Friday, February 28, 2014

Paint Quality

Often I am asked why professional grade acrylic paints cost so much compared to craft paints or student grade paints.  I am asked a lot of questions about paint, and I will address this one here.  You can find loads of information about specific brands of paint on manufacturers' and retailers' web sites as well.
Golden, Blick Studio, and Liquitex Basics Paints
Americana Craft Paints

Pigment Load

Pigment is the expensive part of paint.  The higher the pigment load, or relative proportion of pigment to "binder" (acrylic polymer emulsion, in acrylic paints, plus, in cheaper paints, various fillers), the more expensive the paint will be on a per volume basis.

A paint with high pigment load, any professional quality paint, will produce more intense color, and can be extended (diluted) with medium (matte medium, glazing medium, etc) much further than a paint with low pigment load (craft paint).  In my Unlocking the Secrets of Color class I always suggest that you extend the darker colors (pthalo blue, especially) with medium; otherwise they look almost black because the pigment is so dense.  

In this video I am comparing professional quality paint (Golden, though I also use some Holbein paints and Sennelier, and you may find brands that you prefer) with craft paint (Americana), and then I try student- or economy-grade paints, in two different colors.  The student-grade paints are in two different brands:  Blick Studio Acrylic for the quinacridone magenta, and Liquitex Basics for the yellow.  So...  this is not very scientific.  I'm not intending to compare brands, just to compare color intensity with two different colors, over three different price-ranges of paint.  I suggest you conduct your own tests using this credit card scraping method.

Another test of pigment load is to mix your paint with titanium white and see how much white it takes to achieve a given "tint" of your color.  This is called "tinting strength":  the more white you have to add, the greater the pigment load and the better the tinting strength.  Your results are likely to vary a bit from color to color, and the different brands of paints will vary as well.

Transparency and opacity are a different issue, and we'll look at it in a later post. Hope this is helpful.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Text and Image Workshop for the Book Arts Guild

On Saturday I went to Burlington, VT, to teach a one-day version of my Text and Image class, which I usually offer as a six-week online course.  I had a great time, and it was lovely to see so many familiar faces, as well as meet new people.  Here are a few pix:
We altered found images using paint and sandpaper.

Here's Debra, experimenting with various ways of making text.

And Cynthia, using stencils to make individual letters.

Marilyn, on the right, and Marcia, on the left, who organized the workshop.

Becky, making gorgeous collages with text and image.

A variety of hand written text

Demonstration With Espresso

Penne's gorgeous lettering and paint transfer experiments.
Layering Text

Playing with Stencils

Combining Text with Image
Visit the Vermont Book Arts Guild, to see what else they offer.  I am teaching another workshop for a book arts group in New Jersey next October, and have taught for various art groups around the country.  If you have an art group in your area and would like to offer a Jane Davies workshop, please let me know. I'm now scheduling 2015.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Notes from the Studio

Just wanted to share with you what's going on in my studio this week.  First, this morning for some unknown reason I wanted to work in oil media:  oil sticks, pigment sticks, oil pastels and oil paint.  So I painted on some drawings I'd made yesterday.  Here are two of the drawings:

Drawing #1; 20"x20", acrylic, charcoal, graphite on paper

Drawing #3; 20"x20", acrylic, charcoal, graphite on paper
There were four of these, and I kept #1, but painted over #2, #3, and #4 using oils.  Here are the results so far.  THESE ARE STILL IN PROCESS, so if you post them somewhere, please indicate that.

Oil #1, 20"x20"

Oil #2, 20"x20"

Oil #3, 20"x20"
I am using an alkyd resin medium with the the paints and over the oil pastels (makes it dry faster), and mostly using my fingers to apply the paint.  I've been looking at some colorful work on Pinterest, in particular recently Madeline Denaro, Wendy McWilliams, Charlotte Foust, and others.  I'd been getting very scribbly and linear, and using neutrals, so I'm looking maybe to bring in some shapes and patterns?  I don't know.  This is just a baby step beginning.

On the 3'x3' front, I will show you several stages of the painting I put in a recent post:

This is where it was in my Working Large post.

Here is is somewhat transformed.

And here I totally obscured the India ink portion.

This is a detail shot of the piece at this point.
 This, of course, is still in process.  I've done a little more to the red area, but it has a ways to go. 

Here are links to some of the materials I used:
Holbein Oil Pastels
Sennelier Oil Pastels
Caran d'Ache Neopastels
R&F Pigment Sticks
Gamblin Oil Paints
Alkyd Resin Gel (Gamblin's brand is called "Galkyd")

Some of the above links are to the manufacturers; some are to Blick Art Materials.  All of the above are available at Blick Art Materials, and many other art supply retailers.

My work table this morning.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Invest In Art - Invest Smart In Art

When we use the word "invest" rather than "spend money on", it implies a return on the investment.  As opposed to "consumer spending", where it is simply money spent for a short-term gain, such as buying a bottle of wine to drink rather than to cellar and sell later. Sometimes that distinction is clear, but in many cases not.  Do you buy art because it will be worth something someday?  Or do you buy it because you get pleasure from looking at it?  In the first case it is a financial investment; you hope the art will grow in value, and you can sell it later at a profit.  In the second case - buying art because you like it - you are investing in yourself.  You are gaining quality of life, pleasure, from the purchase of art. If original art is beyond your budget, you can buy a print.

Rocky, my lovely hen, agreed to be a fashion accessory to my Invest Smart In Art sweatshirt.  You can get your own sweatshirt, as well as aprons, hats, and more from Duo Studio Designs.
Another way to invest in art is to spend money on art materials.  Only you can determine what constitutes appropriate spending on materials (some say that you should ONLY buy the BEST art materials, but I think it's more important to buy what you feel comfortable with).  More on this in a later post.

And a third way is to take the occasional workshop.  Invest your time and money in learning something new, meeting like-minded people, and getting the stimulation of working in a group, whether in person or online.  This is a true investment in your SELF. Taking a workshop says "I am worth it; my art is worth it", which is a very positive and empowering statement.  As you can see from my previous few posts, I gained a LOT from investing in the recent drawing workshop.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Working Large - In Progress

I don't have any video or tutorials or giveaways just now, so I thought I'd just share with you what I'm working on in the studio this week.  I've been pushing to work larger, and it is a struggle.  The work I did the other week at the drawing workshop really helped, so I went back to two 3'x3' canvases I'd begun recently.  Here is the first one, at various stages of the process:

Still in process
Almost finished

I think this might be finished.

And here is a second one I'm working on, which is still in process, another 3'x3' canvas:

This is where I started.
I just HAD to try some of the India Ink techniques.

Now I am still scribbling on this one, seeing where it will take me.
 A couple of detail shots:

detail 1

detail 2
I am really looking forward to my Big Fat Art classes coming up.  One at AVA in NH on March 7, then Big Fat Art Weekend here in Vermont at the end of March, and in September, Big Fat Art on Whidbey Island at Pacific Northwest Art School.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ink on Yupo

OK, so here is the video demo that I promised.  You can find the background for this post in my previous post.  I just learned this last week at NCSW, with Leonard Ragouzeos, so I am a real beginner here.  I would send you to one or Leonard's workshops, but he does not teach on any regular basis.  You can beg him if you like, but meanwhile, look at this video and give it a try.

Have fun. Will I be teaching this in a workshop?  Maybe.  Let me get my own thing going with it first.  I am teaching a four day Big Fat Art workshop at Pacific Northwest Art School in September, and will at least demonstrate the techniques there, and let you fool around with it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

More from the Drawing Workshop

Here are a few more pix from the drawing workshop I took at North Country Studio Workshops with Leonard Ragouzeos.  North Country offers thirteen workshops in various media, simultaneously, using the fabulous facilities at Bennington College, during this one week in late January.  The workshops are offered every TWO years.

Here are some process shots of one of my pieces.  This is about 3' high:

Stage 1 (well, several stages in, but the first photo I took)

Stage 2, sort of

Stage 3

I think this is the finished piece.
Here are a few detail shots:
Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3
Here is my favorite piece, again with some detail shots:

This one is 3'x3'.

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3
And a couple shots of The Master:

Drawing Mick Jagger

I have loads more pictures, but I'll leave it at this for now.  Thanks for visiting.

The best place to get Yupo is Jerry's Artarama.  There it is available in pads, large sheets, and rolls, so you can work really big if you like.  You can also get it at Blick Art Materials, but the rolls are more expensive.  Why do they sometimes call it "Yupo Watercolor Paper"?  It isn't watercolor paper at all; it is plastic!  Excuse me, "polymer".  It isn't even paper.  Anyhow, it is what it is, and is a really interesting substrate for India ink and other media.  India ink is cheap and available at virtually any art supply store.

Oh, one more picture.  Here is the Class Picture, missing two participants:
Is it my imagination, or did we all end up wearing black, white, and gray (except me)?