Thursday, May 31, 2012

Butterfly Brush Step 3 Tutorial

Here is step three of the tutorial for the Butterfly Brushes.  Because this brush is so versatile you can actually do some simple stippling with the brush if it is placed on the chisel edge, it isn't a brush that you want to do any heavy duty pouncing with but will dab color in nicely.  I loaded the brush with Milk Chocolate by dabbing my brush into the paint and lightly pounced the paint color around the center of the flower, using a dirty brush added Antique Gold to one end and gently pounce blended the paint colors until I was happy with the mix and pounced the paint onto the highlighted area.  The last step was to add Asphaltum to the mix and pounce blended the base of the center of the flower. 

To finish these off you might want to try using this same brush to paint the stems of the flowers.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using your Small Shader Butterfly Brush Step 2

I love to paint wildflowers.  I'm not a great gardener, my thumbs are pretty brown but that doesn't mean that I don't love flowers.  We are coming up on wildflower season in my part of the world and there will be an abundance of beautiful wildflowers for all to observe.  Fortunately for them they aren't dependant on my gardening skills to bloom. 

I do enjoy observing and painting them however and the Butterfly Brushes are some of my favorite brushes to use when I paint wildflowers.  The Small Shader is an excellent brush to paint this Daisy with, from start to finish in all three steps, I will use just one brush.   As I mentioned before this brush is very versatile and in addition to what I've discussed in my last post you can do linework by simply setting the brush up on the chisel edge.  Will it replace your liner brush?  Absolutely not, but for small areas that need a subtle highlight why dirty another brush if you can use the same one.  In highlighting the petals of the flowers on this worksheet I simply loaded my brush with Snow White and set the brush on the chisel edge and added a soft subtle highlight to each petal.  I then loaded my brush with thinned down Antique Gold and washed in a shadow using a corner of the brush.  That concludes step two of the process. 

That was fairly easy, wasn't it?  Can you start to see the flowers taking shape? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

I seem to recall that I promised some educational posts on using different brushes that are available on my website.  I started a few posts ago by discussing the traditional and nontraditional uses of the Butterfly Brushes.  The Small Shader Butterfly Brush is an extremely versatile brush that can be used in so many ways but my favorite is to use it to paint wild flowers.  When the brush is placed on the chisel edge the cut brush heel is facing your paper which I would say is a more traditional use of the brush, or can be used by turning your brush upside down so that the brush heel, cut edge, is facing up when the brush is placed on the chisel edge.  These three samples of painting a daisy show examples of the traditional use of the brush as versus the nontraditional use of the brush.  Practice this technique and see which one works for you. 

No matter which way you choose to use the brush you double load the brush in the same way, load your brush with your base color (Light Buttermilk), tip the brush heel into Moon Yellow.  To paint each petal place your brush on the chisel edge, slowly spread the brush out to "splay" the bristles and distribute your paint and pull it gently back up to the chisel edge working your way around the outer edges of the center of the flower.   It is a fairly quick and easy way to paint a lovely Daisy.  Check back in a few days and I will post step two of using this amazing brush. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cutting Your Own Rubber Stamps

The following stamped images have been stamped on computer paper and 80# white sketch paper.  The computer paper allowed for a slightly smoother image.  It would be interesting to see how a smooth watercolor paper interacted with the stamping process.  I may try that sometime in the future.  Take a look at these images and see if you can tell which was stamped on computer paper as versus sketch paper. 

Cut Your Own Rubber Stamps

This blog continues to help inspire me as an artist and I hope helps you as well, in order to grow as an artist you need to challenge yourself. Whether that is in your media of choice or perhaps in a new media, it isn't necessary to be an expert with the media you simply need to enjoy the process. You might surprise yourself when you discover that you find new and interesting techniques that will carry over. There are so many fun creative techniques out there in this day and age that we should all be excited by something new and different. To me it is fun to find some opportunity to expand on my current knowledge base and pass that information on to you. When I set out to write this blog I intended to write about creativity and how that will enhance all of you and myself as artists. These current posts have dealt specifically about cutting rubber stamps, I love finding new and interesting ways to enhance my painting repertoire and this may be one of those techniques. Not to mention the fact that they are just fun to do.

To date I have cut a number of stamps and used acrylic paints to stamp with them. My next plan is to try using my stamping pads but my initial thought was that I could duplicate a design element on a project quickly and easily. I have not tried them on wood as of yet but am hoping to do that when I find the right surface. I began by stamping with just one paint color and then continued to apply two and sometimes three paint colors directly onto the stamp with a variety of results. The nice thing about this technique is that once you have your stamp finished the material will hold up for years of use and is pliable enough to bend around a 3-dimensional surface. It is necessary to clean your stamps but do not be concerned if the paint stains that stamp. It will not interfere with the use of the stamp.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creativity with Cutting Rubber Stamps

These past few posts have all centered around finding creativity in new and unusual places.  Do any of you like to use rubber stamps in your design work?  I think stamps are so much fun and simplify so many aspects of what we do as artists/crafts people but I often want to use my own stamp designs in a project.  I've started cutting my own, all you need is a few simple materials that can be ordered at a variety of artist supply companies, Dick Blick and Nasco just to name a few.  Purchase a basic set of Linoleum Cutters, I started with two, the fine and medium V shaped cutters and then purchased an inexpensive handle.  The cutting tools can be changed out and I found that I preferred the handle to be longer which would be similar to a pen holder that you might purchase for the interchangeable pen nibs for doing pen and ink. In fact if you already have the pen holder they will probably fit and save yourself the costs of the pen.  It had been years since I have done any linoleum block printing and thought that I'd start with an inexpensive material that cuts very easily and will hold up over time and chose to use Nasco Safety-Kut Printmaking Material.  It was fairly inexpensive and came in a variety of sizes.  I cut mine all down to 3" X 3.5" approximately.  You can draw directly onto the material and then cut it out using your cutting tools.  It was fun, not terribly expensive and turned out very similar to what you'd expect from a woodcut but without cutting my fingers.  The first one that I tried didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped but by the second and third I had it figured out and was enjoying the process.  I haven't printed with these as of yet, I could easily use my stamp pads, or I might try them in addition to my painted papers that I've been doing.  What do you think of this sun?  Is this something that you think you'd like to try?   

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My last few blog posts seem to revolve around finding your creative center through experimenting with paint so I thought that I'd expand on that and include playing with brushes.  How many of you purchase a new brush either online or at a show or store, take it home and then set it with your brushes to never do another thing with it?  Often we are intimidated by the look of the new brush and feel unsure as to what to do with them and often that fear is because we don't want to do the "wrong" thing with the brush.  We seriously need to get past that because brushes should be our friends not the enemy.  They are designed to help us get the job done and there does not exist the "brush police" to tell us how to use that brush.  We should feel free to be as creative with our brushes as we are with a design.  Brushes are fairly hardy items and can withstand a lot of abuse just make sure that you clean your brushes properly before storing them at any time but especially if you plan to use them in non-traditional ways.  My past few posts discussed trying something new on a piece of paper or card stock or something that you feel you can throw away if you hate the look of the piece, or something crazy might happen and you might find that you absolutely love the look of the new paper.  Well while you are allowing yourself the luxury of playing with paint throw in a new brush to try at the same time.  Use that brush in a nontraditional sort of way. 

I recently was asked by a customer if I have done any books using the Butterfly Brushes or if I had any educational information regarding them and I had to admit that I didn't have a lot although I do have a You Tube video showing me using the Angle Butterfly Brush.  You can view that by searching for Christy Hartman on You Tube.  Unfortunately there aren't a lot of publishing companies out there right now publishing books and book deals can be hard to come by but there isn't any reason why I can't give some information on this blog. 

Let me start with the Small Shader Butterfly Brush.   I use that brush to paint daisies/sunflowers as well as a variety of different wildflowers.  The brush seems to be just the right size for many of the techniques that I use, I'm sure that you can use other brushes and achieve the same result.  I painted this sunflower/daisy by turning the brush upside down, you can still double load the brush to achieve highlighting and shading at the same time and stroke in the petals of the flower starting at the tip of the petal on the chisel edge of the brush, flatten it as you move in toward the center.   I then tipped the brush up on the chisel edge and stippled the center of the flower to finish up the piece layering my brown tones.  You can easily add additional detail with this brush to add some shadows by washing paint out into the center of the petal.  It was quick and easy and took very little time and is certainly a "non traditional" use of this brush.

Do you have any wonderfully creative ideas to use your brushes in non-traditional ways. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How about another couple of crazy painted pieces?  I can't tell you how fun these are and I'm sure that many of you are thinking... What to do with them?  Why do you need to do anything with them?  That is part of the fun and spontaneity of these.  Just do it... copying a famous slogan.  LOL.  Seriously anything that gets you out of your creative "box" is a good thing.  These free up your mind and open you up to creativity and I know that these crazy painted pieces have allowed me to loosen up. Over the years I have been accused of being a very tight controlled painter and I feel that these have allowed me to see my art work in a new way.  Give them a try and see what happens.  There isn't anything wrong with throwing something away that you just hate or maybe by completing something crazy like this will open you up to creative ideas that you haven't thought about before.

Are you using your brushes in a new way on these wild and crazy papers, maybe try a completely different type of brush that you aren't comfortable with like a Trifecta Brush or even a Butterfly Brush.  By allowing yourself the opportunity to make mistakes is the perfect time to try a brush that you might not be comfortable with.