Friday, November 20, 2009

Winterlude Exhibit

Coming up the first weekend in December is the Monadnock Artist's Guild's 9th annual Holiday Exhibit and Sale, entitled "Winterlude" I was invited to join this fine group of artists this year, and have been painting away like a mad woman trying to get some work ready.
The exhibit takes place on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5, in conjunction with Peterborough, NH's First Night Celebration. We'll be in the hall of the Peterborough Historical Society, 19 Grove St. in downtown Peterborough. Hours are:
Friday, 3-9pm
Saturday, 10am-5pm.

There'll be refreshments of course, along with some fine art. Artists in this group include Mary Iselin, Phil Bean, Maureen Ahern, Frankie Brackley Tolman, and myself. Lots of variety.
If you're local, I would love to invite you to stop by for a chat....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Art Cards, Editions and Originals: Show, Dec. 4-31

"The Crossing" 2.5 x3.5" Artist Trading Card
Today's post highlights a sort of "trend" going on these days in the art world. In 1996, an artist in Switzerland named M. Vanci Stirnemann created some tiny little "art cards" and organized trading venues, where artists could meet each other and trade cards. The history of these small cards harkens back to the Impressionists, who often used these tiny originals as a sort of "resume", art on the front, and a description of their accomplishments on the back. You can read a more complete history of the cards here.
The one rule of the Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) is this: the cards must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches. (about the size of baseball cards) Originally, Artist Trading Cards were only traded between artists. This practice has now expanded to sell these little works of art. These cards are now known as "Art Cards, Editions and Originals",(ACEO's) and some artists are making limited edition prints as well as originals for this purpose. I know of one artist who pretty much does this full time and sells these over ebay quite effectively!
They are alot of fun.
"Taking a Break" 2.5 x 3.5" Artist Trading Card
Beginning December 5, the White Birch Fine Art Gallery in Londonderry, NH will host a show and sale of these little gems. Elaine Farmer, artist and gallery owner, will have hundreds of the cards on exhibit, all for the very modest price of $30. An Open House on Dec. 4 and 5 will begin the exhibit, which runs through the month of December. She will also have mats available for sale, ready cut for the cards. I think it's going to be an amazing thing, to see a wall covered in these miniature little works of art! I will have cards there, as will many other artists from the region, in all mediums, in all styles.
Here's what Elaine has to say about the event:
Open House reception on Friday Dec 4, 4-7p..

Kick off the holiday season in style and come celebrate with the White Birch Fine Art Gallery during its first Holiday Open House, Friday, December 4th from 10am.-7pm., and Saturday, December 5th from 10am - 4pm. Friday's festivities include a wine and cheese social from 4-7pm. and Saturday's events will include special demonstrations by local artists and artisans, all new art work in the gallery as well as guest artists on exhibit, and will feature one of the largest ACEO (Art Card) events in New England. Hundreds of these mini masterpieces will continue to be proudly displayed during the entire month of December.

Are you a card carrying art lover? Meet the ACEO! Artist trading cards (ATCs) are mini works of art made exclusively in a 2.5 x 3.5 size, the size of a baseball trading card. Made in any arts or crafts medium including collage, mosaic, fiber art and metal works, these miniature, original masterpieces could only be obtained through trading with other artists, until recently. ACEO's, or, Art Cards, Edition and Originals are original or numbered edition art cards available for sale, bringing the joy of art card collecting to all art lovers.

Come be a part of this worldwide art phenomenon and meet the artists during the Open House and take this opportunity to purchase your first ACEO.

Silver and Orange, 2.5 x 3.5 Artist Trading Card

I've shown here a few of mine. These are great fun, and would make great little gifts! And if you're a "card carrying art lover" - it's a great way to collect some of your favorite artists' works!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Preparing Your Canvas

(this is a study done from an original painting by Richard Schmid) It has nothing to do with tonight's post except I just thought I needed a photo!

Tonight, I'd like to share one of the most valuable changes I made as a painter. This change has made a huge difference in the way I am able to apply paint to the canvas. It produces more luminous color, better brushwork, and I can honestly say, made the process of painting more fun.

It's a simple and inexpensive thing, too, so you might want to give it a try.

It has to do with preparing your canvas before you ever start the painting. And you don't have to stretch your own canvas, or even start from scratch with raw unprimed canvas. You can use this method on commercially prepared stretched canvas or canvas panels.

Unless you purchase "oil primed linen", then what you are painting on has been primed with acrylic gesso. (it's not real gesso, but that's what they call it, so we'll go with that). This surface is dry and scratchy to the touch and, here's the biggest drawback.. it is very absorbent.
Oil paint applied to this surface will soak in, and unless you apply really thick layers of paint, what you get is more like "staining" the canvas. The solution to this is to apply an oil-based primer that will seal the canvas and allow all that paint and color and wonderful brushstrokes that you work so hard to achieve to stay put right there on the surface! Who wouldn't want that?

So, let's get to it. What you'll need is a large palette knife, a tube of Flake White, and some fast dry medium, such as Windsor Newton Wingel, or Maroger, or even Liquin. The medium is optional, but since white dries so slowly, unless you are lots more patient than me, and don't mind waiting up to several weeks for this to dry, then use the medium. I'd probably recommend the Wingel. I didn't have any Wingel for this photo, but here's the main ingredients - Flake White and a large palette knife.
Note: Flake White is a LEAD-based white. Be aware of this, and perhaps wear gloves when using it.

Put about a quarter-sized dollop of the paint on your palette, and mix an equal portion of the fast dry medium. The paint will be soft and creamy.

Next, take the palette knife and plop some on the corner of your canvas. If you're using stretched canvas, you will want to make sure to lift the canvas away from the stretcher bars so you don't create a line along that stretcher bar - it will be permanent! You can see how I just sort of pushed the canvas away from the back with my finger as I worked.

Take the back edge and flat surface of the palette knife and spread that paint around on the surface. All you want to do is to seal the holes between the weave. You will not need a thick layer or alot of paint.
After you've spread all that dollop of paint, then take the FRONT edge of the palette knife and scrape and push the extra paint towards the middle of the canvas. See photo.. there's a little ridge of paint that develops as I scrape the excess off...

That's all there is to it! Just work your way around all the edges, and then, do the center, and scrape off and discard any excess paint. Again, although you CAN leave texture if you desire it,
all you really need is a very thin layer that seals the holes between the weave in the canvas.

Let this completely dry. ( a couple of days if you used the fast dry medium, or up to a couple of weeks if you didn't).

That's it! The surface should feel smooth and almost glossy. It might take a bit of adjustment to paint on this surface... whereas before you almost had to scrub paint into the canvas, brush strokes will remain on the surface.

This also makes it possible for me to do the kind of block in that I like to do for still life.. which I'll show you in another post.