Glen With Boys - Just Before Shipping Out

Son-in-law (Glen) With Boys – Just Before Shipping Out

So, today is Memorial Day. Today I am thinking on my goals, as to what to accomplish before Labor Day.

Like many, I have too many irons in the fire. So this weekend was spent narrowing things down and getting focused. Which, lets face it is ALWAYS a battle for me!

I need some input. Which would you find more useful?

1. A guide to painting portraits. In the studio step-by-step.

2. Information on how to publish your own eBooks. A step-by-step on how to have a passive income from your art skills and knowledge.

3. An instructional on knitting lace shawls. Six new patterns to make yourself, along with information on the types of shawls made historically.

People have already been responding on my Facebook page(s).  But feel free to also leave a comment below!

Last month I showed how to make a simple light box with a cardboard box.  Here is another example, made from manila file folders.

A light tent can be purchased, but of course I prefer to just make my own.  Here I started with 2 discarded manila folders taped together so that they would stand as shown.  The extras are lying in front of them but only two were used for the main frame.

Folders are not terribly strong so you may want to use a thicker cardboard if you will be using it a great deal. Foam core works well, is inexpensive, comes in white and can be cut down to size.

In order to cut down on the yellow color coming through I covered the surface with 11” x 17” white printer paper by folding it over and taping it to the back.

Next a large piece of white fabric was laid down and over the top edge, press out wrinkles as you do.  I put a cloths pin on the top edge to keep it from dropping down, then folded it back over itself to drape over the top. I have seen folks use white trash bags, paper, tissue paper or whatever was available to get the desired effect.

I set up the tripod as shown in the camera testing example and then draped the material over the top of the camera.  This created a ‘white container’ to take the images inside.

After taking a few shots similar to the previous test, the image below was determined to have the correct setting at ISO 80, Macro setting, -1 flash.

Not bad, but I would like to get rid of the grayness of the white fabric.

 To do this I need to play with the exposure index.  After trying out -2 through +2 test shots this is the end result. I have to say that I like the change in the second photograph.

  

Continuing to experiment and see what works.

 

 

Just for comparison the image above was shot with Macro, -2 exposure, -.75 flash and a view of the image in black and white

  In my opinion the diffused light from lamp, on black, and same settings as above makes it appear much more three dimensional when compared to the other example. But I found some people preferred the images taken in the light tent and found it ‘softer’.

 

   

Hand blown glass paperweight shot in light tent compared to taken with flash on white background (paper towel)

Of course with some tweaking I am sure one could get much better shots here!

This is a wonderful item to have if you paint on location or are taking classes. You can purchase a similar item but why not just use left over canvas and pay a fraction of the cost? This makes a wonderful gift for fellow artists, and of course you can paint the surface however you choose for added flair!

1. Cut a piece of canvas 18″ long and 1″wider than you need it to be.

2. Cut two strips 12″ long and 1″ wide. (As an alternative – a strong fiber or ribbon)

3. Fold over a 1/4″ hem on all edges of the large piece, pin it into place. Fold under all raw edges.

4. Sew along hem.

5. Fold over 12″ strips so there are no raw edges showing. Sew along the seam.

6. Pin one end of each 12″ strip into position along the edge

7. Fold one end up to create the pocket area for your brushes. Be sure that the end of each 12″ strip is between layers of fabric. Sew pocket and strips into place along sides.

8. Sew the areas for beach rush pockets where need. If you have a large number of smaller width brushes, sew the seams closer together for smaller pockets, and further apart for wider.

* In order to store or carry your brush with you, simply roll it up and tie strips together.

Painting Supplies

PSU Painting StudioWhere do I begin?

So you have decided you would like to try painting. You are somewhere on the spectrum of ability, either a professional, just wanting to touch up on basics, or a beginner who has never picked up a paint brush. Perhaps you just want to discover a world that appears to be magical, that until now has managed to elude you.

For everyone’s benefit, let’s start with the bare bones of supplies. What do you need to do this wondrous event/action of painting? Although I strongly believe that no matter what your budget, creating or painting can be within your grasp. But, let’s take a look at what would ideally be at your finger tips as an artist.

Choosing Your Medium – In choosing your medium you need to consider numerous things. The amount of time you wish to have your materials ‘workable’. Do you have children or pets that may come into contact with your supplies or work area? If you will be concerned that you’re 2 year old would like to see what your painting taste like? Do you wish to buy everything you need for less than $20, $100, $500 or perhaps $1000, or even $10,000? I was once told by a professor that money should not stand in the way of creation. In this instance she was happened to be a weaver. Her thought was that if she did not have the money for supplies of a loom and such, that she would still be able to weave with sticks found in the woods. Although art materials can be seen as expensive, there are materials for every size budget. Below you will find a brief description of some available painting supplies.

  • Sketchbook – This is a wonderful to have on hand at all times. It doesn’t have to be anything more than typing or copier paper in a folder to do its job. The idea is to have a place to draw, as ideas hit you. Or a place to play without worrying about the end results, as you might in a painting.
  • Resources – It is wonderful to have on hand 3 dimensional objects that have caught your eye in one way or another. They need not be expensive items. But can be garage sale finds, or interesting items found on a country stroll. The idea is to have things available to you to use as subjects for paintings that have an interesting feature, whether it is the items color, texture, shape, etc. Basic items such as interesting cups, saucers or rocks can become a good place to get ideas flowing, or subjects taken from a completed painting.
  • Watercolor – A wonderful transparent medium that is extremely transportable. This is surely the most popular of painting materials. From the pans of watercolors found in many a school child’s desk to the many tube watercolors on the market, there are a wide variety of prices and paint qualities to choose from. It is important that you have a good quality brush. Nothing can be more frustrating than using a cheap materials and finding the brush coming apart on your painting. If you just want to get your feet wet (no pun intended :0) perhaps trying a inexpensive student grade set of watercolors with a medium grade brush would be just the ticket? And don’t forget to also pick up some watercolor paper. Make sure to pick up something sturdy that will not warp when wet. You can learn to stretch watercolor paper later on. But for now let’s just see if this is the painting materials for you to try.
  • Acrylic – Acrylics are a wonderful diverse medium. They have the ability to be used thick from the tube or thinned in a watercolor technique. You can also add water to them and create different textures, such as sand, marble dust. If you want a medium that can be diluted with water, are versatile and are relatively non toxic, acrylics are for you. They can be painted on a wide variety of surfaces and are only limited by the artist imagination. Although general thought of as a quick drying material you can add substances to the paint that lengthen its working time. Be aware that many of the additives are highly toxic. It is recommended that you use a synthetic brush with acrylic paint. When using a palette it is best to use glass and not plastic, it is very easy for acrylic paint to dry on a palette quickly and it is almost impossible to get off of a natural porous surface. Whereas with glass the paint will simply peel away when dry. But take care when cleaning in a sink that you use the necessary precautions to not cause bodily harm should the glass break.
  • Gouache – (pronounced go-waush) Is a opaque water media that dries to a matte finish. They are often used by graphic designers due to their ability to create strong pigmented areas of color that transfer well to printed media. Not as popular with the general public as other painting material.
  • Oils – Often considered a more advanced material, finished oil paintings often bring more on the market than acrylic or watercolors. Although some of the materials used with oils can be toxic, they can be handled easily with a little education on how to do so. A lure of oils is the ability for them to stay workable for a longer period than water media. They usually are dry to the touch in 2-14 days. Expense usually runs similar to using acrylics. Generally are painted onto canvas or well primed surface. It is historically recommended to use a natural bristle brush with oil paint, although there are now much suitable man made products on the market that work very well. It is often recommended you use a wooden palette with oils, which builds up a wonderful patina after many uses.
  • Water Mixable Oil – These are fairly new on the market and offer a wide variety of color. Used alone they can be cleaned with soap and water. Or you can also use the traditional oil mediums along with them. If you follow the specific manufacturer’s recommendations you can use them along with oil paints.
  • Alkyds – a transparent oil color, these work well for glazing and are dry much quicker than the standard oil paints. It has been said by many artists, that they work well for plain air painters.
  • Oil Sticks – Are relatively new to the market and is oil paint, of sorts, in stick form. Are wonderful for use as a drawing medium and making expressive marks made on painting surfaces, work well with oil paints and can be used for drawing the composition out on canvas before oil paint is applied, for added finishing touches, or as a painting material all its own. They are available in a wide variety of colors from a variety of manufacturers.
  • Soft Pastel – Often mistakenly called chalks, these are a highly popular medium, both for its ability to remain workable indefinitely and its wonderful array of color. Tragacanth gum is used as a binder with the pigment to create a stick form that can be used to either paint or draw with. Used on a textured surface pastel, they can create a wide variety of affects. They do need to be framed under glass in order to prevent damage by elements. Many pastels painting that were created over a hundred years ago are still presented to the viewer with vibrant and fresh looking results. They can be purchased in a variety of hardness including in pencil form.
  • Oil Pastel – Similar to soft pastels, but with a binder that is oil based. A variety of affects can be achieved by using them. By using a brush dipped in mineral spirits you can create washes with the colors and manipulate them. It is not recommended you use oil pastels along with oil paints on the same painting.
  • Water Soluble Pencils/ Crayons – Available in a wide variety of qualities. They are wonderful for creating the initial drawing for a watercolor or acrylic, or adding details along the way to a finished painting.
  • Encaustic – Less popular than many other methods, using hot wax as a binder with pigment.
  • Tempera – Considered somewhere between an oil and a gouache paint. They contain both aqueous and nongaseous binding materials. (temperate – medieval Latin meaning blending or mixing)

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.

So supposedly the ideal image to have on Pinterest for marketing is vertical.  It helps to gain more exposure due to the layout. But HOW do you go about making one fast and inexpensive?

I have Photoshop and Gimp, both of which can do pretty amazing things.  But I prefer to use PicMonkey these days for quick edits that do not require more complicated results.

Pinterest How-to VerticalLooking at JUST creating the layout that is necessary, lets get started!

  1. First you need the images you want to include in the collage.  It is a good idea to have them where you can easily locate them, such as on a folder in the desktop, or on a jump-drive.
  2. Go to Picmonkey.com and click on Create a Collage, click Open Photos and add the ones you want to include.
  3. Go down to the icon below Create a Collage, choose Biggie Smalls with the largest number of squares on the right. You can easily change the number of whichever one you choose, but for ease of starting lets stick with that has the most.
  4. Click Open and drop and drag the images where you want them. If you want to add text in an open space keep that in mind and do not place images in each one. (To remove a square go to that square and click on the X to delete.  To add drop and drag you image to the space between the squares)
  5. Save the image by hitting Save, then Save Photo – Again in an place that you can easily locate.
  6. Close the project by hitting the X in the upper right hand side of the PicMonkey work area. Not the browser “X”
  7. Open PicMonkey again and this time click on Edit a Photo and open the collage you just made.
  8. Click on Crop and adjust to create the shape you desire, click on Apply.
  9. Add any text by clicking on the P, choose the desired font and click on Add Text. A text Box will appear on the screen. Make necessary adjustments in the size of the font and location of the text box.
  10. Hit Save, then Save Photo again to your desired location.

TA-DAH!  Now you can upload the image you just made to your Blog or Pinterest.

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!

 

“Good landscape painting translates into good figure painting.” – John Singer Sargent

This past weekend I ventured out of my yard to paint plein air and went straight for probably the second toughest corner in our little town.  The first being where our one stop light is. “Tough” because I prefer to paint alone in a quiet studio. But, everyone that stopped to see what was going on was gracious, positive and curious. It was also part of a local plein air event so I had a built in support system.

600485_425958090845058_1901189122_n

IMG_2329

Starting to lay in the color

Suggested Supplies:

  • Pochade Box – Purchase one or find directions on making your own here
  • Bag – To carry it all
  • Palette – I made one to fit inside my pochade box. But you might prefer disposable for convenience.
  • Paints – I prefer oils and I tend to use Utrecht brand more than others. I carry the following: ultramarine blue, thalo blue, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, titanium white, burnt umber, burnt sienna and sap green.
  • Pencil/pen and paper – to draw out thumbnail before beginning on canvas.
  • Brushes – I prefer round and flat sable or synthetic sable.  I find traditional bristle brushes to stiff. I carry 3-4 brushes.  Sizes are not uniform across brands and I use a variety depending on the best prices.
  • Mineral spirits – I carry mine with three jars.  One to carry full of the mineral spirits another to pour it into, and the third to pour the dirty/used liquid. This way I can have it clean as needed.
  • Linseed Oil – I paint with oil to this is a must have.  I carry a small jar.
  • Canvas/panel – I prefer painting on stretch canvas to panels.  Either 8X10″, 9X12 or 11X14″
  • Umbrella can be handy but I prefer to seek our areas in the shade.  Making another item to carry eliminated.
  • Hat – The few times this year I have painted outside I was SOOO glad I had worn a hat and prevented sun damage.
  • Apron – Mine is one my oldest daughter made in high school.  It is covered in paint an worn but it is my go-to.
  • Camera – To take a shot of what you are working on in case you need to finish it later in the studio.  It can also help give you a fresh view of what you are putting on the canvas.
  • Sunscreen – I live in Kansas and I am so pale I burst into flames when I step outside. So, sunscreen is a must.  I look for 30 spf and higher.
  • Misc – Paper towels or rags, wet wipes, MP3 player with headphones and of course snackage and drink
box

Pochade Box

A pochade box is a portable small painting box you can take with you when painting plein air. The one I made has a small palette that fits inside, holes to insert paint brushes while working, and room for storage of supplies.

If I were to buy a pochade box new it would cost at least $150. There are a number of blogs that show how to make one of your own with cigar boxes and I have a friend that smokes cigars and is generous with giving them away. You can also find them online or from smoke shops for $5-10.  I gathered my supplies over the course of a few months, here and there. In the end it probably cost me about $30 in supplies. As I said the cigar boxes were free and I already had the tripod. You could also look online at as http://www.freecycle.org/ in your area.

box1

Some of the supplies used

box7

More supplies!

Supplies used:

  • Three cigar boxes.  I had two the same and one oddball but similar in size to the other two.
  • Small Hinges
  • Small bungee cords
  • Eye-and-Hook closure
  • Odd scraps of cedar wood found inside of cigar boxes – for palette shelves inside of box and for inserting t-nut into. I fyour box does not come with extra pieces of wood, you can always repurpose rullers etc…
  • 4-Bull clips – 1″ wide
  • Skill Saw
  • Dremel Tool – with small drill bit, and sander attachments
  • Pliers
  • Drill – with a variety of size drill bits to for brushes
  • Linseed Oil
  • Rag/Paper Towel
  • Sandpaper
  • T-Nut – either 1/4X20 or 1/4″X20X5/16″
  • Wood Glue
  • Mending Strips – for hinge on side of box
  • Small Screw – to join mending strips
  • Wing-Nut – to fit small screw
  • Small flat screw driver – from set used for computer/sewing machine repair
  • Standard camera tripod with extend-able legs
  • Hammer

The first thing you will want to do is to replace the hinges and closure on the box you use.  The ones put on cigar boxes are almost always weak and break easily.

box2

Palette made from bottom of the odd-ball third cigar box

Take apart the third odd ball sized cigar box and with skill saw, cut a square palette that will fit into the bottom of the other boxes.

Draw out the placement for the thumb hole. Use a Dremel Tool attachment or drill to make a hole  in the center of the marked area. Using the Dremel Tool or Skill Saw cut out the shape desired. Note: Of everything, this step probably took me the longest.

Once you have the size correct of palette and thumb hole sand the edges down smooth with either sandpaper or with the Dremel Tool.

box3

T-nut inserted into wood with the tripod attachment

Inside of all the cigar boxes were thin strips of wood that could be pulled out.  I took three strips and layered them together with wood glue, clamped them with the bull clips until dry. It should be plenty dry in a couple of hours.

This create a piece of wood approx 1/2″ thick. I then used the skill saw to cut an approximately 2×3″ shape.

Drill a hole in the center of the wood with a 1/4″ drill bit.

Insert the t-nut into the hole and tap it down with the hammer until the larger flat side is flush with the wood.

box4

T-nut attached to the bottom

Attach the piece of wood with the T-nut slightly more to toward the top of the box as shown. Due to the wight of the lid and a small canvas it will help to balance it when on the tripod.

box5

Minding Strips Attached

I put the mending strips on one side only. But you can put them on both if you want. I may wind up later doing that myself. Attach them as shown.

When the box is open, remove the wing-nut, use it and the small screw to connect the two strips.  This will give you the ability to choose the angle of your lid, or easel.

box10

Palette seasoned with linseed oil and mending strips in use

I used several layers of thin linseed oil on the palette to seal and season it before using. I think it gave it a nice aged looked :0) To do so you simply rub in a thin layer of oil and allow it to dry, and repeat a few times.

This also shows the mending strips in use.

box6

Palette shelf

Figure out how tall to make your scraps of square wood to enable the palette to rest inside of the box and not sit taller than the edge.  Glue each in a corner with wood glue.

box8

Brush rest

Carefully take off the hinges off the other box that is the same size as the one you are using.  On one of the half drill holes to insert the handles of your brushes, while painting. You probably will not be taking too many brushes with you so if you have a variety of sizes of 5-7 holes that will be more than enough. Test them out with the brushes you know you want to use and make necessary adjustments.

box12

Inside of the lid

You need to do something that will keep the lid from smacking up against the inside of the lid. Especially when the palette is covered in wet paint, and you don’t want to have to clean it off each time out in the field.  To help with this I put four thick buttons, one on each corner area to act as spacers.  I plan on also using a piece of wax paper, to keep the lid and palette from sticking together during travel.

box9

Bungee cords

Three layers, one with holes for brushes, the box you just created, and the other side of a box.  Wrap all three with the small bungee cords to keep secure. Inside of the two outer boxes you can store your paints, brushes, rags, 4 bull clips etc…

Consider cutting down the handles of a paint brushes that do not already fit.

box13

Designated Plein Air Kit

I chose to have a designated plein air kit:

  • The box materials I just created
  • A small jar to carry mineral spirits
  • Pencil
  • Small jar of linseed oil (and/or any other medium I choose to use)
  • Rags
  • Canvas
  • Plastic bag (to place dirty rags into)
box

Completed Plein Air Box

When out in the field attach the box to your tripod, take the two extra halves and attach them with the bull clips and use your lid as an easel.

NOTE: I have seen ones with special attachments for the easel portion.  And I may try something similar in the future. Right now I plan on working fairly small and as portable as possible so this should work for now.

If you decide to build your own or have already and want to share, let us know! Either post links below or email us at art@dianedobsonbarton.com

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com