Art Appreciation

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ARE YOU READY TO SELL YOUR WORK OVER THE HOLIDAYS?

Published September 29, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes craft fairs, booth events, and other ways to show and sell your work I call events where you bring your work out and set up a mini art gallery “Booth Events” because usually you will be selling your own work. As a rule, there are 3 types of these events Outdoor, Indoor and Tabletop. Some of these Events will be geared to sell art only; some will allow different types of vendors and you may find yourself set up next door to a food vendor. Outdoor events are usually larger than the Indoor ones and attract a larger crowd.  A Tabletop can be either indoors or outdoors; the main difference between a Tabletop and the others is the space size. Most booth events allow you a 10’ x 10’ space. With a tabletop you have a space about the length and width of a table (usually 8’ long by 3’ wide) to display your work.

Your booth set up should be light and portable, easy for one person to set up in about 20 minutes, and fit into your vehicle along with the products you are planning to sell. To take part in booth events you should have the following items:

OUTDOOR EVENT

Pop-Up booth: Pop-Ups come in several price ranges and styles. Ideally, you will have help setting it up, but I would recommend the E-Z Up brand with the white top because it can be set up by one person. If you have never set up a booth, I advise a couple of practice trials setting it up in your yard before you go out to the event. The best Pop-Ups for displaying art have white tops and straight sides. The white top provides more light to see the art and the straight sides give you somewhere to fasten display racks. You can also purchase sidewalls to hang from the sides of the booth. You will need these if you are taking part in an event that lasts several days; you can use the sidewalls to enclose the booth when you go home for the night. FYI, unless the event has very good security, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your work out, but you can leave your display stands set up inside.

Display stands or racks: You can buy display set-ups from the art supply catalogs; but these can be pricey. However, it is possible to make your own. I bought 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store. Turned on end, they can be fastened together with plastic tie straps or Velcro. The wire bars make ideal places to hang different sizes of art. (This portable shelving can also be made into stand-alone shapes: boxes, triangles and rectangles). For all events, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened to the corners to prevent tipping and as additional security for stand-alone shapes.

Portable easels can also be used as a part of your display. The art supply catalogs have some excellent display easels that hold multiple pieces of art and they look very professional. You can also make display easels yourself out of copper, PVC pipe or wood; just make sure they look professional. Remember you are going to be carrying them so they should be very light-weight!

Small fold up tables with a nice tablecloth to hold your cash box and give you a hard surface when making out receipts. They can also be used to display very small or 3-deminsional art, cards, etc. Just don’t make your space so crowded buyers won’t enter it. In addition, if your work is light, cardboard boxes covered by tablecloths or white sheets that reach the ground look very professional and provide a good backdrop to show off your work.

Sandbags or weights to hold down the booth in case of high winds: Weights of some kind are a must. A Pop-Up booth makes a big kite when the wind blows and it doesn’t have to be hurricane strength either. You need about 20 to 30 lbs. on each corner. Many booth events are on blacktop so you can’t use the handy stakes that come with the Pop-Ups to secure your booth against winds. Sandbags are available either from the Art Supply warehouse where you got your Pop-Up, or from the hardware store where you can also obtain clean, dry sand. You can also fill empty gallon milk cartons and use the handle to fasten to the legs of the booth.

Cash box: a locking cash box to keep change for cash sales and checks can be bought at the local office supply store.

Chair to sit in; while you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, it’s nice to have a place to sit down and relax so potential buyers don’t think you are just waiting to pounce.

Your work and any other items you plan to sell: Plastic boxes with good, snap-lock lids work really well to transport small items. They are waterproof and if you are doing a lot of events they hold up much better than cardboard. If you are going to be carrying your product in a pickup bed, make sure the lids of the boxes are fastened down and won’t blow open (bungee cords work well here). You will need either bubble wrap or some type of padding to wrap around or separate delicate items. For larger pieces of art such as framed paintings or photographs, I recommend that you carry them inside your vehicle (in which case they can be separated by large pieces of foam board or cardboard to prevent scratching the frames), or wrapped in bubble wrap. The thing you are most looking to prevent is damage caused by the items moving around when you stop, start and turn the vehicle. I also carry either a large, wide-tip marker in either brown or black to touch up frames.

A hand truck or dolly: You may have park some distance from your booth set up. While most places allow you to drive into the event area to set up your display, it might not be feasible for you to do so. A hand truck or dolly will enable you to haul your art, display stands and Pop-Up into the area without having to transport everything a piece at a time. This is a big plus because you may have a limited time in which to set up your booth.

A way to take debit or credit cards: If you want to make sales over $20, you will need either an I-Pad, I-Phone or some other brand of smart phone and the APP enabling either Square technology or PayPal. Both companies provide  a small square you can order off the internet free, attach it your smart phone  or tablet It’s small, portable and easy to learn to use. The company takes a small percentage of each sale as a fee (2.75% per swipe) and the money is in your account the next day. The site is https://squareup.com/  or https://paypal.com check it out. Although other companies are beginning to develop this tech these both have a proven track record.

Sales Receipts, a calculator and bags: A receipt book is a handy way for you to keep track of cash sales. Don’t spend a lot on the bags; you can get small paper bags and larger plastic ones with handles at the local Dollar Store. A small printing calculator because some customers who buy large ticket items are going to want a printed receipt, even if you are also e-mailing them one.

INDOOR EVENT

Requirements for an Indoor event will be slightly different. Some indoor events will allow you a 10 x 10 area, but you may find the spaces allotted aren’t exactly that size or aren’t square, so there will be difficulty fitting the Pop-Up frame into the space. In addition, the top cover will keep the overhead lighting from coming through, and the ceiling in the room may not be high enough to accommodate your booth. Even if the cover is white, poor lighting will make your booth dark and unattractive. if the canvas or vinyl cover is removable and the ceiling is tall enough, you might still be able to use only the Pop-Ups frame.

Stand-alone display racks are best for an indoor event. I use the same 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store I used for the outdoor event, except that I fasten them together in a shape instead of to the booth. An indoor event is more likely to be crowded than an outdoor one, so to prevent accidents if your display is bumped, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened inside the shape to prevent tipping if someone does bump into the display. However, you can purchase this type of display from Art Supply catalogs and warehouses.

If you use portable easels to display your work, they can serve the same function indoors as they did outdoors.

You will also be able to use the small tables with a nice tablecloth used in your outdoor display

TABLETOPS

If you do a lot of Church or School sponsored Boutiques, a Tabletop Event is the most common type. At a Tabletop, you are probably going to be given just enough space to set up one 8’x2.5’ table with room for a chair behind it, so be prepared to cut your display down and bring only what you consider the most “sellable” items.

When I go to an event, especially an Indoor event, I always ask for access to electricity. Since space is usually at a premium it is difficult to display a lot of large art so I seldom take many large pieces of art to these events anymore, instead I take a plug-in digital picture frame (you can do the same with either a laptop or a tablet) loaded with photos of my work. I have a power point presentation showing my work set to music. The moving slide show and music attract a lot of attention and I can display more art.

Remember to have fun and talk about your work.

Good Luck

Gail

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TO DONATE ART, OR NOT TO DONATE…THAT IS THE QUESTION…

Published September 4, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

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

This is the time of year when creatives like us get tapped to donate our work to worthy causes. The phone rings, and some well-meaning fundraiser on the other end wants you to donate a work of art to their charity auction. Usually this goodhearted fundraiser will promise you a tax deduction, great exposure, enhanced publicity, and public exposure if you agree; sadly, most volunteer fundraisers don’t know what they are talking about as far as the actual benefits to you as an artist. Should you do it? This really depends on several things; how much do you support the cause itself? Are the benefits going to out-weigh the costs?

Well lets deal with the tax deduction benefit first. It’s not great. Generally speaking, you as the artist are allowed to deduct only the cost of creation (materials, etc.) unless you have had an appraisal done by a qualified art expert. This is no problem if you are a big name artist whose art is going to bring in thousands of dollars to the charity because the charity will usually have the art appraised by their expert, which you can then attach to your taxes. However, if you are donating to your child’s school, your church, local hospital, etc. chances are the charity is not going to pay for this appraisal because they can’t afford it. Sometimes the charity is worthwhile (in fact most of the time), but unless they follow my rules for donation, what they are really doing is training whoever comes to their event to devalue my art and disrespect me as an artist. This may sound really harsh but it has been proven to be true.

The next two items typically promoted by fundraisers are “enhanced publicity and public exposure” which sounds really good, but what exactly are they actually talking about? A line in the auction catalog and announcing your name when they bring up your art? Please. Remember that most of the fundraisers who do telephone contacts are volunteers with no actual experience in the field. In other words they really have no idea what they are talking about. Enhanced publicity should mean your name in the newspaper, on the radio or on the charity’s Facebook page with a link to your website. Public exposure should mean that instead of just pointing to your art and asking for bids, the auctioneer talks about you, what awards you’ve won, how good the art is, etc. to encourage the audience to bid higher. He or she should also mention your web site, and the brochures advertising you as an artist, which should have been available when the bidders were doing the walk-through.

Predictably, at most of these charity events, they practically give away the art because the bidders are not art collectors, they are there to support the charity and are looking for two things—something they can afford to bid on to satisfy their tax deduction and to support the charity. A lot of them might be even comparing your fine art to canvas prints they can get at a department store! Auctioning your art for much less than you normally sell for undermines the art market in general, and makes it seem as if the artist (you!) didn’t deserve the real selling price. Another negative side effect is to encourage your regular collectors and potential buyers to wait for events like this to buy your art cheaper than they could if they purchased it directly from you.

The “public exposure” thing is problematical; unless the auctioneer makes a really big deal about your art business and how valuable your work is, everyone present is likely to still think you have a nice hobby. I was once asked by my church to design a poster/logo for a women’s retreat. When the event coordinators husband saw it he remarked to her that it looked like a “real” artist had done it. I find that no matter how good the art I donate to their event is, my circle of acquaintances in my church, my children’s school and my family almost all still believe that my art is a hobby, so I don’t donate unless the charity agrees to the following ground rules:

 

  • I set a minimum price for original art. If it doesn’t sell, I get it back. This is absolutely essential because unless you have an appraisal from a respectable appraiser attached to the art; all that you can take off on your taxes is the cost of material used to create the art.
  • I qualify the event by making sure there will be folks there who can actually afford to purchase the art (this means getting actual names of who will be attending or at least who has been invited), and that the event will be well publicized: this means actual ads on TV, Internet, and Radio, hopefully with a mention of the art you are donating.

Once charities learned I stuck to these rules, I found that the requests dropped off dramatically. This doesn’t mean that I am wholly against art donations; I do donate my art to worthwhile charities, but I find that it usually pays better tax deduction-wise to donate a good quality print than the original. If you donate a print, you can deduct the entire printing cost, framing and matting which is a much better deal for tax purposes. To sweeten the pot for prospective buyers, I do always sign prints that I donate, and make sure I tape information about myself, my website and the art to the back of the print.
Good Luck

Gail

FRAMING ON A BUDGET—PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Published June 19, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

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

Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork. The drawback is if you don’t frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether. Choosing the right frame for the right art looks simple, right? Step one is choosing the right type of frame. Wood or Metal? Wide or Narrow? The most important rule is to make sure the frame you choose doesn’t clash or overpower your art. A too-small frame around a large painting or a large frame around  a small artwork can overpower it and ruin the presentation. So first consider what type of art you will be framing and decide what type of frame will make the best presentation of your art. When choosing a frame it may be helpful to take the art with you and put it behind the frame choices. Ask yourself, what is the first thing you notice about the painting? Is it the art or the frame? If it is the frame, then you should consider selecting a different frame. If it isn’t practical to bring the art with you because of the size, you are going to have to use some imagination. Personally, I have found that the simpler the frame, the more attention is drawn to the art. There is a wide variety of ways out there to frame photos and other art. It may be a good idea to assess putting your art into a frame with as much consideration as you took with the actual painting. After all, your painting and its frame are going to be spending a long time together, so it is important to make sure they are a good match.

Types Of Frames: Frames loosely fall into three categories: traditional (often wood frames with some embellishment such as ornate carving, Oriental accents, appliqué curlicues, or canvas or linen inserts), modern (metal or ultra-plain wood, perhaps only a sliver of it showing as you face the picture) and transitional (minimal ornamentation with a moderate amount of frame showing on its face). Frames designed for canvas (oils or acrylics) usually have a linen mat and then a small wooden piece rounding off the inside frame, although some more modern frames have dispensed with this feature. Metal frames with glass or plexi-glass and a thick paper mat are generally used with watercolors or pastels. A word of warning here: most pastel artists prefer not to use plexi-glass because static electricity is picked up from it and the pastel chalk may be attracted away from the paper and onto the plexi-glass. Don’t underestimate a good frame; I have assisted at many art shows and I can’t remember how many times I overheard a judge say “The art is good, but that frame just (ruins, overpowers, clashes, etc.) it. Framing and matting should enhance and compliment your art. Have you seen the effect an ornate baroque frame on an abstract painting? Or maybe a steel frame on a lovely still life or floral caught your eye? Not Pretty was it.

Matting: The correct mat can enhance the appearance of a frame, hence your art. While some modern frames or Plein Aire frames come without mats, traditionally most art frames include some type of mat. A simple rule for choosing a mat is, do you like the look of it around your art. Usually, you want to select a lighter tone or neutral color than the dominant color in your art. You can look for a paler version of a color that is within the painting itself. If the mat color is too dark or too busy with designs, it will overshadow the image and detract from the art. Check the proportions of the mat to your art. If your framed art looks off, then your mat maybe either too big or too small. Black mats can be powerful, but be careful. They are so dark they will overpower most art.

The back can be as important as the front in an art show. I once saw a judge reject a lovely piece of art because she didn’t like the way the frame appeared on the back! Very seldom is art left naked on the back. While the backs of Oils are sometimes not covered in order to allow the canvas to breathe (oils take a long time to dry), most framed paintings have a backing. The most commonly used material is acid free brown paper but more decorative types can be used.

Gallery Wrap Framing. Gallery wrap does not have a conventional frame; in fact the edges of the art are painted and left bare to the eye, sometimes giving a wraparound effect to the art. A gallery wrap canvas is stapled on the back of the stretcher bars so the staples can’t be seen. Historically gallery wrap has had a wider edge than regular canvas (1-1/2” to 2” wide). Some confusion has arisen recently because art stores have begun selling canvas that is ¾’ wide and calling it gallery wrap since it is stapled on the back and not on the sides. FYI here, most commercial stores no longer sell any canvases stapled on the side. Be warned about this type of “gallery wrap”: many art shows and galleries do not consider this “true” gallery wrap and will not accept them into a show or gallery unframed. Another type of Gallery Wrap is not canvas but clayboard, ampersand board or gesso board. These also come in the 1-1/2” to 2” wide varieties called “deep cradle”, and can be painted around the edges and so considered gallery wrap. Typically this type of Gallery Wrap can also less expensive than some canvas sizes and so preferred by artists on a limited budget.

Gallery wrap is a preferred arrangement with certain types of art where frames would detract from the presentation, such as triptychs (three paintings presented as one) or multiple pieces of art that must be presented as a unit.

Showing Professionally. If you are planning to enter your work in art shows you can run into pitfalls with poor framing or the system used to hang your work. Hardware and art stores sell a wide variety of systems to hang art and while they will all work in a home setting, some of them are not suited to venues where there is a lot of public traffic. Most art shows have very specific framing dos and don’ts about how art is to be hung and they will only accept art that meets these standards. The following is typical:  Flat hangers only, no Saw-tooth, eyelet hangers or quick frames and no screw eyes. The ends of the wire must be taped or sleeved.  Screws for hanging must be no more than 4” inches from the top of the frame and the wire must not show over the top of the frame. Some shows and Galleries will accept the wide edge Gallery Wrap, some will not.

Art for The Home or Décor Market: Keep in mind also that framing art to go in the home or office as a decorator accent is not the same as show presentation. In show presentation, if the judge notices the mat before the art you may be in trouble. In the decorator market, you want a frame and mat to go with the style and colors chosen by the decorator for the room. Often, the decorator will pick the mat and frame to go with or compliment the colors in the room, not necessarily the painting.

What is Oil Painting?

Published March 13, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time. Certain differences, depending on the oil, are also visible in the sheen of the paints. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. The oil may be boiled with a resin, such as pine resin or frankincense, to create a varnish prized for its body and gloss.

Although oil paint was first used for Buddhist paintings by Indian and Chinese painters in western Afghanistan sometime between the fifth and tenth centuries,[1] it did not gain popularity until the 15th century. Its practice may have migrated westward during the Middle Ages. Oil paint eventually became the principal medium used for creating artworks as its advantages became widely known. The transition began with Early Netherlandish painting in Northern Europe, and by the height of the Renaissance oil painting techniques had almost completely replaced the use of tempera paints in the majority of Europe.

In recent years, water miscible oil paint has come to prominence and, to some extent, replaced traditional oil paint. Water-soluble paints contain an emulsifier that allows them to be thinned with water rather than paint thinner, and allows very fast drying times (1–3 days) when compared with traditional oils (1–3 weeks)

Traditional oil painting techniques often begin with the artist sketching the subject onto the canvas with charcoal or thinned paint. Oil paint is usually mixed with linseed oil, artist grade mineral spirits, or other solvents to make the paint thinner, faster or slower-drying. (Because these solvents thin the oil in the paint, they can also be used to clean paint brushes.) A basic rule of oil paint application is ‘fat over lean‘. This means that each additional layer of paint should contain more oil than the layer below to allow proper drying. If each additional layer contains less oil, the final painting will crack and peel. This rule does not ensure permanence; it is the quality and type of oil that leads to a strong and stable paint film. There are many other media that can be used with the oil, including cold wax, resins, and varnishes. These additional media can aid the painter in adjusting the translucency of the paint, the sheen of the paint, the density or ‘body’ of the paint, and the ability of the paint to hold or conceal the brushstroke. These aspects of the paint are closely related to the expressive capacity of oil paint.

Traditionally, paint was transferred to the painting surface using paintbrushes, but there are other methods, including using palette knives and rags. Oil paint remains wet longer than many other types of artists’ materials, enabling the artist to change the color, texture or form of the figure. At times, the painter might even remove an entire layer of paint and begin anew. This can be done with a rag and some turpentine for a time while the paint is wet, but after a while the hardened layer must be scraped. Oil paint dries by oxidation, not evaporation, and is usually dry to the touch within a span of two weeks (some colors dry within days). It is generally dry enough to be varnished in six months to a year. Art conservators do not consider an oil painting completely dry until it is 60 to 80 years old.[citation needed]

History

lthough the history of tempera (pigment mixed with either egg whites or egg yolks, then painted on a plastered section) and related media in Europe indicates that oil painting was discovered there independently, there is evidence that oil painting was used earlier in Afghanistan.[2][3][4][5] Outdoor surfaces and surfaces like shields—both those used in tournaments and those hung as decorations—were more durable when painted in oil-based media than when painted in the traditional tempera paints.

Most Renaissance sources, in particular Vasari, credited northern European painters of the 15th century, and Jan van Eyck in particular, with the “invention” of painting with oil media on wood panel supports (“support” is the technical term for the underlying backing of a painting). However, Theophilus (Roger of Helmarshausen?) clearly gives instructions for oil-based painting in his treatise, On Various Arts, written in 1125. At this period, it was probably used for painting sculptures, carvings and wood fittings, perhaps especially for outdoor use. However, early Netherlandish painting in the 15th century was the first to make oil the usual painting medium, and explore the use of layers and glazes, followed by the rest of Northern Europe, and only then Italy.

Early works were still panel paintings on wood, but around the end of the 15th century canvas became more popular as the support, as it was cheaper, easier to transport, allowed larger works, and did not require complicated preliminary layers of gesso (a fine type of plaster). (This style was known as a fresco painting: applying gesso, then painting over with tempera paint) Venice, where sail-canvas was easily available, was a leader in the move to canvas. Small cabinet paintings were also made on metal, especially copper plates. These supports were more expensive but very firm, allowing intricately fine detail. Often printing plates from printmaking were reused for this purpose. The popularity of oil spread through Italy from the North, starting in Venice in the late 15th century. By 1540, the previous method for painting on panel (tempera) had become all but extinct, although Italians continued to use fresco for wall paintings, which was less successful and durable in damper northern climates.

Brands of oil paint include: Winsor and Newton, Gamblin, Rembrandt, Lukas 1862, Lukas Studio, Old Holland, Michael Harding and Charvin. It is important that artists understand that not all oil colors are created equal. Many “student” brands on the market are really “hobby colors”. Water-soluble oil colors include: Winsor and Newton Artisan, Lukas Berlin and Woil water mixable oil colors.

Process

A traditional wood palette used to hold and mix small amounts of paint while working.

Oil paint is made by mixing pigments of colors with an oil medium. Different colors are made, or purchased premixed, before painting begins, but further shades of color are usually obtained by mixing small quantities together as the painting process is underway. An artist’s palette, traditionally a thin wood board held in the hand, is used for holding and mixing paints of different colors. Pigments may be any number of natural or synthetic substances with color, such as sulphur for yellow or cobalt for blue. Traditional pigments were based on minerals or plants, but many have proven unstable over long periods of time; the appearance of many old paintings today is very different from the original. Modern pigments often use synthetic chemicals. The pigment is mixed with oil, usually linseed, but other oils may be used. The various oils dry differently, which creates assorted effects.

Traditionally, artists mixed their own paints from raw pigments that they often ground themselves and medium. This made portability difficult and kept most painting activities confined to the studio. This changed in the 1800s, when tubes of oil paint became widely available following the American portrait painter John Goffe Rand‘s invention of the squeezable or collapsible metal tube in 1841 (the year of Claude Monet‘s birth). Artists could mix colors quickly and easily, which enabled, for the first time, relatively convenient plein air painting (a common approach in French Impressionism).

A brush is most commonly employed by the artist to apply the paint, often over a sketched outline of their subject (which could be in another medium). Brushes are made from a variety of fibers to create different effects. For example, brushes made with hog bristle might be used for bolder strokes and impasto textures. Fitch hair and mongoose hair brushes are fine and smooth, and thus answer well for portraits and detail work. Even more expensive are red sable brushes (weasel hair). The finest quality brushes are called “kolinsky sable“; these brush fibers are taken from the tail of the Siberian weasel. This hair keeps a superfine point, has smooth handling, and good memory (it returns to its original point when lifted off the canvas), known to artists as a brush’s “snap.” Floppy fibers with no snap, such as squirrel hair, are generally not used by oil painters.

In the past few decades, many synthetic brushes have been marketed. These are very durable and can be quite good, as well as cost efficient. Brushes come in many sizes and are used for different purposes. The type of brush also makes a difference. For example, a “round” is a pointed brush used for detail work. “Flat” brushes are used to apply broad swaths of color. “Bright” is a flat brush with shorter brush hairs. “Filbert” is a flat brush with rounded corners. “Egbert” is a very long, and rare, filbert brush. The artist might also apply paint with a palette knife, which is a flat metal blade. A palette knife may also be used to remove paint from the canvas when necessary. A variety of unconventional tools, such as rags, sponges, and cotton swabs, may be used to apply or remove paint. Some artists even paint with their fingers.

Most oil painters paint in layers known as “glazes”, a method also simply called “indirect painting”. This method was first perfected through an adaptation of the egg tempera painting technique, and was applied by the Flemish painters in Northern Europe with pigments ground in linseed oil. More recently, this approach has been called the “mixed technique” or “mixed method”. The first coat (the underpainting) is laid down, often painted with egg tempera or turpentine-thinned paint. This layer helps to “tone” the canvas and to cover the white of the gesso. Many artists use this layer to sketch out the composition. This first layer can be adjusted before proceeding further, an advantage over the “cartooning” method used in Fresco technique. After this layer dries, the artist might then proceed by painting a “mosaic” of color swatches, working from darkest to lightest. The borders of the colors are blended together when the “mosaic” is completed, and then left to dry before applying details.

Artists in later periods, such as the Impressionist era (late 19th century), often expanded on this wet-on-wet method, blending the wet paint on the canvas without following the Renaissance-era approach of layering and glazing. This method is also called “alla prima“. This method was created due to the advent of painting outdoors, instead of inside a studio, because while outside, an artist did not have the time to let each layer of paint dry before adding a new layer. Several contemporary artists use a combination of both techniques to add bold color (wet-on-wet) and obtain the depth of layers through glazing.

When the image is finished and has dried for up to a year, an artist often seals the work with a layer of varnish that is typically made from dammar gum crystals dissolved in turpentine. Such varnishes can be removed without disturbing the oil painting itself, to enable cleaning and conservation. Some contemporary artists decide not to varnish their work, preferring the surface unvarnished.

 

ELEPHANT DUNG

Published January 7, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Mother and Baby Elephant

Let’s talk about the pile of elephant dung in the middle of the room; namely, that  adults in Fresno and Clovis consider a print from Target or Wal-Mart to be on the same level as an original painting from a local artist. Why is this? Well, I believe it is because they don’t think of paintings as a cultural medium, but as mere decorator objects. I think this belief was created because they were not taught to appreciate art as children, either from parents (who probably weren’t taught it either) or exposed to the idea of art and music as cultural mediums enriching society in the local schools. Why don’t we teach the appreciation of arts and music to our young people here in Fresno and Clovis? The dirty little secret is Money.

Despite numerous studies showing that students who are consistently exposed to and taught to appreciate art and music do better scholastically in Math and Science, Art and Music  subjects always get the short straw when it comes to allocating school funds. Art and Music are “soft” subjects and consequently hard to measure on tests. We do need both math and science in order to compete in a technological world; however, it is well established that in spite of spending more money per student than any other state, California students continue to fall behind not only national, but world, averages and I believe that is due to poor emphasis on the subjects of art and music. Now, of course if asked, Fresno county Schools administration will agree, “There ought to be an art or a music class taught”. Nevertheless, this isn’t really happening and the classes that are taught don’t really address the problem. A single class that lets students play around with band instruments won’t teach our children to appreciate different types of music and its contributions to our culture. Neither will a class allowing students to draw pictures, although both of the options are a good start in the right direction. Art and Music must be integrated into all our subjects in order for our children to learn how valuable they really are. For instance, you can’t study Greek and Roman historical contributions without being exposed to their art and music as well. American history should include more than a paragraph mentioning Francis Scott Key’s National Anthem! A study of the American Revolution should include the contributions made by American artists in getting the message out to colonists. Many musical notes are based on mathematical formulas, but is this taught in math? Architectural structures, roads and bridges are part art, part geometry is this taught in geometry? I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.

I believe that until our schools are committed to giving our young people a well-rounded appreciation of art and music as well as math, science and sports, our graduating students are going to continue to fall further and further behind the national standard. Creativity teaches independent thinking and without independent thinkers, we have no future leaders, only little robots who can recite by rote the party line without once understanding or considering the consequences. What do you think?

FRAMING ON A BUDGET—PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Published December 31, 2016 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

framing-standards-grouphttp://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

 Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork. The drawback is if you don’t frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether. Choosing the right frame for the right art looks simple, right? Step one is choosing the right type of frame. Wood or Metal? Wide or Narrow? The most important rule is to make sure the frame you choose doesn’t clash or overpower your art. A too-small frame around a large painting or a large frame around  a small artwork can overpower it and ruin the presentation. So first consider what type of art you will be framing and decide what type of frame will make the best presentation of your art. When choosing a frame it may be helpful to take the art with you and put it behind the frame choices. Ask yourself, what is the first thing you notice about the painting? Is it the art or the frame? If it is the frame, then you should consider selecting a different frame. If it isn’t practical to bring the art with you because of the size, you are going to have to use some imagination. Personally, I have found that the simpler the frame, the more attention is drawn to the art. There is a wide variety of ways out there to frame photos and other art. It may be a good idea to assess putting your art into a frame with as much consideration as you took with the actual painting. After all, your painting and its frame are going to be spending a long time together, so it is important to make sure they are a good match.

Types Of Frames: Frames loosely fall into three categories: traditional (often wood frames with some embellishment such as ornate carving, Oriental accents, appliqué curlicues, or canvas or linen inserts), modern (metal or ultra-plain wood, perhaps only a sliver of it showing as you face the picture) and transitional (minimal ornamentation with a moderate amount of frame showing on its face). Frames designed for canvas (oils or acrylics) usually have a linen mat and then a small wooden piece rounding off the inside frame, although some more modern frames have dispensed with this feature. Metal frames with glass or plexi-glass and a thick paper mat are generally used with watercolors or pastels. A word of warning here: most pastel artists prefer not to use plexi-glass because static electricity is picked up from it and the pastel chalk may be attracted away from the paper and onto the plexi-glass. Don’t underestimate a good frame; I have assisted at many art shows and I can’t remember how many times I overheard a judge say “The art is good, but that frame just (ruins, overpowers, clashes, etc.) it. Framing and matting should enhance and compliment your art. Have you seen the effect an ornate baroque frame on an abstract painting? Or maybe a steel frame on a lovely still life or floral caught your eye? Not Pretty was it.

Matting: The correct mat can enhance the appearance of a frame, hence your art. While some modern frames or Plein Aire frames come without mats, traditionally most art frames include some type of mat. A simple rule for choosing a mat is, do you like the look of it around your art. Usually, you want to select a lighter tone or neutral color than the dominant color in your art. You can look for a paler version of a color that is within the painting itself. If the mat color is too dark or too busy with designs, it will overshadow the image and detract from the art. Check the proportions of the mat to your art. If your framed art looks off, then your mat maybe either too big or too small. Black mats can be powerful, but be careful. They are so dark they will overpower most art.

The back can be as important as the front in an art show. I once saw a judge reject a lovely piece of art because she didn’t like the way the frame appeared on the back! Very seldom is art left naked on the back. While the backs of Oils are sometimes not covered in order to allow the canvas to breathe (oils take a long time to dry), most framed paintings have a backing. The most commonly used material is acid free brown paper but more decorative types can be used.

Gallery Wrap Framing. Gallery wrap does not have a conventional frame; in fact the edges of the art are painted and left bare to the eye, sometimes giving a wraparound effect to the art. A gallery wrap canvas is stapled on the back of the stretcher bars so the staples can’t be seen. Historically gallery wrap has had a wider edge than regular canvas (1-1/2” to 2” wide). Some confusion has arisen recently because art stores have begun selling canvas that is ¾’ wide and calling it gallery wrap since it is stapled on the back and not on the sides. FYI here, most commercial stores no longer sell any canvases stapled on the side. Be warned about this type of “gallery wrap”: many art shows and galleries do not consider this “true” gallery wrap and will not accept them into a show or gallery unframed. Another type of Gallery Wrap is not canvas but clayboard, ampersand board or gesso board. These also come in the 1-1/2” to 2” wide varieties called “deep cradle”, and can be painted around the edges and so considered gallery wrap. Typically this type of Gallery Wrap can also less expensive than some canvas sizes and so preferred by artists on a limited budget.

Gallery wrap is a preferred arrangement with certain types of art where frames would detract from the presentation, such as triptychs (three paintings presented as one) or multiple pieces of art that must be presented as a unit.

Showing Professionally. If you are planning to enter your work in art shows you can run into pitfalls with poor framing or the system used to hang your work. Hardware and art stores sell a wide variety of systems to hang art and while they will all work in a home setting, some of them are not suited to venues where there is a lot of public traffic. Most art shows have very specific framing dos and don’ts about how art is to be hung and they will only accept art that meets these standards. The following is typical:  Flat hangers only, no Saw-tooth, eyelet hangers or quick frames and no screw eyes. The ends of the wire must be taped or sleeved.  Screws for hanging must be no more than 4” inches from the top of the frame and the wire must not show over the top of the frame. Some shows and Galleries will accept the wide edge Gallery Wrap, some will not.

Art for The Home or Décor Market: Keep in mind also that framing art to go in the home or office as a decorator accent is not the same as show presentation. In show presentation, if the judge notices the mat before the art you may be in trouble. In the decorator market, you want a frame and mat to go with the style and colors chosen by the decorator for the room. Often, the decorator will pick the mat and frame to go with or compliment the colors in the room, not necessarily the painting.

REFURBISHING A USED FRAME

Published December 17, 2016 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

framing-part-3

By the Practical Artist

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

 

Refinishing Frames The first thing you are going to need is an outdoor workspace. Refinishing frames is messy, and the materials used need good ventilation. You may also want to invest in a folding table that can be put up when not in use.

MATERIALS NEEDED

To repair a wooden frame you will need, shop rags, a box knife, painters tape, small can of wood putty, a hammer, screwdriver, small woodscrews, finish nails, glue, wood stripper, paint or stain (probably both), sandpaper (both fine and coarse), a putty knife or plastic scraper, and sponges and brushes for applying the stripper, stain or paint and clear wood varnish. Gloves to protect your hands from the paint stripper and a mask for the fumes are also going to be needed. You may not use all of these; it depends on the type of repairs you are planning to do to the frame.

To repair a metal frame, you will need ), shop rags, sandpaper (both fine and coarse), metal primer, a mask to protect yourself from paint fumes, protective goggles, several cans of spray metal paint (matte finish) and can of clear metal varnish. Gloves to protect your hands from the paint are also going to be needed.

REPAIR & REFURBISHING

Metal Frame: begin by taking the glass or plexi out of the frame and setting it aside in a safe place. You will be re-using it so make sure you put it somewhere it won’t be damaged while you are working. Remove any backing or hanging system attached and examine the frame carefully. Sand out any rust spots using the coarse sandpaper and follow up by smoothing with the fine sandpaper. Depending on the deepness of the scratches you may elect to use either grade of sandpaper to smooth out any scratches. Wipe the frame to remove any excess dust left over from sanding. Lay the frame out flat and spray with primer using a side-to-side motion allow to dry and repeat until completely covered. Do NOT rush this process. Applying too many coats of paint too fast will cause it to run! Allow the primer to dry overnight and repeat process with the metal paint using the same technique on the 2nd day. The next day you may apply the clear varnish. On the fourth day you can replace the glass or plexi into frame and Wallah! You have a ready to use frame!

Wood Frame: begin by removing any canvas, hanging hardware and leftover backing paper from the frame. Do any repair work requiring nails or screws and then cover the linen mat with the painters tape, cutting off any excess tape in the corners with the box knife. Remove any sharp edges on the front of the frame by sanding them smooth. If you plan to re-stain the frame, follow the directions on the wood stripper for removing the varnish. This will cause the wood to swell a little bit. Let it dry overnight and then touch up with the sandpaper. Wipe the frame clean of any sanded residue, fill any cracks or holes with wood putty you have prepped by adding the stain to match the color (if you are going to paint over it, it isn’t necessary to prep the wood putty with color). Wipe off any excess stain and allow it to dry overnight (staining may also cause the wood to swell). The next day smooth over any raised edges left over from the stain before applying the coat of clear varnish.  Allow the varnish to set overnight. If you have painted the frame you can skip this step, although the extra varnish coat will provide some protection, it will also tend to show scratches later. You are now ready to repair the mat.

The Linen Mat: remove the painters tape from the mat and apply new strips of tape to the newly varnished or painted frame. If there is a dark stain, you may want to apply a small mixture of household bleach to the stain before repainting it. Once the stain is gone, rinse off the bleach with a soft sponge and allow the linen to dry. If the mat is torn use a small amount of glue and press it down firmly, making sure there  are no lumps of glue left.

To paint the linen mat I find that Acrylic paints work best. After selecting your color (I prefer either Unbleached Titanium or Parchment) Thin and extend acrylic paint with a textile medium or water. Many artists prefer to a water-soluble medium to produce a smoother finish to the final product. You want the paint to be thin but not runny. Using a small brush, lightly apply several coats of this mixture to the linen mat, allowing to dry between coats. Once you are satisfied with the color remove the painters tape from the wood part of the frame and you are ready to frame your art.

 

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