By gr on 2006-08-15

Souther and Saelee sitting in a tree... I'll say no more, since it's going to end up as a juvenile nursery rhyme that'll just mess me and maybe some of you up for the day. This is what I've been working on. Is it art? No way. I can't do art.

It's actually a sculpy (not sculpty) item, that I collabed with Diana K on. I made the tree, she made the figures, I made the owl, she made the cat, she painted, I painted, and wallah. It's them and their grey cat. They don't have an owl yet, but if they did, it would be a light blue one.

The painting is the tough part. I'm into the fine detail I guess, and as their "student," I'm trying to learn the finer aspects of how they do art.

These aren't secret... right? Here's lesson 1.

1) Materials are important.

a) Know what they are, how they act and can act. For example, acrylic paint. It's plastic like, acrylic... get it? Wo what happens when plastic gets mixed with water? It gets thin, and therefore more see through... Does plastic mix with water? It's weird, you can, but maybe you shouldn't... Want to see what's on your painting surface? Then water it down. If not, it'll take multiple coats to get things opaque. But there's so much to talk about here.

b) There's different levels of acrylic paint. You can get some more opaque stuff, but it depends on levels. The higher the level the more money! Also there's mixing mediums. Want to thin it down, you can use that stuff...

c) What's Gesso? It's an undercoat. You have to establish a base before you can go out and explore and paint. No base, crappy exploration, although I guess it might work out sometimes. That's my quick interpretation of materials.

d) Use a paint pan that's metal. Use damp vellum in it to keep your paint moist! It'll last longer!

e) Wash your damn brush and dry it out before you use it. You can also dry brush paint onto an item. I thought I was making a discovery, but in the end, it's a technique that started at least in the 50s, since I saw it on some original art from that time. You have a dry brush and you basically paint on something, until the paint seems totally dry as pasty. I was doing this under the fine tree bark to make different shades of brown.

f) Don't mix with too much white, it gets chalky.

g) The thinnest brush doesn't always give you the finest point to work with. A thicker one might give you the best tip. (this was from Seonna Hong and Jacob Magraw)

h) After you're done painting, spray with some coating. Spray Shellac might look yellow, but Souther seems to like that look. Otherwise, try some other clear stuff. It'll protect your work. When you spray, this is key. Don't just point it at your item and start spraying. I guess the spray paint people don't make their tips and stuff perfect and big drops might fly out of it and mess up your piece. So point away, spray, and glide across your item. You can spray twice or three times, but you can't really take off spray.

I'm not expert, but these are the first lessons I learned over two intensive days of training.