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Thread: Art Mentor

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    Art Mentor

    Not sure where to post this, I figured it'd get the most exposure here. I am interested in hooking up with an experienced painter/artist (a mentor) in the Sarasota area and was wondering if anyone could recommend someone or know where I could start looking. I have searched in vain and have come up with nothing. Should I contact Ringling and get together with an upperclassman or instructor?

    Thanks!
    :question:

    Also, is this worth buying for a start-up set?

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    As per the mentor, I can't help you there, but the starter set thing I can.

    I would recommend NOT going with a pre-packaged set of art materials. Though there is the "benefit" of not having to go in and make any potentially expensive decisions with little to no experience, you'll most likely end up with a number of tools that don't work for you and more importantly, since the packagers are trying to move their stuff, tools that simply may not be the "best".

    I would recommend, strongly, taking a trip down to the art supply store and talking with the people there, looking at the supplies, reading a couple of books or online and then coming up with your own package. Look at the materials ask yourself questions and then make an informed decision. For instance...

    The paints in that set are Winsor and Newton "Winton" series. The Wintons are a student grade oils, much cheaper price-wise but ultimately a cheaper quality paint. The pigments are usually synthetic and the pigment to carrier ratio usually favors the carrier, giving you less mixing ability and luminosity. If you're not sure if you're going to be serious about learning oils then I would say yes, try a couple of tubes of the student grade paint. If you ARE serious then don't waste your money on those. Go right for the professional grade stuff. Also, there are a number of other companies you might consider. Winsor and Newton have the name but I like Rembrandt better myself. They're less expensive, have more vibrancy, and tend to be much more buttery than the Winsor Newton stuff. A much better deal in my opinion.

    The brushes look like they're bristle, maybe hog, maybe synthetic but most likely stiff stiff stiff. Myself I hate stiff bristles and will often paint with softer sable or synthetics made more for acrylic or watercolor. Using this type of brush means you'll have to paint much thinner, using a medium but that's what I like. You might want to try something different. Again, you'll have to look at what's available and make a decision based on where you think you'll go. Also, you're going to need a few more brushes then what they're offering. For instance a couple smaller rounds for detail work and a larger "bright" or "flat" or "filbert" for larger coverage.

    The easel is a cool idea but again needs a little inspection and forethought before you jump into it. Since it's a table easel it's not going to have the weight of a normal easel and if you're an aggressive painter it's going to be moving all over the place. You could weight it down with books or tape, or nails but even then you'll most likely get some wiggle.

    They also don't offer up any mediums for you to use. Myself I swear by "Liquin" a product from Winsor Newton (you can find it in other brands by different names.) a snot type medium that mixes brilliantly, doesn't yellow, and best of all dries in about two days.

    You'll also need turpentine, turpenoid, or some other thinner. I use a product called "Natural Turpenoid", comes in a green can and is pretty expensive, but it's all natural and is completely non toxic. Works great and I don't have to worry about the fumes in my tiny studio.

    I'd also recommend picking up some brush soap. B&J Brush cleaner is simply the best. It comes in a tan screw top plastic "tin" and is pretty inexpensive. Clean with this every time you finish painting and your brushes will last a lot longer. Believe me, this stuff is well worth investing in.

    This may seem like a lot of headache up front and again if you're not sure if you're going to be into doing oils once you try it you may be better off with a set, but if you are serious do a little research and you can get a pretty good setup without a (relatively) huge investment. You should be able to get a pretty sweet set up with everything you need to do many many paintings for around 250.00 to 300.00 dollars. If that's too much start shaving out the extras until you get down into a price that looks right for you.

    Hope that helps some.

    Last edited by Imp Head; June 30th, 2004 at 10:25 PM.
    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck
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    awesome, thanks alot for all that info!! That whole set-up was something i was throwing around and thinking about getting since i could grab everything to start with in one package. my original idea was to buy 5 tubes of oils (either W&N or another brand) pickup some brushes and an easel, came out kinda expensive but now it sounds like that would be the best bet in the long run since i'd have the right materials to begin with and wouldn't have to shell out extra cash down the line.

    as far as the mediums, brush cleaners and other "extras" what would be the bare minimum to get by with? could i make do with just buying the turpenoid only and get the other stuff later or would it be wise to get the Liquin first?

    also, what size brushes? i want a big fat one for blocking in shapes, i was thinking a nice large filbert then pick up some various size rounds for details and maybe a smaller filbert or flat...

    canvas... would starting out on masonite be a wise idea? i can get a large amount for cheap, but would it be better to start on a regular canvas first to get the "feel" for it?

    last thing, skecthing on the canvas... would a charcoal pencil do the trick then i can just paint over it or just a regular pencil be fine OR just i just start hitting the canvas with the paint and form the shapes that way?

    thanks again for the info!!

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    Not a problem...

    As far as the "extras" I would say start with cutting the easel. Then limit your paint to a smaller number of tubes and where possible get the "hues" rather than the real deal. For instance "Cadmium Red" is REALLY expensive because of the pigment they use to create the color, but "Cadmium Red Hue" uses a synthetic pigment, which is much cheaper but doesn't give you exactly the same reactions. It is however, close enough that you shouldn't be able to tell.

    Brushes are another thing you can lean back on. If you stick with the cheaper synthetics you should get a pretty decent brush that's fairly inexpensive. Plus they should last a decent amount of time if you pick up the brush cleaner.

    Medium and brush cleaners are one of those thing you really can't get away from. Brush cleaners are SO inexpensive compared to the replacement value of brushes it's silly not to pick it up and mediums are really a necessity for painting. Check into off brands of the extras. A lot of times stores like Daniel Smith, Utrecht, and Pearle, will offer their version of a product at a much discounted rate. It's still artist grade and will serve but you're not paying through the nose for the name brand stuff.

    Brushes you're going to have to do on your own both because the sizes (0,1,2 etc.) aren't standard across brush companies and because I don't know at what size, or how you work. A good exercise is to get a board the size you want to paint and then hold the brushes up next to it. Imagine filling in areas and painting details and then chose brushes accordingly.

    The whole "painting surface" thing is a real personal preference thing as well, but for the sake of learning I'll just write up what I do...

    I work on a board that's very similar to Masonite but has a white plastic laminate on one side. It's REALLY cheap, (3.50 for a 2 foot by 2 foot piece at home depot) stiff enough so as not to warp and the plastic laminate stops the board from soaking up the ground (gesso). One word of warning however. The shit is near impossible to cut with a utility knife (I've tried.) So figure out what size you want to paint and have it cut before hand. Home depot is usually good about cutting down boards to the size you want. Or if you've got a table saw or know someone with one you're golden.

    Once I've got my board to size I do my drawing. I work pretty loosley initially so I like to bang in my image, not worrying about getting a fine drawing. Then I'll take that image and refine it by tracing over the initial drawing using a light table. This gives me a clean line drawing that has the energy of the initial loose drawing without all the mess.

    Also, don't feel that you've got to work to the size your painting's going to be at. I do a fairly small pencil drawing, usually 6 x 8 inch, and then either scan it into the computer, blow it up and print it out, or take it down to kinko's and get an oversized enlargement done. This saves me the trouble of doing really big pencils AND if I royally screw up the painting and need to sart over I can just print out another. Believe me it really takes the pressure off and allows you to be more experimental with your painting.

    Once I've got my image to size I'll affix it to the board. There's a couple of ways to do this. The first is to spray glue the bastard down, which does work effectively but that stuff is nasty to your lungs and belongings and once that paper is down it's DOWN. You've got no margin for error. So, I use a second, longer but more forgiving way. First I coat the board, (laminate side of course) with a healthy coating of acrylic matte medium, (available in any store it's a medium used in acrylic painting that dries clear and non-glossy. Get a big jar. It's pretty cheap stuff.) then I do the same with the BACKSIDE of the print, NOT THE FRONT, I repeat, NOT THE FRONT. Once both sides are coated I line up the corner of the image (not the paper) to the corner of the board and squoosh it down. The medium, while still wet, gives a little room for error as you can slid the paper around, but be careful the wet paper rips fairly easily. Once I've got the image lined up right I use a rubber or lucite roller to flatten the image out and push out bubbles. I'll end up getting a little "texture" where the edges of the roller goes but it's nominal and gives the painting a little more flair. After I'm satisfied with the position and rollered image, THEN I'll go in and coat the front with the acrylic matte medium, (Doing the front before you roll makes the roller quite ineffective. Believe me, I've been there.) This will seal the paper from the oils and give a nice surface to work on. I'll let that dry over night, then go in and trim the overhang paper and in most cases do second coat of the medium just to make sure everything is sealed nicely.

    Note, you can also use an acrylic gesso instead of the matte medium but because the gesso is opaque white you'll start obscuring your lines, which could work for you depending on how transparent you're going to be working.

    Also note, don't be using your painting brushes for this. Pick up a cheapo 2 or 3 inch house painting brush at home depot.

    And here's a couple of other things to try if you're up for it...

    Thinning out the acrylic medium a little before you coat the front will give you a smoother surface to paint on, but takes a little longer to dry and will most likely require mulitple coats to be as effective at sealing the paper.

    Running a block sander on a slight angle all around the front, (print) edge will remove that last little burr of paper and give you a really nice, clean edge. Remember to make sure the paper is TOTALLY dry, don't use a lot of pressure and use motions that are perpendicular to the board edge rather than along it, moving front to back as if you're folding the edge of the print over the edge of the board with the block sander.

    As far as the canvas stuff goes you'll have to ask someone else or do some experimenting. I was never into the texture or flex so I never really used it.

    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck
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    great thread *saves to HD*

    its surprisingly difficult ot get hold of this sort of info :jump2:

    ...so what if i'm bored, and ordinary?...

    currently playing: Super Mario 64 DS, ICO (grrrr....)
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    again, thanks a bunch for this info!! i have given it some thought and i think what i am going to get is a few tubes of the rembrandt oils; a cadmium red hue, a blue (any recommendations?), a burnt umber, yellow ochre?, and white. i will pass on the black for now since i can use the blue for that. i was thinking for my palette i will use a nice big flat piece of glass. ah, when you leave paint out it dries; now i understand that oils take longer but what can you do to "revive" them once they start to cake over?

    now, without an easel how do you go about painting; do you lay the canvas flat or prop it up against something? i could probably rig something...

    alright i guess that's a start. i will have to put together my shopping list now.

    awesome awesome tips!! i really appreciate you taking the time to do this, this is beyond what i expected. thanks!

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    Again, it's no problem. Funny thing is though I feel a bit nervous giving out this kind of information as I fear people might take it as THE WAY to do things. I highly recommend talking to other artists, as many as you can to find out other ways to do things as well as experiment to come up with your own working styles.

    Now with that disclaimer out of the way...

    I use a piece of glass for a palette. You definitely want to run tape along the edges so you can pick it up without cutting the hell out of your fingers. Also it sometimes helps if you tape a white piece of paper to the back of it so you can put the palette anywhere and still have a neutral mixing surface.

    The paint will stay solvent for a few days to a few weeks depending on the color. It usually dries outside-in so even if there's a hard film over the outside you can sometimes dig in with an X-acto to expose the wet stuff again. Turpentine will resolute (somewhat) old paint but it really screws up the carrier and resoluted oils don't work very well. Best thing to do is only squeeze out a little at a time and if it dries, toss it. With the medium those tubes of paint should last you a good long time, even with waste.

    Get youself a flat razor scraper (Single sided razor blade held in a housing that can click out or in. Different than a box cutter.) from Home Depot to clean your palette of dried paint. Works like a charm.

    For colors I would check out Winsor Newton's site for a recommended starting palette. You'll have to do a little bit of color comparision and name swapping if you're going to use Rembrandts but the information is still really good. Here's Winsor & Newton's website which even if you're not using their product is chock full of really really good info... And they won't allow a direct link but like I said, there's a whole section on recommended color palettes under Creative Encyclopedia>Techniques>Hint, tricks & techniques>starting with page 12.

    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt.Harlock
    again, thanks a bunch for this info!! i have given it some thought and i think what i am going to get is a few tubes of the rembrandt oils; a cadmium red hue, a blue (any recommendations?), a burnt umber, yellow ochre?, and white. i will pass on the black for now since i can use the blue for that.
    If you want to keep your palette really limited, get ultramarine for your blue and burnt sienna instead of umber. Ultramarine and sienna nuetralise each other perfectly, and can mimic indigo, payne's gray, black, and the umbers when mixed in various proportions. You can actually do surprisingly colorful paintings (esp. figure work) with just those two and white.
    Yellow ochre and cad. red light would round out that palette nicely. Since you're keeping the number of colors down, I'd splurge on the genuine cadmium instead of a "hue".
    If you really want an umber (for instance, for doing fast drying "wash in" underpaintings) I'd get raw umber instead of burnt and warm it up with brnt. sienna or red when necessary.
    For white, get a titanium/zinc blend rather than pure titanium, which can be chalky and overwhelming in mixtures. Permalba is good and cheap (only their original white, the rest of their line is crap), but most companies make something labeled mixing white or mixed white.
    You're right about not strictly needing black, since you can mix it with brown and blue, but don't get phobic about it. Used properly it's a useful color. If you do go for it, get ivory black, not lamp or mars. You can actually switch out blue for black in a limited palette, for ex. the "Zorn palette" of red, yellow ochre, black, and white.
    i was thinking for my palette i will use a nice big flat piece of glass. ah, when you leave paint out it dries; now i understand that oils take longer but what can you do to "revive" them once they start to cake over?
    Glass makes a great palette. Different pigments dry at different rates and in different ways. Some will stay usable on the palette for several days. Some "skin over" and you can skoop the usable paint out with a palette knife. Some gradually thicken and solidify, and shouldn't be used once they are no longer easily brushable (thinning with solvent or medium won't work). If you have mixtures you want to keep, covering your glass palette with Saran wrap will keep things usable for a few days. Note that is has to be Saran wrap, most plastic wrap won't work.

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    Harlock - I don't know if you know abotu this place, but in Sarasota there is a store called "Art and Frame".. it's on 41, near the high school (sarasota high school? not sure) kind of by the hospital..

    They have some really great stuff in there, the prices aren't too bad, and if you'r e a student, they give you a discount.. I wish I had a place that good back here in Utah.. maybe next time I take a trip out there to florida I'll haev to stop and buy some supplies to bring back with me..

    As far as mentors, I don't know what you'll fnd.. I wanted to see if i could find an artist that owuld jsut let me watch them oil paint, but I had no luck. they either watn a lot of money to teach you, or you haev to take classes at a school... it sucks...

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    Have you tried an "internship" type arrangement? I interned with an artist one summer vacation while I was going to school.
    In exchange for letting me watch her paint, I did helpful tasks for the artist like stretch and prime canvas, organize files, etc.
    I don't think many people will turn you down when you offer them FREE help. They get the benefit of having you do some grunt work and you get to hang out with them and absorb their knowledge.
    If someone says to you, "I want to learn from you so badly, that I'm willing to work for free for you," how can you turn that down? You would probably think, "Hmm, this kid really wants this. Maybe I can help him out."

    Just throwing out some ideas.
    emily

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    Imp Head - Don't worry, i won't take your words as the only way to do this, i'm am mearly looking for suggestions on how to get started and your posts have given me more than enough info for that. i will try some different techinques, but i think ultimately it's a matter of finding what works best for you. also, thanks for the link... it looks like i have some reading to do now.

    dragon gx - i know the store, i have never been there before x: i get most of my stuff from Dick Blick or michael's, but i will be sure to go check them out since you are recommending them.

    elwell - thats for the palette info, i'm shooting for a limited color range as i want to spend more time mixing colors then getting them right from the tube. i had a crazy idea of trying Zorn's pallete but i'm a little intimidating by having that limited amount of color... although based on what he did and what i've seen fredflickstone do with it, it might be worth a shot... someday.

    emily - that's a good suggestion, i'll keep that in mind, however i am not a student so i don't really get breaks between being a full time parent and working 40+ hours it's hard finding the time for anything and i'm not quite sure how i manage to now, seems like i can squeeze 26 hours out of a day now. I'm sure i could find something where i could meet with someone every saturday or twice a month or something.

    my next thing is possibly trying out some class (or classes) at the community college here. my birthday is coming up soon, sooo i'm hoping the little elves will be kind to me this year and i can pick up some supplies. i'l let you all know what i pick up.

    thanks

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    Hey, totally try out the Zorn palette. I studied under Don Seegmiller and he starts out all his beginning students on that. It really disciplined me and made me learn how to mix colors. Don's idea is that fewer colors=fewer ways to mess up.
    Start with Cad Red, Yellow Ochre, and Ivory Black--use your black as a blue (Ivory Black leans to the cool side) and you've got a red, yellow and blue to mix with. Also get the Titanium White, of course.

    emily

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    Imp Head: I was wondering if you have to worry about the paper degrading with your technique? or does it not matter since its covered in oil paint?

    ...so what if i'm bored, and ordinary?...

    currently playing: Super Mario 64 DS, ICO (grrrr....)
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    Quote Originally Posted by nil
    Imp Head: I was wondering if you have to worry about the paper degrading with your technique? or does it not matter since its covered in oil paint?
    thats the point of the matte medium.. itll seal the paper from the oils of the paint which would otherwise degrade the paper..

    this is really good info for a beginner to oil painting.. good job fellers, for giving that info out.. I think ivory black is better to start out with than ultramarine blue, because you can easily get a dark out of it, and you dont have to worry about mixing another color to get darker, like with ultramarine blue.. might as well just get both colors anyway..

    as long as everyone's still checking this out, has anyone tried the new flake white hue by W&N? i was wondering if it really does hold up to the old flake white...

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    Everything is going to degrade, it's just a question of how long it will last.

    If you don't seal your paper well enough with the acrylic the oil will eat through it fairly quickly, (In art terms that is. It'll probably take a few years.) Just like if you don't properly ground a canvas the paint will rot it through.

    The acrylic will stop the oil from seeping into the paper and board but I'm not sure what the archival quality of acrylic mediums is, so I'm sure there's going to be some amount of chemical reactions between the medium and the oil which will eventually lead to some color shift, or what have you, but it's going to take a while.

    If you are worried about the lifespan of the paper itself or even if you want to paint on something with a little built in texture, this same technique can be used with other types of paper as well. For instance you could use a nice watercolor paper (Though it'll have to be a little thinner to get it through the copier.) which because of it's thickness, material make-up and Ph balancing/acid removal, should hold up a bit better.

    Me, I use the copier paper and don't think twice about it. One, it's essentially sealed in plastic, which should give it a few more years. Two, I don't think I'll ever get popular enough to have to worry about my stuff having Superman staying power. And three, in another 70 years or so, I'm REALLY not going to have to worry about it anymore.

    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imp Head
    in another 70 years or so, I'm REALLY not going to have to worry about it anymore.
    haha, too true. guess i have a weird paranoia about my work rotting away

    ...so what if i'm bored, and ordinary?...

    currently playing: Super Mario 64 DS, ICO (grrrr....)
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    Did you ever go check out art and frame? Let me know what ou think of the store...

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