Monday, September 30, 2019

A Rose Grows in Rehab - Using Watercolors as a Healing Tool

As a visual artist, I am always discovering ways that art can be used to enhance the lives of others. One of those ways is to aid in the healing of those mentally or physically ill.

My Tools

This year I started traveling with a small watercolor kit. The size of the kit is a "4x6" block. I also use the Strathmore blank post cards. The imperial watercolor paper works well for this kind of thing.

I went to a physical rehabilitation facility on a Monday evening equipped with these tools. The woman and friend I was visiting was in her seventies and recovering from surgery on her neck.
After we chatted for a while, I asked her if she would like a picture for her room. Her answer was a resounding YES. I should note that she already had an assortment of my prints in her home. Consequently, it was not a hard to convince her to allow me to paint.

My wife entertained her with a modern day version of a familiar bible story while I worked. I drew the rose first and completed it with the watercolors in her favorite color-Yellow. This enabled me to complete the work quickly.

When the rose was completed, this woman with hands still fighting for mobility reached out to touch the painting. Her face glowed as she looked with awe at her picture. I signed it and wrote a note of encouragement before I hung it where she could see it at all times.

Her roommate then begged me to paint a picture for her also. I did.

I am convinced, as many artists reading this will agree that artists must constantly work on their craft. Therefore, if you work on your art while visiting someone it can be a win-win situation.

Please know that I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU GIVE AWAY YOUR MASTERPIECES. However, believe that the person who is ill will see what ever you can contribute as a masterpiece. You will also be donating your time and healing concern. Isn't that what art is all about?

Lets all keep working to bring healing art to the world.

Ray Horner is a fine artist, inspirational speaker and art instructor

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Oil Painting Techniques - The Many Ways to Apply Oil Paint

Oil paint is one of the most versatile and adaptable painting mediums in existence today. There are many techniques and effects possible with oil paint. Oil paint can be applied in thin transparent glazes or washes, or the paint can be mixed to a thick buttery consistency and applied using a painting knife. There really appears to be no end to the wonderful ways you can create art with this amazing painting medium. This article will talk about some of the many ways you can use oil paint.

Dry brush

The dry brush technique involves using a small amount of oil paint straight from the tube. It is then brushed thinly onto your support with a bristle brush. This technique works particularly well with a rough surface. The raised parts of your surface pick up the paint, while the dips or valleys in your support do not. This creates a broken color effect where the color of your canvas shows through.

Painting On A Toned Ground

The white of a canvas can sometimes be too bright or have too much contrast which makes starting a painting a bit difficult. When you cover your support with a uniform toned ground, it makes it much easier to judge the values in your painting. You can use any color you like to tone your ground really, but the more popular approach is to use warm tones of red, yellows and browns, which provide a wonderful richness to the finished work.

Here is an example of how to paint on a toned ground using Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre. First you create the wash by mixing the Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre together with a paint thinner (use turpentine, or if you are like me, and are allergic to turpentine, use a water soluble oil paint). Apply the mixture generously to your support and completely cover it with a large bristle brush. Let this mixture stand for a couple of minutes and then wipe off the excess wash with a cloth.

Alla Prima Painting

Alla Prima painting, also known as "direct painting", is a technique of oil painting where the work is usually finished in just one sitting. You are probably familiar with the artist Bob Ross, who made this painting method quite popular on his TV Show. I am sure like me, you watched Bob paint in amazement as he completed a beautiful painting in under 30 mintues.

The paint is applied wet onto wet directly onto the canvas usually with no underpainting or sketches. It might be a good idea in the beginning to lay down a sketch with some thinned down oil paint. This way you will have a general idea where your colors will be placed. You must be careful using this technique as your painting can become quite muddy if you do not apply the colors correctly on your canvas. It takes practice, so don't be discouraged if your first, second or even third painting does not come out the way you anticipated. Keep practicing and let your imagination run wild. As Bob used to say, "It's Your World".

Working With Painting Knives

If you have never worked with painting knives, then it is highly recommended that you give them a try. This type of painting method is very different from traditional brush painting and when you lay down your first stroke of paint with a painting knife, you will immediately see why. Painting with a knife can be best described as spreading butter on a piece of bread and you should keep your painting at a butter or cream like consistency when using painting knives. Do not use your palette knives to paint with. They have a different construction and are not made for painting. Painting knives have more flexibility to them and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You can manipulate paint in a variety of different ways with a knife just by changing your hand position on the handle. You can hold your hand down low on the handle to smear the paint over your support. Move your hand up to the top of the handle and you can use your finger to gently push the blade into the paint to create small dabs of color. You can also turn your knife blade on its side for scraping away paint or for creating hard lines.


If you never produced a painting using the glazing technique, then you should definitely give this a try as well. Your painting will have a different appearance then if you were to complete a painting using traditional color mixing techniques. Glazing tends to give colors more luminescence. The colors are not mixed together first before applying, rather, they are mixed optically using single transparent layers of color. For instance, if you wanted to create the color green using glazes, you would not mix yellow and blue together on your palette first. You would first apply a thin glaze of blue, wait until it dries, then apply a thin glaze of yellow, which would then create your green. Each layer must be completely dry before applying subsequent layers. Usually, the first step in using the glazing technique is to create a monochromatic (different values of the same color) underpainting of the subject. Using only one color will help you to focus on form and tone first, rather than being too preoccupied with color at this stage. Wait until your under painting is dry to begin applying your first layer of color. This technique is tricky and does require practice, but it is not as difficult as some may lead you to believe.

For more oil painting lessons and techniques be sure to visit Creative Spotlite today, a free online community for artists and crafters. It is also recommended that you visit the Creative Spotlite Art Instruction Blog, where you will find more painting lessons including step by step painting videos.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Isn't Watercolors Hard?

It seems that each time I show my watercolor paintings at shows or events, someone will say to me, "Watercolors are hard."

I smile and ask, "Why do you say that?"

THE MYTH : There is a myth circulating that painting with watercolors is difficult. Why? Is it because watercolors can become uncontrollable and people tend to want to be in control? Is it the effects of the medium? Or, what, I do not know? This myth continues to fascinate me and who knows, maybe, someday, I will have an answer.

THE TRUTH : Watercolor painting is not unlike other disciplines. Whenever a person undertakes a new experience there seems to be a "training period" where learning and skills are acquired. At this stage in the game, most people seek out an experienced person who they admire and who possesses that which they would like to emulate. This is true with any endeavor, so why not watercolor painting?

What makes watercolors different? What makes them so different is that you never know what will happen. Are you a person who likes surprises? Watercolors will surprise you each and every time you paint. A colleague of mine has a favorite saying which is "Let's see what will show up when I paint today." It is absolutely fascinating what water and pigment will do. To repeat an effect is challenging or not possible. Each time it is unique.

There are established techniques for watercolors as with any other art medium. These skills are helpful yet not necessary to express your self in watercolors. Many artists, and I believe everyone is an artist at heart, freely paint and allow what appears to tell them where to go or what to do next. Sometimes "what is" can be pleasing by itself. There are NO RULES! It is my belief that artistic expression lies in all of us and requires only a sense of trust and the freedom to allow the flowing for magic to happen.

A favorite way I freely express myself with watercolors is to paint Mandalas. Basically, painting within a circle, a mandala, creates a meditative state whereby a person freely paints anything they wish. In my experience sharing mandala painting with students, we have witnessed an array of all beautiful, unique mandala creations.

The one thing that sets watercolors apart from other painting media is that it is a spontaneous method. First impressions are vital. You cannot go back and change it, or rarely. This might be a little intimidating to people, yet it can be very refreshing, too. I have found that my favorite paintings have had this light, first impression touch which magically flows, no effort. It is just there.

Not every piece is a masterpiece. Of course, there is always more paper. I must admit that I have turned less successful paintings into new paintings with collage. Watercolor paintings are full of happy accidents. You will never know what to expect and this is the nature of watercolors and most likely fuels the myth.

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION: The fun of creating is what it we are all about, right? It is our connection with our soul. I feel as if I learn everyday when I sit down to create a watercolor painting. Watercolors change, I change, the subjects change. People tend to avoid change because it requires letting go of external layers of beliefs. Maybe the myth is true that watercolors are difficult, what do you think?

Joanne Osband is an accomplished artist and registered art therapist who is a kind and masterful guide for assisting others to discover the gifts that live within us.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Acrylic Painting Techniques

The acrylic painting medium is a fairly new addition to the various painting mediums available to today's artists. It has been around since the 1950's and has been continually under development and refinement ever since.

Acrylic paint is highly favored amongst artists because of its wonderful versatility. It can be applied thickly as an impasto having rich texture or in washes mimicking the characteristics of watercolor.

Another likable characteristic of acrylic paint is its permanence. Acrylic paint is not susceptible to yellowing or hardening with age. With acrylic paint, the artist does not need to be concerned with the order the paint is applied or other special techniques that ensure the paint film remains free from cracking. So it can be said that acrylic paint is much easier to use than oil paint.

Yet another characteristic that invites new artists to this medium is its fast drying time. Since acrylic paint dries so quickly, colors can be applied and overlaid quicker than with oil painting.

There are however a few downsides to the quick drying time of acrylic paints:

1) The paint will not remain workable for very long, so you have to work quickly.

2) The fast drying time of acrylics can also ruin brushes if the brushes are not cleaned immediately.

3) Acrylic paint is not the best medium for direct painting outdoors, especially on a bright sunny day. Whatever paint you put out on your palette will begin to dry quickly and form a skin over the surface of the paint making it very difficult to work with.

Watercolor Effects

Acrylic paint works wonderfully as a transparent medium, similar to watercolor. Acrylics do have an advantage over watercolors. You can lay out a number of thin washes over one another without fear of disturbing the colors underneath. You must wait for one layer to dry completely before applying another of course. Once each layer dries it becomes insoluble in water. The only disadvantage to using acrylics as a watercolor medium is the difficulty in modifying the color. Once acrylic paint begins to dry it becomes rather difficult to work with. One of the biggest problems is the tendency for washes to dry with unwanted hard edges. You can avoid this problem in one of two ways. You can either dampen the paper before the paint is applied or you can use an additional brush dampened with water. Use one brush to apply the paint and immediately soften the edge with the other brush that has been dampened with the water.

Blending Opaque Colors

With watercolor effects, the acrylic paint is applied in transparent washes. With the opaque technique the paint layers are non-transparent. Blending opaque acrylic colors can be a bit tricky as you are kind of pressed for time. It is important therefore to only work on areas that you know you will have enough time to blend. To blend two colors, first paint a block of each color side by side on your support. Where the two colors join paint down that line with a clean damp brush to soften the edges. To blend the colors even further, move the blending brush from side to side or up and down, until the desired blending is achieved.

Sgraffito Technique

Sgraffito is a scratching technique. It got its name from the Italian word graffiare which literally means to scratch. Just as the name implies it involves scratching into the surface of the wet paint which reveals either the ground or layer of dry color underneath. There are a number of different tools that can be used for this technique. Tools like screwdrivers or the sharpened end of an old paintbrush handle should suffice. It really depends on the support you are using. For instance, a screwdriver may not be the best tool if you are using a panel as a support. The hard metal may damage the panel, so you would need to use a softer tool.

Using a Squeegee

A regular squeegee that you can purchase at any hardware or auto store can create some interesting effects when used with acrylic paint. First you would squeeze out some paint blobs directly along one edge of your support. You can layout whatever colors you wish. Then with one fluid motion you would drag the paint across the support with your squeegee, which will smear and mix the paint and create some very unique and interesting designs. You may need to alter your squeegee a bit as the rubber blade that comes with most squeegees may not be rigid enough to drag the paint. You can remove the rubber blade and in its place glue in a regular wooden ruler. This will give you a flat sturdy edge to manipulate the paint.

I hope you have enjoyed this article on acrylic painting techniques. Take some time today to experiment with these techniques and have fun. Happy Painting!

Ralph Serpe is webmaster and founder of Creative Spotlite, a free arts and crafts community. For more free art lessons like this, visit: today. Visit our blog, as well for even more free art instruction.

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Jack Vettriano Prints - The Painter of the Singing Butler


From very humble beginnings, Jack Vettriano has risen to become one of the most successful living artists. Born as Jack Hoggan in 1941 in Fife, Scotland, he grew up in an industrial landscape. Like most of his peers, he left school aged 16 and entered the coal mining industry as an apprentice mining engineer. It was some years before he began exploring the artistic talents which have given him world renown.


His earliest paintings were copies of impressionist paintings but, in 1998 he submitted two canvases to the Royal Scottish Academy to be shown in their annual show. This marked a breakthrough in commercial terms for Vettriano as both paintings sold on the first day of the exhibition and, crucially, he was approached by other galleries who wanted to sell his output.

Other commercially successful exhibitions followed in places around the world including Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and New York.

Jack Vettriano prints: $1m

Many art critics dismiss Vettriano's work as 'vulgar' and 'devoid of imagination'. This criticism doesn't seem to affect the sales of his work though. According to the daily UK newspaper, The Guardian, he earns £500,000 (around $1,000,000) a year in print royalties alone. Maybe his prints are so highly valued because they are very romantic and evocative of a bygone, more elegant age.

Singing Butler and Others

The Singing Butler, his most famous work, which romantically shows an elegant couple dancing on a beach attended by what seems to be a maid and a butler sells more posters and postcards than any other painting in the UK.

Billy Boys is another iconic Vettriano painting that crops up in print form in lots of stylish locations. Once again, it's a beach scene which shows four immaculately dressed young men strolling along the shoreline.

Almost Turneresque is the hugely romantic 'Dance Me To The End Of Love' which shows three couples, once again, elegantly dressed, dancing through a misty haze.


Celebrity Client List

Vettriano has studios in Scotland and London. He is represented by the Portland Gallery, London and includes Jack Nicholson and Terence Conran amongst his collectors. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE.

Now it's easy to join the Celebrity Set and own your own copy of one of Vettriano's iconic and stylish paintings. Get the best deals on Jack Vettriano prints.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Acrylic Paints are Different From Oil Painting

Acrylic paint comes in a tube, just like oil paint. However, since acrylic paint is water-based meaning it dissolves in water instead of oil-based meaning you need to dissolve it in oil or turpentine, it's much easier to clean up after. You can soak your brushes and clean your hands in plain tap water, instead of smelly and flammable chemicals.
Another advantage to acrylic paint is that it dries much faster than oil paint usually
overnight. If you're working on a painting that needs to be done on time, that's
important. Acrylic paint was developed as a water-based alternative to traditional oil

Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry.
Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water, the finished painting can
resemble a watercolor or an oil painting.

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer
resin. Different from oil painting as watercolor is different from oil painting. There are
techniques, which are available only to acrylic painters, and there are also restrictions,
which are unique to acrylic painting.

Acrylic paints can achieve an oil-paint-like effect, and do so in much less time. Applied
to look like oil paints, acrylics are somewhat limited due to the superior color range of
oil paints, and the fact that acrylic dry to a shiny, smooth.

Acrylics paints are sometimes used in place of watercolors because acrylics dry closer
to the desired color slightly darker, usually, while watercolors dry lighter and often
unpredictably, especially for beginning artists.

Roger King has been writing articles on decorative interior painting for several years, and has been helping people find and review the best value for interior painting solutions.

Visit his web site for free tips and guides for your next painting project

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Affordable Paintings: Art Prints Buying Guide

The fastest way to bring beauty and style to a
room is to put up prints of beautiful paintings. Here's what you
should consider:
Painting Prints Price Range:

to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-$500 for an unframed
print--anything less than $50 is likely a poster. You should
expect to pay a similar amount to have the print framed--note that many
prints are designed to be exhibited without frames.

art prints were sold online, the only way to get them was through
galleries or museum shops, which had to charge a large markup.
Nowadays, art prints rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars, and
it is possible to find good-quality prints for under $100. Still,
those lower prices generally come on prints that have been put on
sale. Expect to pay more for perennial favorites like Van Gogh's
"Starry Night".


is at least one print of every painting or photograph on display in a
museum anywhere. Thanks to the internet, you can find the right
art print among the tens of thousands in existence and have it sent to
you, regardless of where the original is located. Since websites
will let you browse thumbnail images of the artwork, it's easy to find
a particular piece even if all you know about it is the name of the
artist or even just the time period in which it was created.

Painting Print Media

Prints are available in a variety of print stocks.

Prints vs. Original Paintings

all you're interested in is a picture to decorate your wall, rather
than in collecting, prints are a better value than original
paintings. Here's why:

* Expense.
Creating an original work of art generally takes weeks. If you
had to employ someone for several weeks or several months, how much do
you think it would cost at even a modest salary? That's why
original artwork generally costs at least thousands of dollars.
In order to have a real chance of your work of art having investment
value, you need to buy the work of an artist who is moving up in the
art market.

* Questionable
investment value. Original artwork only has investment value if
the price goes up eventually. Very often, the price does
not. In short, if you're interested in investing, buy
stocks--it's a safer bet. Only buy art because *you* value it.

* Knowledge.
You need to be very knowledgeable about what you are doing. Make
no mistake: there's plenty of fraud in this business. There is
also plenty of wishful thinking on the part of art dealers when it
comes to a work's long-term market prospects

to make your home more beautiful with prints of great paintings?
You're already in the right place: the internet has numerous websites
offering an unbelievable array of art prints. Start looking now.

Joel Walsh has written a buying guide for art prints at: paintings []:[]

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