• I Won’t Disappear! I Promise!

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is Ending, But I won’t Disappear

    This is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’ve managed to blog on this site every day during the challenge. I’ve taken part in this challenge before, but I think this is the first time I actually wrote a post every single day, and in the past I’ve had a tendency to vanish once it was done, to stop blogging, or do so only sporadically.  I am not going to let that happen this time. I have a plan.

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is Ending, But I won't Disappear Click To Tweet
    Bullet Journal Calendar View Februrary
    I still have more events to add to this calendar, but for now it tells me when to post on each blog, which days nothing is auto renewing on Etsy (indicated by the letters “NAR”), which days I have painting classes scheduled (Saturday Slams), which days I work a regular shift in the studio, which days I do a complete reset in the studio, various committee meetings, the days I clean houses, and Birthdays. I also have the first week of my dog walking job scheduled, and will write in the rest week by week, and I’ll write in the Art Slam board meeting also, once I verify the time.

    I have blogging Schedule

    I’ve been reading a lot about how to get more visibility to your blog, and believe it or not, from what I’ve read, it is good to give each post a day or two to sit, and gather more views and comments before posting again, this also gives the blogger a chance to enjoy reading and commenting on other blogs.  However, it should only be a day or two, or at most three days between posts, longer than that and people assume you’ve dropped off the planet.

    I also have three blogs that I would like to maintain, though I actually do have more blogs, the time for posting on some of those blogs is past. I no longer have really young children, so the “mommy blog” I used to keep is pretty much over, other blogs I just didn’t care for the hosting site or whatever, but currently I have three that I really would like to maintain.  My Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog, My Devotional Blog, and My Art Blog (the one you are reading).

    I decided that the ideal way for me to blog would be come up with a schedule for each blog, so that I am not trying to post on all three every day.  The Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog needs to have at least one post every week, on the day that I weigh myself, which is Monday, so while it is okay for me to post more often if I want, I scheduled that blog for every Monday.  I decided to take Sunday off of blogging, though I might do some planning and blog reading that day. So with Sunday and Monday off the table for the other two blogs, that left me five days each week to write the other two blogs.  I decided to alternate, so one week the art blog would be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the Devotional Blog would be Wednesday and Friday, and then the next week they switch, so that the Art Blog is Wednesday and Friday, and the Devotional Blog Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  I put all of this information into my bullet journal calendar pages for the month of February.  After February is done I’ll evaluate and see if I need  to make adjustments.  The devotional blog may be difficult to post on that often, because I have to prepare and study quite a bit for each post, so if it proves too much I might end up picking one day a week to post on that and post on my Weight Loss and lifestyle blog more often.

    I also have an Etsy schedule.

    Along with all of this blogging information, my work schedule, doctors appointments, birthday’s, etc. my bullet journal has my etsy posting schedule for February, which is basically a list of dates that nothing auto renews, so if I have new listings to post, I should do it on those days.  And I do have new things to post! A lot of them.  I will need to really get busy creating those listings, each one needs several photographs, plus key words selected, and a matching listing on this website needs to be made as well, so each listing ends up taking 1-2 hours to create.

     

    Ultimate Blog Challenge Results

    I thought I’d also show the results as far as my site stats go, for this Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    This shows my stats by week from sometime in July until today. I believe the spike in July is from the last UBC
    This shows my stats by week from sometime in July until today. I believe the spike in July is from the last UBC I took part in. You can see that the increased views continued for a while after the challenge ended, even though my posting dropped off. This time I’ll keep posting, and we’ll see if the increased views continue longer.
    This Shows my stats (views) by month, from around the time I started my blogs, you can see noticeable spikes with each UBC I took part in, most of that is probably due to other UBC participants viewing my blog, but at least part is probably organic views simply because I post more regularly.
    This Shows my stats (views) by month, from around the time I started my blogs, you can see noticeable spikes with each UBC I took part in, most of that is probably due to other UBC participants viewing my blog, but at least part is probably organic views simply because I post more regularly.
    This shows my top posts and pages during January's UBC. I had to cut off over half the results on the lower portion of the screen capture.
    This shows my top posts and pages during January’s UBC. I had to cut off over half the results on the lower portion of the screen capture.
    This shows my top posts and pages of all time. Lower portion of the results is cut off.
    This shows my top posts and pages of all time. Lower portion of the results is cut off.

    In addition to those charts, I can say that during the challenge I’ve had an average of 1.92 comments per day, not counting my own replies.

     


  • Nurturing Motivation as an Artist

    Staying Motivated as an artist

     

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is almost over, just today and tomorrow left.   Today’s suggestion was to talk about how we stayed determined and motivated. For me, as far as the challenge goes, knowing that I haven’t missed a day keeps me motivated to keep that record.  However, there are other areas that I have to stay motivated for as well.  Such as to continue putting my art out there, hoping that someone will like it enough to purchase it.

    Its easy to get discouraged.

    It is easy to get discouraged as an artist, especially when you offer to give your work away and no one takes you up on it, such as happened with my give away drawing this past month. Its pretty tempting to be discouraged, kind of like Marlin was in Disney’s Finding Nemo, becoming a “Mr. Grumpy Gills”.

    Clown Fish.
    Don’t let setbacks turn you into a pessimist like Disney’s Marlin.

    Truth is, even though no one wanted that print, I know that people have wanted it in the past and have even paid full price plus shipping for it.  So rather than get discouraged about not being able to give my art away this month, I’m looking ahead now, and I’ll try to think of a good February give away that people might be more responsive to.  I have to…

    Just keep swimming

    Blue tang fish, Even when you don't feel it, Just Keep Swimming, the feelings will catch up.
    Even when you don’t feel it, Just Keep Swimming, the feelings will catch up.

    Sometimes I feel very motivated to continue putting my art out there.  Other times I don’t feel it all.  The key though to staying motivated for me is to just keep moving forward no matter how I feel.  Like my favorite little Disney fish Dory, sometimes you have to just keep swimming even when you don’t feel like it, and eventually the feeling with return.

    That’s all I really have for today.  What do you do to stay motivated?

     


  • A Great Site for Artist Reference Photos

    Sometimes artists need a reference to look at.

    Real life is the best kind of reference.

    If I’m painting an abstract or whimsical impression of a subject, I might night need a reference at all.  However, if I am wanting to even approach realism, I need some kind of reference to look at.  In an ideal world, I would have real life references of everything I wanted to paint, so that I could actually look at the real item and always draw or paint from life.

    Real life, on scene references are the best! plein air painting,
    Real life, on scene references are the best!

    Photographs are petty good references too.

    The real world though, is far from ideal, and reality doesn’t always allow me easy access to subjects such as the Eiffel Tower, or a live bald eagle, or a lion.  In the case of the animals, even if I did have access to a live specimen of every species on the planet, they wouldn’t be likely to strike a pose and sit still for me while I drew or painted them.  This is where a photograph can really be an asset.  Photographs exist of almost every subject on the planet, and even some off the planet. Even fantastical creatures of myth and science fictions are based on real world creatures. Photographs don’t move, you can zoom in to see details, you can convert them to black and white, boost the contrast, or darken the shadows in order to see the values and shading better. Photographs can really be invaluable, and an artist doesn’t necessarily copy the whole photograph either, an artist might paint a landscape from life, but put in a deer or other animal from a photograph, only using the photograph to reference the correct proportions, makings, and colors of the animal.

    Sometimes, a photograph can be ideal references to paint from also!
    Sometimes, a photograph can be ideal references to paint from also!

    Photographs are not always available for use.

    The main drawback of photographs is that they are often works of art in themselves, and as such are automatically protected by copyright.  You see, an artist or photographer doesn’t have to do anything to own the copyright to their work, they own that copyright automatically.  In order to not own the copyright, the photographer or artist has to take action to release the copyright they automatically own. As an artist, I respect other artists and their work, and don’t wish to violate their rights to their work. I also don’t want any legal trouble that would come from using a photograph illegally. Many artists use photo references all the time and don’t worry about copyright because they figure that in making it into a painting or drawing they are transforming the original into something new, and there is no way a court would hold them guilty.  Courts though have been very inconsistent with rulings regarding copyright, sometimes coming after someone for  something that simply vaguely resembled another artists work, and other times allowing people to blatantly steal other people’s photos off of Instagram, apply a little editing, and call it their own artwork.  Who is to say how a court would rule if someone decided to sue a painter for using their photograph? I don’t think it is worth the risk though.

    A photograph isn't worth the risk of legal trouble!
    A photograph isn’t worth the risk of legal trouble!

    Some photographers are very generous though.

    Thankfully, there are some photographers out there who are generous with their photos.  They actually take the steps necessary to give permission, in advance, to whoever wants to use their photographs.  Sometimes they will put some conditions, such as saying that you can’t use the photo in a stand alone basis (you can just make prints on canvas or paper and sell the photo exactly as is), some say that you need to give attribution, which basically means to give them credit. There are all different levels of license and release available, from no attribution and no restrictions at all, up to only being able to use a photo for non-commercial use and only if you also share your version under the same license. Some of the licenses allow you to then change the license type on your adaptation, and others require that you share alike. For more information about the various levels of license, check out the Creative Commons Licenses.  Of course the best licenses for other creatives are the ones that are completely released, without condition, otherwise known as released to the public domain.  Because a painter can use them for a reference, and still claim copyright to his painting, or a book publisher can use the photo in a book and still copyright the book.

    Some very talented photographers, are willing to share their work with other creatives.
    Some very talented photographers, are willing to share their work with other creatives.

    So where do you find these public domain photos?

    There are several sites where you can find Public Domain photos.  Wikimedia has a lot, but they also have a lot that are not public domain, so make sure to check out the licenses attached to each one.  Morguefile.com is a photo sharing site where you usually are only asked to give attribution for a photo. The best site I’ve found so far though is Pixabay, with hundreds of thousands of images you can use however you want, for free.  The only caution I have to give about Pixabay is that whenever you search a subject, the first row of photos will say, “Sponsored images”, those are not free, they are stock photos being advertised for sale, the free images come below the sponsored ones.  When you click on a free image, it will open up and show you different free download options, from original high resolution, to website friendly, lower resolution, smaller file size, and various increments in between. Download what you need and then you can post it, publish it, transform it, paint from it, to your heart’s content.

    Pixabay is a great resource of free to use reference photos for artists Click To Tweet
    Pixabay is a great resource of free to use reference photos for artists, and even stand alone photos for publications and websites.
    Pixabay is a great resource of free to use reference photos for artists, and even stand alone photos for publications and websites.

    And we aren’t talking poor quality photos that photographers just couldn’t use for anything else either.  Some are great, artistic quality images.  Some are drawings, some are vectors.  All of the photos used in this blog post came from Pixabay.

     

    Pixabay has a huge variety of subjects, like this mandarinfish.
    Pixabay has a huge variety of subjects, like this mandarinfish.

     

     


  • Is Graffiti Art Or Vandalism?

    The ultimate blog challenge today recommended going to http://ezinearticles.com and using one their articles to republish on your blog.  This worked fine for me today since I had a very busy day with helping my daughter move and then going to a memorial for my uncle, and didn’t really have enough time to write something myself.  The following article is the work of Mike D Johnson I, and is printed unchanged from its original form on http://ezinearticles.com.

    graffiti, street art, Is this art, or is this vandalism? Is it both?
    Is this art, or is this vandalism? Is it both?

    Is Graffiti Art Or Vandalism?

    Recommend Article Article Comments Print ArticleShare this article on Pinterest

    The question of whether graffiti is art or vandalism is one I see often, and usually from students working on school reports… and have fairly strong opinions about. This is really a two part question: Part 1. Is Graffiti Art? and Part 2. Is Graffiti Vandalism?

    Part 1 – Is Graffiti Art?

    I think it’s first important to understand that “art” itself is tough to define. But if you move past formal definitions, art is typically an expression of oneself or a message that an artist is trying to give to the viewer… and it may or may not appeal to other people. Others think art is perhaps an expression of the artist using colors, textures, sounds, etc. to convey the message. Let’s look at a few of pieces of well known art.

    1. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci. It is painted on a piece of wood and is framed. Why is this art? Shading, the depth, the landscape, the enigmatic smile, etc. Would this be art if it were painted on a brick wall on a side street in Italy? Of course. What makes it art is the picture, not the medium.
    2. Guernica by Pablo Picasso. This may be Picasso’s most well known piece of art. Painted mural size on a piece of canvas. Of course, this is art. Would it be art if Picasso painted directly on a wall on the side of a street? Yes. What if he did it without permission? Still art… but illegally painted. You like it?… well it doesn’t matter if you do or not, it’s still art.
    3. Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michangelo. It’s art and it’s on a ceiling.

    Graffiti art is a style of art. It “fits” the bill to be defined as such and often expresses a very distinct message from the artist (as an example, check out the political messages of Banksy ). Artwork that is painted in this style is absolutely considered art. It can be painted on wood, on canvas, on ceilings, on brick walls, on sidewalks, etc. It is still art regardless of the medium.

    Part 2 – Is Graffiti Vandalism?

    If the street art (graffiti) is painted legally, meaning on property owned by the artist or with permission from the owner, then it is legal street art.

    If the street art is painted illegally, meaning on property not owned by the artist, and without permission, then it is still art… but the artist has committed the crime of vandalism.

    So, if DaVinci, Picasso, and Michaelangelo were hanging out on 115th Street one Tuesday night and throw up the Mona Lisa, the Guernica, and the Sistine Chapel art work on the side of a laundromat… It is art. But it’s also vandalism. It can be both… it is not an “either / or” question.

    Hope this helps you guys if you’re doing a report on “Graffiti Art or Vandalism” or “Is It Street Art or Vandalism”.

    This article was written by Mike Johnson of BuyGraffiti.net blog [http://www.buygraffiti.net/blog/2010/10/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/]. For unique and interesting pieces of original Graffiti Art for sale that can provide an exciting urban image to your home or business, please visit BuyGraffiti.net and support Graffiti Art

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mike_D_Johnson_I/836689


  • Mystical Mountains, My New Class Painting

    A New Asian Style Painting

    Today I spent the day in the studio, and worked on a new sample painting for my classes.  I was really pleased with the results, it is a series of mountains in the mist in the background, a branch of cherry blossoms overhanging the top corner, and some silhouetted foreground bushes in front of a silhouetted Asian styled building, that resembles a Buddhist temple.  When I showed the painting to the Studio manager, she helped me come up with the title “Mystical Mountains”.  One of the other artists at the studio has told me she wants first dibs at buying the painting, so once I figure out how much I am going to charge for it, I just might already have a sale.

    Of course, I can’t tell you all about my painting and not show it to you. The following photo was just taken with my phone, so its not really the best quality, but it still gives a pretty good idea what the painting looks like.

    The painting I'll demonstrate for my next painting class. Buddhist temple, misty mountains, cherry blossoms, sakura
    The painting I’ll demonstrate for my next painting class.

     


  • A Day in the Life – A Homeschool Family

    I’m not just an artist, I’m a homeschooling Mom too.

    So, I know that this is usually an art blog, but today the suggested topic for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to describe a day in your life.  I decided to describe today, a typical Thursday for my family. A typical Thursday for a homeschooling family.

    This is a typical Thursday for our homeschooling family. Click To Tweet

    Thursday is homeschool co-op day.

    Once a week my family goes to homeschool co-op, where they get a chance to experience a classroom setting with other kids. I works out nicely for us, because it also lets me outsource some of the subjects I’m not as strong in.  For example, while I enjoy science, once it gets to High School level I’m not really comfortable teaching it.  Now, I could manage, a lot of homeschool curriculum is designed for the child to mostly do independently, but its nice to bring my kids here, where some of the parents actually have degrees in various sciences, and let my kids be taught by someone who can actually answer their questions without taking a trip to the library to look it up.  Of course even though homeschool co-op is only once a week, the kids take home assignments to complete at home all week long, so they are really getting a full year’s worth of work in  these subjects.

    Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.
    Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.

    Morning Routine

    Our Thursday morning routine is rushed.  As homeschoolers, we aren’t exactly used to having to get everyone out the door by 8:30 in the morning.  We all do our best to stay out of each other’s way, and to help each other get ready.  We have to get up, take care of all of our morning’s bathing and grooming needs, all with only one bathroom.  We also need to crowd into our kitchen for breakfast and for packing our lunches.  The kids have to gather all their books and things, though often they do it the night before, and I have to gather supplies for the class that I’m teaching.  I usually get most of it together the night before, but always have to run around grabbing last minute items.

    This year I’m teaching a preschool-Kindergarten class, and today we are doing activities that involve, cooking oil, water, glitter, food coloring, shaving cream and bubble soap. Also I needed the book that outlines the activities, a Children’s Bible story book, a sheet… sounds like a lot of random stuff but it all is related as I’ll explain a little later.

    After we gather everything up, we pack into my van, my teenage son drives us to co-op.  My daughter usually sits in the back and listens to her iPod, but today she sat in the back practicing her speech for her public speaking class.  This morning we arrived just a couple of minutes late, but not by much.  The kids rushed out of the van and into class, and spent a few minutes trying to get my purse, my class supplies, my laptop, and my lunch all loaded into my arms at once.  I didn’t have to rush as much because I don’t teach until the last “block” or period.

    Our morning routine on Thursday is rushed, we have seven people and one bathroom. Fortunately, only three of us are getting ready for co-op.

    The co-op day.

    The co-op is structured into four “blocks” or class periods, plus a lunch time and a chapel time.  My kids have various classes all through the day, but for me I have a lot of time to sit and work on personal things before my class.  Many times I have all day until the last block to myself, just doing whatever I want in the parent room, but today a lot of families are out sick, so I’ll have the first two blocks free, but will be helping out in another class third block, and then teaching my class fourth block.

    First Block

    The first block of our co-op day goes from 9:00-10:00 in the morning.  I sit in the parent room, and work on whatever I want, lately its been my blog.  Meanwhile my son is in study hall, and my daughter is in her Public Speaking class.  That’s this year, in years past the classes have varied, last year my son had a High School biology class first block

    Second Block

    From 10:05-11:05 we have second block, again I’m in the parent room. My daughter is in study hall and my son is taking American Literature and writing.

    Lunch

    Lunch is from 11:10-11:45 in the morning.  Not much to say about this, obviously we eat.

    Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.
    Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.

    Chapel

    Our co-op is a Christian co-op, so mid day we have chapel. There will be singing, prayer, then a short bible teaching, then important announcements and information, then we close in prayer and dismiss the kids.

    As a Christian co-op we have Chapel in the middle of our day.

    Third Block

    Third block I often have to myself, but technically I’m a “floater” during third block, which means that I go where ever another person is needed if someone else is absent.  Both my son and daughter are in Intermediate Drawing and Design.  That is an awesome class taught by an artist who used to be with Disney.

    Today I see that I will be helping at some drawing class, I’m not sure if its the same one my kids are in.  I’ll have to ask and make sure.

    Fourth Block

    Fourth block is our last class period of the day. My son is in a class called “Creation College”, which is mostly an apologetics class. My daughter is in a Bible Study class.  My daughter’s classes are all elective classes this year, but many years she is in a lot of academic classes.  My son also is only in one real strong academic class this year.  That means we are doing the rest of our academics on our own at home. In years past co-op has really been helpful in getting our core classes taken care of, but this year not so much.  We are questioning whether we want to continue with co-op next year, since my son will be taking college classes through dual enrollment, and unless my daughter can take academic classes it will just be one less day to work on things at home.  We are waiting to see what classes are offered for next year, and then we’ll decide.

    At any rate, fourth block for me this year is the one block that I am teaching.  In my class today we will be reading the story of when Jesus’s disciples were fishing all night and didn’t catch anything, but then Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and they caught nets full, too much to bring the boat in.

    Pre-K classes are fun to teach!

    From that story we are going to start talking about the oceans, rivers, lakes, and about water in general.  We’ll make a “wave bottle” with the oil, water, food coloring and glitter, and we’ll watch the waves move back and forth in the bottle and about how waves move.  Then we’ll probably also make waves in a pan of water by making drips into it, and we’ll talk about the motion of the waves and ripples, and how they bounce off the edges of the pan.  We’ll blow bubbles and catch them on paper.  We’ll talk about how water sometimes makes bubbles but how too weak to float on the air, they break as soon as they reach the surface of the water most of the time, but how soap has a stronger surface tension, like a skin, that allows the bubbles to stay together and float for a while without breaking.  We’ll also take the shaving cream, color it with a few drops of tempera paint, and finger paint with it, making peaks and “waves” on our shaving cream.

    One thing that’s fun about teaching Pre-Kindergarten is that we don’t have to really get into anything too complicated, the kids are learning all the time, even if all you do is hand them play-dough.  Everything is still new to them, and observing waves and pointing out how ripples start from a center point and travel out in all directions until they bounce off the side of the pan is actually an activity that introduces them to basic science concepts, in a fun way.

    After Co-op

    Most weeks we are all pretty much tired and ready to go home after co-op.  This week that isn’t really an option for us though.  Today after co-op my husband will show up to pick up my son and drive him across the county to the county clerk’s office so he can apply for a passport.  That is because, if all works out, my son is going on a missions trip to Nepal in March, and we need to expedite a passport for him so travel plans can be finalized.

    My son may get a chance to go to Nepal.

    While my husband and son head to the county clerk, my youngest daughter and I are heading to Target to do some shopping for my oldest daughter’s baby shower this weekend.  Then we’ll rush home so my oldest daughter can use my van to go move some things into her new rented house. Also because the faster I get home, the more likely that I’ll be able to answer questions if my husband needs any information for the forms at the county clerk’s office.

    Once home my two daughters will go together to move some stuff into my older daughter’s new house, and I’ll watch my granddaughter and make dinner for me, my son, two daughters, husband, granddaughter and son-in-law.

    At least, that’s the plan… whether that is what really happens today only time will tell.

     


  • Half a Face, Plus Some Blogs I’ve Found During this Challenge

    Way Back Wednesday, Half a Face

    So, I am continuing to share my old art from Junior High School Art class, which puts this way back in the early 1980’s.  Some of my artwork from so long ago has been lost, and most of it is damaged at least a little.  One assignment I remember involved taking a magazine picture of someone’s face, cutting it in half, and then trying to draw the missing half of the face. I’m sure this is probably a really good way to improve your portrait drawing skills.  At the time I was happy with the results the way I did them, but now I look at it and really wonder why I didn’t do  more details in the eye, I mean I just colored in the entire iris and pupil in gray, and didn’t give her any eyelashes at all!  Oh well, I was just a kid after all..

    half face drawing lesson
    When I was in Junior High, this looked pretty good to me, but now the eye looks all wrong!
    The original magazine photo has faded and has glue streaks all over it too, so its harder to see any detail in it.

     Some Blogs I’ve Enjoyed Reading During the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    The January Ultimate blog challenge is almost finished, and today’s suggested topic was to share some of the blogs we’ve enjoyed reading during the challenge. I have enjoyed several. These aren’t in any specific order, just because I list one before another doesn’t mean I like it better.

    • Jane Porterfield always gives lots of great SEO and website tips, I know I really need to take the time with her blog to try out all her suggestions, its like a crash course in Search Engine Optimization.
    • Chondra Rankin is a blog that is great to go for personal development and positive thoughts!
    • The Martha Review gives great book and product reviews so you can find out about an item before purchasing it.
    • Nita Beshear is a blog about life from the perspective of a widow who still manages to be postiive most of the time.
    • Words of Encouragement is a blog that, well, give you words of encouragement from a Christian point of view.
    • Cerebrations is a business blog by Roy Ackerman.
    • My Creative Wings is all about creativity of many different kinds from art to writing.
    • Biblical Parenting is a blog all about parenting from a Christian perspective.
    • Design with Kelly is all about design, art, and home decor.
    • Digital Maestro is a blog all about websites and online strategies.
    • My R and R Space is a personal blog reflecting on all aspects of life!

    So, I hope you will visit some of these websites, and let them know you learned about them from here!


  • The Three Most Important Steps to Preserving Acrylic Paintings

    How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations. Click To Tweet

    How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations.

    If you’re an artist and you are anything like me, you want to see your artwork last.  You want to know that if your great grandchild is one day looking at your painting, it is still going to look as wonderful as it did the day you finished it.  This art tutorial post will show you the three most important to steps to take to make that possible.
    Now, I want to make clear though, that if you’re an artist and you don’t do these things, it doesn’t make your art any less valid. Some art doesn’t last, some artist do elaborate carvings in ice, knowing it will melt, and their art is still valid as art.  However, if you do want to make your paintings last, this post will show you three important steps to preserving acrylic paintings.

    1. Get the best paint you can afford.

    I’ve met a lot of artists who buy the cheapest paint they can find, and still manage to create very beautiful works of art, so why would I recommend buying pricier paint?  Well, its an unfortunate fact that when you paint with cheaper craft or student grade paints, even if the paintings looks great when it is finished, time will eventually show the difference.  Cheap craft paint or cheap student paint will fade a lot more than artist paint, and the painting will lose its vibrancy.   I’ve also seen cheap paint peel right off of a canvas when it is applied thickly, and this happened when the painting was only a few months old, cheap paints are also more prone to cracking and flaking.  Artist quality acrylic paint though, adheres to the canvas, can be applied thickly or thinly, and really resists cracking, peeling, fading, and flaking.

    In addition to not preserving as well, cheap paint often uses impure pigments, or mixes of cheaper pigments to imitate the look of the pricier pigments, and when you try to mix your own colors you often get inconsistent results and muddy colors, but even if you do manage to get the look you want, remember that it isn’t likely to maintain that look several decades from now.

    2. Protect your paint with an isolation coat before varnishing.

    Most acrylic painters know that it is a good idea to varnish a painting in order to protect it, and yes, varnish is a great way to protect a painting from soiling and fading, but it should never be applied directly on the acrylic paint. An isolation coat creates a non-removable, physical barrier between the paint and the removable varnish. The purpose of an isolation coat is to protect the pigmented paint from the solvents used to remove the varnish if it becomes soiled or discolored. The isolation coat also seals any absorbent areas of the canvas, providing an even, uniform surface to apply varnish to.

    How to mix and apply an isolation coat.

    To make an isolation coat, mix 2 parts soft gel gloss acrylic medium to 1 part water, mix well, and allow it to settle until there are no bubbles in the mixture, then apply it with a brush that you use for no other purpose, not even for the varnish.   The isolation coat will appear milky white when applied, but will dry clear and glossy. Do one layer brushing one direction back and forth across the canvas, let it dry, and then do a second layer, brushing back and forth across the canvas in the other direction. Later, if you wish to have a matte finish, just use a matte varnish, and the glossy appearance will go away.  (Note, I prefer Golden brand soft gel gloss, but any soft gel gloss will work, also I am not being paid to promote Golden, I just like the product).

    3. Finally, protect your painting with a fine art quality, U.V. resistant removable varnish.

    After the second layer of your isolation coat completely dries, you can apply your varnish.  I prefer the Golden Brand polymer varnish, but other brands will work as well.  Just make sure that you get a varnish that is intended for fine art acrylic paintings, and that is U.V. resistant, since this will further protect your painting from fading.  Mix the varnish according to the directions on the jar, and apply it with another brush that is used for nothing else.  With the varnish, you’ll want to apply it gently and somewhat quickly, avoid over working the varnish because that is how you get brush strokes and bubbles in it.  Like the isolation coat, you’ll want to do one layer brushing on back and forth one way, let it thoroughly dry (for varnish this will take about 12 hours), and then apply a second coat brushing it on the other direction. Another option is to use a spray varnish, just follow the directions on the can, spray it on, let it dry, and repeat to make sure you have full coverage.

    Now if your painting becomes soiled, for example if some irresponsible person spills coffee on it and doesn’t tell you about it, so that you find it after its dried on, or even if over time dust just becomes too hard to fully remove by just wiping the canvas, you can remove the varnish using household ammonia diluted with water. You can do so knowing that the ammonia solution will never touch the actual paint, because you had the forethought to apply an isolation coat.  Then after you remove the varnish, rinse all of the ammonia off, and apply a new coat of varnish. Whatever was on your painting will only be in the varnish, so when you remove the varnish, you remove the stain.

     

    My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.
    My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.