Archive for February 2014

Starting Out with Pastels

ID-10092312If pastel drawing is a media you want to try, we have some tips to help make your artistic journey a pleasant one. When choosing pastels be aware that there a few different types; oil, soft , and hard. Each type feels and looks different, but applies color the same. Soft pastels feel like chalk, hard pastels are harder and shiny, oil pastels feel like children’s wax crayons.

There are even different types of pastel paper to apply the pastels on. You can work on canvas, paper with tooth or texture, charcoal paper, or fine grained sandpaper. All these hold the pastel onto the surface, but can give texture and easily blend the color on the drawing. Pastels can also be bought in pencil form for creating sharper images and fine detail, you can buy a starter pack of pastels from you local art shop.

Some techniques you may want to try with your pastels are: shading and blending colors into one another, cross hatching colors to create a surface appeal for your piece, scumbling where you use wavy lines to create a depth of blended color, scratching with a pen or knife to pop a color from behind another color, and stippling by rapidly dotting the page in close proximation with your pastel stick for a textured look.

To blend your pastels you can use a number of tools which can be found in your home, or bought specially from an art supplier. You can buy stumps and erasers which can be used to blend the colors. You can also use household items like ear buds for smaller harder to reach places, toilet paper, bread, brushes and sponges to create special effects.

You can practice the techniques on you own or you can buy a book that explains in detail the effect you want to try to recreate. Art classes can also help you learn techniques with hands on instruction. Just remember when working with pastels that you should wear gloves to stop the color from rubbing onto your hands and possibly contaminating your piece. When your finished with your pastels you should wipe them off and keep them clean.

After you’ve finished with your work you should spray it with a fixative to stop the piece from becoming contaminated with dirt or accidental smudging. Remember that fixative is toxic, so follow the instructions carefully when using it. You can also use the fixative to separate layers if you want to keep one layer as is. Using a fixative can alter the color pigmentation though, so do be careful when using it. If you need to put your work up before you finish with it, you can protect your drawing with acid-free transparent paper.

Framing Diplomas and Degrees

ID-10057714 (1)You spent years working hard, getting good grades and now you finally have your diploma or degree. You’re given a special paper bound with a ribbon, but what do you want to do with it once you get it home? You should frame it and keep it safe on a wall where you have easy access to it.

If you file your diploma or degree away you risk losing it in a jumble of papers, and the possibility of it being soiled by drinks, water, or creasing and tearing if it’s not filed properly.

Some jobs require you to show them your degree or diploma as proof that you have the knowledge and capabilities for the position that you have applied for. If your diploma/degree is in rough shape what do you think that communicates to your potential employer, not to mention if you can’t find it, you just might be out of a job!

By framing your degree/diploma you will always know where it is because it will be hanging on the wall, not mention that you worked so hard for it that you might as well go ahead and show it off! You can frame it as elaborately as you wish, or more subdued if you don’t want to make a big deal out of it.

You’re not always going to live with your parents, and one day you might have a den or office space that you want to display it in, so framing it now is saving the diploma/degree form becoming ancient history and keeping it as fresh and new as the day you received it.

Come down to our store and we can show you the different types of frames and colors that compliment your diploma/degree. We’re sure to have your school colors and designs that will make you proud to show off your degree/diploma.

Oil Painting for Beginners

ID-10037946Here are some tips about oil paints for those who have never used this medium before. Let’s start with the paint itself, there are many types of oil paint on the market, if  you’re just starting out you may be tempted to buy the cheapest set (student sets or sets sold with brushes). The quality of the paint and brushes won’t be very good and may make painting more of a chore than an enjoyable experience.

Oil paints give off fumes, so before you plunk down to paint you’re going to have to make sure where you’re painting is well ventilated. Oil paints are also notoriously hard to get out of clothes and off hands. Make sure you’re not wearing anything you care about, you might even want to spread a drop clothe around your painting station so it won’t stain the floor either.

Because oil paints are tacky and can stay wet for up to 3 days you’re going to want to make sure you’re not getting food, drinks, and hair onto you canvas. You’ll probably even want to remove bracelets and rings too. Make sure your painting area is a clean one and an uncluttered one. Oil painting requires quite a bit of room because of all the tools you use to paint.

When purchasing oil paints buy a big tube of white paint because you will go through this the fastest, then buy small tubes of  cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, titanium white, and mars black. With these you can create any color you could want from the rainbow. It will also save you from buying many different tubes just for a certain color when you can create it at home.

Before you brush paint onto a canvas you’re going to arrange some basic colors on a palette. Then you’ll dip your brush into one color and move it to another location and add another color to it and mix thoroughly to create a new color. By adding white and black you can create light and shading effects with the color. This will also give you a feel for how much paint you need on your brush when you start to paint your canvas. You can always use a color wheel to create new color

On your canvas you can sketch or transfer a drawing using tracing paper as a carbon copy. Once you have the sketch placed you may want to consider the composition of your main subject. Is there any over lapping? Are there shapes and objects that are going to cause shadow or throw light? These will add depth to the painting. So if you only have one central figure, you might want to consider adding more to your painting.

When you begin to paint you will see that mistakes can be easily erased by wiping wet paint away with a damp cloth or sponge. Because oil paints remain wet for so long you can even fix mistakes the next day. You may even want to try negative painting where you paint the space around the main object or objects.

Once you’ve finished your painting, you will leave to set for 3-6 months (depends on how much layering you have done). Afterward you’ll be able to varnish it to set the painting and then frame it. You can save any unused paint for another time and be sure to clean your brushes well. Dish soap is a good cleaner for oil paints. Dry your brushes in an open area so they won’t be wet or contaminate your painting the next time you go to paint.


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Water Color Painting for Beginners

ID-10081670Are you interested in taking up water color painting? It can be a rewarding medium that results in beautiful work, but first you must practice. There are techniques that require more water or less, the use of wax, special boards and  much much more.

To begin draw a simple shape such as a square in the middle of a blank piece of white paper. Make sure that you draw the shape lightly in pencil so that it is visible but not prominent. If you want you can purchase a water color block to paint on instead of taping down the edges of the paper on a cloth. After you tape the piece of paper on a cloth, put a dab of color on your palette. Now dip your brush in some water and then in the paint and brush the paint and water around on the inside of the shape you drew.

Take notice of how the color spreads when you add more water or when you use less. This will give you an idea of how to use the color when you paint. You can also experiment with blending by using the primary colors. Paint one strip of blue and then add some yellow next to it, and then some red. You’ll see how more and less water can cause different blending effects on the paint.

Remember when painting to color areas you wish to be dark first and if you wish an area to remain white you need to paint negatively, which means you leave the area untouched and paint around it creating shadow and any other effects that enhances the white portion. You can also lightly sketch this area with a pencil if you’re doing it for the first time.

You can create a number of visual effects with water colors by using a few different techniques. By drawing with a white wax crayon or back end of a white wax candle on the page the wax causes the paint to distort and create a white out effect. The paint won’t settle on the wax.

Try shaking salt onto the wet paint. It can crystalize and look like 3D stars in the sky, or a number of other things depending on the color you use the salt on.

For a number of different water color techniques you can buy books and watch seminars on Youtube. Whatever you choose to do have fun! Water colors can be rewarding and beautiful, google water colors to get an idea of the possibilities.