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Jan-Van-Eyck-The-Arnolfini-Wedding1

Get Started with Oil Painting Basics

Have you ever wanted to start painting with oils but didn’t know how to get started?

Did you visited an art supply store but got immediately overwhelmed by the choices in equipment and left?

In today’s article i gathered some resources for you to get you started! Starting with a few background information on the medium.

Although the history of tempera and related media in Europe indicates that oil painting was discovered there independently, there is evidence that oil painting was used earlier in Afghanistan. Surfaces like shields — both those used in tournaments and those hung as decorations — were more durable when painted in oil-based media than when painted in the traditional tempera paints.

Most Renaissance sources, in particular Vasari, credited northern European painters of the 15th century, and Jan van Eyck in particular, with the “invention” of painting with oil media on wood panel.

Get Started with Oil Painting Basics   Jan Van Eyck The Arnolfini Wedding1

Jan Van Eyck – The Arnolfini Wedding

The artist might sketch an outline of their subject prior to applying pigment to the surface. “Pigment” may be any number of natural substances with color, such as sulphur for yellow or cobalt for blue. The pigment is mixed with oil, usually linseed oil but other oils may be used as well. The various oils dry differently, creating assorted effects.

Traditionally, artists mixed their own paints from raw pigments that they often ground themselves and medium. This made portability difficult and kept most painting activities confined to the studio. This changed in the late 1800s, when oil paint in tubes became widely available. Artists could mix colors quickly and easily, which enabled, for the first time, relatively convenient plein air (outdoor) painting (a common approach in French Impressionism).

The artist most often uses a brush to apply the paint. Brushes are made from a variety of fibers to create different effects. For example, brushes made with hog’s bristle might be used for bolder strokes and impasto textures. Fitch hair and mongoose hair brushes are fine and smooth, and thus answer well for portraits and detail work. Even more expensive are red sable brushes (weasel hair). The finest quality brushes are called kolinsky sable; these brush fibers are taken from the tail of the Siberian mink. This hair keeps a superfine point, has smooth handling, and good memory (it returns to its original point when lifted off the canvas); this is known to artists as a brush’s “snap.”

In the past few decades, many synthetic brushes have come on the market. These are very durable and can be quite good, as well as cost efficient. Floppy fibers with no snap, such as squirrel hair, are generally not used by oil painters. Sizes of brushes also are widely varied and used for different effects. For example, a “round” is a pointed brush used for detail work. “Flat” brushes are used to apply broad swaths of color. “Bright” is a flat with shorter brush hairs. “Filbert” is a flat with rounded corners. “Egbert” is a very long “Filbert” and is rare. The artist might also apply paint with a palette knife, which is a flat, metal blade. A palette knife may also be used to remove paint from the canvas when necessary. A variety of unconventional tools, such as rags, sponges, and cotton swabs, may be used. Some artists even paint with their fingers.

Most artists paint in layers, which is simply called “Indirect Painting”. The method was first perfected through an adaptation of the egg tempera painting technique and was applied by the Flemish painters in Northern Europe with pigments ground in linseed oil. More recently, this approach has been called the “Mixed Technique” or “Mixed Method”. The first coat (also called “underpainting”) is laid down, often painted with egg tempera or turpentine-thinned paint. This layer helps to “tone” the canvas and to cover the white of the gesso. Many artists use this layer to sketch out the composition. This first layer can be adjusted before moving forward, an advantage over the ‘cartooning’ method used in Fresco technique. After this layer dries, the artist might then proceed by painting a “mosaic” of color swatches, working from darkest to lightest. The borders of the colors are blended together when the “mosaic” is completed. This mosaic layer is then left to dry before applying details.

Artists in later periods, such as the impressionist era, often used this Wet-on-wet method more widely, blending the wet paint on the canvas without following the Renaissance-era approach of layering and glazing. This method is also called “alla prima”. This method was created due to the advent of painting outdoors, instead of inside a studio. While outside, an artist did not have the time to let each layer of paint dry before adding a new layer. Several contemporary artists use a blend of both techniques, which can add bold color (wet-on-wet) as well as the depth of layers through glazing.

When the image is finished and has dried for up to a year, an artist often seals the work with a layer of varnish that is typically made from damar gum crystals dissolved in turpentine. Such varnishes can be removed without disturbing the oil painting itself, to enable cleaning and conservation. Some contemporary artists decide not to varnish their work, preferring that the surfaces remain varnish-free.

So let’s get started with the fun stuff!

 

‘Painting Equipment Focus’ with Paul Taggart – Brushes for Oil Painting

 

 

Learning about Oil Paint Mediums with Katie Blackwell

 

 

How to Begin a Landscape Painting in Oils

 

 

Landscape Oil Painting : Preparing for Oil Painting

 

 

Paint With Oil. Learning basic value scales, setting up a palette, and mixing oil paints

 

 

Oil Painting Techniques : How to Mix Oil Paint Colors

 

 

Well i won’t lie to you, you might take sometime before you achieve Jan Van Eyck’s greatness and proficiency with the medium, but you will definitely have a lot of fun!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Nadav-Bagim→WonderLand10

All you wanted to know about the bokeh effect and was afraid to ask

Hello and welcome! In this video round up we’ll some techniques on creating the bokeh effect both with camera and in Photoshop before CS6 (since now Photoshop CS6 makes creating this effect a breeze). Hope you’ll enjoy the videos and have fun experimenting with this awesome effect! (**new content updates: 13/9/13**)

Let’s first take a moment to define the term. Wikipedia has a lot on the term, but lets shrink it down to the most basics:

“The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji (ボケ味), the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility

In photography, bokeh is the blur or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.

However, differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting—”good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively. Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.
Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. Bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.

Though difficult to quantify, some lenses have subjectively more-pleasing out-of-focus areas. “Good” bokeh is especially important for macro lenses and long telephoto lenses, because they’re typically used in situations that produce shallow depth of field. Good bokeh is also important for medium telephoto lenses (typically 85–150 mm on 35 mm format). When used in portrait photography (for their “natural” perspective), the photographer usually wants a shallow depth of field, so that the subject stands out sharply against a blurred background.

Bokeh characteristics may be quantified by examining the image’s circle of confusion. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light becomes an image of the aperture, generally a more or less round disc. Depending how a lens is corrected for spherical aberration, the disc may be uniformly illuminated, brighter near the edge, or brighter near the center. Lenses that are poorly corrected for spherical aberration will show one kind of disc for out-of-focus points in front of the plane of focus, and a different kind for points behind. This may actually be desirable, as blur circles that are dimmer near the edges produce less-defined shapes which blend smoothly with the surrounding image. Lens manufacturers including NikonMinolta, and Sony make lenses designed with specific controls to change the rendering of the out-of-focus areas.”

Now let’s dive in and enjoy the videos and also see what we can do to achieve this effect ourselves!

 

All you wanted to know about the bokeh effect and was afraid to ask   Nadav Bagim→WonderLand10

WonderLand by Nadav Bagim

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Photoshop basic corrections

Image correction basics: Straighten, Crop, Sharpen and Reduce Noise

Hi folks! In this video round up we’ll get started with the basics of image correction. We’ll see some quick tips on how to straighten images with the ruler and the puppet wrap tool.

For the very beginners we also have a quick presentations of the crop tool, and finally we’ll see how we can sharpen an image with the high pass filter, and how to deal with the noise.

If these sound unfamiliar and confusing, then you will definitely find the videos enlightening and useful. So let’s get started!

Learn Adobe Photoshop – Crop Tool

In this video, Mahalo expert Justin Z. gives a brief overview of what the Crop tool does and how it can be used to “trim the fat” off your photographs.

Vladimir Tomin→Paperworld Font

Get Started with Mixed Media Art Techniques

Hello folks! Unlike the previous two “get started” articles, this one doesn’t follow a course like structure. And that’s because it would be impossible!

After all Mixed media art can be produced by combining every art medium, and well not only that!

For those unfamiliar with the term let’s see how is defined in wikipedia:

Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed.

Ok,  that doesn’t sound actually very enlightening. It continues:

Get Started with Mixed Media Art Techniques   785951242735889

Vladimir Tomin→Paperworld Font

There is an important distinction between “mixed-media” artworks and “multimedia art”. Mixed media tends to refer to a work of visual art that combines various traditionally distinctvisual art media. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage could properly be called a “mixed media” work – but not a work of “multimedia art.” The term multimedia art implies a broader scope than mixed media, combining visual art with non-visual elements (such as recorded sound, for example) or with elements of the other arts (such as literature, drama, dance, motion graphics, music, or interactivity).

When creating a painted or photographed work using mixed media it is important to choose the layers carefully and allow enough drying time between the layers to ensure the final work will have integrity. If many different media are used it is equally important to choose a sturdy foundation upon which the different layers are imposed.

A phrase sometimes used in relationship to mixed media is, “Fat over lean.” In other words: “don’t start with oil paints. Plan to make them the final layer.”

Many effects can be achieved by using mixed media. Found objects can be used in conjunction with traditional artist media, such as paints and graphite, to express a meaning in the everyday life. In this manner, many different elements of art become more flexible than with traditional artist media.

So how can we actually get started with Mixed Media? Well glad you asked.

Just experiment and have fun! One of the secrets of creativity, is to always experiment and try out new things. By exploring new media, you open yourself to new creative avenues and possibilities.

And in order to help you get started i assembled a selection of 8 fun projects you might want to try, or just use as inspiration for your own experiments. (**updated on 6/9/13**)

Let’s enjoy them!

Aged Copper Techniques & Projects

Jack-Long→Vessels-and-Blooms

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long

We have seen in an old article tips on how to capture high speed and splash liquid photography. Today we have some really awesome examples of creative splash photography by Jack Long.

“My personal work is with Splash / high speed fluid experimentation. All of my work is unique and unlike anything previously created. I have no interest in recreating what has already been done. While I may borrow from other genres for inspiration, I will not try to replicate. I don’t even like doing my own ideas more than once. I have a few selected techniques that I use that are self discovered. I am working to get the most out of these methods. The new and sometimes surprising results are what keep me going. I do not explain my techniques, do “how to’s” or tutorials.”

~Jack Long

So with no further ado, let’s enjoy Jack’s work!

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Vessels and Blooms

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The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Vessels and Blooms3

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Vessels and Blooms2

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Vessels and Blooms

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash6

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash5

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash4

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash3

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash2

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Splash and Flash

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Jumping Java2

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Jumping Java

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Fluid Flowers3

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Fluid Flowers2

The amazing splash photography of Jack Long   Jack Long→Fluid Flowers

Hope you enjoyed today’s article with the stunning works of Jack Long! Looking forward to hear your impressions!

See you next time!

(These photographs are presented here because they are licensed as “Creative Commons – Attribution” works and for the sole purpose of promoting photography and the photographer’s work)