Saturday, July 07, 2007

2nd Place!

"Farm Near Dunes, Guadalupe"
15"x30" Oil on Canvas

Well, the artists reception has come and gone for the "Calif" show in Carpinteria. One of my paintings, "Farm Near Dunes, Guadalupe", garnered the 2nd Place award. It was a great night once we got there.....took forever due to Santa Barbara traffic!

I learned some more lessons on pricing my work last night too. I always keep my eye on prices at shows comparing work and what other artists charge. If you want to get a feel for what you should be charging for your work go to art shows. It's too hard to judge the art online and seeing it in person gives you a better idea of what is close to your quality of work. Then compare the prices to your prices. Keep in mind the odd artist who feels that asking for the moon is going to validate their work as superior.....there is a lot of that going around. I saw a piece last night that was absolutely horrible. The artist was asking over $1000 and got it half way through the show....makes you want to cry after you quit laughing!

Anyway, when I woke up this morning I thought to myself that painting art is so much easier and less frustrating than trying to promote and sell it. At shows, I always have this feeling of being looked at as this desperate person trying to whore-out myself to make a sale. I counter that feeling by almost ignoring my art and keeping away from it so as not to look like that person. People say get over by your work, someone is looking at it...go talk to them. I hate doing that. I do it but I really hate doing it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Calif" Art Show

The coastal city of Carpenteria is host to the Carpenteria Valley Arts Council. A while back they purchased a small house on a downtown lot and planned to rebuild making it into their Arts Center and Gallery. To help with the costs they have been having art shows. I was lucky enough to get 1 of my pieces juried into the 1st show they had a few months ago. Last Friday I took 2 paintings down for their "Calif" show that is running now ( June 30 - August 4, 2007). This show is a mix of California scenes and I was blown away when both pieces I entered where juried into the show. Too cool!!

The show was juried by Santa Barbara artist Michael Drury. Michael is a Plein Air Landscape painter who studied and painted with legendary California artist Ray Strong . Having 2 paintings juried into the show by Michael Drury is really quite an honor for me. I'm miles behind someone of his talents but the fact that we are painting California scenes that are not the typical tourist scenes really makes me feel I'm on the right track with my own work.

This Friday, July 6th, is the Artist Reception from 5:30 to 7:30. If you're in the area you are more than welcome to come by. It is at 855 Linden Ave, Carpenteria, CA. Their phone number is 805-684-7789.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Making Canvas Panels

I've painted on stretched canvas, painted on panel and painted on canvas covered panel. All 3 of these types of support have totally different feels to them. I have found that I like certain qualities in each support. Stretched canvas is probably my favorite for the ease of blending on canvas (doing skies) and it's lightwieght charactaristic....but stretched canvas it expensive. I used to paint on Masonite panels in college and loved the finished look of paint on masonite. I mostly love the price per panel you get from cutting your own panel from a large sheet.
The next best thing is to cover the masonite panel with canvas glued on. I bought some panels from Ray Mar that are canvas covered and enjoy painting on those but they get pretty pricey. I decided to just make some. I didn't take a lot of pics along the way here but here are some pics that I did take.....
Seen here are 3- 12"x24", 2- 10"x20" and 1 9"x12" panels. I also cut another 12"x24" and a large 12"x36". All of these panels were cut from 2 sheets of masonite I bought at Home Depot for less than $4.00 per sheet. That's $8.00 and I cut 8 panels. Dick Blick sells 12"x24" canvases for about $18.74 each so that would have cost me $74.96 in that size alone. You can see the cost savings of painting on masonite. OK, I bought the roll of canvas too but that was about $26.00 for 6 yards of canvas....but that's that's 64 inches wide and 18 feet long...that's going to cover a lot of panels. One of the 10"x20"'s is flipped over to that back so you can see the dark side of the rough back. I sand the front before gluing on the canvas.
Here is the wide 12"x36" I finished and seen here with only 1 coat of gesso. I put on 3 coats. You cut your panels to size, sand the front surface, apply glue with a foam brush and then lay your canvas on top, smooth it flat. When it's dry enough I flip it over and glue the excess canvas to the back. On the panels I haven't finished I'll try trimming the canvas flush with the edge to see how that comes out...that will be exactly how Ray Mar does their panels. I was going to glue with Acrylic Medium or Acylic Gel but then I read an article online about an art teacher who used Mod Podge to do his panels. It costs about 1/3 what Acylic Medium or Gel costs and dried the canvas rock solid to the panels. Mod Podge worked so well that I don't think I'll have a problem trimming the edges. Mod Podge also has an Acid Free version so get that if you can find it although I'm not sure it would be neccesary, you will gesso the canvas after the glue has dried.

Here you can see how I folded the canvas wrapped around to the back. The dark area is where the glue was applied. The folded over canvas adds some thickness to the edges so I'll try trimming the canvas flush with unfinished ones. Here is a shot of the texture of the canvas after final gesso has been applied. Very much like the Ray Mar panel surface so I'm happy.The Masonite I purchased was Tempered Masonite as opposed to Un-Tempered Masonite. If you can find untempered masonite buy it and use that. Tempered masonite is impregnated with oils so it stands up to outdoor usage. People worry about the oil coating getting to the paint. The bulk of the oil is really on the surface so sanding takes off most of the oil coating. I am covering it with the glue and the canvas and the final coats of gesso so the oil in the board is not going to effect the painting at all, but, get untempered masonite in case you decide to paint on the masonite without covering your panel with canvas. I plan on covering all of my boards with canvas so tempered masonite was ok for my purpose.

I used a table saw to cut my boards but you can do it with a metal ruler and an exacto knife with new blades, just takes longer to cut. If you don't have a table saw find someone who does because it's so much easier. These are big panels so get the thicker masonite of you plan on doing larger sizes. When I glued the canvas to the front the board warped (bowed) some but after applying the glue to the backside it straightened out completely.

Larry Seilor and Marc Hanson have written great articles on WC for making panels and I think you will enjoy reading both processes. I could get in more detail on this but their articles cover it all completely but this is basically how I did it and you can do them as you like. It's not rocket science, don't make a big thing out of it.....


Cut tempered or untempered masonite to size.

Glue canvas to panel using Acylic Medium, Gel or Mod Podge.

Prime with gesso front (and back if you like).

Buy an ice cream with the money you are saving and Get Painting!