Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Art for All Canada

Coming up in Toronto, ON
March 6th, 2010
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto

Jazzing the modern medium; understanding acrylics
With: Rheni Tauchid from Tri-Art

11:15-12:30 in R304

This presentation is a broad scope presentation on understanding acrylic paints and mediums, and an exploration of improvisational application methods and techniques. Acrylics are a revolutionary medium, an evolving material. Understanding how they work and how acrylic mediums can be used to manipulated and dictate the behaviour and appearance of the acrylic surface will enhance every painters creative process. The emphasis of this presentation will be on high viscosity and Liquid acrylic colours as well as a large array of acrylic mediums and additives.

The author of "The New Acrylics" and it's sequel, "New Acrylics Essential Sourcebook" (Watson-Guptill 2009), Rheni Tauchid has an extensive working knowledge of acrylic paints from the point of view of a painter, manufacturer and researcher. Materials consultant and Acrylic Education program director for Tri-Art Manufacturing, her passion is to paint, and to impart knowledge on the Acrylic materials.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Heavy Metal

I love metal. Being named after one may have something to do with this particular passion. Reflective or matte, strong, solid, substantial.

Painting on metal is something I've been experimenting with for years, but now there are panels out there, ready made, that just make my paint layers sing.

The fine people at Duho Studios produce silky smooth, robust and finely crafted art panels made with exotic woods and metals. They are a dream to paint on, though now my dilemma is how to use them and still showcase the beauty of my support through the layers and layers of acrylic. I've been painting on one zebrawood panel for months now, terrified of hiding the gorgeous grain altogether!

Experimenting with them now for almost a year, I am enchanted by their versatility and impressed by their resilience to my technique. I'm not the most delicate of painters, stuff gets stepped on, spilt on, sanded, chipped at, I am merciless when in experimentation's how I learn and how I test materials.

Painting on the wood panels is lovely, they absorb the paint uniformly and can be scrubbed vigorously without damaging the surface. It is the metal panels that have captured my interest for the moment, because of on thing, reflectivity. As a chronic glazer (is that even a term?), I strive to bring more light into my work. The depth and luminosity that is gained by this are what pull life into colour, and that, to me, is magic.

I've experimented for years with metallic pigments, papers and metal sheeting, but the Duho panels are the nearly perfect platform for my current expression. I say nearly because there is one small drawback. The panels are so smooth, and so flawless, that the paint can peel right off of them. Painting thinly is not a problem, but thickly applied coats can be taken clean off. This in itself, is actually a fun thing too, but may deter those who seek a more "permanent" platform. I'm sure if I were seeking improved adhesion I could abrade the surface, or treat it in some manner, but for now I'm quite happy to keep playing. The results are juicy and lush...and when I get more batteries for my camera I may post some pictures here.

If you are looking for beautifully made professional panels, look no further, these are spectacular. I'm completely hooked!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Artist grade materials in the craft world...building a bridge

On the heels of the CHA winter show in California, I have been thinking more about the arduous process of building a bridge between the craft and the fine art world. When did they become such separate entities?

I'm too tired to get into researching that particular question, but more to the point, how to begin to knit them back together? I have long toyed with the idea of writing an acrylic based craft book, and that may eventually come to fruition as I'm full of ideas. I would just have to be careful not to turn the thing into a big rant on the validity of being a successful craftsperson, regardless of the end product. It seems that to assign function to a work of art inevitably reduces it's monetary and artistic value. If you hang it on a wall, it costs thousands, but if it has a useful purpose it's relegated to the $68.95 bracket.

Does this seem wrong to you?

Perhaps it's the fault of the big box retailers, who spend more energy promoting the economical craft brand materials than fine art materials, that many crafters and artisans are unaccustomed to working with and understanding the merits of working with quality materials.

Its true in all fields, quality materials yield quality results. The foundation of the work holds up the end product. It's just common sense.

More on this later....