The last few weeks I have had the crud. The crud then became ear drama. Drama in that I could whistle through my right ear, and just felt like general crap for a while there.
To help get things back on track, studio wise, I signed up for NaBloPoMo. What this means is that I will be posting a blog every day this month. I am sure some posts will be more exciting than others. But, I am going to use the opportunity as a kick in the pants to get refocused.
So today is the first day I have really been back full time in the studio. First on the agenda is getting everything in order, and conducive to my usual working environment.
As I work through the piles, that is my work area, I will post them the following day. To give you an idea, there is another small vintage camera painting in progress on my easel, portraits to paint, notes that need gone through, webinars to complete, sketchbooks needing worked in, and outlines to be completed.
Oh and of course the usual posting schedule will continue. This includes the final installment of the Painting in Oil series!
Wish me luck!
How to have an even sheen on the surface of your oil painting without using varnish.
To remedy this problem you do what is called “Oiling Out”.
Oiling out will accomplish two things:
- It will make the colors appear more saturated
- 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:
- Varnish can be removed, it does not meld with the oil paint as an oiling out would.
- The oil is absorbed into the oil paint itself and becomes part of the whole.
- 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.
- You can also continue painting over the oiling out layer, where with varnish this is not suggested.
So how do you do it?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- Place the painting in a clean dust free environment to dry, just as you would any oil painting in progress.
Slaving away on a larger piece, but took a break from it to do a quick study. I have a number of vintage cameras I will be painting on 8X10″s. I love the minty green color!
2. Blog – Can again be a free service as mentioned above. But if using a blog for your site, also have a separate page(s) from your ‘Site” specifically for your regular blogging.
3. Business Cards – Be sure to include all pertinent information (contact email/website/store front URL) and at least one image of your art. I personally prefer to use Moo.com but there are a number of other options including VistaPrint.com.
4. Artist Statement – Write up a paragraph or two letting people know what you would tell them in person about your art, if you could stand next to them viewing an exhibit of your work. You will add this information to your website, brochures and anything else that is appropriate. More information here
5. Facebook Page – Social networking presence is important these days. Facebook is the best place to start in my opinion. More information here
6. Pinterest Page – Can work along with your facebook page. Aimed specifically at visual sharing, so wonderful for artist! Alyson Stanfield information on Pinterest
7. Elevator Pitch – Write up a sentence or two that breaks down exactly what it is that you are creating to sell. Be able to clearly and concisely describe to someone in less than 60 seconds. More information here
8. Brochures – Not everyone is online. Brochures will show your work and explain a bit about you and the work in a concise manner. A must have for an exhibit. More information here
9. Your own domain – You can do a lot of things online to promote your work, but without your own domain you are missing out. Having one will make it much easier to find you and helps to build your branding. One only has to do a simple search to be buried in places to purchase a domain. I personally use GoDaddy.com.
10. Quality Images of Your Art – Probably THE most important thing you can do is to have quality images of your work. Nothing says amateur like bad photos. You want to be seen in the best light possible, bad pun I know! These will be used on your website, business cards, brochure and press releases. The ideal situation would be to have a professional take them for you. If a tight budget is of concern look to hiring a student, or bartering for what you need.
Postcards/Note Cards – Not necessarily a priority when just starting out, but I would shoot for them eventually. Are an easy way to get images of your new work out to be seen, as with images on your business cards. Collectors appreciate them when tucked in with a purchased item.
Mailing Labels – Also not a high priority at first but are nice to have and help to reinforce your branding.
Gallery Wrapped Stretched Canvas
Canvas – Duck canvas or linen, (unprimed)
Stretcher bars – Or 1” x 2” pine
Staples or tacks –To attach canvas to stretchers
Staple gun – Type found in hardware departments
Hammer – Helps to make precut stretchers square and to tap in any staples that need it.
Square – L shaped, metal preferred
Sewing Scissors – be sure they are sharp!
Gesso – As a sealer/primer to be used on the canvas surface
Miter saw – Necessary to cut stretchers at a 45 degree angle. Box is less expensive and will work, but if you can afford it an electric miter saw is a wonderful time and energy saver.
Nail Punch – Optional – used to help make staples flush to wood in corners
1- ½” Nails – Optional – used to make corners more secure
2” Paint Brush
Sources for Materials
Dick Blick – www.dickblick.com
Sax Arts and Crafts
Creating a Stretched Canvas
Choose size desired for a finished canvas. Keep in mind if you want to frame it with a standard size frame, you will want to go with sizes easily available. 5” x 7’, 8” x 10”, 11” x 14”, 12” x 16’, and 18” x 24”, anything larger would likely need to be specially made. You will find most commercial framers are willing to work with just about any size of canvas you wish to frame. But if in doubt, inquire with your framer.
If you are cutting your own 1”x 2”s, inspect them before purchase for bowing and/or excessive knotting. 1” x 2” usually comes in a length of ten feet. Most lumber yards will cut them down to a smaller size if it works better for you to handle. Some will go so far as to cut the 45 degree corners for you to length. But since this is ground for your art work, you will probably prefer to cut your own, to ensure a tight fit and correct size.
Once home simply cut the ends to meet in a 45 degree angle. Be sure to keep in mind the end measurement of your canvas will equal the longest edge of the corner when assembled.
How you actually attach your corners will depend if you purchased, or cut your own. ** See below if you have purchased your bars.
Lay the large metal square down on a flat surface. On the inside corner of the square lay down the stretcher bars against the edge. Lay down all four edges to be sure they are the right size, and double check for warping of wood and other imperfections. If they aren’t this is the time to make adjustments, not after they are attached to each other.
Before attaching to each other, BE SURE THEY ARE SQUARE! It works best to worry only about 2 pieces at a time, at this point. So remove two of the bars and concern yourself with just what is happening in the corner of the square
If you have cut your own, it works well to simple staple them together on both side. It is usually a good idea to put at least 2-3 lined up in a row.
Be sure that they are flush as possible with the surface of the wood. If not they will create a ‘bump’ on the canvas that is not a desirable end result. To do this tap with a hammer or use a nail punch. Be sure to recheck that things are still good and square. Turn over carefully and do the same process to the other side. Be careful when turning over that you do not cause the first staples to come out or twist. It is important to do both sides, so that there is adequate reinforcement.
When all four sides are connected, ensure they all are square with each other, an old carpenters trick is to simply measure from corner to corner crosswise, if they measure the same than they are still square.
**If you have purchased your stretcher bars they more than likely have tongue and groove ends. These ends will fit into each other and create 4-90 degree corners. Simply tap or push the ends into each other until tight and square. Your purchased bars also come with small pieces of wood called ‘keys’. These are pushed into the openings in the inside corners to help make it tighter and more stable. Some artist will also tap in a small nail, or staple the corners to ensure they do not move when stretching canvas on them.
Lay your canvas material onto a clean flat surface. Laying the stretcher bars on top, and measure around the stretcher bars about 3 inches of extra material on each side.
Starting on one edge fold the fabric up and over the edge of the stretcher bar, staple the canvas to the bar in the center.
Pull the canvas snug and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat on the remaining two sides. Be sure to pull canvas snug each time, before it is stapled.
Starting on the edge you began with. Place staples approximately 2” apart all the way around, except for the very corners. Then do this on all four sides.
There are several ways one can create a corner that will work for various needs. Our goal is to create one that will work for a professional looking corner, with or without a frame. If done correctly, you can paint around the sides of the canvas and hang it without a frame and it will appear professional, with very clean lines. No matter what style of painting you may have.
It may take some practice to get the hang of folding the corners and have a smooth edge. But take your time; it is well worth it in the end.
*Preparing to fold corner
*Folded corner from side
*Corner folded and snug, stapled down.
NOTE: If you use pre-primed canvas the following is not necessary.
Lay down your stretched canvas painting side up. Wipe away any stray threads or dust that may have attached them selves when stretching. If necessary use a damp cloth.
Going in one direction and using your 2” brush apply gesso to the surface. Be sure to paint the edges of the canvas also! Allow this first coat to dry thoroughly.
You can leave the canvas as it is for a slightly rough tooth surface, which works well for general use. Or if you want a rougher surface to paint you can add pumice, marble dust, sand, or about any other materials to the next coat to increase the surface tension. If you want a smooth surface, take fine sand paper and lightly sand the surface between coats of gesso. Allowing the gesso to dry well each time.
Tip: Apply 1-2 more coats depending upon surface desired. Be sure to go a different direct for each coat of gesso. This will help to build a stronger and longer lasting surface.
*TIP – If you used cotton duck canvas and find a ‘dent’ anywhere on your canvas wish you can fix this with a spray of water on the back side of your canvas. Allow the water to dry and the canvas will stretch back into its original shape. If you did not use Duck canvas and find yourself in a similar situation, there are more high tech materials on the market, than our use of a water bottle. How you handle the situation depends on the materials used. We suggest you check with your art material supplier for products available and their use.
As I type this we are covered in a 2″ sheet of snow and sleet, and I don’t think we are done yet. This gives me a great excuse to stay inside and practice my “hermitude”.
This week I spent time on a head-study. Working on it was a struggle. I just could not get into it. You know that grove you get into as a creative where everything else disappears and hours pass before you know it? Yea, that didn’t happen. But in hind-sight I like some of the looseness of it. Although it seems very neutral and non-committal, it reflects my mood at the time. So I am going with it.
Today I will be beginning the first in a possible series of vintage cameras. There is a turquoise colored model in particular I am interested. But, I do not want to go too far down the rabbit hole of still-life right now.
Facial proportions can vary according to ethnic background and gender. Traditionally men have more angular faces and more pronounced brow just above the eyebrow line. Examine the images shown to see how the eyes fall in the middle of the entire skull, between the tip of the head and chin. In-between the eyes is a space equal to the width of one of the eyes. Halfway between the eyes and the tip of the chin is the line where the mouth opening will fall. Although the model on the left is a young adult female the proportions are the same as an adult. Her features are simply softer and less angular than what would be found in an older mature looking individual.
Remember these are merely guidelines and will need to be adjusted to fit the subject that you are depicting. Below is that of a middle aged male’s profile. When you are drawing a subject keep in mind where your light source is coming from. The same rules apply to drawing a human being as to drawing anything else. The trick is to be objective and to over romanticize, draw what you see and not what you‘think’ you are seeing. Look at the subject carefully and try to look at the person you are drawing more then the paper you are drawing on. Always work from life whenever possible, if you can not find a model or do not feel comfortable doing so as of yet, simply use a mirror and do a self portrait.