Art , articles and reviews

How to enlarge an image using a grid

You will need to decide on your grid size, that is how many squares to divide your image into. Larger grid sizes are fine for less complicated sketches but if the grid is too large and the sketch has a lot of detail in it you’ll have too much drawing to do in each square.  On the other hand if the grid is too small you’ll find it difficult to erase the lines when you’ve finished with the grid, and it can get very confusing. There is no definite rule, as the size of your starting and finishing picture, and the subject matter, can be so varied. You will need: – Ruler Soft pencil (2B) Watercolour or other painting/drawing paper Eraser Your starting image 1.  First select the image you plan to enlarge using the grid. 2.  If the image is important in any way then make a paper copy of it by photocopying it, or scanning and printing it if possible. This avoids spoiling the original image by drawing a grid on it. 3.  Using a pencil, make a small mark at the very top of the image, directly in the middle, and then mark at the quarters (half way between the middle and the side edges).  Then make further marks half way between these marks, effectively dividing the top edge up into quarters and then eighths.  Then do the same for the bottom edge of the image. You will then have an equal amount of marks on the top and bottom edges. Using a ruler and a pencil to connect these lines, draw several vertical lines down...

Watercolour painting – colour mixing

The usual advice for a beginner is to start by buying a small collection of basic colours and then practice mixing them to create further colours and shades. This is good advice and I would suggest that a beginner chooses a basic set of watercolours to start with.  You can choose tubes or pans, it’s up to you and really a matter of personal preference, I use both. You already probably know that with the three primary colours of red, blue and yellow you can mix the three secondary colours of orange, green and purple, so maybe you would think that you could save money and just buy a red, a blue and a yellow and mix every colour you wanted to use from these. The problem with that is which red (or blue or yellow) would you choose? Some reds have more blue in them than others, alizarin crimson for instance, while others have more yellow in them like cadmium red, so for a start do you want to purchase a warm or a cool red? You already probably know that with the three primary colours of red, blue and yellow you can mix the three secondary colours of orange, green and purple, so maybe you would think that you could save money and just buy a red, a blue and a yellow and mix every colour you wanted to use from these. The same applies to all the colours available so it is better to begin with a watercolour set that has at least twelve colours in it, then you will have a starting point from which...

Choosing watercolour paper

Your choice of paper affects the results you get from your painting, because it affects the way the paint behaves on the paper surface, so it is important to try various different types of paper, and look at the results to see which one gives you the results you are looking for. You can, of course, use any type of paper, so you may be tempted to use cheaper paper from a sketch book or even from the back of some spare wallpaper, or office paper, to start with. The problem with this is that the absorbency of these papers varies, too high absorbency and the liquid will be sucked in like ink on blotting paper, too little absorbency can result in the paint running over the surface of the paper in a hard to control way.  For this reason it is better to use paper that has been specially made for watercolours. Watercolour paper has a surface texture, which is called the ‘tooth’. It is this ‘tooth’ that reacts with the brushes and watercolour paint to give the well known ‘watercolour effect’, which is one of the attractions of this medium. Watercolour paper also has just the right amount of absorbency so that the colours remain manageable, and you can get the result you want, with a little bit of practise. All watercolour papers are made in a choice of three surface textures, the heaviest texture is called ‘Rough’, the medium surface texture is ‘Not’ (sometimes called Cold Pressed) and the smoothest is referred to as Hot Pressed (HP). Rough textured paper is usually considered to be most...

Will I Ever Make a Living With My Art?

You need to learn how to present, show, and explain your art in ways that the viewer will find compelling if you don’t want to be thought of as an amateur artist. Professionalism starts with your image, the way you present yourself and the presentation of your work.  Everything matters, from the way you look to your artist’s statement or resume, from the way you present your artwork to the content of your work, in every way you need to make the right impression so that your potential buyers are in no doubt that you are an artist and should be taken seriously. So how do you set yourself up to sell your artwork? First begin to build a network. Join an artists’ group or club, if you haven’t done so already, to meet other artists as well as potential customers. While you are there you can ask other artists questions about how they are selling and distributing their work.  This can be really helpful for selling work in your local area; because some of the other artists are already doing just that and often they will be quite happy to tell you how they have done it. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet.  People need to know you exist; if they have never heard about you then you haven’t a chance of selling your art to them. Send out press releases and articles to local newspapers and other publications to enhance the public’s awareness of you and your work. If you can get some articles out there that feature you and show photos of your artwork...

Selling your artwork online, the good and the bad

Some people decide to go down the route of having a website of their own from the very beginning, but there are several very important reasons why this may not work for you, and if it doesn’t you will have wasted a lot of money. In order for a website work well on the Internet it needs to be built by a professional who really knows how to get the website found in the major search engines. The website developer needs to know all the ins and out’s of optimising the pages for the search engines as well as general website development, building the navigation so that the whole site works logically, and making it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and then buy it without any fuss. This sort of project will run into four figures quite easily, and then you have to wait for the site to be found and hope that people are drawn to your work and like what they see enough to buy it. If you’re a famous artist, this way could work for you because people already know your name and will search for you specifically on the Internet.  But if you are not famous yet this is probably not the best way to start.  Some people think it might be good idea to have a page on a friend’s website, it could be cheap and seem easy, but if your friend’s website is about some other subject entirely, like a kitchen gadget website for instance, then this will do no good at all.  For a start it’s highly...

Have you thought about the benefits of teaching art in short workshops?

So why would you decide to start teaching art, rather than devoting your time to creating art in your studio and working by yourself? I think the most obvious answer to this is that teaching brings in money, and often artists are looking for ways to bring in extra income to support them while they try to make a living from selling their artwork. Think of it this way, you could run a one-day art workshop once a month and if you had 10 students all paying £50 each for the day you would make £500, which is a pretty good wage for a days work and would certainly help with the cash flow. When you think of how that might add up over a year you can see that this could be worth doing, and you might actually enjoy it very much too. There are other advantages in holding short workshops too.  Many artists teach because they find it helps them to focus on their own technique, and working with others who are enthusiastic and ask thoughtful questions often fires their imagination, bringing in great new ideas for future work. It’s often the novices who come up with new and exciting ways to use the art materials, because they have a fresh eye and are not bound by the conventions and ‘learned behaviour’ of some more experienced artists. If you’re suffering from artist’s block, or just feeling a little jaded about your work, teaching others can bring the colour shining vibrantly back into your own pallet and a mass of new ideas into your minds eye. Holding your...
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