Note: This tutorial was originally published on my old website. At the time I was sculpting small figures from polymer clay and needed a set-up for taking photos of smaller items.

Start with an sturdy empty cardboard box, small enough to not take up a lot of space. The one we are using here is approx 12″ x 12″ X 12″ when closed. Tape the lower three flaps together at the ends so they are stable.

Drape the fabric of choice inside of the box, loosely lining it.

Tape the upper flap back onto the box with a strong tape. Either roll up and use double faced tape to attach your backdrop cloth to the top of the box. Attach about where the upper half of the fabric naturally would lay. If this is unclear see images.

Attach the fabric to the bottom flap that is laying flat. It will help to keep it from shifting. Here I used a rolled up strip of strong shipping tape for the job. With your hands, press out folds or wrinkles that interfere with the right effect for you images.

I preferred a very flat tight backdrop to the item being shot. So a piece of paper was taped into place inside of the box. This way only the smooth white surface of the paper showed and not the weave of the fabric.If I had only put in a sheet of paper the brown of the box would have not been totally wiped away and the darkness would have not created the look I wanted. Another option is to paint the inside of the box entirely white with a flat paint.

This approximates what the camera will see. The item is encased in white with the light diffused from the upper right hand side.

Because of the position of the set up I chose to not use a tripod. But instead set the camera up on a box for stability. A light, with a Reveal bulb was placed over head to diffuse through the fabric. It was placed closer when shots were taken than shown here. Imagine it placed right over the right hand side of the box, rather than in the upper right hand corner of the shot shown. Here you can see how the fabric is draped from the outside.

Recently I worked on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes oil painting materials from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry Artarama, Cheap Joes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share this information with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly.

If you’re not – Get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tuUtj

 

$7.99 eBook Sale Until August 12th Only!

(Regular Price $9.99)

Order your copy with PayPal.


***After sending payment with PayPal check your email for download information.***

Step-by-step examples and instructions show you how to create a realistic human head in polymer clay, grounded in fine art tradition.

You Will Discover:

  1. Tools and clays recommended by the author
  2. How to mix a wide variety of skin tones and ranges.
  3. Examples and demonstrations showing how-to create each portion of the human head.
  4. Two methods of sculpting heads will be covered, so you can find the method that works best for you.
  5. And much more!

—–

The beginning of the ultimate collection of information for the polymer clay artist working with the realistic human form

—-

Printed Version Available Through LuLu for $22.95

http://stores.lulu.com/bartonstudio

—–

Artist/Author Diane Dobson Barton’s work is in private and public collections around the globe. She holds a M.A. in Art and B.S.E.D. in Art Education from Pittsburg State University.

“This book is very thorough, well-written and illustrated. I think it is one of those must-have books for all levels. I feel it is great instruction for beginners, tips and methods for intermediates and reference for the more experienced sculptor.”

– Nina

“I wish I had this YEARS ago!”

– Katherine

“The large number of images make it easy to follow and understand.”

– Jerry

 

Recently I have been working on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes prices from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, JerryArtarama, CheapJoes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share it with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly. If you’re not – get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tuUtj

*Note: This information focuses on painting in oils

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

_______________

drawingzine_007$4.99

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

 

OpaqueProjector

Vintage Monster!

Is it OK to use an opaque projector as a tool for creating representational art? It is ingrained in me to say “No”. Being able to draw and see as an artist is the basis of all fine artist. One does not want to skip past this important step. When I was first serious about learning to draw having an opaque projector was not an option, financially. For this I am thankful.

I posed this question on my facebook page(s) – Artist-How-To and Diane Dobson Barton. People proposed “Professional artist use one all the time.”, “It saves time.”,  “The master’s used similar devices for centuries.” The problem as I see it arises when an artist uses a projection without the necessary skills to make it work in the end. When it is used as a crutch rather than a tool.

I have also heard people say it “saves time”.  But if you can draw well, drawing is quicker.  If you can not draw well, one must reason that you can also not see well. Seeing well is the basis of creating all representational art.

Vintage Projector

Vintage Projector

One can drive a car with cruise control and an automatic transmission just fine. But if they never learn to steer they won’t get very far. I sincerely wish I could say knowing someone uses one does not ruffle my feathers and make red flags pop up in my mind. Maybe I am just too old school?

Artist palette color choice similar to Richard Schmid's

Artist palette color choice similar to Richard Schmid’s

Ever wonder where to begin with paint color choices? Looking to those that you admire is a good place to start. For a recent painting session I chose the colors similar to those of Richard Schmid

Left-to-right: Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Viridian, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Permanent, Cadmium Red, Trans Oxide Red, Yellow Ochre Pale, Burnt Umber, Titanium White

john-singer-sargent-lady-agnew

John Singer Sargent

Curious as to what other figure painters use/used?

Note: Intended as a guideline – Actual color will vary of course from brand to brand.

John Singer Sargent: Blanc d’Argent,Chrome Pale (A Yellow), transparent Golden Ochre, Chinese Vermillian, Venetian Red, Chrome Orange, Burnt Sienna, Garance Fronce’ (Rose Madder), Viridian, French Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Black, Cobalt Blue,

Nelson Shanks: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red, Crimson lake Deep (Old Holland), Permanent Rose (WN), Cad Red Deep, Cad Scarlet, Perinone Red (Gamblin), Perylene Red (Gamblin), Cad Orange, Raw Sienna, Indian Yellow (WN), Yellow Ochre, Cad Yellow, Cad Yellow Pale, Cad Green Pale, Cad Green, Viridian (WN), Pthalo Green, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt blue, Manganess Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Ivory Black, Flake White #2

Daniel Greene: Flake White, Ivory Black, Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Cad Yellow Med, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Thalo Green

Warren Chang: Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cad Yellow, Cad Orange, Cad Red, Terra Rose, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Ivory Black

Kinstler: Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Cad Yellow Light, Cerulean blue, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Titanium White

William McGregor Paxton: Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Red Light, Venetian Red, Indian Red, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Ivory Black, Titanium White

David Kassan: (Vasari Paints) Brilliant Yellow Light, Rosebud, Video Blue, Kings Blue, Cinnabar, Terre Verte, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Capucine Red Light, permanent Bright Red, Ruby Red, Scarlet Sienna, Red Umber, Burnt Umber, lamp Black, Flake White, Titanium-Zinc White

Basic Color Theory

The following information is intended as a basic understanding of color for the painter, general crafter or for the photographer.

Basic Color Wheel

Primary Colors – Red, Yellow and Blue are the basics of  color mixing. They can not be made on their own, but in theory you can make all the other colors on the color wheel

Secondary Colors – Violet, Green, and Orange are the colors that are created secondly by mixing the primary colors together.

Examples of  – Subtractive Color Theory  / Additive Color Theory

Subtractive Color – if you add its three primaries (Red, Green, Blue), the end result is white.

Additive Color – when the primaries cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed the end result is black. This is the color theory we are using here.

_____________________________

Color Schemes


ComplementaryColors are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance the compliment of Blue is Orange, the compliment of Red is Green etc.

Split Complementary is made by using a color and the two colors next to its compliment. Such as by using Red, and then using Yellow and Blue.

Triadic Color Schemes are made by any three colors that appear an equal distant from each other on the color wheel, such as Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Analogous Color Scheme is made by colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Monochromatic Color Scheme is made from one color or hue with multiple values and intensities.


Warm colors are colors that represent a feeling of warmth or heat such as Red, Orange, and Yellow.

Cool Colors are colors that represent a feeling of coolness and chill, such as blue, blue green and violet.

____________________________________
Value Scale the amount of light and dark that is shown. The less value the lighter it is.

Contrast is the difference in values. The strongest contrast can be seen by placing the two extremes next to each other. When two lesser extremes are next to each other they are said to have low contrast. The closer they are in value, the lower they are in contrast.

Tints are created by adding White to a value. In the case of hand-coloring a print the white would generally be added by using the paper and having a transparent color wash.


Tones are created by adding Black to a value. In the case of hand-coloring the artist will either add a bit of black to the color or use the existing shades of grey already in the image.

The final installment of our “Painting In Oils” series.

partfive

“Cameron” 12X16″ Oil on Canvas

There are probably as many ways to approach painting as artists. In this post I attempt to show how I paint portraits.

First, you need to gather your supplies:

  • Mineral Spirits
  • Rags (Or Paper Towels)
  • 12X16″ Stretched Canvas
  • Linseed Oil
  • Oil Paints (Utrecht)- Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cadium Red. Naples Yellow and Dioxazine Purple
  • Paint Brushes (Utrecht) – Round #00, #2, #3, Filbert #4
  • Small Mirror
12

Step One Example

detail1

Step One – Detail

Step One:

  • Use mineral spirits with burnt umber oil paint to create a wash and lay in the basic shapes.
  • Use only the larger brush during this step.
  • Do not use any linseed oil or other medium at this point.
  • Push and pull the values to work out the composition, working from big to small shapes.
  • Use the small mirror to check your work. The mirror helps you to see problems in proportion etc…
  • You are not committed at this point.  If it not working just wipe off the thin paint and start over.
  • Only concern yourself with getting the basic shapes and forms at this point.
  • Make sure you keep with the traditional placement of the features in mind as you work.
  • Remember the more white you add the slower it will dry so use it sparingly.
steptwo

Step Two Example

Take a brief break and step away before beginning step two. So you have a fresher perspective.

Step Two:

  • If the paint is dry to the touch, oiling out will help with the paints flow and correct use of color.
  • Correct anything that may not look correct from Step One.
  • Begin to lay in the basic colors of the flesh and develop the values further.
  • Keep the strokes loose and fresh as you can. Be sure of each stroke before you make it.
steptwodetailsmaller

Step Two – Detail

paint

Paint Mix Detail

3

Step Three Example

Step Three:

  • Deepen and enrich the colors of the flesh further. Work with smaller brushes only if necessary, but keep the freshness of the strokes. Do not become too tight.
  • Develop the clothing further and at least lay in the basic colors.
  • Darken the background and play with the push and pull of edges of the figure.
  • Notice the flesh here has blue in the shadows.
  • Continue checking your work with a small mirror to be sure you are making the progress you think you are.
4

Step Four Example – With inspirational paintings attached to easel.

Step Four:

  • Build up the shirt area with equal looseness you have in the flesh tones.
  • Touch up detailed areas of the features, still trying to not be too tight.
  • Reinforce the texture on highlighted areas of flesh.
PartFiveInProgress

Step Five Example

Step Five:

  • Be sure to include highlights on iris and pupil.
  • Fill in the rest of the dark background.
  • Develop edges of figure with the background so they are cohesive and not seen as being in two totally different spaces.
  • Sign into the wet paint at this point. Or, try to wait to sign the work until the paint is dry.  This way if you make an error it can easily be wiped off without disturbing what painting has been accomplished.
partfivedetail

Step Five – Detail

At this point I could continue building the piece with more and more detail. Instead I have chosen to stop here and leave it with the loose brushstrokes.

Tips:

  • Be sure to take regular breaks.  I tend to do so every hour. It just happens that Pandora internet stations play approx ninety minutes before pausing.
  • Clean your brushes well at the end of each painting session.
  • To keep oil paint wet from one work session to another consider placing it in the freezer in a closed container.

Part Six – Oiling Out

Part Five – Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Part Four – Facial Proportions

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

OK, what is a MOOC? “Massive Open Online Courses”, or free classes you can take online. That’s right, free.

Long ago Amazon.com offered courses you took for free. They had a text book of sorts that you purchase from them, or not. Then by way of a message board you did assignments, and had discussions with other students. It all has since gone way of Web 1.0. But, apparently the concept never really went away.

So I have been looking for a grammar/writing class. I could never find a fit. So last week I am reading a Money magazine article (May 2013) “College is Free”.

Long-story-short I am now signed up for “Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade”. It is being given by Mt. San Jacinto College, and yes it is free.

There are Art courses, Computer Science, Literature etc… Taught by professors at MIT, Berkley, and Harvard among others.  You can pay to get college credit for some, others you can only audit without charge. Some are self directed with no time limits, others are set up as a traditional online course with deadlines and discussions. Many that sign up do not finish.  I have read as high as 90%.

A few that may be interest readers:

At Coursera.org you can take a class at Penn State “Introduction to Art”

Saylor.org offers “Art History” coursework with a major

Udacity.com you can learn how to build a blog through “Web Development”

And at edx.org you can investigate the “Ideas of the 20th Century”

So if you sign up for one of these courses, please leave us a comment and let us know what you are taking and/or what you thought of courses you took in the past. Curious minds want to know!

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