Monday, September 27, 2010

What colors should I buy?

You will, of course, need the basic primary colors  Yellow, Red and Blue– but which shades in each?  Here are Kathaleen’s suggestions.  Feel free to come to the new Art Supply store inside ArtWorks on the Square for personal help and suggestions. 

Cadmium yellow light (cool – greenish tinge)    
Cadmium yellow deep (warm – orange tinge)  
Yellow Ochre (gray yellow) 
Naples Yellow (highlight yellow)
Paints needed for mixing to make often used colors: 
Transparent Earth Yellow,
Transparent yellow oxide,
Cadmium Orange.

Alizarine Crimson (cool – purplish tinge)  multi-use mixing color in pure form and also used a lot in hue form
Cadmium Red Light  - (warm – orangish tinge)
Paints needed for mixing to make often used colors:
Transparent Red Oxide,
Cadmium Red Medium,
Permanent red (transparent),
Quinacridone red (man-made transparent color) 
Quinacridone Rose – sometimes called Rose Madder (man-made transparent color)

Ultramarine blue (warm blue) and
Cobalt Blue (cool- purplish tinge) 
Cerulean blue hue does not mix clean, but is often used for skies. 
Phthalo Blue is man-made and is a good mixing blue with other colors and with whites.

Basic Earth colors: 
Raw Sienna,
Burnt Sienna,
Sap Green and
Raw Umber

Paints needed to make other often used colors: 
Phthalo Green (man-made) if using any white because its tinting strength is purer and it won’t gray the color. 
Viridian is the standard mixing green because it is naturally transparent but it looses its color when mixed with white.

Black:  Ivory and Mars.  When mixed with other yellow colors they can make great shades of greens.

Whites:  Basic is Titanium White.  It will lighten the value and tint of a color.  Winsor Newton has come out with a new mixing white, which is transparent, so it can adjust value in a color without changing the color.

Why do some paint colors cost more than others?

There are several factors that determine the cost of paints.  While quality can play a part, there are other factors that make a difference too.  Kathaleen explains~

Paints with colors (pigments) that are readily available and more abundant are the cheapest, like earthy colors that come from clays or dirt i.e. raw umber comes from Umbria, Italy and burnt sienna comes from Sienna, Italy. Paints whose color comes from rarer earth elements are more expensive like the pure reds. (there is not much in nature that is bright red except for the cardinal) Also, paints with pure pigments (no mixing with any other color or medium) are usually more expensive.  Thus Color (pure) cost twice as much as Color (Hue).  To the naked eye the color from each tube can look identical – the BIG difference is when you mix this paint with another color.  Think of a thin sheet of colored glass laid over another color with the end result being a vibrant, clean new color.  But if you use a hued color, the end result will be grayer and more opaque (can’t see through it) color.   In other words, pure pigments are transparent and used for mixing, while hues are for using as is.  Better made paints are given a SERIES number, usually 1-4.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What the hey is GESSO?

Paint adheres to surfaces via a chemical bond.  If this chemical covalent bond is absent, the paint will peel or crack off.  Gesso is a primer that makes sure paint (acrylic or oil) sticks to a surface.  You can use Gesso on rocks, boards and glass as well.  It also seals the fibers in canvases to protect them from moisture and chemical damage.  In the old days, they used rabbit glue (made by boiling rabbit skin and bone), but now days the chemist have made it much easier on us.  Keep in mind there are different price levels of Gesso as well.  The cheaper ones are for studio or general use and are relatively thin. The pricier ones are thicker so you don’t need as many layers. 

Have more questions about gesso or other art supplies?  Post your comments or questions below. Shop for your art supplies at Art Works on the Square in Fayetteville, GA.  We offer a large selection of top quality products in a variety of price ranges.  Plus you get help for a knowledgeable staff. 

Art Canvases

When you are buying your art supplies are you ever confused by the multitude of choices and the wide price ranges?  Whether you are a student, hobbyist or professional you want to be sure you have invested your money properly on the right supplies before you invest your heart and soul in a project.   Artworks on the Square will be publishing a series of blogs written by Kathaleen Brewer that will help you as you shop for supplies.  The first in the series is on canvases.  Don’t forget the Artworks on the Square Art Supply Store- not only is there a large selection of quality products, you also have the advantage of Kathaleen or one of the other staff to help you make the right decision for your project.

Why so many canvas choices?  How do I choose?

First of all, stick with the standard sizes so you won’t have to spend big bucks on framing!  Basic standard sizes are 8x10, 11x14, and 16 x 20.  If you want to go larger, it is suggested you buy “gallery wrap” or  “deep” canvases, which mean you, can paint the sides and won’t have to buy frames.  Watch out for really cheap bundled packs from China-these canvases aren’t always true sizes or squared properly, so when you go to put them in a frame, there will be gaps around the edges.  Keep to the ageless mantra - you get what you pay for.

Basically, less expensive canvases have large cotton fibers and a loose weave that means they are rough textured and paint will bleed into the weave.  You can get around this by adding additional layers of Gesso (dry and sand in between layers) to fill up the open weave and smooth. If the label says triple gesso, keep in mind there are cheap, watery gesso and thick, quality gessoes.The tighter the weave, and the better the sealant, the higher the price. 

Remember that cotton stretches and sags with temperature and humidity and can rot if not sealed properly.  Then there is linen, which last longer and does not rot (duh-think Old World Masters).  Linen usually has a tighter weave, thinner fibers and a light tan color. 

If you are a beginner, go with the less expensive cotton. It takes a year or two before your work will evolve to the point where better-made canvases are worth it.  Intermediate painters should start working on better-made canvases (pre-sealed with higher grade gesso).  Most professionals paint on linen.  If you are a detail painter or portrait painter, stick with “smooth” surfaces so you will get sharp edges. Abstract or loose painters can get away with “rough” surfaces.

PS.  We use the Fredrix or Tara brands, which are made here in Georgia, and the Winsor Newton brands, which are made in England.

Do you have more canvas questions, do you have anything to add or is there a topic you would like covered?  If so post a comment below. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One More Generation Art Auction at ArtWorks on the Square

Carter and Olivia Reis, of Fayetteville,  were excited and ready for their  Art Auction at ArtWorks on the Square to begin last Saturday.  Carter and Olivia are the founders of One More Generation (OMG), a non-profit organization that sends funds to help endangered species. Several children previously painted pictures for this auction, plus there were donations by wildlife watercolorist Dylan Scott Pierce, jewelry donated by ArtWorks' artists, and signed books from Jungle Jack.  By the way, they just got back from New Orleans where they delivered a truck load of  goods to help clean oiled birds and turtles.  See their website