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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • Eco Friendly and Vegan Art Supplies

    How can art supplies be vegan?

    Believe it or not, art supplies aren't an exception when it comes to using animal ingredients. In this article we collected art materials and products that contain animal ingredients, and those that are free of them.

    Eco friendly art products are made out of recycled materials, or pencils made out of bamboo instead of wood, etc. Artist tend to use environmentally unfriendly and even harmful products in their practice, therefore being a little bit more environmentally conscious where you can is advised!

    Animal products in Art Supplies:

    • brush bristles are traditionally made with animal hair
    Hog bristle brushes

    Sable brushes

    • Shellac , a material made out of the secretion of the lac insect, is used as binder in inks and for a glossy finish
    • Ox gall is a watercolour medium that improves the flow of the paint, and is made of animal protein
    • Cochineal is the secretion of insects that is used in the making of carmine dyes.
    • Bone black is a very strong black, made from the charring of bones.
    • Tempera paints contain egg as a pigment binder.
    • Gelatin is made by boiling animal skin and bones in water, used to size paper and canvas.
    • Casein is a binder, made out of cow milk protein that can be found in pencils.
    • Rabbit skin glue is used in the making of gesso, a glue in bookbinding and as a sealant.
    • Beeswax, found in crayons and pencils.

    Art Products and Brands free from animal ingredients:

       

    As well as graphite, charcoal, Damar Varnish, all Strathmore Watercolour paper (except 'Gemini'), all Fabriano paper (except: 'Roma', 'Esportazione', 'Secolo'), all Canson 'Heritage' and 'Montval' range, St Cuthberth's Mill Bockingford paper.

    Hopefully this was a useful guide for those who want to remain cruelty free in their art practice as well. And most importantly, even if your supplies aren't completely eco-friendly and vegan, always make sure you dispose of turps, paint and dangerous chemicals properly!

    References:

    • http://emptyeasel.com/2009/01/29/the-vegans-list-of-art-supplies-art-products-free-of-animal-ingredients/
    • http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/blog/vegan-vegatarian-and-eco-art-supplies/
    • http://www.veganwomble.co.uk/wordpress/veganartandcraftsupplies/
    • http://www.colorsofnature.com/VeganCrueltyFreeArtSupplies.html
    • http://deliciousliving.com/blog/10-things-you-thought-were-vegan-arent
    • http://artonthefridge.com/animal-free-art-supplies/?i=1
    • https://www.hahnemuehle.com/en/digital-fineart/digital-fineart-collection/matt-fineart/p/Product/show/8/6.html
  • Pre-Raphaelites

    Who were the Pre-Raphaelites and what did they do?

    A little bit of art history doesn't hurt anybody!

    What does Pre-Raphaelite mean?

    The term Pre-Raphelite comes from the name of the Renaissance painter Raphael (1483-1520), and refers to the 19th century painters' ideology, as they intended to reject the artistic ideals presented by the time of Raphael until their contemporaries.

    Raphael’s painting, titled ‘The Transfiguration’ served as their example for the rejection of artistic ideals. As Hunt summarised, “its grandiose disregard of the simplicity of truth, the pompous posturing of the apostles and the unspiritual posture of the savior.” Their idea was to paint authentic, natural world – their mission was to advocate genuine expression of purity, morality, piety, relationships, “free from academic affectation”.

    Transfiguration. Raphael. 1516–20

    The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

    The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1829-1896) and John Everett Millais (1829-1896). It was a group of (mostly) painters and poets, including a wider circle of many more important figures of 19th century England, such as James Collinson, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburn, Christina Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, and later Edward Burne-Jones and John William Waterhouse.

    William Holman Hunt
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    John Everett Millais

    Key ideas

    Their major starting point was to reject the British Royal Academy’s teaching of typical Victorian subjects and painting methods. They preferred to show naturalism, even if it meant the presentation of ‘ugliness’. They wanted to create a modernised type of art that was free from the strict arbitrary rules of the Academy and the convention of contemporary art. Their main innovations included:

    ‘Ecce Ancilla Domini’ (Behold the handmaid of the Lord), Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1850

    Rejecting the way painting was taught in the Academy. Their compositions didn’t include the rules of (1) grouping figures in a shape of a pyramid, (2) one major light source, (3) emphasis on contrasts and dull colours. Instead their paintings were crowded, evenly lit, bright-coloured.

    The Shadow of Death, by William Holman Hunt

    The representation of their subjects was almost photographic; even if the convention was to put emphasis on the ‘important’ parts and blur the ‘less important’ surroundings.

    Love Among the Ruins. Wightwick Manor. 1894. Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

    Their subjects were often figures from poets like Tennyson, Keats, and Shakespeare.

    Hylas and the Nymphs, by John William Waterhouse

     

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt Ophelia 1851–2

     

    Lizzie Siddal, the "Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel"

    Self portrait 1853-4

    The well-known subject of Millais' Ophelia, and many more Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Lizzie Siddal was more than a popular model. Her association with the brotherhood allowed her to practice art and poetry herself, that wasn't  a possibility for most women around that time.

    Interesting

    References:

    • http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/prb/gray.html
    • http://lizziesiddal.com/portal/about-elizabeth-siddal
    • /http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/prb/1.html
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Raphaelite_Brotherhood
  • How to Make Your Own Paint

    Oil Paint Colour

    Now, after the  INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINTthe next challenge is to try making your own!

    Oil paints are basically the mixture of pigments and oil. Their popularity is caused by their qualities to dry without changing shape and colour, as well as their archival properties, meaning that the oxidised oil binds the pigments, making it possible to keep the painting intact for hundreds of years.

    Making your own oil paint allows you to experiment with the consistency of the paint, as well as the colours. Pigments found in nature can even be used to create your own unique colours.

    What do I need to make your own Oil Paint:

    • mortar and pestle
    • muller and glass slab
    • palette knife
    • linseed oil ( cold-pressed, raw or unrefined)
    • refined beeswax
    • pigment(s)
    • paint tubes (optional)

    The Method

    First of all, you will make a small pile of pigment on the glass slab, and make a small gap in the middle. Pour a bit of oil there and start mixing with a palette knife or spatula. Don’t worry if it’s not easy to mix, and only add a small amount of oil at a time, as you want the mixture to have the smallest amount of oil as possible.

    Start grinding the mixture with the muller in a circular motion, spreading the mixture gradually on the slab. The idea is to try covering every pigment particle with the least possible amount of oil. From time to time, scrape the paint off of the muller and start grinding again, spreading the paint. Do this until the mixture reaches a ‘paint consistency’, as it varies from pigment to pigment.

    Fillers and Binders used in Oil Paint

    Fillers tend to be seen as not good, but they have certain advantages. (the only thing you don’t want is more filler than pigment in the paint!)

    Barium sulphate and aluminium hydroxide are two common extenders, which are used to increase the volume of the paint without altering the colour. (it’s advised not to add more than 25%, as it may effect the colour)

    Beeswax acts as an emulsifier that helps strengthen the bond between pigment and oil, as well as a thixotropic agent that keeps the pigments evenly distributed.

    Storing Oil Paint

    You can choose from storing the freshly made paint in a glass jar, or in pre-made paint tubes. The latter will have an open base with a plastic cap on the other end. You can put the paint in with a palette knife and when it’s filled, squeeze the paint in the cap side of the tube in order to get rid of air bubbles. Don’t overfill the tube, as you need to leave a bit so as to roll up the excess. You might want to use pliers to fold it over. When it’s done, label the tube with the media, pigment and date of manufacture.

    Videos

    References

    • http://www.earthpigments.com/artists-oil-paints/
    • http://www.sinopia.com/How-to-make-Oil-Paint
    • http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Oil-Paint/
    • http://www.artpromotivate.com/2012/07/how-to-make-your-own-oil-paint-home.html
    • http://www.paintmaking.com/grinding_oils.htm
    • http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/oil.html
    • http://www.kamapigment.com/en/demonstrations/demo1_01.html
    • http://www.kamapigment.com/en/information/how-to-make-your-paints.html
  • Edward Lear

    EDWARD LEAR

    Biography

    Edward Lear was a British poet, painter and illustrator, known for his absurd wit. He was born on the 12th of May, 1812, in the London suburb of Holloway, the twentieth of twenty one children, born to Anne Skerrett Lear and Jeremiah Lear, a stockbroker. Many of his siblings did not survive past childhood. Lear was the youngest to survive. His health was always delicate, even though he managed to live to the age of seventy five, and he suffered from chronic respiratory problems and had poor eyesight. When he was five he had his first epileptic seizure. Lear saw this “demon”, as he referred to his affliction, as a mark of shame. His wish to hide his condition form the people whom he loved, resulted in his self imposed isolation from them.

    In the previous years to the onset of his epilepsy, another trauma occurred when Jeremiah Lear suffered heavy financial losses. Later Lear would tell his friends that his father had gone to debtor’s prison, although there is no evidence to back this claim. The Lears were forced to rent out their home, ‘Bowman’s Lodge’. Edward’s oldest sister, Ann, was charged with his care by their mother. When the family resumed their financial stability, she never acted as his mother again. Ann became a devoted surrogate mother to Edward for the rest of her life, but he never got over the hurt of being rejected by his real mother, often seen in his equivocation of mother figures in many of his poems.

    His sister tutored Edward at home and encouraged the obvious talent for drawing and painting he had showed from an early age. Lear had little or no formal education. In 1828, his father, Jeremiah, retired and moved South of London. Edward and Ann remained in the city, in lodgings off the Gray’s Inn Road. Sixteen year old Edward sold sketches to support them. He produced anatomical drawings and later to illustrate natural history books. In 1832, he had a volume of twelve folio lithographic prints of parrots published by the London Zoological Society, ‘Illustrations of the Family Psittacosis’. The book was noticed by the 13th Earl of Derby, who was looking for an artist to draw the animals in his menagerie at Knowsley, his Derby estate in Lancashire. The Earl invited Lear to stay at the estate, which he did until 1937.

     

     

     

    The Beginning of Lear's Travels

    The English winters and Lear’s failing eyesight and lungs, meant that Lear had to give up his detailed natural history work, and in 1837, the Earl enabled Edward to become a painter of topographical landscape in Rome, by providing him with both funds and introductions. He travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia between 1837 and 1847, where he also first established himself as a nonsense poet, and where some of the deepest of his many close friendships began.

     

    The Illustrated Travels of a Landscape Painter

    In 1842, Lear commenced his travels in Italy, travelling through Rome, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. He recorded the Italian way of life in notes and drawings, of folk traditions and the beauty of the ancient monuments, buildings and landscape. One of his favourite places was Abruzzo, which he visited in 1843, through the Marsica and the plateau of Cinque Miglia by an old sheep track of the shepherds. After returning to England, Lear’s travel journals were published in several volumes as ‘The Illustrated Travels of a Landscape Painter’. They were extremely popular and well respected at the time, but were largely forgotten in the 20th century.

     

    Introductions

    His days at Knowsley had a profound influence on Lear’s career. Under the patronage of the Earl of Derby, Lear met and charmed many aristocrats, who went on to buy his paintings and was offered an opening into a world that his middle class upbringing would have otherwise denied him. Whilst there, Lear produced drawings, poems, menus and alphabets to entertain the children of Knowsley. These ‘nonsenses’ and Lear’s charming conversations and piano recitals, made him highly popular with both the children and the adults.

     

    A Book of Nonsense

    In 1846, he published his first book of poems, ‘A Book of Nonsense’, for the grandchildren of the Derby household, under the pseudonym, Derry Down Derry.

     

    The Modern Limerick

    Lear is recognised as the creator of the form and meter of the modern limerick. The Learian limerick is focused on a single individual – an old or young ‘person, ‘man’, ‘woman’, distinguished by unusual appearance, dress, behaviour, diet or talents. Most typically it will concentrate on their eccentricities, their dwelling place and their distinctive features. It then goes on to explain the consequence of their peculiarities and ends with an apostrophe.

     

    There was a young lady of Norway,

    Who casually sat in a doorway,

    When the door squeezed her flat,

    She exclaimed “what of that”?

    This courageous young lady of Norway.

     

    .

     

    The modern limerick has an unexpected punch line at the end, Lear’s limerick repeats the final word at the end of the first line at the end of the last.

     

    A theme of Lear’s limericks is anyone with a feature slightly different from the masses, such as the oversized nose and spindly legs he gave himself in self deprecating caricatures and his affinity with all animals other than dogs, seeing them as a sharer of his misfit status. He also shows Victorian children examples of bizarre, misbehaving adults, their morality often depicted in terms of eating habits. Food is often used symbolically in Lear’s poetry – sharing food indicating selflessness and affection, gluttony on the other hand showing lack of thought for others and egotism. Gluttony receives harsh punishment.

     

    There was an old man of the South,

    Who had an immoderate mouth,

    But in swallowing a dish,

    That was quite full of fish,

    He was choked, that old man of the South.

     

    Book of Nonsense

    In 1845, the year before publishing the ‘Book of Nonsense’, Lear became friends with Chichester Fortesque, who later became Lord Carlingford. Their charming and delightful letters were compiled in two volumes and are the largest collection of letters published by Lear. In 1849, he met Alfred and Emily Tennyson. Lear greatly admired Tennyson’s poetry, setting several pieces to music and leaving an unfinished volume of illustrations of the poets’ work at his death.

    Unrequited Love

    Lear’s most painful relationship was with Franklin Rushington, a young barrister, whom he met in Malta in 1849 and who he toured Southern Greece with. Lear was passionately in love with him, but his feelings were not reciprocated. Even though they remained close friends, the unrequited love tormented Lear until his death.

    10 Year Painting Course

    In 1850, Lear started a ten year painting course at the Royal Academy Schools, to improve his figure drawing skills and his untrained oil painting technique.

    Accomplished Musician

    He was an accomplished musician, playing the guitar, flute and accordion, but mainly the piano. He composed music to accompany Victorian poems, but was mainly known for his numerous musical settings of Tennyson’s poetry – the only musical settings that Tennyson approved of. He also composed music to accompany many of his nonsense songs, including ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’. Only two scores have survived, the music for ‘The Courtship of The Yongy Bongy-Bo’ and ‘The Pelican Chorus’. He never played professionally, but would perform his own nonsense songs and his settings of other peoples’ poetry at social gatherings, often replacing serious lyrics with nursery rhymes.

     

    The Owl and The Pussycat

    Despite producing beautiful watercolours in both his illustrated travel journals and his work for the London Zoological Society, Lear is best remembered for his numerous poems, notably ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ and as the creator of the modern limerick. Although his poems vary greatly, both in form and subject, they can be characterised by his irreverent view of the world. Lear poked fun at everything, including himself. Many critics view Lear’s loyalty to the ridiculous as a way of coping with and undermining the rigidity of Victorian society. The humour of Lear’s poems has proved to be timeless. His work along with other Victorian nonsense writer, such as Lewis Carroll and Thomas Hood, helped the twentieth century aesthetic movements such as surrealism and the theatre of the absurd. It was an expression of the longings, frustrations and dreams of a lovable, intensely loving man, who although being loved by relatives, friends and readers – both adults and children alike – never found the constant, intimate love he so desperately desired.

     

    Last Words

    Lear was never free from physical and emotional pain. His health grew steadily worse and he died of heart disease, alone except for a servant, on the 29th of January, 1888, in his villa in San Remo. His last words expressed his gratitude for the kindness of his absent friends. He is buried in the cemetery Foca in San Remo. His headstone is inscribed with the words from Tennyson’s poem, To EL (Edward Lear), On His Travels In Greece.

     

    All things fair,

    With such a pencil, such a pen,

    You shadow forth to distant men,

    I read and felt that I was there.

     

     

    Article written by Mary Aitken

     

     

     

  • Street Art Guide

    Street art - 'genuine' art form or 'vandalism'?

    It’s a common misconception to think about street art as vandalism – of course, everything has its place and spray painting on museum buildings and names carved into historical sights do cause harm. However, street art (that includes small tags to sculptural works) has its own history and legitimacy. It’s easy to have prejudice against something one doesn’t know – here, with this short summary we’ll try to show how street art isn’t the same as vandalism.

    Interested in Dundee's street art scene? Check out what OpenClose is up to!

    Paintings on caves - the earliest form of 'street art'?

    Origins

    Street art has been with us since the beginning of time, and it's purposes haven't changed much. Communication, protest, remembrance, aesthetic appreciation - whatever it be, writing and drawing on the street states a presence and calls for attention.

    Written or visual, street art is generally used to broadcast statements about current political and social issues.

    Writing on a plane, WW2
    "Famous" graffiti that appeared at the time of the Second World War.

    Words of protest and political commentary appeared on the streets since the Second World War, and continues ever since.

    Graffiti on the Berlin Wall

    Between the 1960's and 80's, street art developed in New York's streets - signs of street gangs to band posters to well-known artworks by Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

    Graffiti from MMP, first recorded street gang in the history of Oregon's capital city of Salem "Spyder" was gang leader.1987.
    Scull by Jean-Michel Basquiat
    Keith Haring

    Techniques

    One of many appeals of street art is that you don't need a sterile gallery setting in order to show your artwork, and since its beginnings, street artists proved their technical skills by developing techniques from everyday scribbles to spectacular wall paintings.

    Murals

    Murals are artworks that appear on walls, and usually include or use unique architectural features of the chosen area.

     

    Stencilling

    Banksy

    Artworks created with this technique use pre-drawn and cut out drawings that are then sprayed onto the surface.

    Tagging

    Tagging is the name given to when street artists scribble their uniquely designed names/ monikers onto surfaces, showing that they have been there.

    Throw-ups

    Throw-ups are similar to tagging, but they are large scale, spray painted, and usually use a similar type of 'bubble letter'. Regardless, they are always spectacular.

    Street Art Sculpture

    Sculptural works on the streets follow the same idea: funny, critical, or just simply aesthetically pleasing, they bring street art into a different dimension. Street art sculptures usually cleverly utilise the given features of the particular area.

    Isaac Cordal 'Cement eclipses'

     

    References:

    • http://creativedundee.com/2017/08/street-art-trail-market/
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_in_the_United_States
    • http://ec2-52-40-217-11.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com/different-forms-street-art
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGz6SvxtJwo
    • https://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/art-history-101/street-art-painting-origins-and-techniques

     

  • INKS

    Different Types, Techniques and Auxiliaries

    There are two main types of inks: Pigment inks and Dye inks.
    What's the difference?

    Pigment Inks

    Pigment inks have a telling name – they contain pigments. (Indeed, pigments don’t mix with water, therefore this type of ink will be water resistant once dried.) Since pigment particles make a stronger bond, pigment inks will not fade so quickly, and last  for a longer time. At the same time, it’s said that they’re harder to work with and the colours aren’t that bright.

     

    Dye Inks

    Dye inks compared to Pigment inks are less permanent, as they remain water soluble even after they dried. While some people prefer them for they have more bright colours, however, they tend to fast easier as well.

    Abby Diamond

    India Ink

    The Bombay India Ink range has 24 vibrant colours (all transparent except black and white which have excellent  coverage) - what's good to know about this brand is that the inks are very pigmented and lightfast, and also waterproof.

    DR. Ph. Martins Radiant Inks

    This type of ink comes in 56 different colours, however, due to the quality of the dye, it's not very lightfast. It can be used mixed with acrylic paint, or as a fabric dye  (with added salt for fixative.)  These inks don't contain shellac like other type of India Inks.

     

    Royal Talens India Ink

     

    India ink (or Chinese ink) is made up of fine soot (carbon) and water, usually with added shellac or gelatine to make the dried ink more durable. It can be both waterproof and non-waterproof, depending on the added binder. India ink is most commonly used for drawing, especially ink comic books

    John MacNair

    Royal Talens Ecoline

    Leandro Russo, Omeostasi, 2014, ecoline on canvas, cm 20 x 25

    Ecoline is a liquid watercolour paint, but at the same time very similar to inks. The brand has many colours (46 transparent and 2 opaque) which are also available in pen form (and the two can be mixed!) They are not waterproof, thus you can keep on working on the image even after it’s dry.

    Ecoline Brushpens  and Ink Bottles

     

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQW310KSPRQ[/embed]

    Techniques for Inks

    Source

    Shading Techniques

    Tools and Surfaces

    Inks probably work the best with soft brushes like watercolour brushes, but you can experiment with technical pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens or airbrush as well.

    Inks, unlike watercolours, can be used on non/absorbent surfaces like cartridge paper, but it's good to keep in mind that the more water you add, the chance of paper buckling grows, therefore it's better to stretch your paper first.

    Videos

    References:

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_ink
    • https://www.thewritingdesk.co.uk/reference.php?id=50
    • https://www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/how-to/ink/554/12-tips-when-using-inks
    • https://www.jetpens.com/blog/guide-to-drawing-inks/pt/784
  • Quentin Blake

    Quentin Blake, the illustrator

    Biography

    About Sir Quentin Saxby Blake

    Sir Quentin Saxby Blake CBE, FCSD, FRSL, RDI is one of Britain’s most successful children’s authors, illustrators and cartoonists. He was born on the 16th December 1932 in Sidcup in Kent. During the Second World War, he was evacuated to the West Country. He attended Holy Trinity Lamorbey Church of England Primary School and Chiselhurst and Sidcup Grammar School, where his English teacher, J.H. Walsh inspired his love of literature. He studied English Literature at Downing College, Cambridge from 1953 to 1956. He has denied that studying at Cambridge University contributed to his artistic or creative talent. After his national service, he received his postgraduate diploma in teaching from the University of London. Later he studied part-time at the Chelsea School of Art and then at Camberwell College of Art. He received his teaching diploma from the Institute of Education.

     

    Blake's First Published Illustration

    Blake’s first published illustration was at the age of 16, in the satirical magazine, Punch, while he was still at school. A later cover featured his illustration of a weightlifter being imitated by a dog carrying a bone. He said “I can remember getting a letter from the art director congratulating me on being the youngest contributor and I thought ‘this is alright.’ I started drawing for print then”

     

    Blake's Professional Teaching Career

    Blake taught English at the Lycee Francais de Londres in the 1960s, building on his strong links with France and culminating with him being awarded the Insignia of Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur at a ceremony at the Institut Francais in London, in March 2014. He also taught at the Royal College of Art for more than twenty years and was head of illustration from 1978 to 1986.

    Literature’s Greatest Author and Illustrator Duos

    He has gone on to illustrate more than three hundred books, with authors including Michael Rosen, John Yeoman, Joan Aiken and Dr. Seuss and illustrated the first Seuss book that Seuss did not illustrate himself – ‘Great Day For Up!’ in 1974. Over many years he worked with Roald Dahl on some of his most well known and loved books, his illustrations capturing the essence of The BFG, Mathilda and Willie Wonka. He also illustrated and wrote a number of quirky books himself including Mister Magnolia, Zagazoo and Lovelykins.

    An Iconic Collaboration with Roald Dahl

    Blake met Dahl and began working with him in 1975 after a meeting set up by their publisher. Dahl had already published some of his most famous works including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Initially I was rather apprehensive because he was a big chap and very famous, but it was a relationship that worked” said Blake.” “Because I had established myself as an illustrator, I had something to bring to it."

    Storytelling and Stamps

    In the 1970s Blake presented more than one hundred and fifty episodes of the BBC children’s storytelling television show, Jackanory, where he would illustrate the stories as he was telling them. In 1993, Blake designed that year’s Christmas postage stamps, based on Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol.

     Memberships and Associations

    He is a member of the Chelsea Arts Club, patron of the Blake Society – Downing College’s arts and humanities society and patron of The Big Draw, a registered UK charity aiming to get everyone drawing and demonstrating that drawing is a life skill, an essential tool for thinking, inventing and communicating.

     Accolades

    Included in his accolades are the J.M. Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received in 2008, the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration from the International Board on Books for Young People for his services to children’s literature, while he was Children’s Laureate and an honorary degree from the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

    In 1988, Blake was given an OBE, in 2014 a CBE and in 2013 he received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace for his services to illustration.

    Blake's Art Projects 

    As well as illustrating books, Blake also works with hospitals and mental health units, decorating buildings with his drawings. “It’s a different kind of brief, a different kind of audience. A lot of pictures I do in hospitals are to cheer up gaunt surroundings” he said. In 2007 he designed a huge mural on fabric. It was suspended over a dilapidated building directly opposite the entrance to St. Pancras station in London. The painting of an imaginary welcoming committee greets passengers arriving on the Eurostar high-speed railway.

     

    Blake also negotiated the House of Illustration project aimed at opening a gallery dedicated to illustration. The gallery was opened in 2014 near to King’s Cross in London.

     

    Even though Blake is one of the UK’s most beloved artists, he still has his critics and one criticism levelled at him is that his illustrations are so constantly upbeat. “There are a lot of smiles about, it’s true.” he admitted. “People have come up and said ‘Thank you for your work’ and ‘joy’ is the word they’ve used, but I’ve also reproached for it being too cheerful. But if you add a smile, it doesn’t make it necessarily joyful.”

     

    Article written by Mary Aitken

  • Egg Tempera

    Guide to help you make your own paint

    A painting method that shows you, eggs are not only for breakfast!

    History of Egg Tempera Paint

    Tempera paint seems to be one of the most common paints that we're introduced to from the very beginnings. Can you imagine it has been around since the first century AD?

    Many examples of the use of tempera include the Fayum Mummy portraits, and other Egyptian sarcophagi decoration, Orthodox icon painting, early medieval paintings in temples in India, and even Michelangelo had egg tempera paintings.

    Tempera was the primary painting medium up until the 1500s, when the appearing oil paint replaced it. There were some occasional revivals of tempera paintings, for instance in the 19th/20th century by the Pre-raphaelite Brotherhood.

    What You Need

     

    • egg yolk
    • water
    • dry pigment
    • glass muller
    • jars or tubes

    The Method

    Preparing the Pigment Mixtures

    First you need to grind the pigment with a small amount of water using the muller, until the consistency reaches a creamy state. (The time and amount of water depends on the particular pigment!)

    Preparing the Egg Yolk Medium

    The next step is to prepare the egg yolk medium which consists of egg yolk and distilled water. In order to make it, you'll need to separate the egg yolk from the white, You might want to carefully dry it with a paper towel to remove all the white. Then, take the yolk and pierce the sack under a jar. Discard the sack, and if you find any impurities in the yolk, strain the liquid. If needed, mix it with a bit of distilled water, and it's ready for painting. Keep the medium tightly sealed and refrigerated up until two days.

    Christina's World - Andrew Wyeth, 36" x 29", 1948

    Videos

    References

    • http://www.paintmaking.com/grinding_egg_tempera.htm
    • http://www.instructables.com/id/Egg-Tempera-Painting/
    • http://www.earthpigments.com/artists-egg-tempera/
    • http://www.kooschadler.com/techniques/history-egg-tempera.pdf
    • http://www.danielsmith.com/content--id-105
    • http://www.eggtempera.com/technical-info/egg-tempera-paint
  • Encaustic Painting

    Make stunning artworks with pigments, wax and heat

    Painting with wax not only creates exciting, intriguing images, but due to the building up of the wax, it allows you to approach painting from a rather sculptural point of view,

    What is Encaustic painting?

    The name Encaustic comes from the Greek word enkaustikos, meaning "to heat or burn in". This name is quite telling, as the technique is to paint with layers of melted wax. The medium is made out of natural beeswax, dammar resin and optionally pigments for colours. The idea is to use the paint, layers of paper, dried plants, etc between each layer of wax, and to continuously fuse them together with reheating it.

    The History of wax-painting

    Encaustic painting dates back to ancient times as it was used by the Greeks to decorate war ships.  The same technique was used to decorate Egyptian tombs and sarcophagi : the most famous being the Fayum funeral portraits.

            

    The Mummy of Demetrios, 95-100 C.E.,11.600a-b, Brooklyn Museum

    Since it was a rather difficult technique without portable wax melting tools, the popularity of Encaustic painting decreased for centuries before its late revival in the 20th century. The technique was picked up by painter Fritz Faiss (1905 - 1981), student of abstract expressionist Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.

    Untitled (1955)

    What You'll need:

    • thick surface (wooden boards / blocks are probably the best)
    • Encaustic medium (wax)
    • collage materials, pigments or coloured wax
    • natural bristle brushes (hog or goat hair(
    • heat gun or propane torch
    • electric hot plate
    • optionally tools for scratching / sculpting

    The Method:

    • Melt the wax
    • Brush the first layer of wax onto the surface, and then start layering, as the work is made with multiple thin layers of wax. Keep both the brushes and the wax warm throughout. You can also add different collage materials like pictures or dried flowers, but keep in mind that the first layer will be less visible.
    • After each finished layer, fuse them together with a heat-gun, so the layer will be even
    • Add texture to the 'painting' with scratching and scraping! Encaustic allows you to work on 2D images with a sculptural touch.

    Tips:

    1. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax.
    2. Use a porous surface like wood, paper or clay.
    3. Use an electric plate and palette cups to separate different colours while keeping all of them warm.,
    4. Don't be afraid to hang your finished work, as it won't melt in the sun, however, it's not advised to put it directly in the sun, especially in warmer climates. They're also sensitive to freezing cold temperatures, but otherwise wax makes the work archival so they will last for a very long time.

    Videos

    References:

    • http://www.rfpaints.com/resources/encaustic/34-what-is-encaustic-paint
    • http://encaustic.com/
    • http://www.eainm.com/what-is-encaustic/
    • http://emptyeasel.com/2014/08/04/a-beginners-guide-to-encaustic-art-and-painting-with-wax/
    • http://startstudioarts.si.edu/2010/08/tips-and-techniques-encaustic-painting.html

     

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