Tips and Tricks for Artists –
© Cricket Diane C. Phillips, 2008
Ten art tips and tricks for artists-
* place a sign on the bathroom mirror that says, “Paint first – Do music – Create. And leave the mundane to do later, it can wait.”
* the best palettes for oils and acrylics are glass, old pyrex casserole dishes, thick glass cutting boards – smooth side only, microwave browning plates for watercolors and thick plate glass can be used for oils or acrylics and gouache.
* a wonderful brush cleaner can be made by cutting a circle from rubberized open-weave shelf liner in the same size as the bottom of a washed applesauce cup, small bottle or container.
* using a wet paper towel folded over beneath acrylic paints will keep them ready to use for several weeks with plastic wrap covering the palette. Edges of wrap need to be snug.
* point guards for brushes, bamboos, calligraphy pens, styluses, djanti and specialty tools can be made with small pieces of cardboard or plastic boxes cut to fit from a fold and taped together.
* strong tea makes a sepia toned dye for paper and made strong enough, can serve as a watercolor paint to do under-painting work or as the basic wash and paint for a vintage look artwork.
* one way to organize thumbnails and small composition sketches is to cut them into the size for a 4×6 photo album. Also, it’s possible to use the inner papers from these albums for thumbnails and then store them in the albums by subject to locate later.
* most vegetable based and India inks are not waterproof. Many fixative sprays made for pastels, watercolors and pencil drawings will set the surface and allow the ink to become permanent.
* when fixative sprays, spray finishes and glazes, spray varnishes and any other aerosol product gets near the end of the can, any type of artwork can be destroyed by the spitting drops of spray. This can also happen during very cold or very moist, humid weather.
* horizon lines, building edges and other straight-edged elements can be created with pieces of painters’ tape for a smooth, straight line. Make sure the tape is pushed into the surface to paint at the edge where paint will be.
Check back. More tips and tricks for artists are coming soon including easel ideas and designs. Take a look at my Ebay store sometime, I’d love for you to see my work!
I paint to communicate because I know this –
Art is a dialogue between the artist and each person that will ever see that artwork. It is immediate and without limitation or boundary. There is no hindrance in the interpretation of words, meanings of ideas or expectation of rewards. It is appropriate to time, place, nationality and culture because art is a clear, direct communication. It is not silence. It is not static. Art is the communication of change and of presence here and now between the viewer and the artist.
Art is more than emotion. It moves something primal in each of us. It is the comfort of knowing we are not alone and that another has stood where we stand in our mind’s landscape and in our lives. Art is not because I told you something today through my art. It is because we chose to have this moment of dialogue today in the course of our lives with all their complexities. That is why it is important. And, that is what makes it special.
Art is a choice between two unlike minds to gather for a moment and consummate a dialogue and to compare notes on the experience of living. There may never be words for it.
Written by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008
February 14, 2008
Original post was entitled –
I paint to communicate – by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008
This is a reply that I made to a comment requesting information about painting ocean waves – particularly in watercolor and it expresses the way to get the paint to do what you want for making a beautiful painting of the beach surf and waves –
The comment –
am trying to learn to paint ocean water, transparent water with little waves on a beach .Do you have any DVDs that I can buy, or suggest some to me,that would be good, and where I can get them, Thankyou, MILAN CVJETIC.
My response about painting ocean waves –
I’m sure there aren’t any I would watch – but that’s because it would be easier to get out some paint and play with it until it does what I want. Today, there isn’t a dvd that I’ve made about creating ocean waves in watercolor, however try this –
Imagine what the finished piece will be and the moment that you want to capture.
Everywhere there is to be sparkle, foam or waves – don’t put any paint there. Don’t wet the entire watercolor paper, but instead paint with limited areas of wetness across the page from side to side where the foam, sparkle and froth of the waves will not be.
Sounds pretty backwards, doesn’t it? In essence, paint everything in deep hues where the sea is getting deeper away from the viewer until it nears the horizon while leaving the irregular shapes of the wave crests near the viewer and where there are hints of building waves in the middle behind the detailed areas in the foreground.
There is a dry brush technique that works great for sparkle in watercolor – try it first on a separate piece of watercolor paper. Fill the dry paintbrush (stiff bristles have one set of effects, soft bristles have a different look done this way) with paint by gently, lightly dragging it across the top of the paint so it doesn’t fill the bristles completely. Then pull the color across the page drifting it across the surface in one smooth motion. Each swipe across the surface will fill in some of the color under the sparkle. This isn’t white paint in the brush, although you can do that with acrylics or oil paints.
For watercolors, the paper provides the only pure white in the painting, so when the sparkle happens – it is literally the paper showing through the other colors that convey visual information beneath the foam, the spray, the breaking wave froth, and the sparkly little bits that to the viewer seem to be on top of the water. It is easy to fill the brush with several colors of the water and sand to drag across the paper in front of a breaking wave to convey the sparkly foam in the shallows where we would splash and dig our toes into the wet sand.
There is a little shadow beneath each wave’s crashing froth – it can be created with a light wash with only a hint of wet pigment slightly darker than the sea water and depending on the time of day in your painting, the frothiness of the wave can be captured with swirls of very, very thin Prussian blue washes blended gently into the areas of white or using lightly wet soft bristles partially filled with a very, very thin wash of Payne’s grey. Try it on another piece of paper first.
The clouds and sky will be the same thing – where there are white volumes of clouds must be left unpainted because where the white paper is ever given a tint, it will never be white again. The horizon at certain times of day and in some weather conditions will be almost invisible and lighter than the surrounding upper sky or deep ocean areas. And, at other times it is well-defined and occasionally, deeper in color. What looks right in your mind’s eye? Clouds can be defined from the white surface of the paper using light thin washes of blueish purple, grey, or cobalt that develop the curving forms of shadows beneath their fluffy round forms.
Sunsets and sunrises, afternoons and dusk, all have particular tints to everything. As long as the tints match throughout the painting, it can be believable as if your viewer is standing at that place at that time of day.
The best thing to do is to have some fun with experimenting to find the different effects that can happen, but the basic rule for painting in watercolor is that white areas are left clean and lightly developed, lighter values go on first and each layer of color builds to the darkest which is painted last, rather than first as in acrylics and oil paintings.
Great fun painting – can’t wait to see the results!
– cricketdiane, 07-31-09