Monday, October 10, 2011

Painting Tip #34 - Beware of Phthalo Colors!

Be very careful with Phthalo blue and Phthalo green (also known as Winsor Blue/Green and Thalo Blue/Green) as they have extremely strong pigmentation and you only need a tiny amount. They are to be used judiciously and sparingly and only when absolutely necessary to obtain a particular color. I have had the same tubes of both of these colors for decades and doubt I will ever need to buy another tube, that is how little you need to use! Having said that, sometimes a tiny touch of either color can really enliven your work.
Stick to Ultramarine Blue as a basic for most of your color mixing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Painting Tip #33 - Travel With Wet Oil Paintings

When traveling, bring pieces of canvas and a board, rather than prepared panels or stretched canvases. Cut the canvas to a size to later adhere to a panel (I prefer 8"x 10" with 3/8" border to adhere with masking tape to a 10" x 12" board) or stretch on bars when you get home. Tape the canvas to the board to do your painting. Layer the paintings with wax paper to transport home, either flat or in a tube with the painting rolled to the outside. You can leave the last couple of still wet works taped to the boards and bind them together (using more tape) with felt pads (that have a sticky back) separating the boards from each other.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Painting Tip #32 - Air Travel With Oils

When traveling with art supplies, never refer to your oils as “paint”, rather call them oil colors, pack the tubes securely in containers in your checked luggage (palette knives too) and include MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) forms and a printout from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) showing that they are allowed on the plane and have an acceptable flash point.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Painting Tip #31 - Skin Color for Portraiture

The human face tends to have bands of color – the forehead is yellow, the middle of the face is red and the lower face is cool. Look carefully and you will see this tendency, especially in Caucasian models.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Painting Tip #30 - Try a Limited Palette!

Try a palette with a warm and cool version of each of the primary colors: Cadmium Red Light and Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow and Lemon Yellow, Thalo Blue and Ultramarine Blue. With this palette, almost any color is possible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting Tip #29 - Properties of White Oil Paint

Choose your white paint carefully, having in mind the different properties of the various types of white available. Titanium white dries slowly, allowing wet into wet painting for a few days, has a bluish quality and can become chalky. Flake white dries quickly and has a warm, translucent quality which creates beautiful skin tones for portraiture but it contains lead and requires careful handling due to toxicity. Zinc white is also translucent but has been implicated in eventual cracking. It is often combined with Titanium white.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Painting Tip #28 - Inexpensive Palette Ideas

For an inexpensive, disposable palette for oils or acrylics, tape wax paper to a square piece of wood (tape goes on the back side) or masonite (hardboard).
Another inexpensive palette idea is to sit a piece of glass on a grey piece of paper or paint the back of the glass with mid-grey paint. Dried on oil or acrylic paint is easily scraped off the glass palette with a straight edge razor from the hardware store.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Painting Tip #27 - Still Life Setup

To make a box for setting up still life, cut a 5” square hole in the box and sit an inexpensive metal fixture on top of the box to cover the hole and allow light to shine into the box. Cut out a piece of cardboard to the same dimensions as the back wall of the box and cover it with scraps of fabric to change the background color. Bring the box up to eye level by stacking boxes or milk cartons on tables. Walk by this set up with care so you don't knock it over! This method is taught by Rich Nelson of Skyuka Fine Art in North Carolina.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Painting Tip #26 - Study Master Painters

Study the work of the old masters and contemporary painters you admire. Buy books and visit museums, take workshops and look up information on their methods online. Doing this will exponentially speed up your growth as an artist and painter.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Painting Tip #25 - Paint Shapes

Remember that you are not painting objects, you are painting shapes. If you get the right shape in the right color and the right value, your painting will portray your subject!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Painting Tip #24 - Trick to Check Accurate Drawing!

Use a hand mirror to check your painting and subject at the same time. Any drawing mistakes will immediately become apparent!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Painting Tip #23 - Try Painting with a Palette Knife

Save your brushes by mixing your colors with a palette knife! I like a medium size, diamond shape knife. Less paint becomes embedded in the ferrule of your brush when using it only to apply the paint to the surface rather than also mixing with the brush.
You can also try doing entire paintings with the knife. This forces you to simplify things and loosen up. A great advantage is not having to wash brushes at the end of the day. The Cape Cod School of Art (recently revived by followers of Charles W. Hawthorne and Henry Hensche) in Provincetown has traditionally promoted the use of putty knives on gessoed board to create color studies outdoors.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Painting Tip #22 - A Free Resource You Ought to Take Advantage Of!

Save yourself some money and utilize your local public library to check out books on art and painting. I only buy books I have read and loved, plus the ones that I am unable to order from the library.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Painting Tip #21 - Stick to A System for Your Palette Layout

Always lay out your palette in the same order so you can automatically reach for the correct color. I like to lay my paints out from light to dark, warm to cool, right to left starting with white. Obviously, the more colors you use, the bigger the palette size!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Painting Tip #20 - Try a Prepared Palette

Try mixing up value strings ahead of time – values 1-10 with black and white on either end in grey, yellow, orange and pink. This process takes some time, but it is a great way to learn values and simplify the actual painting process. This idea was taught by Frank J. Reilly at The Art Students League in New York City.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Painting Tip #19 - Use Your Palette To Judge Values

Judging values is easiest on a mid-tone palette. Compare the tone of your palette to whatever you are painting – is your subject lighter or darker than the palette?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Painting Tip #18 - A Free Brush Washer/Holder

Make your own brush washer by hammering a large nail repeatedly through a shallow can (such as those in which tuna is sold) and then place it upside down in a coffee can.
You can also make a inexpensive (or even free) brush holder by drilling holes (of a size to fit your brush handles) in a two-by-four piece of board.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Painting Tip #17 - Time Saving Tips

If you don’t have time to wash your brushes, try dipping them in some vegetable oil (I like walnut oil as it is less viscous than most options and is a drying oil), wrapping them in plastic wrap and putting them in the freezer until you get around to washing them. Same goes for your palette, as you can also cover it with plastic wrap or place it in a large tupperware type container and put it in the freezer to drastically slow the drying of your paints!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Painting Tip #16

When the light source is warm, such as outdoors in sunshine or indoors in incandescent light, the shadows are cool. When the light source is cool, such as in a north light studio, the shadows are warm.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Painting Tip #15

Vary your edges – soften an edge by placing a stroke of paint in an intermediate value and interesting color between the subject and background. Remember that sharp edges make things come forward and should be used judiciously.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Painting Tip #14

Set up a still life from life, then set a timer for a shorter period of time than you think you need to complete the painting. Try to paint with as few brushstrokes as possible on a small canvas. This will force you to look carefully and make decisions quickly. You may be pleasantly surprised at your results which will be fresh and loose.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Painting Tip #13

Try to never use green paint straight from the tube. Instead, mix your greens using yellows, blues, earth tones and even black instead or modify the green paint with another color.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Painting Tip #12

Do color charts using your palette of colors. You can either tape off squares on a piece of foamcore or mat board or just use a palette knife and do a gradation from one color to the next. Mix every tube you use regularly with every other tube and then do a tint and a shade! There is no better way to know immediately how to match that color you are looking at. For more information on this procedure, consult the book “Alla Prima” by master artist Richard Schmid.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Painting Tip #11

Some of my artist friends never wash their brushes with soap and water. They just rinse them well in mineral spirits and their brushes seem to stay remarkably serviceable albeit a little stained! If you really hate washing brushes, you might want to give this idea a try!