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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prismacolor Premier Markers

I'm not an illustrator, but I've used Prismacolor's chunky double-tip markers for years, to explore color combinations and to make posters. Recently I've tried Prismacolor's Premier markers, which are similar in size to sketching pens and come in three distinctive tips. The Premiere Fine Tip Illustration marker includes five sizes: 005, 01, 03, 05, and 08 and is an excellent tool for drawing lines and crosshatching. The Premiere Brush Tip Illustration marker (my favorite!) has a flexible tip with a fine point that creates a thin or wide line according to the pressure applied during the stroke. Elegant, graceful lines just flow off the tip of the marker, and no dripping. The Premiere Chisel Tip Illustration marker creates thin or wide strokes for lettering and outlining, as well as for covering larger areas. All three marker styles contain pigmented acid-free, archival ink that is lightfast, permanent, non-toxic, and water resistant. Oh--and no strong odor. The pen-sized markers create crisp, detail work or broader coverage as needed; a colorless blender can be used with them to create color and value gradation. I wish there were more colors; color choices are limited to black, red, blue, green, orange, purple, brown, and sepia, which are available in all tip styles. I tried the markers on a smooth bristol plate surface and medium-tooth drawing paper. All of the tips worked well and didn't bleed, but I had to slow down my strokes slightly on the textured surface. The colors were brighter on the smooth surface and didn't smear when dampened after they dried. I think any artist would enjoy working with these markers, but the limited choice of colors could be a drawback. For travel, they're ideal; all you need is the markers and a sketchbook--no water, no solvents. I'll keep the markers in a plastic bag so they don't dry out.

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Still catching up

I can't believe it. In all the frenzy of fall workshops and the holidays, I never posted a blog on my free color wheel offer. So, I'm extending the offer until January 31. Buy a book from my Web site and I'll sign the book and slip in a free Color Scheme Selector.(No international sales, I'm afraid. Customs had a problem with the combination of merchandise and free items in the same package. Bummer.)

And now, I must brace myself for the whirlwind. Our two-year-old grandson is coming to spend the rest of the day. I'm wearing my running shoes.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Poetry in watercolor

I've been thinking a lot about a watercolor one of my students did in class on Monday. She sketched a scene from New Mexico, where she had taken a vacation not so long ago. The subject was Pedernal Mountain, the iconic peak painted by Georgia O'Keeffe. The student worked from memory, with no reference photos in sight. I was astonished at her painting at the end of class. In my opinion it was the best she has ever done: transparent washes, luminous color, spontaneous, and fresh. In a word, poetic. To me the painting illustrates what artists can do when they trust their intuition instead of laboring over details in a photograph. What's in your mind's eye?

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Photoshop Elements class

Hithergreen Center, where I teach my watercolor class, started a new session in Photoshop Elements 6 in November. The class is challenging, but so much fun. I've been into PSE since #1 came out, but my knowledge of the program has been limited to trial and error; I've gotten good results, but never could figure out how I did it. Reinventing the wheel, dontcha know? I've learned so much from Brook, the instructor, and her sidekick, Mary Lou, who have a firm grasp on the program. Some in the class have upgraded to PSE 8; my copy is sitting on my desk waiting to be installed. The class has a monthly contest based on one of the artistic filters in the program. My candy pic here was one of the winners this month. I tried something new I want to pass on, not related to PSE. When I set up the still life, I didn't want to use my flash (harsh shadows), so I dug out my little Ott task-light, which has full-spectrum fluorescent lighting. I turned out the studio lights and used only the task-light. It worked great. Wouldn't be good for a big setup, but perfect for this shot.

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Ben is at it again

Ben Rayman, the publisher of Art-to-Art-Palette, has republished a collection of reviews of The New Creative Artist. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the reviews.) Ben and his associates have continued developing the online magazine after a disastrous fire that burned his house and office and his wife, artist Pat Rayman's art studio to the ground last year. After building a new house and replacing three computers, printers and other electronics, Ben now focuses on the online Palette, a compendium of art news, features, and artist's profiles primarily centered around Ohio and the Midwest. Ben's ongoing support of the arts is greatly appreciated, as well as his enthusiasm for my books and teaching. Thanks, Ben.

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