Artist Painting Questions - Ask the artist

Ask the artist -
By Ron Gribble.


I will attempt to answer some questions.
If you have any questions, you can add them to my list below.

Impasto acrylics 

When would I use Acrylic, as opposed to Oils?

This is largely a personal preference for each artist, but I always remember that the Acrylic is transparent, while the Oils are more Opaque. So if the subject you are painting is better rendered by a transparent paint, use Acrylics. Ask yourself the question:
A. " Would the white of the board be a help or a hindrance? If it would be a help, then Acrylics it is. If it is not a help, then Oils it is.
E.G. A scene of rocks and transparent water. The white of the board can be very helpful in creating textures on the rocks, while the transparent nature of the Acrylics is wonderful for glazes to create the "looking through the water" affect.
B. Is there an advantage to having it quick drying? If so, Acrylics is the best option.

Do I need to paint my boards with Gesso?
If you are using store bought canvas panels or stretched canvas, then you don't but it will prolong the life and improve the flexibility of the final painted surface.  If you were to visit your local hardware store and ask do I need to prime and seal timber before I paint the answer is a big fat 'Yes'.   Surface preparation is everything when your painting if you want a finish that will last the years.

What is Gesso used for then?It is for those who are preparing there own canvases, or using hardboard, or similar as a support for their work. It is ideal for tinting your painting.
What is Gesso?
Gesso is a sealing coat made from white chalk or plaster of Paris with a water soluble gelatine binder. On its own, it does not make a good base for Oils, as it tends to draw the oils out, and it is very difficult to work on. The brush tends to drag. Polymer Gesso is the better option if you can get it, as it is a better base for Oils or Acrylics. It is best if you lightly sand it to give a" tooth" for the paint to stick to.

Would a standard canvas last through time without Gesso?
A well Gesso-ed canvas  will improve a commercially produced canvas specially if your are painting in a heavy impasto style. In fact, most fabrics are nor going to last for much more than 25 years without losing up to one third of their strength. Linen and cotton are almost as bad as each other on that count. Polymer fabrics are the new answer. I will be well in my grave before any future restorer gets to care anyway!!


Odour free Turps. What can you tell me about it?I do not know much of the technical details, but I know that my wife is happy for me to paint indoors at last, and that is all I need to know. It is obviously more expensive than ordinary Turps, but it is worth every penny. I do not have any health issues from breathing it in! I was giving a two day workshop last year in Blenheim, and the local newspaper sent a reporter.

The resulting article was more about the stink of turps that she found than about our fine attempts at art. The fact is I had not noticed the smell myself, as I was used to it.  One fact about odour free turps and other cleaning solvents - is that the you may not smell the product but it is still there only masked - so it is still inflammable and dangerous  to your health - always use in ventilated work areas.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble
www.RonGribble.com
www.SchoolPaints.com

www.FASpaints.com
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String Block Printing

String Block Printing with School Paints

LEVEL: Pre-school and Primary.
This is easy and it’s fun.  It is amazing how something so simple can be so much fun and create interesting artworks. 

String Block Printing with school paints
String Block Printing
You will need:
: Sheets of Paper
: Tempera Poster Paint
: String or rope
: Small blocks of wood
: Shallow trays
: Plastic table top or cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.

Let’s get started:
Put on the apron and prepare a surface to paint over.
Have one block of wood per colour.
Wrap your rope or string around each block of wood a few times.  Trying not to have a build-up of string in just one spot.  If you can make each blocks string differ to get a range of effects.
Tie the string at the top of the block.  This will be the end you hold on to.

Pour one colour of the Tempera Paint into the shallow tray

Press your block into the shallow of paint or paint it with a paint brush.

Make a print on your paper by placing the string block of wood around the paper in different directions until you have an interesting design taking shape.
Allow to try
Block Printing school painting

TIPS:  
-          Small square blocks that little hands can use are best.
-          Often less is more.  A few prints of one colour then the next colour.
-          We found that if you pass the blocks around in a group circle works well.

Share and enjoy & have fun.
Tony Parker
www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com
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Artist painting Colour mixing with school paints

How do you mix a colour as dark as black, without black?? 
by Ron Gribble.

How do you mix a colour as dark as black, without black??

I use a very dark blue, like Ultramarine, or Thalo, and mix it equally with a dark red, like Alizarin Crimson. These opposites tend to cancel each other out, and the result is a very dark neutral colour. You can add more of one or the other to make it tend towards hot or cold, or equal amounts to make it neutral.

One thing that I look for though, is to make the colour "believable". The two pigments are very strong, and need toning down with an earth colour. If you make it as dark an earth colour as you can, you will still have a deep rich, almost black. I use Burnt Sienna, and add little at a time until I have the colour I need. This idea with Burnt Sienna is a good one to remember whenever you are mixing any very strong pigments together.

Artist painting Colour mixing ron Gribble


Colour mixing; RULE TO NEVER BE BROKEN.

1. Add little bits at a time. Mix it together, and add more. If you add too much of a colour, it is very hard to take it out again, but very easy to add more.

2. More colours is not better. Limit yourself to two or three colours max, and add tiny amounts of others to achieve the finished hue. Any more and you will have MUD.

3. Use a Pallet trowel, and NOT YOUR BRUSH! I never mix paint with a bush. You cannot get control of the colour by using a brush, as you have no idea how much raw colour still lerks in the brush, waiting to mix with something you do not want it to mix with. You will get paint every were and it will do your brushes no good at all as well.

4. Unsure of how to mix a colour? Try mixing a small amount first, and when successfull, mix up the larger mix.

Happy Painting,
Ron Gribble.

www.rongribble.com
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Hand Prints with School Paints

Hand Printing Prints:
LEVEL: Pre-school and very Early Primary.

Colourful painted hands. This has to be one the most popular art projects for kids and it is also a great keepsake for parents and grandparents.   
Hand Prints with School Painting
Make it fun
 You will need:
: Sheet of Paper
: Tempera Poster Paint
: Little Hands
: Shallow trays
: Plastic table top or cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.

Let’s get started:
This can get messy if you don’t have a bowl of water and paper towels prepared before you begin. 

Put on the apron and prepare a surface area.
Write the child’s name on the back of the paper before you begin

Pour paint into the shallow trays have one per colour.
There are two ways to get the paint on to the hands. 

1.       Slowly dip the palm of the hands into the trays. 
2.       You paint the hands yourself with a brush.
hand prints

Sometimes the dipping option can get too messy with drips and will give a sloppy looking print.  The brush option will give you more control and a far better print.
Once you have a good few hand prints you can wash the hands in the water and dry them before trying another colour.

Another option is to use a black marker to add eyes, ears, legs and a mouth.  

Allow to try
TIPS:  
-          Cleaning as you go is a good idea
-          Have paper towels ready.
-          Often less is more. 
-          Stick to nice bold colours.

Share and enjoy & have fun.
Tony Parker
www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com

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Artist painting tip about colour

COLOUR
by Ron Gribble

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Lets look at colour.

There is so much that can be said about it. We all know what colour is, but how do we mix it? How do we control it?

How do you decide what colour you want, and where?
How do we use complimentary colours?

Artist painting tip about colour ron gribble

After a demonstration that I did at the Downtown Hilton Art Gallery once, a chap said to me that he had observed that I spent 80% of my time mixing colours!!! That leaves only 20% for all the other things!! It seems to me that we should be devoting a similar proportion of time in research and practice for this activity.

I suggest that everyone should have a simple colour wheel beside their easel!! Go down to the hardware shop and pick one up. The colour wheel is very basic knowledge you could say. You left that behind at school, right?

Then why is it that I see a very bad lack of the use of the colour wheel in paintings?

Maybe, like me you did not fully realise the many ways that you can use complimentary colours to advantage in even insignificant areas of your work.

E.G. If you had an area of green grass that made up an area of detail in a painting. If you wanted to make this area have life and appeal, take the colour wheel and look at what is the direct compliment to the green. Depending on the shade of grass, it will be a warm brown.

Place that on first, and let it dry. I use an acrylic. Now paint the green grass over the top, allowing the under painting to show through. Even an insignificant mid ground area can be made interesting and creatively correct.

Some of the paint and Hardware shops have colour wheels with many subtle variations, so that you can find the colour wheel that best matches the colour you are using, and then look for it's compliment.

One more thing. Try not using black, but use the compliment of the colour you are placing in that area, as explained above instead. Deep purples, blues, crimsons, browns are far more fun and are not dead like black.

Think about it, black is the absence of all colour, it is not a colour, and should be used very sparingly. If nothing else will do, then go for it, but I seldom have had that situation. Black will dirty a colour, but if you want to darken it, you do not necessarily want to dirty it.

More on colour next month. We will discuss how to make a colour as dark as black, without making it an unreal, strong colour.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble
www.rongribble.com

www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com
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Artist Paint Application and Personal Flair

Application & Personality:
By Ron Gribble

Artist Paint ron gribble school paints


If you cannot do more than a photograph, then why take a photograph in the first place and save yourself a lot of time and agony!


This is to a large degree my personal opinion, but it is also the opinion of many top art judges who allocate points to what they call "application" and "flair".

In brief, how was the Paint or other medium applied? With confidence? Accurately but boldly? Can we see the artist's personality in the way he applies the medium? Does this application contribute to the over-all mood of the work?
Lets look at a portrait for example. Is it rendered with brush strokes that are bold and angular to depict movement, or youth, or vertical and horizontal to depict a more conservative subject?

I often see work that is very well done, but too photographic. The artist has used too little personal flair. This is a real problem when painting a portrait of a person or animal, that has to be absolutely accurate. Try one or all of the following;

After you have achieved the likeness needed, go back over the work and "loosen it up".

That is, stroke in big and bold impasto strokes in places to take away the fiddly little brush details. Cover small brush strokes with larger ones, medium strokes with bigger and big strokes with even bigger ones. Take care, because there are places that you will just have to leave fiddly to retain the likeness, as in the eyes for example.

Soften up an area or two so that the main subject blends with the background. Take detail out of the areas that are not of immediate interest, such as towards the corners.    I have used a portrait as an example, but the same thing applies to everything, including landscapes.

Happy Painting 
Ron Gribble
www.rongribble.com

www.FASpaints.com
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String Painting Art with School Paints

String Painting Art with School Paints

LEVEL: Pre-school and Primary.

This is a fun and simple way for kids’ to make colourful pictures. Every painting is completely unique and there is very little involved in the setup.  Lots of fun…

There are two ways to do this see here for the other option.

String Painting Art with School Paints
You will need:
: Tempera Paint  & Paint brush
: String cut in about 30cm (12”) lengths.
: Shallow Plates or trays
: Paper
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.

Let’s get started:
Cover the table with newspaper.

Pour a little Tempera paint into the shallow trays. One colour only per tray.
Dip the string into the Tempera Paint, leaving one end unpainted to hold on to.  

Use your paint brush to push the string into the paint making sure it is well covered.
Use your paint brush to push the string into the paint making sure it is well covered.

Lift the string and place it on your paper. Use the brush if you need to you need help position it without the brush touching the paper.
Gently lift the string up and down, pull the string up, down and all around and then pull it off the paper.

Allow to dry.

TIPS:  
-  Cotton is better than plastic string.
-   See another way to string paint.
Share, enjoy & have fun.

Tony Parker
www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com

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Another way to String paint

Under Painting Artist Lesson

UNDER-PAINTING:
by Rob Gribble


Under Painting Artist Lesson Ron Gribble

I first prepared the board by applying an acrylic, warm, mid tone colour to cover the white board. This is a lot more helpful than the dead plain white of the canvas. Light is warm, so whatever I am painting, this warm colour will not fight against my efforts.

Once this is dry, apply what I call the TINT COLOUR. These pigments will be used in variations, throughout the painting.

THESE PIGMENTS ARE ULTRAMARINE BLUE, ALIZARINE CRIMSON, COERULEUM BLUE. (There are many spellings of this pigment).

I mixed these first in acrylic, as this will dry quickly, and be more stable as an under-painting. The patterns of colour that you will see (page 3) are random. I did allow the tint to be thicker where I intend to place the bluff and details however.

I am going to attempt to work through a complete painting from start to finish.  I suggest that you read this whole demonstration through several times before you attempt to paint it on a 16x20 canvas panel.
Now, the next step is to look at my Acrylic Paint set up.

Happy painting,
Ron Gribble
www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com
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Vegetable Prints school painting

Vegetable Prints using tempera poster paint:

LEVEL: Pre-school and Primary.
Use vegetables to create exciting prints on paper. Make fun random prints or combine them to create interesting images. Lots of fun…
vegetable prints with school paints
vegetable prints for kids
You will need:
: Newspaper
: Sharpe Knife for teachers only to use.
: Raw vegetables like potatoes, carrots and corn on the cob.
: Tempera Poster Paint
: Shallow Plates or trays
: Paper
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.


Let’s get started:
Cover the table with newspaper.

Teachers only: Use the knife to cut the vegetables with a flat surface showing. Try to make basic shapes like squares, stars or sometimes just cut the vegetables in half is interesting…
Pour a thick layer of paint into a shallow tray or plate. Better to keep it as one colour per tray and one colour per vegetable shape.

Dip the flat side of the vegetables in the paint
Press the painted side of the vegetables onto the paper for vegetable prints.

Allow to dry.
TIPS:  
-          Try using a felt pen to add eyes, arms and legs.
-          Try celery or broccoli for trees.
-          Keep sharp cutting tools away from children.

Share and enjoy & have fun.
Tony Parker

www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASpaints.com


Bubble Painting with school paints

School painting: Bubble Paint

LEVEL: Pre-school and very Early Primary.

Kids love bubble painting.  It is so much fun and every one creates something different and unique. Key tip is to blow not suck through the straw.
Bubble Painting with school paints
Bubble Painting with school paints
You will need:
: Paper
: Tempera Poster Paint
: Water
: Washing-up Liquid
: Spoon
: Straws
: Shallow trays
: Plastic table top or you can cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.


Let’s get started:
Before you start make sure that children understand they are to blow in the straw no sucking.

Mix together the paint and some washing up liquid. Whisk it up to make it frothy.
Start to add some water until it is the right consistency to blow bubbles.
Spoon the frothy watery paint in the shallow tray.

Using a straw, blow into the bubble mixture until there are bubbles formed that are slightly higher than the shallow tray.
Quickly place a piece of paper over the tray and bubbles.

When you remove the paper, there will be colourful designs that the bubbles have made
You will need to have one tray per colour.

Allow to dry.
TIPS:  
-          Gentle blowing makes the best designs.
-          Tempera paint is better than food dye because it won’t stain clothes
-          Make sure the paint is runny enough for bubbles.

Share and enjoy & have fun.
Tony Parker
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Bubble Painting Basics
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School Paints Handprint fabric prints

Handprint fabric prints on t-shirts:

LEVEL: Pre-school and Early Primary.

This activity is always popular as a meaningful take home artwork for kids to give to their parents and grandparents.  They can be t-shirts, hats, towels or even pillow covers.
school painting hand prints

You will need:
: A solid colour cotton fabric to paint on.  More basic the better.
: A permanent fabric ink or paint.  FAS Fastex textile ink is ideal.
: Plastic table top or you can cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Paint brushes or sponges and shallow trays
: Have plenty of water and old towels for a quick clean up.
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels.
Let’s get started:

Before you start be sure that children and clothing is well protected as this type of product is designed to stain clothing permanently.
Pour a small amount of the fabric ink/paint into a shallow bowl or paper plate. Solid single bright colours are better than mixed colours.  Colours can very quickly turn into a messy muddy puddle.

There are two popular ways to paint.  One is let the children rub and move their hands around in the fabric ink/paint.  Being careful not to be too overdone and drippy and wet when transferring to the fabric. Another option is to sponge on the fabric ink/paint directly onto the hands and feet.
Be ready with paper towels to clean between colours.

Allow to dry.
Most quality fabric ink requires heat setting.  This means once dry, turn the painted fabric over and iron the other side of the fabric at a good hot setting suitable to that fabric.  This melts the ink into the fabric.

Painted handprints can also be placed on art paper, construction paper or canvas. These forms of memorabilia can make great keepsakes for parents or the classroom year book.
TIPS:  
-          Watch the video below.
-          Be ready with paper towels to clean as you go. It will get messy.
-          Use solid colour and light colour fabric.
-          Mixing colours gets messy.
-          Do a test run on card or paper first.
-          Don’t use a tempera paint and dyes they will come out in the wash.
-          Use a dedicated fabric ink.  Needing to be heat-set is a sign of a lasting permanent ink.

Share and enjoy.
Tony Parker
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www.schoolpaints.com
www.FASart.com

Hand Print T-Shirt Craft 
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