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April 2013

What joy. Molding Paste...

Latesummer 012
You say Molding Paste and I will ask you, "which one?"  There are a few to choose from and I thought I would tell you more about some of them.  The "original" Molding Paste is one I truly love to use.  It has the ability to give you such varied surfaces, takes impressions well, can be glazed, painted, rubbed, inked and more.  It feels cool to the touch when it is dry and is slightly gray-white in color.  It's very smoothness is its greatest attraction.  It's like painting on venetian plaster or porcelain.  This is because it has marble dust in it.  You can take advantage of its non-porous surface by using numerous glazes.  Take a soft cloth after and burnish the surface to make it glow.  Try it with some iridescent or interference colors as well.  Totally wonderful.

Then of course there is Light Molding Paste, the marshmallow creme of the family.  It is fluffy and billowy.  When it is dry it resembles and feels like watercolor paper.  Use it to draw on as well.  It takes wet paint like a mad person, pulling it deep down into the surface and letting it bloom.  Mop up the wet paint and you can be back to white if you act quickly.  It loves to be put through stencils and will give you a lovely crisp edge.  Mix it with paint to get tinted marshmallow cremes to spread on your canvas.

Not to be outdone of course is Coarse Molding Paste. This textured, crystalline member of the family is a fascinating character.  Piled on heavily it gives excellent coverage with a gritty surface, applied thinly it is translucent and toothy.  Excellent for incising with a pointed tool, writing upon with any number of implements, and fabulous when pigment is added to it.  I love how wet paint responds to its toothy surface and enjoy it because it's toothy surface grabs ahold of any number of chalks, pencils, or crayons.

Of course you know that I am talking only about Golden's Molding Pastes.  Check out the inside info about them here and here and here.  

Most of us have a little experience with at least one of these products, but I ask you have you tried  layering them or applying more than one of them to a single surface?  I want to know your experiences with Molding Pastes.  Will you share?


Artfully yours, Chris

Just a little getaway...

We took a few days off from working to head back east for a visit with our daughter and the grand boys in Cleveland.  We laughed and played and went from Spring back to winter in one day (the weather started in the 70's and two days later we had snow!).  Every natural thing was sitting on the brink of blooming.  Trees with buds, tulips with blooms inching their way up.  Cleveland couldn't decide.  On our one warm day my husband took our oldest grandson (4 1/2) into the pool.  I couldn't resist this abstract photo of the water.  I'm always looking at how colors merge one into the other.  


When the weekend ended and school time behavior needed to start again we took off for Pittsburg for a few days so my daughter could reign the kids back in.  They tend to get a little crazy when company is around.  We spent part of a day at the National Aviary, which I highly recommend.  It was amazing.  The birds are in natural environments and fly around you so you can see how they behave.  We saw such wonderful birds from owls to penguins, from spoonbills to parrots.  For children and adults, it is really terrific.

Afterwards we found a great B&B/hotel called The Priory to stay.  Historic, comfortable, and great location.  We visited the Phipps Conservatory and wandered through the historic  glass greenhouses filled with butterfly gardens, orchid hot houses and tropical plants from around the world.  There were Chihuly glass works throughout the buildings as well.
Pittsburg was a bit ahead of Cleveland in its spring blooms.  Tulips were up, trees were in blossom and there was green to be seen on the horizon.
We had the opportunity to spend a full day at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History.  The art museum is very modern and is tied directly to the original late 1800's building.  Very nicely done too I might say.  There was so much to see there.  We wandered about and found some great examples of impressionist art, some fabulous modern pieces and and overall good collection.  The real gem, though, was the natural history museum.  The gems and minerals display was so terrific we spent over an hour just admiring the beautifully lit and displayed samples of every conceivable gem and mineral.  They were like small sculptures in themselves.

We headed back to Cleveland the next day in the rain and enjoyed an early birthday celebration with the kids.  I received two wonderful clothespin butterflies from the boys and hugs and kisses galore.  Their sweetness is like a big fuzzy blanket.  We returned home yesterday but our suitcases are still in transit.  Fortunately we had no reason to need them as we were going home.  
The garden was waiting for me in all it's glory.  I'll post about that in a day or so after I catch up on work.  Taking a few days helps one to see things from a different perspective and refreshes the soul.  


Artfully yours, Chris

The Mighty Quins...revisiting an old blogpost

I love telling people about pigments.  I think the more you understand about paint the more apt you will be to actually create colors you like!  I am reposting an old blog post from my previous blog about Quinacrinone pigments.  So here it is:

There is a  special group of colors that are "sheerly" delightful.  Quinacridone pigments!  Since I work with Golden Artist Colors exclusively, I visited their website to "read up" on these pigments.  I was happy to learn that Golden has more Quins in their paint line than any other company.  In fact, they produce SEVEN (7) in their Heavy Body (thicker paints) and 6 in their fluid line.  The colors range from deep yellow (Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold) to a vibrant violet (Quin Violet).  All of the Quins are great mixing colors because they are highly transparent and have vibrant undertones.

What do I mean when I say a color is "highly transparent?"  Well, since paint is made of particles suspended ina binder to make it into paint; this refers primarily to the nature of the particles in the paint.  The particles in the Quins are flat and sheer and  like "stained glass" bits that have been suspended in acrylic medium. Light can actually pass through a layer of Quin colors. This makes them great for adding color on top of color, or creating glazes over collage images.  The other great thing about transparent pigments is they tend NOT to get muddy or turn gray.  They stay bright for you!

Let's talk a bit about each of the Quins:

Quin/Nickel Azo Gold:  This is a reformulation of the original Quinacridone Gold that is indistinquishable from the older formula.  Although it looks a lot like a Sienna in its "mass tone" (that would be full strength right out of the bottle or tube), it is has a yellow undertone that transforms it when applied to a surface.  You can't find that in a Sienna!  Try it to "age a page" or create a golden glaze.  It is a delicious way to create a faux "tea-stain" look or create a leathered patina to textured paper. When you apply it OVER another color the results are amazing. 

Quin/Burnt Orange:  This is a color unlike anything you have ever tried.  I promise you that.  Again, the "mass tone" looks dark and can be confusing at first look, but the color which looks brownish-red reveals a red-orange undertone when applied.  Spectacular does not begin to describe it.  You must try it as a glaze over yellow, or magenta, or any other lighter color. 

Just so you know these two color above are unique to Golden!  They are worth their weight in gold in your palette!

The remainder of the Quinacridone colors range from Red through Magenta to Violet.  They are by name: Quinacridone Red (on the cool side of red), Quinacridone Red Light (in Heavy Body only), Quinacridone Crimson (a browner red), Quinacridone Magenta, and Quinacridone Violet.  All of the Quin "red" family tends toward the pink side when mixed with white allowing you to create a full range of pinks and lavenders.  Alone they can be mixed with various transparent blues (more on them at a later date!) to give you great transparent lavenders and purples.

The pigment load in all of the Golden paints is very strong and I recommend that you start your experimenting with the smallest amount possible and see just how intense each color really is.  This way you will have a better understanding of how much Quin you need to make a change in another color either by mixing it in or by creating a glaze to brush over. 

I highly recommend getting some Acrylic Glazing Liquid (also through Golden) for creating glazes and for extending your open time.  It keeps your paint on the palette from drying out too quickly and is a great product if you like creating layers of sheer color.

Well, that's all for now, I hope to hear from you about your own experiences with the "Mighty Quins!"  Happy painting.

Artfully yours, Chris

A great grand giveaway...

 Carriker 009
Many thanks go to cyber friend, Seth Apter, authored of the renowed blog The Altered Page ,The Pulse of Mixed Media and  soon to be released The Mixed-Media Artist: Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams from Over 40 Amazing Artists for this amazing review today of our book
Acrylic Solutions: Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer .  Julie and I couldn't be more thrilled at how the book is being received.  Take a look at what he says:

"There are a lot of books available these days to choose from but my sense is that this one will become a classic. It contains easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions so that you not only learn about product and technique...but you can quickly apply the material to your own artistic practice. 
Of the many tutorials, my favorites include mixing and working with glazes, creating a good foundation, using mediums to create texture, using transparent images, and developing complexity (which itself is 26 pages).
Both Julie and Chris each take you through the process of creating their own artwork, following along step-by-step as they introduce new materials and techniques. Happily, this book is hard back and spiral bound so it can lay open flat when you are referring to it. It includes beautiful images throughout of artwork from both of these talented artists. While beginners will easily be able to follow the instructions, this book would also truly benefit the more seasoned artist as well... To be eligible to win, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post by end of day Thursday 5/18 and make sure that I have your email address. I will announce the winner on both my blog and my FB page. Good luck!!"
Here is the full post on Seth Apter's blog, The Altered Page
As my part of Seth's giveaway, one lucky person will also win a copy of my DVD:  Top Ten Acrylic Painting Techniques along with the original art from the cover.  Follow Seth's instructions and be sure to leave him (and me) a comment to be eligible.  Don't forget to leave your email address as well.  Have fun and good luck!
Artfully yours, Chris

Trying new things...

As an artist I tend to get into a "groove" where it is comfortable and where I know I can achieve something I am pleased with.  I chug along at a good pace for awhile and then it feels stale and tired.  I'm getting bored with my work.  This is partly because I've "mastered" a certain technique or skill and have exercised it to its "n"th degree .  It is also partly because I crave the novelty and excitement of experimentation.  Experimenting with techniques and materials, products and ideas has allowed me to grow so much as an artist.  We all need to be brave and bold enough to leave our comfort zones and hang out on the edge.  This is the area where real and solid growth occurs.  The learning that occurs when we have that tension present in the process sticks really well in our brains and helps us to fire up new and better ideas.  Tell me what happens when you get bored. How do you change things up??  
Artfully yours, Chris

There is no substitute for "doing the work"...

artwork by Ronna Sambol

I taught a 2-day intensive class last weekend on Acrylic Mixed Media in Layers. There was quite a  ange of expertise in the group which made for an interesting experience for everyone.  No one followed a formula, but a long the way everyone began to finally understand that it is necessary to "do the work" or you will never get to the end.  I've been working in layers for my entire artistic life.  I just like it.  It gives me mulitiple decision points and allows me the greatest flexibility as I move through the process.  As the students moved from color decisions, to  decisions about placement, line, space and pattern I could sense that the unfolding compositions that faced them were starting to make sense.  Of course there are hesitations, mistakes, and wrong turns, but the process allows for corrections and adjustments through the addition more layers which modify the problems and turn them into opportunities.  By the end of our second full day the works were starting to really come together.  Lots of light bulbs finally started to turn on as they realized the value of the process.  I have included one of the student compositions at the start of this blog entry. Ronna has been a student in my annual class for several years and this year things really started to click for her.  She commented that she had many pieces that have been set aside at the end of a class never to be completed.  At the end of class she had a renewed commitment to go home and "do the work" by revisiting them.  

If you are interested in working in layers, I hope you will dive into my newest book (co-written with my online teaching partner, Julie Prichard):  Acrylic Solutions,:Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer.  I feel confident that you'll find the guidance you are looking for and some new and fun things to try as well.

Artfully yours, Chris