Oct 28, 2013

To Vignette or Not?

As you may have seen from some previous posts, I've been doing some dressage horse portraits recently. I am working on another horse painting in my series of dressage horses and I'm trying to decide if I should do it vignette style or not. Here are a couple previous horse paintings I did, the first one with a vignette, the other without. I'd be interested in knowing which style you like better. Should I do my next painting with our without vignette?

Oct 24, 2013

Cardinals and Hollies Painting-WIP1

I haven't posted lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! Quite the opposite. Lots going on lately, keeping me very busy and making it hard for me to find time to blog. One of my projects is getting this cardinals and hollies painting done in time for a winter theme show coming up, as well has having a new image for this year's holiday greeting cards. Here's my work in progress. I hope to have it done by next week! So, stay tuned to see the finished piece soon.

Oil on multimedia board

Oct 7, 2013

Miniature Paintings - No 44 - Autumn Chickadee

It's time to get you some smaller works that would make perfect holiday gifts, decorations, and greeting cards. Starting off the fall season is a small painting of a chickadee in an autumn setting in theme with my earlier Apple Harvest Chickadee painting.

6"x6" oil
Original: SOLD
Other small paintings available here

Oct 4, 2013

Print Sale! - Ends 10/6/13

Exclusively for you, my blog readers, I'm having a sale this weekend on prints of my artwork! Starting right now save $6-$12 (depending on the size you order) on all fine art prints ordered through my Fine Art America page using this discount code: NEDETZ

This discount does not require you to buy any particular size, image, or style. It applies to all my artwork, whether you want a print on paper, canvas, acrylic, or metal. Your choice! Below is just a sampling of the images available but you're not limited to these, so be sure to visit the FAA site for dozens more choices.

It's not too early to start thinking about the holidays. Prints make nice Christmas gifts, and many of the snowy images I have would also make nice Holiday Greeting Cards, so take a look.

Sale ends Sunday night, so hurry!

IMPORTANT: Remember to use this code NEDETZ when placing your order to get the discount.

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

Art Prints

Oct 1, 2013

Making Prints from Oil Paintings

Do you hope to make prints from your paintings that you can gift or sell? I think most artists like the idea of being able to make reproductions of their artwork. Take a photo, print it out. Sounds easy, right?

Uh, no. Not really. I won't even get into the headaches of trying to get a good photograph of an oil painting. That's a whole other topic for another blog post.

Today I'm going to talk about why the surface you paint on makes a difference when you decide to make prints from your image.

The other day I spent a good portion of the afternoon cutting Multimedia Artboard® and foam board and pasting them together. I usually paint with oils on one of three surface types, or substrates: canvas, Gessobord®, or Multimedia Artboard®. Recently I have decided Multimedia Artboard® is my substrate of choice.


Because I have decided to focus my art on licensing, creating art for reproductions on posters, prints, jigsaw puzzles, calendars, etc. This requires good, clean, "flat" digital images. By "flat" I mean little to no texture or glossy bumpiness shows up in the photo. Oil paints are glossy, canvas is bumpy. This is not a good combination for flat photos. But, much of this can be eliminated with proper use of correct light angles and polarizing filters.

So let's say you have your polarizing filters set up, and your light angles just right, so you minimize the glare from the oil's glossy surface, and you eliminate the texture from the canvas surface. There's still one more problem with canvas. It has holes.

By "holes" I don't mean literal holes. But the texture of canvas leaves paint holes on the surface, pockets in the surface's texture where the paint doesn't always get in. I recently finished a painting on canvas of a palomino horse. I spent a good deal of time in Photoshop fixing all those holes that show up as white spots in the photo. Here's an example of that.

See all those little white specks? (If you can't see them click the image for a larger view) Those aren't digital camera errors, or glare. They are from tiny pockets in the canvas' textured surface where the paint did not fill the holes. Interestingly, when you view the painting in real life you don't see those at all. The canvas texture and the paint's glossiness hide all that. But when you eliminate the texture and gloss from the image with the polarizing filters, these specks become glaringly obvious.

I could reduce this problem by working the paint into the canvas more. But that's hard to do because, as I said, you don't really see it in real life, so it's hard to know where it needs to be worked in. Also, working it in would require really pushing the paint around. I'd risk overworking the painting, blending too much, and losing those lovely painterly brush strokes.

So, the solution to this problem is to ditch the canvas and other rough surfaces for painting on. Gessobord® panels are one option. They are very smooth and eliminate the hole problem completely. My problem with them is that they are heavy, which can add considerably to shipping costs if you have to ship the originals somewhere. They are also prone to cracking, chipping, and breaking. Gessobord® is almost too smooth sometimes, too. The paint slips around sometimes and it can be hard to cover it with a nice opaque layer.

This is what brings me to Multimedia Artboard®. It has a little more texture than Gessobord® but not nearly as much as canvas. So you eliminate the hole problem you get with canvas but don't have the paint sliding all around the surface like you do with Gessobord. It's also very light weight, lighter than either Gessorbord® or canvas, so it's cheaper to ship. It's also very thin, so it's easy to stack, store, or travel with.

So why isn't everyone using it? Well, it does have one major drawback. It's very brittle by itself and will snap like a twig if unsupported so it must be mounted onto a support surface. This is why I mount it to foam board. Unfortunately, I don't think you can buy it already mounted so you have to spend some time doing it yourself. But once it's mounted to foam board it is thinner, lighter weight, and even less prone to damage than either canvas or Gessobord®. And it eliminates the paint hole problem. So, overall, though a little more work up front, I think it's worth the time and effort. Give it a try!

Update: Multimedia Artboard® is now available pre-mounted on foamboard!

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