Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”  Dianne Arbus

 

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Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Correct is fine, but it is better to be interesting.” Seth Godin

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.” Josh Billings

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.Marcus Aurelius

A Few Facts About Acrylics

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These are some of the amazing benefits of painting in acrylics:

  • Wonderfully  versatile and a joy to handle
  • Lends itself to a whole range of techniques e.g. delicate washes, glazes, bold thick juicy layers.
  • Quick drying, good covering power.
  • Great brilliance of colour (depending on brand.)
  • Doesn’t fade in the sun.
  • Once dry, the synthetic plastic coating is almost indestructible.
  • Can be used on card, paper, board, canvas and wood, metal glass, fabric provided they are non-greasy and have enough tooth to hold the paint
  • Dissolves in water.
  • Once dry, can be painted over and mistakes corrected.
  • Can be used as an underpainting medium for oils.
  • Can be over painted within 30 minutes of application.
  • Can be used with modelling compounds and texture pastes (gels) to create relief surfaces.
  • Easy to clean up although it is not wise to put left over paint into the sink because it may end up in our waterways.

My next post will show you how to get started with an easy exercise in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.  With all these benefits, why hold back?

How to Prepare a Canvas Using Your Own Gesso Primer

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Photo courtesy winsornewton.com

If you want your work to last, it is wise to prime your canvas first because oil paint will eventually rot an unprimed canvas.  I recommend priming with Gesso when using all mediums including watercolour.  It is possible to use watercolour on a primed canvas as per my post, “A Few Facts About Watercolour.”

Firstly, hold your canvas under warm running water.  Using pure soap (Sunlight or similar works well), lather up a soft and gentle scrubber (old ones are good) and wash the canvas down thoroughly with the soap and water.  This removes the sizing and starts you off with a “clean slate” so to speak.

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Rinse until water becomes clear then dry off the canvas using an old towel.

Once dry, go ahead and cover the surface with Gesso primer.  You may use the Atelier brand which leaves a lovely chalky finish.  If you like, you may make your own Gesso (which is just as good and much cheaper) with the recipe below.

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Leave the canvas to dry, preferably outside.  This should take about 45 minutes depending on the strength of the sunlight. If there is no sun where you are, a hair dryer will do the job.  When dry, softly sand the canvas down with a very fine sand paper and wipe clean with the old towel.  I usually prime, sand down and wipe off three times to make the perfect chalky finish for drawing and painting. Don’t forget to allow your primed canvas to dry completely before sanding each time.

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This process prepares a fantastic surface to work on and I recommend leaving it for at least 24 hours to set. If I am feeling keen or perhaps doing a commission, I prime the reverse of the canvas too but this is entirely your own choice.

This is a lovely relaxing preparation and sets the tone for wonderful things to come.  I urge you to go slowly with this, smile, breathe deeply and concentrate only on the task in true Zen-like fashion. If you love your canvas, your canvas will love you and that is the start of developing a wonderful synergy with your upcoming work.

My Own Gesso Recipe

Most of this stuff you will have on hand at home so it is easy and quick to make your own Gesso primer. To make the primer you need a pigment, a binder and a tooth.

You will need to put one cup of warm water in a bowl, add one cup of glue, one cup of baby powder and a cup or so of left over paint.   This will make a syrup consistency.  If you want yours to give better coverage, use more pigment.  Usually, equal amounts of everything makes a perfect mix.  It is best to test first for coverage and drying time.  This dries fast!

When storing, rotate the sealed storage jar every now and then to keep the even syrupy consistency of the mix.

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