Tagged: canvas

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.

How to Use Gesso on a Canvas

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Gesso? What is it?

Most beginners in painting may be unfamiliar with the word “gesso.” It’s a highfaluting term that could leave a novice dumbfounded. But, don’t fret. In this post, I’ll try to shed light on this and hopefully, we can understand what gesso is all about.

Encyclopaedia Britannica defines gesso (pronounced ‘jesso’) as:

“a fluid white coating, composed of plaster of paris, chalk, gypsum, or other whiting mixed with glue, applied to smooth surfaces such as wood panels, plaster, stone, or canvas to provide the ground for tempera and oil painting or for gilding and painting carved furniture and picture frames.”

Basically, gesso is a substance used to prepare or prime a canvas before you can use it in painting. It was traditionally used by oil painters so the oil paints would adhere to the canvas. Gesso is used to protect the canvas fibers, smoothen the surface, and give flexibility to the canvas.

Is there a difference between an oil gesso and an acrylic gesso? Yes, their ingredients. Traditional oil gesso, also called glue gesso, contains an animal glue binder (usually rabbit-skin glue), chalk, and white pigment. Acrylic gesso is made of an acrylic polymer medium (binder), Calcium carbonate (chalk), a pigment (Titanium white), and chemicals for flexibility and longer life.

Acrylic gesso doesn’t contain glue since acrylic paints is not corrosive, unlike oils. The glue in the glue gesso is absorbed by the fibers of the canvas which protects it from the corrosive nature of oil paints. Many artists use acrylic gesso because of its versatility, quick drying time, convenience, flexibility, and ease of use. Some artists claim that it can be used as ground when painting in oil but some argue that the flexibility of the acrylic gesso will cause the oil paint to crack over time.

An acrylic painter could choose not to use acrylic gesso if he wants the staining effect of acrylic paints on canvas. For beginners, it’s better to prime the canvas first, or use a pre-primed canvas since you are still practicing your painting skills. CanvasLot offers pre-primed canvas in various sizes so you won’t go into the trouble of priming your canvas.

If you are a beginner in oil painting, you can use acrylic gesso but just make sure that the canvas has been properly sized. If you are creating a portrait, or planning to create a masterpiece or something like an heirloom to your family, it’s better to use the oil gesso since the oil paint will stick better to it than to an acrylic.

You can buy acrylic gesso in most art supplies shops and it is available in artist quality and student quality. As with other art supplies, the artist quality acrylic gesso is more expensive and has higher quality than the student gesso. For priming a canvas, use the artist quality gesso.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

What are the Solvents Used in Oil Painting?

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“Solvent” is the term most commonly used to identify the liquids that are added to oil paints to temporarily change the way they work when put on canvas. Solvents dilute oil, and dissolve fats and grease from oil paints. Aside from diluting oil paints, artists use solvents to dissolve resins and clean up the work area and paint brushes.

Solvents may have different uses but they have common characteristics:

  • Liquid
  • Volatile
  • Produce vapors
  • Flammable
  • May be hazardous to health

You may think that you should forget using solvents since they are harmful to your health, but with proper precaution and  care of use, you’ll appreciate the benefits solvents bring to a painter’s work. There are many solvents available to an oil painter but you can just select a few for your work.

Turpentine. Turpentine is the traditional solvent used in oil painting and is commonly found in hardware stores. It easily evaporates and gives off harmful vapors which causes skin irritation. When buying, choose artist quality turpentine which is colorless, since the industrial type of turpentine may contain impurities. Turpentine is mostly called as “turps” and can also be called spirit of turpentine, oil of turpentine, genuine turpentine, English turpentine, distilled turpentine, and double rectified turpentine.

Mineral Spirits. Mineral spirits or paint thinner is best used for cleaning paint brushes and thinning paints. It is less expensive and less abrasive compared to turps but it still releases harmful vapors so take precaution when using it. Mineral spirits is also called “white spirits.”

Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS). As the name says, Odorless Mineral Spirits doesn’t have an unpleasant odor which makes it more expensive than ordinary mineral spirits. It is used for thinning paint and cleaning brushes. OMS is available in different grades, depending on the amount of aromatic properties removed from it. The more refined the OMS, the safer it becomes.

Paint thinner. Paint thinners are synthetic-based solvents. Contrary to its name, it is more effective in cleanup than as a diluting substance of oil paints.

Citrus-based thinner. Citrus-based thinner has a pleasant smell and is used to clean brushes and dilute oil paints. It has a yellowish color and a citrusy smell. Use it with oil paints to dry the painting faster. It is a more environmentally-friendly solvent than turps.

Turpenoid. Turpenoid is a popular synthetic solvent that is odorless and colorless which is used as a substitute for turps.  It is great for diluting oil paints as well as cleaning brushes.

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

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

The Most Reproduced Oil Paintings in the World, Part 2

The_Dream_Picasso
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

Poppy_Fields_near_Argentuil_Monet
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

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_flack
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-Zener
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:
http://www.audreyflack.com
http://www.escapeintolife.com

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