A design is an arrangement, a way of organizing something. In arts and crafts, even though we use many different materials, the visual appearance can be reduced to six elements of design. They are line, shape, form, space, color, and texture. They are what we organize. They are the tools.

Elements of Design

“Shadow #8” Barton

Line is a mark with greater length than width. Lines can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin. Such as the edge of a building, train tracks and sidewalks etc. Line is used to portray movement, or to suggest a shape.  The wood creates both a vertical and horizontal line, while the shadows create lines that suggest geometric shapes.

Elements of Design

A closed line, Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic, like free formed shapes or natural shapes. Usually shapes are used to create a sense of space.  The shape created by the chair is heightened by the increased contrast of the image.

Elements of Design

“R.Mutt” Marcel Duchamp

Forms are three-dimensional shapes, expressing length, width, and depth. Balls, cylinders, boxes and triangles are forms.  The least used of the elements, a three dimensional object. It is difficult to portray a three dimensional object on film, which is by nature two dimensional.

The form within the famous image of the urinal by Marcel Duchamp are said to resemble the same form of many religious sculptures.

Elements of Design

“Artist Alley” Barton

Space is the area between and around objects. Negative space refers to the area of unused or unoccupied area in a photo, negative space has shape. Space can also refer to the feeling of depth. Real space is three-dimensional; in visual art when we can create the feeling or illusion of depth we call it space.

In the image of the alley the plain sides of the buildings, pavement and sky. Play against each others space to create visual tension within the image.

“Field Trip” Barton

Color is light reflected off objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue or its name (red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity (how bright or dull it is).  You can use color to draw attention to one area o an image.

The yellow and black of the school bus create a frame around the figure, drawing attention to it visually.

“Texture #9” Barton 

Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard. Everything three dimensional has some sort of texture.

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)

Paint Palette Artist Needs

1. Time – To relax, dream and breath a creative flow.

2. Security – This can either work for you, or against you. Too much security and you may get lazy and not produce work. Not enough and you may be tempted/forced to focus on things besides your art.

3. Tools – No matter what you do you need some sort of tool, even if it is your finger.  If money is really tight and you can not got your hands on the ideal items, we can learn to use what is available to us, if it is important to us.

4. Space – Even the space between our ears. Perhaps most important the space between our ears! If you can have a physical space to work this shows a priority both mentally and physically.

5. Drive to Create – You HAVE to want it as an outlet and/or as a business need. It is difficult enough to be a creative individual in the world, without a drive to create….forget about it.

6. Discipline – There are a lot of things to juggle when you are an artist: your time, priorities, finances, marketing to name just a few.

7. Passion – An indescribable love of what you do.

8. Support – You need people in your corner, even if it is only the voice in your head.

9. Ongoing Education – You must continue to challenge yourself in order to grow.

10. Guts – (chutzpah) Take the road less traveled and not produce more of the same takes an inner spark.  Some days more than others….

5 Creativity stoppers1. Negative Thoughts – “I can’t do this!” How many times do we hear from others, “I can’t draw a straight line.”? If they tell themselves that it is no wonder! Thoughts are powerful things.

2. Procrastination – Can also be a form of performance anxiety. Tell yourself you will work for ten minutes to start.  If after ten minutes you still do not want to be working on what you are, change it. There are so many things we juggle as artists, that there are always things to be productive.

3. Disorder – I know, I know, I can hear someone thinking now that they are visual people and they require all of their materials out in front of them in order to be creative. The problem with that is that you can wind up with too MUCH stuff out and become visually overwhelmed, not knowing what to focus on. Or you just simply can not find the tools and materials that you need with all the clutter.

4. Over-Thinking – Guilty as charged! This is my weakness. It can be used as a form of procrastination or perfectionism. You simply are making things more complicated than they need to be.  Just start already!

5. Comparing yourself to others – We are all on our own path and your only real competition is yourself. Ask if you are growing and challenging yourself.  All the rest is just distraction.

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.

Time management image1. Set Goals – Know what you want.  Look at the big picture.

2. Make Lists – If you know what you want, making lists on what to do is the next logical step.  I am a big list maker. This helps you to see how you are going to reach your goals.

3. Be Organized – Be reasonably organized is a big time saver. You won’t waste your time looking for something you need every day. Just be sure you don’t spend all your time organizing and avoid doing what you need to do to meet your goals.

4. Schedule – Have an idea of when you want to meet a goal. Without deadlines you can flounder and not feel a need to complete anything.

5. Do Not Multitask – studies show that the human brain is not designed for multitasking. In face it takes you 50% longer to complete a task if you attempt to do it this way. Instead focus on one thing at a time. Do what is front of you and then move on to the next.

As a sole proprietor of a very small art business I have very little I can put out financially to support community projects. So when I see something worthwhile that will cost me very little I have to look closer.

Glen With Boys - Just Before Shipping Out

Glen With Boys – Just Before Shipping Out

The latest is that of sponsoring a veteran fresh out of the army, to participate in an event. In the past I have used his two sons as models for oil paintings.

Note: Glen was Grand Champion winner along with the Clark Crew last year at the Great Plains BBQ – BBQ for the Troops at Fort Riley, KS.

Eventually I realized other artist may be interested in sponsoring him as well. Glen served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army and is recently transitioning into life as a civilian. He is taking part in the “Backyard Barbeque Contest” as part of the “National Barbecue Competition” in Derby Kansas, Sept. 6-7 2013. To help cover the cost of supplies to participate we are offering sponsorships. In return, the name of your art business (and corresponding web address) will be on display at his work area during his time in the competition. The cost of your sponsorship is up to you. It can be as little as $5. To cover the entire event for him will cost approx $500

Facebook page link: http://on.fb.me/17WrGZa

If you/or your business would like to sponsor him please send payment to his PayPal account at punker_198@yahoo.com  If you have any questions you would like to ask me please do so at art@dianedobsonbarton.com

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