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Slide Video of John's Paintings

 

 

 

Part 1 - Paint Containers For Plein-Air Painting & Sketching

 

 

 

Part 2 - Paint Containers For Plein-Air Painting & Sketching

 

 

Part 3 - Paint Containers For Plein-Air Painting & Sketching

 

 

 

A Bag For Your Plein-Air Supplies

 

 

 

 

Free Art Lessons ( Videos )

http://www.jerrysartarama.com/Jerrys-Videos/Free-Art-Lessons-Index.htm

 

 

 

Over 100 Painting Demos

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291955

 

 

 

 

Roland Lee Watercolor Demonstrations

http://www.rolandlee.com/art_lessons.php

 

 

 

 

 

Select A Watercolor Painting Topic:

 

Getting Started: Basic Watercolor Supplies
Basic Color Mixing (updated 7/2009)
Paint Qualities & Characteristics
Enlarging Your Sketches   
Creating Depth with Value Changes
Creating White Areas
Creating Dominance with Hue, Value & Intensity
Painting with a Limited Palette
Using Value Contrasts Effectively
Textural Effects for Watercolor
Painting a Still Life with Fabric
Exploring Sedimentary Pigments
Using Stencils with Watercolor
Spacial Emphasis in Reference Photos 
Choosing A Palette of Colors
Hard, Soft and "Lost" Edges in Watercolor
Practicing Your Brushwork
Making and Using Stamps
Abstracting from Nature
Glazing with Watercolor
Framing Made Simple

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Questions and Answers

 

What are the advantages of painting with watercolors?

Watercolors are water-based, so they dry very quickly. This makes painting at a variety of locations more convenient. They are also easy to clean up, as they are water-soluble.

What are watercolors made of?

Watercolors are made of pigment mixed with the binder gum arabic. Gum arabic, a non-toxic, natural product, is water soluble, slightly acidic, and a relatively weak binder.

What is the difference between professional and student grades?

Student grade paints offer a smaller selection of colors, and substitute synthetic hues for the more expensive traditional colors. Colors contain a higher proportion of filler. They are less expensive because they do not have the same level of purity or permanence as professional grade watercolors.

Why do painters thin watercolors?

Because of the weakness of the binder, it is important to thin out watercolors, as they will crack if applied too thickly.

What is the difference between pan and tube watercolors?

Pan watercolors are solid blocks of paint. Add water using a wet brush, and they are ready to be used. They are perfect for location painting outdoors.

Tube watercolors are generally more popular in North America. They have a pasty consistency, and should be diluted with water on a palette for easy mixing. If tube watercolors have dried on a palette, they can be used by rewetting the paint with your brush or spray bottle.

Are pan watercolors for serious painters?

In North America most painters prefer tube colors, and pan colors are sometimes incorrectly labeled as a student or scholastic painting medium. In Europe, pan colors are very popular because they are so easily transportable, perfect for painting landscapes in plein air. Just as with tube colors, both student and professional grades are available in watercolor pans.

Which white should I choose?

Traditionally it is felt that any white in a watercolor should be the white of the paper showing through. White is used for tinting other colors, to create lighter shades. However, many companies offer an opaque white, generally called Titanium White, and this can be used for various effects.

The best answer is that you may want to use both whites. Use the Chinese White for mixing and tinting, and the Titanium White for adding details in white over a colored background or wash.

How do I start painting?

With watercolors you should always work from light to dark. Adding light colors later can be difficult. Watercolor painters traditionally use "washes" of color. A wash is a thin layer of paint spread over a large area of the painting. Washes are applied one on top of the other (allowing one to dry before applying the next), in order to create depth of color and to add detail.

A wet-on-wet technique can be used where a second or even a third color is added while first wash is still wet. You can also use a more direct technique and simply lay the wet paint onto the dry surface, without building up layers.

Dick Blick offers many books and media products to help beginning watercolor painters get started. See our section, Books and Media, Watercolors.

 

What surfaces are suitable for watercolor painting?

The most common is watercolor paper, but other surfaces such as vellum, parchment, clay mineral panels, sumi rice paper, or thin fabrics such as silk can be used.

Why use a special watercolor paper rather than an ordinary paper?

Watercolor paper is specially made to be resilient, and to absorb water evenly and slowly. Because watercolors are transparent, the surface takes on enhanced importance. It is thicker and heavier than ordinary paper and has more texture. The type and amount of sizing in the paper controls water absorption.

Why use a professional grade watercolor paper?

Professional grade papers are acid and lignin free, made of cotton fiber rather than cellulose. They are both stronger and more enduring. With proper treatment, a painting on professional paper can last hundreds of years. The paper's texture and surface is brought out by the transparency of watercolor paints, and is one of the desirable qualities of a fine watercolor painting.

Why do artists "stretch" watercolor paper?

Watercolor paper generally has to be stretched before use. This is especially true with lighter weights of paper, which will otherwise buckle after absorbing water. After wetting and then stretching the paper, allow it to completely dry before painting to prevent it from rippling.

You can paint directly onto paper without stretching it, but it would be better to try this using a heavy paper that can absorb a fairly large amount of water without wrinkling.

What brushes should I use for watercolor painting?

There are many watercolor brush options available and you can find a wide range of brushes to suit your individual needs on our Watercolor Brushes page. Although watercolorists have traditionally used natural fiber brushes, the best quality natural fibers have become rare and expensive. A variety of high quality synthetic brushes are now available.

The highest quality natural fiber brushes for watercolor are Kolinsky, then pure red sable brushes. The hair on both is very soft and springy, and can hold a great deal of color while still able to create very fine points.

How do I care for brushes?

Clean watercolor brushes by rinsing them thoroughly then wash them with a mild shampoo in warm water. Allow them to dry laying flat. Always reshape your brush before storing as this prevents damage to bristles and prolongs usefulness of brush.

You'll find more information about cleaning and caring for brushes in our brushes section, as well as a variety of products for cleaning, conditioning, and storing brushes.

Can I fix mistakes on a painting?

It is possible to remove specific pieces of a painting or mistakes. Simply blot the wet area with a tissue. If the paint has dried, re-wet it and blot. Dried paint can be lightened, but it will probably not be entirely removed, especially if the pigment is a "staining" pigment.

 
 
Watercolor Magic Cover   Watercolor Magic Cover  

 

 

 

 

Acrylic Questions and Answers

 

 

What is acrylic paint?

Acrylic paints are a synthetic media made by suspending pigment in synthetic polymer emulsified by water. They are essentially plastic paints that are water-soluble and have good adhesive qualities. They are very stable. They resist oxidization and chemical decomposition, and will not yellow over time.

What are some main advantages and disadvantages of acrylics?

Acrylic paints dry quickly. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

The advantage of a fast drying time is that you can apply many layers of paint in a short amount of time. Artists can very effectively use glazing and layering techniques when using acrylics. The layers of paint bind to one another very well because of their good adhesive qualities.

Another advantage is their water-solubitily, as this allows for easier clean-up and reduces the need to use chemicals that may create harmful fumes.

The disadvantage to paints drying quickly is that there is little time in which an artist can manipulate the paint once it is laid onto the surface. However, there are several acrylic mediums that can slow drying time, increase transparency, or help an artist achieve thick impasto effects with acrylics.

Acrylic paints dry quickly because they are water based. The time it takes for water to evaporate is how long it takes for these paints to dry.

What surfaces are suitable to paint on when using acrylic paints?

Because acrylic paint is very adhesive and flexible by nature, it can be used on a wide variety of grounds. It is recommended that an acrylic emulsion "gesso" be used to prepare whatever surface is to be painted. The best surface is a slightly textured one, such as masonite or hardboard. Heavy paper and canvas are also excellent surfaces.

 

What kind of brushes work best when using acrylic paints?

Both natural and synthetic bristles can be used with acrylics, depending on the artist's preference. But, acrylics, being alkaline in nature, can be hard on natural hair brushes.

The brushes must be kept clean. If acrylic paint dries in a brush it is very hard to get out without using strong solvents that might damage the brush. Clean brushes promptly by washing them with warm water and mild soap when finished painting.

What is the difference between artist and student grade acrylics?

Fine artists acrylics use high quality, finely ground and milled pigments, chosen for lightfastness and clarity of color as well as mixing qualities. They also have more resin solids.

Student acrylics use pre-milled pigment dispersions, where most colors are mixed or blended rather than used pure in an acrylic binder. Pigment concentrations are lower, and fillers are used.

What is the difference between artist acrylics and craft or exterior acrylics?

Artist acrylics adhere well to canvas, and have a flexible binder. They are not as well suited to other surfaces, and they do not survive as well when exposed to outdoor elements.

Exterior grade acrylics concentrate on good lightfastness and a binder with a slightly harder, more durable quality to it. They are not as easily damaged by humidity or extremes of weather.

Craft acrylics use a binder resin related to fabric paint, but without as much wetting agent, which draws the color into fabric. They can be heat set into fabrics easily.

 

 

 
Videos
  • Blick Brand Paints
    Blick Brand Paints

    At Blick we pride ourselves on providing artist quality paints at the most competitive price. See why our Blick Artists' Acrylics, Artists' Oils and Artists' Watercolors are an excellent choice for any fine artist - even one on a budget!

  • Daler Rowney System 3 & 3D Acrylic Paints
    Daler Rowney System 3 & 3D Acrylic Paints

    System 3 is a soft body acrylic that offers the covering power and lightfastness you would find in an artist quality paint. System 3D is an ultra thick acrylic that has an oil-like consistency and great peaking capabilities. See more about these affordable, quality paints in our video.

  • Amsterdam Acrylic Paints
    Amsterdam Acrylic Paints

    This video shows the attributes and differences of both the Standard and Expert Series Amsterdam Acrylic Paints. Whatever level of acrylic painter, one of these paints is right for you.

  • Chroma Atelier Interactive Paint
    Chroma Atelier Interactive Paint

    Acrylics will never be the same again. Chroma Atelier Interactive Professional Artists Acrylic paint is both "traditional" and "revolutionary". Interactive, when used in conjunction with a simple water sprayer, can be kept wet and workable for as long as needed to complete and unify a painting then dries rapidly as desired. It can even be "reopened" weeks and months later with the use of Unlocking Formula.

  • Golden Heavy Body Acrylics
    Golden Heavy Body Acrylics

    Heavy body acrylics were the original paint line created by Golden. This artist quality acrylic line offers the largest assortment of unique pure pigments. No fillers or extenders are used. Each color is formulated according to the pigments unique characteristics for optimal results.

  • Golden Artist Fluid Acrylics
    Golden Artist Fluid Acrylics

    Golden Fluid Acrylics were created for a more aqeous acrylic paint appication but with the same pigment intensity of the heavy body paints. No more thinning out your color for fluid painting techniques!

  • Golden Open Acrylics
    Golden Open Acrylics

    What makes Golden Open Acrylics different from traditional acrylics? These artist quality Open paints allow for wet-on-wet techniques and a more relaxed approach to acrylic painting, similar to that of oil painting.

  • Liquitex Acrylic Colors
    Liquitex Acrylic Colors

    Liquitex acrylic colors come in four distinct viscosities; Soft Body, Heavy Body, Super Heavy Body and Ink. Each contain high levels of pigment for intense color and great coverage. Whatever your creative endeavor or application, there is a Liquitex Acrylic paint that will meet your needs.

 

 

 

 

Brushes by Name or Shape

 

 

Angular

Angular

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Flat ferrule, short-length hairs, set with longer hairs at one end. Useful for precise strokes, and for lines and curves, with thick or heavy color.

 

MEDIA

watercolor
acrylic
decorative

FIBER

bristle
synthetic

Bright

Bright

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Flat ferrule, short-length hairs, usually set in a long handle. Width and length of brush head is about equal. Useful for short, controlled strokes, and with thick or heavy color.

 

MEDIA

oil
acrylic
decorative

FIBER

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Fan

Fan

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Flat ferrule, spread hairs. Natural hair is more suitable for soft blending, and synthetic works well for textural effects. Useful for smoothing and blending, special effects and textures.

 

MEDIA

oil
acrylic
decorative

FIBER

bristle
badger
synthetic

Filbert

Filbert

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Thick, flat ferrule and oval-shaped medium to long hairs. Long handles. Natural hair is more suitable for blending because the hairs hold together when wet. With its soft rounded edges, the filbert is suitable for blending and figurative work.

 

MEDIA

oil
acrylic
decorative

FIBER

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Flat

Flat

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Flat ferrule, square-ended, with medium to long hairs. Provides lots of color capacity and easy maneuverability. Use for bold, sweeping strokes, or on edge for fine lines. Use heavier filling for heavier paint.

 

MEDIA

all
media

FIBER

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Hake

Hake

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

A hake brush is an oriental-style wash brush on a long flat handle. It is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

 

MEDIA

watercolor

FIBER

squirrel
goat
ox
bristle
synthetic

Highliner

Highliner

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Also known as an outliner. Round ferrule, square-ended brush, with extra-long hairs and a short handle. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for delicate lettering, outlining, and long continuous strokes.

 

MEDIA

ink
sign paint

FIBER

sable
squirrel
synthetic

Mop

Mop

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

A mop is a round, full version of the wash brush, made of soft, absorbent natural hair. It is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

 

MEDIA

watercolor

FIBER

squirrel

One Stroke

One Stroke

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Flat ferrule, square-ended medium to long length hairs. Short handles. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for painting block letters in a single stroke.

 

MEDIA

oil
ink
decorative
sign paint

FIBER

sable
squirrel
ox
synthetic

Oval Wash

Oval Wash

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Wash brushes come in varied shapes. The oval wash has rounded hairs, flat ferrules, and produces a soft edge, with no point. A wash brush is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

 

MEDIA

watercolor

FIBER

squirrel
ox
bristle
synthetic

Quill

Quill

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Plastic or natural quill ferrule, with a permanent or detachable handle. Long hairs, and a natural-shaped tip. The writer has a round ferrule and a short handle. Useful for lettering and poster work. Good on smooth surfaces such as glass.

 

MEDIA

ink
sign paint

FIBER

sable
squirrel

Round

Round

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Round ferrule, round or pointed tip. Useful for detail, wash, fills, and thin to thick lines. A pointed round is used for fine detail. A detailer is a pointed round with very short hair.

 

MEDIA

all media

FIBER

all hair
synthetic

Sash

Sash

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

The long handles and tapered bristles are perfect for detailed work on large paintings. Also good for delicate decorative painting.

 

MEDIA

oil
acrylic
decorative

FIBER

bristle

Script/Liner

Script

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Pointed, narrow brush with very long hair. Liners are shorter and narrower. Short handles, round ferrules. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for delicate lettering, highlighting, outlining, and long continuous strokes.

 

MEDIA

watercolor
decorative
ink
sign paint

FIBER

sable
ox
synthetic

Square Wash

Square Wash

DESCRIPTION AND USAGE

Wash brushes come in varied shapes. The square wash can produce varying shapes and widths, and often has a short, "flat-footed" handle for scraping, burnishing, and separating watercolor paper from blocks. A wash brush is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

 

MEDIA

watercolor

FIBER

squirrel
ox
bristle
synthetic

 

 

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Mat
Anatomy of a proper mat Click to enlarge Matting and Framing Your Work

Matting your watercolors protects and enhances the look of your paintings by cleanly defining the image edges and isolating your image in a uniform neutral or complementary background. Mats are made from mat board which should be made from all cotton acid free fiber.

 


How to make a mat 101

As a start, choose neutral off white mats either warm or cool depending of the overall hue and value of your painting. After you've been at it a while and have seen what others are doing with colors and bevels and layers feel free to experiment. But fancier mats are best left to your local framers or purchased precut.

With precut frame and mat sets you will paint your painting to fit a particular frame and mat size, so test your painting during it's dry stages by laying the mat on top and work with that shape in mind. A lot of artists commit to working in only a few standard sizes where the whole process from easel to installation is simplified. Smart or lazy? Six of one...

Otherwise you cut your own mats and order quantities of your own pre built frames or buy frame kits at your local art store. This method also works well for preparing a large quantity of matted pieces for an upcoming show or (gasp!) art festival.

 


Basic Mat Cutting

Materials: 2 pieces mat board, heavy metal straight edge, a sharp pencil, and xacto knife with fresh #11 blades or a mat/utility knife with new blades. A roll of linen tape. The tape usually comes in a boxed roll, the actual tape must be peeled from it's backing before securing. And you'll need a large flat surface you can cut things on with abandon.

 

Always be aware of where your fingers are in relation to the sharp blades you'll be using. (Duh)

You have two layers, a front and a back, or top and bottom, whatever fits your perceptual orientation in space. Both pieces should be larger than your painting and cut to the size of the frame you will ultimately use. The top piece is the decorative mat side with a finish and color that should compliment the piece you are matting. The bottom is usually a heavy gauge museum rag board in neutral gray. After determining the actual dimensions of the image you want to reveal through the mat, subtract the image dimensions from the mats outside edge dimensions. Split the difference and you have the dimensions to measure in from each edge to mark your top mat.

Think about it.

Once you mark your top mat lightly with a sharp pencil and lay your art over top just to see if it's looking right, take an xacto knife and in each corner of the hole you're going to be cutting press the tip of your #11 in the very corner and make a slight but thorough cut on each point of the corner, the motion is sort of like slicing a sandwich. You just want a clean corner cut that allows you to cut the long cuts easier. You really don't want to make an over cut while cutting a corner, that can ruin your day. Rotate your mat and do the other three corners.

Next take a METAL straight edged ruler, the heavier the gauge the better, and lay it to the left of the left line with the mat lying flat in front of you. Align the straight edge and press it firmly with spread fingers of your left hand. (NOTE: You are NOT trying to cut all the way through on the first cut.) Take your xacto or mat knife (with fresh blades) and starting at the corner cut, pull a cut with a firm but controllable pressure, letting the blade align and slide down the ruler as you guide the cut through to the other corner. Too much pressure on the blade can cause you to slide or fumble due to imperfect grain in the board. Make direct, confident, and smooth cuts. It can take 3 or more good cuts to get all the way through. You can notice the sound of the cut change as your blade exits the other side of the mat board. Sometimes once I make the initial cut, I move the ruler off to the side and do the final cuts freehand. It's a good challenge.

After you complete all four cuts gently lift the edge nearest you and gently push the cut out to make sure you cut it thoroughly. If there's any stuck bits use your knife to cut them cleanly. You now have a Window.

Lay your bottom mat down, lay your top mat on top of it sandwich style. With the top edge of the mat sandwich to your left, lift the top mat like a page in a book, up and left and over, and lay it next to the bottom mat. Align the edges that are butting together. Take a precut length of linen tape and lay it straight down the middle of the abutting pieces. Press it smooth. Reinforce the outside hinge corners with strips of 4-6" tape (see illustration) Fold the page back over to the right, like you forgot what you read on the previous page.

Lift the top mat and slide your art work into the mat sandwich. Lower the mat, take a look, lift the mat, move the art a bit, lower the mat, take a look. Once it's aligned in the window to your liking, gently lift the top mat back and out of the way. Pressing lightly on your artwork mark the corners in pencil on the bottom mat board surface. The painting should be hinged at it's top edge using rice paper hinges (see illustration) instead of linen tape. If for some reason the painting is torn from the mat board, the rice paper will tear leaving the painting unharmed. (I have often used linen tape for this purpose with no obvious problems to date.)

If you are preparing a large batch of matted pieces for sale at a show or such you would stop at this point and back your pieces with 1/4" foam board and shrink-wrap them. It is an ideal temporary storage/display strategy for selling loose artwork. And it looks more like professional product.

 
 


Framing your matted art

 

You have a matted painting whose exact dimensions match your frame. You assemble or unpack your frame. With the frame laying face down and stripped down to the glazing (Plexiglas is recommended) take time to make sure it is clean and free of all dust and debris. Check your matted piece to make sure it is clean and slide it face down against the glazing. There is usually a backing piece of cardboard that nestles on top of the back of the mat. If not, cut your own to size from a piece of foam board 3/16" to 1/4" thick.

While things are still loose, hold it all together and flip it over to make sure no debris or stray cat or dog hairs have snuck in between the glazing and the top mat. Secure the backing board by what ever method your frame has available. Some have pre-bent tabs, some have tension clips, wooden frames require brads or if you frame a lot invest in a Framing Tool that drives framing points (small, flat metal shapes) with the click of the lever. You may finish the back by using brown tape to seal over the edges between the mat and frame. It helps keeps dust and moisture out.

Next set your screw eyes. They come in various sizes depending on the weight of the piece you'll be hanging. On wooden frames I generally measure 1/3 the distance down from the back top edge on each side. If it is soft wood you can start driving the screw eyes with your fingers until they catch. They can be further tightened by inserting a small screwdriver in the eye to use as a handle to twist. If you're using hardwood you must tap or drill a pilot hole first. I've had many screw eyes snap off during tightening in hardwood. Metal frames usually come with their own special loop fittings that slide along an internal track and lock in place. You can also install "D" rings on a heavier wooden frame which lie flat in a thin metal bracket allowing the frame to hang closer to the wall.

Measure a length of hanging wire (a braided soft metal wire) about 6" longer than the gap between the two screw eyes. Loop one end through the eye about 3" and bend it back and twist the cut end around the wire, securing it to the eye. Loop the other end and snug it through before you twist and secure the wire. Over time the wire will stretch a bit so you don't want it too loose.

When hanging your art take the time to use actual picture hanging hooks. They are designed so the nail secures strongly at an angle and the hook allows the picture wire to hang and slide freely without binding. If your walls tend to chip, lay a piece of tape over the mark before you drive in the hook. Any dust or chipping from the nail will be secured by the tape. You could also end up with a 3" crater in your wall...depends on the age and structural integrity of the walls. It happens.

Hang your painting proudly and start over again.

 


Online Framing Supplies

Documounts
Stu-Art
Aljon International
MettleCo
Frame USA
Hardwood Frames
Framing Supplies
 
 


 Sizes for Paper, Mats, and Frames

 

FRAME SIZE ART SIZE MAT OPENING SUGGESTED PAPER
5 x 7
8 x 10
9 x 12
11 x 14
12 x 16
14 x 18
16 x 20
16 x 20
18 x 24
18 x 24
20 x 24
20 x 27**
22 x 28
22 x 28
24 x 30
3 x 5
5 x 7
6 x 9
8 x 10
9 x 12
11 x 14
11 x 14
12 x 16
12 x 18
14 x 20
16 x 20
15 x 22
15 x 22
18 x 24
18 x 24
2 .75 x 4.5
4.5 x 6.5
5.5 x 8.5
7.5 x 9.5
8.5 x 11.5
10.5 x 13.5
10.5 x 13.5
11.5 x 15.5
11.5 x 15.5
13.5 x 19.5
15.5 x 19.5
14 x 21
14.5 x 20.5
17.5 x 23.5
17.5 x 23.5

1/16 Sht. - 5.5 x 7.5 or 6 x 9
Montval Block - 6 x 9
1/8 Sht. - 7.5 x 11
Std. 9 x 12 Block
1/4 Sht. (or 10 x 14 Block)
1/4 Sht. (or 10 x 14 Block)
12 x 16 Block
12 x 16 Block
Half Sheet or 14 x 20 Block
18 x 24 Block
Half Sheet or 12 x 16 Block
Half Sheet or 12 x 16 Block
18 x 24 Block
18 x 24 Block

*Typical Dimensions listed, may vary with manufacturer
**Odd Size

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: 07/17/17

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