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Miscellaneous Questions I

1.  Can I sign my name to a painting although I painted it from an art book, video, or photograph of a painting? Can I use a pseudonym to sign my paintings?
You can sign your name to a painting as long as it is not an exact copy of another artist's artwork.  You cannot use a pseudonym on original works of art.  It is best if you name them or at least catalog your work with a numbering system and description.

2.  What easel is recommended?
An aluminum easel - Stanrite #500 (make sure you get the 500, the legs are sturdier)

3.  What type of varnish is recommended? My varnish has become very thick. Can I thin it?
You can use a variety of varnishes.  Damar picture varnish is good and so is Liquin varnish. Make sure you use a varnish that is applicable to your medium - acrylic varnish for acrylic paintings and oil varnish for oil paintings.  You can purchase a spray or a liquid varnish depending on your preference.

For oil varnish, you can thin a thick liquid varnish with turpentine to breakdown the thickness. Add small amounts of turpentine and mix thoroughly before you apply the thinned varnish to your painting.

4.  When can I varnish my painting?
For oils, you need to wait 4 to 6 months for light texture.  For heavily textured oil paintings, wait 6 to 8 months before applying a varnish.  One or two coats of varnish are sufficient for oil paintings.

For acrylics, you need only to wait about one hour after completing your painting. You will also apply one or two coats. A varnish is not necessary for acrylic paintings because they are self-sealing, but a varnish can give acrylics the shiny look of oils.

5.  What is a 3-in-1 lens on a camera?
This particular lens (usually a 28-80mm lens or a 20-200mm lens) will allow you to zoom in on your subjects and also gives you a wide angle.

6.  How do I start marketing and selling my work?
Joining your local art club is a great place to start. They usually have monthly or quarterly meetings which will give you access to art resources in your area.  They may have a couple of showings a year and the yearly fees are usually very affordable.

You can also post your own website over the Internet.  You can reach many more interested persons than you can locally.  Post your website address on search engines to increase your market potential.

7.  What are artist glasses?
Artist glasses are designed to help an artist focus on the palette while mixing and then have the same focus as you move to the canvas.  While they are much like bifocals, they are specifically designed to have a larger field of vision in the two lenses. 

8.  How can I get prints made of my original works of art?
You need to look for companies in your area that do digital scans or Giclee prints of fine art. These are copies made from any form of artwork - the original, slides or transparencies are used.  Your artwork or pictures are scanned on a computer and usually filed on a disc.  A digitized copy of your work will allow you to make various size copies of your artwork but will never change the original.

9.  Can I reuse a canvas?
A canvas can be reused.  The rule is about 3 times.  Once you loose the tooth of your canvas it is not reusable.  If your painted surface is rough, you will need to lightly sandpaper your canvas to remove the rough edges.  Wipe of any residue before you apply a thick layer of gesso.  You may need to apply more than one coat of gesso before it will completely cover the painted surface.  Allow the gesso to dry completely before beginning a new painting.  You can use this technique on acrylics and oils.

10.  Is there a problem with copyright or patent infringement if I add a can of Pepsi to a still life or have done a portrait from the cover of a magazine?
Any time you use a product that has a patent or a published photograph that has a copyright in your painting it is an infringement and a copyright violation.  You must first get permission before you use copyrighted or patented materials in your paintings.  If you profit from your artwork, you can be subject to a lawsuit.  This same rule applies to items that are licensed - logos and company trademarks for example.

11.  How can I remove varnish from a painting?
Removing varnish is tricky. The best approach for an acrylic painting would be to use fine sandpaper.  Lightly go over the painting's surface with the fine-grain sandpaper. Wipe off the varnish dust with a damp cotton rag.  After you remove the varnish, you will be able to re-paint on the surface.

If you are removing a varnish from an oil painting, lightly sand the painting's surface.  Then, take turpentine and rub the background to clean the surface.  Then, re-paint as normal. There are chemicals available for removing varnishes but they are expensive and mostly used by museums.

12.  Does gesso crack with time?
Since Acrylic gesso has been in use for 40 years there has never been any evidence of it cracking or turning yellow.  With the acrylic base, it is flexible which allows the canvas to contract and expand.  Acrylic gesso will probably outlast oil gesso 10 to 1.  Oil gesso will crack over time and turn yellow.

13.  I love to draw, but painting really is not my strong suit and I prefer sketching. How can I receive the training I need to work as an illustrator?
It is much easier to find work as an illustrator than as a fine-art artist.  To achieve your goals, you need to take about 6 to 12 months of good basic, intermediate and advanced drawing classes.  It is crucial to become proficient in rendering in ink, pencil and gouache (an illustrators medium that is very forgiving).  There are many art schools that specialize in these areas and a private instructor would be most helpful.  You can contact a successful commercial studio in your area to inquire about private instructors and/or recommended schools.

14.  I would like to build a simple easel. Are there plans to be had?
Go to the following web sites www.am-wood.com/july97/easel.html  and
www.bengrosser.com/easel   You will find simple plans to build your own easel at an affordable price.

15.  How can I keep mold from growing inside my Sta-wet palette saver?
You can stop mold from growing in your palette by putting a sugar cube in a small plastic container and, in another container, put cotton balls with a small amount of vinegar then place both containers in your palette.  This should eliminate mold from growing in it for days.

Also, use distilled water to prevent mold from growing on your palette.

16.  I am confused about gels and retarders?
Purist do not recommend these products.  Gels or retarders will weaken the pigment of your paint and may cause them to yellow over time.

17.  What type of art sells the best?

If you want to sell, you must paint what the public wants - usually a trend.  Look at the Thomas Kincaid success story.  He uses bright colors, flower gardens, pathways, and extreme light to create drama. You should keep your paintings light, cheerful, and colorful to attract this type of art collector.

18.  How does one go about getting a gallery to show ones work?
Send them a sleeve of good quality slides of a variety of your work or digital images.  Depending on what the gallery requires.  You can also rent space in some galleries.  Be prepared to pay high commissions.

19.  Are arts & craft shows worthwhile?
Only if you sell art work less than $500.00. You can spend up to $1000.00 for your display in these shows and your traveling costs can be expensive.

20.  I am thinking about submitting my artwork to a gallery that requires a representation fee of $1850.00.  Is this recommended?
These types of galleries are nice and have professional, experienced employees. Unfortunately, they make most of their money from the artists. I f they do sell any of your artwork, they normally charge a high commission as well.  You may want to stay away from fee galleries and stick with galleries that charge a commission if they sell your artwork.

 


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