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Clean Up Time

This is always the worst part in an artist's life. The need to clean up the palettes, brushes, easels, and other odds and ends in the studio. It is actually rather easy if you know what you are doing.

The brushes are the first thing to address. This is when coffee cans come in handy. Filling them half full of turpentine or other paint solvent will allow the brushes to soak until you are done with everything else. Just drop them in, bristle first, right into the turpentine. We will get back to these in a moment.

If you are working with oils, you will want a fine cloth to cover your canvas. Do not use a cloth which has a lot of lint or loose fibers. A thin cotton sheeting is perfect. Be careful not to let the fabric touch the art piece. You can actually buy extender clamps to attach to your canvas at the top. This allows the covering to drape without coming in contact with the painting.

The next thing you need to determine is if you are going to be using the same palette colors again, any time soon. If you are, then just slip the entire thing into a plastic bag and twist the end shut. This keeps foreign matter from getting into your paints while you are away.

If you have decided you are done with that particular color palette, scrape it off with a putty knife. I will say this about palettes. Stored properly, the ones you have used for your oil paintings will last for several days or even a week or so. You may not wish to waste the paints. If you are scraping the palette, rinse it off with some linseed oil or mineral spirits when you are done. Rub clean with a clean rag.

After you have put away all your supplies you can go back to the brushes. Certain brushes can carry a large paint load. You may not believe it until you are trying to clean them. Clean one brush at a time. Work the turpentine or other solvent into the bristles of the brush. Rinse with fresh solvent and completely dry with a clean rag. Either lay the brush flat or stand it up in a container with the bristles towards the ceiling. You do not ever want to leave the brush in solvent overnight. This can break down the brush and it will not perform as you have come to expect. Keeping the brushes clean and the bristles straight will allow them to continue making the brush strokes you want.

Acrylic paints can be cleaned up in the same way. However, the difference is the palette will not last. It must be cleaned after each use. The paints will dry within hours. There is one little tip that some artists use. By sticking the palette in a plastic bag and putting it in the freezer, the paints can stay soft. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. The quality of the paints have quite a bit to do with this.

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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