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.

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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.

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Some of the supplies used

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
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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

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

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“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
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Step One Example

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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.
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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.
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Step Two – Detail

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Paint Mix Detail

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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.
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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.
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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

How to have an even sheen on the surface of your oil painting without using varnish.

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Example of the uneven sheen on an oil painting.

To remedy this problem you do what is called “Oiling Out”.

Oiling out will accomplish two things:

  1. It will make the colors appear more saturated
  2. Even out the surface shine.

You CAN do the same thing with a coat of varnish.  But there are advantages to oiling out vs. Varnish:

  1. Varnish can be removed, it does not meld with the oil paint as an oiling out would.
  2. The oil is absorbed into the oil paint itself and becomes part of the whole.
  3. It can be accomplished as soon as the painting surface is dry to the touch. Whereas a varnish seals the surface in such a way that the painting must be completely dry all the way through, or it can create problems. So unless you paint very thin it can takes months for the painting to dry enough to apply a coat of varnish.
  4. You can also continue painting over the oiling out layer, where with varnish this is not suggested.

So how do you do it?

Supplies:

  • Lint free cloth such as cheesecloth
  • 1″ Flat Paintbrush
  • Mixture of either oiling mixture: 50% Artist Medium + 50% Mineral Spirits or, 80% Stand Oil + 20% Turpentine.

Process:

  • Dust off the surface of the painting with a soft lint free cloth
  • Apply the oiling mixture generously with the paintbrush, making sure to cover the entire surface of the piece.
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Applying The Oiling Out Mixture

  • Let it set for 2-3 minutes to allow the oil to absorb a bit.
  • Wipe off the excess with a clean soft lint-free cloth (Such as cheesecloth)
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Wiping Off The Excess

  • Place the painting in a clean dust free environment to dry, just as you would any oil painting in progress.
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An example of the sheen after performing the “Oiling Out”.

Part Five – Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Part Four – Facial Proportions

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

I am working on a new series of portraits for January.

The process I am use is to create a monochromatic underpainting before applying the identifiable skin tones. The work is from photo references, due to time and space restraints.

Recent oil painting progress…

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The underpainting was created using burnt umber and mineral spirits.

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Once the underpainting is dry to the touch I can begin putting other colors onto the canvas.

joeoneasel

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Final painting 12X16″ Oil on Canvas – “Joe #2”

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