Tag Archives: painting

Grisaille Rose by Lynnette Horn

Contemporary Rose

Today, I want to share with you the progress on my latest painting, “Contemporary Rose.” It’s based off of a photo I took of a rose in my garden last summer. When the first warmth of spring hit, I remembered this photo and wanted to do something very in your face and springy. My palette evokes spring and makes me smile. I can’t wait to share it with you, but you’ll have to wait for another post.

I base coated this before the tornado took out my house. It was sitting on the kitchen counter when the tornado hit, and surprisingly survived when most everything around it was destroyed, so no matter what I had to finish it. At first, dealing with our temporary living arrangement was getting the best of me. I though it was impossible to paint and I know you heard about my frustrations. But when it got to be too much I found a way. So here is my painting so far and I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I may make this into a downloadable painting pattern if there is enough interest. So please comment if you would like to see this in a painting pattern.

The painting is on a 12″x12″ canvas. After my usual canvas prep, I thought I would experiment a little with the new DecoArt Chalky Finishes. This line of paint is suppose to work on any surface, though most people think of chalky paints for furniture or wood pieces. I wondered how it would do on canvas. I painted one coat of Serene, which is a light blue, with a sponge brush. Coverage was great, but it left some brushstroke marks. It only took a light sanding with an ultra-fine sand paper to bring my canvas back to smooth.

Once it was dry, I transferred the outline of the rose to the canvas and painted it a base color of DecoArt Traditions Opaque White. It took two coats to achieve solid coverage. Then I transferred the rest of my pattern. The next step was to set in the values. Sometimes it is easier to create form when color is not a factor. That’s what Grisaille means–to paint form without color. It is painted in different values of gray. I tried to paint my grisaille in grey values but it looked heavy and out of sorts. It could be because I had already introduced color to my background (light blue). So I wiped it off and started over, brush mixing only Opaque White and Blue Grey for a variety of values. This worked so much better. I deliberately did not create all the value changes I intend to have in the finished painting, because the color glazes will further adjust the values.

I’ll seal this in the morning with a mixture of DecoArt Traditions Multi-Surface Sealer and Glazing Medium. Then it is on to the transparent colors. Stay tuned…

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How to Prepare a Canvas to Paint

I spent the day prepping canvases. So that means I’m between paintings right now. I have several ideas in various stages of development and for me, that is the perfect time to get ‘er done–while I’m still in the thought and sketch mode.

I know many beginning artists dislike prep work. They want to get on to the good stuff with the brushes and pigment. But, if a canvas is not prepped properly it can ruin an otherwise beautiful painting. I didn’t like it at first and tried to create shortcuts, but they never worked out and my art suffered for it.

Somewhere along the line, I made peace with it and can honestly say I enjoy it now. How much prep your canvas needs will depend on your own preferences and sometimes on the technique you choose to use. For instance, if you were painting impasto, which is a technique using thick, textured paint (think Van Gogh), you could get by with just applying primer and sealer. But if you are anything like me, you’ll want a smooth canvas with hardly, if any, weave showing.

There are many products out there and many ways to prep canvases, but I’m going to tell you what works for me. Since I like a very smooth surface, it takes time and it’s easier to prep a number of canvases at once. Prepping will take several days.  I encourage you to comment with your favorite or unique way to prep surfaces, if they differ. The more information available the better it is for beginning artists.

First, I use a medium length palette knife to scoop out a large dollop of DecoArt  Acrylic Gesso and spread it over the canvas.  If the canvas is large, I may use a drop or two of DecoArt Traditions Extender and Blending Medium to keep it pliable longer. Then I use the knife to smash the gesso into the weave of the canvas, scraping the excess as I go.  I wipe the excess onto an area not yet covered and smash and scrape again. Continuing until the whole canvas is covered with a thin layer. (Some prefer to use an old credit card or a paint spatula, instead of a palette knife for this.)

Don’t try to fill and hide the weave with one layer. This is a multi-layer process. Each layer must dry thoroughly and then be sanded before the next layer is applied. If you apply another layer over a layer that has not dried completely, you risk cracking the gesso. But it won’t happen right away. It may wait until you have your beautiful artwork on it.  For that reason, I give my canvases a long dry time. Pending on the season, I may dry then in the shade outdoors. Some use a hair dryer, but I don’t trust that a dryer is getting below the surface.  This is why it takes me so long.

Okay, let’s talk about sanding. I use a fine sandpaper that is meant for wet sanding. Get the sandpaper wet and move lightly over the surface. I use a circular motion and spend extra time on any areas that appear thicker than the rest or any ridges. I take my time to make each layer as smooth as possible. Then I use a clean shop towel to wipe it clean.

I usually use 3 or 4 layers in all. When the last layer is dry and sanded I seal with DecoArt Traditions Multi-Surface Sealer. I let is cure for 24 hours before I would start painting on it. I’m probably over cautious, but hey, I want to make sure this baby’s good enough for my finest work.

Well, that’s the nuts and bolts of prepping. If you found it helpful, share it with your friends. And if you have an even better way to prep, please let me know.

Painting of a lotus by Lynnette Horn

Art is for Everyone–Talent is Optional

I can’t tell you the number of times someone has told me they can’t paint, that they can’t even draw stick figures. It seems the general consensus of those around me has been that if you aren’t born with artistic talent you can’t be an artist. In reality, there are very few born artists. The rest of us become artists the hard way, through learning and practice and practice and practice.

The only true prerequisite is a hunger or passion for art. The rest can all be learned. Through this site I hope to nurture your hunger and help you along the road to becoming an artist. There may be a hint or two along the way for those who are already on their way, also.

So I hope you will join me through this blogging adventure and maybe grow your artist wings in the process. Stay tuned…