Monday, October 29, 2007

Starving Artists Sale

Believe it or not, my husband wanted to see the Starving Artists Sale at the Trade Center on Sunday. Seems he had either seen it advertised on tv or heard a radio ad. We took our princess Camryn and went to see the show. I had never been to one before, so it was interesting! Rows and rows of large "oil" paintings for $99! Of course, I knew they were giclees (prints) on canvas and some may have been enhanced, although no one claimed that they were. But for a large giclee, $99 was a good price. I am sure that Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Thomas Kincaid and yes, Bob Ross, would have enjoyed some of the profits from their images, but at least they were selling.
I remember my painting mentor, Wayne Wu from Taiwan, telling us that in China and Taiwan they had factories where workers would paint. Each had a specialty: skies, trees, grass, etc and they passed the canvas around until it was done. Someone was in charge of signing it. So I tried to notice the signatures. They were very similar like A.Benton or A.Harris. So, my question is, who is starving? The workers in the factories are employed, the printers have a job, the canvas stretchers, the loaders and shippers, the wholesalers, the retailers?? Even the frame makers in Mexico are employed. The good news is: people are buying art, albeit giclees, to decorate their homes. There is still hope for the non-starving artists in the world!!

Search for Subjects

On a recent drive to Ellijay to buy apples, my husband and I came across this field of sunflowers just south of Chatsworth. It was the kind of scene you would expect in the valleys of Italy or France where I have painted. Last week in oil class, Evelle had photos she had made of a dirt road through a field taken not far from her home that she is painting. For some, objects that they own make the best subjects. The point is, subject matter for painting is all around us. Painting something or someplace that has meaning to you will be more fulfilling and interesting, not only to you, but to the viewer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fun, Food, and Friends at Hollis Gallery

Here are some shots of friends and guests at the painting demo on Friday and the Tuscany themed reception on Saturday at Hollis Gallery. I enjoyed seeing and meeting everyone and feel very blessed to have such supportive friends, both old and new. Thanks Ya'll for making me feel so loved! Thank yous especially to Sandi and Keith Abney, owners, and Sandra Babb who helped with the photography. The show will be up until November 16 so I hope that you will have a chance to come by.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Varnishing a Painting

Last week in oil class, Charlotte brought a painting that she wanted to rework. The painting had not been touched for a couple of years. It is a lovely study of a Monet landscape. I suggested she use a retouch varnish before applying paint.
The procedure to apply retouch varnish is the same as applying varnish on a dry painting as a finishing coat. Retouch will give the paints a better surface to accept new paint. It brings out the color which has dulled since the oil in the paint has dried and leaves the paint less glossy.
Always clean or dust the surface with a lint free rag, like an old diaper, or a clean flat brush. If the painting looks dirty, you can wash it gently with a mild soap (I like Ivory) making sure to dry it thoroughly.
Apply the varnish with a flat brush. We poured the varnish into a shallow bowl and used a brush made for varnish because it has softer bristles. Paint broad strokes, don't go back over and over in the same spots, you want an even coat. Allow it to dry.
There are different brands of retouch and picture varnish. They are pretty much the same. Some artists prefer the glossy and some the satin. I have sometimes mixed the two. Lately I have been using a product called Soluvar for the final varnish. It is glossy. Damar varnish has a reputation for yellowing after a while, especially over the lights and whites. It is still the most used final varnish.
If you have an older painting that has a coat of final varnish that you would like to "bring back to life" you can take the varnish off with a light rub of turpentine or mineral spirits.
I have never done this before, and I probably would recommend taking the painting to a restorer or experienced frame shop.
If you have any questions, the manufacturers of the products are usually available. I would check their websites.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Touch of Tuscany at Hollis Gallery in October

A selection of oil paintings based on my recent trip to Tuscany will be on display at Hollis Gallery, 1401 Williams Street, Chattanooga, TN, October 9 - November 16. I will be in the gallery painting on Friday, October 12. A Tuscany themed reception will be Saturday afternoon, October 13. Hope you can come!

Double Primary Palette

Some years ago I started working with a double primary palette in watercolor and in oil. For the benefit of the new class members and others who struggle with color, I will explain the colors and the reason behind their choices. Sometimes I am amazed that people have taken classes where the instructor did not talk about laying out a palette and color mixing. Everyone has their own system but I find if I lay out my colors the same way each time, I can find them easier and mix faster.
The pure white goes on the top center of my palette. I squeeze out more of it than other colors. On the opposite end, goes my black, if I am using it, and a row of earth colors: raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber and raw umber. I always look at my subject: what do I need? The earth colors are useful for mixing. I can make greys and nice greens by adding them. Next I do a row of the warm colors down the side beginning with the lightest: Lemon yellow, cadium yellow medium, yellow ochre, cadium red light, alizarin crimson. Permanent rose is one I may add if I am working with violets or lots of shadows. The cool colors are together on the last side starting with the lightest blue: cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, then the greens (again, what am I painting that I need greens I can't mix?): permanent green light, sap green, and viridian or hooker's green. For a landscape palette, that is all I will need to mix lots of greens, shadows, and sky.
What makes it a double primary palette? There are two values of each primary here: a lighter or cooler value such as lemon yellow and a deeper or warmer value: cadium yellow medium. Same with the reds: lighter cadium red light and deeper alizarin crimson. Blues: cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. You could use just the lighter colors and mix the darker or you could use just the darker and mix them lighter. It is just a matter of convenience that we have so many colors to choose.
I am working in my studio today to finish a few of the Tuscany paintings for the October show at the Hollis Gallery. I will shoot my palette (before it gets used) and post. After my head clears of hilltops, vineyards, and cypress trees, I will explain the colors and how to mix them without creating "mud".