Saturday, 29 August 2015

6 Products I Need to Paint with Acrylics

Excluding the usual…paint, brushes, canvas there are some things I can’t do without. Well technically I can, but wouldn’t want to.

Hard board - Hobby Craft sells the small size (A3) for only £3.00; or buy a large MDF for £9.99 at B&Q and have pieces cut to size(2 A2 & 1 A3). Boards are great for paper or loose canvas because you can tape them down and not worry about ruining your work. Just don’t leave a painting on a board for too long, otherwise you will need a lot of boards.

Stay wet or disposable pallet - mixed paints will stay wet for about a week in the pallet...if you put it in the refrigerator.  This gives you time to finish a painting and not have to re-mix colours.  I have the small size, don't know if the bigger one would fit in my fridge.  When using colours straight out of the tube or doing a quick painting then the disposable pallet is cheaper. A paper plate also works but the disposable pallet has a nice finish that lets the paint just slide off.

Spray bottle helps to re-wet the paint either on or off the pallet. It keeps the water quantities easier to control and the spray works well on the canvas.   Lisa from Lachri uses an air brush to spray water, it looks good but I was too cheap to buy one.

Wet Wipes (baby wipes) – when you make a real mess or want to wipe paint off the canvas, wet wipes are AWESOME. Paper towels are good but for acrylics I use wet wipes, they also help clean your hands faster.

Hair Dryer – is good to have when you are in a hurry and need to dry the painting faster. You can buy cheap ones at charity shops.

Tracedown paper – this is at number six because you only need this if you are not drawing freehand.  A home made method would be to draw with graphite or charcoal on the back of your reference photo then trace directly from the photo onto your canvas. This is messy, wastes time and smudges a lot... tracedown paper is so much easier.  When using the home made method, put hair spray over your traced image to fix the lines so they won't smudge when applying the paint.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

3xWeekly - Difficult Week of Painting More Dogs

In 'Painting Daily' Carol talks of letting a painting go if it’s not working; this week I’m finding that difficult. Maybe it’s because my friend asked me to paint her dog, or maybe it’s because it doesn't look right. So far three days are gone and instead of letting go…I’m procrastinating. In her book, Carol explains that if you don't like something it could be the composition; not sure that's it. It's probably the crap drawing. In my haste to paint, I haven’t really worked on getting the image drawn correctly and it’s cost me 3 days. So with a heavy heart I'm calling it quits on this painting. Next time more time needs to be dedicated to drawing; or for expediency the image could be traced.

Previously, I painted my brother’s dog in an abstract style and wasn’t impressed. This time it was going to be more photo realistic...well that was the plan. Using cyan blue, process magenta and white I built up the colour to try and reflect the hair. It didn’t work, and after obsessing over it for a while, I tried adding some pastel...but that didn’t work either. With four days already lost… it has to be deemed finished.

My Samoyed's were such fantastic dogs it’s sad that they are no longer with me, but I have some great photos to paint from. This was going to be a quick painting but I did spend two days on it. Even if the painting could be improved, this week’s lesson learned has to be… don’t obsess and let it go. I will live to paint another day and hopefully keep learning.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

SAA ‘All About Art’ Event, Islington

Went to London for the for the SAA’s ‘All About Art’ event on Friday, 23rd July. Didn’t really know what to expect and was initially disappointed. It was smaller than I imagined and products were dispersed all over the place. It was confusing because items were divided by paint type but some product had separate manufacturer stands. Wasted a lot of time looking for Atelier paints; they didn’t have the ones in the SAA catalog so that was a bummer.

After being late and getting distracted by the products, all of the workshops were already running. But a useful demonstration in making mounts was just starting. We got to take our double mount home with us, which was a big plus. The mount cutting machine, however, was way too expensive.

After the mount demo, there was an opening for a Marilyn Allis workshop in acrylics.  Luckily, I was there just in have to be fast or lucky to get a seat.  This was a fantastic workshop and I was hooked; planning on taking a Marilyn Allis class as soon as possible. After that workshop, unfortunately, it was lunch and there were no more workshops till after the break.

With seating on the upper level, I bought a sandwich and sat down to plan my assault on the next three workshops. A lot of people brought their lunch and I found a table with a nice group of people from Gillingham. They had so much food, I don’t think they ate half of it. Anyway, one of the ladies told me the drawing session with Anita Pounder was good so that was on my short list.

Earlier, I spotted a great workshop on Pastels, but it was no longer running. By luck there were seats available for the wild animal pastels on velour with Vic Bearcroft. It was amazingly simple to create this gorilla; Vic gave us a template to trace and walked us through the steps in a slow and humorous manner. The drawing didn’t look like much up close, but from farther away the whole thing came together. Couldn't have done this on my own and would someday like to learn more about velour and pastel.

The Ink & Acrylic class looked different in the afternoon session, but I sat down to it anyway. There was a seat and if I spent too much time looking for another workshop I’d be SOL. The technique was interesting, the image…not so much. The inks were used like watercolour so it was a little familiar to me. The class seemed rushed and I was forever asking the person next to me what steps I missed, he by the way, had no clue. At home, my friend said she liked the painting except for the top.  The mountains, trees and reflection in the water look odd... so maybe some cropping is in order here.

My last workshop was drawing from a live model with instructor Anita Pounder; it was a great opportunity to draw a live subject and the techniques were interesting as well. In the first exercise, we drew with our left hand... it came out better than expected. The second method was drawing light on dark paper; this seemed even harder than working with my left hand. The third exercise was dark shapes on light paper. Might have been getting tired because it was the end of the day and the worst drawing of the three.

All in all the day was fantastic; with a £5 voucher I found myself buying £22 of art things I didn’t really need. If I wasn’t going away for the weekend I would have gone again on Saturday. Did anyone go on the weekend? Please let me know how crowded it was on Sat & Sun so I can plan for next year.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Top 5 Art Books for Newbies

Daily Painting by Carol Marine - as I’ve said before…this book changed my life. If you want to paint and only can buy one book…this is it!!! Along with the book Carol had a DailyPaintWorks website and of course, it’s in my top five websites blog.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards - in my blog, I reviewed two drawing books. Both were really great, but if you only wanted to buy one…this is it. The beginning of the book is mostly psychology so some people might be turned off; but if you are new to drawing it’s worth the read. The second half has more technical drawing information and the exercises are fabulous.

Colour: A Workshop for Artists and Designers by David Hornung - this was one of the first books I purchased and really enjoyed it. If you are like me and have trouble with colour…this is the book for you. Of course, I bailed on the exercises but the book is really worth reading. For lazy people like me they do give you examples of the exercises so you don’t really have to do them.

Painting Abstracts by Rolina van Vliet - is another fabulous book that I fully enjoyed. Again, because I get distracted easily, I didn’t finish the book….but it’s on my to do list. I decided to learn to draw and paint more before getting stuck into abstract art.

Draw like the Masters by Barrington Barber - is great for people who are looking to draw from life. The book describes how the old masters did things; apprentices used to draw from images of the old masters for a long time before moving on to drawing themselves. This book has some great examples of line, tone, texture and form. If you can’t take a life drawing class, this book is a good substitute. It’s 127 pages, mostly pictures so even I finished reading it.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

‘3xWeekly’ - Paintings of My Dog & Cat

Feeling good, last week my first four dog paintings came out better than expected and I'm really excited to continue. After searching like crazy for my next photo, I came across a really old picture of my dog Lenny. For a big dog he lays in funny positions. With leftover paint from the previous weeks' paintings I had already painted a few sheets of A4 acrylic paper with yellow ochre background colour.

The first painting came out really nice, I used process cyan, magenta and process yellow to create the dark tones and really loved the outcome. At first the background didn’t look good, so I took a pallet knife and scraped in a few extra colours.

Didn't like my first try at the second painting; the dog was painted in blues and greens. Thought the tones might be too similar, but that was also true for the first photo. Then decided it might be the background, so I put orange & yellow over the magenta and outlined part of the dog in black. Think it's much better now.

The third painting was inspired by an old photo of my cat. This photo was always one of my favourites and thought it would look nice on A3 paper. For this painting I went with a blue background against a white/magenta cat. In my opinion, this one really came out nice.  No more experimenting with this image… for now that is.

Really starting to feel more confident, 3xweekly so far is working out.  Even though each painting isn't perfect... I'm learning! 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Painting & Drawing Class – Final Project w/ Joel

We had five weeks to complete our final project and being a masochist I attempted to do that same portrait of DeNiro, but this time in oils. Halfway through the project it became clear that white plus four colours: ultramarine blue, cadmium red, crimson red and cadmium yellow, weren’t enough.

I did some research and found a webpage detailing what colours to use for portraits. With additional help from Joel, I decided to add burnt sienna, raw sienna and prussian blue to my arsenal. While purchasing paints from there was a great offer for a studio easel….so I bought that too. The easel is fantastic; the same ones we use in art class, very sturdy and versatile.

After five weeks in class, DeNiro wasn’t finished:)). I fixed a few things at home, then got overwhelmed; but finally decided to pull my finger out. I’m posting today after moving the publish date of this blog too many times. Maybe someday I’ll be able to finish it, but for now this is... as good as it gets (I know... that was Jack).

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Top 5 Art Websites for Art Newbies

Art Discount is a great place to find art supplies at reasonable prices. I bought a fantastic studio easel for only £45 and when you spend over £30 you get free shipping.

Paint My Photo is a free membership site to find great source photographs. You own the rights to your painting and are allowed to sell them; you don’t own the rights to the original photo. This site has just moved to new servers designed to provide faster service…I’m still learning how it works.

Daily Paint Works is a fabulous website run by Carol Marine, the author of ‘Daily Painting’.  The website exhibits works of many daily painters who sell their paintings. Artists have a gallery page and links to their blog, website, facebook and e-mail.  I love browsing this site for inspiration and to see what artists are working on.

Rosemary and Co is a great place for quality brushes. Ask most artists in the UK and they will tell you they have these brushes. I like the Ivory and Eclipse range. Delivery is free for orders over £30 and £1 for orders less than £30.  These brushes are not cheap, so if you are looking for less expensive brushes try the Daler & Rowney Graduate range. I mostly use filbert and short flat or bright brushes.

Society for All Artists (SAA) is a UK group you can join to get discounts on product and free shipping. When you join they also give you a welcome pack, free exhibition insurance, entry to SAA competitions, a magazine every two months and a few other benefits. I’m a new member and haven't decided if it’s worth it. But you can use the website even if you aren’t a member and find tuition listings by artist and also buy products without the member discount.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

'3xWeekly' - Paintings of a Brown Cocker Spaniel

For the longest time I couldn’t decide on a subject or medium for my '3xWeekly'. Because the results of my previously painted acrylic dogs weren’t great, I was discouraged and thought they wouldn’t be a suitable subject. In Carol’s book ‘Daily Painting’ there was a painting of a dog by Kimberley Santini that I absolutely loved. On Kimberley’s blog it was clear that when she started, in 2006, her dogs didn’t look as good as they do today. So, if Kimberly could improve...I could too.

Being eager to begin, I did four paintings of my friend's Brown Cocker Spaniel this week. After the first painting I decided to put the background colour down first, then draw the image, then paint in the eyes, nose and mid-tones. Finally, layer the dark and lights of the hairs. Some people say it’s best to do the eyes last; but the painting looks too scary. I did four of the same image trying different techniques and colours. 

Before ‘3xWeekly’ I would never have just stopped painting and would have obsessed over each painting until I got discouraged and gave up. Knowing that I would paint another day, it was easier not to get bogged down by the results and just enjoy the painting and learning process.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

My Experience with Social Media & Lessons Learned

Twitter – is easy to use and most of my news comes from here.  My followers have grown from 28 to 495 in 3 months.

  • Lesson 1: Start a new account dedicated to your art/business instead of changing your personal account.
  • Lesson 2: Crowdfire is a good way to be able to manage new followers and unfollow people who follow, then unfollow you.
  • Lesson 3: *Watch for # (hashtags) pertinent to your interests. Found #artisthour sent two tweets and got many retweets; the next day had the highest number of visitors to my site. 
  • Lesson 4: Don’t just tweet about yourself, retweeting and favouriting is a good way to make friends.
Twitter is my favourite social media site; though I’m not convinced it’s the best way to get blog followers. Even though I had the second highest number of visits to my blog from Twitter, Google + was no 1 with only 1/5th the followers.

Google + - changed an old account, which was very difficult to do… not even sure it's done right. Can’t stress this enough, from Lesson 1, have a separate personal account. Google + has all the bells and whistles and even though half of the functions are over my head...I’m managing. With google+….you get results on the Google search engine. Only 118 followers and the largest number of visitors to my blog come from Google.

Pinterest - didn’t change my personal account, just added my blog details and after three months with only 29 followers, had 1 visitor in 3 months. It could be because I’m not that active... probably need to re-think that.

Facebook – can’t get on with it. It’s hard to use my AMS-OnArt page from my personal page. A lot of people use Facebook and I know I should be more active.  Only 17 followers, mostly friends... did manage to get 2 visits to my blog.

Tumblr – is a new addition to my social media network; this time I have a separate AMS-OnArt account. In 1 ½ months managed to get 3 visits to my blog, which is good since there were only 5 followers… this may be a worthwhile social media account!

Instagram – is also new and so far no blog visitors. I have only been able to use this site from my iPad, which is not ideal.  Not sure it's worth the trouble but will keep trying…for now.

You Tube - added two very novice videos on Youtube and found other members to be very positive and friendly. The problem is, I’m camera shy and it’s a lot of work making a video. I think this might be the best platform; if you are willing to spend time with videos… but for now I’ll give it a miss.

My social media ranking to attract blog site visitors are: Google +, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, & Instagram. My top user friendly sites are Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest(although a little slow at times). YouTube(linked with Google) is probably the best social media site…if you can make videos. 

The most important advice and final lesson is; if you’re not active you won’t get results.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Carol Marine ‘Daily Painting’ Book & Blog Review

‘Daily Painting’ by Carol Marine revolutionized the way I think. Each time I failed with a particular painting style in the past I felt defeated and just tried something new. It was easy to move on because there are so many mediums and subjects. Daily painting hast taught me if you want to get good at something practice, practice, practice.

The book is fantastic with lots of tips, tricks and great ideas. Carol paints mostly in oils, so if you are an oil painter it will be more informational. But even though I mainly paint in acrylic, I loved reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Carol Marine not only has written this book but also hosts a Daily Paints Works website that sells her paintings and paintings of others who are doing the same thing. The website is very motivating and someday I aspire to sell my paintings there. The artists also have a place to list their links to individual e-mails, gallery, blogs, websites and facebook.

I’ve had this book for a while, but didn’t want to blog about it until I had time to do a painting a day. So, I’ve decided to apply the theory but alter it a little to suit my needs. I’m going to try and commit to at least three paintings a week; dubbed by me… ‘3x Weekly’. I will be blogging about my experiences along with pics of the paintings once a week. It’s not daily but I have too many other things to do; some may call it a cop out... but I call it realistic.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Art Class w/ Wendy - Pen & Coloured Pencil vs. Watercolour Pencil & Pastel

In this class we worked with colour pencils but most of my time was spent drawing the butterfly...should have traced it. Indelible ink pen was used for the dark bits and the colour pencils for the rest. I couldn't get the colours dark enough so this was one of my least favourite assignments... but it did give me ideas.

At home, I had a play with A2 watercolour paper, my watercolour pencils and a few oil pastels. Watercolour pencils, for me are nicer than colour pencils. With watercolour pencils you can wet the drawing and get all kinds of cool effects. Pastels were used to add more layers to the drawings; it was nice because those marks weren't affected when wet. I liked the overall effect much better and probably won’t be using colour pencils in the near future.

The watercolour pencils and oil pastels are a lot of fun and I’m going to try and use them more.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Art Class w/ Wendy – Still Life Acrylic Painting

In Wendy's class we had a sample of flowers to paint and we could do either a real or abstract painting. I decided to paint an abstract because a real life painting, even though small, would take me forever. We learned about painting backgrounds and then letting it show through. You were not supposed to leave the under painting showing, but I did and bright pink was the result.

At home I played in photo shop to see if any improvement to the painting could be made.

The only adjustments I decided to make were to fix the flower petals, brighten the yellow and add more layers to the background. On the background another layer of magenta was glazed over, then neon red was added to darken it some more. Not sure if these changes made much difference, but I had no further inspiration. Thought about adding butterflies; but didn't have the energy to work on this painting anymore. Will file it away and possibly work on it another day.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Painting & Drawing Class - Multiple Acrylic Techniques w/ Joel

We created four A4 tree paintings on heavy paper. There were two tree photos to choose from; mine was of the taller thinner tree so I turned my paper to the portrait orientation.  Other people in class did the larger tree using landscape orientation.

Firstly we did watery washes in blue; my washes were landscape (before I knew I was doing the smaller tree). The washes look a little strange but anyway.

The first tree was with a stippling brush, which I didn’t have, so I used a round brush and only lightly tapped the paper. The second tree was with a sponge, while doing the painting it felt too uncontrollable but in hindsight it was my favourite.

The third tree was with a pallet knife and the fourth with a large brush. The last one was done at home because I was slow in class, as usual. On this one I was able to change the direction of the wash. Doing these different techniques with the same subject and colours was a great exercise and I want to try it again someday soon. :))