Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (2023)


- In a galaxy far, far away
(Methods of specifying distances)
- Food fight! (Types of artist paints are explained)
- It's a Snap (photographing artwork)


How do we know when one object is closer and another is farther away? If you look at the real world, you don't have to worry about that; our perception is immediate and automatic. The same should be done with our images and there are methods to ensure this is the case.

Artists use a variety of methods to indicate distance and depth in their paintings. Most of the time we associate these techniques with landscape art, where they are aggressively pursued. But they are equally effective in still lifes and figurative paintings, although often used more subtly due to the shallow depth of space.

The purpose of this essay is not to provide detailed guidance on the use of each technique discussed, but rather to provide an overview of opportunities for further study and practice. Deftly brought into play, the result can be an image that conveys a very convincing illusion.

Modern linear perspective was developed by Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi in the early 15th century. Brunelleschi's science was based on a few elementary principles.

"Of identical objects, what is near seems greater than what is far"it is the most fundamental premise of the scientific perspective. For example, a nearby pole will appear thicker and taller than a similar pole some distance away.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (1)The next post seems quite thick compared to the ones farther away. Also note that the posts seem to get shorter as the row gets longer in the distance.

"All things retreat to a vanishing point that is on a logical and consistent axis of vanishing."In most cases, the flight axis is the horizon line, which is at eye level. On this line, the sides of the buildings shrink to a vanishing point. Train tracks and highways narrow to a vanishing point. A row of doors, windows, or mullions shrinks toward the horizon, and as it expands toward the horizon, it shrinks to nothing. In other words, at a great distance, an object can appear extremely small, hence the term "vanishing point".

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (2) This alleyway in Padua, Italy, narrows to a vanishing point (V.P.) on the horizon line (H.L.). Door and archways are also shortened towards this point.

Linear perspective is a powerful tool for creating the illusion of depth and is used more than any other technique. Mastering the basics of linear perspective is not particularly difficult, and it does the artist good to gain a clear understanding of the principles behind it.

When one object partially obscures another, it is called an "overlap". A close object always overlaps a more distant one and never vice versa. For example, if a tree is in front of a building, it covers part of the building behind it. Likewise, we know there is a tree behind the building if the structure obscures part of the tree. Overlaying, as seen in the photos below, is an amazing way to tell what's in front (closer objects) and what's behind (further objects).

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (3) On the left is a scene as it normally appears. The right image has been edited to show more clearly that the tree trunks overlap the front lawn, which in turn overlaps the house, and that the house overlaps the distant trees and sky.

When using linear perspective is not possible, e.g. B. in a landscape without buildings or roads, spatial layering is an excellent alternative. Where fading lines transport the eye into the distance with linear perspective, contrasting bands transport the viewer into the distance through layers of space.

Spatial layering is equally useful not only in landscape art, where it is commonly used, but also in depictions of human forms, still lifes, and architectural subjects.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (4) The section on the right is part of the original color photograph with horizontal stripes of green, light and dark blue, and gray. Each band is like a layer of space, with one band overlapping the other like rungs on a ladder that leads the viewer into the distance. The same effect can also be seen in the high-contrast strip in the center of the image. Each change from darker to fainter or from fainter to darker represents a step into a different spatial layer.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (5) Spatial layers can be both vertical and horizontal. On the right is a detail of overlapping rows of columns, effectively suggesting layers of space. On the left is the image in its entirety with perspective notes.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (6) This is an example of spatial layers applied to a still life. Each bright spot of color means a layer of space. The spatial layering is very successful in this case, although the fruits at the back are much larger than the peppers and the flowers at the front.

Relative positions in the image plane are a good indicator of how close or how far away. An object that is lower in the frame is closer to us than an object that is higher in the picture plane. This is true even when a more distant object is the same size or larger than the closer object.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (7)

The edge of the bread plate (red line, closer) is lower in the image plane than that of the saucer (purple, further away), showing their relative positions. Although the cup (blue) appears to be the same size as the honey jar (green), its baselines make it clear that the jar is closer.

The distant tends to be paler than the near. This is particularly evident when the air is hazy or foggy, as in the photo below.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (8)The most distant mountains are fainter, while the nearest are deeper and more intense. This photo is also a good example of spatial layering.

A color is saturated when it is intense and brilliant; its opposite is a warm color. Other commonly used terms are high chroma (bright) and low chroma (dull).

The color of near objects is usually richly saturated, while the colors of distant things are generally more neutral or gray due to the influence of the intermediate atmosphere; The effect is often referred to as "atmospheric perspective". For example, a barn across the street might be bright red like a fire engine, while a barn on a hilltop three miles away, painted the same color, might appear only reddish-gray.

There are exceptions to this idea. In most situations, the colors of distant objects are less saturated than those that are close, but in some circumstances, distant objects can be tinted just as brightly as nearby ones. The reason is again the air. For most of the day, dust and moisture in the atmosphere scatter light, dulling colors on distant objects. However, at sunset or sunrise, the sky takes on reddish tones. This becomes particularly clear in the direction of the sun. When we face the sun, distant objects can appear fiery or bright orange at sunset and sunrise due to the pronounced influence of red, orange, and yellow light.

So perhaps it's best to think of distant objects as taking on the colors of distant light, rather than simply becoming duller or grayer.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (9)In most cases, distant objects appear grayer than closer ones. For example, on the left, the grass and trees on the nearby hill are rich green and brown, while the trees on the central hill are barely green and those on the more distant peaks have turned completely gray. The effect is due to the color of the atmosphere. Therefore, distant objects take on reddish hues at sunrise and sunset.

"Blue retreats, red advances." This is a common expression that describes the concept that we perceive cooler colors to be further away than warmer colors.

Humans have spent most of their evolutionary history as outdoor creatures. Therefore, our sense of sight is well adapted to outdoor conditions. Outside, there is a lot of blue air between your eyes and a distant object, making the distant object appear bluer than a closer object. Thus, of two purple boxes, the nearest appears redder or warmer than the farthest, which appears bluer.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (10)All of these mountains are covered with vegetation, but the nearest (A) appears warmest (most yellow), the middle ones (B and C) the bluest, and the farthest (D) completely blue (coldest) according to the principle that "blue retreats and red advances."

In most situations, the idea of ​​a cool distance and a warm nearby floor works just fine, but not all. It is most effective for the landscape painter working under a bright blue sky. However, not all skies are bright or blue, and not all paintings depict landscapes.

A painting done at sunset, when the sky is turning orange or pink, can directly contradict the warm/cold principle. So in this case blue could move forward and red could move backward, the exact opposite of the accepted convention.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (11) In keeping with the "blue goes down, red goes up" standard, warm earth tones and greens cover the nearest mountain in the left photo, while cooler teals, blues, and purples shadow the more distant peaks. In the image on the right, the opposite is true, with cool greens and blues in the foreground and warm reds and oranges in the background.

Instead of the traditional concept, a more effective way of thinking about color and distance is that "The further away an object is, the more similar the distance is, and the closer the object is, the more similar it is." Also".

The ability to distinguish details decreases with increasing distance. Up close, it is possible to see individual tiles on a wall or patio. At a modest distance, the individual tiles dissolve into a pattern and appear more like a texture than a conglomeration of individual tiles. At extreme distances even the texture can disappear and become nothing more specific than a homogeneous surface.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (12) Our ability to distinguish details decreases with increasing distance. Individual blades of grass can be easily distinguished up close. However, at the middle distance, it becomes difficult to select individual shoots, and they begin to mix. Further away, the field of grass becomes a texture blanket, and behind it the texture disappears.

(Video) Frederic Kaplan: How I built an information time machine

Due to the limited human visual acuity, close objects are generally seen more clearly than distant ones. As a result, nearby objects appear sharp and sharp, while distant objects instead appear soft and blurry, as if seen through a veil of smoke. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci, who first observed and wrote about it, called the effecttinted,which means "smoke" in Italian.

Leonardo was also aware that things get blurry when they are out of focus of the eyes. In other words, if your eyes are focused at three to five feet away, everything outside of that range will be blurry, including nearby objects. Modern photographers refer to this as "depth of field".

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (13)

We tend to see close objects more clearly than distant ones, like drawing cherries. However, due to how human and camera lenses work, it's also possible for something close up to be out of focus while things that are more focused are in the middle distance. The photograph of women shows such a situation.

The contrast between light and shadow is more pronounced up close than at a distance. The dark side of a house across the street can be quite dark compared to the sparkling glow of the sunlight side of the same house. In comparison, the shadowed wall of a house on a distant hill appears a modest gray against a slightly lighter wall that is illuminated.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (14)In this photo of rock formations in the desert, the contrast diminishes with distance. The value difference between the shadows and highlights in Sample "A" is much more pronounced than the differences in Sample "E". "A" is of course much closer than "E".

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There are many types of paint (oil, acrylic, water) along with variations of each. The serious painter needs to make at least a temporary deal with as many as possible. Otherwise you are denying yourself the opportunity to discover a form of painting that you might otherwise have developed a passion for.


Three types of oil paints are produced: traditional, alkyd and water-soluble.

The main components in all are the pigment (the coloring agent) and the binder (to hold the pigment particles together and adhere to the surface of the paint). In traditional oil paints, the binder is usually linseed oil. Water-soluble oil and alkyd paint vehicles are molecularly modified oils that give paints distinctive performance characteristics.

Various types of oil-based paints are shown. From left to right they areWinsor and Newtonbranded traditional oil paints,HolbeinDuo Aqua water mixable oil colors and Winsor & Newton Griffin alkyd colours.

A solvent is used in connection with almost all types of paint. The solvent dilutes the paint and flushes the brushes. Odorless paint thinner and turpentine are solvents for traditional alkyd and oil paints. CalledvolatileBecause solvents evaporate quickly, many people are sensitive to their vapors and react to skin contact. Water is the solvent for water-soluble oil paints.

Each variant of oil painting requires its own medium. The painting medium changes the consistency of the paint, modifies its drying speed, alters its handling properties, (usually) adds translucency, and depending on the formulation of the medium, increases or decreases the glossiness of the dried paint.

A wide range of oils and mediums are available for use with oil paints. On the left is refined flaxseed oil, although flaxseed oil, sun-thickened flaxseed oil, cold-pressed flaxseed oil, poppy seed oil, and walnut oil are also commonly used. Galkyd medium fromGamblinCompany, shown at right, is one of several alkyd mediums available from various manufacturers. The focus is Linseed Oil, which is specially formulated for use with water-miscible oil paints.

Conventional oil paints typically use an oil-based medium, although an alkyd-based medium such as e.gLiquinis also acceptable. Alkyd paints work best with an alkyd paint medium.

Specially formulated oil-based paint mediums are manufactured for use with water-based paints; These media are water compatible, allowing the artist to avoid the dangers of turpentine and odorless paint thinner. Ordinary linseed oil and alkyd mediums can be used with water soluble oil paints instead; After that, however, the paints cannot be mixed with water and volatile solvents must be used to dilute the paint and clean the tools.

Traditional oil paints dry quite slowly, taking 24 hours to several days, and some paints can take up to a week to dry if applied in a thick layer. Because they dry slowly, traditional oil paints give the artist plenty of time to smoothly blend patches of paint together, use wet-on-wet techniques, or scrape and wipe the paint to make changes.

Alkyd paints allow you to use all of these methods, but for a more limited time. Within an hour or so, the paint will start to become tacky, reducing the ability to freely manipulate it. The paint is dry in about 24 hours. Many illustrators prefer alkyd paints because they handle similarly to oil paints, but dry quickly enough for the image to be delivered in time to meet the client's deadline. Some painters don't like the slippery, greasy nature of alkyd paints (they feel like petroleum jelly).

Water-soluble oil paints are a godsend for those who want to enjoy the benefits of painting with oil paints without the health risks of traditional oil paint solvents. They tend to dry faster than regular oils and usually feel dry in a day or two. Water-miscible oils do not last as long as traditional oil paints and become tacky in a relatively short time. This is especially true when mixed only with water; When used with an appropriate paint medium, water-soluble oils dry at a more acceptable rate.

A choice of opaque, semi-transparent and fully transparent colors is available for each type of oil paint (traditional, alkyd, water-soluble). Therefore, direct painting methods can be used, includingtime, as well as indirect techniques such as glazing.

Pour the pudding

Acrylic paints consist of pigment and a polymer (plastic) binder. They can be diluted with water, the solvent for acrylic paints, and a wide range of acrylic paint mediums are available.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (15) Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (16) Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (17)

Acrylic paints come in a variety of forms. Shown here from left to right are soft, heavy and liquid acrylic paints.

Available in different consistencies (Heavy Body, Soft Body and Liquid), all acrylic colors dry quickly, in 5-15 minutes. Therefore, the handling of acrylic paint must be done quickly. Because they dry so quickly, the ability to mix colors or work wet-on-wet is severely hampered. Retarders are made to slow the drying of acrylic paints, but the artist still only has a short amount of time to complete a process. A newly developed product, Open Acrylic Paints byGold Artist Materials,they remain workable for an hour or more in thin layers and many hours in thick layers. This allows you to use oil painting techniques such as blending and wet-on-wet. Open acrylic paints can also be reactivated with water for a limited time after drying, which leads to interesting effects.

Golden's open-end acrylics combine similar handling characteristics to oil paints with the fast drying quality of traditional acrylics.

Artists working with traditional acrylics take advantage of the fact that there are no fully opaque acrylics and that paint can be made more translucent by adding a suitable painting medium. Artists use this property to apply thin layers of paint on top of each other as a glaze.

Acrylic paints of all kinds tend to level out as they dry and retain little trace of brush marks. super heavy bodyLiquitex, as well as similar products from other companies, is unusually thick and retains brush and knife marks for those desiring a textured finish. Thick acrylic paints have the consistency of custard or custard and feel and handle like oil paints. Soft-bodied colors are similar to the heavy-bodied variety, but are slightly creamier and drier for a perfectly even finish. As advertised, liquid acrylic paints are fluid and workable for a reasonable amount of time, allowing them to be handled like gouache or even watercolor paints.

Pour the juice

Water-based paints such as watercolor and gouache are made of pigments with a binder of gum arabic. No special medium is needed, just water to bring the paint to the desired consistency. The water color is available in hard beads or as a wet paste in tubes. Gouache is always sold in tubes.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (18) Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (19) Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (20)

Watercolor paints are available as dry cakes or shapes, such as. B. in the compact travel set on the left, or as wet paint in tubes. In the center are tubes of gouache paints.

Watercolors are generally applied in thin, transparent coats of paint that are well diluted with water; Thick color passes are avoided. Gouache is basically watercolor paint with a white pigment added to increase the opacity of the paint. In thicker layers it is completely opaque, while in very thin layers it is almost as transparent as watercolor. All waterborne paints dry quickly, typically within minutes, and can be rewetted with water for further processing.

There are three basic methods used with watercolor paints. With the direct technique, the color is mixed to the desired intensity, painted onto the frame and left to cure without further modification. Layering is an indirect method and is achieved by applying a light layer of paint, allowing it to dry and then painting over it with another thin layer of paint to match the first. With wet-on-wet techniques, the paper is often kept damp to facilitate bleeding and mixing of colors and to achieve smooth effects.

Diluted with plenty of water, gouache can be used like watercolor except that it is not as transparent. The result is a smoky effect when one color is thinly layered over another, especially when the top layer is paler than the bottom layer. If very little water is added to the paint, it can be applied in opaque passes.

Since watercolor and gouache can be reactivated by dampening them with water, the image can be edited at any time.

throwing eggs

(Video) One click away from the past | Time Machine Europe | Frédéric Kaplan

In its simplest form, the artist prepares traditional egg tempera by combining dry pigment with a mixture of egg yolk (binder) and water (solvent). Some manufacturers now offer ready-made egg tempera paints. They are sold in small jars or tubes in a ready-to-use liquid state.

Traditional egg tempera has been used for thousands of years. Until recently, the artist did this in the studio, combining dry pigment (left) with water and egg yolk (middle). Manufacturers have recently figured out how to make and preserve egg tempera that stays wet in the tube for long periods of time (right).

Egg tempera dries almost instantly to a fully permanent transparent film. Once dry, it is impermeable to most solvents, including water. Egg tempera paintings consist of many layers of transparent paint. Color transitions are accomplished by controlling how these layers develop. In the past, small, soft-haired watercolor brushes were used, and color was placed in a series of crossing marks, much like drawing. Many artists refer to egg tempera painting as drawing with color. Modern practitioners have also begun using larger brushes and brushes made of other materials to spread broad gradients or create a variety of textured effects.

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Photographing paintings and drawings can be complicated or simple. This is an easy way.

Lighting an artwork is the hardest part of photographing. Glare, reflections, shadows and color distortions must be minimized.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (21)Glare is the enemy of the artist photographer. They have severely distorted the color of this painting, making it difficult to see fully.

The best type of lighting is the sun, since incandescent and fluorescent lamps change color. Choose a cloudy day or a shady area. Keep your color away from anything that might reflect its own color in the picture, such as: B. a red brick wall. Also, make sure your painting isn't facing a shiny, reflective surface, like the white, metal-walled warehouse across the street.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (22)This artist found an ideal spot in a well-shaded alley with minimal glare on the surface of the painting. Note the neutral color of the sidewalk and building walls.

Glare can be reduced or even eliminated with the help of a polarization filter that is screwed onto the camera lens. A polarizing filter has a rotating ring that, when rotated to the best orientation, makes glare disappear. (To obtain reliable results, camera settings must be made with the polarizing filter attached.)

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (23)The rich colors of the sky and landscape washed out by glare are now fully revealed with the help of a polarizing filter.

Keep the background simple. People want to see your painting, not your beautiful rosebush. A plain gray wall is ideal, but any neutral hue will do. If you don't have one of these, staple a piece of fabric, a sheet of cardboard, or a sheet of foam board to the back of your artwork. If you want a black background for your slides, use black velvet that doesn't reflect light.

Straighten the image to minimize glare or uneven lighting. Step away from the color and squint to get a better look at the hot spots. Once you're happy, take your shot.

The camera must remain absolutely still when you take your picture. Use a tripod if you have one, or place the camera on a stable surface. Don't hold the camera in hand unless you want blurry photos.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (24)

To ensure you get a sharp, blur-free image, use a tripod or place the camera on a firm, stable surface.

Adjust the angle of the camera or image so that they are parallel to each other in both vertical and horizontal directions. Otherwise, keystone distortion will occur. Keystone distortion means that the graphic in your photo appears narrower at one end than the other. Computer imaging software can now correct many imperfections in digital photos, including keystone distortion. However, remember that reshaping the photo to compensate for the keystone distortion, no matter how small the adjustment, still introduces a slight distortion. When keystone distortion is severe and the setting is radical, the distortions become obvious. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid the need for editing as much as possible by setting up your camera and carefully painting first.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (25)The settings for this photo were very poor, resulting in severe keystone distortion.

To check for possible keystone distortion, look through your camera's viewfinder. The edges of the image should match the viewer's frame. If one end of the footage appears narrower than the other, the camera or footage needs to be tilted differently.

For example, if the top of the image is narrower than the bottom, it means that the top of the image is farther from the lens than the bottom and should be tilted forward.

So that the photo has the right value (namely. not too dark or gloomy and not too faint or washed out), lens aperture and shutter speed should be set appropriately.

Do not rely on the automatic functions of your camera. For example, camera settings for landscape photography are based on the assumption that 40% of the frame is dark green grass and 60% is bright blue sky. Other options are designed for specific situations, such as B. Backlight and Portrait. Neither is suitable for reading directly from the work of art. Instead, you should set your camera to take pictures in daylight and read them from a gray card. It's just a piece of cardboard in a certain shade of gray. You can get one at a camera store.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (26)Use a gray card to determine the correct exposure (a combination of aperture and shutter speed). Above the gray card shown here is a strip of color control patches (for precise editing and reproduction of colors) and a gray scale (for easy value adjustment) that are photographed or drawn along with the color.

fromn Place a gray card in front of the center of the image. Focus the camera on it and let the internal meter take a reading to confirm a digital camera's "white balance". Once set up, you can take photos of multiple paintings or drawings one after the other, unless the lighting changes, e.g. B. when clouds gather and reduce the amount of sunlight. If something like this happens, you should reset the white balance before continuing to shoot.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (27)

Note that a missing white balance (above) or an incorrectly selected setting (middle) can lead to color distortions. The actual colors in the photo below were possible by correctly setting the white balance with a gray card.

Even when using a gray card, it's a good idea to "cling" your photos. For bracketing, take one picture according to the white balance setting, and then take four or more additional shots with slight adjustments to the settings as follows.

  • Increase shutter speed or lens aperture by 1/2 step
  • Increase the shutter speed or lens aperture by a full step
  • Decrease the shutter speed or lens aperture by 1/2 stop
  • Decrease the shutter speed or lens aperture by a full step

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (28)The middle photo was taken with the settings determined by the camera's meter. Left is a longer exposure (more light) and right is a shorter exposure. The three images in brackets allow the artist to select the one that most closely resembles the original subject.

With multiple photos to choose from, each with slightly different light settings, you are more likely to receive at least one where the colors in the photo closely match the actual colors in the painting.

Always set your camera to the highest resolution possible so that your images can be effectively reproduced on printed materials such as exhibition invitations. Galleries and juried exhibitions also often require that you submit high-resolution images.

After photographing your artwork, create duplicates of the images to retouch the copies; Also keep the original "raw" images. Once an image has been edited, a low-resolution copy can be made for use in email or on a website.

A digital camera is more forgiving than one that uses film. In fact, a digital camera plus image editing software on your computer is more forgiving than film.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (29) Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (30)Photoshop (splash screen on the left) is a powerful but expensive image editing program. Available as a free downloadable file, Gimp (program window with logo on the right) includes all the features the average artist needs to adapt photos for fine art.

Bad digital photos can never be improved, but they can be improved with photo editing software. You can reduce blur, remove keystone distortion, adjust color and correct brightness. What you can't do is eliminate glare or reflections.

Photoshop is a powerful and well-known program for professionals. It doesn't take that much effort to edit your photos. A good program that offers all the tools and features you could want, including Photoshop filter support, isCAÑUTILLO. GIMP is available as a free downloadable file from the Internet.

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(Video) Ben Böhmer live above Cappadocia in Turkey for Cercle


- sky blue Who?
(Real vs. imitation
artist paints)
- Stayin' Alive (Health and
safety for artists)


I generally recommend real colors over imitations, but there is one imitation that really helps.

Imitations, often referred to as "shades," are inexpensive alternatives to expensive authentic paints. They are made from inexpensive blends of pigments that match true color. However, the "clay" versions are rarely as bright or clean as the real color and always have a different character (namely., without the same shade, not as opaque or transparent, etc.).

Naples yellow, for example, is often imitated. Inexpensive cadmium "shades" are a popular substitute for the highly opaque and strong cadmium reds and yellows. The sky blue "shadow" is a less expensive option than the actual sky blue.

True Cerulean is a subtle, opaque sky blue. It's a pretty and useful color, but also one of the most expensive. For example, Gamblin's Genuine Cerulean currently costs $35, the highest price in the company's product line (and even more expensive for some other brands). It's no wonder many college students opt for Gamblin's cheaper sky-blue "umbrella" at just $12.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (31)

Cerulean Blue (simulated above) is a warm, slightly greenish but expensive blue. Inexpensive imitations are useful substitutes for phthalocyanine blue when attempting to dilute phthalo blue with white paint.

However, the imitation cerulean has a surprise in store: it is so powerful that it overwhelms other colors with which it is mixed.

"Hue" versions of cerulean typically consist of phthalo blue combined with hints of phthalo green, plus lots of white. Although heavily diluted in white, phthalo colors show their incredible power. They are the strongest pigments of any artist.

The sky blue imitation is never a good substitute for the original. However, it has its uses... as a replacement for phthalo blue. If you intend to use phthalo blue and reduce it with white paint (which is almost always the case), a sky blue "tint" can be used instead, since it's basically phthalo blue already mixed with white. This means you don't have to go through tons of white paint or waste your time making the phthalo blue paler, since the sky blue "hue" is essentially a pale phthalo blue.

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Health and Safety for Artists

Like any activity, creating art also involves certain risks and dangers. And as with any activity that can harm us, the wise practitioner learns the dangers and what can be done to minimize them. In most cases, common sense will protect you.

Some basic rules for handling art materials are:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating, smoking, or using the toilet.
  • Do not work in narrow and closed spaces; have good ventilation.
  • Store solvents and oils in metal containers and away from direct sunlight or heat.
  • Read and heed warning signs.
  • Keep art supplies out of the reach of small children. Older children must be supervised.

Most of the materials we use are not particularly harmful. Still, some require special respect if one is to remain healthy and safe.

For oil painters, volatile solvent fumes are the biggest threat. Regular inhalation of solvent vapors over a long period of time can cause permanent damage to the respiratory tract and nervous system. Most solvents, if not well vented, will cause drowsiness and dizziness. In high doses it can cause coma and death.

Work only in well-ventilated areas. An open window is usually sufficient, but dilution ventilation is recommended for some materials (two open windows at opposite ends of the room, with an exhaust fan in one window). Some substances may require forced ventilation (such as a spray booth or outdoor work).

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (32)

An inexpensive case fan effectively expels solvent vapors to the outside. Open a second window on the opposite side of your workspace to improve efficiency; this arrangement is called "dilution ventilation".

Another concern with volatile solvents is the possibility of fire or explosion. The evaporation rate and the flash point determine the probability of these events occurring. The "flash point" is the lowest temperature at which a solvent is likely to ignite. A faster evaporation rate combined with a lower flash point corresponds to a higher probability of fire. For safety reasons, it's best to treat any solvent as a fire hazard and store it in a metal container away from heat or direct sunlight.

Below is a list of solvents and materials commonly found in artists' studios, their hazards and recommended safety precautions.

  • Alcohol
    Although alcohol can destroy dried oil paint films, it is present in some varnishes and can be used for certain studio purposes. Most forms of alcohol can be safely handled without special precautions. However, methyl, methanol and wood alcohol are absorbed through the skin and can cause blindness with regular exposure to high doses. The flash point of all alcohols is around 50°F and therefore poses a moderate fire hazard.
  • odorless paint thinner
    The main ingredient ismineral spirits, a substitute for turpentine. Although relatively odorless, mineral spirits carry the same risks as turpentine, plus they are narcotic. Its flash point is over 100°F, so it would take a hot day to ignite paint thinner. Because mineral spirits can be absorbed through the skin, suitable gloves or barrier cream should be worn.
    Paint thinner may also be includedV. M. & P. ​​Nafta(manufacturers of varnishes and nafta painters). Naphtha is irritating to eyes and skin and is a significant fire hazard.
    Due to the moderate evaporation rates of mineral spirits and naphtha, an open window or dilution ventilation is recommended.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (33)
The label on a paint thinner can warns of the risk of fire and inhalation of the fumes.

  • rubber cement
    Although it has since been largely supersededN-Hexano,Benzenecan be a component of rubber cement. Benzene can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and is a highly dangerous cumulative poison. However, n-hexane is just as dangerous. These materials have very low flash points and due to its rapid evaporation rate, n-hexane is highly flammable. Wear appropriate gloves or protective lotion to protect your hands when working with rubber cement. Have excellent ventilation.
  • Varnish and fixing spray
    In general, these materials should only be used in spray booths or outdoors due to their objectionable odor and toxicity. Do not inhale the drops.
    A common ingredient in these sprays isAcetone,a skin irritant. With its very low flash point (-4°F) it can be easily ignited and should not be used near an open flame or a lit cigarette.
    Glycol etherThey are part of some sprays and paints. They are known to cause birth defects and miscarriages and have been linked to testicular atrophy. With a flash point in excess of 100°F, there is little risk of fire.
    Another element in some fixatives and varnishes isToluene. Continued exposure to its vapors is extremely dangerous and can cause respiratory arrest. Other conditions include liver and kidney damage. Toluene is also highly narcotic.
  • Turpentine
    Possible effects include irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, as well as dermatitis and asthma. Other dangers include irritation and damage to the kidneys and bladder. Regular contact can lead to the development of an allergy. An open window or dilution ventilation is fine, and there is relatively little risk of fire.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (34)

Always spray fixer or varnish outdoors or in a dedicated spray booth due to the emission of toxic fumes and droplets and unpleasant odors.


Some of the binders and solvents used in the manufacture of artists' paints and drawing materials pose health risks. People who react to solvents used with alkyd or oil paints have two choices. Try rinsing your brushes with refined linseed oil instead of paint thinner or turpentine. If you're still having a reaction, you may need to switch to acrylic paints.

  • acrylic paint
    Acrylic (polymer) paints are a combination of synthetic resins (varnishes), pigments and a variety of additives. These may include carcinogenic formaldehyde as a preservative and an ammonia-based stabilizer. The evaporation of these additives while the paint is drying can cause respiratory irritation and allergies. Dilution ventilation is recommended.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (35)

Because they emit no noticeable odor, most people are unaware that acrylic paints emit noxious fumes when drying and become complacent when handling them.

  • Alkydfarbe
    Alkyd paints are used with the same solvents and oils as oil paints and are made with the same ingredients. The binder (oil) in the paint has been molecularly modified, making alkyd paints behave differently than traditional oil paints. Use dilution ventilation due to the presence of resins and solvents in the paint.
  • Money
    Not dangerous.
  • From the encaustic
    The process consists of mixing dry pigment with melted wax, drying oils and natural resins. Wear a face mask to avoid inhaling pigment particles. When heated, wax can emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and other toxic fumes and fumes. Some pigments also release noxious fumes when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, forced ventilation is advisable.
  • Oil painting
    Usually a combination of pigment and a harmless vegetable oil, high quality oil paints require no special handling or ventilation. However, school paints and some hobby paints may contain harmful additives such as preservatives. Barrier cream or gloves are recommended.
  • Pastel, chalk, counted
    The main threat is pigment dust. To protect yourself, wear a dust mask.
  • pencil, graphite
  • rubber cement
    Contains harmful n-hexane or benzene and other highly toxic ingredients. Use only outdoors or in a spray booth.


The dried pigment should never be inhaled; even the non-toxic ones can cause respiratory irritation and the toxic ones can cause serious injury or even death. In lacquer form, however, most pigments are relatively harmless. Still, there are some paint colors that require special precautions, such as: g. wearing gloves or a barrier cream, and these are discussed below.

  • Arsenic
    some kinds ofcobalt violetthey contain arsenic, which can damage nerve and kidney tissue, cause cancer and impair reproduction. variants ofreal emerald green, a now obsolete paint, contain arsenic.
  • Barium
    A small amount is availablecadmium colors, some kinds ofyellow lemonjpermanently yellow, as well as in the Grumbach line ofCadmium Barium Colors. When absorbed through the skin, barium causes spasms in the muscles, bladder, and intestines. Another effect is the irregular heartbeat.
  • Cadmium
    It is a skin and eye irritant and is available in any color with the word cadmium in its name.
  • Chrom
    Some people react to exposure with severe skin allergies and slow-healing skin and nasal sores. Found ingreen chromium oxide.
  • Cobalt
    an ingredient in itcobalt colors and insky blue. Ingestion of cobalt causes vomiting, diarrhea and skin irritation.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (36)

Despite the ailments associated with cobalt, cobalt blue remains a useful and popular color. Cobalt is also a component of cobalt violet, cobalt green and cobalt yellow, and cerulean blue. Other names for cobalt yellow include Gamboge and Aureolin.

  • Lead
    an ingredient in itwhite scale,Cremnitz white, jauthentic Naples yellowLead is absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the bones. Acute exposure can cause colic, seizures, coma, and death. Regular exposure can cause anemia and damage to the brain, nervous tissue, and kidneys.

    The authentic yellow of Naples is also includedAntimony,leading to vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and muscle pain. Further consequences are kidney and liver degeneration and anemia.
    Both lead and antimony have adverse reproductive consequences.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (37)

Most artists' colors do not pose any particular danger. Lead white is one of the exceptions. Shown is "cremnitz white", a form of white lead paint. Lead is also a component of authentic Naples Yellow. Lead accumulates in the body and can eventually cause serious damage to nerve tissue and kidneys. Death is a possibility with extreme lead exposure.

  • Mangan
    A mild skin irritant contained withinmanganblaujviolet, as well as some samples fromyellow oxidessuch asocher yellow.
  • Mercury
    true vermilion
    contains mercury. The symptoms of mercury poisoning are mental and emotional disturbances leading to tremors, kidney disease and nerve degeneration. Reproductive impairments are a consequence of exposure.
  • Nickel
    nickel yellow
    jgreen nickelThey contain nickel, which can cause "nickel itch," a severe skin allergy.
  • Selenium
    present inCadmium rootjOrange, Selenium is irritating to eyes and skin.

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- Paint straight lines
- Preparation paper for oil or
acrylic painting
- Paint over old pictures

(paint straight lines)
I love your paintings!
How do you paint PERFECT STRAIGHT lines in your paintings? Do you use tape, ruler, etc. or just the brush?

-----Colleen Mooney

(paint straight lines)
I use slightly different techniques for painting than for drawings.

In a drawing I let gravity do most of the work to get a vertical line. When I draw on an easel, I extend my arm fully so my charcoal or pencil barely makes contact with the paper. Then I lower my arm at a moderate, steady pace as I draw the line. In most cases I can get a reasonably straight vertical line this way.

Horizontal and diagonal lines are done slightly differently. Again with my arm outstretched and constant movement at a moderate pace, I keep my eyes on my goal. I don't look at my hand. That way I can almost always draw a straight line that goes where I want it to go.

Before I describe the methods I use when painting, there is an important point to note. None of the lines I draw or paint are perfectly straight. It would be more appropriate to describe them as heterosexual. Some artists use tools like rulers, straightedges, and the like, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, I find that relying on such devices in the final stages of an artwork gives the image a mechanical look, as if it was created by an engineer or machine. I prefer my lines to be a bit imperfect so they have a more human quality.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (38)With the padded end of the grinding rod resting on the canvas, this artist runs his brush across the rod to paint a straight line.

Many of my images are large, so the methods I use for drawing are not always completely reliable. Therefore, when I trace the image on canvas with charcoal or pencil, I use a tool such as a grinding rod. However, once the drawing is made, all the work is done freehand, using the drawn lines as guides.

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(prepare paper for painting with oil or acrylic)
I am packing for my trip to New Mexico and I have everything on the list we discussed. I'm ready to go~! My backpack is 14-15" wide and 19" long. I can cut watercolor paper. I bought 140 pounds of cold pressed paper. I used gesso (mixed) and acrylic gel medium. But how to prime?

(1) Do I gesso or do I do the acrylic medium?

(2) Will the curled paper curl or curl? The acrylic gel paper?

(3) How long does the plaster have to dry?

(4) Can I roll up the paper and transport it in a tube? Or do I have to transport it flat on the foam board?

(5) When I'm done and all the paints are dry, can I roll them up and take them home?

------Jane Gee

(prepare paper for painting with oil or acrylic)

You can paint directly with acrylic on paper without any preparation. However, paper is very absorbent, so many artists first coat it with plaster of paris or acrylic paint for a better finish.

To prepare the paper, treat both sides; You're more likely to bend and flex if you only do it on one side. Using a wide flat brush (about 3 inches) apply the plaster by brushing in one direction (e.g. back and forth), slightly overlapping the strokes. Allow to dry completely (15-30 minutes) and then apply the plaster to the other side of the paper. Once dry, apply a second coat of plaster to both sides of the paper, brushing across the first coat (if the first coat brushed from side to side, the second coat should be on top and bottom). .

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (39)

Prepare thick watercolor paper for painting with acrylic or oil paints by applying plaster to both sides of the paper with a wide brush.

To minimize warping and creases I use 300-500 lb watercolor paper. The heavier the paper, the less likely it is to warp. Depending on the brand, the £140 paper you received may warp slightly or severely. Smaller leaves are likely to bend more than larger ones, so plaster them up first, then cut the leaf into smaller pieces to fit in your backpack.

Prepared paper and finished paintings can be rolled, but not too tight. Although it will feel dry in a short time, allow the plaster paper to dry overnight before rolling it up. You can also stick the prepared paper onto a foam board for shipping, then it will be ready to go when you get where you want to go.

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(paint over old pictures)
I have a question about used tarpaulins. What do you do with a canvas that you have already painted but you are not satisfied with the picture? Can you paint it over completely? And since different colors have different levels of light transmission, could you hide the above image entirely? Or do you think it's not worth reusing the canvas?

----- Sweet Yeung

(paint over old pictures)
If you're on a budget (like most of us), reusing old paint can save you a lot of money. Like you and me today, the great masters of the past tried to minimize their spending and one way to do that was to paint over their old paintings. In general, however, I do not recommend painting over old paintings if the new painting is to be exhibited and sold. But for studies, sketches, or student work, the practice is acceptable and makes good business sense.

Old canvases can be revived by painting directly onto the old image as long as the media is compatible. Acrylic and oil paints can be safely applied over acrylic paint, but it is not technically appropriate to apply acrylic paint or acrylic plaster over oil paint.

Some artists find it tedious to paint over an old painting, so they paint over it with white acrylic plaster (in the case of an acrylic painting) or oil paint (if the original painting was painted with oil or acrylic paints). If you choose to go this route, it's a good idea to scrape off old paint first by scraping it off with a trowel or spatula. This gives the new paint a grippier surface to stick to. Other artists don't find it confusing to paint directly onto an old painting, and some (like me) use the underlying color by incorporating it into the new painting.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (40)
The artist has painted a new portrait over an earlier discarded one. To execute the new painting, the artist rotated the original 180 degrees so that the remains of the old figure's shoulders are now visible at the top of the picture. Mirroring an old painting is useful for reducing the distraction of an old painting when painting over it.

Of course, there are downsides to both approaches. The most obvious is the difficulty of completely erasing the old image, or at least the parts that disturb the clarity of the new one.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (41)
This canvas has been given a new coat of plaster over the old painting. Note that the coating appears uneven and is gray in places instead of white.

Covering an old painting with white paint or plaster only reduces it to a vague pattern of darker and lighter spots, but cannot restore the surface to a brilliant, even white. Whether treated with a white coat or painted directly, there may be places where the old image shows through the new to an unacceptable degree. In such cases it may be necessary to build up the new paint to a considerable thickness. Also keep in mind that with oil paints even the most opaque colors cannot always erase the colors underneath, and with acrylic paints there are no truly opaque colors.

There are two other major potential problems with painting over an old painting. The most immediate of these is the superficial character of the original painting. Even if the color can be darkened, brush and palette knife marks along with variations in paint thickness are still visible in the new image and must be taken into account when designing and painting the new image.

In the long term, the question arisesBuses. Colors become more translucent over time and eventually the underlying image begins to show through the newer image above, even when thick, opaque colors were used. You may have seen this effect in vintage interior pictures, where the checkerboard pattern of the tiled floor is visible through the figures painted on it. However, if you don't expect your images to be admired by future generations, don't worry.

Frederic C. Kaplan, image creator (42)
Painting by Winslow Homer from 1875,milking time, is an excellent example of pentimento. Although it was painted just over a century ago, the upper layers of paint have become so translucent that the underlying strip of dark plowed earth is clearly visible through the woman's dress.

In general, the economic benefits of painting over old paintings often outweigh other considerations, especially for the prolific artist.

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