Draw or paint something every day. Practice makes perfect. Keep a journal or sketchbook.
Work on multiple paintings at a time. I don’t always do this but it is my preferred way to work; it not only decreases wasted time but is helpful if I’m stuck or frustrated with a particular piece. Often, while I’m working on another work, the ideas for the set-aside piece become crystal clear. – Via Jennybird
Don’t try to fix a mistake with more paint, remove it with turpentine.
Pre-soak your paper in the bathtub and lay flat, even if it is already pre-sized. - Via Annie Owens
Painting On Wood
Photographing Your Artwork
It’s always best to scan your artwork and keep a high resolution file. If you can’t – then take the highest res photo of it you can, before and after framing and before you put it in a show. The best way is to stand over your art with it laid flat on the floor or ground. Line your camera up so there the edges look straight in the camera frame. Take 5-10 pictures – a few in natural daylight (shade), a few inside by a window and a few with lamps or lighting. Try not to use flash as that will create glare in the finish. You can adjust the contrast and crop the edges of your file to make it look square (if the image looks warped) in PhotoShop or another software program. Always save a high res version.
Communicate promptly, clearly and professionally. Acknowledge receipts of emails.
Appear in person at all your openings, on time – if humanly possible. Bring a bottle of wine or a dish, it shows you care.
Always get a signed contract when you deliver art for shows.
Drop off and pick up your works on the agreed upon times. Communicate if you have to be late.
Help promote the show, send emails, give out cards or flyers, invite friends.
Support the galleries who show your work – buy something, anything – even if it is just a card. When you buy a gift for someone, shop there first.
Do go over the gallery’s commission up front. This is how a gallery pays it’s rent, enabling them to show your work. Commissions are standard, so figure that in when pricing your work.
Do follow through with any commitments of art you have made, whether creating new pieces for a show or delivering specific agreed-upon pieces.
Don’t ship or deliver your work in bad shape. Pack it properly if shipping – (there are a ton of how-tos on the web). Make sure frames are solid, un-chipped, glass is clean, canvas edges are painted and the hanging hardware is attached properly and securely.
Don’t whine or complain about your art’s placement in the show. Many things are involved when hanging a show that you may not be aware of – wall structure, lighting, grouping, etc.
Bad mouth or gossip about other artists, curators or galleries – word will get around.
Don’t quibble with a small gallery when they ask for a small fee to help pay for promotion or reception supplies (after they have accepted your work to the show). Many galleries are struggling to pay huge retail rents, insurance and employees. Without any galleries you wouldn’t be able to show your work!
Don’t commit works to an exhibit and then cancel at the last minute, or try to pick up work to stick in another show before the prior one is over. It is unprofessional and in bad form.
Don’t continue to work with a gallery if you are not happy with them. Talk to other artists who have shown at the gallery (privately) and get people’s true feedback. If you are concerned about a gallery, this site – Gallery Ratings – is a great source of feedback, a kind of report card for artists on galleries. Just a few to stay away from: Any affiliation of White Walls or Shooting Gallery (San Francisco), curator Justin Giarla; Pink Zeppelin Gallery (Berlin), Auguste Clown Gallery (Australia).
Finishes, Varnishes, Fixatives, Seals
“Mark Ryden told me that Damar varnish would lead to alcoholism and divorce. (It doesn’t age all that well.) Turns out that he and the museum restorers I talked to are all raving about the same stuff: Soluvar, by Liquitex.” - Via Isabel Samaras
Best not to finish, just frame under raised glass (with matt). Use Krylon Fixative if you have to, it may alter color a little but not as much as everything else.
“Rabbit skin glue is king. So is Dancolite.” - Via Pamela Wilson
Lineco bookbinder’s glue - Via David Ball
Rosemary and Co. (for oils) - Via Mary Jane Ansell
Pearl, sable fan brush for blending oils - Via Genevive Zacconi
“Isabey is my favorite brush manufacturer, oil brushes, long handled sables”
- Via Robert Steven Connett
Synthetic filberts (for oils) - Via Mark Bryan
Paints, Mediums & Glaze Brands
(recommended by artists we have interviewed, number of artists in parentheses)
Graham (1) Old Holland (3) Golden (5) Holbein (1) Atelier acrylics (1)
Winsor & Newton watercolors (1)
Genesis Heat Set Oils -”because I love oil paint and it allows me to paint spontaneous layers with a heat gun.” - Via Anita Collins
Spectrum Mediums (1)
Golden gloss mediums & varnish (2)
Gamblin mediums and thinners, least toxic - Via Mark Bryan
Alchemist, Inc., amber painting medium (1)
Old Holland glazing solution (1)
Copic markers (2) Promarkers (1)
Faber-Castell inks (1)
Pelikan black drawing ink - R. Crumb
I use the old Strathmore vellum surface paper, which is the best paper you can get in the Western world for ink line drawing – R. Crumb
Finished, treated, sealed, 1/4 inch birch with 1 3/4 cabinetry moulding, – for collage, David Ball
Lambert’s glass & Saint Just Verrerie in France, - Via Judith Schaechter
Tutorials / Videos / Art In Action
- Great optical illusions and distorted typographic feats by puzzle master Scott Kim
- Four Disney Background Artists Paint A Tree In Their Iconic Styles
- Todd Schorr: American Surreal – Technique
- Acrylic Painting Tips and Techniques – Tim Gagnon
- Ron English takes us on a tour of his home and studio
- Acrylic painting technique by fantasy artist Jeff Miracola
- Excellent basic anatomy drawing videos by Proko
- Mary Ryden video painting his “Pink Lincoln”
- Camille Rose Garcia’s Snow White
- Lara Dann making “Escape” painting
- Nice slideshow of Sean Cheetham’s gouache process
- Video of Sean Cheetham painting a portrait
- Mark Ryden time lapse painting of “Incarnation“
- Michelle paints a nude figure demo
- Watercolor portrait speed painting
- How to cover a painting with clear resin
- The Crevasse – Making of 3D Street Art
- A short documentary on a courtroom sketch artist, Gary Myrick.
- “Memory Lane”, an automaton diorama by Mark Ryden.
- Excellent full length movie by Banksy – “Exit Through The Gift Shop”
Podcasts for artists
Some great listens while you paint…
(Most can be searched and subscribed to, on iTunes…)
You Must Remember This - explores the secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th Century Hollywood. This is a fascinating series about the inner worlds of Hollywood icons of the past and present. The characters and stories range from famous and familiar, to the unknown and bizarre. Presented with just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek, gossip, sarcasm, wit and intelligent thoughtful research by Karina Longworth. (Absolutely love the remix of the title song!) - LINK
Serial – unfolds one true story, over the course of a whole season. Start with the first episode or you’ll miss out. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, who spent more than a year examining the crime and case of Adnan Syed. Koenig has said that Serial is “about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.” From the creators of This American Life, one season to date, 2014. - LINK
The New York Public Library Podcast - features an eclectic mix of favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. At first, the old school square and uptight host can be off putting, but intelligent threads and commentary prevail. Some of our favorite episodes have featured George Clinton, Neil Gaiman, Sonia Sotomayor, Matthew Weiner, Charles Blow, Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Gilbert. - LINK
Fugitive Waves – Lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world, people with a mission, a purpose, a story to tell. Stories from the flip side of history – from Thomas Edison and Patti Smith, to river activists and Route 66. Radio with a soul and unknown historical tidbits, produced by The Kitchen Sisters. - LINK
Criminal - a podcast about crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. From building an illegal Buddhist altar in Oakland to the sad tale of an aeronautical engineer who sideswiped a parked car in Compton. Not so much the “if it bleeds, it leads,” kind of crime but something a little more complex. Created by Phoebe Judge, Eric Mennel and Lauren Spohrer. - LINK
Live Free - A show of casual interviews and talks with artists, musicians, comedians and creative types in general, but mostly painters. There are a ton of episodes here, most we found interesting, a few not so much – mainly due to the personality of the artist. Maybe the F word is thrown about too much or the need to see tits – but overall this is a podcast worth listening to. Lots of interesting discussion about the life of an artist – things which affect and influence their work, bits of painting tips and methods, philosophies and politics of daily life. Produced by the likable artist Max Maxwell, in an accessible and unpretentious manner. - LINK
The TED Radio Hour - a revamping and editing of the famous TED talks for radio listening. A journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. The source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. From NPR, hosted by Guy Raz. - LINK
Lore - is a podcast of slightly creepy tales chosen from real life, all around 20 minutes long. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. Each episode looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it. Produced and written by author Aaron Mahnke. - LINK
The Memory Palace – is an ancient memory technique where you visualize a complex place in which you can physically store a set of memories. That place is often a building such as a house, and every room is home to a specific item you want to remember. This podcast builds on history – people and events, edited to offer more than you learned in school. Shortish episodes, often only 7 minutes each, full of interesting tidbits, little known facts and obscure correlations. Created by Nate DiMeo - LINK
Fresh Air - We hesitated about including this one, because it is so well-known, but it is known as the gold standard for interviews and an old standby of goodness. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators. Hosted by Terry Gross with intelligent questions and a usually empathetic approach, she is a woman who definitely does her homework and it shows. (Note: We felt Gross’s recent grilling and harping on photographer/author Sally Mann was way overboard, and any empathy was sorely lacking…) - LINK
words / thoughts / inspirations from artists
- Adobe’s Liquid Art Video: The Vein / Magma
- Janet Echelman, TED Talk: Taking imagination seriously
- Alex Pardee: On Inspiration
- Camille Seaman, TED Talk: Haunting photos of polar ice
- David Lynch: Interview Project
- Bonobo: Music Art Video -’Cirrus’
- Virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel
- Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy, sculptor, photographer and environmentalist
- Jackson Pollock documentary
Useful Apps / Books / MISC.
- Web app that lets you turn your own portrait photos into 3D heads
- Hugo Germain’s artful animated gifs and videos. He lists Mattrunks and Videocopilot as influences and Adobe After Effects
Pricing / Fees