Tag Archives: making

10 More Great Tips for Artists

10 More Great Tips For Artists – 2
©Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008

1. Go through the house, office and studio – sharpen every pencil – make sure anywhere with a writing surface has a cup of pencils, pens and an old-fashioned hand held kid’s pencil sharpener. Place some sheets of clean, un-lined paper nearby, plus posty notes and 4×6 sheets of unlined paper to make thumbnails and notes.

2. When paint tubes are near their end, cut them open and use the last of the paint directly from the casing or scape out with palette knife and use from the palette. Save the lid, cause sooner or later . . .

3. Place paint cloths, paper towels and cloths filled with thinners or turpentine into old metal coffee cans with lids. Keep out of reach of children and away from foodstuff until ready for disposal. Be sure and mark can with red electrical or paint tape and label with marker what it is.

4. A piece of rubberized, textured shelf liner cut 4″ square is good for opening paints, paint jars and tubes, jars of medium and varnishes. Pliers, if used, must be held firm but with gentleness or they can rip the paint tube and press the lid and tube lip beyond recognition.

5. Baby wipes will take almost any paint off hands including oil paints, acrylics, alkyds (which are very nasty) and acrylic mediums – as well as some glues. Masking fluid can be cleaned up with dawn dish soap and a baby wipe. Brushes dipped in dawn dish soap and water before use in masking fluids will allow the masking fluid to be removed after use.

6. Dawn dish soap will take oil paints and other paints, except alkyds, off hands and out of brushes. Xylene and toluene based enamels must have their own thinners to be removed from anything. Do not use dawn dish soap or toluene based thinners on natural bristle brushes because the natural oils in the hairs are also removed and the bristles will eventually disintegrate. Do not leave brushes in water, turpentine or thinners for any extended length of time. Glues that hold bristles can dissolve and are compromised. The bristles will then release in the painted surface as it is being created. The bristles can also give way entirely from the metal casing that holds them to the handle..

7. Old brushes with dried paint make perfect tools to create certain special effects in painting surfaces. Don’t yell at the kids and don’t throw them out. Set them aside in a cup or box with similar tools for special effects when painting and sculpting.

8. When stores go out of business – there is a lot of unusual shelving they also sell – make them an offer. Also, hair salons’ shelving and store displays make good additions for studio  storage. Cabinets from kitchen remodeling can be acquired and cleaned, resurfaced, painted or glued with new formica pieces. Countertops can be added pre-made from the hardware store or from cabinet shop remakes. Any solid door or old table top can be placed on top of several cabinets for a worktable.

9. Some design markers (professional grade like ad agencies and illustrators use) can be reconstituted by placing alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover) into a shallow dish and placing the tip into it to absorb the carrier. Some art markers can be reconstituted with water, alcohol (or mineral spirits and/or painting mediums). Use of pigments are available in a new form with the latter and are no longer appropriate for children to use.

10. As new work is being created or experimental ideas are being explored, take digital photos or scans throughout the process at different stages. Viewing them on the computer gives a better view and a different understanding of what is being conveyed in the paint. Then, the process can continue with the additional information during the creation of the work.

Happy Painting!

(Re-post from 2008)

 

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What it is to Create and Invent

Re-post from the CricketDiane Weblog 2008

Standing At The Threshold About To Create –
By Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008

When I stand on the threshold about to create – entire universes stretch out before me.

Behind me is everything I’ve ever created or wanted to create. Before me is everything that could be created. To either side is everything that exists which has been created by someone already both historically and currently.

Above me are all the things and ideas that have existed only as possibilities and have yet to be created. And, below the edge of the threshold is everything that exists now somewhere.

From the vantage point of this moment in time standing on the threshold about to create, any combination can be made from what is beyond it. Sometimes I choose a goal before entering this threshold because I intend to create something for a particular person or situation and want it to suit that.

To me, the threshold of about to create is like an open door frame standing in the midst of infinity. It is an infinity that moves out in all directions and is filled with possibilities, knowledge, skills, ideas and tangible things already created somewhere, sometime by God, nature or someone. It is all available for me to utilize or create or combine into something new, or rework, refine and modulate into my own creation.

I do usually start with a purpose but not always. And, where some may go timidly over that threshold, I love to stand on the threshold encompassing it all then fling myself into it. I take a leap of flight into that place and soar through its realms.

I love flying through the elements that are there, choosing from them, considering elements that catch my attention and weaving what is being created as I go. I don’t forcibly keep my goal in mind but it is there and I don’t exclude anything. It is all available regardless of my mind’s constraints of limitations and resources.

This means that whether I have the means to acquire something or not doesn’t matter – it is still available for me to use in the creative process. I don’t exclude things because of limitations currently in my life. Anything can be acquired if its really needed to accomplish creating something.

Some people strive within their limitations to accomplish and to create. They exclude what is beyond this threshold that cannot be accommodated by their current means to acquire it. Usually that is whole worlds of things and believe me, it is an unnecessary constraint. I ignore my limitations of known quantities that are currently in my life and offer everything to the creative process without limitation.

Truth is, I can probably get my hands on it if I need it to work with anyway. There is no project too big, too complex or too out of reach to consider. I don’t feel I have to make and original and unique creation of my own exclusively. Mostly I do, but it is not limited to that and it isn’t a requirement of the process.

What I do is to fly through these infinite worlds beyond the threshold and test, play, choose, combine, study, consider and add together like things and unlike things until I’ve created something that suits my purpose. So, the purpose that brought me to the threshold does define what is being created but it isn’t required to have that definition. It can be done without form or definition set ahead of time. I love doing this too when I have no purpose in mind and want to free-form create. What is done in this process may become a painting, an idea, a writing, a musical composition, an invention, a situation or a project but it does beome an end result that is tangible.

I can set parameters and conditions if I want like, “I want something that will do this,” or “I want some things that will suit this or this person.” The process will use that variable to compare and work with everything beyond the threshold as I create. When I happen upon something that doesn’t fit that parameter, if it has taken my notice – I grab it too and bring it with me. I don’t try to figure out how it fits or whether it belongs to some other project or need I have. Later, it usually becomes obvious without me setting my mind on figuring it out or sorting it out to where it belongs.

CricketDiane 01-17-17

Please visit my store on Zazzle sometime –

CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios Art and Design

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The Dance of Creating

Reposted from 2008 –

On Creating –
There is a dance that happens when I create. In this moment of dance spiritually all things are changed. It is a dance of fire and light and water and power that surges through me and what I am creating – back and forth – dancing together with all of creation in the heart of the universe.

There is nothing else except the song of creation being woven into this beautiful intense dance as it is happening. The dances of this song send ripples out through every living thing and into every spark of an atom in the world and beyond. It flows between time and space surpassing now.

The creativity of that moment in creation influences every moment in my life and every life touched by it that follows. It enlivens, it inspires, it awakens, it enthuses and infuses power into everything the song gently nudges with life.

How much more worthwhile could something be?

For me, it doesn’t matter what form the creating takes – the dance happens when I paint, make music, write, invent, sing, sew, cook or create anything. It is possible to create without giving in to that essence but what it creates isn’t nearly as good. Like comparing a light bulb to the sun.

– Cricket Diane
CricketHouseStudios, 2008

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Painting and Creating Ocean Waves in Art

Re-post from 2008 CricketDiane Blog – Painting
The Ocean As A Subject of Art – 2 – Cricket Diane C Phillips – 2008

  1. Make it candid, genuine and real.
  2. Pushing color into wave foam (to strengthen contrast and bring out definition in curl of the wave)
  3. Soften or crisp horizon line
  4. Add detail cautiously and as least ( minimum) as possible
  5. Have palette of techniques for effects
  6. How to paint ocean waves from as many sources as possible
  7. Form the wave, form the play of foam nearest the viewer, soften the horizon for misty look / sharpen horizon for clear or cool weather; add distant crests
  8. Give visual texture to the sky, smoother is more distant; use swirls, feathered effects, light behind or light above / below clouds for definition
  9. Each color choice carries an emotional character when combined and contrasted
  10. Try – then stop – set it aside – leave it and do another.
  • Scan or photo and look at with computer –
  1. did it do what you wanted?
  2. are there areas that you see an effect you could use in another piece or enhance?
  3. what did you do to get that effect?
  4. overall – what does it say to you / remind you of / feel like? how could it do that better or more so?
Happy Painting!
Cricket’s Sea - by Cricket Diane C Phillips - Cricket House Studios - 2008

What is the Difference Between Art and Illustration

The difference between art and illustration –
©2008 Cricket Diane C Phillips, Cricket House Studios

In an illustration, there is little, if anything, for the viewer to do. All the information is there available for the viewer to see. It can be powerful. It can be mundane. There can be several themes at once but it precisely includes all the visual information the audience is expected to use upon viewing it. An illustration is a visual approach to a verbal story. Illustration is easily given words to express it that are appropriate to it.

The fact is, art is something else and represents a more interactive form of visual communication. It does require something from the viewer in order to be recognized. Art is not intended as a verbal communication represented in a visual format. Then, what else could it be? What other options are there, if it is not that?

Most art, even representational art, defies the use of words to interpret it. While its communication is often clearly evident, words pale in comparison. Art speaks in a language that exceeds the capacity of words. It is a direct link between the mind of each viewer and an intangible idea in a specific moment of an artist’s life.

While an illustration could be repeated, recreated, reinterpreted or done again, art can only be done once. Each time, art is different and each time, there is only one. While art may tell a story, its use of communication is different than that used in an illustration. Art may very well tell the viewer the entire story in one moment of time as a whole experience. Illustration will construct that story logically such that words could be used to describe each element and why it was included.

Both art and illustration have value in our world. Art is necessary to our lives and so too, is illustration, written communication and design. If a quick view is taken anywhere, there is art, illustration, design and written communications on nearly every item in some form or another.

Art is interactive to a greater degree than other forms of visual work because it is created from a different place. It isn’t pure, yet neither is it diluted. Art is a captured instant from the artist’s psych. Does it matter if anyone likes it or not? Probably, not. Does it matter if anyone “gets it,” or not? Probably, not. Those things belong to a part of the viewer’s identity and the logical mind, respectively. Art by its nature, goes beyond what can be logically defined and is neither an expression of identity nor intended to be, although influenced by it. Nor is art a reflection of the personality of the artist, although that also influences it.

CricketDiane Art 2016
Ball in circle that looks like a mouth and tongue sticking out – graphic design created by CricketDiane 2016

Art encompasses more than that and different than that. It is impossible for any two people to see the same rainbow even standing side by side at the same moment in time. Art is like that and when it is created, even more so. Its as if the whole world has melted away and only that one moment exists. All the information of that moment flows into the artwork at once, not logically, not progressively, but completely. It is true of great art and true of all other art, as well. Two people sitting side by side creating from the same moment along the same theme would never be able to produce the same thing. That is art. It is original and unique each time. It can be copied, reproduced, printed, repainted to a precise rendition but they are no more than copies. To sit down and recreate the original from scratch, so to speak, will never yield the same thing, ever. No matter how similar, it can’t be made the same as the first. An artist that tries to do that usually ends up with two originals along a similar theme – not two of the same.

Why does it matter to own an original of anything? I don’t know that. Why is it important to own something there is only one of or is the first of its kind in the world? I don’t know that, either. Those are questions the audience or the individual viewer must answer for themselves. It may be important for art to be purchased and owned by someone beyond th artist who originated it, but probably not.

An illustration after all, demands an audience to be effective. Art draws the audience into an interaction effectively whether it is sitting in the studio or on public display or owned by someone somewhere. Once art has a tangible form, it is in existence and is part of all that has been created from that moment forward. Even when it is destroyed, its tangible form still exists in the mind of its creator and any who experienced it.

Artist's Shadow - illustrative and fine art photograph simultaneously both by CricketDiane 2016
Illustrative Art and Fine Art Photography by CricketDiane 2016 and Cricket House Studios Art and Design – in this photograph, this is my shadow broken by the lines of the pavement, curb and grass beyond it – CricketDiane 2017

Art is powerful because it forms its interaction with the viewer the moment it is seen. The communication it carries is conveyed in its entirety across all barriers of language, time, circumstance and culture. Its effects are not limited by the status of the viewer nor where it is found and experienced by viewers. A diamond in a shoebox is still a diamond.

  • cricketdiane 2008 (02-20-2008)

Original post titled –

The Difference Between Illustration and Art – Cricket Diane C Phillips – Cricket House Studios – 2008

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5 Ways to Create Something New

Finding the creative spark that brings new ideas, new inventions, new creative works is sometimes distant. Creativity can be helped along by using these 12 ways to create something new or by using some of the 12 techniques to begin the creative process.

1. Start by Finding Problems That Need To Be Solved or Solved Better –

The first way to create something new is to look for problems, issues and difficulties that could use a novel creative solution or any solution at all or a better solution than what is in use now. Brainstorming and research are helpful tools for this fact-finding process of noticing problems that need solutions.

Look for “betweens”, where one solution left open a place for another or where no solution has ever been adequately developed. A range of solutions could be created for problems that are not obvious but everyone recognizes from uncomfortable school desks that haven’t changed in over forty years to air quality issues both indoors and in cities from current smog levels.

2. Brainstorm Possible Solutions To Those Problems That Need To Have Solutions –

Brainstorming is a creative process of focusing on the possibilities while opening the creative perspective of what could work. When brainstorming solutions, judgment is set aside and every idea is simply written down on paper, post-it notes, whiteboard or large conference paper tablets. Every thought and approach is acceptable because often, these creative thoughts and ideas will contribute to the solutions which are generated as a result of the process.

Brainstorming for air quality to be improved in cities could result in ideas for big fans, jet engines to blow the bad air out of the city, or paints that dissolve the smoggy air chemically and render it clean. Among those ideas, during brainstorming they may seem silly, but by reserving judgment and disdain – those thoughts contribute to real ways that smog could be dispersed effectively. Allow the space for the brainstorming process to blossom and expand by writing ALL ideas down. Capture all of them.

3. Get a Pile of Junk To Play With –

Aside from methodically seeking problems to solve that need to be solved and brainstorming possible solutions, often a pile of junk of various kinds can contribute to stirring creativity. This does not mean go to the landfill, nor to hoard every thing that can be found. It means having access to some hybrid collection of junk and pieces that could be found at a yard sale, in someone’s basement or attic (that will let you have the stuff), at a science or marine salvage yard, at a vehicle salvage yard or thrift store. These places have random stuff that could become something else.

Once the box or pile of junk is sitting there, it is simple enough to spread it out and start thinking and fitting items with one another to see what is inspired by them. Strangely, this creativity is not as random as some people try to make it by intention, nor is it supposed to be random. It is purposeful creation and creativity using a process of discovery and innovation added to intellect and knowledge about what things could become out of it. This is a great place for experimentation and a very hands-on style of awakening the creative process which can expand from the pile of junk to drawing said invention or idea, writing it out or getting other pieces to make a true prototype of the creative idea.

4. Go Book Shopping, To A Library or To A Book Cafe –

Book stores and libraries are a visual feast for the inventor and creative process if it is approached that way. It is not necessary to read every word, nor to start at the beginning of any book, but rather to select books of interest and see what is there – and then another and another. Visual art books are interesting but books about mechanical engineering, inventions, the places and cities of the world – are all creatively stimulating. Reading a few words of interest, thumbing through beautiful coffee table style books with glossy pictures, pursuing ideas throughout the stacks of books and author’s approaches is truly a feast for the creative mind and spirit.

Whether checking out the books from the library, buying them or simply looking, by opening many different books and seeing how the author and publisher approached the problems of communicating their ideas and solutions, it enhances thinking about the many possible approaches and avenues of thought. Opening avenues to explore, trails of ideas to awaken and examine more closely, makes books one of the best and fastest ways to create something new.

5. Watch News, TV and Cable TV Shows With An Attitude of Problem Solving –

One way to create new answers, new solutions, new products, new processes, new ideas and new creative inventions and innovations is to watch the news, tv and cable tv shows, science and history shows, international news online with a question in mind, “Is there anything here that needs solving, that needs to be done better, that I could help solve?” By asking this question and keeping this attitude while watching these information rich shows, ideas and answers will come. Write them down.

It doesn’t matter how practical it is to help or not help with any of the solutions or any of the problems noticed while watching the news, tv and cable tv shows. The creative process will be awakened by both the attitude of being available to be of help to things in a greater world and also by honoring those thoughts and ideas by the act of writing down the things noticed that need solutions and possible solutions that are generated. Reserve all judgment about the practicality of being a part to those solutions since that is a complete unknown factor and single out the things noticed and ideas that are generated instead.

  • cricketdiane, 12-20-2016

Painting Ocean Waves How To Especially in Watercolors / Watercolour

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

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