Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lust - Central Figure

The last couple days I worked on this central figure in the composition. I still have a long way to go with it, but getting closer! Also I need to get better pictures. I have decided to go ahead and get started on my next composition while I continue to work on this one. There's still so much more I want done on this, yet I think it's time to get a move on with other paintings.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Preparing Large Canvas

I apologize that I don't have any exciting images for this post, but I wanted to quickly share some thoughts on painting supports.

Recently, I have become dissatisfied with most pre-made canvases. Frequently I've encountered problems including very loose canvas, canvas with thousands of pinholes, stretchers that are warped, and rough-textured priming. On top of this, most pre-made canvases are primed with acrylic priming, which may not be the best ground for an oil painting, and many oil-primed canvases are made with a ground that contains zinc, another no-no. The best pre-made surfaces I've found are not cheap.

Therefore, I decided to take the matter into my own hands!

Solid supports, such as wood or copper, don't move and therefore have an advantage over canvas, which flexes and therefore can exacerbate weaknesses in the paint layers. However, the weight of such supports can prove problematic at larger sizes, so I decided to use a polyester canvas on my large (4ft and larger) paintings. The word 'polyester' certainly doesn't bring to mind anything fine-art related, however I feel it will be a very sound support for my paintings. The reasons are as follows:
  • Polyester does not react to moisture in the air or temperature changes, therefore it will not have problems that paintings on linen and canvas do when they expand and contract with those changes. This canvas will not loosen or require future tightening!
  • Mold does not grow on, nor do bugs eat polyester.
  • Oil itself does not cause polyester do rot, as it does natural fibers. So, even if some oil makes it through and touches the canvas (like would happen if there was a pinhole) it will not affect the support negatively.
The only thing that will apparently deteriorate polyester is UV light. So long as the canvas front is covered in paint, and the back is protected from light, polyester should outlast other fabrics as a support. Ideally, I would glue the polyester canvas to a wood panel, but again size right now is preventing this.

I happened to find artist's unprimed polyester at Utrecht in a sample pack, and I personally liked the tight weave. There were no pinholes to be seen and the canvas is very smooth. I expected the canvas to be flimsy and stretchy (because I was thinking of polyester clothing) but it was rather very much like a regular cotton canvas.

With the assistance of my apprentice and a friend at the studio, Ron Smith, we stretched a 4' x 6' canvas with the polyester. It seems easier to get the fabric to be very tight than it does with linen or cotton. I have a canvas Ron stretched that is so firm it nearly feels like a panel, and my large canvas is like a drum, *literally.* I love it.

I primed a couple smaller canvas with oil primer alone, but on the large one I decided to experiment with some PVA Size. It is not neccessary to size polyester before oil priming, but it does help the primer to go on smoother. Without the size, the fabric really seems to 'grab' the primer. I used Gamblin's size, but am interested in trying others. I use PVA size as opposed to rabbit skin glue because it also does not react to temperature or humidity.

For my primer, I used Windsor and Newton's oil painting primer because it does not contain zinc (which can cause cracking/delamination) or lead (which is a health hazard.) It is a titanium/alkyd primer which dries in 24 hours. It does smell quite strong, so use in a well ventilated area, ideally that you can vacate for some time after application. Again, I am interested in trying some other oil primers, but I will always steer clear of anything containing zinc.

The resultant layer of primer is very scratchy and rough, so I used a palette knife to smooth each layer. I have yet to paint on this surface since I just finished it up today, but I will report back once I give it a try.

It does take some time to prepare a canvas this way, and nearly always would rather have that kind of work done for me, but this way I am confident that I am doing everything I can to make sure my work is archival and therefore worthy of purchase, and hopefully this will also be the most enjoyable surface to paint on!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lust Update and Bargue Party

Unfortunately, this picture isn't that great since it was taken with my small camera. Soon I will head in to the studio with my Nikon so I can get a clear, accurate picture of this. In particular, the figure on the left is not that orange! I have made quite a bit of progress, but still have a ways to go. I plan to start the next sin painting very soon, before this one is even finished.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with artist David Hancock along with another student and doing some Bargue drawing. I met David back at the exhibition in Merriam, and he is the first atelier-trained artist I have met in real life! Since I am very interested in that kind of training/teaching it was great to see how he was taught to do these drawings in comparison to how I've been doing them myself. I plan to go back for more soon, and I will share my progress. Below was the result at the end of my visit, and I will continue to work on this in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Art Marketing Workshop for Artists

Start-Up Basics for Artists:
An Introduction to Marketing, Networking, and Establishing Yourself
Lead by Lacey Lewis, Professional Artist

Saturday, May 9 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Kaw Valley Arts and Humanities, Inc.
756 Armstrong, KCK
Cost: $25

Workshop Topics Include:
  • Creating a 'brand' for your art and marketing materials
  • Artist statements, bios, resumes, and portfolios
  • Where to start with exhibitions: Alternative venues, juried shows, art fairs, etc.
  • Approaching commercial galleries: What to look for in a gallery, what galleries look for in an artist
  • Basic gallery etiquette
  • Contacting the press
  • Grants and fellowships
  • The importance of networking
For reservations or more information contact:
Carol Kariotis, KVAH Executive Director
Tel. - 913.371.0024

I'm Still Here!

Hello friends,

I am still here and I miss writing about what I am up to here. The last few weeks were just crazy; I had my wisdom teeth out (which was no fun and unfortunately I did not recover quickly) prepared my home for sale, and did some other random stuff, too. I got just a handful of painting hours in, did some teaching, visited with David C. Hancock and worked on a Bargue drawing under his instruction, prepped a canvas, sent some work off to an auction, etc. I have pictures from the so called "Bargue Party" and will share them soon. Also, I will take a picture of Lust since I will be back at the studio for a bit tonight, and will share more about my new choice in canvas and priming materials. So please stay tuned!

In the meantime, I will post about a workshop I have going on this coming Saturday about marketing yourself as an artist. Also, don't forget that this Friday is 2nd Friday and I will be in my studio from 5-8pm with the doors wide open, so come and visit me at 750 Armstrong in KCK!