Category Archives: Technique

Fields Edge Painting Time-lapse

I recently discovered a fantastic little device that allows me to catch some pretty good painting time-lapse footage. The device is called Brinno TLC200 and it records in HD and can last many hours on some AAA batteries, which is fantastic for capturing an entire painting as it usually takes me 1 to 2 days painting to complete.

I am still working on finding the right angle and place for the camera but I think I am getting pretty close. Have a look at the video below to see how my oil on canvas painting ‘Fields Edge’ comes to life. I am not sure which gallery will be receiving this painting but I’m hoping that it will already be famous by the time it gets there.

If you have had any experience in recording yourself or others painting in oils, I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below. I have also tried doing phone time-lapse videos with my iphone and some photography applications, however I find that the camera quality is not quite good enough for a youtube video.

 


 

To keep up to date with all of the the latest painting time-lapses and more useful art information, sign up to the Sara Paxton Artworks newsletter, it is free! Also if you enjoyed this post and found it useful please do not forget to share it with any others who may find it useful or interesting.

 

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The Truth Behind Giclee Prints

Creating giclee prints from artwork and photographs has become a common way for artists to reproduce their loved works. The advance of  giclee reproduction and the subsequent advances in printing technology, especially in the last ten years. Allows artists everywhere to reproduce the artworks they create and distribute these prints to a diverse and widespread audience.

Giclee prints explained

Giclee Prints AnsweredGiclee reproductions are produced from high resolution scans or photographs. The printers used for these reproductions are most often twelve colour inkjet
printers although some companies use eight colour printers. Archival inks that are light fast are used in these high tech printers meaning the resulting
giclee prints will stand the test of time.

 

If  proper giclee prints are produced the detail can be identical and of a just as high standard as the original artwork. You can see examples of an original and giclee print in many galleries that sell both options to suit all price ranges, all images on my gallery page are images of my original oil paintings and they are then reproduced into high quality prints. Innovations in the giclee print industry are constant and every year we see new printing possibilities become available. Because technological advances are constant, most artists will look for a company that specializes in making giclee art prints when they are exploring the possibility of making multiple copies of their artworks. While it’s possible to purchase appropriate printers and scanners a larger specialised company is more likely to be able to keep pace with advances and will hopefully be using current, state of the art equipment. As in all things; buyer beware. Researching companies and the scanning/printing equipment they are using is always prudent.

Some substrates that an image can be printed on include

  • Various art papers
  • Photographic papers
  • Canvas
  • Plexiglas
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Fabrics

Increasing exposure with giclee reproductions

Artists are using giclee prints in a variety of ways to suit their individual art practices. Some simply want to share and sell multiples of one of their popular images. The giclee reproduction artists the obvious advantage of increasing exposure and making their artworks available to multiple buyers, the owner of the original also sees a value add as their art piece is now the original artwork of popular print. In other words, when artist employing the giclee print process they are able to widen the audience for their work by selling an affordable alternative to the higher priced original artwork.

Altering giclee prints to make each one unique

Many artists are taking advantage of computer programmes that allow them to manipulate scanned images of their own original before they are turned into giclee prints. In a different vein others are working on top of the giclee prints they have made. They enhance them using a variety of different techniques such as:
  • Adding paint to selected areas
  • Adding texture to the surface by brushing on mediums that become clear after they dry
  • Adding glazes or washes of colour over the entire surface (
  • Embellishing the prints with collage elements
It is important for artists, who go down this giclee print road, to remember that they are selling reproductions, as opposed to original artworks. Even when a giclee print has been hand altered to make it unique, it is still important to state what is not easily obvious. Simply referring to the artwork as being “mixed media”, could be construed as misleading, so make sure you confirm with the artist if the work is a print, original or mixed. By producing giclee prints the artist is able to share their works with multiple people at a more affordable price.

Tell it like it is

Similarly, because a giclee print can sometimes be indistinguishable from the original, it is very important to let the buying public know what you are selling.
Most people outside the art-world don’t really understand the differences between a hand-pulled print, an original artwork and a giclee print. They simply know that they like what they see. Artists need to take the time to educate their buyers, so there are no misunderstandings and later repercussions.

 

The vast majority of people will welcome the opportunity to purchase an image that “speaks to them” at a price that their budget can handle. I, myself do sell giclee prints of all my original artworks as I think it is important to have something for everyone, I don’t think people should be limit to budget or availability when finding a piece of art they truly love. You can find cards, giclee prints and ink prints in the Sara Paxton Artworks Store.

 

I hope that this article has been informational and you are now aware of the different types of prints that are available to art buyers. Always remember to ask the artist what you are purchasing as originals and prints are very different and both options need to be kept in mind when finding your own price point.

 

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Painting En Plein Air

Painting en plein air simply means painting out “in open air”. When the weather permits many artists like to grab their painting supplies and head into the great outdoors. It’s not a new practice. Plein air painting became fashionable in the latter part of the 1800’s when oil paint first became available in tubes. Before this artists made their own paints. Once liberated from the laborious process of making paint by mixing pigments, which first had to be ground into a powder, with linseed oil; artists happily packed up the newly invented tubes of paint and headed for the hills.

Find a group to join

The tradition continues to this day. If you are intimidated about being out there on your own, it isn’t hard to find a group to paint with as clubs, associations and informal groups of artists, both recreational and professional, meet regularly for group expeditions into the wild (or tame) “plein air”.

Painting en plein air challenges

For those of you who sometimes feel bound up and tight and are a bit too focused on perfect painting technique, plein air practice affords the opportunity to be less technique oriented and encourages a more observation driven approach to the world that surrounds. Paul Klee once wrote, “Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes things visible.”
Painting En Plein Air dream - oil painting in the outdoors

My dream painting en plein air environment.

Painting in the outdoors creates a sense of urgency for artists, who must make choices about where to focus while at the same time deciding what is essential and what is secondary in the visual splendor in front of their canvas. The French landscape artist Eugene Boudin, 1824 -1898, understood this well and expressed it beautifully when he wrote:

 

“Everything that is painted directly and on the spot has always a strength, a power, a vivacity of touch which one cannot recover in the studio… three strokes of a brush in front of nature are worth more than two days of work at the easel.”

 

Do you paint en plein air? If so please share your favourite places.
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Stephen Wiltshire: Artist Extraordinaire!

Stephen Wiltshire is a phenomenon. What makes Stephen Wiltshire marvellous is his art. What makes Stephen Wiltshire even more extraordinary is that his methodology is unparalleled in the world of art and artistry.

While most of us have difficulty remembering where we left our car keys, this artist uses memory in ways we would never have imagined. His ability to recall objects and draw them, exclusively using memory as his only aid, is astounding. The size and attention to detail of his many works has made this man a truly gifted architectural landscape artist. Imagine for a moment the actual scope and dimension of his work. One of Stephen Wiltshire’s works is a nineteen foot drawing of 305 square miles of New York City viewed from above. He had only a short twenty minute helicopter ride prior to commencing the drawing process and, of course, his incredible memory to use as a reference.

Stephen Wiltshire diagnosis of autism

Stephen was born in 1974 in the city of London, England, to West Indian parents. During the early years of his childhood, Stephen was mute. He was diagnosed at three years of age as being autistic. Autism affects the development of the brain resulting in an individual with communication issues, delayed social interaction and an inclination to repeat specific patterns of behaviour. Typically, people who suffer from autism have low activity levels and few interests. You can learn more about the extraordinary condition by reading Integrative Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Autism Spectrum by David Moat.

Discovering an interest in drawing and learning to speak

At five years of age, Stephen was enrolled in the Queensmill School in London where he was observed by teachers as having an amazing fortitude for drawing. While the child continued not to speak he soon developed an uncanny ability to communicate through his art. Teachers were able to teach Stephen to speak by intermittently removing art supplies encouraging him to respond to their actions. Stephen responded initially with incomprehensible sounds but finally called out the word “paper” to his teachers in a tone that most likely bordered more on annoyance than anything else. By the age of nine Stephen was able to speak fully.

Wiltshire gains attention and his talent continues to develop

While attending Queensmill School Stephen’s drawings were usually of animals or cars but an interest in London architecture soon developed. Due to the encouragement of his teachers Stephen began submitting his works in art competitions and immediately aroused the skepticism of the press. The media were simply dumbfounded that a young boy of seven could create such intricately detailed drawings. The proof was in the pudding so to speak and Stephen Wiltshire soon became a regular subject for the British Press. At age seven Stephen sold his first work of art. By the age of eight, Prime Minister Edward Heath had already commissioned Stephen to draw the Salisbury Cathedral.

Stephen Wiltshire in his element. Truly an amazing artist.

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What has followed since those early years is a continued interest and mastery of architectural illustrations. There was the “London Alphabet”, a series of London buildings drawn in alphabetical order, beginning with Albert Hall, a concert theatre and ending with the London Zoo. This work was done at the ripe old age of ten. Stephen’s work continued to focus on buildings and the cities that housed them. As a teenager Wiltshire met famed literary agent Margaret Hewson. The two instantly became friends and Hewson spent a good majority of her career heralding Stephen’s works in books. Hewson also played a pivotal role in Wiltshire’s life by ensuring that all funds garnered from his art be placed in trust. If you would like to watch a very interesting documentary on Stephen her over here.

Remarkable artist receives prestigious awards

Stephen’s exhibitions have included panoramic views of some of the world’s largest cities all drawn from memory and with viewings lasting no more than twenty minutes. The cities include Tokyo, Rome, Sydney and, of course, New York. Wiltshire possesses the uncanny ability of drawing information from parts of the brain most of us seldom visit. This alone makes this man a remarkable artist.

In 2006, Stephen Wiltshire was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The award was in recognition of his contributions to the art world.

If you enjoyed this article about the amazing artist Stephen Wiltshire, please share this story as Stephen is truly one of the most inspiring artists I have ever come across.

 

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8 Must Read Art Books

If you happen to be an artist or even the slightest bit  interested in painting or art, you have stumbled upon the right article! Below are 8 must read art books that you can’t afford to ignore. These books range from incredible people, doing incredible things, to the most useful and creative art books available. Please feel free to browse the list below. I am confident you will find some of these books extremely useful.

 

Problem Solving for Oil Painters1. Problem Solving for Oil Painters | Author: Gregg Kreutz

Some paintings flow easily from beginning to end, while others feel more like a battle ground that one has to struggle through. Painters are often isolated in their individual studios and when confronted by a painting in progress that just isn’t “working”, how to handle these problems becomes an issue. Sometimes, even figuring out what the problem actually is isn’t even obvious.

Kreutz tackles these issues head on with concrete suggestions that help the artist look at their work with fresh eyes. Problem Solving for Oil Painters is a book you will want to keep handy on a studio book-shelf. You may find yourself pulling it out for a refresher when a painting has you stymied and you need a little help.

 

The Oil Colour Book: A Comprehensive Resource for Painters2. The Oil Colour Book: A Comprehensive Resource for Painters | Author: Winsor & Newton edited by, David Pyle and Emma Pearce

For artists on a budget, the price can’t be beat! This eBook is a freebie so it would have been silly for me to leave it off the ‘Must Read Art Books’ list. The ebook was published by the well-known art material company Winsor & Newton. While obviously this book is somewhat skewed towards the company’s own products, I include the eBook in this list because it is chock full of easy-to-assimilate and valuable information for anyone interested in learning about oil paint products and basic painting techniques. There’s even a brief history of oil painting included. The 91 page eBook is downloadable in pdf format here.

 

The Oil Painting Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist3. The Oil Painting Book: Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist | Author: Bill Creevy

This book is another book that oil painters will want to include in their art book library. While seasoned artists will want to keep this book handy for reference, it is artists who are just starting to experiment with painting in oils who will find the material covered invaluable.

Creevy evaluates numerous oil paint brands and delves into the whole world of mediums in detail. It is a fascinating read.

 

Cities4. Cities | Author: Stephen Wiltshire

I have actually written a detailed  article about Stephen Wiltshire, who is a remarkable artist. I found some of his feats almost unbelievable. Cities is a book of Wiltshire’s geographical scope, filled with drawings of buildings and cities, whether real or fantasy. If you are looking where to pick up his incredibly interesting book, Cities, it is quite a hard book to track down. So most likely you just have to get lucky in an art book store, or if you can’t find it anywhere local, there is always Amazon which has a copy every now and again. Good Luck finding it!

 

Colour Mixing Bible5. Colour Mixing Bible | Author: Ian Sidaway

If you work with colours or just looking for a beautiful book to browse through, this is the book for you. Do you ever find yourself wasting time, trying to mix up the right colour to find that perfect fit for your latest masterpiece? The Colour Mixing Bible features endless amounts of tips and techniques for color mixing with oils, watercolors, acrylics, inks, pastels, and pretty much any other art medium you could possibly use.

I personally have this book sitting on the shelf in my art studio and it is completely covered in paint from the countless  times I have drawn upon it. So if you are looking to kickstart your repertoire of art books, this is the perfect book for your new collection. If you are an established artist, I assume you already have this book or you are in the process of running to the store to get it. In other words, you can’t ignore number 5 on the list of “must read” art books–whether an artist or just looking for a beautiful book, this one is a “must have”.

 

Doing Art Together6. Doing Art Together | Author(s): Muriel Silberstein-Storfer with Mablen Jones

Based on the famous Parent-Child Workshop art classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) in New York City, USA, Doing Art Together outlines projects that were set up for classes that included children and their parents or guardians. The children and adults worked side by side each focusing on their own project. This book is aimed at art educators and parents alike. The lessons are beautifully illustrated with students work and include detailed instructions on:

  • How to set-up either at home or in a class-room situation
  • What materials to have handy
  • How to encourage art makers while working on their projects

For parents who want to make art with their children and for art teachers looking for inspirational ideas, this book is a wonderful treasure.

 

Artists and writers colonies7. Artists and writers colonies: Retreats, residencies, and respites for the creative mind  | Author: Gail Hulland Bowler

For any artist interested in researching North American working retreat centres and artist colonies, this book is a fabulous resource. It is aimed at both artists and writers that are seeking a place to work. It focuses on opportunities that provide the time, the space and sometimes even the money for artists and /or writers to attempt new projects that they may otherwise not be able focus on due to the rigours of everyday life. Many of the opportunities listed are available to artists from around the world.

 

Art Fundamentals, Theory and Practice8. Art Fundamentals, Theory and Practice (edition 12)  | Authors: Ocvirk, Otto; Stinson, Robert; Wigg, Philip; Bone, Robert; Cayton, David

This textbook was originally published back in 1960. It set the standard for art foundations courses when it first came out and has been required reading for art students for over 50 years in renowned art schools from around the world. Over time, the book has been updated and republished numerous times, most recently in 2013. This latest edition still guides the reader through the essential elements of artistic practice, while placing an emphasis on both knowing and feeling the basic and fundamental ideas of the creative process. This book has stood the test of time and deserves a place on the bookshelves of visual artists everywhere.

 

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The Positives and Pitfalls of Writing an Artist Statement

Many artists complain about writing an artist statement and some even refuse. For visual people finding and organizing words into paragraphs to describe the multi-dimensional flow of variables that come together when they are creating seems impossible. However the viewers of your art, some of them collectors, will be interested in what they see and simply want to know more. When you are physically in the same space you can easily talk to them about what they are looking at and answer their questions. When you are elsewhere your statement gives the viewer added insight; at least that is the hoped for outcome.

Creating a link in your artist statement 

Often, the artist is so resistant to the prospect of finding the right words they don’t actually get that the task of writing an artist statement isn’t really difficult or complicated. Think of it this way; you are simply creating a link between the viewer and your work. When they read your statement they want information that only you, as the creator, can supply. So:

Do

  • Write about what motivates you to head to the studio and begin working
  • Describe the materials used
  • Tell why you choose to work with these specific mediums
  • Address problems you may be trying solve (if any)
  • Write in easy to understand language
  • Keep it short
  • Keep it simple
  • Look at some example artist statements

Sadly many artist statements miss the mark and become awkward epistles that are often not only difficult to write, but become an equally painful experience for the reader.

Don’t

  • Dictate what the viewer should be seeing
  • Constantly direct their gaze and tell them how they should be approaching the work or where they ought to be looking
  • Give detailed instructions about what the work really means
  • Give lengthy descriptions of who or what your influences are

Leave this kind of discourse to those who choose to write about your work such as curators, art reviewers, critics, agents and gallery owners. When you leave this verbiage out of the equation you are left with the writing that only you are uniquely qualified to provide and the whole process becomes instantly much easier.

 

Don’t forget to comment or sign up to the Sara Paxton Artworks newsletter if you liked this article.

 

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Artistic Painting Ideas; Some help to get you going

Are you an artist looking for some painting ideas? It happens to all of us, sooner or later. There you are facing a blank white surface and it’s time to squeeze paint onto palette, load up the paintbrush and make that first mark. But, the moments tick by and unable to commit, the surface remains untouched and haunting.

Have you ever watched children at play? A broom becomes a horse, a stick transforms into the most magnificent magical wand, the trees in the field are seen as massive giants threatening the stalwart defenders and a blanket thrown over the picnic table makes a safe cave for adventurous heroes and heroines. Give these same children some art materials and they are all likely to dive right in.

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Their play-filled approach and unhindered  curiosity allows them to create with apparent abandon. Life becomes more complicated as we enter adulthood and this easy creativity sometimes gives way to  a world filled with should do this and shouldn’t do that. We sometimes find ourselves bound up and unable to take action when we enter the studio. No matter how much one may want to take a playful approach to that threatening white expanse the moments between intending to start and actually starting begin to pile up.

Time to clean the studio

When the artistic painting ideas aren’t flowing it’s definitely time for an artist to step away from the canvas. But don’t leave the studio entirely; stick around and focus on getting some chores done. You would be surprised at how many artists use cleaning up their studio as a way to get themselves going when the muse doesn’t visit right away.

  • Sort through and organize tubes and pots of paint
  • make a list of what needs replacing the next time you make an art supplies order
  • Do the same with brushes, mediums, gesso, etc.

De-cluttering the workspace and swishing things up in general can work to clear up that foggy mind. Also you are still in the studio, actively handling your art materials and logging the time so you won’t be as caught up in those feelings of failure as an artist. Besides, painting is way more fun than cleaning and it usually isn’t long before an idea appears out of nowhere that urges you back to the easel.

I clearly need to do a studio clean

I clearly need to do a studio clean

A few more tricks to get your artistic painting ideas flowing

If your studio is all tidied up and the artistic painting ideas or inspiration is still yet to strike, here are a few more ideas to consider:

  • Get out stretcher bars and pliers and stretch some canvas
  • Gesso the newly stretched canvases
  • Read art books and magazines
  • Visit the library and check-out a new art book
  • Go online and peruse other artists websites
  • Take your camera for a walk
  • Check out a new show at your local art gallery
  • Make a collage using materials that are easily at hand – magazine clippings, scraps of material, wall-paper, sections of old paintings and drawings, etc.
  • Paint on top of your collage work
  • Listen to music and paint what you hear

If the dry spell continues maybe it’s time to experiment with a new medium. Even a seasoned professional artist will sign up for an art class every once in a while to learn new techniques and stimulate new painting ideas. They know that when creativity seems to be stymied it’s likely time to strike out in a new direction. You can get some ideas from this article on how to inspire creativity in your art, 10 tips to get you going.

 If you found this article interesting and it helped you please share.

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My Favourite Art Product, The Pigment Stick

Artists are often asked which art products they couldn’t possibly do without.  So I thought I would share with you the most inspensible and well used item in my studio. The Pigment Stick. Doesn’t sound exciting I know, but believe me, once you have used them you will never go back. The are wonderful little sticks of pigment which enables you to draw with oil paint.

 

20130411_Favourite Product photo 1                                  20130411_Favorite Product photo 2

 

They are produced (hand made) in the States by R&F (and they are not paying me to promote their product by the way!), made from all natural products and come in 90 pure, intense, luscious colours. I came across the pigment stick about four years ago in an art shop in Sydney and bought one colour to try – Azlizarin Orange. From then on I was totally hooked, a slave to the pigment stick! I am now the proud owner of about 60 of the 90 colours.                

 

I rarely use the pigment sticks to do entire painting as they are not inexpensive (generally about $12 – $25 for a 38ml stick, from my local art shop) and my canvasses are normally very large. If yo are looking to find R&F Handmade Paints Pigment Sticks for a more reasonable price I know they are available on Amazon, just remember to support your local art store every now and again. Anyway, back to the important stuff. I find their real value is in using them as a combination with oil paints.  They are fantastic for creating quick, gestural drawn lines which you just can’t get using a brush.  Being so versatile, you can use them for initial sketches on the canvas, highlighting areas, mixing them with medium, rubbing them back, layering them, or going back to do outlines once the paint is dry.  I just love them.

 

The only downside is that some colours tend to melt in very hot weather and have to be kept refrigerated! (Problem in Australia unfortunately) 

To see the pigment sticks in action watch my time-lapse painting video or check out the gallery.

 

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10 Tips to Inspire and Excite your Art

One of my favourite artists is Shirley Trevena.  She is a British watercolourist of immense talent and I have long admired her use of strong colours which really push the medium to its limits.

I was therefore interested to read that she felt she had become bored and predictable with her painting.  Her students were astounded with such an admission – they couldn’t understand why she would want to move away from such a perfected and admired style.

But I could see her point.  If you keep on painting the same things in the same way, however good they may be, the challenge, and along with it the excitement, has gone.

10 Tips to excite your art

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So if you feel you are in a bit of a rut, here are 10 ideas / tips – some Shirley’s and some of mine, to excite your art and get the creativity flowing.

 

1.  Try a different medium to the one you habitually use. for example I did an inks class which really help we in my oil painting works.

2.  Experiment with colours.  Try ones that you think are odd together and be surprised.

3. Try using bigger paper/canvas and bigger brushes – lovely big, bold, loose brush strokes!

4. Use a failed painting as a base for a new one. Incorporate bits of the original one for interesting results. Also a fantastic way to recycle canvases. 

5. If you always paint indoor, set up somewhere outside and experience a different environment. Keep an eye on the weather though.

6. Choose different and varied subject material. Maybe try something more abstract.

7. Do a creative course in something you know nothing about. It’s important to keep learning.

8. Don’t expect giant steps, little ones are OK.

9. Make choices that are out of your comfort zone.

10. Most importantly, CHALLENGE YOURSELF.

 

To see some of my creativity at work, vist Sara Paxton Artworks Gallery were I have applied a lot of these tips myself. I would also love to hear from you if these tips did excite your art, get in contact on Facebook.

 

 

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Plans for 2013

With the start of a new year (2013) it’s always good to look at doing something different, new or experimental. With this in mind I thought that I would put together a series of informative articles with information that I hope will be helpful to readers. Subjects that cover things like:

  • Painting techniques – ones that I use plus others of interest
  • Use of colour
  • Quick tips for artists
  • Art books/magazines
  • Products
  • Inspirations
  • Other artist reviews

In addition, I’m looking at producing a time lapse video of one of my paintings (a hugely sped up version of me painting!). Not a new concept I know, but whenever I watch other people’s, I’m totally fascinated by what they do and how they achieve it. So I thought maybe people would also like to watch how I produce a painting.

So keep watching this space!

2013

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Sparking Creativity with the Web

I have been producing art pieces in different mediums for quite some time now. Over the years I have taken note of certain books, magazines, galleries, artists and now websites for inspiration. One extremely creative blog I have come across recently is  ‘Colossal‘.  This incredible blog has all types of art and design – work that is so unique  it can  quite easily spark some creative inspiration for your next artwork. If the piece happens to be exceptional and ‘Colossal’ worthy, feel free to submit it to the author of the blog. In my opinion this is an amazing, blog and there should be more on the web of such quality as artists need multiple streams to get their work out to the world.

Creativity Inspiration – Click here

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Painting Inks on Canvas Workshop

I had an opportunity this week to take part in an inks workshop demonstrating how to use inks on canvas.  This was an new experience – I’d only ever used inks on paper. It’s a lovely, washy, free flowing painting method.  First  the canvas (we used stretched canvas) is saturated with water (sprayed from a bottle)  and then ink is painted on in fast, flowing sweeps with a wide flat brush, or squirted directly straight from the ink bottle if you’re really brave!   The effect is fantastic, swirling colour – the inks come in dazzling, vibrant colours so the effect is very bright.  Make sure the canvas is completely flat otherwise it all runs in one direction.  The ink then just does its own thing –  moving around for quite a while after, infact until the canvas dries, which takes several hours. Interestingly, the opaque inks behave differently to the transparent ones.  The end result  is almost abstract in nature.

 

 

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Inspirational Art Site

Click the fox to view open a world of inspiration

I have recently come across a fantastic site that has some really interesting content. Ranging from art to design, this site has a bit of everything for everyone. I highly recommend that everyone has a quick look through this inspirational art site, although be very careful as this site has potential to consumer a lot of time once on a role. check out  designspiration.net.

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Cleaning paint brushes

Painting in oils is probably the most exciting and rewarding medium there is, but the downside is the tedious cleaning up process at the end of the day.  Brushes are expensive so it’s worth spending a bit of time looking after them.  Once paint dries in them it’s difficult to get it out.  I tend to use Art Clean (an Art  Spectrum product), rather than turps – it does the job and it’s not quite as toxic smelling.  This gives them a general clean up on a daily basis and once a week I use a product called Incredible Brush Cleaner (made by Chroma) which is brilliant.  It’s a liquid cleaner which you just use with water and it does a great job.  One more useful tip – instead of using a palette for mixing paint, which has to be scraped clean, I use heavy duty baking paper clipped over a large square of thick cardboard.  When you’ve finished, unclip and throw away. Much quicker and less messy.

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Yupo Paper

I’ve recently come across an interesting “paper” called Yupo.

Yupo paper hails from Japan where it’s apparently used for some years but has only recently become more widely used. It takes the form of a plastic like substance and I’ve been using watercolours and inks on it.

First you wet it liberally with water, but because it is totally non-absorbent, when you apply the watercolour/ink, it creates the most incredible effect as the colours mix and swirl in the water. Even as it is drying it is continuing to change. It literally takes on a life of its own.

A few drops of neat bleach add quite dramatic touches as it dissipates the ink. It’s fantastic fun and the best thing is that if you don’t like the result, you just wash it all off under the tap and start again!

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