When you are on a tight budget and are purchasing an inexpensive framed canvas, remember these usually have a somewhat porous fabric. If you wish to avoid using a large amount of paint/thinning agents for the finish you require, buy a large carton of Gesso (a type of chalk based bonding agent) and prime the surface with several coats of this quick-drying material. The results will give you a smooth and relatively non-absorbant surface which is ideal to work on and which gives very good results to your artwork. I have to stress, however, that in order for your portrait work to maximise your art skills, only the very best quality canvas will suffice. And even they, may require a coat of this primer to give you the very smooth surface you may require.
Perhaps you work in watercolours? In this instance, a small bottle of artist’s gum arabic or drawing glue is an excellent investment. This permits (a) colours to flow freely and easily under your brush and (b) it does not allow the paper to become saturated and thus unworkable. However, if you are painting with acrylics or gouache, then conventional water is probably still the best material for use as the spreading agent.
Now I come to a somewhat contentious piece of advice. Artist who work in oils, know that they can take a very long time to dry, even when used in conjunction with a drying agent. Water-based oils, though, dry quite quickly, but aren’t all that popular as to date their finish and spreadability and colour range is frankly not the same as their oil counterparts. I have found, that adding a little bit of acrylic to an oil colour (obviously exactly the same colour, hue, tone, etc.,) enables the oil paint to dry very quickly. A word of warning though. This mix has to be applied with a soft brush and brushed very well onto the canvas, so as to avoid brush marks when the colour dries out.
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Thank you for reading this, and I hope it will be useful to you.
Drawing and painting are therapeutic, creative and above all, hugely enjoyable occupations. From October, my Studio (just 35 mins. from Rennes) will be open to visitors and I will be starting my 2 hour (1-2-1) highly acclaimed art sessions. For further information, please fill in the form below and e-mail it to me.
Do you want to master the skill of making quick and accurate drawings and paintings? Or do you long to create a truly superb work of art?
Then come an join me in my fully equipped Art Studio in gorgeous Brittany – and make your dream come true…
As a working Artist-Painter, I have many years’ experience ( In Ireland and in France) of teaching people how to produce lst class illustrations and paintings – in all fields and in all aspects of drawing and painting mediums and materials.
Although I specialise in one-to-one Professional, Art Personal Tuition, I also hold a number of challenging Open Days (limited to just 4 persons) which comprise a Professional Art Class in the morning and in the afternoon, the students are given the time to unleash their creativity and to create a wonderful work of art of their own.
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Whenever you see an Artist at work, you will note how wrapped up he or she is, in their work. I think this is because the very act of drawing or painting is hugely theraputic and it can enable you to pour out your soul onto a piece of paper, board or canvas.
The demands of creating an artwork are both intensive and satisfactory ‘though the Artist may have to dig very deep in order to release their creativity and produce an artwork that is pleasing to them and to the viewer.
Drawing and painting are personal – very noticeable when one views the pencil, etc., choice and the colour palette of individual artists. Outgoing people tend to use lots of dramatic shading in their illustrations and equally lots of yellow, orange, rust and red in their paintings. More reserved personalities tend to draw simple outline sketches and go for muted greens, soft blue/greys and brown colours.
Artists tend to enjoy themselves when working and this in itself is a truly healing action. Of course, we throw away work that doesn’t please us , but that actually increases the feeling of well-being, when we produce an artwork with which we are truly satisfied.
An artwork can be as simple or as complex as you require it to be, and if you lose yourself in its’ production, then the healing magic of Art has done you a great favour.
A “triptyche” of the same dog – watercolour on paper.
In this electronic age, the use of computors is endemic. Computors though, are not a substitution for physical creativity.
For artists, this usually means carrying around a small sketch pad and a pencil or drawing pen and making quick and sometimes random illustrations of subjects that take one’s fancy, which could become in time, useful…indeed, very useful.
It is a practice that I indulge in and encourage as I have found it to be quite valuable, particularly when I wish to compile a work for which I have just one really good reference point but which needs the addition of background or even foreground items to make the work come alive.
A five minute sketch can be invaluable! Even if only roughly made, the artist can re-format it into something of impact and beauty. However, you might need to encourage yourself to take on this daily effort…..though for just 5 mins. a day, it is a practice that is guaranteed to improve your artwork.
Give it a try and I think you will agree that this is a worthwhile discipline.
Remember to check the dates of my Open Days and free Art Demonstrations (indoors and outdoors) during this coming 2016.
One-to one art classes and group art classes are also available – more information on these coming up shortly.
For artists (including myself) who enjoy technical or semi-technical artwork and illustration, line and wash (ink and watercolour) is a very pleasant and rewarding method of creating such artworks.
Having been trained in the old-fashioned way – I know that building an artwork from scratch, although a slow process, can have very satisfactory results – for the artist and the viewer/buyer.
This particular Motoring Artwork depicts the late, amazing, Scottish Rally Driver, Colin McRae, MBE. World Rally Champion, with his Subaru Impreza WRC. To complete the artwork, I have added in two further details, one, the Family Crest overwritten with a short written script and the other, the Flag of Scotland.
It took two months plus to complete this artwork and I hope you enjoy it.
When you paint a subject you understand, it tends to look good. And I like the results of this watercolour, featuring the wonderful Bugatti 35B, shown here, cornering hard at La Sarthe corner at Le Mans.
Bugatti 35B in full flight
Believe it or not, I have actually been informed thus, by students – students who didn’t know that such a statement is anethema to me.
So why not try a simple exercise to show just what you can do, with simple items, for example a scarf wound about a water jug (now use your imagination…) starting with a pencil illustration, then a crayon artwork, next a gouache painting and finish by painting your subjects as a watercolour artwork. Limit the size to A4 and e-mail me your favourite with a brief description, and I shall feature the best five on a future blog.
Still life in black and white
A problem seen particularly with still-life studies, is that of overcrowding.
In this instance, I have used two closely related items to make my point. This illustration is that of a pair of boots (the type worn by racing, rallying and karting drivers), one on it’s side and displaying the rather intricate “grippy” pattern of its lightweight sole and the other boot is shown in the upright position
These boots are made for racing.
This work has been drawn in ink on 180 gm paper and the title of this artwork is ” These boots are made for racing”.