May
12
2010

WINTER STREAM Project Lesson in Oils by Wilson Bickford

I thought I'd share some insights as to my thought processes and techniques with this painting.
This was created just recently and I took step-by-step photos along the way to highlight certain points. Although this is considered an Oil painting, I did start with some Acrylic gessos for the underpainting; a blue-gray for the snow and black for the stream. The idea is to let the underpainting show through to influence the top layer of Oil Colors.


Photo #1 - The blue and black Acrylics were applied using a disposable foam brush (hardware -store variety). When that was completely dry, I scrubbed a thin coat of LIQUIN Winsor & Newton Oil Color Medium over the entire canvas to ease the application of the Oils and to facilitate blending. Any clear Oil medium would suffice.


Photo #2 - Using a Fan brush, I used small amounts of Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to scrub in a "mottled" suggestion of deep woods. I purposely kept the bottom area darker to help convey the feeling of deeper shadows in the undergrowth. Notice that I did not cover up all of the Acrylic undertone and it is peeking through here and there. the Oils were applied very thinly and scrubbed in.


Photo #3 - Tree trunks were added using Van Dyke Brown on a 3/8" Flat brush. Evergreen branches were rendered with a Fan brush and varying mixtures of Sap Green, Ultramarine Blues and Van Dyke Brown. Snow on the branches was indicated with Blue and White on the Fan brush, ultimately building to pure Titanium White for the lightest highlights which were placed more centrally on the canvas.


Photo #4 - Using my background Blues, Greens and Browns, I painted the reflection colors into the water. This was with the Flat brush. Note that the brightest glow in the water is nearer the center as it will be an important part of the focal point, or "center of interest." I used Titanium White for this area. I also started defining the snow shadows and lay of the land at this phase, again saving the pure whites for the middle area of the canvas.


Photo #5 - More snow highlights and some grasses poking through were added. I used the Browns on the Fan brush for the grass stubble, then added more definition (especially nearer the foreground) using a Script Liner. As an adjustment, I brightened the glint of light in the water using more Titanium White, which I felt gave it some extra oomph. Lastly, I used some of my Blues and White on the Script Liner to create the snow-covered rocks in the stream.

There you have it! Although there are many different ways to execute a painting, this is an approach I use quite often. By using the Acrylic underneath, I find that I can use less paint over-all in the Oil stage, which keeps me from getting bogged down on a slippery, thick canvas.
I choose my underpainting colors according to my subject. For example, I might use a Yellow or a Red for a sunset scene. Give it a try!

www.wilsonbickford.com

May
12
2010

Grrrrr by Valerie (Valry) Drake

Typically I am fairly good at technical stuff since my day job deals with technology. But recently a technical issue has really messed up one of my art pieces. I still haven't resolved the situation but let me tell you about it.


I have been doing a series of colored pencil abstracts for my product line on cafe press and, overall, they have been going very well. They take about 20 hours each but they are turning out close to the vision I have had. Well, at least they are getting closer. Anyway, I do the art piece and then scan it and do a little editing to get it ready for the product line on cafe press, including turning the background transparent, and then upload the art to their web site and position it on the gift items. It has not been an interesting project.

Recently I did a piece that I really like. It has one area that is very intricate and is layers of ivory, pale yellow, warm Indian yellow, and white. The piece also has bright honey-colored "drips". The colors are exactly what I was trying to achieve and the details are perfect. It is very unusual to have the finished piece end up being quite so close to the vision and I am very pleased with this piece.


Although it was challenging and time consuming to produce, the real problem started after it was finished. I took it to be scanned and when I got home and opened the file, all my beautiful rich golden ivory color was gone! It was gray and white! Bummer. So I took it back to be rescanned. Same result. I took it to a high-end reprographics shop and they had the same result. Evidently the wax in colored pencil creates a reflection in the scanner. Combined with the light color in this area it reflects enough light to create a "hot spot" which washes out all the color. One lesson learned: yellow is a difficult color for a scanner to handle accurately.

Okay. So I tried taking a photo of it. I'm losing a LOT of detail. Also, the background is supposed to be white and for some reason a photo is making it look sepia-tone. The darker background is almost impossible to convert to transparent which creates a new set of problems in utilizing this image for my cafe press product line. However, this is the best I've gotten so far. I have one more thing to try – taking the photo outside on a bright day and the weather has not been cooperating with that.

We live in a time when it is not enough to create the art we want. We also have to learn the technical skills to present our art. I am still working on that.

May
12
2010

The Changing Faces of Art Marketing by M Theresa Brown of Art Career Experts


Yes, I admit it. I am on a quest to share what I have learned with those artists whose goal has been to use their creative talents to make money! But the quest goes deeper than just the results and affirmation of art sales. Just the act of bringing in income to support one's family from the sales of one's own art product is achievement and fullfillment on an unparalleled level. That would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Yet for so many years, success at that level for artists has been hard to come by. Why?

Ask yourself this:
Haven't you wondered WHY, with the art marketing methods promoted by the Art Community and colleges over so many years, there are STILL so few artists making a living at their craft? What's wrong with this picture?

And as we discovered, it is a question that is in the forefront of the minds of many artists. Our first 2010 seminar on the Myth Busting Facts of Art Marketing sold out quickly and the overflow has gone into a second session. Is it a sign of the times?
Well, the first group has met and are ready and eager for a change in marketing their art. Many of these participants are artists who have spent a decade or two trying to do it "the right way." But the "right way" or the acccepted methods that have been promoted during the past century are only a recent phenomena. Prior to the 20th century and the rise of art galleries and the thinking that artists "should not have to sell their art," artists have always been responsible for creating and supplying the art for the available markets. A search through world history combined with art history and artist biographies will reveal fascinating facts, details and even confirmation along with the means and methods the artists used.

It is unfortunate that an artist even needs confirmation that thinking in terms of marketing his art is acceptable. But the times are indeed changing for those who have faced disappointment in their inability to sell their art. We all know that over a period of time, with no sales and no income, discouragement sets in and before long," being an artist" is just a lost dream to most.

Or is it? Hold on a minute! Life is too short to keep walking down the same path and fall into the same hole! How about taking another path instead?
With art galleries closing by the thousands and grant money drying up, the need to "think outside the box" suddenly makes sense. The fact and reality is, there is no one secret formula to the selling of one's art.
Simply a re-structuring of prior learned beliefs, a major shift in attitude plus the always present need to work hard, opens the door to success! The tried and true means and methods of successfully selling anything are available in any bookstore. "Thinking outside the box" means challenging the accepted norm of how an artist should do business and apply the marketing world's proven methods of selling to your art product!

It seems very appropriate to start the New Year with a re-structuring of attitude! Because the most difficult obstacle facing the entrepreneur artist will be erasing the years of art marketing myths that he has been exposed to. Start with a blank slate!
That's why January truly is the month for not only looking back at where you have been, but looking forward to where you want to go.

New attitude in place? Great! Now you have to have a business plan to set your goals for marketing your art. Not an art plan, but an art business plan.
It's a roadmap to your destination. No matter how many detours or stops you make on this road, you still have your destination in sight. That's the beauty of a plan.
Enthusiasm is the driving. Getting there is putting gas in your car!

Go for it!

www.ArtCareerExperts.com

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