countryside became a great inspiration for Monet. The vast, bright landscapes around the region allowed Monet to experiment plein-air painting. In the painting, you’ll notice that he used blobs of paints to represent the poppies and trees, creating just an impression of the landscape.

5. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
One of the most famous paintings in history, The Mona Lisa has been reproduced and copied by many artists. Leonardo da Vinci used the technique called sfumato wherein he used subtle gradation of tone and color. This technique blurs and softens the contours of the outline, creating an atmospheric effect and the facial features seem real.

Image source: http://www.webexhibits.org

Amazing Night Landscape Oil Paintings for Inspiration

If you’re stuck in a rut, without inspiration for a theme of your painting, why not look at these night landscapes to get your creative juices running. Many artists have used the night as motif in their works. The night sky evokes mystery, secrets, and coolness. Here are some famous examples:

The Night Watch (1642) by Rembrandt

1. The Night Watch (1642) by Rembrandt
The Night Watch is an oil on canvas created by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. It is one of the most famous paintings in the world, known for its gigantic size (11.91 ft × 14.34 ft), effective contrast of light and shade known as chiaroscuro, and perception of motion. The painting depicts a group of military men out to protect the city. Even though the painting involves many people, you are still directed to the three most important characters in the piece: the two men at the center, Captain Frans Banning Cocq (left) and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburch (right); and the girl in the background. The impressive use of chiaroscuro allowed Rembrandt to create these focal points.

The Third of May 1808 (1814) by Francisco Goya

2. The Third of May 1808 (1814) by Francisco Goya
The Third of May 1808 depicts the battle between Spaniards and Napoleon’s armies at Medina del Rio Seco, Spain. The content, presentation, and emotion of the characters in the painting successfully represented the fear, suffering, and horrors of war.

The Starry Night (1889) by Vinvent van Gogh

3. The Starry Night (1889) by Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night is one of the most famous paintings of Vincent van Gogh. It portrays the view outside Van Gogh’s sanitarium room window in southern France. Paints in blues and blacks are prominent in the piece with touches of yellows and whites. It is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Nighthawks (1942) by Edward Hopper

4. Nighthawks (1942) by Edward Hopper
Nighthawks is a painting about people eating in a diner late at night. Edward Hopper revealed that the painting was inspired by “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.” Hopper tried to capture the effects of man-made lights (flourescent lights, lamp post) at night.

The Empire of Light (c.1950) by René Magritte

5. The Empire of Light (circa 1950) by René Magritte
The Empire of Light has numerous versions and all depicts a street scene during night and day. Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte painted The Empire between 1950-1954. The pieces look like its early dawn or late in the afternoon, the time when the sun sets but it’s still not completely dark. You cannot really be sure whether its day or night because Magritte presented the illusion of night and day in these paintings.

Image source: http://www.wikipaintings.org/

The Beauty and Popularity of Photorealism

American author and art dealer Louis K. Meisel coined the term “photorealism” in 1969. It refers to a genre of painting based on using photographs as basis for a realistic and photographic art work. This movement started in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During that time, artists captured images of their subjects to gather visual information and used these photos in their paintings.

To give a definite definition for an artist to be considered as a photorealist, Meisel released these 5 points:

  1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
  2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semimechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
  3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
  4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.
  5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo-Realist work.
Crayola by Audrey Flack, 1972-73.

The cool thing about photorealism is that you can mistaken a photorealistic painting as the actual photo. You’ll be surprised how a painting can look fantastically as the real thing. Many artists who are called photorealists have experimented and became popular in this painting style such as Charles Bell, Audrey Flack, Tom Blackwell, and Raplpf Goings. They use ordinary, mundane objects as their subjects such as food, flowers, beaches, diners, etc.

Before creating a photorealistic painting, artists create several studies of the subject to learn its composition, colors, shadows, form, and perspective, much like a mock-ups. From these studies, they can try to tell which element or area could become a problem when painted in large-scale and they try to find a solution. These artists gave attention to the minutest details of the subject and they try to portray subjects as accurately as possible, a total opposite of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

Between Two Places by Eric Zener

You may ask, why create a photorealistic painting that take days or even months to finish when you can just take the subject’s picture? The answer: technical virtuosity and enigma. It’s fascinating to look at these paintings because you’ll think they’re “real” but they’re not, because they’re paintings.

Many contemporary photorealists have created art works using water (swimming pools, bathrooms, water splashes), reflections (mirrors, glasses, bottles), food from freshly cooked to packaged ones as subjects. The colors are vibrant, vivid, and intense, it looks like you can almost touch the subject of the painting. Amazing, right?

Image sources:

Learn the Oil Painting Technique: Wet into Wet

Also known as Alla Prima (Italian for first attempt), wet-on-wet means you simply paint over wet paint. The goal in this technique is to finish the whole painting before the first paint dries therefore working fast is the key. Here are some things that you need to know about wet-on-wet painting.

morris hinson1

• You start the wet-on-wet technique using thinned oil paint for drawing. Then you place spots of colors all over the painting to fill it in because the sketch usually dissolved or over-painted as the painting progresses. The painting can be adjusted slightly with glazes and highlights after it dries.

• Blending colors is easy with wet on wet technique. You can directly place one color onto your canvas, and then add other colors and blend with brush or knife to you desired shade. But you have to make sure that you mix colors rapidly and with clear understanding of color theory and keeping in mind the form that you’re trying paint. Expertise with brushwork is very important to do the trick.

• The beauty of wet-on-wet technique is that it sustains the fresh and spontaneous inspiration that come as you paint. For me it is the most intuitive way to paint. Creating a portrait with the technique will require expertise in mixing colors to match your subject.

• It may require few layers of paint to complete the painting, in which case it is easy to overfix the paints, which can look labored and weak. This is the stage where many beginners give up, but if you press on, you can master wet-on-wet technique and create works with the amazing freshness and spontaneity that only wet on wet can provide.

morris hinson2

• When working wet-on-wet pull the brush along its length with the handle close to the surface. You get two strokes with a flat bristle brush, one side then the other, look at the brush for any paint it picked up and wipe it. Think of the brush hairs as if they were the fingers on your hand stroking the surface. This method allows wet paint to go over another (wet) color with clean results.

Using this technique have its advantages. One is you don’t need fine drawing skills. Blending is also quite easy in this technique so you don’t need extensive blending of colors. Lastly, your paintings can be completed quickly (about 2 hours to 2 days only) because you have to make sure that you’re working on wet paint.

This technique is quite advanced and requires a bit of painting experience. Using the Wet-on-Wet method, a dedicated practice and experimentation are all that is necessary to achieve masterpieces that you never imagined you can possibly do.

Paintings by Morris Hinson http://www.thumbartsguild.com/artist/mhinson.html

Acrylic Artists Who Made Their Mark in History

Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962

Many artists use acrylics in painting due to its fast-drying qualities and versatility. Unlike oil paints which take decades to fully dry, an acrylic painting can dry in just hours. You can also use different painting styles when using acrylics and you can use it on canvas, paper, wood, glass, or even stone.

Here are the famous artists who used acrylics in their art works:

1. Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987). Andy Warhol was a celebrated American artist and was considered as one of the leading figures in Pop Art. He was the one who started the use of everyday items such as soup cans, soft drink bottles, and dollar bills as subjects in his paintings which were then displayed in museums. Aside from using mundane objects, he was fascinated in the entertainment industry and used famous celebrities and even political figures as subjects. He created portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Jackie Kennedy.

2. Kenneth Noland (April 10, 1924 – January 5, 2010). Kenneth Noland was an American abstract painter. He was known for his geometrical themes called Chevrons and Stripes and circular motifs which are called Target paintings. Noland was known as one of the leading figures in the Color Field painting style in the US. In the 1950s, he was able to meet influential people in the art scene such as abstract expressionists Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. They greatly affected the artistic direction of his career. He started using Frankenthaler’s technique in stain painting wherein he used a thinned acrylic paint on unprimed canvas. These three painters led the formation of the Color Field painting style.

3. Robert Motherwell (January 24, 1915 – July 16, 1991). Robert Motherwell was an American abstract painter. In the 1960s, he used acrylics in painting large-scale canvases. Primarily using oils, he switched to acrylics because of its quick drying time. The Elegy of the Spanish Republic is considered as one of his most important works. It is a series of abstract paintings using black and white paint in bold movements and strokes.

4. David Hockney (born July 9, 1937). David Hockney is an English painter and draftsmen, and a founding member of the British Pop Art movement in the 1960s. He is one of the most famous British  artists. His visit in California inspired him to paint swimming pools and the urban landscape using acrylics. During that time, he developed his own style of painting called naturalistic-realistic painting. One of his famous works includes The California Collector (1964) which depicts a swimming pool in LA.

5. Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997). Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist who used comic strips and advertisements as inspirations in his art works. He was famous for creating bright and graphic images which parodied pop culture. In one of his most significant works, Drowning Girl, he used both oil and acrylic (Magna) paints and the piece was considered as a “masterpiece of melodrama.”

Image source: http://www.moma.org

Learn the Oil Painting Technique: Blending

Color blending is a technique wherein two colors are combined to create another color. Each color has a separate blend factor that determines how much of each color is combined into the final product. There are different ways to blend colors and different ways with different medium. Today, I will share some techniques in color blending using oil paints.


How to start?
Once you’ve decided what colors you want to blend to create an effect, you might want to blend small amounts of each and check if it’s the color you’re looking for then you can make necessary adjustments. Move the brush in a way from one color into the other and back or in a zigzag motion. Wipe off any paint from your brush before you start blending or better yet, start with a clean, dry brush so you won’t add any extra paint that is not part of your color scheme.

Indigo sunset original oil painting, seascape  by Gina De Gorna
Indigo sunset original oil painting, seascape
by Gina De Gorna
Image source: http://sunsetartonline.com

How to blend on canvas?
You don’t want the colors mix equally so stroking your brush sideways at least initially or else you’ll have strips of concentrated colors in your blended color. Remember to keep your strokes short and picking different percentages of blending. Keep repeating until it blends. As your tip gets thinner you get a smoother result, and once is smooth enough you can use blur or smudge tool to finish the job in case you want perfect gradients. If you think your blended color is not blending well or it’s too concentrated on canvas, all you need to do is to pick up a little fresh paint in the color that’s at risk of being lost then work from the outside or the darker shade until its blended. You can take your time blending with oil paints because they dry slowly unlike with acrylic paints.

flat-brushWhat type of brush and brushstroke is best to use in blending?
Create a transition between the first two shades using a crosshatch stroke. Flat brushes tend to work best for blending. Smooth the blend by using parallel strokes along the transition you just created. The parallel strokes should be perpendicular to the lighter shades. Use a clean brush to blend the next shade, and repeat the technique using first crosshatched strokes followed by parallel stokes. A clean brush should always be used when working with a new shade, even if the actual color is the same.


Franz Kline: Master of Black and White

“I paint the white as well as the black, and the white is just as important.” – Franz Kline

When we talk about paintings, we visualize canvases filled with several colors portraying an extensive array of subjects. However, one artist became popular during the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1940s to 1950s because of his black and white paintings.

Franz Kline is an American Abstract Expressionist is widely known for his large-scale black and white abstract paintings. In his early years as a painter, he started as a realist and primarily influenced by Old Masters. When he stayed in New York during the 1940s, he became friends with abstract expressionists including Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock which helped him develop another style and he was influenced to work with abstractions.

Kline’s abstract paintings are described as “dynamic,” “spontaneous,” and “intense” earning him the label as an “action painter.” He only used black and white paints on most of his works but nonetheless, they still show his intense style and less focus or no focus at all on the actual imagery. His works have been interpreted as landscapes, cityscapes, bridges, buildings, railroads and other industrial subjects. Some also likened his style to Japanese calligraphy. Kline denied any hidden message behind his paintings which interested a later generation of Minimalist artists.

Here are some of his celebrated works:

Painting Number 2

Painting Number 2 (1954)
Painting Number 2 is an oil on canvas measuring 6′ 8 1/2″ x 8′ 9″. It is displayed at The Museum of Modern Art.

Painting Number 7

Painting Number 7 (1952)
Painting Number 7 is one of Kline’s best examples of black and white artworks. It shows broad, geometric black lines.


Untitled (1952)
This oil painting is done on paper which is mounted on canvas. It shows Kline’s signature strong, block lines.

Unfortunately, Kline has no catalogue raisonné or an official listing of his artworks. Many forgeries of his works have been traded and it is difficult to prove the authenticity of the paintings being offered in art auction houses. An article revealed that at least nine Kline paintings which have been traded in Christie’s (London and New York), Koller (Zurich), and Tajan (Paris) may have been fakes. There lack of catalogue raisonné risks private collectors and major auction houses in buying a seemingly original Kline painting which in the end would turn out to be just a forgery.

Image source: http://www.guggenheim.org/