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Choosing A Subject
The Promised Land by Grant Haffner
The Promised Land by Grant Haffner
For everything in this world there is someone who has painted it. Whether it is a person, place, or thing somewhere someone has put it to paint. It does not matter what you choose as your subject, as long as you feel comfortable painting it. Some of the better subjects are ones that will offer color and contrast. For instance, a bowl full of bananas with an apple in the center. A vase full of blooming flowers is the perfect still life because of the colors and shapes.

You should look for many things when choosing a subject. If it is a landscape in East Hampton, you want some texture. What I mean is there should be different buildings, trees, or animals to add interest to the picture. You do not want to saturate the painting with activity but you do want to keep it interesting. For example see the artwork of East Hampton artist Grant Haffner.

A scene which is full of busy people can be good as long as the activity stays in one place on the canvas. Making the background as busy as the foreground can over stimulate the senses. By adding the activity to a tranquil background, the painting takes on a sense of order.

You may choose to do portraits. Do not underestimate the subject. There is a term, “photogenic”, which means that someone's beauty shows through the lens. You may see someone as plain and uninteresting. Under the eye of the camera, this person can transform into a vision of beauty.

The camera is the perfect tool to choose a subject. By taking pictures of what you want to paint, you can determine the contrast, lighting, and textures. You will be able to see what the view will look like framed. This can give you a better understanding of what you are really looking at. Taking a picture will show you the true view. Another reason an artist may take a picture of their subject is timing. If you are doing a portrait, you may not be able to finish before the person has to leave. Even a boat in Sag Harbor could be put out to sea at anytime, leaving you with an empty pier. The lighting changes every minute of every day. By taking a picture of the subject, you can preserve the moment so the painting can be done at your leisure. Even if you are using
artificial lighting, there could be other circumstances which do not allow you to finish your work. The camera can become your new best friend when it comes to painting. It can actually be fun taking pictures of different subject matter. Then you get to go home and choose which angle will make the best painting. You can experiment with lighting in this manner as well. By shooting from all angles, you can get many different
views. There may be something the camera saw that you missed. Accidents can sometimes make the best artwork.

Never overlook anything when it comes to choosing a subject. One of the most intriguing art subjects I ever saw was a dandelion which had gone to seed. The artist had shot a closeup of the puffy seed head. He then painted it in shades of blue. It took several people almost three days to determine exactly what the subject was. Yet the painting fascinated all of us for quite some time.

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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