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    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 Oct. 1, 2016

    (ARTtalk’s latest cybercopy is posted on the 1st of every month.)


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


    Join feminist scholar Jenni Sorkin at MAD on Friday, October 21 at 7 pm for the talk Pond Farm and the Summer Craft Experience. Sorkin, an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will be drawing on her new book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community to speak about the legacy of Bauhaus-trained potter Marguerite Wildenhain (American, b. France, 1896–1985). This event will be followed by a book signing.

    Talk and Book Signing with Jenni Sorkin: Pond Farm and the Summer Craft Experience
    Friday, October 21, 2016 at 7 pm
    $10 general / $5 members and students
    The Theater at MAD


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    Hear artists and authors speak about their work.

    Fall Talks


    Richard Nonas

    October 13 at 6:00
    Register today


    ART21: Chris Ware, Gary Panter, and Hillary Chute

    October 14 at 6:00
    Register today


    On Photomontage

    October 20 at 6:00
    Register today


    Kemang Wa Lehulere and Josh Ginsburg

    October 27 at 6:00
    Register today


    All talks are free with museum admission. Museum admission is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and is always free to LINK and WIC cardholders. Learn more about free admission policies.


    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 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.?




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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

    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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