WHAT TO PAINT - Generating ideas can a be a wonderful part of the artistic process. Many artists struggle with this aspect of the creation process. At times, artists block can halt the flow of great and innovative ideas. I have found that keeping and idea journal can be very useful. By generating ideas everyday, the creative juices are able to keep flowing. At times that you feel stuck you may review some of your previous entries. Brainstorming can also be a useful tool. Keeping a sketch book is a must, as it allows for uninhibited creativity to be put onto paper quickly and without bias or too much thought. Lastly, I suggest browsing through art magazines, or visiting art galleries to stimulate possibilites within your own mind. There are so many sources to draw inspiration from!
OIL PAINTINGS vs ACRIYLC - There is a widespread debate among artists about the validity of acrylic paintings in a fine art world traditionally dominated by oil paintings. Certainly there are many artists who prefer oil paintings, and many who prefer to work in the acryilc medium as well. Acrylic paint is a rather new medium for artists, latex being an innovation within the last 75 years. Much of the debate surrounds what the artist gets out of the experience of painting as well as the quality of both mediums. Oil paints are thought to truly bring in touch, the artists with the canvas, being a more free flowing form of expression, as well as generally having a more colorful outcome. Acrylic painting has several advantages over oil paintings, however, the first being the dry time. Many oil paintings take years to complete simply due to the enourmous amount of time it takes the paint to actually dry and be treated with a finish. Layering with oil paints can be a lengthy and arduous process, requiring much patience. Acrylic paint, on the other hand, take smuch less time to dry. Several hours is often all that is needed. Artists who work in the acrylic medium often time use many different kinds of materials added into the paints, which can act on the paint in a variety of ways; slow down the dry time, increase viscosity, give it texture etc. Acrylic paint also has the advantage of being less expensive for the artist. Having used both mediums, I must say that I prefer to work in oils, simply because thay tend to refelct color in a more luminous way, and feel smooth when applied onto the substrate. I live in Arizona, which really gives me an advantage with dry time on paintings, and makes it very diffcult to work with acrylics. Layers often dry before I can apply it across an antire area. The end results of both mediums can be astonishing, but the light is working on each in a different way. Acrylic paint is water based, and as it is applied and dries, the light tends to reflect off of the surface of the paint, giving it an opaque flavor. Oil paint is oil based, and the light moves through the paint and is reflected off not only the surface, but also the pigment suspended in the oil, and often, the surface behind the paint. This glowing effect (Usually created through layering of thinned paints) can be acieved with acrylics, but it is something that must be purposefully addressed. There are advantages to both acrylic and oil mediums. Artists seem devided on the issue, but if what you do brings you joy and success, then I say you are doing it correctly!
WHY BUY ART? - People buy art for many different reaseons. Many buy for the simple pleasure of owning and enjoying art in the places they inhabit. Sometimes people are moved, or experience an emotional response intensive enough, that they wish to experience it again and again. Some art is purchased as a gift for someone close. Some is purchased as an investment opportunity, banking on the quality of both the artist and the art. Watching an investment grow, while enjoying the art can be very rewarding. Whatever your reasons are for buying art, dont let that special piece escape. Art can be so inspiring, calming, motivational, moving-indeed so many things. If you are moved, then the art has served part of its purpose already!
ART SUPPLY HELP FOR ARTISTS - As artists, many face the issue of rising costs in materials. Art supply stores are a good source for items much of the time, and sales are certainly appreciated, but sometimes the cost is just too high. While I encourage artists to buy at their local art stores and support their communities, there are other resources for many items. Linseed oil, used as a medium in oil painting, can be obtained from your local hardware store. The same brands sold in art stores are often available for a fraction of the price. The low quality gesso brushes may also be obtained there for a small price. Substrates such as wood panels may be custom made at some woodworkers suppliers, and masonite may often times be obtained at your local hardware store as well. If you mix your own paints, pigments can be found online for a low cost. Fabric stores are sometimes a good place to find quality canvas. While I do encourage artists to expand their resources for materials, I urge everyone to make sure that wherever you obtain materials, make sure they are high quality, and will not interfere with your creations years down the road. Do your research on acids and primers, and always make quality a standard in your art. Happy hunting!
PAPER IN PAINTING - For several of the paintings in the Manifest Mind, series, paper was used as a substrate instead of canvas. Many, including myself, enjoy working with a variety of textures, on which to apply paint. Each different substrate has different pros and cons to offer an artist. To create a lasting piece of artwork, make sure to properly prepare the surface prior to begining the painting. Pre mixed gesso works well, but you may also use a mixture of your own. Rabbit skin glue, heated and mixed with powdered gesso mix(dry) gives the surface a super smooth, gelatin based protection on your substrate of choice. Remember, whether you are working in cubism, abstract, realism, fantasy, surrealism, or any other genre, the importance of creating lasting and quality art starts with the substrate! I have found that the preparation of a substrate is a wonderful way to ease into the creative process. Happy preparations!