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Ideas & Inspiration

  • Amsterdam Acrylic Inks - Available Now!

    What are the Amsterdam Acrylic Inks like?

    What are Acrylic Inks?

    Acrylic inks are in-between materials – you can use and think of them as liquid acrylic paint, or thicker watercolours, however the big difference is that once they are dry, they are permanently dry! We are really excited as this year (2018) we have finally got them listed on iartsupplies!

    The Royal Talens Amsterdam Acrylic Inks have 46 different colours (metallic and fluorescent as well!) that are just the same as the acrylic markers, spray paint and acrylic paint the brand does, making the colours fully interchangeable

    What are the properties of Amsterdam Acrylic Inks?

    • Acrylic ink is the closest in to the Amsterdam Acrylic Markers. They are more liquid than regular acrylic paint, but thicker than watercolour or ecoline
    • Brilliant & Vibrant colours with intense pigments
    • Waterproof once dried
    • Water based and can be mixed with other water based paints
    • Highly Lightfast
    • Odourless
    • Can be combined with Amsterdam acrylic paint, spray paint or markers, as the pirments are the same used in each paint type
    • Can be used on different grounds like paper, canvas, cardboard, wood, plastic and metal (if primed first)
    • Good for pours

    Techniques / How to use

    Drawing / painting 

    Acrylic inks can be used as any other regular ink or paint, with dip pens or with the drop.
    As they dry waterproof, you can easily create layers of lines and washes, as they will remain visible under the fresh layers. Why not try using a dip pen with acrylic ink? Its is also a good idea if you want to write / draw with mixed colours!

    Make marks with a brayer

    Another good idea by Kim Dellow is to use a brayer to make different patterns with acrylic inks.

    Why not Print on fabric/paper?

    Yes, acrylic inks are even suitable for printmaking, whether the surface is regular paper or fabric!

    Washes

    Acrylic inks are also suitable for traditional watercolour techniques like washes. However, due to its different properties, acrylic inks make it possible for the lower layers to stay visible.

    Drops/splatters/ spraying water

    As Acrylic inks stay waterproof after they dry, you can create nice layers of drops and splashes that will stay visible even if you add more layers or spray the surface with water.
    Also a nice technique to try and add water to the inks once they are on the surface - or perhaps to spray them with water which creates nice patterns and washes. To further experiment, you can try to spread the inks or water.

    Pours/ Cells effect

    Acrylic inks are excellent for pours and creating cell effect. Mix each colour with a few drops of silicone and floetrol and pour them in the same cup one by one. Place the canvas (surface) on top of the cup and flip. Wait for a few minutes before lifting up the cup, and just let the ink flow. If it doesn't cover the whole area, just help it by lifting the surface a little. If you add silicone, it will help the colours to separate, creating interesting cell-like patterns.

    References and Photos:

     

  • How to Make Your Own Paint

    Oil Paint Colour

    Now, after the  INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINTthe next challenge is to try making your own!

    Oil paints are basically the mixture of pigments and oil. Their popularity is caused by their qualities to dry without changing shape and colour, as well as their archival properties, meaning that the oxidised oil binds the pigments, making it possible to keep the painting intact for hundreds of years.

    Making your own oil paint allows you to experiment with the consistency of the paint, as well as the colours. Pigments found in nature can even be used to create your own unique colours.

    What do I need to make your own Oil Paint:

    • mortar and pestle
    • muller and glass slab
    • palette knife
    • linseed oil ( cold-pressed, raw or unrefined)
    • refined beeswax
    • pigment(s)
    • paint tubes (optional)

    The Method

    First of all, you will make a small pile of pigment on the glass slab, and make a small gap in the middle. Pour a bit of oil there and start mixing with a palette knife or spatula. Don’t worry if it’s not easy to mix, and only add a small amount of oil at a time, as you want the mixture to have the smallest amount of oil as possible.

    Start grinding the mixture with the muller in a circular motion, spreading the mixture gradually on the slab. The idea is to try covering every pigment particle with the least possible amount of oil. From time to time, scrape the paint off of the muller and start grinding again, spreading the paint. Do this until the mixture reaches a ‘paint consistency’, as it varies from pigment to pigment.

    Fillers and Binders used in Oil Paint

    Fillers tend to be seen as not good, but they have certain advantages. (the only thing you don’t want is more filler than pigment in the paint!)

    Barium sulphate and aluminium hydroxide are two common extenders, which are used to increase the volume of the paint without altering the colour. (it’s advised not to add more than 25%, as it may effect the colour)

    Beeswax acts as an emulsifier that helps strengthen the bond between pigment and oil, as well as a thixotropic agent that keeps the pigments evenly distributed.

    Storing Oil Paint

    You can choose from storing the freshly made paint in a glass jar, or in pre-made paint tubes. The latter will have an open base with a plastic cap on the other end. You can put the paint in with a palette knife and when it’s filled, squeeze the paint in the cap side of the tube in order to get rid of air bubbles. Don’t overfill the tube, as you need to leave a bit so as to roll up the excess. You might want to use pliers to fold it over. When it’s done, label the tube with the media, pigment and date of manufacture.

    Videos

    References

    • http://www.earthpigments.com/artists-oil-paints/
    • http://www.sinopia.com/How-to-make-Oil-Paint
    • http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Oil-Paint/
    • http://www.artpromotivate.com/2012/07/how-to-make-your-own-oil-paint-home.html
    • http://www.paintmaking.com/grinding_oils.htm
    • http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/oil.html
    • http://www.kamapigment.com/en/demonstrations/demo1_01.html
    • http://www.kamapigment.com/en/information/how-to-make-your-paints.html
  • Street Art Guide

    Street art - 'genuine' art form or 'vandalism'?

    It’s a common misconception to think about street art as vandalism – of course, everything has its place and spray painting on museum buildings and names carved into historical sights do cause harm. However, street art (that includes small tags to sculptural works) has its own history and legitimacy. It’s easy to have prejudice against something one doesn’t know – here, with this short summary we’ll try to show how street art isn’t the same as vandalism.

    Interested in Dundee's street art scene? Check out what OpenClose is up to!

    Paintings on caves - the earliest form of 'street art'?

    Origins

    Street art has been with us since the beginning of time, and it's purposes haven't changed much. Communication, protest, remembrance, aesthetic appreciation - whatever it be, writing and drawing on the street states a presence and calls for attention.

    Written or visual, street art is generally used to broadcast statements about current political and social issues.

    Writing on a plane, WW2
    "Famous" graffiti that appeared at the time of the Second World War.

    Words of protest and political commentary appeared on the streets since the Second World War, and continues ever since.

    Graffiti on the Berlin Wall

    Between the 1960's and 80's, street art developed in New York's streets - signs of street gangs to band posters to well-known artworks by Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

    Graffiti from MMP, first recorded street gang in the history of Oregon's capital city of Salem "Spyder" was gang leader.1987.
    Scull by Jean-Michel Basquiat
    Keith Haring

    Techniques

    One of many appeals of street art is that you don't need a sterile gallery setting in order to show your artwork, and since its beginnings, street artists proved their technical skills by developing techniques from everyday scribbles to spectacular wall paintings.

    Murals

    Murals are artworks that appear on walls, and usually include or use unique architectural features of the chosen area.

     

    Stencilling

    Banksy

    Artworks created with this technique use pre-drawn and cut out drawings that are then sprayed onto the surface.

    Tagging

    Tagging is the name given to when street artists scribble their uniquely designed names/ monikers onto surfaces, showing that they have been there.

    Throw-ups

    Throw-ups are similar to tagging, but they are large scale, spray painted, and usually use a similar type of 'bubble letter'. Regardless, they are always spectacular.

    Street Art Sculpture

    Sculptural works on the streets follow the same idea: funny, critical, or just simply aesthetically pleasing, they bring street art into a different dimension. Street art sculptures usually cleverly utilise the given features of the particular area.

    Isaac Cordal 'Cement eclipses'

     

    References:

    • http://creativedundee.com/2017/08/street-art-trail-market/
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_in_the_United_States
    • http://ec2-52-40-217-11.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com/different-forms-street-art
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGz6SvxtJwo
    • https://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/art-history-101/street-art-painting-origins-and-techniques

     

  • Ceramics: Pinch Pots

    Possibly the most ancient and also the most accessible and simple method of making a clay pot is the Pinch technique. People have been making pinch pots for thousands of years, as it requires only a ball of clay and your own two hands.

    Getting Started Pinching your Clay

    To begin making your pinch pot, simply take your ball of clay and roll it around in your hands,  kneading it like dough on your worktop. This will warm up your clay allowing it to me moulded easily.

    Push your thumb into the centre and begin to pinch the clay, opening out the mouth of your pot. This is a very tactile technique and only requires you to keep shaping your pot with your thumb and fingers until you are happy with your shape. You can also add handles, or faces or whatever you like to personalise your pot.

    Here's a great tutorial demonstrating the ease of this technique.

    You can now decorate your pot with various under glazes, or you could allow it to sit overnight until it is 'leather dry' (a term describing partially dried clay that will allow you to work into the surface without altering the shape or structure of your creation). Once 'leather dry' you have the option to smooth the interior and exterior, trim the lip of your pot or carve a design into the clay.

    You don't have to stop at pinch pots, however, you can used this technique to make anything you can imagine from cups to strange creatures. Here are some different examples of the results you can achieve!

     

     

    www.galatiak12art.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/art-i-pinch-pots.html
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CQAdMxjBik
    www.kathyjeffersstudio.com/pottery/pinch-pot/
    www.juliannakunstler.com/ceram1_pinchpot.html#.WUumiOvyu00
    www.jennygulchpottery.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/

  • Ceramics: Coiling

    Ceramics Coiling...Explained

    Coiling is a very straightforward ceramic technique that can produce fantastic results, from simple pots to intricate vessels. Evidence of this technique has been discovered all over the world showing many ancient civilisations having used clay in this way, from China and Japan to Africa, Greece and Mexico.

      

    The Process of Coiling Clay

    Using the coiling process you start with just the base of your vessel and you build up layer upon layer of clay using long sausage-like shapes around the circumference of your base. This technique allows you to control the thickness of the clay walls and also means that the design and shape can be planned and developed from the very start. The interior and exterior of your clay creation can be smoothed over or you can keep the the coils depending on your desired aesthetic.

    You want to start off by kneading your ball of clay with a decent amount of pressure to try and force out any trapped air, then the clay can be rolled out flat and evenly with a rolling pin. Using a template you can cut out a shape to become the base of your pot. From here you simply roll out sausage shaped coils of clay and begin building up your layers; merging, cutting and shaping them as you go. Slip should be used as well as scoring the clay in between each coil layer to act as a glue to hold the coils together

    Cutting coils - Click this image for a full step by step tutorial

    This is repeated to the desired height and shape of your vase, bowl or pot. You may wish to smooth the the interior and exterior depending on your desired result.

    You do not have to stick to this design; coiling can be a very versatile technique, check out some of these examples of more intricate designs!

      

    Also check out this time-lapse of the process!

  • 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
  • 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

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