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About Painting Conservation

One of the most noticeable defects the public observes on a painted surface is craquelure. Craquelure appears as a minute crazing pattern on a painting’s surface. The following layers make up a painting:

1. Stretcher bars are covered by a canvas support

2. Canvas is coated with a sizing medium

3. Gesso (a ground layer) is applied over the sizing medium

4. Paint is layered over the sizing medium

5. Varnish is capped over all these layers

Ideally all these layers dry uniformly. When the harmony of these layers is disrupted, a problem results, requiring conservation. For instance, as the different layers absorb and release moisture, expansion and contraction take place. As the materials age, the ongoing process of change can take its toll. Vibrations when art is transported can be harmful to one or more layers, even though temperature and humidity are controlled.

Returning to craquelure, it is understandable that the canvas has responds to a change in climactic conditions by either shrinking or swelling. The amount of stress might differ from the ground or paint layer. As these materials react to change differently, they result first in craquelure and finally become cleavage. Cleavage is the paint layer lifting from the canvas.

When craquelure appears as a function of age, it is generally left untouched, provided the painting is still legible. Should this condition become cleavage, a professional conservator must be consulted.

Another easily noticed problem is a slackening of the canvas, producing more “play” than was originally intended. Examine the stretcher bars. If all the corners are fixed by glue or nails and cannot be adjusted mechanically, your painting is attached to strainer bars, not stretcher bars. Stretcher bars have keys (wedges of wood that permit adjusting of the bars) or sophisticated metal elements that allow for adjustments. A canvas left for many years on strainer bars could rip once the canvas becomes brittle.

Yellowing or darkening varnish is another readily recognizable issue. About every 25 years, review canvases for a re-application of varnish. First the original varnish must be removed by a professional conservator.

 

Common Questions about Care For Animation

Where can I store an unframed Animation Cel?

Store it upright, in a cool room, away from sources of direct heat or sunlight. Cels seem to store better in moderate humidity: not too dry and not too moist. Do NOT store in a Kitchen, bathroom, loft or cellar, unless properly insulated.

Where should I not hang a framed piece of Art?

Do not hang any art where direct sunlight can cross it and neither hand it above a radiator. Watch for hot-spots reflected from glass tables; it can be just as damaging as direct sunlight. If there is a high amount of reflected sunlight, you will want to make sure your cel is framed with a UV-reflective material.

Can I clean an Animation Art Cel myself?

No, under any circumstances, do not attempt to clean a cel yourself. Leave this to the professionals such as your framer, who can remove minor smudges and other imperfections, and they should do so with extreme care.

How should I frame my artwork?

Always frame your art with the highest quality materials. Use acid-free mats and backing, especially for framing drawings or other, paper based artwork.

If you are choosing a piece of Art it is easy and safe to purchase over the internet, but choosing a frame is very personal and is more advisable to be done in person at a local framing gallery, as you can choose the exact size and colour to compliment your cel and the room it is to be displayed in.

Artwork that is shipped framed can become warped, especially if it is a large piece, or if it is stretched on canvas. Additionally glass or perspex can crack or smash and damage your artwork.

 

Color Mixing and Theory in Oil Painting

While learning about the various brushes and mediums was a bit confusing, the biggest challenge for me was how to accurately depict nature and other real life objects on canvas using color.

How do I make a color lighter or darker? What about making realistic shadows or highlights? This article will shed some colorful light on the situation, and with practice, working with color in your oil paintings will become easier and more enjoyable.

Thank God for the beautiful Sun, for without it, we would not see color. Everything would appear dark and colorless.

Thankfully, the light from the Sun also travels in a straight line. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have the wonderful variety of light and shadow that makes everything so enjoyable to paint.

If you take an apple for instance, and put it outside in the grass in the sunlight, you will notice several different values that the light creates when shining on the apple.

You have the main overall tone of the apple, the shadow on the apple, the cast shadow, reflection from nearby objects like the green grass and the sky, and highlights. Our job as painters is to accurately depict these values on canvas using color.

There are so many different oil colors on the market today. All of these different colors come from the six colors that make up the spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet.

Colors have four main properties – value, intensity, temperature and hue. The value of a color refers to how light or dark a color is. The intensity of a color refers to how bright or dull it is – also known as a colors saturation or purity. If you used yellow straight from the tube, it would have a higher intensity then if you mixed it with white. The temperature refers to how warm or cool a color is. Colors range in temperature from warm yellows and oranges to cool blues and violets. Finally, the hue is just another word for color. An apple and a cherry are both hues of red.

Color mixing is not an exact science. Artists have different formulas and methods for mixing and applying paint, so the following tips are general guidelines and not necessarily rules that must be followed.

When mixing colors don’t over mix. Over mixing a color will take the life out of it.

To create highlights in your paintings, use white with a touch of the objects complimentary color. There are some exceptions however. When painting highlights on certain objects like brass for instance, which can be depicted on canvas using yellow, making a lighter yellow tinted with white can create a convincing highlight.

Cast shadows of objects are complimentary to the color that the shadow is cast upon. For instance, the cast shadow of a red apple on a blue tablecloth would be orange.

To get any desired color, try to mix as few colors as possible.

Try to keep the theme of your painting either all warm or all cool in temperature.

Again, color mixing is not an exact science. If you survey 10 artists and ask them various questions about mixing oil paint, you will likely get many different answers. My advice is to keep painting and practicing until you develop your own formulas and techniques that you are comfortable with. Happy Painting and God Bless!

 

Oil Landscape Painting Tips

My first bit of advice – try not to get overwhelmed by the scene in front of you. I recall when I first began painting landscapes; I tried to copy everything exactly as I saw it. I tried to squeeze in every detail, paint every leaf, branch, and blade of grass. You will go crazy approaching a landscape this way. Try and paint your own impression of what you see and not a copy of it. Squint your eyes and see the landscape as a series of shapes, lights and darks, as opposed to seeing every detail. You can accomplish some amazing things that you never thought were inside if you just relax and let the painter inside come to the surface.

Painting on location is certainly a beautiful experience, but remember that you have to paint quite fast as the lighting will change quickly. Begin your painting with a larger brush so you are not focusing on detail at this stage.

Try toning your canvas with acrylic paint first before applying your oil paint. I find starting a landscape with toned ground makes it easier to judge values. You can also let some of that underpainting show through in some areas of your painting for an interesting effect.

Creating the illusion of depth or distance in your paintings can be accomplished using different techniques. You can adjust your colors by making them cooler and less intense for the distant objects, warmer and more intense for closer objects. Reduce the size of objects as they recede. You can also take away details and sharp edges to make objects appear more distant.

You should have a focal point, otherwise known as “center of interest” in your painting. All other objects in your painting should not compete with your focal point and should serve to draw the viewer to your center of interest.

Instead of jumping right for the paint, use a pencil and paper instead. Drawing is great practice. When I am drawing, I am more relaxed and intimate with the scene. I am training myself to see the various lights and darks of the scene without the use of color.

Bring only those items that you know you will need and use. When you focus too much of your time on lugging around unwanted materials, it takes away from the enjoyment of what you came there to do, paint!

Painting clouds appears to be one of the bigger challenges for beginners; I know it was for me. What I mentioned in the beginning about trying not to paint every detail applies to clouds as well. Clouds are three-dimensional objects made up of water and ice particles that reflect light so the color of your clouds will vary depending on the weather and lighting conditions. Remember general perspective rules when painting clouds. Clouds closer to you will generally be more detailed. As they recede into the distance they begin to lose detail and get smaller in size. Pay special attention to the edges of the clouds as sharp edges advance while smooth edges recede.

Make your composition as interesting as possible by balancing positive and negative space in your painting. The negative space is what surrounds your objects or positive space. The negative space is just as important as the positive space. Do not neglect the negative space, but at the same time, do not let it dominate your composition.

 

Oil Painting Tips for Newbie

Make certain you have good lighting – I didn’t realize how important good lighting was until I painted outdoors for the first time. Good lighting brings out the color and also lessens the strain on your eyes. If you can, paint in a place that gets plenty of natural sunlight. If you cannot afford this luxury, purchase a good indoor light.

Make sure you have good ventilation – If you are using materials like oil painting thinners and cleaners in your studio; make sure you have good ventilation. Some of these chemicals can be quite toxic so use caution when working with these products. Consider using a water miscible paint like Grumbacher Max Oil Paints. Max Oils can be diluted with water thereby eliminating the need for solvents.

Fat over lean – Follow this rule and you will reduce the chance of your paint cracking. Each layer of your oil painting should have a higher oil content then the ones below it.

To create the illusion of distance in your paintings paint receding objects with cooler less intense color. Objects that advance are warmer and more intense.

If you are feeling uninspired don’t get discouraged. Try taking a walk outside, breath in the air, look around at the beautiful earth God created. Try playing music while you are painting. You will be surprised how music can affect your painting. Visit a museum or local gallery. Viewing other works of art can really get your creative juices flowing.

When holding your brush avoid holding your brush like a pencil too close to the bristles. Oil brushes are made long for a reason so that you can paint further away from the canvas. Practice holding the brush toward the middle and end of the handle.

Maintain a clean organized working environment – Get yourself into the habit of keeping your work area clean and organized. Have an abundant supply of rags or paper towels nearby. Get a few glass jars for storing mediums, solvents and your used brushes while painting.

Brush Selection and Care – You should probably invest in a good set of brushes. Cheap brushes are not recommended as they shed their bristles quite easily while painting. I prefer working with Hog Hair brushes, but oil painters also use sable and synthetic sable. Avoid nylon brushes, as these are better suited for acrylic paint. My brushes include a variety of flats sizes #3, #6, #8, #12, a #4 fan, and a few small rounds for detail work. Selections vary from artist to artist, depending on painting style usually, but the above mentioned work fine for me. Take excellent care of your brushes. This is very important, especially if you have an expensive set of brushes. You may want to do a search online for more in depth brush care instructions. If you do not clean and store your brushes properly, you will ruin them, simple as that. Use a quality brush cleaner and preserver that you can purchase online or at your local art store.

 

Feeling Uninspired?, Here Places You Can Go

The next time you find yourself staring at a blank canvas, don’t get discouraged. Sometimes our minds need a little break from painting. I would like to share how I find inspiration for those unproductive moments.

Take a walk or drive to the country

Step outside and take a long walk. Get your blood circulating and energize your mind. Exercise and fresh air can do wonders when you are feeling down. I also like to hop in the car and take a drive out to the countryside. I always bring a sketchpad or notebook along with me. I find so much beauty and inspiration from nature.

Visit a museum or gallery

Just looking at other artwork is enough to get your creative juices flowing. I will map out a few local galleries and head out with a friend to see what beautiful art I can discover. If they allow you take photographs, take a few shots of any works that catch your eye and bring them back to your studio for inspiration.

Go to a bookstore

Visit your local bookstore, grab a cup of coffee, and browse through the art section. See what new information sparks your interest. I pick up anything from magazines to art history books.

Listen to some music

Grab a few of your favorite CD’s, a blank canvas, some of your favorite colors, and do some spontaneous painting. Don’t think but instead let the rhythm of the music lead your brush. You will be pleasantly surprised at what comes out.

Don’t be afraid to try different things

Oil paint is an incredibly versatile medium. Experiment with different oil painting techniques. Oil paint can be thinned to a watery consistency or brushed on with thick luscious strokes. Don’t limit yourself to only one style. Don’t worry about being wrong or following any rules. This is the perfect time to make mistakes as you are only experimenting and having fun.

When all else fails, say a prayer! Ask God, the one who blessed you with your creative gift, to lead your brush. He is the ultimate source of creativity. I bet he has some good ideas up his sleeve.