Art Is A Business

Published January 8, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. So can not being aware you are losing money because you don’t keep track of costs.

Over a lifetime, all of us will probably create hundreds of pieces of art and maybe hundreds of books. When first starting out, it may seem a waste of time to develop this kind of recordkeeping, but when you are trying to remember which landscape of Monterey or which painting of magnolias out of the 15 you painted in the past 20 years that you entered into a show, you will come to see the value of good records.   If you keep a record and the Art information sheet updated you will always have a documentation of your work and where it has been.

However, if you keep good records you probably won’t lose track of your art and try and re-enter art into a show you have already exhibited in. (This can be very embarrassing when the show director calls you  to pick up your artwork and then complains that you keep entering the same piece year after year.)

 

Art Information Worksheet

 

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WHAT IS NETWORK MARKETING

Published July 16, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

There is a lot of talk these days out there about using social networks to market your art. You can certainly reach a lot of people with your message, but simply reaching them isn’t good enough. You must convince them  to buy your stuff. A  key ingredient in successful social media marketing is creating “social authority”. Once established as an “expert” in your given field you become an authority (someone others listen to). You can establish yourself by writing on-line about stuff you know about. It doesn’t  have to be art because if you want to sell your art, its necessary to reach outside the sphere of artists you know to your target audience. It’s a funny thing, but having social authority in one sphere will give you authority other places; just witness all those celebrities who endorse presidential candidates!

Because of social media—and the direct/indirect effect of these marketers, the buying public is more likely to make decisions using what they read and see in social networks, but only if they hear about it from someone they trust. This is the reason a focused, carefully designed social media strategy needs to be a basic part of your marketing plan.

Social Networking sites allow internet users to connect with each other. Most people using social networking sites join a group: former school classmates, a means to connect with friends (like Facebook and Twitter), etc.; most  of these sites also feature a recommendation system linked to trust. Social Network sites are web-based   r allowing users to connect over the internet via e-mail or instant messaging. It can be difficult to create a network of buyers if you are not already acquainted with them most of these networking services do run on “friend recommendations”. If you want your message about your work to be picked up and sent “viral”, you must create a message that is both interesting and attention grabbing.

Viral marketingviral advertising, or marketing buzz refersto practices thatuse pre-existing social networks. The goal is to create viral messages thatattract people with high social networking potential(SNP) so that these people will tell everyone about the message. It’s like a game of gossip.

Generally three basic conditions must be met for your communication to go viral. 1) A “go-between” or “dispatch rider” must pick up the message. There are three types of “dispatch riders” required to change an ordinary message into a viral one: market devotees, social hubs, and salespeople. Market devotees are among the first to get exposed to the message and transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with many connections; they often know hundreds of people and can serve as tie-ins between groups with different interests. Salespeople receive the message from the market devotee, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then send it on. 2) The message must be memorable and interesting. Only messages that are both will be passed on to others and spur viral marketing. Making your message more memorable and interesting (or more infectious) can be a matter of minor adjustments. 3) the environment needs to be favorable: The timing and context of your promotion takeoff must be right too. If there is something much more interesting going on like the Japanese earthquake, your chances of getting a competing message out are not very good.

Question: how do you find these people? Well, you must put in your time developing on-line relationships. It will be necessary for you to express some type of interest in what they are doing so that they will reciprocate. I am not advocating spending hours on the net; in fact, just the opposite. However, you will needto be able to make a connection with them on some level. Keep your communications short and only respond to stuff that interests you because a phony interest can be easily spotted.

Want to know how effective you are? Here are a few free social media monitoring and measurement programs and tools:

  • How Sociable? A simple, free tool that measures the visibility of your brand across the web.
  • Addict-o-matic A nice search engine that aggregates rss feeds, allowing you to see where your brand is lacking presence.
  • Social mention: A social media search engine offering searches across blogs, and microblogs with a social rank score.

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS

Published July 9, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To pack paintings for photographs, first, wrap the art with acid-free paper and tape it together so it doesn’t move. What is acid free paper and why do you need it?  Acid-free paper has a pH factor of seven or above. The pH scale is a standard for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of all kinds of products, including paper.  Before 1860, paper was usually made of rag or cloth stock and high-end expensive stationary is still made this way. After 1860, paper mills began using ground up wood and mixing it with acids and bleach to save costs, all of which have a low pH factor and react with air and water to produce acidic composites. Why use acid free paper? The acidic compounds found in non-acid free paper can migrate to your art and cause decay and damage. In the short time it now takes to ship to your buyer acidic compounds probably won’t cause much damage; however, they may still leave a residue on your work that can cause it to deteriorate over time especially if your buyer doesn’t clean the work immediately after it arrives.

If the art is unframed canvas or sheet paper, you will need to make sure that it isn’t bent or folded by rough handling during shipping.  In 2012, Popular Mechanics conducted an experiment to see how packages were  handled by Fed-Ex, UPS and the Postal Service. According to their published results, the package was dropped around three times and flipped an average of seven times per trip. Putting “Fragile” or “This End Up” did NOT increase the care handling the package got; in fact messages like this seemed to make no difference at all. Not that most of these delivery people will be deliberately be careless, but then there wasthat internet video of one of them tossing a flat screen TV over a fence when he couldn’t open the gate… How do you avoid this happening to your expensive art? After wrapping your work in the acid-free paper mentioned above, add a tough, lightweight reinforcement to help prevent bending (extra thick cardboard or foam core works) on each side of the art. Then slip artwork in an acid-free plastic bag to help make it water resistant, and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and tape so it won’t move. Why do you need to use an acid-free bag when you are already using acid free paper? When the plastic bag touches your acid-free paper, acid migration can still occur. Acid migration is what happens when acid from one object touches another. Acid migration is particularly dangerous to photographs. Chances are the acid-free paper you bought can still be contaminated by non-acid free plastic because the paper doesn’t have a seal. The acid free bag will seal off the art from contamination by the rest of the packing materials and help prevent water damage. Next, make sure you fill the entire packing container with shipping peanuts or bubble wrap so there is no extra space.

Should You Ship Art With A Frame?Personally, I don’t ship framed art unless it is for a show; and I avoid shipping anyart that is under glass, because if the package is damaged during shipping, the frame itself  could survive  unbroken yet your art could be ruined by broken glass sliding around and cutting or scratching it. If you mustship framed art, then protect the corners with edge guards and substitute plexi for glass. If the buyer wants glass, request that they take it to a framer in their area and get it changed. The other solution would be to ship to a local framer in the buyer’s area and arrange for the buyer to pick up the art after it has been framed.

Since the above study by Popular Mechanics didn’t find much difference in handling packages with the three most popular shipping companies, you need to decide to whether use them or employ a company that specializes in shipping art, which could be expensive. However, if you are willing to pay for it, the specialty company may even pack your art for you.

What About Shipping Insurance? Whatever shipping method you use, I  recommend insuring your package and including shipping confirmation. I highly advocate you ensure your art for the full price in case you have to refund the money to the buyer if it doesn’t arrive intact. A high-value insurance cost does usually ensure that the shipping company will take more care of your work because they don’t want to pay damages.

Tracking The Package.If you are shipping inside the U.S. then you should always get shipping confirmation. Unfortunately, I did discover when I shipped a painting to a buyer in Canada that I could only track it as far as the border, so I don’t recommend paying extra for confirmation if you are shipping out of the U.S. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/301/~/mail—tracking-lost-or-missing-packages, CBP doesn’t have the abilityto track packages across the border. Occasionally a border station will hold a package for another government agency but we regular folks are just SOL. That painting I shipped across the border into Canada? The cost of shipping was almost as much as the buyer paid for it!

Speaking for myself, I now include a note on my website that I don’t ship originals out of the U.S. due to the high costs.

Good Luck!

Gail

 

What is a Still Life?

Published July 2, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Botanical & Still Life is usually art showing flowers and plants. However, many different objects other than plants and flowers have been used in still life art. I placed Still Life with Botanical Art because so much still life art does use botanical subjects. The second most common subject matter found in Still Life is food and the third is the décor stuff my mother called dust-catchers or knick-knacks. Wikipedia defines botanical art as “the art of depicting the form, colour, and details of plant species. Still live is a frequent subject in   watercolour  paintings. “The  trompe-l’œil  painting, a form of art intending to deceive the viewer into thinking the scene is real, is a specialized type of still life, usually showing inanimate and relatively flat objects.

The term Still Life includes the painting of dead animals, especially game. Live animals are considered  animal art, although in practice they were often painted from dead models by the old masters. The still-life category also shares commonalities with zoological and especially  botanical illustration, where there has been considerable overlap among artists.

Generally, a still life includes a fully depicted background, and puts aesthetic rather than illustrative concerns as primary. Historically, these paintings were often printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media. Art of this type required an understanding of plant biology and access to specimens and references. These works were often composed in consultation “with a scientific author.”3

Early still-life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Currently, photographs have replaced most botanical art in textbooks or other pharmacopoeia (medical textbooks). Some modern still-life work breaks the two-dimensional barrier and employs three-dimensional mixed media, and uses found objects, and  computer graphics, as well as video and sound.

Still Life in art is all about lighting and composition; keeping a painting of inanimate objects interesting is much harder than it looks, and I have nothing but respect for those who successfully paint this type of art.

Defining Your Artistic Genre

Published June 25, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Abstract/Non-Objective

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of that particular Genre and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet: “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres.

Abstract/Non-Objective Art seemed to be images not reflecting pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all! 

A truly abstract work of art is derived from an actual object or things in the real world, something found in nature that the artist has ‘abstracted’.  Abstract art can include abstractions of real-life objects such as trees or it can be non-representational. A non objectivework of art has no ties to any real world objects or things and so it is not an abstraction of anything, it is aptly named, non objective.Non-objective art is a type of abstract or non-representational art. It tends to be geometric and does not represent specific objects, people, or other subjects found in the natural world.

How to Submit Your Book to the Kindle E-Book Store

Published June 18, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Guest blog:

http://blogworkz.co.uk/how-to-submit-your-ebook-to-the-kindle-storeby Spanner Spencer, Demand Media

book by the KDP system.

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

 

I confess I borrowed this one from Amazon Kindle (I think the directions are in public domain). However, since I goofed up royally the first time I self-pubishied a book, I think it’s worth presenting this. Amazon now has a paperback format that Indie authors can use directly on it’s site. However, I still do it the old way, because Create Space allows me to purchase author copies of my books at a discounted rate. The last time I looked this feature wasn’t available on Amazon.

 

Kindle is Amazon.com’s ebook publishing platform available on the Kindle ebook reader, on computers, online, for smartphones such as Android and iPhone, and for tablet devices such as the iPad. Anyone can publish a book through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system, which then distributes the e-book via Amazon.com’s online network. The KDP system is compatible with a variety of document files and requires you to include a cover image for your e-book that will be displayed on the Kindle store.

Items you will need

  • com account
  • KDP-compatible e-book file (kindle book publishing compatible)
  • E-book cover image

Step 1

Go to the KDP Web page on your computerand log in using your Amazon.com account details. If requested, read and agree to the KDP terms and conditions.

Step 2

Click the “Add a New Title” button in the upper-left corner of the KDP “Bookshelf” page.

Step 3

Enter the relevant details of your e-book in the “Book Basics” section, including a title, edition number and product description. The description is the synopsis people will see when browsing the Kindle store.

Step 4

Click the “Add Contributors” button and enter the details of the e-book’s author or authors. Click the “Save” button to finish adding contributors.

Step 5

Set the language of the e-book using the “Language” drop-down menu in the “Publishing Details” section and set a publication date using the calendar to determine when the e-book will go on sale. If you want it to go on sale immediately, leave this section blank.

Step 6

Click the “Add Categories” button in the “Browse and Search” section and select at least one relevant category for your e-book to be filed under.

Step 7

Click the “Browse for Image” button in the “Product Image” section and select the cover image from your computer. Click the “Upload Image” button to add the cover image to your e-book.

Step 8

Select your preferred option for adding copy protection to the e-book in the “Book Content” section using the two radio buttons. Click the “Browse for Book” button and select the e-book file on your computer followed by the “Open” button. Your e-book will now be uploaded to Amazon.com and its digital rights management (DRM) will be applied.

Step 9

Click the “Save and Continue” button and then select your preferred royalty option on the next page using the two radio buttons. Enter the price you want to sell your e-book for in the “List Price” box next to the royalty options.

Step 10

Tick the “Terms and Conditions” box at the bottom of the page followed by the “Save and Publish” button. Your e-book will appear for sale on the Amazon.com Kindle store within the next 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

How to Submit Your eBook to the Kindle Store

Submitting Your eBook to the Kindle Store

Getting your eBook on the Kindle format is a powerful way to get exposure to a group of people that may never actively search for your book online. You’ll be exposed to people who are ready and willing to spend money and can purchase your book quickly and easily at the click of a button.

Amazon’s process for submitting an eBook used to be long and complicated, requiring an ISBN number and a lengthy application process similar to its physical book process.

With the Kindle’s new Digital Text Platform (DTP) you can now submit your eBook to the Kindle quickly and easily. Here’s how.

Step 1: Sign In to the DTP

Go to: http://dtp.amazon.com

You’ll be presented with the introduction page. Sign in to your Amazon account.

Step 2: Add Seller Information

When you log onto the DTP system, you’ll immediately be presented with a screen that says “Your account information is incomplete.”

That’s because you currently have an account for buying books on Amazon but not for selling books on Amazon.

Click the “Update Now” button to give Amazon the necessary information to have an account that can submit books to the Kindle.

Step 3: Fill Out Your Account Information

page that should be mostly self-explanatory. Fill out your name, tax ID / SSN number and how you’d like to receive your payments.

Step 4: Add Your First eBook

Once you save your changes, you’ll be returned to the main screen. Click “Add a new title” to add your first eBook.

Step 5: Fill Out the Book Details

When you click the add button, you’ll be presented with a long page of options for your book. Here’s what each section means.

Provide the title of your book and the description. Remember that these are two of the most important things people will use to consider whether to buy your book or not. The title and description should be both descriptive and compelling.

2) Book contributors – Who are the authors?

3) Publishing Details – What language is the book in? Everything else is optional.

Do you own the rights or is the book in the public domain?

2) What category does the book belong in? This will help people who don’t know of your title find your book. If you’re unsure, look for books similar to yours and see what categories they put themselves in. You should also add a few keywords to make the book easier to find.

3) Your book cover. Perhaps more than any other factor, your book cover is what will catch attention and get people to buy your book.

4) Upload your book. Amazon prefers HTML format, though they can accept PDF format as well.

When you hit continue, you’ll be taken to the rights & pricing page:

Here you’ll set whether you want to sell the book all over the world or just in certain parts of the world. You’ll also set your royalty percentage and your listing price.

Once you hit submit, your book will be reviewed by Amazon. Once you receive approval, your eBook will be live on the Kindle store

 

  • The KDP system is compatible with e-books in Microsoft Word, plain text, Mobipocket and ePub file formats.

What You Need to Submit Your Book For Kindle Publishing

June 6, 2011

Information Marketing

 

We’ve talked why you should write a Kindle book, but we haven’t touched on just how easy it is to submit your manuscript for publication.

Unlike traditional publishing, there’s no need for an agent, you don’t have to submit your manuscript for consideration, and you don’t have to wait the months or even years it takes to have your book press-printed.

Instead, you just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signinand sign in using your Amazon account.
  2. Read and accept the terms of service.
  3. Click “Add a New Title” and enter your book details including:

-Book title
-Description
-Language, publication date, publisher, and ISBN (all optional)
-Verify your rights (whether the book is public domain, or you own the rights)
-Add categories and keywords to target your book
-Upload your book cover
-Upload your book file

  1. Determine Rights and Pricing, including:

-Publishing territories
-Royalties (35% or 70%)
-List price
-Kindle book lending

It’s really that easy! If your manuscript and cover are finished, the whole process can be completed in just a few minutes. Then you’ll wait for approval, which can occur as quickly as 24 hours.

Compare that to the year-plus that print authors must wait to see their books in the bookstore, and you’ll know why authors love the Kindle!

A note on formats: To publish to the Kindle, you must have your content in the right format.

Here are the supported formats for the Kindle:

-.zip
-.doc
-.pdf
-.epub
-.txt
-.mobi and .prc

A note on covers: Would you purchase a book from Barnes and Noble that had no cover, or had just a plain brown wrapper? Possibly, but probably not.

We’re visual creatures, and in the online world when you can’t pick up a book to leaf through it, the cover sells the book. Spend some time and money on getting your cover right.

When a customer is browsing the Kindle store in Amazon, you want your book cover to be professional and eye-catching.

Look at other book covers to see what appeals to you, and find a graphic designer who can assist you in creating the look you want.

Graphics don’t have to be expensive; try sources like fiverr.com, shelancer.com, and odesk.comfor graphics help.

NOTE FROM GAIL: please note that Amazon has since added a paperback section which is not included here.

IS ART CENSORSHIP HAPPENING TODAY?

Published June 11, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Did you ever found yourself at the center of a controversy because you made what you considered a perfectly innocuous remark about a post you read on Facebook? It happened to me recently over a comment I made concerning Facebooks standards. I made this remark after reading a whining post by an artist who had a photo of his work removed by Facebook because someone had complained about it. While I agree that artists have the write to paint any subject they please and to post photos of their work for their friends to see, when did that right supersede the rights of their circle of acquaintances NOT to have to look at stuff they find offensive or just don’t like? In my opinion, Facebook or other social media sites are not appropriate venues for this type of alternative art (nudity, graphic violence, sexual themes). That whining artist mentioned above must have known he was pushing the envelope with his art and so did all those users who howled and wrote posts accusing those of us who felt Facebooks decision was correct of all sorts of nasty and irrelevant things. If you work actively at selling your work, sooner or later Facebook or other social media sites is liable to put a stop to it unless you are willing to pay for theirads and even then they have certain guidelines you need to follow. To me, Facebook is the equivalent of a storefront window in the local mall.  Yes, I know some of you are going to squawk about my listing Facebook as a public Venue. Sorry, but I feel it is public, so please don’t bother posting to me in an attempt to convince me I am wrong Even if a post appears in a private group, there is no guarantee that the post will not show up on someone’s newsfeed page who does not want it appearing there.

Before Facebook became so ‘proactive’ about monitoring posts it was relatively easy to remove posts you did not like from your pages. You right clicked on the post and a menu appeared with a neat little goodie that simply said “hide or remove this post” among other things. While I do appreciate the ability to permanently block a fellow user from posting to my timeline, I don’t think it should be necessary to always block someone because they have made a one-time mistake. Unfortunately, Facebooks new rules take that control out of a user’s hands. The choices now are block the user or report them to Facebook. If Facebook actually took the time to make its pages user friendly in removing unwanted posts it would make a huge difference. But I digress from the point of this blog.

Do we apply a double standard in censoring Art? Is there a difference between a Rubens classical painting and a smutty Playboy photo? A great many artists and even non-artists still think so. Yet some of Ruben’s art is probably more graphic than a Playboy centerfold. His Rape of the Daughters of Sabine certainly shows violence toward women. Nevertheless, most museums and libraries would have no hesitation in displaying it in a public venue. What then makes the old masters art different from artists who create in the here and now? Should paintings showing nudity, graphic violence like rape, sexual themes or nude statues be shown in a public setting such as a Facebook, a Library, Mall or even an art show at which children are welcomed?.

Does it make a difference who is going to be looking at or reading controversial material? Yes, I think it does. Just as a person isn’t allowed to scream “fire!” in a crowded area for fear of causing panic, as a society we will always need to make judgments as to what is appropriate for our public venues to display or spend our money on. And yes I am aware that in the past governments havebeen very heavy handed on what was considered appropriate, and no, I am not advocating a return to those days.  On that subject, the right of adult individuals to decide what they will read and see must always be defended. The internet has virtually ensured that the freedom to view and read whatever we want will be protected. However even the internet has standards as to what can appear where. A venue such as Facebook or Instagram will have standards they insist on being adhered to by those who post to them.  Censorship is not a thing to be feared any longer. As long as the internet is around artists and book publishers will be permitted to show and sell these items (in the appropriate venues), and I don’t think we need to be too worried about government or corporate imposed censorship.

Public galleries and non-profits have also felt the bite of censorship because of shrinking donations; private and for-profit galleries and bookstores are also under pressure not to carry controversial materials. A mom shopping with her 10 year old simply isn’t going to make a purchase in a gallery or art show that carries nudes or art depicting graphic violence and sexual themes, because she isn’t likely to take her child into that gallery or to that art show in the first place.

As a visual artist who sets up art displays in public places, I am very aware of our American society’s standards of what is considered acceptable for public consumption. All societies have these standards of behavior and yes, the standards do evolve with society. 60 years ago, Tarzan of the Apes was considered too sexy for the libraries! What is acceptable in Europe is quite different from what is acceptable in America. American standards are usually much more conservative than those prevalent in Europe. In this financially strapped time, Libraries, other non-profits and public venues are very dependent on donations. Let’s face it; donors are simply not going to come out and see or purchase art or books they don’t like and they won’t give money to organizations that support these things.

As to exactly why we think a painting over 100 years old is less controversial than one painted this year, well, all I can say is that history seems to cover a multitude of sins.

GAILS TIPS ON WORKING WITH ACRYLICS

Published June 4, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

I have always painted in Acrylics. Although over the years, I have attempted to use other mediums but they were a poor fit. Oils stink, are messy and take way too long to dry for me. Watercolors are too unforgiving for a ‘seat of the pants’ painter like myself and I usually ended up with something resembling a kindergartener’s finger painting. I don’t have the patience for colored pencils or graphite pencil. When I attempted charcoal and pastels, I usually ended up looking as if I’d been playing in the coal bin. Sometimes it was a colorful coal bin, but still—But like Goldilocks beds, Acrylics and I fit just right. I really don’t understand why some artists seem to have so much trouble with them. Over the years, the most common complaint I have heard about working in Acrylics is “it dries too fast”. No offense intended, but in my experience, this problem is caused by the artist’s unfamiliarity with the properties of the medium. There is a little bit of a learning curve and I understand that it’s hard to change your work pattern to adapt to acrylics. If you really want to give them a try and are willing to change your work pattern a little, I think you might be happy with Acrylic paint.

Some basic facts about Acrylics: 1–Drying times for Acrylics is actually comparable to Watercolors. 2–Acrylics, like watercolors, dry by evaporation. 3–One of the things that affect working with Acrylics has to do with the thickness of the paint an artist applies. The thinner the application of paint, the faster Acrylics will dry. QED. 4– If the artist applied a thick layer of paint, even though the paint may be dry to the touch on the surface, it may still be soft underneath for several hours. 5–Acrylics will dry darker than when first applied. 6—Mixing Acrylic paints ‘greys’ or darkens them. Acrylics straight out of the tube are always brighter than any color you mix together. This isn’t a terrible thing; I consider the difference to be negligible. If it’s important to you to retain that initial tube brightness, I suggest you use thin glazes instead of mixing directly, allowing the color underneath to bleed through. Acrylics master painter Jerome Grimmer uses a medium instead of water to overcome this issue.

Unlike Oil paints, Acrylics won’t wait days for you, but there are ways to slow down the drying time. The simplest way is to just refrigerate the painting. Yep, I said put it in the refrigerator for the night. Cold temperatures slow down the drying time of Acrylics. Of course, that probably isn’t practicable for most artists. Unless you are painting miniatures, I doubt you will have room for a painting in your refrigerator! If you live where the daily temperature is between 40oand 50oF you could stick it out on your unheated porch overnight.  However, your palettecan be sealed and kept in the refrigerator and your paint will stay workable for several days.

The next simplest way to slow down the drying time of Acrylics involves using water. I saw this technique demonstrated by TV artist Jerry Yarnell and it works great in the short run. Dip a large brush in your rinse water and brush it over the canvas until the canvas is thoroughly wet. You can smooth out any dripping runs with a damp brush. Using clean or dirty water is irrelevant; you are going to cover this up with paint in a few minutes anyway. This will keep the paint you apply workable longer. Remember a spray water bottle is your best friend when working with Acrylics (they still sell them in the laundry section of department stores–I just bought a new one). Periodically spray down your palette and the portions of your canvas you need to keep wet. If a drip occurs, blot it away with a paper towel.

There are also commercial mediums to slow down drying time. They work, but I personally didn’t like them. My paint seemed sticky afterwards, and it was difficult to judge when I could start working over the top of the painting I had used them on. I admit that issue probably has more to do with my own painting techniques than how well the medium worked. You see, I sketch up the painting, paint over the drawing so I can place background shadows and highlights where I want them, and then redraw the foreground objects, people or animals. To do this the paint needs to be dry, and hard enough to stand up to the pressure of my pencil or charcoal. Thickly applied Acrylic paint is soft enough that a hard pressure will leave an imprint even if the work is completely dry, so the “slow-dry” mediums just didn’t work for me.

 

While it’s true that not every medium will suit everyone, I suggest if you really want to learn to work with Acrylic paint, you take one of Grimmer’s or Yarnell’s workshops. Yarnell also has video series about painting that can be purchased from his website. http://www.yarnellschool.com/

Jerome has a video on YouTube about working with Acrylics that is free to watch. Jerome Grimmer Mixes Acrylics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaW3Gz5UMks

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