Saturday, March 18, 2017

Challenges of staining colours

Ever notice that some paints are more difficult to lift or leave stains on your plastic palette.  Once applied on paper, these colours will sink quickly into the fibers of the paper making it difficult to “lift” or remove.

Some colours such as phthalo blue or dioxazine violet stain quite heavily.  No amount of sizing can change the fact that the paint is difficult to lift.  Apparently many of the staining pigments are synthetic organic or inorganic pigments.  It appears that recent manufacturing methods produce pigments that are more staining and less transparent.

It might take some time to learn which colors are staining. To speed up the process you can easily test them by painting squares of color on paper  and allowing them to dry completely.  Then run the paper under water and use a clean brush to gently scrub the paint swatches and rinse off the paint. Any colors that sit on the surface of the paper will come off, but those that sink into the fiber of the paper will leave a stain.

The easiest way to identify a staining colour is to read the labels on paint tubes.

Today's artist find is Dan San Souci
Dan San Souci watercolour
Have a great week,

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Inventory of your paintings

If you've been painting for a couple of years, it's likely that you have a few paintings around the house or studio. As a result, you have probably said to yourself  that it’s time to make a list of your paintings for a number of reasons including  making sure that the works are adequately insured and know what has sold for how much. Keeping an inventory of your paintings could appear to be a daunting experience and you might have been procrastinating about it.

In reality, preparing an inventory of your art is not that hard to do, as long as you understand it takes time and as long as you have a system.

So where do you start? Here are some of the information you should keep
  • title;
  • date of creation;
  • measurements;
  • sale status;
  • client name if painting has sold;
  • exhibits where painting has been exposed; and
  • small image.
Some people suggest numbering all of your paintings.

All of the above can be easily stored in an Excel spreadsheet for tracking purposes. There are also online service for inventory of your art.

In addition, some artists have labels to the back of their paintings to provide some of the information you are looking for.

This week's artist find in Matthew Bird:
Matthew Bird Watercolour
Have a great week

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Challenges of hot press paper

I’ve tried painting on hot press paper and find it difficult because it’s seems impossible to paint on top of any layers. A dried layer of paint gets stirred up at the slightest touch of a wet brush.

Is there some secret to painting layers on hot press? Or does hot press require that you paint each section in one sweep?

Hot press paper is indeed a whole different experience than cold press or rough paper which is my favorite. I haven't figured it out but it appears that it's preferable to paint in "one sweep"  which means less water than I normally use. It's also a good idea to let the colours mix on the paper with hot press, rather than glaze in layers.

Other tips I've read include using staining transparent pigment for the first layers and to use the more opaque non-staining paints as the final layers.

I've also heard that it might be possible to use lots and lots of water to soak the paper before applying paint. This allows the paper to soak the pigment into the fibres of the paper but you can only do this on the first layer.

The smoother the paper, the more suited it is to dry-brush and the more difficult it is to get smooth, soft effects from water-blurring, since even drying is harder to achieve. 

This weeks artist find is Anna Masson.

Have a great week

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hands up if you use value sketches

We probably all know that we should do a value sketch as part of the important planning period of a painting.  However, how many actually do one, or even better do a number of them to also improve the composition?

If you are wondering why values are important, I refer you to a previous blog that Neal authored:

Here are some tips for doing a value sketch and planning the number, shape, proportion, and placement of your lightest and darkest values:
  • keep your value sketches small and simple
  • draw a box around your value sketch in the proportions of the paper you are going to paint on
  • limit the use of outlines - think in terms of areas as opposed to lines
  • don't record a lot of information and detail
  • use no more than three to four values (lights, mid-tones and darks)
  • apply the tone with small rapid circular or sideways movement of the hand if using a pencil
  • try reversing values to create new design possibilities
  • draw shapes of your objects to simplify the composition
Some people prefer the use of pencil over watercolour for their value sketch. What's your favorite? Mine is watercolour as it helps me determine the painting sequence of objects in addition to the values.

Today's artist find is Liu Yi
Liu Yi watercolour

Have a great week,