Saturday, February 8, 2014

Making clear acrylic transfers of photos and prints

When Kim Rootes gave her excellent demo on collage this morning at the February meeting of the Tomball Art League, the subject of making acrylic 'skins' came up. Acrylic medium can be used to make a clear transfer of a photograph, photocopy, or print, so it can be added to a collage or mixed media  painting. YouTube has a number of excellent videos explaining the process. As you look at these you'll see yet more, listed on the right sidebar. 

Acrylic Transfers part 1

Acrylic Transfers part 2

Acrylic Transfers part 3

Transfer Finish

How to transfer a photo to canvas

Mixed Media: Acrylic Skins from prints and magazines

Creating and Printing on Acrylic skins

Grace Hessman Pastel Landscape Pastels

Throughout February you have the pleasure of viewing the pastel paintings of landscape artist Grace Hessman in our meeting room, Room L-129. She’s a 'plein air' painter, which means she plunks her easel down in the shifting soils of west Texas or beach Florida or the Oregon forest, with boots on to protect herself from cactus spines and driving heat and morning chills, to see, feel, and smell each nuance of the landscape she’s passionate about capturing on paper. When you see her work, I think you’ll catch that spirit. That’s Room L-129; throughout February.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Discover Pastels!

This post is especially directed to my pastel artist colleagues. If you're looking for pastel paintings with a 'wow' factor to inspire your winter efforts, let me suggest a visit to the website of Zaria Forman. Forman  has a way with water, clouds, and ice that goes straight for the gut--and the heart. I think you'll find her work deeply moving. For her 2012 project Chasing the Light, she sailed up the northwest coast of Greenland, retracing the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford.She documented the changing arctic landscape and used it as a reference for several large soft pastel drawings of amazing icebergs and icy seas.Her almost photo-realistic works grab the frigid mood of this mighty landscape in flux. Here's the link to those icebergs. She's also on Facebook at (Thanks for Zaria for permission to post her image.) 

At the January meeting of the Tomball Art League, Grace Hessman mentioned the Pastel Society of Southeast Texas and its upcoming exhibitions. 

The Pastel Society of Southeast Texas is holding an Open Exhibition "Art of the Pastel 2014" at The Gallery in the Brazosport Center for The Arts and Sciences in Clute, TX February 4 through March 8, 2014.This exhibition promises to present  to the viewing public a fresh awareness of the beauty of pastel artwork.For exhibitors, it will be an open, non-juried show, but artwork is limited to two paintings per artist. Registration for members is $35 and $45 for non-members.

Master Pastelist Allan Flattman will judge the show and will also present a three day workshop about Landscape & Cityscape Painting with Pastels on February 5 through the 7th. For more show information, the prospectus, a registration form, and workshop information, go to the website  and look under the 2014 Exhibition tab.

Finally, Gabriel Riquelme's inspiring pastel demonstration at the January meeting introduced many of us to some new-to-us art vocabulary, techniques, and supplies. Gabriel maps his pastels with charcoal pencil instead of pastel pencil--black or white, depending on the color of his support--because he can remove it easily with a white plastic eraser or kneaded eraser. He then uses hard pastels to block in his foundation, since the soft filler pastels he uses later will blend more easily over that foundation. Then he ends with ultra-soft pastels.He uses black charcoal pencil for fine black details because he's found the charcoal pencil gives a darker black than a black pastel pencil; it also sharpens better and tends not to break inside like pastel pencils do. He dusts off his work with a spray of compressed air--the kind people use to clean their computer keyboards.But before does, he sprays a cloth at the bottom of his board with a bit of water so that when the chalk dust floats down it sticks to the wet cloth. Finally, he uses a fixative, and he much prefers the Sennellier brand to any other because it darkens the pastels the least of any brand and doesn't dissolve the soft pastels into the harder ones. I'm thinking this is the product he was talking about: To see more of Gabriel Riquelme's work go to

Monday, January 6, 2014

A January Artist's Date--for You

Thursday, January 16 from 10 am. to 3 pm--or whatever fraction of that you can come--you are invited to the library for another Artist's Date. 

We'll spend the morning painting or sketching some still lifes I'll set up in the front room where all the light is. I've ordered flowers for one area and I have a couple of other more squirky setups in mind...Bring your art supplies and your lunch and after we've played hard we'll eat together and chat. The College's catering service will be providing us with beverages and some desserts.

I've also ordered in some books that may be of interest and put them on display on our Round Wall, near where we'll be painting. You're welcome to check them out and take them home. 

In the afternoon we'll retire to the computer lab where we can pool our information about how to use the basic Microsoft Office tools and some free web-based tools for manipulating and researching your reference photos. Everyone is welcome; this isn't limited to Tomball Art League people. This is designed for adults but a well-behaved motivated child will not be turned away. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kimbell Art Museum's New Pavilion and Linnie Baird at our Library

The new Piano Pavilion on the left resonates, in a rectangular staccato way,
with the rounded galloping visual rhythms of the original Kahn Building.
Just after I posted my last blog about the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Museum started advertising on TV that it has just opened its new building. I've been wondering how any architect's work could sit gracefully beside the beautifully understated grand-ness of Louis Kahn's original building. The Kahn building is one of the greats of 20th century architecture and one of my favorites. Apparently the Kimbell's Board of Directors of the Kimbell felt similarly, because they hired esteemed Italian architect Renzo Piano to build what is now called the Piano Pavillion.

Renzo Piano has designed many art museums, two of which you might know. The Menil Collection building here in Houston is one of them, and the famous Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris is another. But it will be up to you to decide if this building is a worthy addition to the Texas art landscape. 

* * * * * * * *

Many thanks to all of you who have offered to show your paintings at OUR museum--or at least, our exhibition space--in the library. Room L-129 exhibition space is now booked until June, but we still have room for the paintings in the second half of the year. Linnie Baird hung her paintings today ahead of the Christmas rush; hers will grace the room all through January. 

Linnie works in oils and pen and ink. She's been painting for seven years, keeping up a legacy her father began. Originally from Alabama, she moved to Texas in her twenties and has been here since. You can feel the love in her Texas landscapes! Come and view Linnie's paintings. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Kimbell Museum has great art blurbs!

While traipsing along a random link-trail inside the Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum website, I came across a list of the artists whose work they have in their collection. If you click here, you'll find what I'm talking about:

Clicking on “C”, and then “Caravaggio”, I discovered that the Kimbell owns Caravaggio’s famous early painting, The Cardsharps. Fair enough. What followed was dazzling. First it had what you’d expect: the date Caravaggio painted it, the medium and support and size of the painting, and that this piece is currently on show. 

What followed however, in the "Conservation" section, was a marvelous description that put Caravaggio’s style in its historical context, explained how he’d originally painted the figures and where he'd made changes, his quirks of painting technique that were helpful to know, and the painting’s provenance. It had none of that esoteric art jargon that numbs my brain and did have loads of useful, interesting information that educated me; information that I think is useful to artists. Check this out:

Perhaps in lieu of underdrawing, Caravaggio used incisions to place elements on the canvas. In The Cardsharps there are only a few incisions in the wet ground, such as in the dupe’s fingertips and the edges of the cards, but this technique was greatly expanded in later works. Other innovative painting techniques in the Kimbell’s painting include the artist’s manipulation of the wet paint to enhance the realism of surface textures. When Caravaggio painted the silk brocade of the central cheat, he blotted the wet paint with his fingers or thumb. He also used the butt end of the brush to describe the black embroidery on the collar of the dupe.”

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the internet?

If you're ever in Fort Worth with some time to spare, the Kimbell Art Museum is a wonderful museum to explore. Their permanent collection is delightful and they have marvelous revolving collections. The current one is The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago. It will be there until February 16, 2014. Go to

The image above: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1595, oil on canvas. Kimbell Art Museum. Used with permission

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Son-of-a-Nazi Art Dealer Story just gets More Amazing

The New York Times just published a further story about Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the prominent Nazi-era art dealer who has been discovered to be living among a trove of art treasures. After the last article I've been wondering: how has this come out now? Who finally found this man? According to this second article, German Customs officials simply stumbled upon it while following their professional curiosity. 

The article writer likens Cornelius Gurlitt to Gollum, the shrivelled hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkein's classic fantasies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, whose life has been twisted and consumed by the magical ring he possesses. Cornelius Gurlitt has lived in a gloomy Munich apartment for all these decades, with no friends and no visitors except his sister, living for his art. What a fascinating tale. Here's the link: