Welcome back to our series ‘Starting out in…’ where we give advice about the materials you need to get into a new art form. It is time for Acrylics, a relatively new medium whose versatile use is only exceeded by the abundance of materials available on the market: paints, primers, mediums, varnishes – not to mention the surfaces ranging from canvases to wood panels! Worry not; after reading our beginner’s manual, the only thing you will question is, why haven’t you started earlier?
Lawrence Art Supplies is now stocking Canson Héritage, a brand new watercolour paper that is a result of centuries old tradition and modern technological innovation. This 100% cotton paper was specifically designed to allow artists to lift colour easily and without damaging the paper’s surface. To celebrate the release of Canson Héritage, we decided to put its lifting ability to a test and give our readers a little insight into what it feels like working with this new paper.
We at Lawrence’s truly believe in using sustainable alternatives whenever we can, and with Easter approaching, we need to talk about eggs! While it is lovely to keep traditions going, it seems like an awful waste to use real egg shells for Easter decoration (unless you are baking a cake). To keep with the holiday spirit but also stay true to our environmentally conscious philosophy, we put together a few creative but sustainable craft ideas for Easter.
Join us on our latest craft adventure – this time we are making a bouquet of paper roses! Grab your coloured paper and sharpen your scissors because this easy, kid-friendly project will put cut flowers to shame and make Mums smile.
Welcome to our new series, ‘Starting out in…’, where each time we will cover a different art form and give advice about the materials you need to begin your journey with. This post is all about watercolours, but it’s more than just a buyer’s guide! We are giving away a QOR trial and sample pack to two of our lucky readers – stay tuned for more details below!
If you are looking for a smoother alternative to lino or softcut printing blocks, you have come to the right place. We at Lawrence’s are now stocking Japanese Vinyl in a variety of sizes for all your printmaking needs. Watch printmaker Hannah Forward try out this new material, sharing her art-in-progress and her observations on the Japanese Vinyl.
If you are leaving it for the last minute and you still don’t have a clue what to get for your significant other, let us treat you with a great craft idea for this year’s Valentine’s Day. In this blog post we are sharing Amy’s tips for 52 Dates, all neatly folded in colourful envelopes.
Glenn demonstrating the difference between traditional and modern pigments. Cadmium red medium is dulled with the addition of titanium white, where the modern napthol red is very vibrant.
If you have been frustrated when mixing colours, for example you can’t make a hot pink with your red and white, it is probably because you have a traditional pigment, try using modern pigments for more vibrant colour mixing. The clue is in the name. Anything that sounds like a chemical ie phthalo, quinacridone, napthol etc will be modern. Don’t blame your mixing skills!
Here are examples of traditional pigments verses modern pigments. The old masters painted only in what was available, e.g. yellow ochre, raw umber, venetian red, ultramarine etc. The colours are more neutral. By the time the Impressionists were around colour technology had got much better with a wider and brighter range of colours; cadmiums, alizarin crimson, viridian etc. Today we have a vast collection of colours with the help of science we can achieve bright and vibrant colours the Old Masters could only dream about. Hansa yellow, napthol red, phthalo blue etc
Glenn explains the colour wheel and how limiting your palette will limit the vibrancy of the colour you mix. Ideally having a warm and cool version of yellow, orange, red, violet, blue and green will allow you to achieve the best intensity mixing colour. If you stick with just the primary colours which is often what you are taught at art school you can only achieve more muted colours when mixing. In comparison the painting with fewer colours will look murkier
Glenn explaining how to approach mixing colour. He advises it will help if you start with the white. Try to imagine what percentage of white is in the colour you are trying to achieve, then slowly add the main pigments. More often than not you will need to mute the colour down to look more realistic. Try using a colour from the opposite side of the colour spectrum before you use black!
On to mediums! Glenn went through each of the mediums in the Gamblin range. Starting with Gamsol – An odourless and nontoxic mineral spirit. Very safe to use in the studio and reusable.
If you are looking to create glazing techniques or impasto textures Gamblin has it all. Galkyd is fast drying and self-levelling – great for the ‘Oiling out technique’ (will explain later in the album) it is quitethick and sticky but can achieve an enamel like finish. Galkyd Lite flows better than Galkyd which is probably the best one to try first when experimenting. It retains brush stroke definition and is fast drying. Galkyd Slow Dry is similar to Galkyd Lite but dries slower, which might work better with your style of painting. Galkyd Lite and Slow loosens the paint making it easier to be more expressive. All three are transparent and dries with a gloss sheen.
For impasto work Galkyd Gel will extend the colour and give body to the paint. It dries fast too. If you are worried about solvent content try Solvent Free Gel instead, this is made with oil so will try slower. Neo Megilp is a contemporary version of Maroger medium, it gives a silky feel to the paint with a satin gloss finish when dry. Neo Megilp like Solvent Free Gel will dry slower so workable for longer. Cold Wax Medium is pure white bees wax, used to thicken paint and has a matte finish. Add this to reduce the sheen in the other mediums and Gamvar picture varnish.
‘Oiling out’ is a brilliant method for a number of reasons. Mix 1 part Gamsol and 1 part Galkyd together (make sure is it Galkyd medium)
To ‘oil out’ brush your mixture onto surface and let it sit, then with a dry cotton cloth wipe in. This creates a thin layer of medium to be used in any of the following ways;
1) Sealing wood/canvas – acts as clear primer. Ready to paint on if you want to see texture/colour of the substrate under painting.
2) Reactivates an old painting – acts like a retouching varnish. The oil out process allows the surface to be suitable to work back in to. Without oiling out the painting might have cured leaving the surface less likely to stick to the new application of paint in the long run.
3) Levels the sheen of a painting where there is a mixture of gloss and matt on the surface. You may find this distracting and the ‘oiling oil’ method will help with this.
4) Apply to your dry painting before vanishing with Gamvar. Test it is dry by pressing your nail into the thickest painted area, if it is hard it is ready. (try to be gentle!) The surface will be more even and the varnish will not be absorbed in to the paint.
Gamvar varnish can be removed easily with Gamsol. Picture varnish can get dirty in time, being able to remove the varnish allows you apply the varnish again.
We have really been enjoying reading the Gamblin Mediums Guide. Brilliant information and gorgeous images of the mediums in use. Check it out.
We had to try the set out as we haven’t used anything like this before. Similar to using quickprint and a biro, but the foam is far more durable. The ink blocks make the printing experience much more clean!
Here are the contents of the set. Foam, needle with 2 different sized tips, water spritzer, roller and Inktense blocks.
We just drew a design free hand to test it out. When using the ball point needle you need to press into the foam quite hard and repetitively, but you get the hang of it. It means a light touch wont effect the print so there will be less mistakes. You can also faintly mark out the next part of the design which is good.
We cut out the design from the foam which was extremely easy!
Lightly spray the surface with water using this fine mister.
The inktense blocks are then applied over the surface. The pigment comes away very easy, and you can apply as much or as little as you like. You use lots of colours at once, layering to mix.
Roller the back of the design on to paper…
and here you go, our first attempt! You can re-wet the foam to release more ink. We kept adding colour afterwards and rewetting. We learnt don’t be shy with the blocks and bold designs will work the best. Altogether quite a fun set, brilliant as a gift for budding printmakers!