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Art Information
Watercolor Brushes

Image Selecting the right watercolor brush can be both challenging and confusing. Natural hair, synthetics and combinations of the two offer seemingly endless choices. For example, sable hair is often recommended for watercolor painting. However, there are many different grades of sable. Even within the finest grade of sable, Kolinsky, there are variations in hair quality. In synthetics, two brushes can have the same hair color, but that may be where the similarities end. Inexpensive synthetic brushes often use a single diameter filament while better quality brushes are a blend of filament sizes. Multi-diameter filaments hold more color and are designed to simulate natural hair. Synthetics are often more durable and usually less expensive. The best synthetics and synthetic sable blends are indistinguishable in performance from many natural hair brushes.

 
Matboard Information

Matboard InformationThe picture-framing mat is most commonly known for its use as additional decoration to enhance the look of a framed piece, sometimes in conjunction with a fillet. Typically the mat or mats, if matched carefully and properly proportioned, serve to help draw the eye in towards the framed piece, or towards a particular key element of the piece.

Mats are fairly adaptable in the visual sense. Since they are typically quite thin they are able to be cut to "stack" inside of a frame, allowing for double, triple or quadruple matting, or even allowing for a fillet in between mats. Mats are available in numerous shades of every color and can easily be found or altered to include further decorative features, such as a cloth covering most commonly linen or silk.

 
Ply

The term 'ply' refers to the thickness of the mat board. The higher the number, the thicker the board. The most common thickness used is 4 ply.  You can tell the difference in thickness by saying 2 ply is 1/2 the thickness of 4 ply. 6 ply is 4+2 ply, so it would be 1 1/2 times as thick. 8 ply would be 4+4, or 2 times as thick. It is double the size of 4 ply (double the thickness).
Which ply should you use? That depends on what you are doing.  98% of all mat board sold is 4 ply.  6 and 8 ply mat is often used in museums or galleries for special presentations of artwork or photos. The 45 degree bevel allows the extra thick core to show and gives a dramatic effect.  Double matted means you will have 8 ply mat on your artwork if you use the 4 ply board.

 
What is UV and how does it damage artwork
Hampton Photo, Art and FramingWithin the solar spectrum, the range called Ultra Violet (UV) consists of the shortest wavelengths of light (up to 380 nm). This range of non-visible light can damage objects, including interior furnishings. UV light causes chemical reactions that, over time, fade or discolor artwork and underlying materials. UV exposure can cause paper and other materials to yellow and become brittle. Damage varies with the specific pigments and materials used.

 
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Canvas Printing

Printing on canvas is incredibly versatile and a great way to create a ready-to-hang image or artwork. Every canvas that we print  is protected with a UV coated acrylic finish to guard the print from dust, moisture and fading. Do you want your canvas stretched on bars or non-stretched? Framed or unframed? Customize the work to make it truly your own.

 
Art Prints – How are they made?

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Photography by Laurie Barone-Shafer
Nowadays just about anyone can take a good quality photographs with a digital camera. Or take a few hundred pictures and the chances are few will be good, and even one or two outstanding.

Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques on how to make art print poster ready photographs and print ready digital files. Don’t get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information here, but a lot of it is just intuitive. Well, a bit of patience will always help.

First thing – Photo Size

If you taking a digital photo of you family or friend the largest size you would print is usually 5 by 7 inches, maybe 8 by 10 at the most. Even small size digital photographs (2MB or less) are ‘good enough’ to create a decent print. But if you want to create prints that are 16 by 20, 20 by 24 inches or larger you need more pixels (in pixels 20 by 24 inches photo is actually about 40 times larger than 3 by 4 inches photo assuming they have the same resolution).

 
Learning to Paint Watercolors

Watercolor is an easy, fun medium for creating art.  Color theory, composition and design can be explored freely with watercolor paint, paper, and brushes.  Several techniques may be used with watercolors for varying effects including painting wet on wet, wet on dry, layering washes, and more.

Watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.  Rough paper has the most texture, and its hills and valleys can result in interesting effects when paint is added.  Hot press is the smoothest and has the finest texture.  Cold press has a moderate amount of texture and is the paper most commonly chosen by watercolor artists.

Watercolor paper comes in several weights ranging from 90 lb. to 300 lb. based on the pounds per ream of paper.  Most artists prefer to use at least 140 lb. paper.  Papers vary somewhat between manufacturers, so sampling different papers is advisable.  Paper can be purchased in pads, in blocks or in large sheets.  The large sheets are usually the most economical and can be torn into whatever size is desired.

 
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