The Advantages of Painting a Series by Deb Bartos

A series of paintings is a really good way of organizing your mind and your art.

It gives you a plan, it gives you a chance to explore the subject past
just one painting. It gives you a good excuse to stop a painting at a reasonable place.

Many times, I’m having so much fun painting one painting, I don’t want to quit. This can lead to over-working a painting, which equals sentencing it to death. The viewer always has to have something to do to participate in a work, and if you have completed all the details, there is nothing for him/her to do. The last thing you paint is always the first thing the viewer sees, and if you paint past interesting, they see static and uninteresting. The last thing anyone wants on his/her wall is static and uninteresting. There has to be a personal connection for a collector to purchase art. Find out what the connection is, and build on it.  Several years ago, I had a sophisticated collector tell me why they chose a particular piece of mine: “because it’s different and it will remain interesting for a long time.” This is important for something you have to live with every day, and a comment worth sharing and thinking about.

If you paint in a series, you have the confidence to try “different.” It’s abundant permission for the painter. It evolves as you go along, and you try different angles, perspectives, contexts, etc. Simply put, it gets better.

Another big advantage to painting a series is to give your viewer a limited number of choices. Choice is good, but too many choices become overwhelming. Think Starbucks, we self-limit ourselves in how many choices we can make. I don’t want to think about the thousands of things I’ll be missing if I make the wrong choice. I pick the one I know I like already.

It’s human nature to want a choice, but we don’t choose if given too many options, we delay all together. We artists don’t want that from a collector, we want them to happily and confidently choose and buy!

I recently completed a series of old trucks found along the roadside. While traveling for work, I had the opportunity to stop in little towns along the way and always found these compelling beauties. I realized that I wanted to do a series of them and started on the first one while having a plan for the second. It developed further as I went along. I might be
finished, or I might have more to go.

Taos Truck                                        El Jebel Truck                                     Salida Truck

A series doesn’t lock you in to just doing one subject, you can always take a break and paint something completely different. If you complete a series, it also might present well as a unified show.  See if you can tell what I developed as I went along in this series of trucks, it was a learning opportunity for me as well. And fun. Which for me, is the point of painting. Everything else comes from that! Have fun! And keep on painting!



Artist - Craftsperson by Valerie (Valry) Drake

What’s the difference between an artist and a craftsperson?

According to Dictonary.com it is fairly straightforward: an artist is “a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria” or “one who professes and practices an imaginative art” or “a person skilled in one of the fine arts”. A craftsperson is “a person who practices or is highly skilled in a craft.”

But common usage seems to have modified the nuances of meanings in these words. We think of an artist as someone who works in the fine arts. Here I go back to Dictionary.com which defines fine art as “a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture.” (Architecture? I thought architecture was more of an applied art?) Speaking of which, Dictionary.com defines applied art as “any art that applies aesthetic principles to the design or decoration of useful objects…”

The dictionary seems to make the distinction based on the use of the finished product. If it is purely aesthetic it is art, if it is functional then it is craft.

I think that maybe we tend to think of the difference as more related to the techniques rather than the functionality.  According to this theory: Painting with oil paint on canvas is art. Painting with craft paint on a saw blade is craft. Sculpting with clay is art. Sculpting with paper mache is craft. Drawing with charcoal is art. Drawing with crayons is craft.

It all still seems fairly easy to differentiate. However, I’m not good at easy answers. I have seen a lot of really good art in surprising places and made from surprising materials.

Personally, I think the line between art and craft is blurring – a blurring which I find quite exciting. I have done some experiments with combining art and craft techniques and materials and will experiment a lot more as I have time. I did a collage on canvas and then combined melted paraffin, paint, embossing powder, and melted crayons making a thick top layer. The effect was actually quite pleasing and I will be returning to that technique. (My apologies, I do not have a picture of that piece to show you.) Another experiment is painting on found objects such as an aluminum drink can or a computer circuit board. (Examples above.) Another experiment that I enjoyed was an illuminated, framed paper sculpture made from a painting on watercolor paper.

Yes, I get a LOT of my art supplies from Jerry’s. I also get supplies from craft stores, lumber yards, thrift stores, parking lots, and a variety of other places. Remember what dictionary.com said, that an artist is “one who professes and practices an imaginative art”.  I really like that phrase “imaginative art”. Let’s practice imaginative art.



May Art Tips Contest Winner

Art Tips

We often get questions and comments related to "How To's" from our customers. We decided to present them in this new area called "Art Tips".

We have received so many fantastic Art Tips from many of our loyal custmers and we put them online for others to try and enjoy.


Sent in by Renee - North Canton OH
While painting a area of the painting that is to be heavily textured, use salt. After the first application of paint, add a thick amount of salt to the area. Let it partially dry, then use your brush to add different colors to the area. Dab with your brush the areas you want to add colored texture. The dried salt absorbs the color and doesn't spread it out. This is especially nice when painting bricks, trees, and other heavily textured areas. When I paint bricks, I leave the salt on the paper. It add a little sparkle and makes it come alive. - Renee, North Canton, OH

To make it fun and to say thank you for submitting your Art Tips we decided to run a contest and award the winner with a $250 Gift Card to shop at Jerry's Artarama online. The "Art Tip" with the most votes will be awarded the $250 gift card to spend on their favorite Art Supplies on Jerry's Artarama website. We randomly chose 8 art tips and put them up for community vote for all to try and vote on. Well.... we had over 720 votes and close race to finish:

The 8 Finalists in our first Art Tips Contest were:  Jillian From NC, Lorrie from Kalamazoo MI, Hilda from Provincetown MA, Kali From Reynoldsburg OH, Linda from Houston TX, Renee from Canton OH,  Robin from Pal Harbor FL, Jan from Indianapolis IN,

Jillian - Cary NC (34): 5%
Lorrie - Kalamazoo MI (104): 14%
Hilda - Provincetown Ma (21): 3%
Kali - Reynoldsburg Ohio (6): 1%
Linda - Houston TX (60): 8%
Renee - N. Canton, OH (208): 29%
Robin - Palm Harbor FL (220): 31%
Jan - Indianapolis IN (67): 9%

The winner of the $250 Gift Card was Robin - Palm Harbor FL and here is here is where the story gets interesting, please read on...


The Winning Art Tip:

Sent in by Robin of Palm Harbor FL
If you are having a hard time with your foreshortening or perspective, Turn your canvas and the photo you are working from upside down! You will see the correction right away! (this works for drawing as well) -
Robin, Palm Harbor FL

Robin is a professional artist but she volunteers at a neighborhood Adult Day Care Center whose needs range from dimentia to physical issues making it difficult for their families to take care of them during the day. She was excited to win the $250 Gift Card to help buy art supplies and art materials , particularly easels to help make painitng easier for them. We are delighted to provide a way for our customers and friends to help make a difference through art in the lives of the many that they encounter every day. Our many thanks to Robin for being apart of Jerry's Artarama and affording us the opportunity to participate and be apart of her life in some way. We are anxiously waiting those pictures she promised :-)

We recieve many submissions and will posting them online shortly so keep sending them in. Click here to read all the Art Tips and stay tuned for our next contest.

Thank You

Michael Marchetta
VP of Internet Marketing



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