Clean up your act…

Remember when your Mom used to constantly tell you to “pick it up”, “put it away”, “clean up your mess”?  Well, if you want to be more productive in your studio…listen to Mom!!

How many times do we start painting with a large, clean working area and, as the project progresses, the working space somehow diminishes?  That large open table, is now a small space that hardly allows room for the project!   We all want to make the most of our painting time.  I have found that following a simple routine makes a world of difference.  If you follow these simple steps, you will keep your space open and your painting time will be a happier time.14441040_1263499617015257_4725592904969226260_n.jpg

Step One:  The first step, and probably the most important, in keeping a productive workspace is before the paintbrushes even hit the water is to start with a clutter free space.  Before you get out the paints, brushes and surfaces, make sure your working area is not only tidy, but also clean.  Take a few minutes to clear everything, put it away and wipe the surface clean.  Ever have those tiny unknown bits of something that end up in fresh paint?  Well, 9 times out of 10, they are residue of prior projects, specks of dried paint, etc…  Making sure your area is spotless and tidy not only makes working on projects easier, creativity will also flow much better!

IMG_4527.JPG

Step Two:  Now that the table is clean and clear, the next step is to gather up all the supplies needed for the project.  If everything is together, there will be no more stopping and searching for a missing paint, brush, etc…  As a result, without all the stops and starts, there is more continuity, and all the energy is focused on the actual project.

IMG_4526.JPG

Step Three:  Step three takes a little discipline.  Arrange all the paints and brushes within easy reach.  I like to keep my paints in rainbow order, in hombre rows.  For example, I start on the left with reds, no more than three deep, pink in front, middle red, and deeper red behind.  Then next row will be shades of oranges and/or yellows, next will be greens, then blues, purples, etc…  I always have blacks & whites on the far right.  I also have an order for my brushes.  I fold up about 3-4 layers of paper towel and lay out the brushes needed.  I start on the left with script liner, then liner, rounds, filberts, flats and angles (as needed).  Since I have implemented this routine, my colors  and brushes are always in order and within easy access. Here comes the discipline part…setting the bottles and brushes back in their assigned places.  I will admit that it takes a little while to master the routine, but what a difference it will make!  I know that when I paint, I can put it in high gear and do just that…simply paint!!

IMG_4525.JPG

Step Four:  Step four goes back to step one!  When finished with the project, PUT EVERYTHING AWAY and CLEAN UP!!  Can you hear your mom grinning?!  We all know at this stage of the game that mom was always right (well, mostly)!

Being organized makes painting such a treat and a pleasure!  I LOVE painting, but get so frustrated when derailed with the little things.  Take time to get it together and take time to keep it together!

Ultra Fine Writer Tip

We always love when a new product hits the market that can make our creativity easier and, best of all, look better!  When DecoArt released the new Ultra Fine Writer Tip, I wasn’t sure it would be all that!  However, after actually using the tip, I was more than amazed. cdwood.com Ultra Fin Writer Tip.jpg

The tip is a perfect size for adding lettering, doodles, and fine lines to your projects.  It fits the 2 oz Americana acrylic bottles which makes it easy to switch colors.  Probably my favorite feature is the self-cleaning needle cap.  This prevents clogs from forming and makes it ready to use EVERY time.  I know from experience, if the clean up and maintenance is tedious, no matter how wonderful, I won’t use the product very often.  Because the tip is self cleaning, I know that whenever I want to use it, it will work!  That in itself is genius!  imgres.jpg

The first project I used the tip was  Owl Magic.  I had this fantastic owl face cling stamp, “Look Into My Eyes”, but wanted to do something more.

r268_look_into_my_eyes_watermarked

I decided to stamp the face image using paint instead of ink and “try” the writer tip to create the rest of the body.  I probably should have tested the tip before starting the project, but if you know me, I usually just jump right in and figure it out as I go!  LOL, sometimes that gets me into trouble (big grin), however, the tip was so easy to use that there was no learning curve.  I was thrilled as the paint flowed evenly from the tip in a nice smooth line.  A few years ago I injured my thumb, so applying constant pressure was a little uncomfortable.  Even though the paint flowed easily, with this big project, my thumb was not holding up!   Soooo…I added a little water to the bottle to thin out the paint and…BINGO…problem solved!  The paint flowed much easier and I was able to continue without discomfort.

This is the first part of the design.  I basecoated the background a solid color to allow the lines to be strong and visible, almost like a coloring book page.  I stamped the owl face, then began “drawing” the rest of the body and adding details using the Ultra Fine Writer TipChris Haughey Owl Magic 2 (2).JPG

Even though I used acrylic paint, I approached this design as I would watercolor. I added washes and glazes of color for depth and intensity, allowing the background to glow through and create the brightness.  Small amounts of paint make a big difference!Chris Haughey Owl Magic 2 (1).JPG

The night sky and moon were added last.  This way no colors overlapped and there was no need to go back to do any touch ups.  A few stars and a little more linework complete the design.  Chris Haughey Owl Magic 3.JPG

The tips are inexpensive so it’s very affordable to purchase several.  To make my painting life a little easier, I have several tips that I have dedicated to specific colors.  Because I know that I will use certain colors often, I have a tips for: Payne’s Grey, Lamp Black, Snow White and Soft Black.  I have a couple extra tips for any other color I may desire.  I am really not lazy, I just like to have things convenient!!

I am so excited with the Ultra Fine Writer Tip .  It has shed a new light on line work and taken out the difficulty of trying to obtain smooth, even lines.  My mind is swimming with possibilities for using this tip.  My lines look fantastic and it’s not causing any grey hairs achieving them!  I would highly recommend at least one per painter…and more to make life easier!  LOL!  I know you will enjoy using the tips as much as I do.

Happy Painting!

Chris Haughey

What is a Fude Ball???

With so many markers and pens on the market it is difficult to select the proper tool for a specific project.  I have quite a collection of different brands of pens and have come to the conclusion that one pen will not work for everything.  One of the best pens I have found for outlining or Zentangling is the Fude Ball pen.

18_003082__42693_1024x1024

It is one of the newer pens available.  It has a rollerball tip and is made to write comparable to a brush pen.  The 1.5mm ball tip delivers a rich, water-based pigment ink that is water and fade proof when dry. The superior ink quality can be applied directly over dry acrylic paint.  The ball tip  is sturdy and makes it easier to control.

I have always used Micron and Millenniums and have been satisfied with them.  Recently I was working on a pair of wood turned candlesticks and wanted to do some doodling and outlining.  I really had a difficult time trying to put lines on the rounded surface.  I was intrigued with the roller-ball tip and decided to try it out on the candlesticks.    04_pa1424__77348_1024x1024I was so excited at how easy they were to control.  I had problems with the other pens skipping on the curved surface, but the Fude Ball pen created perfect, solid lines.  The ink is rich and fluid and the pen lasts just about as long as a BIC! 

Next I tried the pens on a flat project to do some simple outlining.  The ink dried quickly and permanently, however, I found it best to “set” the ink with a light coat of spray sealer as opposed to varnishing with a brush.

04-pa1530_medium

I love showing off the Fude Ball.  Whenever I am teaching a class, I always pull out the the pen.  Usually I get a “oh that’s nice” response…BUT…then I say “try it”…  The next response is “WOW” or “OOOOOHHHH”!  The pen actually sells itself!

If you work with media, art journaling, tangling or just plain doodling, you will be thrilled with the ease and results of the Fude Ball Pen!

 

In case you are wondering, Fude, in Japanese stands for brushpen!

Style Stix?

What in the world are Style Stix and why in the world would they be used???  The Style Stix are amazing tools with that can be used to create unbelievable results!  imgres_096d88a7-41ce-4de1-90b9-883a037b015f_1024x1024.jpg

The tools come as a set of four: small, medium, large and extra large.  They have wooden handles and the cone shaped foam tip is soft and flexible.  The variety of sizes offers the ability to use them on anything from a small project to jumbo!

I use them to create berries, candies, bubbles, marbles, raindrops…just about anything round.  The concept is simple, basecoat with a bright color, I always recommend using the highlight color.  To basecoat, I simply dip dot with the handle end of an appropriate size brush.  When the base color is dry, load the selected size style stix with paint.  I dampen the tool with water, wipe on a paper towel, then roll in the paint to distribute the paint evenly around the sides of the cone tip.  Next, position tool directly over dot, press down and twist.  This will smoosh the paint out of the center, leaving the side edges darker, creating instant shading!  The paint should cover the basecoat completely, not leaving any of the base color showing around the edges.

IMG_7470_1_1024x1024.jpg

These tools are also great for sliding or pushing paint.  They are great for adding interesting borders, creating background design,  “drawing” with paint, such as flowers, sun rays, stripes, etc…04-pa1541_c1f3acf6-73d6-4718-9c93-78a4e023a611_1024x1024.JPG

Check out this quickie instructional video to see step by step how easy they are to use. Screenshot_1

The more I use these tools, the more I find out how diverse they are!  I always keep a set handy at my fingertips, just in case!!

 

 

 

 

Amazing Tool!

When I first saw the Mini Ink Blender, I was convinced that it was something that I would never use.  However, I was given one to test and quickly changed my mind.  I was totally amazed at the versatility and convenience of this little tool.  Check out my short video below.

http://www.cdwood.com/collections/weekly-sale/products/ranger-mini-ink-blending-tool?variant=1137369329 46-04097-2__70353_large.jpeg

The ink blenders have a wooden handle, designed perfectly to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.  They come in a package of two handles with four replaceable foam pads.  A package of twenty replacement pads is also available.

The pad is slightly bigger than the head of the tool.  When pressed down, the foam pad rolls gently over the wood base, resulting in a soft, rounded edge.  This makes blending without sharp start and stop lines.  Having replaceable pads means that many colors can be used without the fuss of cleaning between colors.  When finished, simply rinse the pads for future use!

Stenciling with the Mini Ink Blender was the first technique I tried.  I pounced the traditional way and had great results.  Next I tried to stencil with a swirling motion which resulted in a softer, more air brushed effect.  I found that the lighter the pressure, the more muted the design.  This gave me the ability to stencil the design from dark to light for a beautiful application.  Wow!

I tried using the Mini Ink Blending tool to lightly shade around the outer edge of my project. With little effort, the shading was perfect!

Next I wanted to use the tool to create polka dots.  This was so much fun.  I could control the saturation of the dots with the amount of paint and pressure used.  I switched colors for more interest.  This is a wonderful and simple way to add fantastic and modern design to any background.

The more I played with this tool, the more I was amazed at the possibilities.  I was surprised with the ability to switch the pads, how easy it was to handle and how comfortable it was to hold!

This is a short video I did to show some of the techniques.

As a result of this fun play time, I decided to not brand any new tools as “silly” before trying.  My mind is swirling with all the possibilities this amazing tool offers.  Think of all the new techniques that would be missed if we never tried new!

Perfect Circles…

Whether painting or drawing, creating circles can be a challenge.  I have discovered  a simple, fail safe way to make round shapes absolutely perfect. Let me share my secret to success!

I use a series of templates and stencils.  These offer a variety of sizes from teeny tiny to extra large.  For larger shapes, saucers, dinner plates and platters are my solution.

This is a short video to show the benefits of these tools.

Learn how to simplify and make your art even better.

These background stencils are made of a sturdy Mylar and offer a variety of sizes and also give the option of using them for interesting background effects!
09-309_1024x1024.jpg 09-238_1024x1024.jpg

The circle template is made out of thin plastic, however makes a great tool for drawing, stenciling or misting round shapes!  29_00815__88469_1024x1024.jpeg

All stencils and templates are sturdy and easy to clean.  They store flat and can be available at your fingertips.

All these can be found at Cupboard Distributing www.cdwood.com 

Stock up and make your circles simple!logo.png

Splatter Painting…

Whether you call it splattering, spattering or fly specking, this technique has been around for years and is a great way to add interest, texture, design, and even snowfall!  Keep reading to see all the techniques and watch a short video to see the newest tool, the Splatter Brush, in action!Screenshot_1_552a8b21-f8b3-41f2-ac0f-cb55368f2eae_1024x1024

There are several different ways to create this unique look.  Probably the most familiar is to use an old toothbrush.  Load toothbrush with thinned paint and run a thumbnail over the bristles to “flick” paint onto the surface.  The biggest drawback is messy fingers! images.jpgimages.jpg

Another easy way to create spatters is to load a large round brush with thinned paint.  Hold a ruler in left hand.  Keeping loaded round brush in the right hand, wack the brush onto the ruler or heavy object.  The results are a more controlled spatter.  Also, using this method, very minimal mess!

New to the painting scene is the Splatter Brush.  The brush has long, stiff, nylon bristles.  The ferrule is flat, not round and it has a wood handle.  The brush is easy to hold and “user friendly”!  Simply load thinned paint on the bristle tips.  Holding the brush firmly, pinch the clean section of the bristles and flip.  The paint will flick out of the bristles in a very controlled area.  This great tool keeps fingers clean, makes spattering easy and the results are perfect!