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4 posts from July 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Artwork: Sweet Corn


I started this painting last year, but with commissions, I set it aside.


Finally, I had the chance to focus on this painting and I was looking forward to getting it done.



My reference - Photographer Patrick Schneider's image of a boy and his sister sitting comfortably on a rocker at a South Carolina vegetable stand.


I started on the right of the canvas, wanting to work on the boy and girl first.


One thing I probably should have done is tone the canvas, but I had already started the painting and decided to just go with it.

Here are some close up images of the painting:





And the finished painting:


"Sweet Corn"
24 x 36 Oil on Canvas

Interested in this original painting?  Go HERE

Have a great day! 



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not Just for Jelly

Tubesofpaint1 I've been working a lot in my studio, and the one thing I hate most about oil painting are the tubes of paint that are squeezed and gross and messy and disgusting.  Problem solved.  Bernardin Jelly Jars.  They are air-tight and reduce a lot of waste.  For studio work, these jelly jars are perfect!



I purchased them on Amazon.com - Bernardin's 125 ml jars.  They come in a box of 12.  With disposable gloves, stickers, marker, palette knives, and my oil paints, I was ready to fill the jars.


I labeled the jars.


And I squeezed out the oil paint into each of the jars.  Right to the last drop of oil paint in each tube. I added Artist's Painting Medium to the oil paint making it creamier.


I used my palette knives to stir the paint, adding the medium until each jar was the consistency I wanted.


It was easy, and so was the clean up.


There are so many advantages to preparing your paint in the jelly jars.  First of all, it makes preparing your studio palette easier.  Simply use a palette knife to scoop out the paint you want.  Cleaning up is a breeze.  I use a palette knife to separate the contaminated paint from the pure color then put the remaining pure color back into the jar when my day is done.  Less waste, and that is a good thing since oil paints are expensive!


If you are not going to be painting in your studio for a while, just put your paints in their box and slide them into your refrigerator.  Just so you know, though, they will last for months and months at room temperature with no skin on the paint at all.  Adding medium to your paints also helps preserve their creaminess. 

Also, the small jars are great because as you use your paint, there will be less air in the jar making for perfect preservation. 

Of course, tubes are still the best choice for plein air painting.

Happy Painting!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Perfect Studio Tabletop Palette

Every artist is different, but for me, I like clean and organization, but when it comes to an artist's studio, they are usually anything but clean and organized. One thing I've noticed over the years is the many different ways artists prepare their studio palettes.


For instance, this is the glass studio palette of artist Brian Kliewer.  A piece of glass over a light gray (possibly white) background - sometimes the way the camera captures color is tricky.  This is very much how my palette has looked in my studio for over a decade.


This was my studio palette for years.  I had a piece of tan canvas under a sheet of glass which I had cut for me to fit my tabletop.  I also had the edges of the glass smoothed and rounded so that neither I nor my children would get cut on it.  The color of the canvas beneath the glass was suitable for me to see the lights and darks for years, although in my subconscious, I knew it should be darker.  I was too lazy to change it.


This is the glass palette of my artist friend David Darrow aka "Dave the Painting Guy."  Dave is a fabulous artist, mostly portraits in oils.  He has a UStream show that you can visit HERE  and a blog that you can visit by clicking on his name above.  He is a wonderful teacher and very funny.  I love his show on UStream and have learned a lot from him over the years.  He talks to visitors of his show while on the air too, so you can ask him questions when he is live and on the air. 

One question recently posed to Dave was "why don't you scrape off all the paint and clean your palette?"  To which Dave replied "I like to see where my paint goes" or something like that.  He didn't want to have to think about how to lay out his colors each and every time he set out his paints.  I can understand that.  He said he leaves his globs of paint on his palette and then scrapes off the skin and puts on more paint. If you watch his UStream show enough you see him doing this frequently.  I cringe every time I see him peel off the paint skin.

Now in my opinion, he has one big mess there, and personally, I do not like having dried oil paint skin anywhere on my palette because it always manages to find its way onto my painting.  I hate having to pick off the bits of dried paint from my painting and my brushes - I know you know what I mean!!


This is Nelson Shank's palette.  In the traditional sense, he uses his wood palette, even in the studio from what I have heard.  He sets out his paints meticulously on his handheld wood palette with medium attached.  As organized as this is, it is definitely crowded.  The color of his wood palette, however, makes for a wonderful ground in which to see his lights and darks.



I don't know whose wood palette this belongs to.  He uses a lot of cool colors though.


This is the glass tabletop palette of Richard Schmid.  In the same respect as David Darrow, he leaves some dried paint around the perimeter of his glass palette to see the colors, making it easier and faster to lay out the palette for a new day of work.  If you notice, the color of the ground beneath the glass is gray - again making it easier to see the lights and darks.


So today, I decided to change things up a bit while I cleaned my studio.  About a year ago, I took a piece of tan canvas 24 x 36 (the size of my glass tabletop palette) and I made a semi-circle listing of all the colors I like to use for most of my paintings.  Then, I put this canvas under my glass palette.


The other day, while at Michaels Craft Store, I found some golden dark tan canvas.  I'm talkin' the perfect dark golden tan - not too hot, not too bland, not too light, and not too dar - "just right" said the three bears.  "Wow" I thought, "That's exactly the color I want to tone my canvas before I start a painting."  And so this Bear of an artist purchased this perfectly toned canvas and took it home.  And pressed it. 

Why did I press it you ask?  Because I am going to use it beneath my glass palette and if I don't press it, then it will have creases in the fabric that cast shadows where I don't want them.  Pressing is good for the soul anyway - unless you're in a hurry.


Then, I cut it to the size of my glass palette + a little bit bigger than the finished size of 24 x 36, and I pressed it again for good measure.


This was my palette this morning before I changed things up.  Oops, didn't clean my palette.


I had some foam board and cut it to the size of my palette table (24 x 36), and in the process left some dents where my knees were.


With the beary nice dark golden tan canvas beneath the foam board, and some beary nice craft glue from Martha Stewart, I glued the canvas to the foam board - but only on the back.  There is no need to glue the canvas on the front of the foam board.


Isn't it pretty?  This canvas is actually darker golden tan than you see here.  The light from outside was filtering in through the windows.


I placed it on my palette table and admired it.


Then, I took some paper and mapped out my palette, deciding which colors I wanted to leave in and which colors I wanted to remove.  Basically, I wanted to figure out my color plan.  As for colors on my palette, I am not a minimalist.  I am more a Richard Schmid (12-14 colors) or Nelson Shanks (20-30 colors) type who would rather have the immediacy of the colors at hand rather than having to mix everything, although I do a lot of mixing and have used a minimalist palette of 5 colors in the past.  Yes, you learn a lot from a minimal palette, and when I paint in plein air - the minimal palette of 5 colors goes with me.  But for my home studio - well, I think you can see that i have about 14 colors on my palette. 


You probably have to squint to see it, but with pencil, I drew a light semi-circle on my canvas leaving room to write the names of the colors and place color squares above the names.


Next, starting with Cadmium Yellow as the color at the top of my color wheel palette in the middle, I wrote in marker the colors I wanted on my palette - warm colors to the left (light to dark) and cool colors to the right (light to dark) except for the Portland grey at the bottom right of my color wheel palette.


Next I took a paintbrush and my paints and I painted 1 inch squares above the names of the colors on my canvas tabletop palette.


And I left some blank space on the left in the warm colors and on the right in the cool colors for any colors I might add to my palette for a specific painting.


Next, I cleaned my glass palette and placed it on top of my dark golden tan canvas with my color palette all laid out in full view.  Not only can I see the colors on the canvas, but I can see the the lights and darks much better.  I am also able to keep my palette clean between sessions in my studio - and I like that.

How do you lay out your palette in your studio?


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Business Cards for the Visual Artist


Business Cards.  If you order yours from most printers, they'll look like everyone else's cards, only maybe with a different picture on the back.


I'm not going there anymore.  I did some research, and found some of the most unique business cards around. 


Some were created with letterpress, others with goldleaf,


some with felt and googly eyes ...


Interesting print or cutouts.


Some have little attachments with aroma built in ...


Snif and find your favorite at Jbeans.


How about a comb for a cut and dye shop?


Or how about a little portfolio card ...


That opens and gives you a really interesting take on giving out your information, don't you think?

If you go to Cardonizer, you will see what I mean about creative business cards.  If you listen to this guy, you'll better understand why the statement you make when you give someone your business card says a lot about you.  And for me, I don't want that message to get lost in a roladex, a drawer, or the trash. 


Business cards are more than just your name, your business name, and information.  It's more than just a piece of cardboard you exchange when you meet someone.  You want to leave a lasting impression - at least I do - and usually, that begins with a card.  An introduction.  A message that you care about who you are and what you do for a living.

That said, I got creative today.  I've had business cards and Artist postcards printed up in the past that looked okay, but in many ways, they were just like the millions of other postcards and business cards for visual artists.  After looking through Cardonizer, I decided to run to Michaels Craft Store and be inspired.  I had some ideas floating around in my head about making my own business cards, but I went with an open mind hoping to find the right combination of creative things to make a business card - one that I can give to a Gallery owner when I visit, or one that I can send to Galleries or give to prospective collectors. 

So, you want to see what I came up with?  Take a look ...


I purchased a package of 50 bookmarks in Ivory cardstock, some teeny wood rectangles, 1/4" ribbon, and Artist Trading Card Canvas.  Then I found some scrapbooking labels for the inside and the outside frame of the painting.  Pretty cool ey?


I glued on the scrapbook label to the front of the folded bookmark, and then in my studio I took 5 minutes and painted this original little oil of a barn scene. Yes, this is an original oil painting on the front of this card.  The Artist Trading Card canvas I glued to the top of of the teeny wood rectangle before I put brush to teeny weeny canvas for this painting.


Then I glued the painting to the label on the front so that it looked framed.


Then, I used another fancy label for the inside, and with a calligraphy pen, I hand wrote the necessary information on the inside of the card.


So what if it isn't perfect.  I think that makes it more personal. 


Then, when you tie it in a bow, it can sit up on your desk or on a shelf somewhere.  What do you think?  Do you like my business card?  I'm always trying to think outside the box, and I wanted  Gallery owners, curators, collectors, and you, to hold on to my card and my information.  Maybe then I won't end up in a drawer somewhere forgotten, or in the garbage.  Maybe, just maybe, with the right amount of tiny information on a creative little card, I will generate more commissions, or sell more paintings - and besides ... that's the idea folks!!

Have you ever thought about what statement your business cards make?  Take a look around Cardonizer's Business Card Gallery and be inspired. Then, when you've created something of your own, please send me some images of your business card in an email and I'll post them here!


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