Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Time

And the living's easy,,, at least that's how the song goes.

I should be settling to paint but find it hard to go in my work room and turn off the thoughts of being outside enjoying the warm beautiful weather.
I know full well there are things in that room that have to be done by a certain date. And what am I doing,,, everything but what I'm supposed to be doing...LOL

When I think of it I do my best painting when I'm under the gun. You know the time when you put your mind to the job and get started begrudgingly and the next thing you know you've lost all track of time and one thing leads you down the path to another and before you know it the piece is done.

Now I don't know if anyone else's has this problem but I have a terrible time deciding what design to paint. Especially if it's for someone or even a class, I don't know why that is but it keeps me awake some nights, yeah weird I know.

But when I figure out what I'm going to paint doing it is a breeze, it's like second nature and it's as easy as breathing. I am one of those that only wants to paint what I want to paint not what someone or something dictates. So what's the reason for telling you all this you ask. Because I thought I was the only one that felt this way,,,, wrong there are many painters who have the same feelings. So if your supposed to be painting for those fall craft shows and your doing everything BUT. Don't beat yourself up over it. Lets face it we go through this all the time and everything gets done. It always does .....Right? ....LOL Well almost always. So kick back mix a cold drink and enjoy the lazy day's of summer. After all this summer will never come again.


Monday, July 21, 2008


It's been pretty hot in these parts the last week. So what better time to chill out with this little guy. Snowmen are one of my favorite things to paint and they seem to bring a smile to every one's face. I guess because they look so cute and cuddly...LOL.

This design is from a Sandra Malone book, Season's Best 3. Over the years she has come up with some of the cutest snowmen and gingerbread designs. Sandra makes it easy to give all the millions of Snowman collectors something to Oooooo and Awwww over.
So if you want to chill out for a while crank up the A C and paint a snowman.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dry Brushing

When I first learned to dry brush it was on ceramic's. And it worked like a charm on that textured surface so I was kinda surprised that I could dry brush on a flat wooden surface. But it's true it really works and gives you a nice highlight or soft little touches of color where ever you need them.
Once I've base coated the design I usually like to float my shading in first then I start doing the highlights and dry brushing works so well for this. Especially if you dry brush one color over another.

For dry brushing I use old worn out taklon brushes that I've been using for base coating and floating. After a while brushes normally start to wear, the ends start to frizz out a little and they're not so nice to use for base coating but they work great for dry brushing.

To start the bristles are dry do not use water.
Dip the end of the bristles in your paint.
On a paper towel start to scrub the paint out of the bristles, remove as much of the paint as possible. Note this is why you use your old brushes because scrubbing the paint out of a new brush will ruin it quick. I like to wipe the brush across the back of my hand to make sure there are no blobs of paint left in my brush.
Now when you go to your surface to paint the best advise I can give is to use a light touch. I usually use a circular motion for large section or a left to right or back and forth motion when painting small narrow sections. Just like anything else this takes some practice to get used to it but it is well worth the practice to learn to do it right.

Notice the highlight and the green moss on the pot also the magenta color on the petals and down the center on the leaves was all dry brushed.
So don't throw out those worn brushes because they come in real handy.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A sign of Welcome

This is the next project for the class on July 13th.

I really like this piece, did you know that the Pineapple is the sign of hospitality and friendship?
Yes that's true, here you can read all about it
Anyway I have looked for the longest time for a pattern with a pretty pineapple and I was happy when Patricia Rawlinson offered this pretty pattern on her site.
I used canvas to paint this piece and I like the look, the dry brush technique gives it a look of very fine needle work.
This looks so nice out in the yard or hung by the front door to welcome your friends and family. I'm thinking I might like to do this design on a wooden sign to put out front with my house numbers on it. Well one of these days I'll get to it...LOL

Yesterday's Class

We had our first class yesterday in our new location and I think this new spot is going to work well for us. I had three new students join in and they seemed to enjoy themselves. That's what it's all about having a good time as you learn.
Everyone did a good job on their project. And as they paint more they will get more comfortable with handling their brushes and they will improve a little more with each class. It's just like anything else your learning to do for the first time rather it's sewing or floral arranging it takes patients and practice to pick up the skill.

I'm looking forward to many more classes and watching everyone learn and have a good time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Brushes, The Good the Bad & the Ugly

I think your brushes are your most important tools. A good brush is a real treasure. I know they sell all kinds of brushes at very cheap prices. But in this case the old saying "you pay for what you get ,and you get what you pay for" really comes into play here.
The cheap price is not always a good deal. A cheap brush can cause you nothing but grief and frustration and take all the fun out of your hobby.

Those nice fluffy brushes won't do the trick. Those are called mops and they are intended to do just that, mop.

What your looking for are nice Golden Taklon brushes that look like this. They have a nice springy bristle and they hold up well when your working your brush back and forth to side load your paint. I prefer Loew Cornell 7000 series brushes. They do cost a little more usually in the $5.00 to $6.00 range. So what you have to do is shop smart. Break out those Sunday Papers and use those coupons. Michael's will except AC Moore coupons or vice versa also they except Joann's coupons. And remember you don't need a million brushes. All you'll need are the very basic sizes of a #2 , #4, #6 square shader that you see here with the black handle.

You'll need a 10/0 liner brush LC7050 this is what I like to use for all my small detail work. And that's it, you can paint anything you want with those four brushes.

Now I'm not going to tell you these brushes won't wear out because they do, when they start to look like this...

you'll want to throw them out. STOP don't do that. They still serve a propose, no I'm not kidding. Now they will be used for dry brushing.
Now you need to know how to take care of those brushes so you'll be able to paint lots of different projects without a lot of hassles.
First thing I tell everyone when your painting you'll be tempted to leave a brush sit in the water basin. Or lay a brush down with paint still in the bristles, that's a Big No, No.
That's the two worst things you can do to your brushes. Why? Well if you leave it standing in water that will cause the bristles to bend so instead of nice straight bristles you'll have a nice C shaped bristled brush. Take it from me they don't even go around corners well ...LOL. Also the water will loosen the ferrule of the brush. I know your thinking what's a Ferrule? The ferrule is that shiny metal thingy that holds the bristles onto the wooden handle. So be sure to rinse the paint from your brushes as you use them and never ever ,ever leave them lay in water.
To clean my brushes I rinse them continuously as I'm working so paint doesn't have a chance to build up and dry around the ferrule aka that shinny metal thingy. When paint builds up around the ferrule and hardens it causes the bristles to separate and spread and that's no good.
So before I leave the table I pounce my brushes around in a small glass jar of alcohol that will remove any paint hiding up in there that will cause trouble later. Then I either leave the brushes laying flat on the table or stand them handle end down in a jar. And that's about it. Everyone has their own way of taking care of their brushes that works for them, with all the fancy cream cleaners and soaps. This just seems to work well for me and at a low cost. Besides the money you spend on those fancy soaps and cleaners you could use for more paint or brushes. Happy Painting.

Some Tricks of the Trade

Surface Preparation
Most of the time I paint on wood ,tin or glass surfaces. To have the best look to your finished piece it's best to prep these items before you start to paint your design. For wood I always check for holes, cracks, scratches or gouges. If you find any and usually you do just use a good wood filler. Let dry, once it's dry it's time to sand. Always sand with the grain of the wood.
Caution if your using an electric sander, please use safety equipment.
Wipe with a tack cloth or I'll use a paper towel that I spray with Alcohol. Just do a light wipe to remove the dust from sanding. I like to seal wood with a water based wood sealer. Wood is a porous material so without sealing the wood the grain raises giving you a rough surface. After using a sealer it's time to sand again. I use a very light weigh sand paper or some times the unprinted side of a paper bag will do the trick.
Now I do buy prepped wooden pieces from craft stores you know the nice ones that are wrapped in cellophane, most times I don't have to do anything but unwrap those pieces seal then and start to paint. You pay a little more for them but they are worth it.
To paint a Tin surface again you have to make sure it's nice and clean.
If there are rust spots on a older piece used a metal brush or a light weight sandpaper to remove the rust. Now go wash it with soap and water. Then you can use white vinegar or most times I use alcohol to wipe over the piece to remove any soap residue. Now make sure the piece is good and dry. If this is a new piece of metal I just spray it with alcohol and it wipe dry. I use a water based metal primer, one or two good coats, nice and smooth. Once this is dry your ready to paint.
Now for Glass Prep. Most of the time I buy clear glass items. To use my regular acrylic paints on these pieces I begin with a quick clean again with the alcohol. This will remove any dust or oils from our hands so the frost will stick to the glass evenly. Once it's clean and dry it's time to spray on a glass frost that you can find at most hardware and craft stores. It's important not to get to heavy handed with this spray you'll end up with nasty spots or discolorations that you won't like. Now that the frost is dry you have to spray again with one light coat of matt sealer. If you skip this step you'll be sorry. Been there done that...LOL. Leave to dry for an hour or so and now your ready to paint.
These are just basic steps that will give you a good start to a very nice finished piece.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Tole Painting Classes

It's July 1st. and that means my Tole Painting Classes will start back again.

I used to teach Tole painting at Michael's but the powers that be there decided to cancel all craft and art classes. Oh well everything changes, nothing stays the same.

I thought this little guy would be an easy design to start with. This is a Renee' Mullins pattern and he's fun to do. You'll learn to base coat the design in and how to side load your shades and highlights. Also we'll get a little practice with a liner brush and I'll show you how to dry brush. This piece just looks like summer to me. As the seasons change the designs that we'll paint will change with the season. I know, I know some think that's impossible but we've been doing it for some time now and my students are learning as they go. With each piece I see their improvement.

Have a safe and Happy July Forth.

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