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    Click Here for the New Monthly Issue of ARTtalk Local Beacon, N.Y.

     ARTtalk  Each month you’ll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as artists and art history, current events and art world news, schools, competitions and workshops, and a Kids?Korner. Subjects vary each month. art supplies, airbrushing, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, matting and framing, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques—how to work and paint with artist's watercolor on paper, oils or acrylics on artist canvas; how to use pastels, pencils or  pen and ink; how to work with different surfaces grounds; how to paint with the airbrush and compatible materials; the use of projectors and light boxes in your work and more. You’ll also find artists information on magazines, art books. (Established 1990)

    ARTtalk Cybercopy - posted February 1, 2015
    (ARTtalk’s latest cybercopy is posted on the 1st of every month.)



    Lecture Series


    American Art Up Close

    Join us for a series of exciting lectures exploring American Art on select Thursdays through May.

    Sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


    The Soul of Things: Direct Carving in American Art

    February 19 at 6:00
    Karen Lemmey, Smithsonian American Art Museum

    The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement

    March 26 at 6:00
    Anna Marley, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

    Childe Hassam and the Americanism Campaign of Theodore Roosevelt, 1916

    April 30 at 6:00
    Patricia Junker, Seattle Art Museum

    Trompe l’oeil and Modernity

    May 7 at 6:00
    Judith Barter, Art Institute of Chicago


    All programs take place in Fullerton Hall and are free with museum admission. No registration is required. Visit our events calendar for more information.

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    Painter Featured—A film by Mike Leigh and starring Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the life of the great British painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-(1851).  The film has received four Academy Award nominations.  http://sonyclassics.com/mrturner/.

    New Grant Available—A new grant initiative created in partnership by the NEA and the National Park Service celebrates the intersections between the two in honor of the NEA’s 50th anniversary in 2015 and the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016.  “Imagine Your Parks” will provide $1 million in funding through the NEA Art Works grant category.  Guidelines are available at arts.gov.

    Frosty on View—On view thru Feb. 28 at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, in the Glass Market is their 6-ft. tall snowman and snowwoman and their 3-ft. tall snowchild made by Hot Glass Show glassmaker George Kennard and team.  Watch them on YouTube.

    Search Begins—A little more than a year after the Pérez Art Museum Miami opened its new facility, Director Thom Collins is leaving to head Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation. In its opening year the museum exceeded its key attendance and membership goals, with more than 300,000 visitors. The new director will help develop a five-year strategic plan.

    Valley NamedFodor’s Go List 2015 of the top 25 places to visit includes the Hudson Valley and the Catskills as “can’t miss” places to go.  Rhinebeck, Hudson and Tarrytown,  Dia:Beacon, Storm King, Walkway Over the Hudson and the FDR Home, Presidential Library & Museum are named among must-see spots. fodors.com.

    Legend Honored—This month the Art Institute of Chicago will honor 99-year-old renowned artist and printmaker Eldzier Cortor with the 2015 Legends and Legacy Award.  This honor is bestowed to living African American artists who, through their lifelong accomplishments and exceptional career in the visual arts, have influenced the next generation of artists.

    Reinstallation Complete—Upon completion of a full-scale reinstallation focusing on Auguste Rodin’s remarkable achievements as a portraitist, The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, PA, will reopen on Feb. 7.  The Museum holds one of the largest collections of works by the French sculptor and will bring together a group of works that embody the artist’s realist spirit, offering a broader understanding of his contribution to the formation of modern art.

    NEA News—Three reports from the NEA reveal new findings about the impact of arts and cultural industries on GDP (gross domestic product).  With data from 2012, the new information will help arts providers and others more effectively understand and develop strategies to engage individuals and communities in the arts.  See http://arts.gov/news/2015/surprising-findings-three-new-nea-reports-arts.  Interestingly, exposure to the arts in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of adult art participation than education, gender, age or income.

    Painting on Loan—For the first time in its history, the MFA-Boston will exhibit a painting by Gustav Klimt.  Adam and Eve (1917-18) is on loan from the Belvedere Museum in Vienna thru April 27 as part of the Visiting Masterpiece series.                                                   




    Egon Schiele:  Portraits, Neue Galerie, NYC, is the first exhibition at an American  museum to focus exclusively on portraits in the masterful Austrian artist’s work.  Extended thru April 20.

    Represent:  200 Years of African American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, includes approximately 75 works by more than 50 artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Martin Puryear and Carrie Mae Weems, and places a strong emphasis on the modern era. Thru April 5.

    Pete Seeger and FriendsThe Art of Ted Berkowitz, is on display in the Ottinger Room, Croton Free Library, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, thru Feb. 28. 

    On Kawara—Silence, Guggenheim Museum, NYC, opens on Feb. 6—May 3.  Installed along the spiral ramps of the museum according to a framework of 12 sections, or “chapters,” devised by the late artist, the exhibition features work from 1963-2013 and includes every category of On Kawara’s output.

    Greenscapes: Of/In/From the Garden, Clay Art Center, Port Chester, NY, is an exhibit of functional and sculptural objects by over 60 artists that highlights the relationship between ceramics and the garden. Thru March 14.





    On-Line International Spring 2015, National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society—Open to all national and international living artists 18 years or older working in oil or acrylic mediums.  2-D works must  have been painted in the past three years.  Deadline:  March 30.  www.noaps.org.

    Intelligent Objects:  Empathetic and Smart Art, National Juried Exhibition—Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT, May 1-June 5.  This is an open call for those artworks that act as independent agents and explore the cross-section of analog and digital media.  Deadline: March 1.     


    National Juried Art Shows, Brooklyn (NY) Waterfront Artists Coalition.  Recycle seeks to exhibit sophisticated 2- and 3-D art created in the re-use genre that demonstrates the importance of conserving our limited natural resources.  Early Bird Deadline is March 18; Final Deadline is March 31.  Wide Open 6 is open to all traditional and non-traditional 2D and 3D media and looks to explore the idea of “wide open” in all the hidden niches of our collective psyche.  Deadlines:  Early Bird, March 11;  Final Deadline is March 24. Both are open to all residents of the U.S. and its Territories 18 and older.


    National Medal of Arts—Nominations will close on Feb. 27 for the National Medal of Arts.  Submit your nomination for any U.S. citizen or group who “are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.”  arts.gov/honors/medals/fact-sheet.

    MoMA (NYC)—Registration is now open for new and exciting classes, workshops, artist-led immersions and more.  http://www.moma.org/.




    Komic Kreators of the Mid-Hudson Valley.  Exhibition:  Feb. 14-March 7.  Preview Party, Feb. 13, 6-8 p.m., meet the artists, costumes encouraged, Fee; Expo, Feb. 14, 10 a.m.—4 p.m., Free; The Genesis of a Comic Image/Strip by noted comic artist Charles Barnett III, Feb. 21, 1-3 p.m., Fee.  Arts Mid-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY.  www.artsmidhudson.org.

    The Armory Show 2015, NYC, March 5-8.  Pier 92-Modern will represent art/artists from the 20th C., while Pier 94-Contemporary is dedicated to leading international galleries presenting new art by living artists.  Lawrence Abu Hamdan, based between Beirut and London, is the Commissioned Artist for the 2015 fair.  www.thearmoryshow.com.

    Brilliant Winter Landscape Walks, Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY—Members-only walks explore the sculpture and grounds by guided tour or on your own; afterwards enjoy hot cider and donuts and receive a special discount in the Museum Store. Feb. 21 and March 7, 2-4 p.m.  membership@stormkingartcenter.org.




    Coming Soon: Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland

    March 7–May 31, 2015 | de Young | Herbst Exhibition Galleries

    See paintings by many of the greatest artists from the Renaissance to the 20th century—including El Greco, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, Monet, Gauguin, and Picasso—in an exclusive West Coast presentation of 55 works from the National Galleries of Scotland, one of the world's premier art collections. Also featured are British artists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, icon of the Scottish school Sir Henry Raeburn, and Americans Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent.

    This rare presentation continues the Fine Arts Museums’ tradition of presenting works from acclaimed museums around the world. Learn more

    See the exhibition before it opens to the public, and enjoy free admission to all special exhibitions as a FAMSF Member. Join today!







    He carried a pistol. She carried a flask. He romanticized Detroit. She rejected it. But they shared a belief in communism, a thirst for tequila and a passion for each other. Discover how they left their mark on Detroit. And how Detroit left its mark on their art. 


    Purchase tickets today to guarantee entrance to the highly anticipated exhibition Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo in Detroit, opening March 15th at the Detroit Institute of Arts.    


    Tickets for this special exhibition are timed and limited. Advance purchase is strongly recommended, especially on weekends when most tickets sell out well in advance. If you purchase tickets online, avoid waiting in line by printing your tickets from home and bringing them with you.

    Adults: Tues. - Fri., $14 / Sat. - Sun., $19

    Youth (Ages 6-17): Tues. - Fri., $8 / Sat. - Sun., $9

    Groups (15+): Tues. - Fri., $12 / Sat. - Sun., $16 (per person)


    Purchase online at dia.org 

    Or by calling 313.833.4005 Monday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


    Note: DIA Members can reserve complimentary tickets to the exhibition. Learn More About Membership







    Wet-in-Wet and Drybrush Watercolor Techniques

    Wet, wonderful watercolor! The colors are dramatic; the methods of creating a watercolor are many.  All types of paint applications can be used, but there are two that seem to be associated with watercolor more than others.  Wet-in-wet and drybrush applications are very important as well as fundamental to many watercolorists’ repertories of techniques.

    Wet-in-wet is a true description of the method and the technique of application.  Wet paper is flooded with rich, fluid color that can be either thick and creamy or very light and barely tinted. The resulting tones, once dry, vary greatly; and because of the lack of control or predictability and the diversity, wet-in-wet is considered one of the most important watercolor techniques.

    The amount of water that is soaked into or floating on the surface of the watercolor paper greatly affects the results.  Well soaked paper that has been allowed to set for a while is less watery and will result in a more defined, yet slightly softened image.  Very wet paper, flooded and soaked with water, will allow the pigments to stream and flow.

    Soaking a large sheet of watercolor paper can present a challenge.  One method is to soak the paper in a bathtub.  The depth, temperature and length of soak are easy to control as is the quality of water.  It should be stated that minerals in some water might have long-term effects on the paper and paints used in watercolor.   Where minerals and cleanliness really come into play is when an artist is in the field or painting in a new area where the quality of water is unknown.  If you plan to do plein air work in watercolor, presoak in the water at your home.  It is much cleaner than any you might have access to out in a remote area.  And your technique will be challenged if things are greatly different from that to which you are accustomed.  So play it safe and soak ahead of time. Also carry ample working water so you control that quality, too.

    Transport your dampened paper by slightly rolling it, wrapping it in a clean plastic trash bag and slipping it into an oversized mailing tube.  As soon as you reach your destination, remove the paper so that it will relax prior to tacking or taping onto your work board.

    Another element in the mix is the texture and thickness of the paper used.  If very heavy, pre-soaked but somewhat drier paper is used, the results will have more edge and less fluidity.  Overly damp papers, both thick and thin, will not retain detail.  Thin paper tends to buckle and allow the pigments to pool.  Finding the right paper for your style is part of the fun and experimentation of watercolor.  Changing paper weight will often alter your plan of application, too.

    Brushes used can be almost any, but artists seem to have special wash brushes that they prefer.  This brush might contain a thick tuft of hair, might hold lots of diluted pigment and be able to cover lots of paper is just a few strokes.  Marine boar bristle brushes offer a good value and can hold lots of fluid.  Hake brushes do the same and can be used for other application methods as well. 

    Wet-in-wet methods lend themselves to topical textural additions as they set up and begin to dry.  For instance, when dropped into fluid areas, rock salt will pull the pigment into star or crystal figurations.  Resists such as oil and sometimes common rubbing alcohol can be dropped into pools of color to create unique patterns and tones.  None of these are possible with other methods of paint application.

    If you like to add linear details to your work, working wet-in-wet will give you an opportunity to do so.  When the wet areas have begun to dry but still have moisture, you can use a blunt instrument (pointed paint brush handle is ideal) to scribe lines through the damp areas.  These lines will take on a much darker tone than the painted areas they lie in and will give you a chance to add an infinite sketchy style to your works.

    Drybrush is the closest thing to a wet-in-wet opposite that is possible.  Dry paper is contacted with non-watery brushes full of rich pigment.  The resulting painted lines and shapes are rigid and well defined.  There is no fluidity to the images created with drybrush.  It is a method of application that is added over other methods for sharp detail and definition.  Textures, roughness and highlights are some of the ways drybrush is used to accent a nearly finished work.

    Drybrush is a great additive technique.  Whether you want to increase the depth of a shadow or use an opaque white tone to add sharp highlight, drybrush is a good way to do it.  Remember, your brush will be charged with a paint that is far less fluid than ordinary watercolor application, so the paint will sit upon the surface rather than react as a wash.  The amount of paint and the degree of dryness will determine the crispness of the look you achieve.

    By combining drybrush over completed wet-in-wet areas you will see other ways in which they can help you achieve dramatic results.  Slightly damp areas respond differently than those that are totally dry.  Salted areas respond differently when scribed than unsalted, smooth, wet areas.  Dragging drybrush over scribed areas is different from dragging it over dry smooth areas.  New discoveries are limited only by your time and energy.

    With experimentation in wet-in-wet and drybrush work, many new and exciting opportunities will arise.  Both methods have huge potential in watercolor work and will give you many challenges.


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  • Some Subjects That Can Be Found In The Pages Of ARTtalk!
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    AIRbrush Talk.com



    Basic Airbrush Techniques




    Robert Paschal, MFA

    Basic Airbrush Workshop—Beacon, NY  March 10 2015 6-9 p.m.  Learn the fundamentals of airbrush technique in a concise 3-hour hands-on class, designed for the novice who wishes to paint fine art, crafts, signs, customized autos/bikes/snowboards and myriad other objects.  Seating is limited.  All equipment/materials are provided. 845.831.1043; arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm 




    Cabin Rental

    Camp Cōkaboodie in the Adirondacks Mts. Jerry Savarie Road (off Big Brook Road) Indian Lake, NY       We are located on Lake Abanakee with beautiful views and sunsets!




    Join an adult art history class  
    CMOA Adult programs  
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    Engage with Carnegie Museum of Art's collection and exhibitions through the museum's art history classes. Programmed by the museum's education department, these classes offer terrific opportunities to investigate individual works or periods in greater depth, and allow visitors to connect with the art currently on view in our galleries.

    Antonio Canova Art Through the Ages: An Art History Survey
    Gain a new appreciation for the history of art from ancient to contemporary times, with a focus on Carnegie Museum of Art’s world-class collection. Become acquainted with a range of artists in ways that you never before considered, through captivating gallery walks, provocative lectures, readings, and take-home exercises. This 14-session class meets every Thursday between February 19–May 21, or every Friday between February 20–May 22.

    February 19–May 21
    6–8 p.m.
    $200 ($180 CMP Members)

    Register online

    February 20–May 22
    10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
    $200 ($180 CMP Members)

    Register online

    Benjamin West Picturing Across the Atlantic:
    The Beginnings of American Art

    With art historian Isaac King as your guide, discover the origins of American art through the work of Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, John Trumbull, and Rembrandt Peale in this four-session class.

    February 25–March 18
    10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
    $80 ($64 CMP Members)

    Register online

    Toulouse-Lautrec Lasting Impressions:
    Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Fin-de-siècle Paris

    CMOA’s rich collection of Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist paintings, including works by Cezanne, Cassatt, Renoir, Monet, and Signac, along with the exhibition Visiting Van Gogh: Basket of Apples, serve as the foundation for this four-session class.

    April 8–29
    10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
    $80 ($64 CMP Members)

    Register online

    Questions? Email Lucy Stewart, Associate Curator of Education, Adult Programs, or call us at 412.622.3288.




    Airbrush History Trivia

    —Abner Peeler, of Webster City, IA, invented the airbrush in 1878.  Imagine, over 130 years ago!  Abner, a professional inventor who tinkered with things such as screw machines, bicycles and typewriters, developed this painting tool—originally called a “paint distributor”—specifically for photographic retouching.  The paint distributor, which was similar to today’s oscillating internal-mix airbrush, had a wooden handle with metal parts and sold for the incredible price of $10.  The first such airbrush was sold to S. M. Thomas, and we know that the first painting completed with this paint distributor was a self-portrait of Peeler himself done by his wife on an enlarged photograph.

    The painter Man Ray (1890-1977) is probably the first fine artist to exhibit paintings done exclusively with the airbrush.  Ray, considered the only American Dadaist, learned to use the airbrush while working in an ad agency in New York City between 1917 and 1919.  His fine art airbrush renderings were shown in NYC galleries and called “aerographs.?nbsp; Looking at them with today’s standards of what we consider airbrush painting, these works of art would be considered simplistic—but at that time, totally new.  They consisted of images developed by airbrushing around found objects, such as paper cutouts, tools and paper clips that were used simply as stencils.  Man Ray worked flat on a table, allowing gravity to hold the stencils in place, and sprayed around them with black ink.  He repeated these images in both opaque and transparent ink and the end products lent themselves to the look of cubism

    .It is said that Man Ray was primarily interested in producing paintings with a smooth machine-like finish.  And because the ink was airbrushed onto the surface, there were no brush strokes in the artwork, which imparted an industrial appearance.  An excellent collection of his works is held by and exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago; and even viewed today, their simplicity is astoundingly modern.


    Artist Profile

    Pablo Ruiz Picasso 1881 - 1972

    There is much that could be written about Pablo Picasso, arguably the greatest artist of the 20th century. The enormous volume of work he completed stands without question as legend. His influence on several generations of artists and his recognition as the founder of many art periods, most famously that of cubism, attests to his immersion in creativity. For 80 years of the 91 he lived, he devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed to development of modern art of the 20th century. And, all the while, Picasso was a man who loved women. During his life he had affairs, lived with or married over six women and fathered four children. He abhorred being alone when he was not working.

    Aside from the tumultuous personal life, Picasso was devoted to his art. During his early years he abandoned most of the classical training given him by his father and first instructor for his own interpretation of the world around him. Five “periods?are recognized as brought to life by Picasso.

    Most have heard of his Blue Period that lasted from 1901 to 1904 in which somber, blue tinted paintings prevailed. These were influenced by the loss of a friend. Images of this period include depictions of acrobats, prostitutes, beggars and artists.

    His Rose Period (1905 to 1907) brought out paintings with overall tones of orange and pink, many involving images of harlequins. During this period he was seriously romantically involved and the warmth of the relationship is seen in his palette of colors.

    Soon after the Rose Period came an African Period (1907 to 1909) that was influenced by artifacts from his personal collection. Many paintings of this period repeat the use of two figures.

    Cubism, the style for which Picasso is most famous, came into being when he and his friend and painter Braque challenged each other to dissect and “analyze?objects, then paint them in terms of their shapes. Color played a large part in this period of work ?monochromatic browns and shadow tones prevailed as a common thread. Each artist developed the style in his own way and each had strong similarities.

    His Cubist Period ran from 1909 to 1919, and included the use of collage as a fine art form. Heretofore, no artist had used collage and cut paper to convey images. Imagine art without collage?

    Picasso had many artist friends and some rivals. Matisse was one of the “gentle?rivalries experienced in Picasso’s lifetime. Both were strong, talented and seemed to challenge one another. A recent collection of works by both artists reveals they had a lot in common, although their styles were personal and not derivative. The bold, outlined and highly decorative nature of both artists' works is without question.

    Historically, a lot happened during the 90+ years Picasso lived, but he remained detached from any personal commitment. He was a proclaimed pacifist, refusing to fight for any side in the Spanish American War, World War I or World War II. If was thought by many of his contemporaries that his dislike of war and his unwillingness to fight was less political and more cowardice. Being Spanish but living in France during these conflicts, he escaped involvement and thus proclaimed and solidified his pacifistic standing. He did, however, remain a member of the Communist Party until his death.

    At the time of his death, Picasso had enjoyed wide acceptance as the greatest artist of his time. Many of his works were recognized within his lifetime. Some include The Old Guitarist from Picasso’s Blue Period, on display at the Museum of Modern Art; Las Meninas Series, on display at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain; and Guernica, in Madrid, Spain.

    “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.? Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.?- Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Last words: “Drink to me.?/td>

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    Painting How To

    Painting on a Grand Scale

    When artists gravitate towards large scale works, they face some interesting challenges along with the actual creative process. How art is created ?on a grand scale ?is different from small artworks. Every aspect of the act of mural painting and other large scale artwork has considerations that make it fun and stimulating - well worth those deliberations.

    From the very ground onto which the artist places sketch lines, brushes of paint and blended colors, large scale nudges the artist into new realms of production. In order to paint large scale, the preferred ground ?canvas of some sort ?must be acquired in an appropriate size. The content of the canvas and its weight are both vital considerations when the painted surface is gigantic.

    Widths/lengths and fiber content of canvas-type grounds vary greatly, but there are sizes as large as 12 feet wide. More commonly, large scale works are completed on canvas of 60? 72? or 84?widths. Roll length purchases are necessary and can vary by manufacturer ?from 6 feet to 25 yards.

    But, after width and length, the fiber content may be the single most important element of the painting. As you would expect, there is cotton fiber in a variety of weights, but there is also linen, jute, cotton/linen blends polyester (all synthetic) and cotton/poly blends and all can be found primed and unprimed. The weight and texture of the canvas will have an important bearing on the finished artwork, and most artists match their style with the texture and surface of their ground. Choices abound!

    Rather than traditionally sized tubes of paint, most muralists/large scale painters use jars, tubs ?even gallons of artists?colors. Most manufacturers of paint offer a wide selection in larger quantities. Selection of textures in those containers is also sometimes available. Thicker paint means more pigment for application and working into large spaces.

    Application tools include brushes for sure, but those used are much larger in size. Consider when doing any work—if the scale were huge, you would want to use larger brushes. And, additionally, rollers (like those used for wall painting) and trowels are also used in larger scale works ?tools that would be difficult to use small scale become a necessity for bigger works. Trowels, scrapers, and tools not often associated with “painterly?applications are used by muralists and accomplish the job they want. Painting pads and hand “mops?for decorative surfacing of walls can come in very handy on larger scale artworks.

    Easels play a big part in big works. Studio easels in both wood and metal often accept works as large as 5-8 feet tall. They help hold the work at the proper level ?that at which it will be viewed ?so the artist is always aware of the scope, perspective and dynamics of his/her work. Some artists who do large scale work cover a wall with plywood and then staple or tack their canvas to that surface at the proper level for work and viewing. Easels and wall attachments ?whatever they might be ?help artists by allowing them to step back and take in the “big picture.?For large stretched canvas, wall mounted easels are great. They can accommodate works of around 100 inches in height. They are sturdy, help hold the stretched canvas firmly and adjust to all points up to around 100 inches.

    And lastly some artists employ the use of airbrush to do a lot of the design layout and fill-in on large works. Texturing with an airbrush can be accomplished by painting through screening, metal mesh, decorative pierced metal sheeting and many more items. Airbrush gives the type of color gradation almost impossible to achieve in any other way. Mists of tone-on-tone and the softness achieved is a huge asset to some muralists.

    In review, large scale artworks bring new thought processes to ponder and hurdles to overcome.  But, isn’t that what contributes to making art so enjoyable and rewarding—to accept the intellectual stimulation of such works and to succeed.



    Printmaking Techniques & Materials

     Printmaking is an enjoyable expression and is accompanied by some terms that often seem a bit difficult to understand. So, here some of the common terms and techniques will be explained. The scope of printmaking is huge and can be enjoyed by nearly any age group. Some of the materials used are found around the home, while others must be purchased from art material dealers
    Graphic Chemical & Ink Co.


    No matter the level of your involvement with printmaking, it is sure to be exciting. In some techniques, duplication of results is nearly impossible, which seems a bit contradictory to the basic term: printmaking. Let’s take, for our first example, the most direct and simple of prints…monoprints.

    A monoprint (mono meaning one) is created by applying ink or paint to a hard flat surface (plate), pressing paper against the plate and lifting the paper from the plate. The resulting print is one-of-a-kind, since ink or paint would be nearly impossible to set in the same place time after time. Simple doesn’t mean uninteresting, and this is a great technique for any artist.

    Collagraph, a very simple form of printmaking, is a print created from a plate (Masonite, mat board, chip board, etc.) that has natural and/or found objects with texture glued to it. The surface of the plate is sealed and, when dry, is inked on the textured plate, excess removed and a paper placed on top. Downward pressure (using a press or hand roller) presses the paper and ink together and the images are transferred (in reverse) to the paper. Again, the simplicity of collagraph prints makes them easy for everyone to try. Many, but not unlimited, prints can be made from a master collagraph plate.

    Wood block (woodcut) printing advances in difficulty because the artist uses special gouges and carving tools to create a dimensional image in a wood block. The high surfaces of the wood block are inked, paper is pressed against the inked areas and the resulting image is a woodblock print. Surfaces other than wood can be used; linoleum, wax, and rubber are a few that are a bit easier to carve. Early wood block designs were used for fabric embellishment and those blocks endure as collectables.

    Reduction prints are created with care by print artists who desire more color and texture in their work. Each color is printed individually on the ever-decreasing wood block. Working from back to front colorwise, the artist reduces the wood block with every color, printing that part of the plate that will reflect a specific color, and then removing more mass to print the next color. When finished, the only areas that remain on the block are those representing the very last color.

    Drypoint etching is more involved because it starts with a metal plate. The plate is scribed (scratched) by the artist to record a subject. Ink is rubbed into the slight toothy grooves created by the scribing. Paper is then put on the plate, pressed and the resulting print is pulled away from the plate. For all but the tiniest of printed images, a printing press is invaluable in the process. Strong definition and evenness is difficult with hand pressing methods. Many prints can be made from the original plate. Etching can be taken yet another step by using acid to enlarge and remove areas of the metal surface.

    Intaglio prints are made from a metal base into which designs have been created. This is often done with harsh chemicals, the metal dissolving where there are scribed or etched lines that have been made through a protective covering. Because of the chemical contact (acids), this level of printmaking is considered advanced and should be done under supervision and instruction. Many prints can be made from the original plate. Ink is rubbed into the low areas, paper is pressed to the surface and a print is created.

    Finally, following is a simple explanation of some terms associated with printmaking:

    brayer - a hard rubber roller on a handle used to transfer ink to the plate.

    plate ?a surface on which an image is formed, usually metal.

    baren - a circular padded tool used to rub against the back of paper to obtain an image from a master.

    hard ground -an acid-resistant material applied to an etching plate through which you scribe to create a design.

    mordant - an acid or other corrosive substance used to “bite?into a metal plate to create an image on that plate.

    gouge ?a V- or U-shaped tool for cutting a wood or linoleum block.




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