The ferry, like time, waits for no man it seems. Missed the one I wanted to take to Centre Island and walked to meet everyone – and walked, and walked. Got to the Sunshine Center for Seniors and had a much needed coffee then scouted painting locations. I missed the gang that was there – 5 more I hear. But they had a successful day at least. Better luck next time.
On a very windy, drizzly, cold morning three of us showed up to make art. We quickly decided that setting up easels in the nasty weather was a bad idea but we could wander and take reference photos. So that’s what we did. Here are a few of them. Perhaps one will become a painting. Better luck next time.
This Friday was very popular with
record attendance for a Friday Night Club presenter. It might have been because Linda Montgomery
is an award-winning illustrator, a reputable OCAD instructor and a very amiable
presenter coupled with the promise of free goodies from Liquitex.
We had a surprise visit by Jacklyn
Rosenblat-Gwartzman, proprietor of the celebrated Gwartzman’s Art Supplies on
Spadina Avenue in Toronto and a supplier of Liquitex products. She shared the
sad news of her father’s passing in February and offered discount coupons for
members visiting her store, where they could pick up loot bags.
This evening Linda talked about some
new and improved products, namely acrylic gouache and soft bodied acrylic paint,
acrylic inks etc.
This low viscosity professional acrylic paint gives
excellent coverage, a satin finish and high levels of artist-quality pigment
for archival brilliance.
It is very versatile and can be used to paint, pour,
glaze or print on almost any surface.
While many artists may think soft bodied is just a
watered-down version of heavy body, Linda explained that the two paints have
compatible binders and have the same pigment load. You just have to choose the
right consistency for your project. It only makes sense to choose and softer
consistency with some mediums like pouring medium. Conversely, one might be best to use heavy
bodied paint when using pastes or heavy gel medium.
body color, opaque watercolor, or gouache, is one type of water media, paint
consisting of natural pigment, water, a binding agent, and sometimes additional
inert material. Gouache is designed to be used with opaque methods of painting.
A primary difference between water colour and gouache paints is that gouache is more opaque than watercolor. The opacity of gouache comes from the white pigment or chalk that is added along with the colored pigment and binder in order to make it less transparent.
Gouache is very comparable to both acrylic paint and watercolor paint but is its own entity. Gouache paint is opaque but becomes translucent when water is added. While gouache paint is similar to water color paint, it is different in that it’s more pigmented, is heavier, and provides more of a texture when painting
Acrylic gouache provides the most intense colors, a flat, matte effect, no brush strokes, no cracks and no need to dilute.
Superb fluidity and application, all with a permanent, water-resistant finish when dry.
Another feature of the above products was the new
squeezable bottle with a spout that can be cut to allow for heavier application
of the paint.
Linda answered many questions verbally and with a demonstration and eliciting audience participation. She brought many samples of the properties of each medium and clearly has a penchant for art instruction.
This was not Linda’s first visit to DVAC we hope it
will not be the last.
Further information about Liquitex can be found at
Club member Ingrid Mueller presented the process of using plaster drywall compound to create relief for painting and bas relief works of art. Ingrid showed examples of paintings she has completed and described the process and the materials and tools she uses. She entertained the large audience assembled with her anecdotes of finding tools and materials at rock bottom prices at local stores. She always works on a hard surface, either wood or metal and applies a layer of compound that quickly becomes firm. The material can be carved or added to and is quite flexible in its uses. She demonstrated using various tools to create pattern and design on the image and even squeezed the material from an icing applicator to make spaghetti-like strips. The club members peppered Ingrid with questions ranging from where to get supplies, how to paint on the relief once it is complete and the archival permanence of the finished work. All enjoyed the presentation and look forward to trying it themselves and seeing Ingrid’s next work using this technique.
To see more of Ingrid’s work visit her website at:
PASTELS – Why not? This
question was answered by our guest, Clarence Porter, as he set out to enlighten
us on the fundamentals and ease of use of pastels.
Clarence is a
professional freelance illustrator and painter. He teaches various courses in
the Visual and Creative Arts diploma program at Sheridan. He also has his
Pastel Artist of Canada Master Pastelist designation and is a signature member
of the Pastel Society of America. His work has been shown in many group and
Clarence is an engaging and experienced instructor and organized his presentation in order to fulfill a number of learning outcomes.
Soft pastels and chalk are not the same. Chalk is made of limestone or gypsum and compressed into a stick. Soft pastels are pure pigment the same as oil and acrylic paints and is held together with binder. The difference between soft and hard pastels is the amount of binder. Softer pastels have less binder and therefore will leave more pigment on the paper. Both have their uses and the decision to use either is often a personal preference. Hard pastels will make sharper lines and are often used in the original sketch while soft pastels leave a smooth, creamy stroke and are easily layered and blended. A newer type of pastel called Pan Pastels is another method of pastel painting and is often combined with other types of pastels. This product comes in small plastic pans and is applied with sponge type tools. It allows for a smooth flow of pigment and has excellent blending qualities.
As is true with watercolour painting, the type of paper and substrate makes a HUGE difference in the outcome of your painting. There are many types of papers available specifically for pastel but the type used, again, becomes the preference of the artist and the desired outcome. Tooth is important if you wish to layer your colours. It’s like glazing in wet mediums. The more tooth or texture a paper has, the more layers you can apply, as the pastel is less likely to fall off. However, if you want to do a lot of blending as in portraits, you might prefer a smoother paper.
Papers with tooth are also called sanded papers. Much like regular
workshop sandpapers, they are manufactured for pastel painting and come in a
variety of grades.
Clarence prefers Uart, but there are a variety of brands that produce
great results. Clairefontaine Pastelmat,
Sennelier Pastel Card, Mi-teintes Touch, Colourfix etc. You can also create your own substrate on any
surface by applying a pastel ground. Golden
Pastel Ground is an acrylic
preparation for pastels on canvas and other supports. It creates toothy
surface similar to papers used with pastel and chalk. For an even rougher
texture Fine or Coarse Pumice Gel can be added. Acrylic Ground for Pastel can
also be tinted with acrylic colors.
Clarence suggested that when using sanded papers, a light touch is required, otherwise the tooth fills quickly and reduces the number of future application of layers. While softer pastels will allow for many layers, using a harder pastel will allow for sharper lines, keeping in mind that a harder application will also fill in the tooth. Hard pastels will not adhere well to softer under layers so it is wise to work hard to soft.
Clarence suggested that when starting a painting he works from dark to light, as pastels are easily layered, it allows for an outline of the coming subject. He also does thumbnail sketches, as with other mediums. However, he also does under paintings using alcohol instead of water. This will only work on some types of sanded papers, as not all papers are welcoming to wet applications. The alcohol makes for a permanent under sketch and gives a firm outline. This does not mean you have to follow it exactly and allows for variations in the composition.
Pastels can be combined with
other mediums and can be quite versatile in their usage. Charcoal, acrylic and watercolour are the
most commonly used mediums that can be included to achieve wonderful results in
a painting. Acrylic mediums like
modelling paste can also be applied to achieve texture.
Pastel painting is making a comeback. It is a fun and vibrant medium that is quite forgiving. So, did Clarence answer the question? PASTELS – WHY NOT? Although there was maybe a half dozen people in attendance who use or have tried pastels, perhaps there will be some recruits in the future.
This evening was filled with revelations made possible by CARFAC General Manager Elissa Pendergast.
CARFAC – Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des Artistes Canadiens, is an organisation of 1,000 members, founded in 1968 in London by Jack Chambers, Tony Urquhart, Kim Ondaatje, Greg Curnoe, and Ron Martin. In short, CARFAC provides advocacy and an abundance of resources for artists. Its national office is in Ottawa and it boasts 8 provincial affiliates.
Elissa spent the evening explaining much of what CARFAC can do for
artists in Canada. The following is an abbreviated version of her presentation:
• Negotiating, in concert with other artists’ associations (e.g., ACTRA, Writers’ Union of Canada) with the provincial government to establish Status of the Artist legislation • Providing summary legal advice through VALCO (the Visual Artists Legal Clinic of Ontario
• Providing publications and webinars which educate artists on how to advocate for and protect themselves. • Advising artists by phone, email and in person on how to deal with the many issues which artists face in their professional practices.
CARFAC Ontario is committed to providing up-to-date resources for artists, as well as answering frequently asked questions pertaining to practicing as an artist in Ontario.
Member Services and Artist Resources:
CARFAC Online: Ontario
e-bulletin of opportunities for visual and media artists
DISPATCH: Ontario quarterly
Group Health Plan
Minimum Fee Schedule
Our brains were overflowing with
information and questions and we are grateful to Elissa Pendergast for
very best way to fully understand what CARFAC is and what it can do for you is
to visit their website and/or contact Elissa.
Links are provided below.
Club Members enjoyed the presentation by Gary Smith, a successful Toronto painter who is widely shown with international commissions and sales. Gary described his career, his exhibitions, teaching and referred to many trips to teach and exhibit in China. His presentation for the evening was an introduction to an on-line course he is developing called There’s Magic in those Shadows, What do Professional Artists know about Shadows that I don’t? Gary showed slides that will be part of the course and demonstrated the effects of light and shadow on a sphere. He described the different types of shadow including Form, Core and Cast and described how colour is affected by light and shadow. Gary’s course will be available on the web site: www.patreon.com/GarySmithLivingtheDream/posts soon.
Attendance was lighter than usual due to the buildup of ice on the sidewalks, but 25 members attended and really enjoyed the presentation. Thanks to Sylvia and many volunteers for a successful evening.
Award winning artist, John Hood has a BFA from Concordia and spawned from creative parentage. His experience spans years as a muralist and has paid his bills as a property manager but in 2017 he made the leap to practice as a full time easel artist.
John’s intense knowledge of the mechanics of oil painting and his eloquent delivery made for an evening of intense Q & A while he demonstrated working up a tonal under painting in oils on a toned ground.
John did a demo for us using a photographic reference as a master image. It was a half tone (not full colour) – an “imprimatur” – a monochromatic underpainting as a preparation for a developed work in colour.
Sharlena Wood is no stranger to DVAC but always a welcomed guest. A vivacious and charismatic personality, she is well known in the GTA art community, as her busy schedule reveals her as an instructor at Luc Sculpture School, Visual Arts Mississauga and a selection of other studios around Ontario
consummate artist whose favorite colour is orange as apparent in her funky
coiffure, shared her signature abilities with mixed media (combining acrylic
painting and drawing) in tonight’s demonstration, starting with a prepared
acrylic painting of a fox.
Her preference of substrate for this particular method is a
wooden panel, as adherence of the mediums will not be compromised.
The following are the steps of her process as supplied by
1. Acrylic painting – keep it simple, block in or layer and develop as much as you want. Approach the painting in your favorite style. It can be more refined and specific if desired or very loose and abstracted. All spectrums work well as a base painting. A unique approach to the wildlife subject is the freedom at the beginning of an art work, painting loose and liberated, because the details and refinement can come later with drawing.
2. Dry Media Ground application all over the acrylic paint or in specific areas. Allow to dry. You can get by without Dry Media Ground if you use an absorbent surface i.e. birch panel or watercolour paper & thin, watercolour-like acrylic layers. Potential issues: too much texture, thick acrylic, gloss factor, not enough tooth for layers of pastel. Acrylic mediums with matte finishes can also stand in as they can offer a little tooth but none of them compare to actual ‘Dry Media Ground’ medium. Tri-Art brand recommended over all other brands – offers same surface as Jack Richeson’s Colourfix Sanded Pastel Paper.
3. Charcoal Powder application all over or in specific areas, then use Erasers to pull out the light, negative shapes and any areas that we really liked. Why Charcoal Powder? It will take care of the mid-darks very quickly. It is easily erased. It will also come in handy later for softening and toning down pastel colours for shadows. You do not need to use Charcoal Powder if it seems too dramatic for you.
4. Drawing. Any Drawing Media can be used i.e. coloured pencil crayons, conte, charcoal pencils/sticks, graphite pencils/sticks, soft pastels, nu pastels, water-soluble graphite, water-soluble pencil crayons, litho crayons, etc. Experiment with the pattern from the reference. Remember that we all, as human beings, have a natural talent to recognize patterns – even false patterns (make one up). There is no wrong or right – whether simplified, realistic, or ornamental – it’s all good. Repeat patterns and colours – so important! Reinforce darks and lights – the eye goes to the darkest of darks, and the lightest of lights. Too much pastel in an area = the surface is ‘clogged’ and will not hold any more pastel, so use a brush and ‘sweep away’ some of the underlying pastel, or apply more dry media ground to this specific area (or secret option #3 is to accept what marks and colours are there, let it be. move on!)
Crystal Clear spray – hold can 2-3 feet from your work, and apply many light
layers, build up very slowly and don’t aim to ‘varnish’ or create a clear coat,
or you will saturate the pastel. This step simply sets the pastel/charcoal, so
even after many layers, the pastel should still remain soft and somewhat
workable. May need to be framed under glass, ask you framer about UltraVue
glass and clear or black ‘spacers’.
result was a painting that was both colourful and intriguing.
Unlike some other artists, the fact that Sharlena
is so willing to share her process with us is very much appreciated. She is a superb, imaginative artist and
welcome at DVAC anytime and we thank her for sharing.
You may view her work, workshops and become
inspired by accessing the following links:
Marjolyn Van der Hart wasted no time launching into her collage demonstration. The results of her efforts are remarkable and Marjolyn has been successful in selling her work to a loyal following in Canada and throughout the USA via juried art fairs and shows.
She has been painting since 1988 and has a BA in Mass Communications as well as a residency in a New York Arts program. In the beginning she considered herself to be an impressionist painter who occasionally used tissue paper in her work. This soon transitioned to collage, using the resources of media involving classic films, vintage magazines and found photos, wallpapers and a variety of gift wraps and papers. Much of her work is nostalgic with themes of feminism, escape, yearning for love, etc. Once the background is in place she then adds to the narrative with surrealistic imagery to complete the scenario.
Marjolyn stressed that memories are triggered by images and
patterns, hence she is always in search of vintage wallpapers and photos and
other media to complete her work.
Wooden panels and substrates are recommended although supported canvas can be used. She coats the surface with modeling paste but said that glue and acrylic mediums can be used. Then she applies papers (tissue, wallpaper etc.) cut or ripped into assorted shapes using acrylic gel medium allowing it to dry thoroughly before the next step.
She will sometimes use acrylic transfers that she applies to a white surface (painting a portion of the surface with white acrylic paint). Next, Marjolyn applies acrylic medium to the surface and the photo on both sides and allows it to dry. She then sands of the papers/medium and VOILA! The image has transferred to the surface.
Depending upon the theme, Marjolyn will paint an image or
use stencils to add to the narrative. Text, numbers or patterns can enhance a
painting and give it personal relevance.
Marjolyn has a home studio but spends a good deal of her time on the road, sharing her talent with fans around the continent. She seems to have a handle on art business and writes a blog regularly as well as being very active on social media. Perhaps a workshop about doing art business is in our future with Marjolyn.
You may view more of her work on social media and her
website through the following links: