Know your substrates: guide to paper and canvas

As your artistic horizons start to expand, it is natural that you will want to explore the different substrates on which you can create art. And as you explore different substrates, you will eventually settle on your favorite surfaces to work on.

While there are plenty of surfaces on which you can create, this post focuses on paper and canvas.

Choosing the right paper for your art projects

160 gsm paper – good for sketching; not recommended for use with water-based media

The kind of paper you will choose for your art projects is determined by what it is that you aim to create. If you’re going to do charcoal sketches, for example, you don’t need to buy fancy acrylic paper. So let’s dive into the world of paper so that you can be better prepared when you walk into the art store looking for your next art journal or sketch book.Continue reading

Just print: Printmaking made easy

Printmaking is a beautiful, though complex art. You have to first design your print, then etch or engrave it on metal plates; or use blocks of wood to create woodcuts and wood engravings; or linoleum to create linocuts. These are then inked and printed onto paper or fabrics. There’s also the screenprinting process, where screens made of silk fabric are used to create a print.

Red Fuji southern wind clear morning

All of these methods produce some beautiful works of art, and the results of each vary slightly. While we cannot recreate these exactly, there are a number of ways in which we can create stunning prints much more easily. These prints can be standalone works of art, used as a foundation on which we can build up a larger piece, or a part of our original library of printed papers that we use as collage elements in our art practice.Continue reading

Impasto your way to textured paintings

Impasto is an excellent technique for creating some delicious texture on your paintings. It involves laying on a thick layer of paint with a palette knife or brush to exaggerate the brush/palette knife strokes. Impasto techniques were used to excellent effect by impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as in self portraits by artists such as Rembrandt.

Take a look at Starry Night by Van Gogh, without this technique in the sky, don’t you think the painting would have looked a lot flatter and a little less interesting?Continue reading

Harness the power of water: 5 fun painting techniques

Over the last few days, we’ve talked about brushes and collage, creating abstract art and examining art deco patterns to gain some inspiration for our art journal pages. Today, let’s look at some fun ways to add paint to paper.

5 fun painting techniques

Drips: This is one of my favorite things to do. Use some watered down acrylics or acrylic ink, stand the journal upright, and watch the paint drip down the page. Take a look at the super short video below to see this technique in action.Continue reading

Glue primer: Choosing the right glue for your art journals

When you’re working in an art journal, chances are high that you would, at some point, want to glue something into it. This is why it is very important to understand glue, because honestly, not all glue is created equal. So let’s get right into exploring the different types of glues and what they are best used for.

Glue sticks

The ubiquitous glue stick that we all have lying around at home is best used to stick envelopes that you’re going to post (if you send out snail mail, that is!) Do not use it to glue down collage elements, especially if you are going to paint over them. Glue sticks don’t have the best adhesion, and you’ll find your papers starting to peel off the page, which can be really disheartening.Continue reading

Faux Encaustics: recipes and a step-by-step demo

Yesterday, we looked at encaustic painting, the studio set-up for encaustics, and how to make your own encaustic medium. But working with hot wax isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And encaustics does have a sharp learning curve.

So what’s a person who loves the look of encaustics to do?
Try out faux encaustic techniques, of course!

Faux encaustics with acrylic mediums and paints

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{E} The wonderful world of Encaustics

Encaustic assemblage Gift from the Shoreline by Mitzi Humphrey

Encaustic assemblage “Gift from the Shoreline” by Mitzi Humphrey

Encaustic painting is an ancient technique (perfected in the 4th century BC by Pausians) wherein artists used pigments mixed in hot, melted wax to create a painting. In more modern day mixed media application, artists use layers of encaustic wax on a painted surface to give it a dreamy, otherwordly effect.

The beauty of encaustics is that you can incorporate organic materials like leaves and flowers, fused in place under layers of wax. The resulting paintings are breathtakingly beautiful!

Encaustic setup

The encaustic studio setup is quite easy, though there are a few things that you need to be cautious about:

* Make sure you are working in a well-ventiallated areaContinue reading

Discovering Art Deco patterns and using them in your art journal

You may be wondering why I’m talking about the Art Deco movement in a series that focuses on art techniques. Art deco, after all, was more about architecture and interiors. This immensely popular movement, which gained prominence in the 1920s and 1930s, was influenced by many different styles, including

the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colors of Fauvism and the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe and Louis XVI; as well as by the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. – Source: Wikipedia

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Collage: a quick and dirty primer

Most of us have created a collage at some point or the other – most commonly as teens, when we pasted fun photographs of friends and family on some chart paper, or put together a vision board with some images and text. But collage can be so much more than that!

Getting started with collage: supplies

Gather together images, newspaper and magazine clippings, painted and handmade paper, ribbon, thread, photographs, and anything else that can be glued onto a page or canvas board and you have the makings of a collage.Continue reading

Brush primer: choose the right brushes for your art projects

Brushes are one of the most essential supplies in an artist’s toolbox. Given the wide variety of brushes – both in terms of shapes and bristles – it’s also very confusing when it comes to choosing the right brush for your use.

But before we start, let me just state that this brush primer is geared towards acrylics. There are a vast variety of brushes available for oil paints, watercolours and encaustics that are beyond the scope of this article.

When it comes to brushes, the options can be overwhelming – synthetic bristles or natural bristles, hog hair or pony hair, white bristles or yellow (and what’s the difference), what sizes, what shapes, when will you use one over the other. The options are truly overwhelming! So let’s take them all up one at a time.Continue reading