Da Vinci's recently discovered portrait of La Bella Principessa offered clues to the researchers as the smile in this painting acts much the way that Mona Lisa's does. Apparently if you look directly at the smile it appears to be less pronounced than when you look at the eyes and the smile is in your peripheral vision area. The researchers noted that the soft and subtle colours used around the mouth created an optical illusion. Well, leave it to Leonardo! It seems that he designed not only the first helicopter but the original hologram too!
My Summer classes are finished now so I have a couple of weeks to catch up on everything else before the Fall semester begins on September 15. This time we are doing something a little different at the Nectar Centre in New Edinburgh. I will be renting the space for classes rather than working as a contract teacher for them. This means that all registrations for my Nectar classes will be through me directly. You can check out the class and workshop information on my website, where you can also find all of my previous blog postings!
So I'm spending my "vacation" doing work in the studio, catching up with friends and promoting the fall programs. Not much different from the rest of the year, really, but none the less a welcomed change of pace... and "a change is as good as a rest"!
I even spent some time playing on my Face book page, adding some videos and chatting with another artist friend in response to one of the videos (I could do that), which was about how some viewers of art comment that they could do that. It's one I found on Catherine Wray Gutsche's Face book page and shared. (Catherine is my amazing website lady!) It's actually quite an interesting video, done by a curator who explains that while you may think you can do it, but didn't, it is still art. If you want to watch the video here is the link http://dekhvideo.com/to-those-who-have-looked-at-art-and-thought-i-could-do-that-an-art-curator-explains-why-you-couldnt/, or you can go to my Face book page to see it, https://www.facebook.com/susan.ashbrook1. After viewing the video I commented that "I used to say "I could do that" for many, many years, and as an artist I could have, but later on I learned that I get much more pleasure from purchasing other artist's work and doing my own thing with mine. Best advice I can offer is... if you love it, buy it because you will never be happy with what you get by trying to recreate it!" Oh and if you go to my Face book page and you appreciate cats, please check out the "Sad Cat Diary" video, it's wonderful!!
Today's Painting Tip: 101 Wonderful uses for Acrylic Gel Medium (okay 8, actually!)
There are some really wonderful acrylic mediums available these days... many, many of them! But many of them are similar to others and can be substituted without much significant difference. I have managed to keep my inventory down to about half a dozen. I do try new mediums to see if they are ones I need to add to my inventory, or if something I already have will work as well, or if they could better replace something I'm currently using.
Today I'd like to share some amazing things you can do with gel medium.
First a few notes about this medium... it comes in various viscosities (thicknesses), from soft to extra heavy, and also in gloss and matte. My preference is regular gloss gel. I find the regular viscosity works for everything I want and need it to and because it's gloss it dries crystal clear. Matte mediums have particles added that make the finish matte, but also slightly less clear than the gloss. Student grades of matte gel are notorious for being cloudy when dry. If you want a matte finish on your work simply apply matte varnish to the finished piece!
Gel medium dries clear so if you add colour to it, the colour will return to it's original intensity when the medium is dry. If you are mixing colour into your medium you can mix it thoroughly for an even application of colour, or you can partially mix it so that there will be some clear medium within the colour.
Okay, here's stuff you can do:
1. Mix it with your acrylic paint to create impasto (highly textured) paintings... it's less expensive than paint so can be more economical when doing a large painting.
2. Use it to create texture. Check out the hardware store for tiling trowels, paint brush combs and other tools to create fabulous textures and don't forget to overlap them for even more great textures. Cake decorating tools are also great for working with gel medium... it's just like decorating a cake but way more fun!
3. Extrude it! Use cake decorators tools or the syringe like devices used to give infants medication to extrude the medium, creating writing, fancy lines or even things like flower petals to be applied in paintings.
4. Make appliqués. Make a pattern of an object, say a leaf, stick it to the back of a piece of waxed paper apply the gel over the waxed paper. When it's dry cut the image out and peel off the waxed paper. Paint it and apply it to your art.
5. Make photocopy transfers. Take a photocopy of the image you want to make a transfer of, quickly apply an even layer of gel medium to the surface of the photocopy and let it dry. Soak the photocopy in lukewarm water for a few moments and then rub the paper off the back. Let the transfer dry and then apply to your painting.
6. Cleaning "pull off" palettes. If you are having trouble getting all of your acrylic paint off one of those "pull off" palettes, apply a layer of gel medium with a large palette knife or spreader. Let it dry completely and then lift everything off. Your palette will look like new again!
7. Creating acrylic skins. You can use those pieces pulled off the palettes to create new art or you can created skins by spreading paints and mediums on a "pull off" palette that you can then apply to stretcher bars to create a window sun-catcher or a screen for a door that you want to add some privacy to.
8. Glue. Gel medium is a great glue for heavier papers, fabrics, acrylic appliqués, shells, beads, photographs, oh and sandal insoles! Hey it's flexible so it works for walking!
Gel medium is so important in my art practice that I buy it by the gallon! Do yourself a favour... get some and explore where it can take you!
Dusk: The Final Image
The final work on Dusk was the application of beads and glass particles to the light side of the trees to suggest the evening light sparkling on the ice on the branches and trunks. It was that glitter in the passing light that caught my attention. That is what this piece was all about. Unfortunately I had some difficulty capturing it with my camera. The beauty, in person, is that as the light changes, so does the image.
Next week I'm starting a totally different project that I think you will enjoy.