Thursday, October 8, 2009

Working Like Mad and Using Canvas Scraps

Oh boy, this time of year gets really busy! Besides working on our mural project here in town, which turned out to be just about a full time job the last 4 or 5 months, I've got several shows to prepare for. More about those later, but mostly lately I'm painting like mad. This little painting is one I finished this week, entitled "Carnation and Old English Creamer". (you can purchase this painting here. And on a composition note, I originally just had the carnation and the creamer. Knowing that having just two items in an arrangement, I would have to work to be sure one was the focus of attention. I thought that by softening the edges of the carnation, and making the creamer very sharply defined, that would do the trick. It did not, and this painting suffered from the "one for each eye" kind of syndrome.. Where do I look? At the carnation? At the creamer? I realized that a spot of rich color would tip the scales in the favor of the creamer, and added the single grape. That did the trick, don't you think?

Since everybody is budget conscious these days, I thought I'd share a tip for using up some smaller scraps of canvas. Since I sometimes pick up odd size frames at our local frame shop, I need to custom make a painting surface for them. There are two ways to do this. First is to create a panel by cutting a piece of masonite ( I buy a whole sheet, prime it, and then cut it to size.) You can see how to make your own panels here.

The other way to create a painting surface in an odd size is to use canvas scraps. If you buy rolls of canvas, then you'll have odd pieces left over here and there. Keep those to use for projects like this. I also buy pre-primed canvas pads. These come in various sizes up to about 18x24 and usually contain 10 sheets of canvas per pad. I like to get 16x20 size.. It is about $14, and I often use these sheets for odd size works. Just measure out what size I need, draw the outline on the canvas, and paint! Then, once the painting is dried, I will cut the painting out of the larger sheet and affix it to a backing board. This board can be anything from a piece of masonite to plywood, to gatorboard - anthing that can provide a non-warping sturdy surface to glue the canvas to.

Here's what the painting looks like before I cut it out of the pad. This one is a really odd size, 4x10, but I have a nice little frame for it. While painting, I just use the pad itself (has a heavy cardboard back) as a nice support. I use a 3M spray adhesive to affix the canvas. It sticks like, well, glue, but if I need to remove the canvas for any reason later down the road, I can carefully peel it off the backing with no damage!


Kerri Settle said...

Great ideas Deb, thanks for sharing them!

Deb said...

Thanks Kerri! I like your avatar!

Judy P. said...

Terrific practical advice on materials, Deb- I'm a beginner painter, and love soaking up tips like the gluing, making panels etc. But I really appreciate all the painting advice, although it can be pretty discouraging for my puny abilities. Also from your site I discovered Stapleton Kearns, and that's great stuff too, and again a bit discouraging (sigh!) But I'll keep plugging along- thanks!

Deb said...

Hi Judy! Thanks for writing! I meant to mention that the spray adhesive I use is 3M Super 77... really works great. Stape's blog is like taking a workshop every day - keep reading: it is wonderful instruction! His most recent post on 14 things to do to grow as an artist is right on! I am personally already doing most of those things, and it DOES make a difference! We might get him over this direction again to do some painting critiques - trying to figure out dates, etc. right now. I think you've got a great sense of color and light - and light in a painting is almost the most important thing!

Judy P. said...

Wow, thanks for visiting my lonely little blog, and for that compliment about light and color- those, and value, are the bugaboos that keep my brows knit together most painting days. Maybe I am making some progress after all- I appreciate your kind words!