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Find the Right Paintbrush

Find The Right Paintbrush“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” - Michelangelo.

Sending an artist into an art store to pick out a paintbrush is like shoving a sweets-loving kid into a candy shop. Since there are a lot of choices out there, choosing the right paintbrush can be a tricky task for a new artist. What some beginners don’t realize is that the real art begins when you go “outside the box” to select your paintbrushes. If you allow yourself to be too strictly confined to picking the “right” brush, you may never paint in the way that’s right for you.

How does the new artist make a selection when they all look so good? First, it’s good to know some general background knowledge about paintbrushes. Most paintbrushes are either natural bristle brushes or synthetic bristle brushes. Although some may insist that the natural bristle brushes are better, it really depends on the artist’s preference and painting style.

Before your eyes overwhelm your brain with art store stimuli, decide on your medium.
There is a variety of brushes that are functional for different mediums. Some artists specialize in paintings that are created in oil and acrylic on canvas. If this is your specialty you can use the same type of brush for oil and acrylic.

When it comes to watercolor painting, a completely different set of brushes may be used. Although the brushes may appear identical, the handles for watercolor are actually shorter. The backgrounds of paintings created on watercolor paper usually include a “watercolor wash.” This wash is generally created with a huge, fluffy paintbrush. This special watercolor brush will look very different than any of the other brushes in your collection. Take good care of your watercolor brushes. Once you decide which brushes you will use for your specific medium, try to keep them separated.  This will help them stay in good condition longer.

Hampton Photo, Art and FramingIf you’re just beginning your paintbrush supply, you may want to start with a pack that contains brushes of different shapes and sizes. Try spicing up your supply with painting knives. If you like texture, then knives can help you create loads of it. You may discover that you enjoy painting with knives more than painting with brushes!

Art has no hard and fast rules. Every artist is different, so mix things up. Maybe watercolor brushes feel better to you in oil. Who says you can’t try it? If you have had enough of canvases, then maybe you can try painting on wood or cloth. The important thing is to decide what is right for you as an artist.

If you need painting supplies, head to your local picture framing, photo services, and art supply stores. These are your best sources, whether you are working on a watercolor painting, an oil painting, or anything else. Regardless of your choice of brush, remember Michelangelo’s admonition to “paint with your brain and not your hands.”

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?

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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