Thursday, October 18, 2012

Don't Do It

Fair Haired Child  takes some study and better materials.
I have a long way to go before I can dash off a head in oils, if I choose to use inferior materials.  I decided to take a break from the cat and just do a head. I chose to do it on a canvas panel. I didn't like the support at all. There's something slick about the surface, even after being toned, that repels the paint. The good canvas pads  or a 100% cotton canvas bolt cut to size has better texture and better grip than these cheap boards--the ones you get in bulk for very little money spent.  Don't do it. Another decision made after wasting a couple of hours. Well not totally wasted. I did make some observations with regards to values with such a fair child.  

22 comments:

  1. Dear Linda, it's really amazing how the materials can make a difference also in watercolor!
    The temptation to save money to practice, or to feel more free to experiment made ​​me throw away so much money ... the conclusion is that the poor material does not give great satisfaction if not to those who sell it. After, I had to buy the right supplies .. and the market gains... but I don't!
      And the frustration that builds up it hurts my self-esteem!

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    1. I'm not going to do that any more. The canvas pads I bought worked so much better than these boards--plus they had the added advantage of being frameable without glass--just the way you would frame a watercolor. I spent good money on watercolor paper,why would I not invest in good canvas?

      At first I blamed myself. Maybe I was using too much solvent in the mix? When I thickened up, the coverage was no good either. My conclusion was: to paint alla prima, you needed a quality ground. Tomorrow the paint will go on better for I've built up tooth. But I'm not going to use the boards again. I don't know when my efforts practicing or experimenting will turn out well. I think I'll just assume they might and use only good stuff.

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  2. Sound point with regard to materials. There's nothing worse than struggling with inferior gear, the consequent frustration is inimical to producing decent work.

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    1. I absolutely agree Mick. No more junk. Just price the paintings higher to cover waste from errors.

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  3. agree...don't use those horrible cheap panels! I used them a lot, but I now make my own panels or buy "ray-mar".
    Your blonde girlie looks like good practice, however! :)

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    1. I'm with you. I hope Ray-Mar is a spray on? Blondie is good practice, as is all the drawing and painting we do :-)

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  4. I am guilty of frequently using these craft store quality panels - I use them whenever I want to experiment with a new idea or color or, well, anything! It's a strange thing that happens to me. When I use inexpensive supports - cardboard, brown paper, cheap panels - I find myself painting more boldy with greater confidence. Sigh - what a conundrum. I always tighten up and get uptight when I use the "real" stuff! In any case - you surely got her darling expression so, in my mind, it was well worth doing.

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    1. Oh sure. The painting is fine and will end up looking fine. It's the surface quality that will be cheap looking. I'm for spending the bucks and getting over any inhibitions I may have towards expensive materials. I don't save my good clothes for wearing to rare dress up events; I wear them whenever I feel like it--just not in the studio. I'm too messy. I think I should have the same attitude towards art supplies. Buy good. Accept I'm going to break a few eggs. I've made many mistakes over the last three years and intend to make many more :-)

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  5. I still think your portrait is lovely. You achieved such subtle blends and tones. But yes I will totally agree that cheap materials are NOT fun to work with.

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    1. Thanks, but the surface sucks. No more boards for me. Years ago when I had no studio space and was dying because I had no place in the house to be my creative, messy self, I bought a bolt of medium grain canvas to cut a ten foot by two foot piece from it to make a 108" x 18" painting. The added inches were so the painting could be stretched onto 1 1/4" bars afterward. My idea was to paint "monk style"--inch by inch from one side to the other by moving the piece across my desk. What is left of that bolt is standing in a corner of my studio. I do believe it's time to cut some more canvases to be painted and stretched or mounted after painting. My point is, that bolt might have been a cheaper way to go than buying all these pre-mounted or stretches surfaces? I'm going to check that out as compared to the pre sized canvas pads that sell for about nine dollars. All of this points to the fact I'm getting discerning not only about the quality of work, but also of materials. I like that. It's a step towards my idea of artistry.

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  6. I also think your little girl looks great! I agree about cheap materials, but I am like Susan: my best work is on the back of other paintings! :)

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    1. She's coming along and I will finish her. She'll mail well, but I don't like the the way the paint went on and I don't like the surface quality.

      There is something spending a lot of money on ground materials does to us: our respect for money implants the idea this painting had better be damn good--and inevitably the stress of our performance makes it turn out badly. I think this issue falls under the heading of you have to break a few eggs. To me, that means I have to be willing to accept there will be mistakes and wasted materials; it's part of the game. The cost of those materials should be factored into the overall pricing of the art.

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  7. I like the portrait! My first reaction is that "a carpenter is only as good as his tools", but I have had a lot of fun painting on strange surfaces, especially acrylic on copper where the paint seems alive with a will of its own. I think it is when we have a preconceived notion of what the painting is to be, it restricts us to following the recipe. Some of my favorite paintings have been done on tin foil.

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    1. It's coming along pretty good Thanks Gus. But copper and other metals used as a ground are usually used for a specific reason that applies to the painted subject. Copper wouldn't be my choice for a portrait of a child. Canvas would. And these cheap boards for two bucks and change are not good enough. I should have known better. Some thinking is required in the studio.

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  8. I use those canvas panels and I think it is a great thing since it ads some stability to a package too when you send it.

    I have gone down in size and am exploring 6" x 6", so I know all about wasting time. Some things are not meant for me to paint that small.

    Happy painting

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    1. The boards are good for mailing, I agree. I think they are also better used with acrylics. As they come from the store, they do not grab oil paint. I think they need another coat of Gesso? But I also think that I'd rather see the grain of a quality canvas through my paint. I wasted time in that it took paint build up before a brush stroke went on as it was intended.
      I intend to send this little girl through the mail to her grandmother. She'll like it; it's a surprise. But I won't like the quality of the painted surface. It's not good enough.

      I bought some 6 x 6's too. I used one and learned that was too small for me too. It's a good size for ceramic tile and artists who like tiny brushes. :-) (I do wish we had smiley faces).

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  9. I don't feel it was time wasted, Linda. You have good shapes, proportions and colors in this painting. And it's all practice ... practice ... practice ...

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    1. I obviously didn't make myself clear. Everybody thinks I think I wasted my time with this picture. I didn't. Drawing with paint is never a waste of time. I wasted time and paint painting on an inferior product that didn't take the paint well forcing me to go over what I'd already painted in order to get the effect I wanted. This going over strokes cost me the spontaneous feel I was also after. Where I am now, everything I do is practice. I might as well practice on materials that will give me a better chance at getting better results. I don't use student grade paints, why should I use student grade supports? No more.

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  10. I don't think it was a wasted time and most certaintly I think that the portrait is not a waste. But, I'm bound to agree with you; cheap materials are a waste of money and time. I try to use them when I want to practice or make a pre-skecth, but the thing is that when I reach the point to actually work on my "fancy" (not) materials then I realize that the practice was a waste. The colours behave differently and in total everything looks different or needs a different work, so what's the point I'm wondering...
    Hugs and smiles

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    1. Absolutely. The paint doesn't go on the same. The finish is no where near as attractive as something done on a good ground. No practice is a waste of time, but why practice on inferior materials when we all know that preliminary sketches (practice) only prepare you for proportion measurements and composition. Color experimentation prepares you for compatibility, mixing proportions and degree of coverage, but the ground could have an effect on those elements as well--might as well use a piece of what you're going to use and jump right in.

      I really did not like the surface of the board. I'm working on the portrait and will "finish" it, but no more boards with oils. They are too slick for the medium. Look how opinionated I'm getting after just eight months into oils with so much more still to learn.

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  11. It goes the other way too. I remember buying this really expensive Dala board, with surface impregnated with chalk. It was like drawing on a piece of Ice. And kept warping. But ... I learnt not to use it again!

    I'm drawing with coloured inks at the moment... it will either be a surprising success, or another way of finding my limitations in that area ... so I will get something out of it. As there are no deadlines involved where's the loss?

    Have a good weekend, Linda.

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    1. You too John. We are always experimenting and practicing. That's what we do. And we learn what we learn and carry on accordingly. I never used colored inks. I'm a black and white gal in a gray world. Painting with color is really a stretch for me. I like banging my head against the wall :-)

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