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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • A Different Painting Technique

    Painting With Palette Knives

    Forget the idea that palette knives can only be used for mixing colours!

    Choose from a wide range of palette knives 

    Tips for Painting with Palette Knives

    Not only are brushes are suitable for painting – using palette knives can give an entirely different effect, and they are particularly recommended for Impasto technique.

     

    Palette knives are especially useful when you want to achieve ‘clean’, brushstroke-free surfaces. Colours applied with a knife are pure and more vibrant, and due to the range of different sizes, it’s even possible to cover larger surfaces.

     

    Painting with palette knives is more like layering paint, so it’s the perfect tool for expressive marks as well as for realistic details like waves on the sea and tree trunks.

     

    Palette knives are very useful for painting outside (plein air) as it’s not only faster to put the constantly changing scenery onto a canvas with it, but it saves time and effort as knives can just be wiped clean in order to use a new colour.

    Palette Knife Types

    regular palette knives
    • Use a short blade for angular strokes
    • Use long blades for sweeps of colour
    • Use sharp pointed blades for thin scratches and lines
    • Use round blades to avoid sharp lines
    palette knives for unique effects

    Palette Knife Painting Techniques

     

    • Scraping back the paint, revealing the previous layers is a technique called sgraffito (using the end of a brush)
    • Pressing paint onto the surface will make a good textured effect
    • Pressing the edge of the knives is used to make fine lines
    • For making ridges, press the blade flat down into the paint
    • Or simply spread paint across the canvas like butter on bread with the long side of the blade

    Watch this Demo!

     

    Examples:

    References:

    • http://thevirtualinstructor.com/knife-painting-acrylic-paint.html
    • http://www.buildart.com/secrt_of_PaletteKnifeOilPainting.htm
    • http://www.artinstructionblog.com/oil-painting-with-a-palette-knife
    • https://www.thoughtco.com/learn-how-to-paint-with-a-knife-2578778

     

  • Handmade Paper

     

    How To Make Your Own Paper?

    Want to recycle your spare printouts, write a special note, or just looking for a fun creative activity? Making paper on your own doesn't require professional knowledge, and you can't go wrong with it: the results are always going to be unique, and definitely gives a visually pleasing effect.

    A brief history of paper-making

    Paper-making began around 105 A.D. and was invented by the Chinese. It is said that Ts’ai Lung, an official of the Imperial Court made the first paper by using the fibres of mulberry tree bark. With this starting point people began experimenting, creating more and higher quality paper by adding rags and fish nets to the pulp. The method of paper making was kept a secret until the defeat of the T’ang dynasty by the Ottoman Empire. The method then spread to the Arabs from Chinese prisoners, who also began to guard the knowledge. In 10th century the Egyptians learnt the techniques from the Arabs and in Europe it was first introduced in Spain around 1150 A.D.

    In the UK, the first evidence of an existing paper mill was around 1495.

    What You Will Need

    • Water
    • Scrap paper
    • storage tub/ vat
    • blender
    • mould and deckle
    • Wood boards / sponge
    • towels

    Make Your Own 'Mould and Deckle'!

     

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU71fWKR0wg[/embed]

     

    DIY Paper - The Method

    Cut your scrap paper into small parts and soak it for at least a few hours
    Fill up a blender with water, or use a mortar to create a pulp.

     

    Fill the tub with the pulp, and add more water – the more pulp you add, the thicker the paper will be.

    Get the Mould and Deckle, and place it in the water (mould screen up, deckle on top). Shake it a bit when you lift it out. The next step is called couching (pronounced “coo-ching”) when you transfer the sheet to a flat, absorbent surface. Then remove the deckle, gently place the mould face down on the surface, press down and lift it up.

    If you don't mind the uneven edges, or don't have access to Mould and Deckle, you can also use a roller to for the sheets.

    You can dry the finished sheet in different ways. You can place the sheets on a wood board or glass, and just leave it to dry. You can also place the sheets together (with an absorbent surface in between), put a wood board on top then weigh it down with something heavy.

    Customise Your Paper!

    When you have learnt the basics, it's time to experiment!
    Try adding different colour dyes to your pulp to create coloured paper. You can also try adding pressed flowers and plants to your paper while it's still wet.

    Videos:

    References:

    • http://paperslurry.com/2014/05/19/how-to-make-handmade-paper-from-recycled-materials/
    • http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Handmade-Paper/
    • http://www.silk-road.com/artl/papermaking.shtml
    • http://baph.org.uk/ukpaperhistory.html
  • A Guide To Pigments

    Learn Useful Things About Your Paints

    It's easy to get used to going to the art shop and just selecting the most suitable tubes of paints. Even if contemporary painters don't necessarily have to make their own paint, it's very useful to know the components of your primary medium, This guide is for everyone who's interested in broadening their knowledge about paints and their colours.

     

    What Are Pigments?

    Pigments are fine powders, used for the colouration of paints, inks, ceramics, plastics and wax.
    In order to be able to use them, pigments have to be added to liquids. When the solvent evaporates or cools down, the pigment molecules solidify.

    A Little Pigment History

    • Until around the 19th and 20th centuries painters mostly used paint made from natural minerals
    • Before paints began to be manufactured in factories, painters (or their apprentices) were in charge of making their own pigments and paints.
    • Pigments play a very big role in identifying the age of a painting,  for example Prussian blue was first available in 1706, and lead-tin yellow was only used until the 18th century.

    Different Pigment Types

    • Earth colors - ochres, umbers, siennas, terre verte
    • Mineral colours - azurite, malachite, lapis lazuli (ultramarine), cinnabar
    • Organic colours - cochineal (derived from insects), Indian yellow, indigo
    • Manufactured colours - lead-tin yellow, white lead, verdigris, Prussian blue, vermilion

    Lemon Yellow
    (Steinbühl yellow, barium yellow, yellow ultramarine)

    Lemon yellow pigment has been used since the early 1800s. It has an opaque quality, and excellent light-fastness.
    It has a tendency to turn slightly greenish when mixed with oil binders.

    Green Earth
    (terre verte, Verona green)

    Green earth pigment is a mixture of different minerals (glauconite, celadonite), and has been used since antiquity. In medieval Italian paintings, it was common to use it for under-painting for flesh tones.

    Ultramarine Blue
    (lazurite, french ultramarine)

    Organic Ultramarine has been used for the last 6,000 years from when they first began mining its base mineral, lapis lazuli. It was used in Egyptian tomb painting then later in Europe by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo Buonarotti. Synthetic ultramarine has been produced since the 19th century.

    Zinc White
    (chinese white)

    Up until the end of the 18th century, the main pigment for white paint was lead white, however, due to its toxicity, it was ideal to replace it with zinc white. And not only that,  zinc white proved to be less opaque, which was favourable for 19th century's changing colour preferences, as it was easier to create more vibrant colours.

    Cadmium Red
    (selenium red, cadmium scarlet)

    Cadmium red pigment has always been a popular colour choice from Edvard Munch to Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. However, the pigment is quite expensive due to the scarcity of cadmium metal, not to mention its toxicity. In 2015 artists faced a possible Europe-wide ban, but luckily it hasn't been issued and artists no longer have to fear the disappearance of their vibrant reds and oranges.

    Vandyke Brown
    (Cassel earth, Cologne earth)

    Vandyke brown pigment or "earth" as it is sometimes referred to as, is very telling: it contains almost entirely organic compounds like soil, and it has been a very prominent colour choice of old masters, since the 17th century.

    Bone Black
    (Ivory black, bone charcoal)

    Bone black pigment also has a telling name: it's partly made out of carbonised animal bones. It's also sometimes called ivory black which is similar but more exclusive as it's made out of carbonised ivory pieces.

    Description of pigments:

    http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/artist-paints/colour-pigments.htm

    Get to Know the Universal Pigment Codes!

    It's very useful to choose your paint consciously - knowing what different signs and symbols indicate on the paint tube can save you from buying unwanted colours, as well as predicting the mixed colours interaction.

    It's good to learn what Colour Index names mean, as they tell which specific pigment(s) make up that particular colour.

    The United States the Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) standardises these codes. They have two parts; ten pigment codes and different numbers after them.

    Colour Index Names

    PY = Pigment Yellow
    PO = Pigment Orange
    PR = Pigment Red
    PV = Pigment Violet
    PB = Pigment Blue
    PG = Pigment Green
    PBr = Pigment Brown
    PBk = Pigment Black
    PW = Pigment White
    PM = Pigment Metal

    Other things to note:

    • Colours that have a "hue" in their name means that the paint was made with less expensive  substitute pigments, but are a very similar colour.
    • paying attention to Colour Index Names can help you with mixing colours as well. It's particularly useful when you only need a small amount of a particular colour. For example, Payne's Grey is made from Ultramarine Blue (PB29) and Carbon Black (PBk7)!
    • The same codes might be on different but produce a similar colour. For instance, both Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna have PBr7 pigment, the difference is how these pigments were prepared for the two colours.
    • You might want to keep in mind that some paints that have more than one Colour index name, indicating that the colour is made up of more pigments, therefore you might not want to mix that colour more as the high consistency of different pigments could result in a dull colour.

    What is Light-fastness?

    Pigments' light-fastness means how much they are resistant to change when exposed to light. This can depend on the pigment's chemical composition and whether it is mixed into oil, acrylic or other type of paint. Generally, light-fastness determines the "life expectancy" of the artwork, as less light-fast paints are sure to eventually fade.

    There are different systems to determine the light-fastness of paints and pigments.

    • The American Society for Testing and Materials’ light-fastness rating:
      ASTM I — Excellent Light-fastness
      ASTM II — Very Good Light-fastness
      ASTM III — Not Sufficiently Light-fast to be used in artists’ paints
    • There are some colours without ASTM ratings, therefore Pigments usually have the B/S (British Standard) ratings, a scale that goes from 1 to 8. (8 being the most light-fast)
    • The light-fastness of Royal Talens products is indicated on tubes, labels and colour charts by these symbols:

    +++ = at least 100 years light-fast under museum conditions
    ++ = at least 25 - 100 years light-fast under museum conditions
    + = at least 10 - 25 years light-fast under museum conditions
    º = at least 0 - 10 years light-fast under museum conditions

    What's the Difference between Pigments and Dyes?

     

    • colour-giving substances are separated into two types: dyes and pigments. The main difference between them is their light-fastness. Dyes blended with paint or ink have a maximum of moderate  light-fastness.
    • Dyes dissolve in water, pigments are insoluble.
    • Dyes are used for illustrative purposes, when preserving the original work is not essential, as it will be published.

    Things to Know About Opacity and Transparency

    • Pigments can be arranged on a scale between Opaque and Transparent qualities.
    • The main difference comes at the stages of painting: for instance, painting with a light but opaque colour will be visible on a dark surface, but not the other way round.
    • The paint’s opacity and transparency does not relate to pigment density!

    Opaque Pigments:
    Cadmium yellows, Cadmium reds, Cerulean blue, Yellow ochre, raw sienna, raw umber
    Transparent Pigments:
    Hansa yellow, Azo yellow, Quinacridone reds, Pthalo blue, Ultramarine, Burnt sienna.
    In-between:
    Cobalt blue, Burnt Umber

    From left to right, the yellows shown are PY110 , PY 153, PY108, hansa yellow (PY3), and yellow ochre.

    What are the signs on paint tubes

    Useful :
    The Colour of Art Pigment Database
    http://www.artiscreation.com/Color_index_names.html#.WK1q22_yhQJ

    A Vault of Colour: Protecting the World's Rarest Pigments

     

    References

    • http://katharinethayer.com/html/optrans.html
    • http://www.chromaonline.com/products/au/archival_oils/colour_range/lightfastness_rating_what_it_means
    • https://www.royaltalens.com/information/frequently-asked-questions/lightfastness/
    • https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt6.html
    • http://www.artiscreation.com/Color_index_names.html#.WK1r02-LRQI
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJz6i_YeTEA
    • http://www.museartanddesign.com/paints-pigment-codes/
    • http://www.artiscreation.com/ColorCharts.html
    • http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/colour-naming-dyes-pigments-and-paints.html
    • http://stapletonkearns.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/color-index-names-what-in-this-paint.html
    • http://www.lilinks.com/mara/pigments.html
    • http://www.essentialchemicalindustry.org/materials-and-applications/colorants.html
    • http://learn.leighcotnoir.com/artspeak/elements-color/hue-value-saturation/
  • Escoda Brushes

    A Little Background

    For over 80 years, Escoda – a family business based in Barcelona – have been handcrafting high quality brushes for all forms of artistic expression.  Founded in 1933, Josep Escoda Roig (1902-1982) had the dream of starting a company that would produce high quality brushes for fine artists; 3 generations later the world renowned company is still flourishing.  Today, Escoda have a wide range of natural and synthetic brushes, of which they handcraft around 1 million every year whilst maintaining their dedication to create the best brushes possible.

    Expertly Crafted Brushes

    When crafting their brushes, Escoda marry expert skill with the highest quality raw materials, ensuring the final quality of each brush stroke and the lifespan of their range.  Each brush is handmade by highly trained brush makers and must meet the high standards set out by Josep Snr.  A wide selection of natural and synthetic fibre brushes are available, each designed with their specific qualities in mind to provide the artist the best possible brush.

    Escoda's natural hair brushes are the result of decades of experience and knowledge into what makes the perfect brush for each medium. For oils and acrylics, Escoda's Bravo (ox ear), Saturno (polecat), Arco (badger) and Clasico (hog bristles) ranges provide artists with robust, predictable brushes in different sizes designed to compliment the natural properties of the paint.  For water-colourists, the Artesana (pony), Aquario (squirrel) and Reserva (kolinsky) ranges provide the soft fine hairs necessary for a delicate touch and increased control.

    Not only do they make exceptional quality natural brushes, but they also have a large range of synthetic fibre options. Each artificial brush is designed specifically to produce the same high quality performance and brushstroke as the traditional brush - for many artist this provides a new standard for their practice.

    Escoda - Brush Features

    The Escoda family and their dedicated team of highly trained brush makers have transformed the making of brushes into an art form of its very own. Here are a couple videos from their Youtube channel demonstrating the process and craftsmanship standards the Escoda family strive to maintain.

     

    www.escoda.com/
    www.globalartmaterials.com/escoda.html

  • INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINT

    Don't be scared to try oil paints!

    Using oil paint might seem a bit scary at first – they require the use of chemicals, they are more expensive and generally considered harder to learn the proper techniques. This general introduction to oil paint should prove useful if you’re considering making the decision and try them out – even though they require more painting knowledge, it is worth getting into!

    So what really are oil paints?

    Oil paint is a traditional material that has been used in Europe since the 15th century. It basically consists of one or various pigments (organic and/or metallic based - these days synthetic versions are much more common) mixed with oil - typically linseed, poppy or sunflower.

    Different Solvents

    The most striking feature of oil paint is that they will not dissolve in water. But don’t let it discourage you! With enough knowledge, these chemicals will become less sinister!

    Turpentine

    Spirits

    Painting Medium

    If you are not sure about what kind of brush to use with oil paint, find more information here

    Curious what brand of oil paint to choose? Read our comparison here

    Painting Surfaces and Preparation

     There are two main surfaces for oil painting: stretched canvases, canvas boards or wooden panels. You can prepare your own preferred painting surface, or purchase them.

    Canvas stretching
    canvas boards
    Wooden panels

    It is advised to put a layer of (rabbit skin) glue onto the surface of the canvas before the Gesso, but it is essential when you’re working with wood, as otherwise it could curl due to the moisture in the paint. After two or three layers of glue another two or three layers of Gesso (a mixture of rabbit skin glue, water, and chalk that creates a flexible and absorbent layer between the canvas or wood and oil paint) are applied. It’s not necessary to paint too many layers, as it could result in dull colours if the heavy layers absorb the oil paint. In between preparatory layers you should always use sandpaper to smooth the surface.

    Oil Painting Techniques

    “Fat over lean” technique

    This is the basic principle of oil painting, which is the method of applying thinned down paint (high percentage of solvent) first, and gradually using less and less solvent. “Fat” refers to the oil paint that’s diluted with an oil medium (linseed or poppy seed oil) while “lean” means oil paint that’s diluted with turpentine or spirits. If the layers aren’t applied correctly, it could cause cracking.

      

      

    Artwork by Meredith Milstead

    “Alla Prima” / Wet on wet technique

    This is a technique where layers are applied without leaving the previous one to dry.

      

      

    Varnishing Your Painting

    No matter what kind of varnish you use, it is important to know when to varnish oil paintings - however dry they seem, they might not be completely!
    With other paints, the drying process is basically just evaporation – but not with oils. While the surface is seemingly and “physically” dry, truly it is an ongoing chemical process of oxidation, and after this stage the painting begins to age.

    Therefore, oil paints are advised to be varnished after at least half a year after the work has been finished. Otherwise, the varnish will work as a seal and won’t let oxygen pass through the layers effectively. Halting the oxidisation process will leave the deeper layers still wet, which on a long run will cause the surface layer to crack.

      

    Read more about varnishes here.

    How Do I Clean My Brushes Properly?

    Getting out of oil paint from your brushes might seem to be a struggle – but in reality, it’s not so hard! First of all, you don’t necessarily need to have completely clean brushes. It is easy to simply wipe your brush with a towel, or for a cleaner bristle, damp it with a bit of solvent, linseed oil or brush cleaner solution. Even when you’re starting a new painting, it is useful to have a bit of leftover paint in your brush, as it is perfect for sketching. As Mark Carder* demonstrates in his useful video, cleaning your brush frequently does more damage to the bristle than leaving paint in it! However, even if oil paint dries very slowly, you do have to take care of your brushes when you don’t intent to use them for a few weeks. In that case, the best way is to use some sort of spirit in a well ventilated area, and clean the brush with a (paper) towel.

    *make sure to check out his tips on "easy ways to take care of oil paintbrushes"

    Important!
    How to dispose of turps and other chemicals?

    It is essential to know how to dispose of hazardous waste properly when you’re working with such materials. It is not only illegal to pour them into the sink or on the ground, but highly dangerous to the environment. 

    When you no longer intend to use your paints or solvents, make sure you either donate it to someone who would use it or take care of them properly. One way is to let the used turpentine or brush cleaner to sit in their container while the paint separates – the clear liquid can be reused, the remaining paint then poured onto an absorbent surface such as cat litter, saw dust or concrete. Let it completely dry and them put it in a fire-safe trash container.

    Next step is to find your local hazardous waste collection site:

    • https://www.gov.uk/hazardous-waste-disposal
    • http://www.williamtraceygroup.com/capabilities/special_hazardous_waste
    • http://www.sepa.org.uk/regulations/waste/special-waste/
    • https://www.biffa.co.uk/business-waste/where-we-operate/scotland/

    References:

    http://webartacademy.com/art/free-bonuses/The-Oil-Painting-Guide.pdf
    http://www.artistdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/HowToPaint_V3.pdf
    http://willkempartschool.com/glossary-for-oil-painting-terms-the-essential-guide-for-beginners/
    https://blog.udemy.com/oil-painting-techniques/
    http://www.thisland.illinois.edu/57ways/57ways_25.html

  • INTRODUCING ROYAL TALENS COBRA – THE WATER MIXABLE OIL PAINT

    What does water - mixable oil mean?

    Literally, it is possible to mix the Cobra oil series with water, without losing the properties of regular oil paints. Cobra oils contain the exact same materials as regular oil paints; the difference is that they are modified in order to mix with water.  Since they do contain oils, it is important to keep that in mind that they still can be mixed with turps and spirits as well, so when you’re using water you have to mix them little by little to enable the particles to mix well.

    (They can also be mixed with regular oil paints, but then they lose their ability to mix with water!)

     Why is Cobra good?

    Having a paint that has the same properties as traditional oil paints, but is also mixable with water has many advantages. Firstly, you don’t have to use harmful chemicals like turps and spirits, thus you don’t have to buy, carry and smell them in order to produce oil paintings. Secondly, since you’re only using water, it is safe to pour the remnants into the sink, making your life easier, as well as not having to worry about environmental damage.

    Thirdly, you don’t have to throw away your non-water soluble oil paints, as Cobra paints can be mixed with them.

    Get to know what artists think!

    Things to keep in mind with Cobra Solvent Free Oil Paint

     Artist and Study Quality

    Artist Quality
    Study Quality

    There are two types of the Cobra oil paints available – artist and study quality.

    The main difference between the two is that the artist quality paints consist of equal amount of pigments and binder, while study quality paints contain half of the amount of pigment with an additional material called extender. This way, it’s possible to create cheaper, but still good quality paint.

    Paint series

    You may also notice that the artist quality brand has 4 series that also have different prices. This is due to the fact that certain pigments are more difficult to get hold of, therefore their production costs are higher – it does not indicate that the more expensive colours are any better!

    The series numbers are indicated on the back of the tube!

    Mixing Colours

    Not surprisingly, the question whether Cobra oils and acrylics can be mixed may arise, and of course, both paints can be mixed with water! However, even though it is possible to mix them, it is not advised in the long run, as the drying process of water based paints is completely different to oil based paints. While acrylic paints remain flexible due to their plastic content, oil paints dry harder with age, resulting in cracking and other different damages of the painting.

    Cobra Painting Medium

    Building up a painting with the Cobra series works the same way as with regular oils – the principle of the “fat over lean” technique still applies. With this technique, you add your layers that should contain less and less solvent (water), which means more paint, thus more oil goes to the surface. However, if you don’t wish to use paint straight out of the tube for the last layer, or wish to have a very smooth effect, the Cobra Painting Medium is what you need.
    To make the fat over lean principle work, you will have to add more and more medium into the water you’re mixing with, this way the solvent will contain more oil even without adding very thick layers of paint.

    Glazing with Cobra

    Glazing is the application of a very transparent layer of paint on top of the others.

    The Cobra Glazing Medium is very similar to the Painting Medium, with the difference being that it doesn’t contain any water, so it is more flexible. The Glazing medium has to be applied directly out of the bottle to the last layer of the painting.

    Another possible way to use it is to put subtle colours into black and white paintings, by mixing the glazing medium with paint and applying it to the surface of the dried painting. This way the original brushstrokes remain untouched, and you can put on more colours or brush them off without affecting the finished painting.

    Cobra Odourless Spray Varnishes:

    Varnishes are applied in order to protect the painting from ageing as much as possible. It’s important to keep in mind that varnishing has to be done after at least a year has passed since the finishing of the work to allow the oils to dry properly.

    Other Properties of Cobra Oil Paints:

    Study Quality

    Artist Quality

    References:

  • Printmaking With Salt and The Sun

    An Alternative Mix Between Photography and Printmaking

    You don’t necessarily need a darkroom or professional equipment to make your own photo prints – salt printing is a relatively easy but nevertheless spectacular technique to produce your own images. The best thing is that you can make them with the power of the Sun! This is as organic as it gets. Dundee is supposed to be the sunniest of Scotland - get the most of the Spring sunshine, and make your own prints by following the method below.

    What you will need:

    - Salt
    - Silver nitrate
    - distilled water
    - paper (optionally sun print paper, but it actually does work on regular paper as well)
    - light source (like the Sun or light table)
    - fixative
    - brushes
    - interesting objects or paper cuts you’d like to print
    - gloves
    - plastic tray

    Preparing the Mixture:

    You will need two solutions. First, you mix 2.0 gm Sodium Chloride (table salt with Distilled Water) to make 100.0 ml. After that, mix 12.0 gm Silver Nitrate with Distilled Water to make 100.0 ml of solution.
    (Dark glass works better for the silver nitrate solution because it is more sensitive to light)

    The Method - Step by Step:

    After you have prepared the solutions, first you need to find a dark room (with relatively less source of light) where you should prepare a string to hang your paper to dry. Next, you take however many pieces of paper you want to print and gently cover them with the salty water. You want to cover them evenly, but you shouldn’t soak them! Leave time for them to dry. (At this point, it’s a good idea to mark the back of the paper, so you don't forget which side you’re wanting to work with)
    The next step is to stroke the dry paper with the silver nitrate solution. Since this mixture makes it possible for the patterns to appear on the paper after exposure, you want to work in an environment that's as dark as possible. Again, apply the mixture evenly on the paper, but you won’t need too much. Also, one thing to keep in mind is that silver nitrate can stain your skin; therefore you might want to wear gloves for this part.
    Once again, you must to hang the paper up until they are completely dry.
    In order to get clearer results, you should use the paper as soon as possible after drying. While the paper is drying you can gather the objects you wish to use – the best results come from using flat things such as feathers, pressed flowers, leaves, different fabrics or paper cuts. Be careful to keep your paper in the dark until you are ready to expose them to the light – keep them in a folder or cover them with some fabric.
    If you are using the Sun, try to keep the paper away from direct sunlight while you place your objects onto the paper – after you’re done, leave the rays and chemicals to do their job! Using the Sun, of course, can be tricky. You may have to experiment with the exposure time, not to mention unwanted clouds and other natural occurrences – but this is part of the fun: you can never know how your print will turn out, thus you will probably get unique prints each and every time.

    What’s next?

    After the exposure is finished, you need to rinse the paper – you can do this simply by placing it under running tap water.
    The next step is to fix the prints – for that, you will need to freshly prepare the fixer (10% solution of sodium thiosulfate (hypo) with 2 grams of sodium bicarbonate to each litre. You should leave the prints in the fixing solution for around 3-6 minutes. Optionally, after that you can also put the prints into a clearing agent for another 3 minutes . When it’s done, rinse in water, and hang it up to dry.

    The Results:

         

     

     

    References:

    • http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/saltprints/a-dash-of-salt
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfrFaOYp-u8
    • http://www.sunprints.org/how-it-works/
  • PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUES IV.

    Linocut

    No wonder using Linoleum as the ground for printmaking is a popular technique – it’s relatively cheap and easy method, compared to etching and lithography. It is widely available and pretty much doable without a printing studio.

    Picasso
    Picasso

    The History of Linocut

    Linocut is a type of relief printing technique, that's predecessors were wood and metal plate cutting. Linoleum was invented in the 1800s, for its common purpose of covering floors. By the 1860s it had its name, then gained its popularity in the 1900s when artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso began using it to create images.
    It was also used in Germany to create wallpaper patterns, as well as a cheap option for practising in printmaking schools.

    Henri Matisse

    What materials do you need for making linocuts?

    • Carving tools with different blades

    • Printing Ink
    • Printmaking paper - light weight, for example Stonehenge, Rives BSK, Japanese washi paper

    • Lino Blocks

    or just get a complete linocut kit

    How Can You Make a Linocut?

    1. When you decided on an image, either transfer or draw it directly onto the linoleum block.
      Keep in mind that your design will be printed reversed!
    2. Start carving the linoleum - what you carve out isn't going to be printed.
    3. Ink your linoleum block evenly with your roller
    4. Start printing! Lay your paper carefully onto the block, and press them together with the help of a baren or wooden spoon.
    5. Take off the paper, and reveal your print!

    Multicoloured Prints - The Reduction Method

    In order to create multiple colour images, the simplest way is to use the reduction method. That is, when you print different colours onto one image, using only one linoblock.
    First you need to decide how many pieces you want in this particular edition. As you will be carving away more and more of the lino, you can only make a certain number of prints. When you're done with the first layer, carve out more details and print each paper with the  new colour. You can do this as much as you prefer, until you're done. You can also experiment with printing different designs on the same paper.

    video demonstration:

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl4lmTQJ5uM[/embed]

    Useful Linocut Tips:

    Heating the linoleum block makes it easier to cut.

    1. Draw the reversed image onto the linoleum
    2. Use carbon or tracing paper to transfer your image.
    3. Paint a light layer of acrylic on your drawn image to make sure it stays on during the carving process.
    4. If you made a mistake, try gluing back the cut out part, or fill the gap with epoxy resin.

    Linocut by Bill Fick

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVJ-ArlB6XA[/embed]

    REFERENCES

    http://www.boardingallrows.com/linocut-process/
    https://shellielewis.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/12503975764/
    https://www.artfinder.com/blog/post/inside-the-art-of-linocut-printmaking/
    http://www.accessart.org.uk/pdfs/printmaking.pdf
    http://www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/how-to/printmaking/222/top-tips-for-linocut-printmaking
    http://greatnorthartshow.co.uk/the-history-and-process-of-linocut-print-from-paupers-to-picasso/

  • Screen Printing

    A long long time ago...

    Screen Printing (AKA silk screening, serigraph) began over a millennia ago during the Song Dynasty in China. Within the past 100 years, however, this printmaking technique has been widely utilised in the western world by artists and commercial processes alike, making it possibly the most common form of modern printmaking.

    Screen Printing https://www.logos-unlimited.co.uk/services/printing

    Process

    Screen Printing is the process of creating an image built up with different colour layers, which has it's origins in ancient stencilling techniques. The name screen printing/silk screening finds its meaning through the use of silk or synthetic mesh stretched around a wooden or metal frame.

    To create the image layer, light-sensitive emulsion is applied to the screen; once dried the image is placed on top of the emulsion layer and is exposed to high levels of UV light; this 'sets' the emulsion around the artist's design leaving the masked area unset. This unset area is then washed away leaving a very accurate outline of the artist's design.

    Once cleaned, the screen can be exposed again to help make sure that the emulsion is fully 'set'.  When this part of the process is complete, the screen can now be used as many times as needed.

    http://www.sfy.org.uk/services/screen-printing/

    To begin the printing process, the screen is fixed to a screen bed with a hinged bracket, which allows the printer to raise and lower the screen between prints. Tape is used to border the design and to mask out any areas of the screen that you do not want to be contacted by the ink.

    Once the screen has been fully prepared, ink is applied directly to the taped area of the screen and using a 'squeegee' the ink is dragged over the stencilled image; the ink is forced through the mesh and onto the paper, wood, plastic, fabric underneath the screen.

    screen printing process set-up https://www.saxoprint.co.uk/blog/screen-printing-process

    As the 'squeegee' passes over the image, the taught screen lifts away from the paper leaving the the desired image. This can be done as many times as needed, as long as ink isn't left to dry in the gaps in the mesh.

    It is common that this process of preparing the screens will need to be repeated several times for each full design, as each colour needs to be prepared separately.

     

    Modern Screen Priniting History

    In the early 1900's an Englishman named Samuel Simon patented the first screen printing machine; the main use of which, was to create luxury wallpaper on silk and cotton using cut stencils and push the ink through the screen with a brush.. In these early days of western screen printing, many of the techniques and processes were kept as closely guarded secrets of industry and it wasn't until three San Francisco based print-makers, Charles Peter, Roy Beck and Edward Owens experimented with photo-reactive chemicals and photo-imaged stencils in 1910's, that significant and progressive developments were made.  No longer were techniques kept secret and screen printing became an extremely popular commercial and artistic practice, free to progress and expand.

     

    Andy Warhol

    Pop artist, Andy Warhol's name is synonymous with screen printing or 'serigraphy' (the term used by artists to separate their work from the commercial process). In the 1960's he championed the technique creating iconic images, which are still widely regarded as highly influential, revolutionary works of art.

    One such artwork, 'Marilyn Diptych' 1962, boosted Warhol's work into the mainstream. Weeks after Monroe's death, Warhol produced 50 replicated images of a publicity photograph from her starring role in 'Niagara'. The transition between the bright, colourful left side and the monochromatic, fading right side evokes themes of mortality, celebrity culture, and the futility of which.

    http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093

    Warhol's choice of using screen printing lent itself perfectly to his project and allowed more meaning to be taken in; watching the iconic visage of Marilyn Monroe shine brightly and then fade almost completely into a ghostly image. The power in this piece is magnified by Warhol's use of repetition, reflecting the corporate consumerist nature of advertising, repeating images again and again until they become old, ineffective and of no use.

    This is a great example of how screen printing can be used, not only as a means of creating multiple prints of an existing artwork, but as a legitimate artistic process for the fabrication of new original work.

    References

    http://www.catspitproductionsllc.com/screen-printing-history.html

    www.saxoprint.co.uk/blog/screen-printing-process

    www.logos-unlimited.co.uk/services/printing

    www.sfy.org.uk/services/screen-printing

    http://www.printa.com/blog/post/history-and-technique-behind-silk-screening

    http://www.estout.com/designthreads/archive/History-08_16-History_of_Screen_Printing.asp

    http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093

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