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Dec 2, 2016

PleinAir: The Next Generation...

Hey, they are just doing what your Grandmother used to tell you: 
"Go outside and play"...

If this video won't play properly you can watch it here:
https://youtu.be/E0Be9rDz6ug


Brought to you by:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/10209836058512231/10211747640514549/



Nov 28, 2016

Myths, Facts, and Common Misconceptions Regarding Oil Painting...


St. Luke, painting the Madonna | 1515
Part of the Triptych of St. Luke and Egil 
Niklaus Manuel 


Here is some sound advice regarding best practices and materials for the oil painter. It comes from a FAQ made available by the Department of Conservation at the University of Delaware College of Arts & Sciences: 


I may not carry much academic authority on such matters but everything this FAQ covers agrees with my own research and over thirty years of personal experience. Information which was hard won and difficult to find at the beginning of my career. So if you are concerned with the longevity of your work (and please carefully note I did not say permanence) you may find the following information of interest...



MATERIALS INFORMATION and TECHNICAL RESOURCES for ARTISTS – Myths, FAQs, and Common Misconceptions
1) Lead white, cadmium, copper, and chromium pigments should never be used because they are toxic...

Some metal pigments can pose a significant health risk particularly those that contain lead and other heavy metals. Lead white and other poisonous pigments are still considered essential for some artists, especially in oil paint where their unique handling, flexibility, and permanence have no adequate substitute. The dangers to the artist are primarily associated the pigment in its dry form where inhalation is a possibility. Pigments already ground into paint pose far fewer risks to the user. While most pigments are not readily transdermal, some solvents can facilitate absorption through the skin. These risks are completely mitigated by the use of gloves and proper hygiene. Dry pigments can be handled safely by using the proper precautions. Those working with dry pigments should only do so in a designated studio space and always wear a dust mask and nitrile gloves. Studios should be free of food and drink and the artist should make sure that they have completely removed any residual pigments or paint from their hands and clothing before leaving the studio. The area around the working space should also be covered with sheets of paper to catch any accidental spills. All materials contaminated with toxic pigments, including solid and solvent waste, should be properly disposed of. Please refer to the Health and Safety document for additional information.


2) Oil paints are toxic...

The binder in traditional oil paint is generally a drying oil derived from edible oils (flax, poppy, walnut, safflower, etc). On their own these do not pose any health risk (although there are a handful of individuals who may possess a particular allergy to certain oils). The toxic components in oil paints come completely from the pigments, additives like artificial driers , and solvents. Many commercial oil paint lines do incorporate vary small amounts of dissolved metal salts that are used to promote rapid or uniform drying. These driers often contain cobalt as well as other heavy metals and therefore care should be taken to avoid contact with the skin if these additives are present. By eliminating the use of solvents, many painters will find that they are able to paint using oils as long as proper precautions are exercised regarding driers and potentially toxic pigments. Please refer to the Health and Safety document for additional information.


3) Oils are bad because they yellow...

All drying oils will yellow to a certain extent but this process is a natural phenomenon and is not one associated with degradation. The yellowing of oil binders in a properly formulated oil paint is generally masked by the pigment load; however, adding too much oil to your paints can lead to pronounced yellowing, an effect that is particularly noticeable in lighter colors such as whites and blues. The manner in which an oil binder is prepared can also have an effect on the overall degree of yellowing as well as the presence of certain pigments (such as non-coated rutile titanium dioxide and anatase titanium dioxide), driers (oleates and resinates), and the environment (heat in the absence of light). There are measures that can be taken to combat yellowing. Some artists choose to place their paintings in direct sunlight for a certain period of time as UV light can break up some of the chemical bonds that are responsible for yellowing (although care should be taken if your painting contains a significant amount of wax and/or potentially fugitive pigments).


4) Alkyd mediums, polyurethanes, shellac, and hard resins (i.e. copals) are great as varnish coatings...

Today there is a wide-range of lacquer-, alkyd mediums- (e.g. Liquin), polyurethane-, and enamel-based coatings available to artists, some of which consistent of nitrocellulose (and other cellulose derivatives) or vinyl-based/acrylic resins dissolved in solvents. While many of these products dry fairly quickly, they are not recommended for use as surface coatings as they are irremovable once dry, can produce brittle surface coatings, and can potentially yellow and darken over time. These types of products have experienced a rise in popularity among contemporary artists and while they may create aesthetically pleasing surfaces for some, they have not yet been thoroughly tested for compatibility with art materials or for their long-term aging properties. Please refer to the Varnish document for more information on surface coatings.


The entire document may be found here: 




Enjoy!

TJK



Myths, Facts, and Common Misconceptions Regarding Oil Painting...


St. Luke, painting the Madonna | 1515
Part of the Triptych of St. Luke and Egil 
Niklaus Manuel 


Here is some sound advice regarding best practices and materials for the oil painter. It comes from a FAQ made available by the Department of Conservation at the University of Delaware College of Arts & Sciences: 


I may not carry much academic authority on such matters but everything this FAQ covers agrees with my own research and over thirty years of personal experience. Information which was hard won and difficult to find at the beginning of my career. So if you are concerned with the longevity of your work (and please carefully note I did not say permanence) you may find the following information of interest...



MATERIALS INFORMATION and TECHNICAL RESOURCES for ARTISTS – Myths, FAQs, and Common Misconceptions

1) Lead white, cadmium, copper, and chromium pigments should never be used because they are toxic...

Some metal pigments can pose a significant health risk particularly those that contain lead and other heavy metals. Lead white and other poisonous pigments are still considered essential for some artists, especially in oil paint where their unique handling, flexibility, and permanence have no adequate substitute. The dangers to the artist are primarily associated the pigment in its dry form where inhalation is a possibility. Pigments already ground into paint pose far fewer risks to the user. While most pigments are not readily transdermal, some solvents can facilitate absorption through the skin. These risks are completely mitigated by the use of gloves and proper hygiene. Dry pigments can be handled safely by using the proper precautions. Those working with dry pigments should only do so in a designated studio space and always wear a dust mask and nitrile gloves. Studios should be free of food and drink and the artist should make sure that they have completely removed any residual pigments or paint from their hands and clothing before leaving the studio. The area around the working space should also be covered with sheets of paper to catch any accidental spills. All materials contaminated with toxic pigments, including solid and solvent waste, should be properly disposed of. Please refer to the Health and Safety document for additional information.


2) Oil paints are toxic...

The binder in traditional oil paint is generally a drying oil derived from edible oils (flax, poppy, walnut, safflower, etc). On their own these do not pose any health risk (although there are a handful of individuals who may possess a particular allergy to certain oils). The toxic components in oil paints come completely from the pigments, additives like artificial driers , and solvents. Many commercial oil paint lines do incorporate vary small amounts of dissolved metal salts that are used to promote rapid or uniform drying. These driers often contain cobalt as well as other heavy metals and therefore care should be taken to avoid contact with the skin if these additives are present. By eliminating the use of solvents, many painters will find that they are able to paint using oils as long as proper precautions are exercised regarding driers and potentially toxic pigments. Please refer to the Health and Safety document for additional information.


3) Oils are bad because they yellow...

All drying oils will yellow to a certain extent but this process is a natural phenomenon and is not one associated with degradation. The yellowing of oil binders in a properly formulated oil paint is generally masked by the pigment load; however, adding too much oil to your paints can lead to pronounced yellowing, an effect that is particularly noticeable in lighter colors such as whites and blues. The manner in which an oil binder is prepared can also have an effect on the overall degree of yellowing as well as the presence of certain pigments (such as non-coated rutile titanium dioxide and anatase titanium dioxide), driers (oleates and resinates), and the environment (heat in the absence of light). There are measures that can be taken to combat yellowing. Some artists choose to place their paintings in direct sunlight for a certain period of time as UV light can break up some of the chemical bonds that are responsible for yellowing (although care should be taken if your painting contains a significant amount of wax and/or potentially fugitive pigments).


4) Alkyd mediums, polyurethanes, shellac, and hard resins (i.e. copals) are great as varnish coatings...

Today there is a wide-range of lacquer-, alkyd mediums- (e.g. Liquin), polyurethane-, and enamel-based coatings available to artists, some of which consistent of nitrocellulose (and other cellulose derivatives) or vinyl-based/acrylic resins dissolved in solvents. While many of these products dry fairly quickly, they are not recommended for use as surface coatings as they are irremovable once dry, can produce brittle surface coatings, and can potentially yellow and darken over time. These types of products have experienced a rise in popularity among contemporary artists and while they may create aesthetically pleasing surfaces for some, they have not yet been thoroughly tested for compatibility with art materials or for their long-term aging properties. Please refer to the Varnish document for more information on surface coatings.


The entire document may be found here: 


Enjoy!

TJK



Nov 17, 2016

Finding the Courage to Paint 'en Plein Air'...


Yes, that is who you think it is...and wouldn't you love to see that painting? 
“I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” – Lucille Ball

Hey All:

Here is an email I received a few days ago from a follower on Facebook. And, after responding, I decided to post my reply here because perhaps it will encourage others to try painting outdoors as well.

Hello Thomas: 
I am 68 and have never had an art class.  But I’ve sold watercolors for $2,000.  I’m very interested in plein air now so I can get out of the house and meet people. Could you please take a quick look at my work and tell me whether you think I can convert to plein air?  I have the equipment. 
Thank you SO MUCH!

--------------------
Jean


Hello Jean:

All it takes to become an outdoor painter is some gumption and the willingness to bring your gear outside – and yes, a little courage. I looked at your work online and you seem handy enough with your chosen medium to give it a go, so heck, why not?

Here are a few thing to consider as you begin...

1. Since the sun is in constant motion, start off by choosing simple subject matter that does not involved too much going on in the immediate foreground. Crop the bottom of your painting somewhere out in the distant or middle ground so you won't get caught up in the minutiae at your feet. Avoid the temptation to tilt your head downwards as you paint and limit yourself to composing with what you can see while holding your head level.

2. This next tip is important: Start by painting large simple shapes and leave out the smaller ones, unless you are intentionally trying to create an area of focus. If you are, place your larger shapes along the periphery of your painting and work into the smaller ones around your point of interest. This is a classical way to compose, regardless of genre. subject, or media. But doing this will require some conscious effort and a continual awareness as you work. Avoid the temptation to jump into detail because if the underlying larger shapes are not correct all that detail will inhibit you from fixing them. And speaking of detail, before you start putting it in, step back and look at your painting as a whole. You may not need much.

3. In general, when you are painting outdoors, if it is a sunny day with few clouds in the sky, the temperature of the sun will warm up the local colors of your subject – this means the light parts of trees, mountains, cacti, roads, houses, barns and your precocious small grandchildren playing on the beach will appear warmer to you than they would if it were an overcast day. And correspondingly, the shadows on all those things will not just be a darker version of the local color, they will be both darker and cooler in comparison. (So hypothetically, a shadow cast onto a red barn will appear to shift towards the purple, and a shadow on green grass will appear to shift towards a blue-green, and so on. This ‘cooling effect’ is called a temperature change and it can be easier to see in nature's more neutral colored objects such as rocks, earth, and snow.) This warm/cool temperature contrast is a visual effect that occurs both inside your eye (via the effect of simultaneous contrast in hue), and outside the eye because the ambient light in the sky is reflecting into the shadows and biasing the darker local color towards the cool. Inevitably, you will encounter exceptions to this cooling effect, and when you do just paint them you see it. But for the most part, on a sunny day, begin with warm lights and cool darks and you will catch on. This warm/cool, light/dark temperature alignment is essential to creating a convincing atmospheric plein air painting*. This discovery is perhaps the greatest gift the French Impressionists gave to the world of art after they moved their easels outdoors.

4. As a rule, for now, work small and no longer than two hours at a time. Any longer and the starting light and shadow pattern will have changed too much for you to continue using it as a reference. This is true for the warm/cool temperature relationships as well. The sun will keep moving along so you should too, as in, to another painting. So seriously, work small and as quickly as possible within a two hour limit and accept that you won’t be as accurate as you are when you work indoors under artificial light. This is fine because your outdoor work will begin informing your indoor work, and vice versa. At this point, don’t worry too much about ‘finishing' or resolving your plein air work. At least not yet. If you do find yourself struggling with a painting just put it aside and start something new. You will learn more from one hundred starts than you will from one hundred finishes. Trust me on that axiom, okay? I didn't make it up.

There is more. Of course, there is always more... But the best classroom is located on the other side of your studio door. So pack up the gear and walk on through because right now you are burning daylight.

TJK


*Of course, when you begin painting outdoors on overcast days you will quick learn all those sunny temperature relationships you worked so hard to master are now inverted. Instead of warm lights/cool darks, you'll see cool lights/warm darks. Nature is fickle that way. Just as you start to competent she confuses you in a new way...


Oct 19, 2016

Rubberband Man...

Okay, this is so d*mn cool! 

Why have all the architects been hiding this trick from us painters?... (ha!)

I will have to try this during the winter when I am out painting a cityscape.

Enjoy,

TJK


A video posted by reza asgaripour (@architectdrw) on

Aug 1, 2016

Facebook LIVE: Streaming an Impromptu Painting Session...

Hey there folks!


Last Friday I tried out a new feature called Facebook LIVE. It is a way to stream video directly from your smartphone to your FB page and I thought I'd give it a go. Since some of you may not visit my FB page regularly I thought I'd post the videos here as well. (The videos can be found below.)

The first video runs about 90 minutes, and is essentially a 'Talk 'n' Paint' demo. The second video is an impromptu Q & A session I decided to add on to share more information about what I was doing. This gave my viewers an opportunity to ask follow up questions.

This was an unscripted, raw, unedited, and undirected effort on my part. I really decided to do it at the last minute, ignorant of what all would be required. Basically, the narrative is little more than a stream of random thoughts which partially 'splain some of my quirky methods as I paint. I hope you find it of interest, and perhaps helpful, or at least mildly entertaining. The best part of any (free) online video is you only have to watch it until you become bored... (ha!)


Buddha in the Bushes
16 x 12 inches, oil on linen, 2017
en plein air
(price available on request)


And yes, I will be doing this again, perhaps soon. I was both surprised and gratified by how many of you folks actively tuned in and participated in the comments section. By the time we reached the end of the video I think there were close 1K viewers watching. Talk about Watch on Demand. Hmmm, maybe this Facebook LIVE thing will go somewhere after all, yes? (ha!)

I will announce any future LIVE streams a few days in advanced on my Facebook page so make a point of checking it out every now and then. I will also see if I can upscale the production values too...

Until then,

TJK


(In case the videos below don't work, here are the links to them on Facebook.)

10000000_1776913465856439_1502912243_n.mp4



10000000_1356205674410068_854496354_n.mp4

Jun 23, 2016

Circles and Ellipses in Perspective...


Student enrollment is now open again for www.AskAnArtist.com

AskAnArtist is an online mentoring program for painters who want a personalized, in-depth learning experience. AAA is also a great resource for artists who cannot travel. 

Enrollment will be capped at a roster of 20 students but will re-open periodically as needed.

For more information, visit AskAnArtist.com

Here is a short excerpt from a recent hour-long session. Jacqueline and I have been working together for over twelve weeks now, preparing sketches for a major painting, and last week she asked how she could better set her water lilies into the picture plane. This little impromptu tutorial was my explanation...

If for some reason you have difficulty seeing this video click here...