Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Secrets: 6 New Art Tools for Under $20

In summer I like to make the “process” of painting as relaxed and enjoyable as possible while still being as productive. This means I'm always on the hunt for "new and improved" painting helpers and art supplies. I've come across some very affordable (most under 10 bucks) artist "accessories" recently and wanted to share them with you. Enjoy and happy summer painting!

A New Take on an Old Colorful Favorite
If you’re like me you have a few color wheels in your studio. Recently though I came across this interesting “color harmony” wheel (seen above). This version includes pigment names as well as a neutral gray (not white) background. You can order here on Etsy for about $15. (Watercolorists you may also find a detailed Quiller color wheel helpful.)

Centurion Linen Pad
Linen is my favorite oil painting surface so thanks to my artist friend Dan for showing me these handy professional linen canvas pads (avail. in oil primed or acrylic gesso). The very portable pads come in a variety of standard sizes. (Note you can always adhere the linen to a hard surface later.) Great for studio or outdoors! A 9x12 pad with 10 sheets is just $19.99 currently online at Jerrys.

New Gamblin Solvent Free Medium
Thanks to Gamblin, I paint almost 100% solvent free in oils. I’ve used their Solvent Free Gel (in place of a medium such as Liquin) for a while now and am very happy with it. I just tried their new solvent free medium (thinner than gel) and so far it's great too and helps make summer painting a breeze!
Portable Brush Cleaner
Need more a compact brush cleaner for plein air?  How cute is this compact super lightweight Guerilla Mighty Mite (which comes in in 2 sizes). Fill this Winsor Newton Solvent Free brush cleaner and I'm good to go for convenient toxic free brush cleaning indoors or out!

Zipper Mesh Brush Bags

You know how long painting brushes sometimes don’t fit in a conventional bag? These Creative Mark mesh bags help you organize your supplies on the go and they're stronger than your typical plastic grocery zip bag. Best of all my favorite the longer brush bag is under $2.00!

Art Tools on Tablets
I've used a couple of artist  apps for a while now on my iPad: ValueViewer and AccuView and find them extremely helpful. Recently I also added Jackson's Art Grid--another very useful app which allows you to easily crop and grid over a photo you take as you work or one you already have. 

P.S. For more info about my upcoming Denver painting classes and art workshops please visit my website.

Friday, July 10, 2015

You Can't Steal a Gift

Student "master copy" of Edgar Payne landscape (acrylic on canvas)

You can’t steal a gift. Bird [Charlie Parker] gave the world his music, and if you can hear it you can have it.” Dizzy Gillespie

I'm back from my beachy summer break following June's Summer Art Market. It was a super busy sunny (rain free!) successful weekend! Thanks to everyone who helped and supported me--art shows take a village! Special gratitude to my collectors for ongoing their support of SAM and the Denver art community.

Coming Soon! Fall Painting Classes and Workshops
Back in the studio I've been putting together some really interesting new fall classes and workshops which you can find on the my website. Hope to see you there!

I'm particularly thrilled to be joining the Park Hill Art Club (PHAC) as a Thursday morning painting instructor starting September 17. Thank you again PHAC for inviting me!

My student Michele working on her version of a Wolf Kahn landscape.
If you're a Denver artist and not yet a member be sure to check out this very established and active group of almost 300 artists (you don't need to live in the Park Hill area to join). PHAC offers high quality affordable classes, workshops and other painting events.

Lately several of my students have been working on "master" copies (see Anita's lovely Payne landscape posted today). So wanted to share some thoughts about why a master copies are so helpful to artist. (Along these lines have you read Steal Like an Artist yet?)

In many ways the act of creating a painting is problem solving. For an artist viewing a great painting by a master artist is visual gift. One that helps us "solve" the same puzzle we're about to tackle.

Yes, I often work from photos. But the more I work with other artists I also find that painting (copying) another painting vs. painting (copying) from a photo reference is more relevant experience. It’s “apples to apples” or more specifically it’s “paint to paint” rather than “pixels to paint.”

Here are 10 questions you may find helpful while reviewing a masterwork (or a painting you simply really love.)

  1. How do you think the artist started their painting? Why?
  2. What colors (and even more specifically what pigments) did they use and why?
  3. What attracts and holds your eye?
  4. Why do you think they painted what they did?
  5. How have they created form?
  6. How did they arrange their values? Is there a dominant value?
  7. Where do you see hard edges? Softer edges?
  8. What design elements and principles can you find?
  9. Consider the paint application and brushwork--Is it heavy, thick, thin, washy?
  10. What do you like best? Least? Finally what elements could you incorporate into your own painting?
Thanks everyone--Have a sunny safe summer weekend!