Sunday, December 4, 2011

Artists Market Online Review - What the Heck?

Have you guys used the Artist's Market Online? What's your impression? I signed up for it, got access, and it's... well, underwhelming.

I'm curious about other people's reviews, so please post a comment if you've used it now or in the past.  It's so sparse and under-functional that I'm wondering if maybe I just totally missed the point. I mean, a site like this can't possibly exist in 2011/2012, right?

The Artist's Market has been around since 1975, providing a list of all sorts of places that buy artwork from magazines to greeting cards to product designers. I've got 6 or 7 of these from the last 20 years in paperback form.  It's published by F+W Media, the same people who bring you North Light Books, Wet Canvas, HOW and The Artist's Magazine... In other words they've been in the business forever, so I would assume this would be the go-to marketplace for illustration/arts markets.

Actually, I'm afraid to use it, which is why I was hoping you guys would chime in. Has anyone gotten a good contact from there that resulted in a job? It appears to be simply a database that spits out the same listings you would find in the book. It doesn't have the sort of robust functionality and marketing tools I would expect from such a heavy offline resource, such a huge publishing consortium.

Here are my issues/concerns/observations:
  1. You can upload "portfolio" images (up to 5 per named portfolio, like folders). This suggests you're creating a marketing space, but the photos are it - no contact info, bio, resume, space for impressive blah blah blah...
  2. You can save contacts while browsing listings. But you can't contact them directly from the listings. I mean, you can grab their name and email them with a nice cover letter etc, but you can't send them back to your portfolio inside the site.
  3. If you save the contacts from the listings, you can go back to your portfolio and send them one of your portfolios.... But without a cover letter or the other things that make industry contacts polite and occasionally successful.
  4. You can't page to the "next" entry. You have to hit your back button and pick the next one. (To me, evidence of shoddy programming).
  5. You can't see a giant exportable list of all your contacts.
  6. The listings really, really don't seem complete. I suspect the database isn't being properly queried, or the entries were made too specific. Are there really only 60 artists reps? Only 260 magazines?

I'm not sending anybody my work from inside this site if I can't see that it looks professional and nice.

I really get the feeling this is a half-assed attempt to get digital, with all the monthly or yearly subscriptions that come with that, with little to no thought about usability or product development.  It seems like the programming was ported over from another site, because sometimes the page titles sound like they might be from a writing site. Oh come on.

I read the FAQ, hoping there would be a "How to use this site" entry to help me figure out whether I was just missing some subtly awesome functionality. There isn't. In fact the fonts aren't even consistent from question to question. (Seriously! Is this 1998?)

So, please, please - if you had an awesome experience with this, please let me know. Otherwise I want my $19.99 back and I hope everyone else just avoids it.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Work in Progress - Deer Skull

I'm curating a show here, The Food Show, featuring new works of mine and new works by Brian Busch. It opens Nov 20 at 33 W New York St, Aurora, IL.

Being a jovial sort of duo, Brian and I decided that "food" could be broadly interpreted.  That should be fun, yes?

Here's a few WIP shots of one of the first pieces, "Deer Skull," 12 x 18. More to come! :-)

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

I do not like cleaning paintbrushes! You may have noticed I use really, really cheap brushes, and I have hundreds of them. This way I can clean them about every 8 weeks. But then I have to restore the damaged ones. No problem! Here's a video about how to restore damaged brushes. By the way, many thanks to Philip Hone Williams for the tip, a couple years, it has served me well!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

How I Make A Painting Video

By request, I made a video about how I make painting videos. I've upgraded to an HD camera, so the new videos will be better and more detailed than previous ones, but the general set-up is the same.

Coming soon! New, longer, hi-def painting instruction for streaming. Stay tuned. Everybody who has previously downloaded a video will get a special discount too. :-)  Thanks to those of you who wrote asking for more videos - they're coming.

Software: Windows MovieMaker. Hardware: JVC GR-D30 hd camcorder, Flip HD video recorder, Sony Cybershot 7.2 Mp, a bunchload of lights.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

How To Record Music and Video In Your Living Room (For Free)

An artist wrote me this morning to say he liked the music videos, how did I record the music and then sync it up?  I wrote back this long email, and so I figured while I was in the mood to type, I would offer the explanation here also.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a musician! I am sure that my amateur mixes make sound engineers everywhere shudder with horror. But, I've learned a lot and each one gets better than the last. Plus, I spent NO MONEY on this. It was free, though that was partly because I already had some stuff lying around.

So here's the email I wrote to my buddy, expanded and clarified a little, which has to do most pertinently with this video:

I'm glad you like the videos. It's actually not very hard to do the schlocky living room setup I'm doing and then mix like an amateur. And I've gotten a couple folks who've asked to produce more professional sound for me from it so it seems worth it.
I had bought a toneport ux-1 about 5 years ago and a crappy mic, a Shure bg-31. So I just had that lying around. It's no longer made, but the equivalent is called a Line6 Pod. You can plug a mic or instrument cable into the toneport, and it connects to my mac via usb. I use the mic for voice, the drums etc, and plug the ukulele and bass in directly via cable. That goes into Gearbox on the mac (it's a program that works like an amp) and then into Garageband which came installed on the mac. Garageband lets me add track after track in layers, moosh them around, re-record pieces instead of having to play perfect straight through.... etc. 
While I'm recording I also use the webcam on my Mac and record video into iMovie, which also came preinstalled on the mac. I made a video about how to cut together all the videos here:  The whole process takes me about 10-15 hours: laying down each track, mixing, editing together the video.  Used to take about 6 hours when I was only recording 1 track, and that's mostly because I am a terrible musican and had to have like 30 takes.
My friend Kevin Trudo does a similar thing using a camcorder firewired into a PC. MovieMaker 2.6 on the PC (NOT Moviemaker Works, which is a crap program, but you can always find the 2.6 free download online and load it concurrently.) He uses a pro recorder, just this digital thing (Samsung Zoom) with 2 mics on top that gets really nice sound: Read a review on CNET here.
To get video that isn't in the 15 feet my mac's camcorder can see, I use either the camcorder setting on my digital camera and then import that video, or the Flip video camera we have lying around.  That's how I got the video of Lulu climbing the doorway for the Don't Worry Be Happy video.
On my pc, MovieMaker will export into HD. On the Mac, I don't have that option (iMovie '08) which is sort of a bummer.  That's a future upgrade.
I could go higher quality on the videos or the sound, but this is convenient and I actually spent no money on it at all. None. I figured since I didn't know anything about it that I wouldn't even know what to invest in. It does all right. Though I think I will be looking into a condensor mic - I don't like the sound my mic gets.
I hope that helps! I know you already have superior equipment around - you should get some stellar results.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Make a Grid for Drawing or Painting Without Lines

Grids are so useful for laying out an underdrawing, but they have the unfortunate side effect of being, well... grids. Especially with works on paper, trying to erase a grid creates a whole new set of problems - incompletely erased lines and altered paper surface spring to mind.

Here's a method I use to get a removable grid onto the paper without using a projector. I was doing this today for a portrait, so I thought I'd put up a quick demo... Ever use this? Got other methods? Please leave a comment.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alla Prima Demo - Orchids in a Pot

A new oil painting demo with orchids in a pot. 6 x 6, oil on panel. The challenge of very small flowers alla prima and a convincing lightfall was really interesting.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Make Business Cards With Your Art

Having business cards with your own artwork on them is a super way to stand out. Here's a demonstration on how to use Gimp software and custom artwork to make unique business cards.

I used Vistaprint because they spam me constantly with offers for "free" cards that end up being about $8 for 250 matte finish cards. I like them matte because even though the colors are different, you can write on them. Handy for picking up guys. Or whatever.

I used Gimp software on my PC. I used to use Photoshop but for simple applications Gimp works great and it's Open Source - and that means Free. Holla!

Hey send me a link to your cool business cards in the comments! That would be nifty.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Art Marketing for the Holidays

I know I say this every year - but this year will be different!  Even though I'm a traditional painting-making artist with traditional galleries for sales channels, there are a lot of opportunities for sales and networking during the holidays that I ALWAYS miss, but not this time!

This time I'm taking a hint from contemporary artists and developing new things to stay relevant to different kinds of art lovers during the holidays. How about you? What's your plan?

Also, what's up with my hair?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How To Make A Music Video Like Pomplamoose, Sort Of

Have you wanted to know how to make a video with cuts between different sources, synced to music (or even a voiceover)? This is the basic method I use, and you could do it with newer software and even a PC, but I did it with older Mac software and a Mac, for extra difficulty points.

I'll post a video with information on how to make a specifically painting-oriented video, but this is half o the info right here, plus more. :-) I hope you like it!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Figure Painting Demo Part 4

Here she is, the lovely Miss E, starting to look like a pretty girl. Whew! Out of the Uglies and into the homestretch. Sort of - there's still 3 days to go probably...

Please subscribe to the youtube channel to get updates as soon as they're out, and every time you click "like" or comment or share, YouTube likes me just a little bit better. So that would be nice. Questions? Ask 'em.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

YouTube Monetization Program, How NOT To Get It

Yesterday I got invited into YouTube's monetization program. That reminded me that I have a few marketing/technology things I could probably share with you. One tip is: find a niche, and occupy the heck out of it. With that in mind, I made a YouTube channel just for art marketing and technology tips, tricks, demos, whathaveyou. It's ArtStudioSecrets (naturally.)  Please click here to subscribe. The drawing and painting videos will stay on LisaGloriaArt.

UPDATE: Here's a Squidoo article on the same topic:

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Request Line is Open!

I have over 1000 Youtube subscribers. That's pretty great! Thanks to all of you who subscribed. To celebrate, I'm opening the request line. What would you like to see? Any kind of demo, technique, medium (as long as it's oil or charcoal), subject matter... I'm at your bidding.

Just comment on this video with your requests and I will get to it! Thanks again for your support!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Painting Demo EO Seated Part 3

Update on "EO, Seated." This is the Color Poster stage. This stage of the painting I have the hardest time with. Even though I've done it so many times that I know it will work out well, the dramatic change and weird color noise until the end of the session make it very difficult to follow through. Sometimes this is called "the Uglies."

I wanted to show the real process I use for the "real" gallery paintings, even though it is frankly long, tedious, and a lot like watching paint dry. But it's the real thing, without the bang-zoom of alla prima. And I know I wished for this sort of thing when I was starting out, so I hope it helps somebody out.

Oh, and if you like the music, please subscribe to my music channel. That would be swell.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Figure Painting Video Demo, Part 1 & 2

I'm gearing up to do a full-length video demonstration. To practice, thought I'd put out a longer video by documenting a more detailed painting in parts. The total will be about 45 minutes of video at 8-16x speed.

Here's parts 1 and 2 of "EO, Seated." The music for part 2 was generously donated by The Kevin Trudo. Please go download a song or two at I'd really appreciate it. :-)

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Has Your Insight Changed?

Well hiya. So, tomorrow I am 40. Seriously. Shocking, I know. Aside from probably needing bifocals (going to put that off) and being cranky at the loud neighborhood kids, I don't really notice it. But New Years and birthdays are our family's big holidays, so it's time for the semi-annual big question.

But I would rather hear about you. How are you different? Looking back at either the beginning of your career or your education, what changed? What do you se or understand differently? What's a standout piece of wisdom you would want to share with a younger version of you?

For me, it's a sense of humility (as much as I'm able). 20 years ago, I pretty much thought I knew what was going on. Then I would learn something new and be just *amazed* at how clueless I'd been before. Now, having repeated that experience hundreds of times, I realize that I still don't know much of anything. I can only do my best, whatever that means at the time. Stuff I thought was awesome was eventually shown to be thin and shoddy. Stuff I thought was garbage was eventually shown to be deeper than I realized.

I can only assume even this wisdom will eventually be eclipsed by something wiser.

Write a comment and share your wisdom, please!

So, in the spirit of young v old, here's a music video of me and my eldest daughter busting out the ukulele and accordion.  ;-)

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Linocut / Block printing (part 2)

Materials update: I tried the brown Speedball linoleum next, and was not a huge fan. It's sort of crumbly/dusty underneath and tends to fall apart in the small detail areas. Probably it's better used for large areas and bold patterns/simple designs). I think the next project will be on the grey stuff, which is more rubbery and rigid, thus getting better detail than the Speed Carve and not falling apart like the brown linoleum.

So I made a new sketchbook, with a lino cover. Nifty! One of the alluring things about printmaking is the ability to make STUFF. Ephemera. Doodads. Art on everything.  As a side note, kraft paper sketchbooks are hard to find. So when I found them I bought 35. :-) I have extras. Come by the studio sometime if you would like one.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DEMO - Block Printing / Linocut

"Feral," 12 x 9 on 200# cold press watercolor paper. Purchase information at the bottom of the page.

I'd always wanted to try woodcuts or linocuts, and after Brian Busch brought some prints to my studio a couple weeks ago, I had to give it a go. Here's Brian's Corvidae, about 20 x 30 inches on paper:

There are a lot of choices with regard to the relief material (the block) and the substrate (the paper). I've carved on linoleum before but wanted a bigger surface area and less wrist fatigue. This time I went with Speedball's Speedy Carve (the pink slab) at 6 x 12".  Also got the Speedball block printing kit which has  ink, a brayer, a foam tray, and a cutting tool (gouge) with 3 blades. Enough to get started. I also used some wood cutting tools I had laying around, and next time would probably start with an exacto blade.

I knew the print would be mirror-image of the drawing so it was drawn in reverse. Well, that wasn't so smart. I drew it on the card that came with the Speedy Carve since I knew it was just the right size. But it was cardstock - too thick to transfer with carbon paper or a graphite rub on the back. Silly rabbit. As you can see I mangled the cardstock trying to peel off a couple back layers. Well, it was late. What can I say?

In other demos I've seen people draw the right-facing image in dark pencil, then flip it over and burnish onto the slab, producing a mirror image. Handy.

After a while I photocopied the image and went with the graphite rubbing on the back, but the Speedy carve is so soft and cushy that it gets only a blurry impression. Working right to left, bottom to top a ball-point pen tightens it up.

Starting with the smallest blade, the parts intended to be white are outlined, then gouged out. The smallest blade produces a fine and fairly detailed line to catch a fairly sensitive line quality. Note that the harder linoleum slabs and wood boards are much better at holding detail than this material. (I picked a fairly simple 3/4 face presentation to compensate for a minimal amount of expression I would be able to get.)

After every white space is outlined, the larger blade is use to shove out greater swaths of material. Saves time. And carpal tunnel. There are braces to hold one's slab, but the pink material sticks pretty good. Please be careful you don't stab yourself. I hear that's common.

Note that for a "gray" area, crosshatching or other textures are very effective, like in the faun's shirt below.

Below is the slab about 95% done. The largest lines in the big areas are from the largest gouge. This was about 8 hours work: drawing, transferring, and carving.

The first ink pass is below. (This part is pretty exciting.) I don't have a picture, but basically a line of ink is squirted onto the foam tray, then rolled back and forth with the brayer until the brayer has an even coat. Then you work back and forth and up and down to lay on an even layer onto the block.

A "barens" is a tool used to press the paper into the inked slab. Sometimes a spoon back is recommended. I found a metal measuring cup did a great job. It's rubbed with medium pressure (whatever that means to you) back and forth and in circles to transfer the ink. This is 12 x 9 Strathmore cold press watercolor paper.

Remove the paper slowly....

After the test print I wasn't 100% happy with the faun's expression: too sardonic. I wanted poignant. So I shaved a few teeny areas away...

And victory was mine.  16 prints - 10 black, 6 blue/green.  "Feral," signed and numbered. $38 + s/h.  Want one? Click here to purchase with Paypal.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Self Portrait 2011

You can go like me on Facebook if you want. Click here. That would be nice.
Self Portrait 2011, ink and charcoal on Arches, 22 x 30

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Work in progress - Thayer's Angel (finish)

Here's the finish of the Thayer copy.  (Please contact Tidewater Gallery in Swansboro NC for more information.) The general process was working up the painting in full color, opaque, with a good deal of body. Even the shadows are opaque. Then the last layer involves some glazing of details (feathers and bodice), raising the chroma in the cheeks and eye creases, reinforcing edges with (gasp) hard lines (see the top of the shoulder on our right).

One of the difficulties with the copy was to remember that that I was trying to paint *like* him, in his way. So for a brush stroke, I wanted to lay something similar to that brush stroke - its intention, strength, and body English... Yet at times I found myself leaning toward making a painting of a visible brushstroke, because I wanted to make a good copy. (And I knew you would all see it, haha.)

In the end, I split the difference. Some things were done like him, some things were done like me in an effort to duplicate him, some things were cut short because unlike him, I don't have 5 years to tinker. But I am so pleased about what I learned. Some effects in this manner of painting are so easy to execute that it almost seems like cheating. The blush in the cheeks and simple emotion in the eyes, for instance: I took some time and tried different hues to see what would happen, and could alter her *expression* by changing the hue of the glaze in her eyes. That was unexpected - a little more toward alizarin crimson and she seemed fiercely tearful. More toward Burnt sienna, and she was stronger, less tearful. I will be playing with it some more.

Also dig: the buildup of paint on the bodice - I cannot express enough how easy and effective that is. Pops right out at ya. I think I will abandon the 15-translucent-layer method I've been slaving over for years.

After Abbott Handerson Thayer's Angel, 11 x 14", oil on linen

Last chance to sign up for the Flower workshop...  3 days of intensive training in a small group setting. We'll go through the whole process, start to finish, of creating realistic and meaningful flower paintings. May 27-29, downtown Aurora. Click here to sign up.

One last thing... I have a new blog for my music. Please go there and subscribe if you like it. Thanks. ;-)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Linen Panels (and a new music video)

Please comment with your experiences. I am by no means an expert on this, but I've tried a few and thought I'd ramble for a moment about the experiences of the different brands and preparations.

(Oh and by the way, I posted a new ukulele song on Youtube, if you like that sort of thing.

In general, there's an apparent perception of value with "oil on linen" paintings. I'm not entirely sure that's a great thing. But bowing to pressure, I started to try them about two years ago. I was concerned with linen's reputation for sagging or tearing, but after taking Jeremy Lipking's workshop and seeing that he was using linen mounted on gatorboard, decided to give it a go. The boards are lightweight, easy to stack and transport, will not sag or need restretching, and can be cut with a utility knife into new sizes.

Here are some random  observations (again, love to hear your input on this as well):

  • After some mucking about with different brands, I now only use the Claessens double lead-primed, portrait smooth panels. The lead surface tis very silky and non-absorbant and I generally prefer as smooth a surface as possible.  Other priming and texture weights are available.
  • One time a client was upset that the back of the panel had been scratched or something. He wanted to know why I would use a material like that, until it was pointed out that had the gatorboard not been present, there would have been a hole in the actual painting. 
  • Fredrix makes a linen panel which is a terrible, terrible, horrible thing. I have some left which need to be repurposed as drink coasters or something. The surface is very uneven. The quality looks like that of a regular canvas panel (cheap.) The priming is hard as a rock. 
  • My experiences with New Traditions and Signature Canvas have been equally good as far as both product and customer service are concerned. Signature does offer the 1/2" gatorboard for larger sized panels.
  • When you have a stack of unframed canvases, positioning them so they don't divot is tricky. It's really simple with these.
  • You can fit up to 3 of these bad boys on the canvas carrier part of a half box easel. Sweet.
  • It's not the sort of thing you get in a craft store. 
  • For the most part, I paint a thinned burnt sienna-ultramarine blue wash on these as soon as I get them, and use them eventually. 
  • They fit great in those snazzy plein aire frames.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Word of the Day - Sprezzatura

"...a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it." 

More on this:

Isn't that a great word? How much time do we spend trying to conceal our labor? And how frustrating is it to realize that nobody cares about the individual battles won to bring a work forward. Try telling your sweetie about struggling with a particular shade of orange. Or how this slippy medium is slightly more slippy than that slippy medium. Yawn.

There's a certain amount of performance in what we do. Every work is like a practiced musical piece, executed in its final form for an audience we hope is ready to listen. And happy to hear it.

What do you think?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Facebook Breakup Song

I was commanded to re-record this song. With words you can understand. Does it tie in to Art Studio Secrets? I think it does... um... blah blah something about improving a draft based on acquired knowledge... OK that's lame. Here's a song! please share, Reddit, Stumble, Tweet, etc...

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How Painting Helps with Ukulele Lessons

Update 4-11-11, after some folks asked if they could download it... go ahead, it's free!

Now, a little (video) musical entertainment:

I was talking with my ukulele teacher the other evening, sitting out on his porch during a nice stormy warm front with a coffeecup full of bourbon (heaven!), about how I probably couldn't have learned an instrument before now. I mean, I might be a little long in the tooth to be taking up such an endeavor, but I'm optimistic about how it's going to turn out. I'm a much more apt music student now, because I learned to paint. Here's why:

  1. Humility. I know it will take a long time. The best way to get there is to put my head down and do the basic stuff - C scale about 4000 times, for instance. I know that mastering fundamentals is a totally unavoidable chore, and pays off in the end.
  2. Patience. Savoring the slow deliberation of premixing a palette has shown me that patient application of learned knowledge is a time-saver, eventually.
  3. Economy. I know now that I really learned painting the wrong way, by doing it on my own. It would have been smarter, faster, and more thorough to have a master guide me. So I went out and got me one
  4. Focus. Eventually I realised that I was not a focused painter - didn't really have a master plan. As a beginner musician, I tried to figure out my specific goal, and I'll work singlemindedly toward it.
  5. Pragmatism. My goal is: "Not looking stupid on stage." That seems attainable. Not too grandiose. Enough ukulele to sing fun songs and entertain people. Maybe get invited to gigs. My goal in painting I didn't figure out for NINE YEARS. Isn't that silly?
Being a hobby musician fits in nicely with being a painter I think. Much better than being an escrow officer for a title company did. :-)

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Work in progress - Thayer's Angel Old Master Copy Step 2

NOTE: Carol Marine is coming to Aurora this December to teach a 5-day workshop. Early registration discount available now. Click here to register.

After taking a really close look at some very good photos, I think I have a good plan for this. Thayer's working method was very interesting. He often spent years working on a painting (not gonna do that) and mixed dirt into the paint (not gonna do that either). But the main goal was to let everything support the face.  The expression on the face was so important everything else was suppressed.

This is the first opaque layer. You can see that in the bodice I'm building up a rough, thick layer of paint for the light areas. But overall, his modeling has a sense of brevity to it. Only what is necessary is done. Overmodeling those wings, for instance, would detract from her face. So they are gorgeous, solid things, but only as much as they have to be.

Normally I would start with a series of transparent layers. Thayer appears to paint opaquely, with transparent glazes used to add accents in the final stages. Whew - that takes some doing for me, but I think it's good for my soul to give it a try. Alse he's got some very sharp edges in places where I wouldn't, even reinforcing those edges at the end. Well, heck, I'll try that too.

Am having a blast. Will continue next week. Thayer also went pitifully nutty. This I will attempt to avoid.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Facebook Breakup Song

Happy Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend.  Sometimes, when not painting, I like to massacre a perfectly defenseless ukulele.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Demo - How to Resin a Drawing or Painting

Resin is a luscious, addictive addition to my toolset.  It produces a deliciously thick and shiny finish.  It's very versatile - you can cast it in molds or pour it onto any rigid, sealed surface.  It dries overnight with a super-hard , smooth, high-gloss finish.

In my experiments with it over the last few months, I've cast it, made dimensional collage, and poured it over drawings and paintings (including my painted pendants).  You can see some of the work at

Here's a video demonstration of pouring resin over a mixed media drawing.  :-)

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