Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly that most people would put “drawing,” “painting,” “knitting,””and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmith,” “glass blowing,” and “welding”. Things that I have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths was doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly exciting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to see. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers, etc.. in the area, please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off, I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub

Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Sitting here at my computer, it is a blustery day in Kansas. So windows are shut tight and allergy problems are being attempting to be avoided. I did get out over the weekend though.  Sunday marked the annual Neosho Valley Art Exhibit at the Chanute Art Gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded the Best of Show for the second year in a row.

Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mike Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mr. Derosa of Coffeyville judged and critiqued the show very professionally. But probably the best comment I heard was ‘The best thing Bob Ross ever did was die.”

BOS entry over the weekend

BOS entry over the weekend

Aside from the award it was amazing seeing everyone again.  Many of these people I have known close to twenty-five years. Hubby even came with me. :0)

In the studio/office I am working through the piles of “stuff” I have let get away from me. Again I have a VERY large pile of books sitting on the floor, checked out from the library. I prefer to work in an orderly environment and like many always attempting to tame the clutter.

Smaller piles

Smaller piles on side work table.

Aside from the expected knitting and art books I also read a number of business books. One particular book that is resonating with me is “Overcoming Underearning” by Barbara Stanny. Women and creatives seem to have a big problem in this area. or, at least I do and many around me do! (Note: Link on cover goes to Amazon, but I am not currently an affiliate.) FYI The copy I have checked out is covered with Post-It Notes for areas I need to look into further.

"Overcoming Underearning"

“Overcoming Underearning”

Easter is going to be here before I know it and we are hoping to have grandkids here that weekend. Oh and their parents too of course. So mentally I am thinking of what I need to get accomplished before then. On the top of the agenda, after getting all the books under control, is to have a painting currently on the easel completed and a shawl for the month of April begun.

The painting is for inclusion in a solo exhibit coming up in June and the shawl is for a collection i want to release later on in the year.

Below are images of a recently completed Estonian Lace Scarf. The pattern is Lily of the Valley from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” by Nancy Bush. (Note: Not an affiliate link)

I used Paton’s Lace yarn.  It is not as crisp as others I have used in the past, it has more of a halo. An acrylic blend, so I am not sure I like it. If  it is not used for another lace shawl I can always use it for baby items. It is soft, and washable! And very inexpensive in comparison.

Estonian lace shawlFolded Estonian Lace ShawlIt is freezing outside, but inside I was more than a little pleased to discover my plant blooming. It was a gift last year for Mother’s Day from a son-in-law.  Just a few days before I had made the comment that I “…hoped it would survive until Spring”.

That’ll teach me!

flowering plant in studioBelow are a few images taken around the studio/office area. :0)

Blue Scarf In Studiopeacock Feather in StudioSheldon Cooper Painting With Frame Art Studio dollThe goal for 2014 is to have one significant shawl completed for each month. I am not sure if I want to begin on a idea that has been peculating in my noggin, or jump right into creating an Orenburg shawl next.

Eventually it will all come together for an eBook tutorial with original designs.

Talk to you all soon and have a wonderful rest of January! Stay warm! And please be sure to leave comments and/or suggestions.  I always love hearing from you!

Surface Preparation of Canvas

Canvas is available in two forms, gessoed or pre-sized and ungessoed. Pre-sized, usually with gesso (acrylic medium combined with white pigment – very opaque, flexible and non-yellowing) and coated with a layer of white acrylic paint. The second is unsized, or ungessoed, canvas ready for surface preparation. Either you choose is available in many widths and textures. Many artists buy the sized and coated canvas (pre-stretched or by the roll), but then put on additional layers to further seal the fabric weave. Unsized canvas should be primed in all painting applications except acrylic staining, in which the canvas is purposefully left open and absorbent.

There are several techniques for surface preparation when dealing with canvas. If the canvas is already pre-primed with gesso and/or acrylic pigment, additional layers of gesso might be added to create a smoother and more even base upon which to paint. If you prefer an extra smooth finish, apply gesso over the pre-stretched canvas surface, making strokes in one direction. Allow it to dry thoroughly, and then apply a second coat in the opposing direction. If you use a soft brush, smoothing out obvious brush strokes as you apply the gesso, your finished product will be fairly smooth. But, if extra smoothness is desired, sand the surface lightly with light-grit sandpaper to remove any irregularities in the surface; then clean away dust with a soft cloth. If further smoothing is necessary, sand with sandpaper that is even finer.

Extra smooth finishes can be obtained by repeating the steps above. After the third or forth coat, begin to use finer and finer sandpaper, along with water, to polish the surface to a near glass-like finish. It can take up to eight coatings and sandings to achieve the extra-smooth finish loved by many fine detail artists who consider the effort well worth their time.

Raw canvas intended for use with oils should be sized with at least four coats of gesso. For use with acrylics in all techniques but staining, sizing (gesso, etc.) is also necessary. Application of the first layer could be done with a wide putty knife. The blade will smooth the gesso over the surface and work it into the weave of the fabric. Attempt to apply the gesso smoothly with the blade, avoiding ridges and oozes. After this coat dries, sand it lightly with medium sandpaper and clean with a cloth to remove the dust. Repeat the application/sanding process for two additional layers. Clean any dust from the surface and it is ready.
Although there is added effort involved in the preparation of unsized canvas, it is available in weights heavier than pre-stretched/sized canvas. This is especially helpful when the works are large. Thicker canvas stretches tighter for a smoother, more professional presentation and will not relax over time.

A further advantage to sizing your own raw canvas or resurfacing a pre-sized canvas is that you can augment the texture on the surface. If you want to create an impasto look, you can apply gesso thickly and build a surface. With thick, visible texture, less paint yields a richly applied painterly surface. You can also press textures into a thick, wet layer of gesso for unique textures. Some tools that are used for this method of surface preparation include crushed kraft paper to yield a broken, uneven, crackle-type surface; knife blades to create ridges and lines; and sponges to create a uniform but not smooth surface. Adding material such as sand, small stones or gravel, grasses, small twigs and the like to a layer of gesso can create some wildly textured surfaces that are unique.

Consider how fortunate we are to be able to pop into any art supply center and purchase acrylic gesso. The old masters were forced to create their own canvas preparation material. The ordeal began by melting animal hide glue (an organic product that turns rancid easily) and then combining it with powdered white pigment. This concoction was cooked in a double boiler until melted and well blended and then applied to the surface while still hot. It could only be used on wood or other rigid backings, as any flexible surface like canvas would allow the brittle surface to crack or break and fall away.

Hide glue surfaces cannot endure any blows or hard treatment and must be handled carefully. Despite all of these challenges, modern painters have begun a renaissance of this surface treatment method. Technique purists and oil painters that are trying to reproduce the look of old works are especially fond of the surface–purists because it hearkens back to the period of the masters and historical painters because of the “easy to age” surface. Today, paintings can be created that have the look of centuries-old pieces.

So if you paint on canvas (or canvas boards or Masonite), there is a surfacing method that could add new dimension to your work. Perhaps you are ready to add thick textures in the surface preparation. Perhaps you want to paint on an extra smooth, slick surface where every brush mark can be blended to perfection. Or maybe you want to begin to work on a new grand scale and want to know how to surface your own canvas. With today’s materials, there is a preparation method exactly suited to your needs that makes it easier and faster than ever.

I strongly believe that drawing is the foundation of visual arts. If you do not have the necessary drawing skills your work suffers. So I have pulled this eBook out of our archives to help flex those drawing muscles!

fist drawing

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drawingzine_007$4.99

eBook Download – Go here for more information and to purchase!

 

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