Archives for posts with tag: tips

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
 

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"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
 

Part of an exhibition in a Public Art Gallery, 2004

Galleries can be intimidating for artists to approach. Knowledge is power, so it is important to understand a bit about galleries before you approach them. Most galleries have websites so you don’t have to go pummel the person working there with questions, and you can research many different galleries from the comfort of your computer-screen. I do recommend walking into your chosen gallery a few times before submitting your portfolio, if possible. On-line, a gallery (like any other business or organisation) will present themselves in their best light. Get to know the reputation of the gallery and staff who work there. It’s good, too, to get a feel for the “fit” of your work with the work they currently show.

There are a few different types of galleries. Please note that I am located in Canada, and other countries have slightly different legal and practical models for galleries. These Canadian types of galleries are Public Galleries (in the USA these are closest to Art Museums), Artist-Run Centres, Co-Ops, and Commercial Galleries.

There are many sizes of Public Gallery. Often a larger city will have a larger Public art Gallery, but this isn’t always the case. A lot of towns and cities have a very minor art gallery, while others have several types of Public art galleries. A lot depends on the funding situation in a given city or province. Some cities and towns have colleges and universities; these tend to have good and better-funded (due to better attendance) art galleries. Many of the smaller art galleries have “submission” sections in their websites. However, as is often the case with other sorts of galleries, sometimes the “submissions” section isn’t exactly in bold type. Check out the “contact” and “information” pages, and if you still don’t see anything, don’t be shy to send a polite, short email to see if they accept artist submissions, and if there are any specifications for them. Larger institutions normally do not accept submissions from artists, however, it can’t hurt to acquaint their curators with your work.

Another type of gallery whose purpose is to advance art and culture, and not to make money, is the Artist Run Centre. It is important to note that a lot of Co-Op style galleries call themselves this, even though they do not really fit in this category. In Canada, an Artist-Run Centre is one that pays artists to show. This is similar to the Public Galleries, in that they adhere to the CARFAC fee schedule. These galleries have a mandate, a board of governors, and are distinctly non-profit. There are many hoops that a gallery must fit through before they are a true Artist-Run-Centre in Canada, and thus they are highly respected galleries, much like the Public galleries. Normally they have a range of cultural services and events outside of exhibitions, like publications, installation and integration into the larger community, and public events. This is a good link to lists of these galleries, as well as other nifty Canadian things.

Co-Op style galleries usually are run by artists, but they do not adhere to the “artist-run” rules. These galleries offer a range of exhibition and other opportunities. In my experience, they are great for local artists to obtain studio space, socialize with one another, and to have more informal exhibitions. As a self-supporting artist I am turned off by many of these galleries, though, because not only do they not pay artists to show, but ask for artists to pay for their exhibition space. Personally, I do not want to be a part of that. Other artists claim some success with this, though, if they have highly marketable work that just needs to be seen to be purchased. Galleries-For-Hire are good for commercially successful artists who want to circumvent the Commercial Gallery system.

Commercial Galleries are there to sell art. There are, indeed, Commercial Galleries that have a mandate to advance art and propose to support culture with events, concerts, publications, and other goodies. A really good Commercial Gallery will integrate itself into the world, and not just pander to the lowest common denominator. These galleries, generally, take about 40-50% of the retail price of works. In my experience, this can be a good way to reach an audience who would otherwise never see your work. A good gallerist works hard, and is worth every cent of their commission. A bad gallerist can do any number of bad things, from not being friendly and professional to people entering the gallery, to not paying the artists in good time, to not promoting well… to outright theft of artworks. It can get ugly. Listen to the rumour-mill about galleries’ reputations in your town before submitting your portfolio.

Most application packages (with many exceptions) require some basic stuff: A dvd of between 10 and 20 works, a co-responding Image List, an Artist Statement, and a CV. Sometimes the gallery requires a Project Proposal (especially the Artist-Run and Public Galleries) to know what specifically you would like to exhibit there, and what is your academic or theoretical bent. From time to time, you will find a gallery that accepts submissions on-line. This can be a challenge because normally they only want a scant few images of your work. However, it costs nothing to email. Sometimes the gallery lists a request for a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) to return your materials. I would suggest doing so, as it appears that you care about your work, and your information is precious to you. Personally, I need to take my own advice in this regard. Normally I don’t supply the SASE, as I know that in the three to six months that it will take for them to get back to me, my portfolio and CV will have changed. But… I will try to take my own advice from now on.

A Final Word of Support: As with any venture, as long as you cross your ‘”t”s and dot your “i”s, you should expect about a 10% (or less) success rate. Keep those packages flying out the door. When they are sent back with a polite (or not-so polite, or non-existent) rejection letter, do not fret. We all go through this, it is part of the game. If you are an organised-type, take notes of when submission packages are called for by galleries. Note it in your calendar, and you can produce a few submission packages at a time. This saves you time and effort. I usually settle into this about three times a year, and get out about a dozen within a day or two. That being said, it’s a good idea to keep checking in case special calls to artists should come up. Also, try not to re-submit the same proposal to a gallery. Gallery Committees and Curators have good memories.

Best of luck, and see you in the galleries!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Let’s face it people, December is one cold, dark month.  So, naturally, we have this urge to light candles, listen to music and decorate.  We spice it up and bring aromatic herbs, spices, citrus and branches into our homes.  Each step outside is an act in bravery as face the sharp chill of the air and trudge along on wintry walks, sometimes taking the time to look at lights, snow flakes and trees.  We head out to parties wearing something sparkling or velvety or both.  We fire up our kitchens with baking, creating, cooking and sharing with loved ones.  Weekend afternoons stretch along nicely with a warm drink and a long book.   Yeah, let’s face it, we love this time of the year!

This month Natasha and Tammy are busy working on all sorts of things!

Gear up for an outrageous number Do It Yourself gift ideas.  One for every day until December 24!

Are you ready for photos on the theme of FIRE AND ICE? Facebook fans can upload their pics for a chance to be a part of this feature!

We have Natural décor ideas,

Ecological and Ethical gift-giving solutions,

and herbal remedies that people will be talking about this month.

Also up, experiments in Recipe Makeovers,

Natural Connections in our verdant city, and

Tips to De-Stress and De-Compress.

So, get in from the cold with a Hot Art Exhibit

and Enjoy a good chuckle with some festive Cartoons!

It’s December!  It’s our second month of Fleurbain.com.

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