Although I write about products and techniques, I don't receive compensation of any kind from anybody. The products that I write about work for me in my setting as an artist.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tray for tubes of paint

Trays for tubes of paint

This tray and one other replaces a keyboard tray that I have been using for almost two years. I was having trouble in a "loose" tube arrangement with all of the tubes of a color sort of piled up in an open area of the keyboard tray.

Melissa (my wife) and I were browsing through an "antique" store and I saw a tray that printer used to store their letters (upper case and lower case?). The store wanted over $100.00 and wouldn't lower their price AT ALL!

So, when I thought about the idea for a while I decided to make my own. The photo is my second tray - better than the first. Isn't that the way?  Anyhow, the tray is approximately 29 inches wide and approximately 15 inches deep. It has three dividers 5 inches apart across the width and 14 dividers front to back.that are 1 5/8 inches apart. Except for the left-most "bay" which is about two inches wide.

The side rails are 20 inches so that the tray doesn't come out (if I'm careful) but will support the tray when it's extended as you see it in the photo.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I need to have a clean the @#$%^& studio day/week/month

These images of the interior of my @#$%^& studio is why I need to do a clean-up time - whatever it takes.

My paintings are stacked, leaning, lying and some even hung on walls! No kidding, on walls!

In self defense, I AM getting ready for (hopefully) two art shows - one is certain while the other show is juried. There's the nail biter!

I also have "promised" that I'd make two of my paintings available to the Arkansas Lt Governor's office but I need to deliver them to Little Rock, AR which (according to Google) is about 4 hours or a little over 200 miles one way. An ALL DAY drive?

AND I'm going to submit a painting to a benefit auction in Hot Springs, AR. Which (according to Google) is about 4 hours and a little over 200 miles one way.  Sound familiar?

BUT if we make it an over-nighter stopping in Little Rock, hob nob with the Lt Governor a while, then go to Hot Springs.the next day it's doable.  IF ONLY I can get the other parites' calendars to agree with mine.

These are freshly varnished (GAMVAR - really good stuff) and are very likely going into the art show.

This is simplay - THE MESS! ahhhhhhh!

My "NEW" Porch seat

We had an old futon that we bought when we moved here and before we bought our "real" bed. One day about two years ago, the dogs thought that the futon matress was tasty and carried it out to the yard and destroyed it.

I took the frame apart as far as it would disassemble and "stored" the pieces in and around my studio. Yesterday was the beginning of "clean this @#$%^ studio up" week/day/month and I took out my ever faithful screw driver drill bit, some sheet-rock screws, my power saw an built this, this, uh, ummmm SEAT!.  It doesn't look like very much, but it IS comfortable AND it was (relatively) inexpensive!

Not that I'd say such a thing but it fits the stereotype Arkansas porch theme. All I need is one o them jugs o squeezins! (As IF THAT could happen)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cherry Blossom painting - 36x35 - drawn on canvas

Cherry Blossom painting - 36x36 - drawn on canvas. The light gray color of the tinted Gesso isn't as blue as this photo would have you believe.  The dark edges are a result of me not aligning the camera to the canvas and sloppy cropping in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3.  My fault, not the software! :-)

I created sketches on a few sheets of newsprint paper to indicate the location important  (to me) elements of the painting then used Saral brand white transfer paper from Dick Blick . The Saral transfer paper is available in other colors, but I like the white. These lines aren't absolute locatons, I'll change some things as I make the painting.  

 March 31, 2010 - day 1 of painting -  putting in shapes, colors and etc.

 April 5, 2010 - day 2 of painting - did many things! Played with the water and the area beyond the water, began detailed blossoms and "suggested" blossoms. Drew in "tree parts" - tree trunks, branches and limbs. I want to "fill in" the grasses at the bottom of the painting.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Canvas and new frames

I've given my 36"x36" canvas another coat of tinted gesso. This coat has a thicker consistency than the first two coats. But it needs another coat or two before I'll be ready to apply paint. If you look at the photo below  you can see where the gesso application needs the gesso! :-)

I am also working four frames for the art show. I'd be working on more but I used up all of the "frames wood" that I had on hand. I need to go to the lumber store and get some more wood. Yesterday I applied two coats of Rabbit Skin Glue to "seal" the raw wood hoping that the paint would go farther. Apparently it helped.  After lunch I applied one coat of acrylic enamel (is that an oxymoron or what?) to each frame.  Tomorrow I'll sand the frames then apply another coat of paint. I usually need to put of four or five coats for the frames to look OK.

I don't paint the inside. I don't know that anybody will care. 

These frames are built for specific paintings.  Although I try very hard to make accurate cuts when I build my canvas panels, the stated dimensions are "suggestions" :-)   In reality one of my 9x12 canvas panels might be 9.25"x11 7/8".  A ready-made frame wouldn't work. Again, does it matter? Not to me.  If anybody ever buys one of my paintings and wants a "bettrer" frame there are frame shops everywhere that can make a custom frame.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Frames From 2x4 remnants

I had some strips from some 2x4a rhat I had used for another project so I decided to make some frames.  I learned from another art club member that a judge in one of the shows that I'm entering has a "dislike" for gallery wrapped paintings. Gallery wrapped paintings in my knowledge base has canvas wrapped around the outside edges of stretcher, the artist continues the painting onto the sides and does not use a picture frame.  Well, a reliable source told me the judge feels that if a painting is not "finished" if it has no frame. OK good to know.

I cut strips of wood into an "L" shape with my handy dandy table saw. Picture below:

I then use my handy dandy compound miter saw to cut the 45 degree corners. Picture below:

While the corners are held in the corner clamps they are glued and secured with wire brads. The next step is sanding, sanding and then more sanding to get the edges smooth.  Then I apply several coats of water-based enamel paint until it looks good. How many coats? Depends on the wood and how the paint is absorbed - or not.  :-)

Cherry Blossom Canvas

This morning I mixed RED and BLUE acrylic paints (no measuring) in a can then added new white Gesso to make a light violet or purple color.  I very gently sanded the previous coat of Gesso then applied the second coat of tinted Gesso to the canvas top, sides and bottom edges.  After this coat of Gesso dries I'll sand the surface and apply the third coat of Gesso. 

I apply the Gesso by pouring it from the mixing container onto the canvas then pushing it all over the canvas with my 2 inch bristle brush. I try to work the Gesso into the weave of the canvas with the brush.  I use the foam roller to smooth out the brush marks after the painting surface is covered with Gesso.

I talked about the foam rollers lasting a long time. This morning my roller lost two chunks of foam and I had to "retire" it to the trash can.  The lost chunks created a pattern of dots as I rolled the Gesso "smooth".  The "retired" roller was used to prepare MANY of my painting surfaces. The largest chunk (most bothersome in terms of leaving "dots") is shown in the photo below.

I'd like at least four nice coats of Gesso. The consistency (watery or thick) of the Gesso and the absorbency of the cotton canvas dictate how many coats I'll lay down.  I determine how the canvas painting surface feels to my fingertips and if it looks "right" rather than counting how many coats of Gesso.  This is where touch and feel come into play and counting goes out the window.

I have to tell you that the last of a bucket of Gesso that I used was at least a couple of months old. It hadn't clumped AT ALL thanks to an idea from a blogger friend, Carolina Alzamora in Lima, Peru. I had been fighting Gesso "glumps" where the surface area of Gesso stored in a closed container would be exposed to trapped internal air and begin to form these "glumps" that were almost impossible to avoid.  Carolina suggested putting plastic food film (e.g. Glad Wrap) on the surface. And it worked beyond my wildest expectations!  Thanks Carolina!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making the canvas for our 36"x36" Cherry Blossom painting

I'm making the canvas for our 36"x36+ Cherry Blossom painting.  Yesterday I applied two coats of hot - not boiling -  Rabbit Skin Glue from Gamblin (other companies sell it also) to the bare canvas to seal it and to shrink the cotton fabric.

Here I have begun applying the first coat of tinted Gesso. It's tinted with several colors of acrylic paint (whatever I had at the time) so that I can easily see what's covered and what isn't. This Gesso is white in the bucket. I'll probably apply four coats of Gesso lightly sanding between each coat.

The roller is a "cabinet roller" made of foam rubber available in most stores that sell paint.  It is about 6 inches across and 1 inch in diameter.  The rollers last a long time if I give it a thorough washing. After MANY uses the rollers will start coming apart

Showing the (gallon) bucket of Gesso, the paint roller and the 2 inch bristle brush. I usually don't apply the Gesso out of the bucket because it tends to dry and form clumps. But this bucket is virtually empty with JUST enough left to give this canvas one good coat. The Gesso is also thin for the first coat. Each successive coat of Gesso is thicker.

Another view of the canvas and my studio work bench.  Finished paintings behind and "good stuff" beneath.

I apply Gesso to the sides of the canvas and to the back side (bottom?)  The 11x14 study of this painting is behind the canvas.

This is the little heater I use to blow warm air on the canvas to help dry the Gesso.  It's on the lowest heat setting. It's raining and cool = humid and without this "boost" the Gesso takes a very long time (overnight) to dry enough for a light sanding and the next coat of Gesso. The next coat of Gesso will be tinted a different color - easier to see and correct the areas that I have missed or didn't cover well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Making a 36" x 36" Canvas with home-made stretchers

I'm preparing a canvas to paint a picture for my daughter of Cherry trees in full bloom. I ripped a 2x4 length wise at an angle. The angle was set at whatever angle would split the 2x4 in half lengthwise.  No precision here!  Don't need no stinkin' rulers!  :-)

The  bottom dimension is 1 1/2 inches (the thickness of the 2x4). 
The left vertical dimension is (approx.) 1 3/4 inches
The right vertical dimension is (approx.) 7/8 inch
The "lip" at the top is MAYBE 1/8 inch - the width of my table saw blade kerf.

I used corner clamps to hold the corners square while I put two (2) three (3) inch screws in each side of each corner. Sorry I didn't think of making photos until I had the canvas stapled to the stretchers. My bad!

I have wrapped the canvas over the stretchers and stapled on the inside surface of the stretchers. Gallery wrapped?

My Boxer, Simon, inspecting my progress. Being a dog of the male persuasion I had a fleeting concern that he might want to "mark" it. But he's a really smart guy and only sniffed it really well!

Casey (our other boxer) and Bella (our miniature schnauzer) were NOT interested at all!

The canvas in my studio. The first "study" painting (11x14) is behind the top middle of the top edge of the canvas.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Art Project In Process

The picture that was called "#4"  - that you chose but wrote: Can we do #4 with a more blue-black back ground?"  It has no blue-black now, did you mean that you wanted me to put in some blue-black?

The picture we've called "#2".  Did you perhaps mean this one with more "blue-black"? (this appears out of focus but that doesn't matter)