Archives for posts with tag: paper

Sunday is here again! And, as with every Sunday, it is time to paint.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

This week, I would like to try painting from observation, rather than from memory. One thing that is usually available for observation, is a hand. As with all the paintings in this series, I started by rubbing a bit of white acrylic paint onto my paper in order to seal it.

model is comfortable

Now, I want my model to be comfortable. So it is important to not only be happy with the shape that your hand is making in space in regards to the painting, but it should be a pose that is not tiring. Tense poses are interesting, and you can try that later, but to start I’d suggest a relaxed pose.

something of the shape I saw in the middle of my palm

Start with the centre of the palm. Try to find a shape within the palm. This will act as a sort of map, a guide on which to gauge distances and markings of reference points later.

markings, points of reference...

Next, look closely at the distance of the fingertips from the palm. Try to mark the outer edge of each finger.

more painting in the reference points

Next mark where the little lines where the joints in the finger are, and paint around the edges of the fingers and hand.

working in some lights, darks again... thinking about the shape of the hand before me

After this, it is all a series of “back and forth”, similar to when we painted an egg. White, black, grey, wipe, mark, white overtop… all based on observation. If you find that one of the fingers maybe is too short or too long-looking, paint it as it should be, and “erase” any paint that is too dark with some white.

a bit more work...

When you think the hand looks pretty good, you can fill in the background. This situates the hand in space, and is also an opportunity to fix any weird bits and straggly edges to the hand. 

painted around the edges... I will probably let it dry, then touch up the edges again with a dark grey, then the purple.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

"Beyond" (copyright Natasha Henderson) There are eggs in this...

Perhaps this is a little late for Easter. Perhaps you don’t really want to paint an egg right now. That’s cool. However, if you paint an (uncracked, uncooked) egg, you will practice observation and the creative manipulation of representing form.

An egg has volume. An egg has a gentle gradation of shadow. An egg can be reflective (depending on the type of egg it is, and what sort of environment in which it is depicted). In any event, if you just read this and don’t paint, that’s fine too. You’ll learn about all these things, through observing the following images.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

I am opting to paint from memory. I actually do not have any eggs in the house right now; it would be better to have one for a real observation. However, the basic egg-shape is a simple one, and all eggs are slightly different from one another anyhow. Therefore, whatever egg I paint could exist. That is an important question to reflect upon, when trying to be convincing in painting… Could This Exist?

just a simple shape, not perfect at all

To start, I painted my paper with a layer of white acrylic to seal it. This is like in all the exercises, as my paper is quite thin. Next, I simply painted a black oval, almost an egg shape. I just wanted to get some outside, rough darkness, leaving the inside white.

smudging with finger while paint is still wet

Then, while the paint was still wet, I smudged down the centre of the egg. I needed to blend in a bit of the darkness to the middle, too. After this, it is mostly all adding white, a bit of black… just tinkering.

I "drew" the negative space around the egg better with some white... and used the white in the egg too

To make the oval shape more egg-like, I worked some white paint around the edges, to sort of erase the black paint that didn’t contribute to its egginess. I then used a sweep of this white along the bottom of the egg, to create some mystery and subtlety in the shadow on the egg. Next up, I painted a great deal of white along the top part of the egg.

more white added... a little smudging with a finger, more white...

Honestly, I went back and forth a couple of times, adding white and then swiping with my finger, until I was happy enough with the result. After this, I painted in a bit of a shadow under the egg.

just mixed a medium grey to start...

I decided that I wanted to have a gradation or two in the shadow, as well as a bit more in the egg… so I added in some lighter and darker greys where it made sense.

a bit more grey

I finalised what I did today by painting in more white. If I’d wanted to colour the egg I would wait ’til it is dry, then glaze a colour onto it and dab a little bit of white “reflection” on the lightest part. (See last week for tips on glazing, and how this idea works!)

our friend, the egg.

You can see that I got rid of a great deal of the shadow under the egg, this is just what felt “right” to me about the image. It’s up to you how much light and shadow are in your image, and what sort of environment your egg exists within.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

I use painted, imagined strands of lights as a sort of drawing tool in my paintings

Sunday! Sunday! If you can, and are so inclined, it is a great day to relax with a dash of painting. Last week we saw How To Paint a little light. This week we will add a bit of colour to it.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

The very first thing to do is to choose your colour. In this case I selected red. If you have painted a strand of lights, you could opt to do them all in different colours using this same technique. Find the black and white painting that you made last week…

I chose red for this one...

 Next, paint the red onto the light.

just plain red

You might take note that I didn’t paint this red so thickly… it has a little water in it. This is so that the black paint from last week will show through. However, black and white will always have an effect on the colourful paint placed on top of it. I encourage you to just experiment with your paints.

Next, paint a little bit of the colour onto the cords.

the cords will be lit a bit by the red light

Now, water down the red paint in your palette a bit more. Use this watered-down paint to brush around the light-source. Leave a poetic amount of white space just around the bulb.

let this dry for a bit...

Once the paint is a bit dried, add a little blob of solid white into the middle of the light. You will see that I put two little blobs; it is more convincing as an electrical light source that way.

you could also add a little it of the white brushed around, close to the light source if you dont like the edge of your colour

Done! So next week we will try something that I mentioned in another article: we will paint an egg.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

so fascinated with light... he'd certainly paint if he could...

Artists who paint are often fascinated with light. Light allows us to see; light forms the subject matter that is painted. When we paint, we are painting light both as it hits objects, and as it filters through atmosphere. However… sometimes we might like to paint actual light sources. Here is a short example on how to paint a “Christmas Light”.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Just like last week, this time I started with a piece of paper that I’d smudged some white acrylic paint on. Again, it is not 100% necessary to add the acrylic. If I had thick paper, and I’d wanted to allow the paper’s texture and absorbancy affect the paint’s effect, I could have worked directly on the paper.

getting started

I made a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb.

a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb

Then, I made the “cords”. Most Xmas lights have a casement for the glass bulb, and then cords leading away from this. I opted to imagine a simple cord going each way, although in reality there are usually two twisted cords, per side, that lead away in both directions. Sometimes it is more poetic to rely on memory than observation. Who wants a painting of electrical cords?

bulb with simple cords

Next, I smudged a little watery black down the middle of the bulb.

swiped watery-black paint in the bulb...

Then I wiped some of this paint away, quickly, with my finger. It smudged the paint, giving it a bit of a hazy effect, just like staring into a real light…

smudged!

The most important thing right now was to let this DRY. After it had dried, I painted some watered-down black around the bulb area. I left the imagined-light to “glow” in a circle around the bulb.

painting the world that is not so affected by the light

Next, I added more black, solidly, onto the outside area. The light isn’t reaching there at all…

suddenly, the light seems a lot more "light"

The final, final step was to put a dab of pure white into the middle of the bulb.

final bit... unless I decide to go in colour...

If I wanted to create this image in colour, then I would glaze some colour into the image. Next week, I will do just that!

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

beginning the first tree...

Everyone likes trees. They are pretty and useful things. So why not paint up a little stand of trees to call your own?

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Before we begin, a few notes on what I’m using to paint. I chose a simple, broad flat brush. I used black acrylic paint. I used a piece of paper. I smudged some white acrylic on the paper first, so that the paint and any water in it would not bleed into the paper. I could have used the paper alone, and the texture of the paper would have had more effect on the paint, and I could have treated it more like a watercolour. But I chose not to.

a line. This will become a tree...

Once the white acrylic base had dried, I used a small amount of paint on the tip of my brush to draw a line. This would be the trunk, the centre of the first tree I would paint.

dabbing on branches, needles, it's all just paint

Then, I simply dotted and dabbed little marks across this line, to make a tree. Simple.

tree is lonely... time for some more

After that I added more lines, and the dabs to create the four trees that followed these lines. I had my stand! I was naughty, and didn’t follow the Law of Odds, but life’s about taking risks.

more trees, made in exactly the same way

The final touch was a sweeping mark that suggested land. The trees needed to be situated in some sort of environment, and I felt that this would suffice.

trees and their land

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

 Mary Blaze is a Vancouver area artist, whose works traverse from painting, to mixed media, to performance. You can see more of her works at http://artforcecollections.com/.

Artist In Her Studio With Ceramic Vase 18" x 12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

 What to Do with an Old Water-Stained Piece of Building Paper?

             Creation begins coincident with my husband’s attempt to discard an old, water-stained roll of building paper.  In a spontaneous act, I retrieve it, lop off an eleven foot length onto my studio floor, and go to work.

            My stack of newspapers, used to protect studio surfaces from over-brushings and roll-outs, is at hand.  Therein are my first images for collage.  As I place them randomly on the substrate with acrylic medium, I begin to see window frame forms, across the horizontal length.

Artist In Her Studio With Candle and Candlestick 18"x12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            Onto the suggested squares and rectangles, I collage scanned and printed drawings from my sketch books, along with some recently completed drawings and prints.  From this point on, the work is directing me, as different from me imposing conscious determinations onto it.

Artist In Her Studio With Ink Bottle 18"x12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            I am in my studio, driven to using things at hand.  I look around me and my ink bottle comes into focus, so, with Aquarelle water soluble crayons, I draw it.  A friend had left a luscious looking, red skinned pear, and I draw it, too.  This work is becoming a very personal statement, but now a shift takes place.  As I add my Dad’s lantern and my Mom’s lamp into the spaces at each end of the paper, these two, coupled with my own central candle and candlestick, bring the work into the realm of heritage, and here it is: the cross-over of my two abiding passions, art and genealogy, having come unbidden into visual coexistence.

Artist In Her Studio With Wild Flower Bouquet and Lantern 18"x18.5" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            I wonder if, during the elapsed year of this work, the undemanding nature of the remnant from our house building project, gives me the freedom to work at a sub-conscious level, to create “Artist in Her Studio with . . . ,” but whatever, it is something to do with an old piece of building paper.  

Artist In Her Studio With Teacup and Lamp 18"x18.5" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

 If you would like to be next month’s featured artist, check out this link! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your art and artistic process with us.

You need: -Paper  -Good solid cardboard  -Scissors or cutting edge  -Gluestick  -White glue or rubber cement  -Cheesecloth or similar fabric  -Pretty paper or fabric for covering  -More pretty paper for inside of covers -Thread and needle

As I mentioned once before, I managed to take a book-making course during my final year of art-school. We learned various techniques to make books, and some of the simpler ones I’ve outlined here. I did promise to go over the method of making a “real bound book”, though, and now it’s time to deliver on that promise! Happy New Year… let’s make us some books!

A classically bound book has a few elements. There is a cover, there are the pages, and there are the things that hold them all together.

The little parcels of paper pages that are sewn together to make the body of the book are called signatures. When I make a book, I make my signatures first. I decide on how many sheets will be in a signature, and then I decide on how many signatures will make up the book. In some situations, you might only have so much paper available, so this guides the size and number of pages in the book. A single piece of paper that is in a signature is actually four pages, if they were numbered within the finished book. A paper-piece in the signature is the height, and then twice the width, of the finished page, folded in half. You can layer two pieces of paper, or three, or four… or many. It depends on how thick your paper is. Normally, for “art-grade” paper (thicker) I would layer about two or three pieces of paper in a signature. An older book in my collection has about ten very thin, but strong, layers of paper in each signature.

In the inside of a signature, you will see the stitching. This is an old book, finely crafted.

Once you have decided on your layered papers for a signature, you fold the pages in half, re-layer them, and sew a little stitch or two down the centre. I recommend knotting at each stitch on the outside, binding edge of the work. This will add strength and stability to the binding, and to the signature. Use about three or four strands of thread to add even more durability. Make your stitches on the “inside” of the signatures about a half-centimeter, and make the stitches on the “outside” about two centimetres. Don’t worry about the outside, binding edge of the signature, it can be messy. You won’t see it later! If you were to rip the outer binding off of a finished book, though, you would see a mix of knots, threads, glue, and something similar to cheese-cloth covering the whole mess.

When you have a number of signatures ready to be bound, the next step is in to bring them together. I can’t show you this in person, unfortunately. But simply put, just weave a threaded needle between the threads that are on the “outside” of the signatures. Knot. Tie. Weave. Make it sewn together… keeping the thread OUTSIDE. Don’t puncture the papers again. This will all be hidden, so don’t worry if it looks bad. Just try to keep the inside of the pages neat-looking!

As soon as the signatures are bound together, you have the basics for a book. The next step is to make the cover. Cut two pieces of good cardboard to a little bit larger that the size of the inside pages. Good, solid cardboard is normally found in craft stores. If you don’t have any, use your imagination. You’ll want a material that is pretty tough, that you can cut, and that won’t roll up with a bit of moisture from something like glue. An old piece of rubber or plastic could be interesting…

Once you’ve cut the outer covers, you can cut a binding-cover, too. This is big enough to cover the ugly, outside edge of the bound-together signatures. It’s ok if it is a little thinner than the depth of the book. This piece just basically provides a little structure and protection to the sewn-together signatures. In some books this piece is rolled back and forth to form a rounded-binding, in others it is straight and flat. For your first book, though, perhaps just leave this piece flat.

One of my early books: Signatures, Three cardboard pieces to make the cover, Decorative covering. Note I also sewed some pretty gold thread along the edge of the bound signatures.

You need an outside surface for the covers… a piece of fabric, a piece of decorative paper… and old fancy pillowslip, a shiny satin skirt, anything that is pretty will do. You just need enough of this to cover the outside edge of the entire book. If your decorative paper or fabric is thin (like satin or fine paper) you should glue it to another piece of good, strong and flexible paper (such as rice-paper) first. Lay this piece out on your table, pretty-side down. Lay the two covers and the little binding-cover next to one another on this piece. Keep a small distance of about 1/8″ between the covers and the binding-cover. This space is important so that the covers can open and close… this is a hinge. Make sure that this pretty covering extends at least an inch past the edges of the cardboard covers. Rub a bit of glue-stick on the surface of the cardboard covers, then place them again on this pretty covering. Press flat with your hands, just making sure there are no “bubbles” or lumpy bits of glue. Fold the edges in, glue down to the inside of the book-cover with white glue or rubber cement. What you are doing is sort of like wrapping a present, and you are doing the outside first.

Next, take your bound signature-pages. Using a bit of cheese-cloth (or similar fabric… I’ve used a number of woven, light-weight fabrics at hand for this task), cover the ugly outside edge of the bound-together signatures. Make sure there is about two inches extending past the edge, as though the cheese-cloth wants to grow into a book cover. Rub white glue or rubber cement glue over the cheese-cloth, so that it is truly adhered to the outside edge of the binding. Let this set. Good time for a coffee or tea. Cake. A film. Really let THIS glue set.

Here you can see the "decorative inside page" that is glued to the front cover, and slightly glued to the front page of all those signatures.

FINAL ASSEMBLY: Once this signature-set is dry, take the cover that you’ve previously prepared, place the signature-set in place, and glue the cheese-cloth to the inside of the covers. It helps to know that there will be a final, decorative piece of paper attached to cover all the mess. I recommend using a bit of glue-stick, then closing the book to set for a few minutes. Open the book, and rub in some white glue. Close it again, and leave it at least half an hour to really set. You can check it a couple of times to make sure it hasn’t shifted, but be careful.

Once it is dry, the very last thing is to add a thicker, decorative paper to the inside of the covers. This paper is cut to just a little shorter that the original “double-page” size, and you need one for each inside cover. The function of this decorative paper is to cover the inside of the cover (remember the “wrapped present”?), and also to be a decorative front and back page. Glue (with white glue or rubber cement) one side to cover all the uncovered-part of the inside covers. Glue a little bit on the first page of the signature-bundle, so that it is stuck to this decorative paper… about 1/4″. This way the book is solidly made, and is held together by the cheese-cloth as well as the decorative paper. Set it aside… let it dry thoroughly. Press it between some heavy books, leave it overnight. It’s all in the layering…

This old book is made with a gently rounded binding-cover. You can see the importance of leaving space between the three pieces of cardboard, so that the covers can hinge.

When you examine an old book from your shelf, or look at my photos here, you will see the basic elements to a bound book. Don’t be afraid… my first bound book was a gluey mess. The binding-cover was cut too big. I used an ugly fabric to cover it. However, by making my own book, I was then inspired to work out a fun comic to live inside the book. This developed into the first storyline for my “Cluck and Lurt” comic series! Drawing in my own book was inspiring for me. I hope that you are inspired to try some book-making yourself.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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