How to test and analyze your acrylic mediums

What’s the best brand of acrylic paints?

I get asked that question a lot when I teach acrylic workshops.

When I was an undergraduate student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a professor I liked and respected touted a particular brand of acrylics as the “best.” So, I took her word for it and started using that brand over others. But there are lots of excellent brands out there and once I became a bit more experienced, I got curious about what made different brands of paint different.

The truth is there are a number of good paints out there and rather than telling you about the merits of each, I thought I’d show you how I test acrylic mediums in my own studio. The results are always interesting. And this empowers you to make your own informed choices about what will work best for you.

Share in the comments below what brands you like to use? Do you stick with one brand for everything? Do you mix and match?
Have you ever had a really (or really great) bad experience with a particular paint or medium? Do tell!

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Discover New Ways to Use Pouring Medium

In many of my pieces I use Liquitex Pouring Medium.  This material can be poured on for a crystal clear, glossy surface or tinted with acrylic inks to create a multi-layered effect.  I’ve been working with it for years and am always excited to show you new techniques!

I’ve created several videos in the past where I talk about this “effect medium” (as Liquitex calls it), answer your questions, and experiment in real-time.

In these videos you’ll learn:

  • how to use Liquitex Pouring Medium to finish your paintings with a smooth, clear, glossy finish.
  • how to tint the pouring medium with acrylic inks
  • vital tips and tricks
  • answers to questions from artists just like you!

 

Watch all 13 videos by clicking “play” on the playlist below!

 

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Crowdfunding for Artists

Many artists with big ideas feel thwarted or confused as to how to get necessary funds. Have you dreamed of having a a catalog of your work? Do  you wish to mount an exhibition in another city but don’t have money for travel? Is there an ambitious project on your list that requires significant monies for material or fabrication?

There are many avenues for securing funds for your art – there are grants from foundations, government or non-profit organizations, private donations, saving your own income. In recent years, crowdfunding – raising funds through small amounts of money from a large amount of people – has offered an alternative making raising money even easier and within the artist’s direct control rather than a jury or granting organization.

Hatchfund is a non-profit organization in the United States that gives hands on support for artists to fully fund their creative ideas. What’s different about Hatchfund is that all contributions are tax-deductible and their success rate is two to three times higher than other platforms due to their emphasis on support and education.

I had a nice Skype chat with Program Officer Stephany Campos, a  who explains how it works.

 

How is HatchFund different?
• All the funds raised goes to the artist.
• A real life Project Manager works with each artist.
• More flexible than other crowd funding sites.
• A very high 78% success rate.
• Non-Profit so all donations are tax deductible.

 

More information can be found at
http://www.hatchfund.org

 

Please tell us in the comments section – what would YOU like money for as an artist?

 

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How to Start a Painting?

I had a fabulous, meaty question from a subscriber recently who wrote to say she had recently switched from a 30-year graphic design practice to painting and was finding it tough.

She asked “How do I start a new painting? My paintings have no consistency.
Do I just let it flow? Or does in need to have a set direction?”

This is the question that comes up when we begin to take a more focused approach to painting. When it becomes for us more than a pastime or hobby and becomes a passionate pursuit or profession.

Usually, it’s not the painting that’s tough, it’s the thoughts that come up – the judgments, the inner critic.

Here are some things I suggested she try:

1. Create a studio journal. Writing before starting a painting. Blurt everything out.
2. Step back from the thoughts that are coming up. Become aware of what the quality of the thoughts you have while painting.
3. Set a timer during your painting process and step back, pause every 20 minutes or so and notice what is going on. Check in with your body, emotions, thoughts.
4. If the thoughts are not supportive, replace with more supportive thoughts.
5. Take out all your paintings completed thus far and look at them as a group. Journal about them from a curious, non-judgmental perspective. Don’t worry whether you love it or hate it. Just get curious. Write down from a neutral voice what you are noticing.
6. Think from a broader perspective about what the paintings are about. What are they teaching you? What are they showing you?

 

 

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Artists & Money: Interview with Financial Therapist Bari Tessler

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a video chat with dancer, mama, financial therapist and mentor Bari Tessler last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glWTEwlGpmg?rel=0

Artists and Money – it’s a hot topic.

When I was young, I somehow picked up from the culture that being an artist meant struggling financially.

I was willing to make that sacrifice (at least when I was 23 years old!).

But, I hear time and time again that many creatives were discouraged from pursuing their dream because they were told they would never make any money.

Another cultural myth is the stereotype that artists are flakey in general and specifically with money. We can’t handle it. We spend it too quickly. We don’t keep track. Our heads are in the clouds. We never have enough money. When we do have it we spend it too quickly. We are unrealistic. We aren’t good with numbers.

While these stereotypes are damaging and unfair, they have may have some basis in all those qualities that make us so wonderful. Creativity is centered in the right hemisphere. It accounts for our immense capacity to vision and dream, but it’s the left hemisphere that plans, projects, analyzes, calculates, handles figures and so forth.

The bottom line is many of us – artists or not – have a lot to discover about our relationship to money.

What is our story around it?

What is our family history with money?

What are we neglecting in our financial lives?

What are we very good at?

What do we still need to learn?

What about budgets?

Can we fulfill our dreams on our income?

Where do we have shame around money?

Bari Tessler is a wonderful guide on this journey. I took her Art of Money course in 2013 and was so enthusiastic about it that my sister signed up the very next year and one of my dearest friends has signed up to  take it in 2015!

If you are interested in learning more about Bari’s comprehensive holistic approach, please click here.

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Create a Consistent Studio Practice

Don’t you just love being read to? I do! I loved it as a kid and I still love it as an adult. Just one of the many reasons I love to listen to audio books.

My little holiday gift to you – I’m reading a chapter from my book Seven Essential Practices for the Professional Artist: Create a Studio Habit – Consistency

I hope this gives you a little boost to get in the studio if you’ve been having trouble making that a regular habit.

Many artists I’ve worked with struggle to create regular time for art making. It seems as if everything else always gets in the way!

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Why should it be so hard when it’s what you love to do?

One reason is that many creatives, in all fields, have a highly developed inner critic. But it can be a problem when you let this inner critic run rampant in the early stages of creating something.

We also doubt that we have ideas that are worthwhile. I’d like to go on record as saying even if only ONE person in this world benefits from your studio practice – YOU –  the entire world has benefitted. You are no more important or less important than every other being on this planet. Your happiness, satisfaction and sense of deeper connection with All-that-is that creative practice engenders spills out and touches all in your circle. When you have it in you to be creative and you fulfill that promise, it feels as if everything is right in the world. Have you notices? And in turn your family, friends and colleagues get a happier more fulfilled version of you. Then they in turn touch every one else in their circles with a greater sense of satisfaction and peace and so on.

I’ve found it highly beneficial when stuck in the studio and having trouble getting jump started to have a commitment to regular, inviolable studio time. Even fifteen minutes a day makes a huge difference!

Creativity is like a muscle. Use it regularly and it gets stronger, firmer, more toned and ready for action.

Once you cultivate this regular practice, it becomes like a loyal friend. It will not let you down it will be a comfort and solace in the good times and not-so-good times.

If you have your own ideas to share about how having a regular habit of getting into the studio has helped you, please do in the comments below!

Or perhaps consistency has never worked for you and you prefer a more sporadic studio practice – let us know about that! There is no ONE way for every artist. The mindful artist community is designed to help you find YOUR unique path to a satisfying and enjoyable life as an artist.

By the way, Iris mentioned in the comments that she hadn’t realized the book was available in print. If you are in Canada, you can purchase copy directly from the publisher, Editions FrI, and have lower shipping costs. (The may even have a few signed copies left!) 
http://fissaly.wix.com/editionsfri#!m…
Or you can get it here on Amazon: http://goo.gl/ngnDI

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