Miscellaneous Questions II
21. Should one be able to see the texture (waffle or weave) of the canvas showing through to the surface of the painting, or is this considered an inferior application of medium by the painter?
It is very desirable to be able to see the texture of the canvas below your painting. You just do not want to see the white canvas showing through a missed area or a thin layer of paint.
22. Does having brush hair left in a painting diminish its quality or value in general?
Do not pick off brush hair or any other debris on the painting once you have completed the painting. During the painting process, you can rub these hairs off the canvas easily. Removing these items once the painting is completed will damage the finish of the painting. Go to a museum and look at the master's work. You will find brush hairs and other debris throughout the painting.
23. Why do some artists use a glass palette instead of the palette paper and sponge?
You can use both glass and palette paper with sponge. Some prefer to use glass because the discolored palette saver shows through the glass. Some claim this helps achieve the correct values when mixing paints. In addition, the glass is more durable and easy to clean by misting it with water and scraping it off with a razor blade. In place of the paper, fold paper towels lengthwise, soak with water, and lay your acrylic paints on top.
24. I sketched in a subject and tried to wipe off the charcoal with a damp paper towel. It would not come off. How can I remove charcoal sketches from my painting?
First, you need to use #2 soft vine charcoal when making your sketch, and you only want to make a suggestion of your object -- no dark shades or hard lines. If you cannot remove the charcoal with a damp paper towel, then you need to use a mixture of denatured alcohol and water. Make sure the alcohol is diluted and wipe with a clean soft cloth.
25. Do you need to be proficient in drawing to become a good painter?
Depending on the type of art you do, painting and drawing can be as unrelated as night and day. On the other hand, your painting is only as good as your drawing. If you are a realist and love doing birds, animals, people, etc., an accurate knowledge of drawing is necessary. Not that you need to draw the object, but you must be able to accurately render the objects with your brush. If you are unable to do that, your painting will be out of proportion. On the other hand, if you are a modern or impressionistic artist you work with color, form and composition. Drawing is not important.
26. Can you use a toned canvas and what are the benefits?
Most landscape artists do not use a toned canvas. However, portrait, still life, and figure artists often use them.
27. Where is the best place to sign your work, and does color matter?
Color does matter. It is best to sign your name in the compliment or form of the compliment of the overall color scheme. The signature can be used to fill a void, like an eye stopper. However, your signature should not overpower the painting. If it is the first thing you notice when you look at a painting then you know you have overdone the signature. Also, never sign your painting at an angle. This will appear that you have cut off the corner of the painting.
28. Can I sign my painting with ink? Yes, you can sign acrylic, oil and watercolors with ink. Do not sign pastels with ink.
29. Can you recommend helpful artist web sites?
www.askart.com (Values works of art. Good information, but some information on acrylics is incorrect.)
www.webshots.com (Good source of reference material.)
http://www.sacrs.org.za/ecm21/gallery/index.html (African wildlife)
http://www.awf.org/wildlives/wallpaper.php (African wildlife)
30. Are there any rules of thumb or recommendations regarding whether it is better to stand or sit in front of the easel and what height the easel should be?
Sitting or standing varies from one artist to another and depends what each individual artist prefers. It can be a combination of both. You must find your most comfortable position when painting. Whichever position you choose, your eyes should be level with the center of your canvas.
31. I read how reds will fade with exposure to light. Should I switch from alizarin crimson to quinacridone red instead?
You should change only if the crimson is exposed to consistent sunlight. All reds, especially alizarin crimson, fade more quickly when exposed to sunlight. You really would not need to change the paint, just don't hang the artwork in direct-sunlight areas.
32. What does lightfastness on the acrylic tube of paint mean and the number 1, 2, 3 after it?
Lightfastness has to do with the fading quality of the paint when exposed to ultraviolet light. The higher the number the better the lightfastness of the paint. In other words, the higher the number the less likely the paint will fade when exposed to ultraviolet light.
33. How do you go about choosing the size of canvas for your paintings? Is there a rule to follow?
In reference to canvas size, there is no rule -- your composition effects the shape and size of the canvas you choose. For instance, if you have an object or group of objects that stretch across in a horizontal format, a long horizontal canvas may be what you need. A long vertical waterfall would require a long vertical canvas. Most generic landscapes that contain no specific subjects which require a long vertical or horizontal canvas do better on canvases the size of 8 x 10, 16 x 20, 18 x 24, 12 x 16, 14 x 18, 12 x 24, 30 x 40, or 24 x 36.
Some of the more odd sizes for vertical or horizontal formats are 8 x 16, 10 x 20, 12 x 24, 15 x 30, and 24 x 48.
Remember everything depends on what composition you are using.
34. I have tried to make a gray scale and can't seem to grasp the concept. Can you help me?
Start with a swatch of black. Then, add a small touch of white. To that mixture add another touch of white. Continue until you have a wide range of gray values. This is the same process you use when changing the values of dark colors. Try it with a blue or brown and you will see how well it works. It is much easier than they make it out to be.
35. When I applied varnish to one of my paintings, I noticed that after it dried, it had puddled in a number of places. How can I correct this?
Be sure the painting is lying completely flat. Brush evenly as you apply a very thin coat of varnish. Brush first in one direction and then the other. It is important to be sure your canvas is fairly tight. A sagging canvas will cause the varnish to puddle. The other option is to use spray varnish and apply 2 or 3 light coats letting each coat dry thoroughly.
36. I stored my paintings where moisture got in between several of the canvases and caused mold to grow. Is there a way of cleaning the mold without causing damage to my oil painting?
You have a problem. Mold on a canvas is its worst enemy. If any of the canvases have begun to rot or are very brittle they cannot be saved. If not, use a mild liquid hand soap. Make a soapy solution, then take a soft scrub brush and scrub the molded area. Rinse with clear, clean water and pat dry with a towel. Then, take linseed oil and apply a very light coat to the entire painted side of the canvas.
37. I am using the Martin Weber brand of paint and, after a couple of years, my paintings develop a slight greenish cast. Please help me understand what is happening.
Martin Weber paints are low-grade with low pigmentation. They do not hold up to museum standards. It is recommended that you switch to a higher-quality grade of paint, such as Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher, or Liquitex.
38. I often get a somewhat noticeable crease line where the canvas has been constantly pushed up against the inside edge of the stretcher bars. Any suggestions for (1) how to get rid if it once it's there, and (2) how to avoid it?
(1) As far as getting rid of the existing line, all you can do is tighten the canvas as describe below and repaint that area. (2) To prevent it from happening, wet the back of the canvas. As it dries, the canvas will shrink and become very tight. This helps greatly. The other thing is to take the small triangle-shaped pegs that usually come with the stretched canvas and drive them securely into each of the corners. This will also tighten the canvas.
39. Since the canvas is stretched over a wooden frame, how do I frame these? Do I need a special deep frame? I paint with oils, so the rule is no glass (right?)
It does take a special frame for a canvas painting. Most moldings are cut with a recessed lip that the canvas fits into firmly. Then, you attach the canvas with either bar clips or small finishing nails. You can also buy ready-made frames at most large art stores. You do not put oil paintings under glass.
40. How do Bob Ross Oils compare to other oil paints?
They are low in pigmentation, which means it takes more of each color to achieve the desired effect. They work alright for underpainting, but I would definitely finish with a more professional-grade like Winsor & Newton, Liquitex or Grumbacher oil paint.
41. I have several canvas boards that are bowed. Any suggestions on flattening them out?
This is very common. Cardboard absorbs moisture which can cause it to concave or convex. It is difficult to keep these boards flat unless you put a backing on them. When framing a canvas board, place a 1/8 inch masonite board behind the painting. You can actually glue the canvas board to the masonite without placing a frame on the painting.
42. I have a tear on a finished painting. I could paint over the damage, if only I could mend the tear.
Mending a tear in a painting canvas is done by taking a clean piece of white cotton artist canvas. Cut it about one inch bigger than the tear. Then, use a high-quality glue for bonding fabric and glue the patch onto the back of the canvas. Lay something heavy on top of the patch to press it flat. When the bonded patch dries, lightly sand the torn area on the front. Next, fill in the area with gesso and lightly sand again.
43. What canvas is best for portrait paintings?
You should probably use a linen portrait canvas, which is smooth, for painting portraits.
44. What information do you have on polyester canvas?
It has a similar feel to cotton, but it is more elastic and has a tendency to not always hold its form. Very few art stores carry it.
45. What are the pros and cons of the new Fredrix Watercolor Canvas?
The watercolor canvas is a great invention. The con is that it has not stood the test of time in terms of the archival quality.
46. I will be traveling overseas and don't know what to take -- acrylics or watercolors. I want acrylics, but cannot take canvases. What else could I paint on?
You can use your acrylics and paint on a 140 lb. watercolor block. A watercolor block is perfect for traveling because the paper is glued around the edges into a block form. You can get these blocks in different sizes, and you do not have to do anything special to the paper to prepare it. Just start painting on the paper, then tear it off and start another one. Archer watercolor blocks are very popular.
47. How would one stretch linen for oils?
The process for stretching a linen canvas for oils is the same for stretching a cotton canvas for oil or acrylic. Assemble the wooden stretcher bars, and cut your canvas about 2 inches larger on all 4 sides. Next, lay the stretcher frame on the backside of the canvas and centered in the middle. Wrap the canvas over the stretcher bar. Then, with a staple gun, put one staple in the center of the strip to hold the canvas in place. Repeat this step for each of the four sides of the canvas. Continue adding one or 2 staples on each side, starting in the center and working your way out toward and off the stretcher bars. You will have to use stretcher pliers to hold the canvas as you staple it. Go to a local framing shop and asking them to show you the basics.
48. I am painting a still life and need help creating a soft edge. I have the background, but now I need to push some of the bouquet back into it. I want a flower to look fresh but faded into the darkness behind.
The best way to create soft edges on an existing object and to push it back is to apply one or two transparent glazes. You do this by taking water with a little bit of white paint and whatever color you want for the glaze. This should be a very thin, transparent glaze. Now take a soft brush, preferably a hake brush, and apply this glaze over the area which you want to soften - then let it dry. Repeat, applying the glaze as many times as you wish until you get the desired effect.
49. I want to paint a background for the baptistry in our church. Since I have never painted on walls before, is there a special process I need to follow?
If you paint directly on the wall, you must gesso the wall first with one or two coats of gesso. Or you can attach untempered masonite to the wall then gesso the masonite. You can also paint the mural on a masonite panel in your studio then attach it to the wall. There are many different ways to do this depending on the size of the mural.
50. What are Certificates of Authenticity, and where can the form be obtained?
The main reason for a certificate is mostly for reproduction of prints because there is more opportunity for fraud in that area of the art world. You can make our own certificates on different computer programs. Search and look at other certificates to help you create your own.