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Ideas & Inspiration

  • Using Tissue Paper To Add Texture

    Try something different for texture!

    It’s always nice to try something different with your paintings. I sometimes use tissue paper to add texture to my watercolours. It’s a really simple technique and very effective.

    All you need is some stretched paper, or a board or canvas, PVA glue, water and a glue brush, tissue paper and of course your paints

    Cover your painting surface with a thin layer of PVA mixed with a little water. Scrunch up your tissue paper and then lay it on the PVA surface. Cover the tissue paper with another thin layer of the PVA water mixture and leave to dry. You will end up with a nice crinkly surface to paint on.

    Alternatively, draw out your design on your stretched paper/canvas Choosing different colours of tissue, scrunch up your tissue, tear into the rough shape of the area you want to fill and stick on the piece of tissue. Keep doing this until you have filled every section of your picture. Cover with a thin layer of the PVA water mixture and leave to dry. Now you can work into your picture with your paints.

    It’s all up to you and your imagination now. How about trying the same technique with lace or paper doilies? Or maybe netting or string.

     

    https://youtu.be/VDaasjYr1LU

  • Get Creative With Clay

    Have you thought about trying Das Modeling Clay?

    Das, modelling material is lovely to work with and no need to mess with oven baking – it is air drying! Das clay contains tiny wee fibres, that give it added strength and rigidity.

    family-portrate

    Stuck for new ideas?

    Instead of model making, how about making a picture instead? Don’t paint that vase of flowers, make your vase out of a layer of the modelling clay. Make your flattened flowers and leaves. Maybe decorate your vase with flat spots or stripes. Then how about putting the vase on a flat table? Wall paper? Flying ducks? Let your picture dry and then start painting.

    Of course you’re not limited to vases of flowers, anything that you like to paint – your cat, a face, a landscape, can be made just as easily. Or how about a family portrait?

    the-cardowsYou can find all you need here to get started!

  • Things We Love That We Think You’ll Love Too

    A Few of Our Favourite Things 

    The world is full of amazing, talented people creating beautiful things.  One of the great things about modern communications is that you can discover new art and artists all the time, even when they are on the other side of the world.  Here’s our pick of people this month who we think you’ll love and should know about.

    Pixie Cold

     

    Pixie Cold (Svenja) is a Berlin born artist who has been creating an internet fan base since 2009 and a full time professional artists since 2012.  She uses watercolour, acrylics and collages to create her vibrant and energetic work.  Her focus on eyes is a particular feature.  In her own words, she says “the very least thing she intends is to be a conventional artist anymore.”

    pixie

    You can check out Pixie Cold’s work on her website (http://pixiecold.org), her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pixiecoldss/timeline)  or her Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/PeeGeeArts) .  She also provides tips and product reviews on her Youtube channel which are worth a look if you fancy trying out some of her techniques in your own work.

     

    Paul Lewin

     

    Lewin is a Jamaican born artist who has spent his life in Miami and Oakland where he currently resides.  Although Lewin says he has always been interested in art and worked on creative projects, he decided not to pursue art college as he found the prescriptive nature of school art projects limiting and unstimulating.  Lewin eventually moved into acrylics which is what most of his work is done in today.  He had his first show in 1998 in Miami.  He is inspired by Jamaican mythology, sci-fi and fantasy art and ancient artifacts.

    11666057_935368759838533_2651262237307484616_n

     

    You can check out Paul Lewin’s work on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/paullewinart/) or his website (http://www.paullewinart.com).

    Johanna Basford

     

    Johanna Basford is a Scottish born artist who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2005.  She has become extremely well known recently for her beautiful adult colouring books, although she creates a variety of work.  You can check her out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/johanna.basford/timeline) or on her website (http://www.johannabasford.com) .

    564457_998950546820999_4648177944573791427_n

    We love discovering new artist and new art.  Do you have anyone you would like to bring to our attention?  Comment here or on our Facebook page and help the art you love reach more people around the world.

     

     

    ~Fiona MacHugh

  • Easy and Fun Printmaking Techniques!

    Have you ever wanted to try out quick, simple ways of printmaking at home?

    Did the thought of needing specialist equipment or using solvent-based materials around the house put you off? Now you can explore high quality printmaking techniques at home with just a few easy products that we have here in store at iArtsupplies. All you need is a roller, our Seawhite of Brighton water-based block printing ink, some plastic sandwich bags or sheets of acetate to use as your printing ‘plate’ and any drawing materials that you have around the house.

    printingink

    Easy and safe to use printing inks

    All you need to do is ‘ink up’ your sandwich bag or acetate – meaning roller out a thin, even amount of your printing ink (you can even use acrylic paint with some acrylic medium or fabric paint if you want to print onto fabrics, all of which we stock here!)

    Then draw into the wet ink or paint with whatever drawing materials you like to create your design. Get creative! You can use pens, pencils, brushes, but also things like cotton buds, scrapers, old toothbrushes… anything that makes a mark that you like. You can also experiment with pressing materials into the ink that will leave an imprint, or pattern – like leaves, twigs, sponges, bubble wrap, even scrunched up paper or cling film!

    ABurke

    (Photograph courtesy of Alisa Burke)

    Get Creative!

    All you need to do now is press your chosen material face down onto your plate, whether its paper, card, fabric or even canvas, and roller it across the back with a clean roller to really press the surface into the plate. If you’ve applied a thick layer of paint, you may even get a ghost print if you try printing your plate again. Happy experimenting!

     

     

  • Gerard Quenum:  Valley of the Dolls

     

    Last year I was visiting the National Museum of Scotland on a day out in Edinburgh when I came up against one of Gerard Quenum’s sculptures for the first time.  I find that art produces several different types of positive effect in me if I like it.  Sometimes it’s a technical appreciation, sometimes it’s a sense of connection with what the artist is representing or trying to say.  And sometimes there is something deeper, something where the visual elements of a piece of work combine to create messages, messages which touch our own visual memories which are connected to experience. These are the pieces of work which you can never forget, which can even come to superimpose themselves over your own emotional memories as a kind of synthesis of all the things which that piece connects for you.

     

     

    gerard-quenum-s-l-ange L'Ange

    For me straight away the sculpture brought vividly memories of my childhood home Nairobi and the city’s copious rubbish dumps, bits of coloured plastic, broken toys, and mangy dogs, but also of the many traditional tribal dolls which as a backdrop were ever present images when I was growing up in one way or another.

    L’Ange is a towering wooden structure ( a reclaimed upended drum) with one of Quenum’s trademarks, a dolls head, blackened and damaged.  The piece if also unique in that the eyes of the doll are actually made out of a wasp’s nest, which happened by chance in Quenum’s studio whilst he was creating the piece.  (You can read about the conservation efforts in relation to this aspect in an interesting article here: http://blog.nms.ac.uk/2013/08/12/for-your-eyes-only-repairing-gerard-quenums-lange/)

    I remember staring up at this piece and feeling the sensation of fire burning, charring the wood and the plastic, and knowing that this was a piece of art and an artist that I was not going to forget in a hurry.

    Quenum was born in 1971 in Porto Novo, Benin and is part of a movement of francophone African artists now starting to receive international recognition for their work.   Quenum’s work has risen from a form of street art springing out of Porto Novo and Cotonou where spontaneous exhibitions are organised in the city streets.  This “Boulev’art” (Art on the Boulevard) is beginning to gain international popularity and Quenum now has a considerable list of joint and solo exhibitions on the national scene under his belt.  As well as exhibiting in Benin and other African countries such as Senegal and Togo Quenum has also exhibited in London, France and Brazil.

    It isn’t hard to see why Quenum’s work has enjoyed some success.  Whether you love it or hate it there is no denying that these altered dolls are both striking and memorable.  I suppose on some level it saddens me that the first reaction people seem to have to the pieces is “that’s weird” or “freaky” or some such thing.  Whilst it is obvious that these pieces are meant to have some unsettling effect, it is a shame to see so many people dismiss the work as an attention grabbing gimmick when there is so much behind this work.

     

    la-vendangeuse(1) La Vendangeuse (The Reaper)

     

     

    Quenum’s work is produced almost exclusively using reclaimed and repurposed materials, most notably wood and bits of old dolls.  The dolls, almost always originally white baby dolls, then undergo a transformation process, usually using fire to blacken their skin and to frizz up their hair. These alien baby dolls, given to African children, are being transformed into something which resembles to a greater extent these children.  They are also being transformed into something which many times resembles traditional African dolls or masks, whilst always at the same time retaining something incongruous.  It is this incongruity which makes people uncomfortable but it is also what makes Quenum’s work so hauntingly beautiful.  There is a disturbing lost innocence about these reworked dolls, something which makes them both comforting and potentially terrifying.  I suppose another thing that they brought immediately to my mind were child soldiers, innocent faces, scarred and marked by the histories of war torn countries.  Can innocence exist where situations of extreme exploitation of the human being exist?  La Vendangeuse (The Reaper) above perfectly illustrates this for me.  The doll here is joined by another familiar childhood figure for Europeans, a stuffed Disney Tigger toy, but it is totally out of place.  The elongated hooded figure reminds me of the many nomadic herds people who are so common a view in many African countries, and the children who are so often occupied with looking after their livestock, carrying their blankets around with them to sleep with the animals.  However there is a darker side to this, The Reaper, is also death. The face of innocence in conjunction with the concept of the Grim Reaper calls to mind again for me child soldiers, agents of death hiding behind unexpected guises.

     

    Quenum’s work is well worth a look at and if you happen to be travelling through Edinburgh go and see the real thing.  At the least its something totally different, at the most it might be a new obsession.

     

     

     

    Fiona MacHugh

  • Artist's Profile: Libby Page

    Libby Page

    Our latest Artist’s Profile for our readers is with Libby Page.  Born in Bath in England Libby is currently resident in Narbonne, Languedoc Roussillon, France.  Libby has a BA in Fine Art specializing in sculpture from what was the Wimbledon School of Art (now Wimbledon College of Art).   Libby currently has professional affiliations with galleries Inspiré in Azille, Southern France ( https://www.facebook.com/InspireAzille/) and Vue Sur Cours, Narbonne, Southern France (http://www.vuesurcours.com).  She has also exhibited in Lyon and the UK but works mainly with private clients.

    WEBconsequence

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

    Moving to the south of France nearly ten years ago revived the passion for colour that I’ve had since I was a child. As I travelled within the region I found myself asking how I would mix up the colour of this cloudless blue sky, the riotous autumn vineyards, the bright spring poppies or the distant mountains.

    Finally it was the Canal du Midi with it’s beautiful tree-lined banks that pushed me to take these colour-filled musings and try attempt to pay homage to the splendour that was all around me. The Canal, as we know it today, is coming to the end of one glorious chapter as it’s majestic plane trees are being felled due to disease.

    WEBPouvoir

    So, not only was I stirred by the Mediterranean colours and the trees whose architectural forms resonated with the sculptor within me, but now I also had a deadline; these trees are coming down fast, each year the canal-scape changes. It is still very beautiful as new vistas are now opening up which were once hidden, but it is changed.

    So at first glance it seems apparent that I am a landscape painter, but there is also a hidden message within the work. Each colour has a meaning of my own invention. So as I paint, I am telling a story or remembering a moment. It is a way of writing in code, my secret diary.

    More here: http://libbypage.eu/coded-messages

    WEBStill Standing

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work? 

     Used to working with traditional oil paints, I am now making the switch to Cobra, water mixable oil paints. The transition has been easier than I thought because the most important thing for me is colour and they are so good. One of the best sap greens I have ever used! I’m a fan of translucent paint and they match up to their traditional counterparts 100%. The difference has been one of texture. Oil paints have a sumptuous fluidity which is less evident in the Cobra paints. However, a little medium, (or a little water!) soon fixes that.

    WEBGracious

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

     

    The relationship with Inspiré in Azille started when a friend of a friend told me about them. I met the owner, Angela Saunders, four years ago and liked both her and her vision for the gallery from the start. She is a pioneer of fine art in a region that is mostly devoted to the more natural pleasures that the land has to offer, namely wine!

    I have only recently been approached by Vue Sur Cours, Narbonne. The owner, Claude Tassus-Bauléry has seen my work evolving over the last few years and wanted me to be a part of her portfolio when she opened her new space in the centre of Narbonne. Very exciting!

     

    If from a traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?

     I think my most formal lessons were learnt before my higher education started. The fundamentals of colour mixing I learnt at school and the disciplines of constant observation and a disciplined drawing practice I learnt during my one year foundation course. My higher education taught me how to talk about my practice and how to understand what I am doing now in the context of art history and the wider contemporary scene. After that, a job working in an art gallery gave me a glimpse into seeing things from the other side; a comprehension of what people like to buy and also the confidence that it is possible to survive as an artist. However, we learn every day and from every experience. You can be a great artist with no formal training at all.

     

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

     In chronological order of influence in my life, a condensed list looks something like this;

    Andrew Fraser, Errol Le Cain, Otto Dix, David Elgey, Paul Cezanne, André Derain,    Francis Bacon, Simon Müller, Barbara Hepworth, Yoko Ono, Edmund de Waal, Ronald F Smith, David M Martin, Domonic Hills, David Hockney, Peter Doig.

     

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

     Externally, the Canal du Midi and the light of Southern France. Internally, my faith, my questions, my observations and reactions.

     

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

     

    I have a wee room in my home, 3m x 4m. North light and neighbours peep through the window. I’m beginning to outgrow it now but it has been so nice working at home with my cat.

     

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

     

    • If you are nervous, it shows that you care.
    • If you want to be good, don’t give up practicing. If something seems impossible, carry on practicing until it is easy.
    • Wear many hats. Once the first hurdle of learning how to make your work well has been leapt over you will still need to learn how to market your work and plan your time effectively to meet demands from galleries or private clients.
    • Enjoy it. Or stop. There are easier ways to make a living!

     

    What do you think is the importance of art to society?

     

    Like an oasis in a desert, like a question posed by a child which exposes the fact that the emperor is naked, like bird song,

     

    Art is vital.

     

    WEBPigasse 2013 Anne

     

     

  • Handmade Resin Bracelets

    Bracelets embedded with Plantlife

    Designer Sarah Smith at Modern Flower Child creates beautiful and unique natural looking resin bracelet and other jewellery for you to purchase and enjoy. Embedded with real flowers, shells, bark, grasses, foliage's, dried ferns and even peacock feathers and any other organic materials. She produces something very different and unusual, leaving a stunning unique finish that you can wear and show of.

    The plant-life Sarah uses for her jewellery makes are frozen in time inside these clear time capsules.  The whole process can take up to as much as three weeks from original design to the pouring of the resin, curing, and then the shaping of  the final piece. Look at just how beautiful these plant-life bracelets are. Sarah's one off designs are all done by hand - and by herself alone (she is a one person business) therefore not made on any machine and the tiny bubbles, bumps and slight imperfections found on her designs are all part of her unique hand produced jewellery makes, making them that extra special. To learn more about the artist visit her website.

    resin bracelets 1

    resin bracelet 2

    resin bracelet 3

     

     

  • Canvas Fun Day

    Canvas Palette Art Project

    Look at this beautiful mixed media artwork that was created for what is called the Canvas Palette Art Project, made at a workshop at The Papeterie. This artwork  allows you to see the mixture of art & craft materials that you can use to create something different and beautiful which becomes a remarkably beautiful piece of artwork that can hung  up as a center-piece in any room.  To see the finished mixed media look HERE at the bottom of the blog post and read exactly what materials they have used to make this eye catching artwork.

    canvas 1

    Fun Day on Canvas Mixed Media (above)
  • Investigating Ink: What you should be using and how.

    Talking about ink

    We get a lot of questions from our customers about products, so we would like to use our blog as a place where we give you more information about the art materials we supply and what they can be used for.  When selecting which ink to use it can be difficult to understand which you should select, especially when you are trying to choose between two black inks, like drawing or Indian ink.  So to help clear things up we’ve put this article together to help you understand which ink you want to select for your projects!

    Which ink should I choose?

    There are various types of ink which you can buy, and the one you select for your work will depend upon factors such as application, what ground you are working on, what effect you are hoping to achieve and possibly how the work is going to be seen by your audience.

    Dye based inks 

    Dye based inks are produced using a series of soluble dyes in solution, often shellac.  Dye based inks should be used when the main aim is the purest, most vivid colour.  However, dye based colour has a lower lightfastness and so is better for work which will be kept in protected conditions such as a sketchbook or portfolio rather than on permanent display where the colour will deteriorate faster over time with exposure to light.  Shellac Dye based inks are usually water resistant, and produce the best effects when used on paper, Bristol or illustration board and when used with dip pens or brushes.   Dye based inks are not recommended for use with fountain pens as the particle size of the dyes may cause clogging and damage the nib.

    iartsupplies sells three ranges of dye-based inks, the Ecoline liquid watercolour ink range in which all colours are dye based except for the white and the gold, the Waterproof Drawing ink except for the white and black colours and the Dr Ph Martins Radiant Inks.  The exceptions in the ranges are both pigment based and have improved lightfastness as a result.   With the black drawing ink, choose this when you want a black which will provide you with a greater possibility for shading work and gradations of the colour as opposed to Indian Ink.  The Ecoline and Radiant inks do not contain shellac and are not waterproof, but the Drawing ink is once dry.

     

    Here are some ideas to get you started with Ecoline inks:

    http://stampingmathilda.blogspot.nl/2007/02/ecoline-and-stamping.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E64Nr00uJ1s

     

    Acrylic Inks

    Acrylic Inks such as Daler Rowney FW are made using pigments the same way that paint is.  These inks are best for those of you who need a fluid versatile colour with the highest possible lightfastness.  Compared to dye based inks, Acrylic inks have slightly less colour intensity but due to the better lightfastness are less likely to fade.   Acrylic inks are waterproof and permanent once they dry and you can mix them with any acrylic paint and acrylic mediums giving them great versatility!

    Acrylic inks work best on paper, board and canvas, but will also take on plastics, wood and ceramics.  If you choose these inks you should use a brush, dip pen or a technical pen or airbrush.  Acrylic inks are also great for stamping, screen printing, fabric printing and stencilling.

    Read what art bloggers think about FW Acrylic Inks:

    http://judyperez.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/you-have-got-to-try-these.html

     

    Indian Ink

    Black Indian ink is mostly used as a drawing ink.  Indian ink is generally produced using lampblack pigment combined with a gum binder and which becomes liquid when mixed with water.

    Indian Ink got its name from the fact that the materials used to make it were originally sourced on the sub-continent, but you may also hear it referred to as Chinese ink, as that was the country where great use was originally made of it, around  3000 BC.  Indian Ink is most generally sold in liquid forms in bottles.  Indian ink is water resistant once dry.   Indian Ink can be used with technical pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, brushes, airbrushes and dip pens.

    Indian Ink is generally much denser and blacker than many other pigment based black inks.  This makes it great for covering large areas and block black work, such as in comic book illustration.

    Here’s an interesting tutorial for the ways that bleach can be used with Indian ink!

    http://arteascuola.com/2012/04/leaves-printed-with-bleach

    Let us break that down for you one more time:

     

    DYE BASED INKS

    • Pure, vivid colour
    • Low lightfastness
    • Best for sketchbook/ folio work, not on permanent display (and exposed to light)
    • Water-resistant
    • Use on paper, Bristol or illustration board
    • Use with dip pens or brushes
    • DO NOT USE with fountain pens, dye particle size may cause clogging and damage nib.

    ACRYLIC INKS

     

    • Pigment based
    • Fluid versatile colour
    • High lightfastness
    • Waterproof and permanent once dry
    • Can be mixed with acrylic paints and mediums
    • Use on paper, board, canvas, plastics, wood and ceramics
    • Use with brush, dip pen, technical pen or airbrush
    • Great for stamping, screen printing, stencilling and fabric painting.

     

    INDIAN INK

    • Pigment based
    • Use when you want the blackest black ink
    • Use on paper, board and textured papers.
    • Use with technical pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, brushes, airbrushes and dip pens.

    Happy inking everyone!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Focus on Artists Blog - Lisa Congdon.

    Artists Blog of the Month

    Every month we are going to share with you an artists' blog of our choice. This is for us to help you get inspired and have you being creative for yourselves.

    We are all creative in some way and sometimes it can just take that little encouragement to help get you going, whether it is an art blog, a particular painting you have seen, paint supplies that you see as you browse an art shop, or even just in everyday living of your surroundings.

    The internet is always at hand nowadays and we can easily look up anything at a few clicks of a button and soon be inspired. We all find inspiration from different sources and one of them being Artist's Blogs. I have just discovered the talented and amazing fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon.

    The Artist 

    Lisa Congdon

    Living and working in Portland, Oregon, Lisa specializes in abstract paintings, pattern design, intricate line drawings and hand lettering. Amongst many of her clients are Martha Stewart Living, Cloud9 fabrics, Chronicle Books and Harvard University. She is a daily blogger and has written 5 books so far; How to Draw a Tulip in Twenty Ways and The Essential Guide to building your own career as an artist are just a couple of them. You can read about the artist and more in the below link.

    Lisa's Work

    Lisas' pattern designs are featured with Chasing Paper for wallpaper, with her very own collection, which looks awesome I must say. This wallpaper with Chasing Paper is not just any wallpaper, it is a special wallpaper which is designed and manufactured to be re-movable which will stick to nearly any surface, how cool to be able to have removable wallpaper in your home, office, hairdressers, etc. Just incredible! I mean you could not find or get anything better than this really. Look at her awesome artwork on this link here.

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