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PE: Power of Perspective

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 1:23 PM

PE: Power of Perspective

Perspective is the angle and depth of a piece of art. Changing perspective allows for drastic differences. There is more than one kind of perspective, and all of them allow for more dynamic pieces of art if used correctly.

There are three common choices, and these are explained later.
Usually perspective deals with how close things appear, and correctly rendering perspective adds depth to an image and increases the impact of the composition.

 One Point Perspective

One point perspective is where there is one vanishing point in a piece. . A vanishing point is essentially the in-the-distance-until-you-can'
t-see anymore point.

You see this perspective often, images of roads, or landscape often have one point perspective.

 One Point Perspective Checkered floor by WillWorks

 One Point Perspective City tut by Swingerzetta     One Point Perspective. by skimlines  One-point Perspective by Xenogia

Examples of one point perspective:

 Two Point perspective

Two vanishing points in the horizon, usually at the sides.  It can be harder to render, however, if used correctly, can be quite dynamic.

Abstract Two-Point Perspective by TBrennan
Two Point Perspective by Rhino0 Two-Point Perspective by Haru-chan77

:: Two point perspective :: by Videogamescool

Three Point Perspective

Two vanishing points on the horizon, then a third vanishing point placed
either far forwards towards the viewer, or back away from the viewer.

This perspective is great for conveying large amounts space without looking too flat.
Metropolis in 3 point by fuzzybudgie
3 point perspective exercise by beamer   Spidey in Three Point by Hoabert


Related to how perspective impacts composition.


perspective tutorial II by HMSpeedFreek    One Point Perspective City tut by Swingerzetta      New perspective on perspective by HOON

Library reference-perspectives by ArtistsHospital

Adding on to Boxes in Perspective by ccRask

1-Point Perspective Tutorial by dragonictoni

Perspective Tutorial: '4VP?' by GriswaldTerrastone

`Infinite-Heart for #projecteducate

Understanding perspective can impact your artistic results strongly
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PE: The power of context

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 6:04 AM

A picture is indeed "worth a thousand words", a complex idea can be conveyed with a single still image. This quote also characterizes one of the main goals of visualizations, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. In our perception of artworks we see every day, some get closer to our hearts than others. Imagine a painting, strong and powerful, technique showing an experienced, steady hand, needing nothing but a pair of eyes to enter one's sensitive soul. Are you satisfied with what you see? I wouldn't count on that, but I would be quite sure that after a while your head fills with numerous questions.

On the contrary, your favorite artist publishes their recent work and you, as always, immediately love it. If, however, you would allow your mind a little exercise, you could clearly see that if this work was shown to you at random, under different circumstances and you would not know the author, hardly would it catch your interest for a second.

What is important than, the picture or the context? I will let you decide for yourself, what I intend to mention in this article are a few tips for artists that can hardly understand why their wonderful artworks go around unnoticed. Meanwhile, I strongly hope these will help you on your way to become properly understood and recognized.

:bulletpurple: SIGN IT - In all your creations, you should always use one specific signature, the one that is readable by people. The importance of signing every artwork you make is clear, every time someone sees a piece of art they like, first question asked is "Who is the artist?" The answer needs to be there.

beware of  -  Signature so big and glaring that it puts the picture itself in the corner looks rather ridiculous.

 :bulletpurple:TITLE IT - This is very important, many artists does not bother with titles and their works end up either "untitled" or with numbers as if their creations were cups of coffee. Title says quite a lot about your perception of your own work - giving it a proper name establishes personal attachment, revealing part of its message, thought, idea.

beware of - Offensive and inappropriate titles, numbers, random letters.

:bulletpurple: DATE IT - Especially when the artwork you are presenting was made earlier and your style has developed ever since. By dating your works, you provide your audience a timeline in which they can follow your progress, development of your technique and subjects.

beware of - Providing a false information.

:bulletpurple: EXPLAIN IT - on DeviantArt we have an "artist description" window that gives you enough space for anything you would want to say about the artwork and I suggest you use it. Personally, nothing saddens me more than to see a wonderful artwork with blank and deaf description. Besides artwork commentary, you are welcome to mention your progress, was the work spontaneous or carefully planned, what thoughts command you to work this way, etc.

beware of - Overly long essays, inappropriate phrases but mainly indecent self-criticism - if you truly hate it so much, don't publish it.

:bulletpurple: PLACE IT IN A LARGER CONTEXT - What and who influenced you? What book were you reading, what music were you listening to? What was going on in your personal life? These questions seem to be too much, but often it is exactly a deep personal experience that leads you towards creating something unusual. If you dare to share it, you are on a good way to form a strong connection between your artworks and your audience.

beware of - Listing numerous insignificant events or publishing inside jokes nobody but you understands.

:bulletpurple: LIST THE INGREDIENTS - Techniques you've used shouldn't under no circumstances remain a mystery, make it transparent, list your tools consistently. Not only you will help starting artists and students by pointing them to the right direction towards a specific technique, but you will most likely avoid suspicions regarding origin of your artwork.

beware of - There is no need to list 20 graphite pencils you've used in your sketch one by one, your eraser or a tissue. As with everything, stick to the point.

:bulletpurple: BE - THERE - Publish your works continuously, give it time, be open for discussion and opinions. Write personal journals from time to time, if you like. People will start perceiving your work in a context of yourself, your thoughts and circumstances in which you create. Remember that a "familiar thing" is always seen differently than an unknown picture out of context.

beware of - Overdoing it.

What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article? How do you go around giving your artworks a title? Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?

Write your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week.
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PE: 9 tips to be more creative

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:26 AM

Creativity isn't just an artist's concern. Creativity is about using your imagination in every endeavor. Believe it or not, you are a creative person already. However, these tips might inspire you to get the best of what you already have.

This comes as a very first tip for a reason. Whether it's outside your house or outside your mind, changing your perspective will help the ideas flow.


Your brain functions much better when well-hydrated. Symptoms of mild dehydration include tiredness, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness - these are certainly not going to help you to think straight.


Exercise produces endorphins that might as well be responsible for your next brilliant idea.


Dreaming is very important, inside a dream nothing is impossible. Use that to your advantage.


Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. TV is a mind-killer. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.


Keep a journal. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.


This one is particularly helpful to me. Hard to explain, get out there and feel it.


Do it. Quietly.


See another artist’s creation. Live, not through your screen.

Do you have your own specific ways to keep you more creative?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week :frail:
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PE: The Impact of Color

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:06 AM


Color is the aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of light being reflected or emitted by them, as received by the human eye and processed by the human brain. It is a function of light and biology, not an exact science, no two people can see it exactly the same.

The human eye and brain together translate light into color. Light receptors within the eye transmit messages to the brain, which produces the familiar sensations of color. Newton observed that color is not inherent in objects. Rather, the surface of an object reflects some colors and absorbs all the others. We perceive only the reflected colors. Thus, red is not "in" an apple. The surface of the apple is reflecting the wavelengths we see as red and absorbing all the rest. An object appears white when it reflects all wavelengths and black when it absorbs them all.

"Colors are the deeds of light, its deeds and sufferings."

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Color by FishEye-lens

Red, green and blue are the additive primary colors of the color spectrum. Combining balanced amounts of red, green and blue lights also produces pure white. By varying the amount of red, green and blue light, a wide range of the colors in the visible spectrum can be produced.

The human eye can perceive more variations in warmer colors than cooler ones. About 8% of men and 1% of women have some form of color impairment. Most people with color deficiencies aren't aware that the colors they perceive as identical appear different to other people. Most still perceive color, but certain colors are transmitted to the brain differently.

"Color is a powerful physical, biological, and psychological force. When less color and less intense color is present, trace amounts and subtle differences become highly significant and are strongly felt. "

(John Paul Caponigro)

Color Me Rainbow by SubhadipKoley 


Color is light and light is energy. Scientists have found out that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics. 

Experiencing color is both objective and subjective - our personal and cultural associations affect this experience. Colors are seen as warm or cool mainly because of long-held (and often universal) associations. Yellow, orange and red are associated with the heat of sun and fire; blue, green and violet with the coolness of leaves, sea and the sky. Warm colors seem closer to the viewer than cool colors, but vivid cool colors can overwhelm light and subtle warm colors. Using warm colors for foreground and cool colors for background enhances the perception of depth.

"It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling block."

(Paul Gauguin)

chloe by markdumanon

Although red, yellow and orange are in general considered high-arousal colors and blue, green and most violets are low-arousal hues, the brilliance, darkness and lightness of a color can alter the psychological message. While a light blue-green appears to be tranquil, wet and cool, a brilliant turquoise, often associated with a lush tropical ocean setting, will be more exciting to the eye. The psychological association of a color is often more meaningful than the visual experience.

"Red is a color I've felt very strongly about. Maybe red is a very Indian color, maybe it's one of those things that I grew up with and recognize at some other level."

(Anish Kapoor)

like wildfire by agnes-cecile

Colors act upon the body as well as the mind. :bulletred: Red has been shown to stimulate the senses, raise the blood pressure, increase the appetite and is also associated with danger and anger. :bulletblue: Blue, on the other hand, calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure and orderly, but it can create feelings of sadness or aloofness. Blue lowers the pulse rate and body temperature. :bulletgreen: Green is a cool color that symbolizes nature, represents health, good luck, inspiration but also jealousy. It is thought to relieve stress and helps heal. :bulletyellow: Yellow is a bright color, often described as cheery and warm, but quite fatiguing to the eye. While it's stimulating and represents energy, it can create feelings of frustration or anger. :bulletpurple: Purple represents nobility, royalty, wealth, wisdom and spirituality. Purple does not often occur in nature, it can sometimes appear exotic or artificial. This color, especially shades of violet, will definitely make a statement. 

"What a horrible thing yellow is."

(Edgar Degas)

Glow by sagittariusgallery

Brown is a natural color that evokes a sense of strength and reliability, bringing to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security. Brown is considered a neutral color. Orange is an energetic color, bringing out excitement and enthusiasm. It is often used to draw attention, it's easier on the eyes as yellow but not as bold as red. Pink is essentially a light red, it's often associated with love and romance. It is thought to have a calming effect.

"With all their damned talk of modern painting, I've been forty years discovering that the queen of all colours is black!"

(Pierre-Auguste Renoire)

Danza 1 by alfhernandez

Black and White are not colors from the physical point of view, the first one absorbing all light in the color spectrum, the other reflecting all. Black is often used as a symbol of menace and evil, but it is also popular as an indicator of power. In many cultures, it associates with death and mourning; in ancient Egypt, it represented life and rebirth. In fashion, black is used for its slimming quality and associates with elegance. White represents purity and innocence, also hope. It is described as cold, bland and sterile. White helps reduce any nagging feelings of disappointment or drudge.

"White is poison to a picture: use it only in highlights."

(Peter Paul Rubens)

  watercolor, Summer water by HitomiOsanai 


In art as well as music, harmony comes from a pleasing arrangement of the parts. The science of color harmony categorizes colors and determines harmonious groupings, but where science becomes art is in knowing how to use these colors, in what proportions and in what order.

In color and music, contrasts intensify each other. Complementary colors bring out the attributes of each other. White becomes brighter on a black background, blue enhances the warmth of orange; opposite hues are especially attention-getting. This hue contrast can cause tension in the image, if you are using fully saturated colors. Complementary colors can be brought into harmony by reducing the saturation or by mixing a little of each color with the other.

"Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No."

(Pablo Picasso)

color of the wind by hayzy

This tension is at its strongest when large areas of complementary colors touch, this effect is known as simultaneous contrast. For the most part, it's visually disturbing and should be avoided. Separating large areas of complementary colors with a thin line of neutral white, gray or black will diminish the effect.

Varying the saturation or brightness of a color can cause light and dark contrasts. By simply working with complementary and analogous colors, a harmonious color scheme can easily be created. Pay attention to the saturation and brightness of the colors to prevent unexpected contrasts or to create intentional ones. If two colors are equal in saturation and proportions, the dominant color will be the one whose brightness is furthest from the background's. Similarly, if two colors have identical brightness, the dominant color will be the one whose saturation deviates more from that of the background.

"In order to change a color it is enough to change the color of its background.."

(Michel Eugene Chevreul)

How does color impact you, personally? What makes you choose one color over another? What's your favorite color combination?

Share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

Portrait of a Clown XXIV by sythesite Poppy... by Takir 254 Ann Siang Road, Singapore by tilenti
398 by yag65 Compassion Series: Invisible World by jialu

"Color possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter."

(Paul Klee)


Article written for #projecteducate's Community Week.


Color Think Tank - What is color
Color Psychology
Art Therapy
11 psychological effects of color
J.W.Goethe - Theory of Colours
Miroslav Lamač - Thoughts of modern painters (ODEON Prague, 1989)
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5 EXCUSES why you just can't do better!

You really want to, you've worked hard to develop the skills you have and you enjoy every minute of doing what you love. And besides, people say that your artworks are...nice. Cute. Doesn't that count for something? Sure it does, there is no reason to panic and pointlessly push yourself forward. Enjoy your coffee break!

Besides, even if you didn't like the current level as much, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it at the moment. So many unfortunate happenings stand right between you and your dream. Recognizing any of the following?

:bulletred: 1 - You don't have the time

You're right! After all, you are a human being, not a machine, waking up early every morning, heading to school/work, afterwards taking care of the household/kids/your homework, studying, you barely even finish all the tasks during the 24 hours that's been given to everyone.

On the other hand, is there absolutely no way to squeeze in one hour to practice? What about that two hour lunch you have with your friend just to talk through all the pointless news? How about cutting a few minutes out of your gaming/tv time? Think harder, you'll realize that our time is distributed amongst things we WANT to do.

:bulletred: 2 - You don't have enough money to buy proper supplies

Sure this is a valid point, I mean look at those artists and their work, they use such fancy paints and equipment that makes them achieve the best results without probably no work at all. Where would you get such material? Without such advantage, there is no point in trying.

On the other hand, have you seen those exceptionally awesome artists who work with nothing but pencil and paper? No the pencil is not magical, I'm sure you have one of those by your side right now. Pick it up, because this excuse has just expired.

:bulletred: 3 - You're not talented enough

Of course, famous artists were born with different hands and eyes like yours, you have absolutely no artistic talent swimming inside your veins. You tried your best but your subjects are stiff, coloring just wrong, better to give up now before you make a fool out of yourself.

On the other hand, you still can't be sure whether you have the talent. You won't know that when your mom gives you pencils at 3, you won't know when you're trying to paint at 20 for the first time in years. You might find out perhaps after months / years of continuous training and practice. Only that and nothing but that can release and show your talent. The questions is, do you WANT to find out?

:bulletred: 4 - Nobody supports nor likes your work

It gets rough when you're alone with what you do. You want to share your results but nobody seems to care, or - in a worse scenario - you meet the cruel reality of your family telling you that this is simply not your cup of tea. Have you ever had a sibling yell at you that you're just no good and should give it up right now? (I did :P) How can one proceed with no support?

On the other hand, good luck basing your decisions on other people's opinions and preferences. Even your family, even if you love them, they have their own hobbies and taste in arts. When you make your peace with this, you are a big step ahead with your work, and you will be doing it only for yourself - this is the best motivation and it lasts whole life.

:bulletred: 5 - There is too much competition

So you took the time to practice, obtained material that you can afford, risen above the talent rumors, made your peace with not having your family blessing and keep on making your artworks. However, it doesn't sell, there is no opportunity for exhibition right now, and online world is full of such brilliant artworks beyond compare. Too many great people around you, what's the point in trying?

On the other hand, THIS is exactly the point in trying harder. Competition hurts sometimes but it has one great side effect - motivation to beat it. If you never saw that brilliant illustration and so many people being excited about it, perhaps you would be on your coffee break again, thinking how you've mastered the craft already. And now you are working on yourself instead and that makes the tomorrow's YOU better.

"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it."

Jordan Belfort

Which excuse keeps you away from your practice?  

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:


Previous articles:

PE: I don't know what to paint...

PE: The power of context

PE: The Impact of Color

PE: 5 reasons to believe in yourself

Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week :frail:
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PE: I don't know what to paint...

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 6:00 AM

We all experience the loss of our muse from time to time. It can get quite challenging to even pick a subject for our next painting. What to paint, what to paint...However, staring at a blank canvas / paper won't make it better - in this article you might, hopefully, find a few ideas to explore.


Look around and get inspired by the present. Your siblings, parents, kids, pets, your best friend...Even yourself!

One life to live by XRlS  pep pill by ObviouslyCloe Untitled by NLAnipy Sleeping In by beckymillerartist
Four Fingers by sylvainArtist O drawing a bird by karrholm LOVE dad it is easy by LucyHudecova puppy by TanyaShatseva


What is your passion? Perhaps you feel strongly about ecology, feminism, politics...or something else? Paint your favorite artist!

91 by yag65 Break Dancer by neo-innov  Shadows of Silence by Dew-Sama 2011-02-01 Balllerina by AdamAntaloczy
 Watercolor by memougler  Miss Brightside (muro) by alicexz Race Car by bobtheraccoon


There is poetry in everyday objects. Even when they might seem too ordinary to paint, any subject can be rendered in an interesting way.
Personally, I find this exercise most helpful and I recommend doing it regularly.

First Blossom by ShastinaHell-N silver creamer by turningshadow Stokrotki by chatte-bleu K Frame by kphillips Still life with pomegranate by LORETANA
Four Eggs by Caitlin-Carnes apple by AdamJuraszekTulip by ttvlwinter sun by kochetkov


In this exercise, try focusing on moods, feelings, lines, shapes, textures, color balance, etc. Be playful and experiment, release all your emotions into the artwork.
This is also a great way how to cope with stress. How about keeping an abstract painter's diary?

Limerence by FarDareisMai you, me and chi chi by artbytiamarie The Power is Born ( What do you see?) by Ana-LesacFloating Behemoth by zilekondic
concert by comteskyee 9 aout 2012 by Malahicha Enigme by FDugourdCaput Morea by FDugourdCaput

Do you find yourself struggling with the subject of your artworks, sometimes? Where did your previous ideas come from? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :heart:
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✿   Watercolor Equipment

Watercolor is a painting technique in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble binder. Usually, the result is transparent and appear luminous because the pigments are laid down in a relatively pure form with a few fillers obscuring the pigment color. This medium was never taken as seriously as "high art" techniques such as oil painting and was rather seen as pale and miniaturist, but it's gradually reclaiming it's place as a vehicle for the most beautiful and unexpected artistic expression. Watercolor can be vibrant and large, very vital, spontaneous and leaning a little on luck. All these aspects make watercolor painting a medium with great potential for new discoveries. 

✿     This article will introduce the most basic and essential tools for watercolor painting: Paper, Brushes and Paints.

Texture 5 crop by jane-beata 12 Crop by jane-beata TEXTURE X crop by jane-beata

In general, a few recommendations apply to all material categories:

✿     Watercolor painting technique is hard to learn, but insanely difficult without proper tools. Use high quality equipment from the beginning to be achieve best results and progress.
✿     Even though high quality means more expensive, carefully plan what to buy. In many cases, high price does not equal high quality.
✿     Please, before you put your shoes on and run to a big store, study about art supplies online. Search for an accurate information, even if it's hard to keep the distance from commercial hype.
✿     Finally, test your own supplies and find out what best suits your needs. Keep in mind that products can change in time, companies sometimes modify their manufacturing methods due to business decisions.

✐   1. Paper

DSC 1425 900 pix by jane-beata  DSC 0540 crop by jane-beata


Paper embodies the painting, gives it character. It defines how long the painting will survive and how favorably it will impress the viewer. There are tons of reasons to pay a lot of attention to your choice of watercolor paper, especially if you no longer throw your doodles away but exhibit and sell them.

Papers are mouldmade (majority) or handmade. They come in three surface finishes - rough (R), cold-pressed (NOT or NP) and hot-pressed (HOT or HP). Regarding weight, papers available are made within the range of 200 gms (90 lb) to 620 gms (300 lb) - a paper's surface finish varies by weight, heavier sheets by the same manufacturer typically have a coarser texture in the same normal finish. Lastly, consider the paper color, the range of whites varies greatly but variety of cool and warm tints is available. Also, in most papers the rough finish has a slightly darker tone than NP and hot-pressed slightly lighter. This is an important factor to consider, given that paper is the source of light for your watercolor painting.

✿    How papers are made

Paper manufacturers use the fibrous plant material cellulose, which plants use to build the cell walls in stems and leaves.  For European and American papers, cellulose is extracted from cotton, flax (linen) or wood pulp, for traditional Asian papers from jute, kozo, salago or mitsumata. A sheet of paper is basically a thin mat of tangled cellulose fibers. The grade or quality of cellulose is determined by how much of the plant material dissolves in different chemical solutions. Based on this characteristic we know alpha (portion of plant material that does not dissolve in a moderate solution of sodium hydroxide at room temperature) and beta (the dissolved portion that precipitate when an acid is added to the solution) cellulose. Alpha cellulose is the most stable and permanent part of extracted plant material.

Cotton cellulose fibers are called cotton rag, these fibers are flexible and strong, and because they are naturally long, they produce papers that resist tearing. They are almost 100% alpha cellulose, naturally white and already separated, which means little or no bleaching or chemical treatments are necessary. Linen cellulose fibers (from flax) are longer and stronger than cotton, which makes linen papers harder and more translucent. By far the most common source of cellulose in machine-made papers is wood pulp. Cellulose is extracted from wood pulp using either mechanical or chemical methods, resulting in a coarse, brownish paper commonly used in wrapping papers, packaging, newsprint and paperboard. Mechanical methods can leave a considerable residue of lignin, a kind of glue that binds together the cellulose fibers of a living plant. Lignin repels water, causes clumping in the paper pulp during manufacture and becomes acidic and turns a yellow or brown color with age, so it is necessary to remove it completely in quality paper production (look for acid-free papers).

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION: Cotton cellulose is up to 10 times stronger than wood cellulose and naturally lignin free and acid free. Some residual lignin and chemicals remain in chemically extracted wood cellulose, which cause embrittlement and acidification over time. For this reason, wood pulp papers should generally be avoided for archival or museum quality artwork. Papers made from 100% cotton, 100% linen or pure cotton/linen rag are all suitable for artistic use.

Many painters are not aware that quality papers are more durable than fabric or wood supports. Recent improvements in lightfastness of watercolor pigments mean that today's watercolor paintings can last unchanged for centuries - the standard is archival quality paper with an acid-free or pH neutral furnish. 

✿    Brands & Resources


Watercolor paper guideWatercolor papers reviewPaper Stretching

✐   2. Brushes

Brushes 1 900 pix by jane-beata DSC 0320 crop by jane-beata

Brushes you use have an extensive effect on the painting you are able to produce. Beginners might be convinced they lack the ability whilst the reason is brush. On the other hand - no matter how high quality - it's still a brush, not a magic wand. Do practice!

Your choice of brush always depends on your painting technique and working practices. The brand of brush you use is not as important as using a brush you enjoy and trust. Buy sparingly and with reason - few brushes can satisfy all your painting needs. Some of the most important criteria to consider is durability (responsiveness over time) which becomes apparent only after a long use, brush quality - therefore the quality of the tuft material, how they are shaped and secured to the handle which defines how much water it can hold and how long it stands up to use. Beware of some marketing designations that are often misleading such as the word "kolinsky" (I will explain further).

✿ Brush Labeling

In a brushmaker's world, the label "kolinsky" refers to the guard hairs from the tail of the winter pelt  of a male animal. These hair are a distinctive orangish brown with a dark tip. The animal (Mustela sibirica or Siberian weasel) must live in very cold climates for the hair to achieve the desired thickness and length. As kolinskies do not breed in captivity, the reclusive animals must be caught in the wild by vodka fortified trappers. Some "kolinsky"  brushes are made of very different Mustela species, often cultivated in warmer (commercially more convenient) climates, which affects the hair quality. Less desirable grades of hair also called "kolinsky" come from other parts of the pelt, from the pelts of female animals or from summer coats - this hair is sometimes very different from the male winter pelt. As you can see, the word "kolinsky" does not consistently refer to any species of harvested animal, type of hair or hair attributes.

Watercolor brushes come in confusingly wide range of sizes, types and materials. Two most commonly used types (shapes) are round brushes and flat brushes. A high quality round renders a wide range of shapes and effects, holds a good charge of water, wicks up excess paint and rinses out quickly. The extraordinary flexibility of this brush means it is the instrument of choice for "gestural" painters who want a lot of expressiveness in the brush marks. Flat, on the other hand, are chisel shaped brushes with a straight edge. Flats are ideal for laying down large areas of even color or pure water, for shaping precise color edges, building graded washes.

Natural hair is in many respects the superior material to use in a brush. Besides already mentioned kolinsky sables, commonly used hair for brush making include red sable (Martes species, thinner and stiffer than kolinsky), squirrel hair (exceptionally soft, absorbent hair), ox hair (brown or reddish hair taken from the ears of cattle, it's inexpensive and strong, which makes them great for rougher brush techniques), boar bristle (pale or white bristle, very stiff, more suitable for oil or acrylic but watercolorists sometimes use them to add textures to their work), mongoose hair (very distinctive coloring, stiff, holds a lot of liquid - again very suitable for texturing or creating effects), goat hair and camel.

Besides sable brushes, the variety of synthetic fibers on the market is available. The best synthetics are as resilient as sable, as thirsty as squirrel, but they soften and wear quickly in use. Synthetic fibers are made of nylon, polyester or other filaments. Color is not a factor in judging their quality. Synthetics don't usually point well when used alone in a brush, so they are often mixed with natural hair. Many lines of brushes today mix bristle types - these are often bargain and produce perfectly satisfactory results.

✿    Brands & Resources

   3. Paints

DSC 0142 crop by jane-beata

In the past, artists used to make their own materials. Nowadays, painters rely on commercial brand reputation, recommendations from other artists/art books or simply stick to what they know. Good advice does not always last, don't be surprised if you realize one day that the product you always used is somehow different (manufacturers can change their products or simply stop making a specific pigment).

Commercial watercolor paints can be purchased in two most common forms - pans (dry cake in small plastic cans) and tubes (a thick liquid or paste packaged in metal cubes). There's much more to the forms of packaging than difference in price. Dry pan colors are quick to set up and paint with, also very easy to clean up. If well protected, they will store indefinitely. There is no wasted color, they are compact and easy to transport, but also harder to make mixes with and relatively expensive for the amount of pigment they contain. Tubes, on the other hand, are efficient for mixing up large quantities of paint. They are ready for mixing straight from the tube and dissolve quickly in water. However, it's hard to judge just how much paint you need for your next painting, and whatever amount you don't use ends up wasted (re-wetting a dry tube paint on your palette is not recommended). Also, once a tube paint gets contaminated with other colors, it's hard to retrieve. Finally, metal tubes are not ideal packaging solution due to numerous reasons (pigment and its vehicle separate when paint isn't used for some time, the cap sticks if it's gummed up with paint, paint can dry out). Some artists claim that using tube watercolor paints leads to more vibrant results but the difference may simply be due to the fact that it's easier to achieve a high concentration of paint and water (some use paint straight from the tube) - the pigments are identical in either form. Another ugly myth is that pans are for children and students while tubes for "real" artists, in history many exceptional painters preferred pans even in a studio.

With all that being said, I still suggest - if you are an occasional painter - to get pans over tubes, due to practical reasons. 

The newest packaging idea are liquid watercolors - pigment and vehicle prediluted in distilled water. This is a category with significant differences among products. The most popular brand is Dr. Ph. Martin's. These radiant watercolors are not true watercolors (pigment suspensions) but moderately diluted, synchromatic transparent aniline dyes. Many of these colors are exceptionally brilliant but equally fugitive - they stain the paper immediately and cannot be revised. These colors are efficient enough to use in graphical art applications intended for photographic reproduction or printing, but otherwise they are not suitable to be used in an artwork you expect to last for more than a few months.

✿  Other attributes of watercolor paints

Watercolor pigments > are either natural (found in earth, mineral, clay etc.) or synthetic. Here is a great resource to learn everything about the material attributes of paint. When choosing pigments for your palette, use GUIDE TO WATERCOLOR PIGMENTS.

Lightfastness > this factor indicates whether the color you see in a painting today will last. Once you've chosen and purchased paints, it is recommended to do your own lightfastness test.

Transparency > transparent watercolor allows the light to shine through the watercolor paper and in turn lets the white of the paper reflect back. The colors look clean, crisp and appear to glow. Opaque colors, on the other hand, block the light from coming through to the watercolor paper. Instead, the light bounces off the pigment. This can make the colors appear to look dull, even though some of the opaque's are quite vibrant in color. Information about whether the color you've chosen in transparent, semi-opaque or opaque is usually provided in a catalogue.

Staining > Non-staining watercolor pigments will settle on the paper surface once the water has evaporated. These colors allow you to lift the pigment off the surface and reveal the white of the paper underneath. Staining color, in contrast, immediately absorb into the first few layers of watercolor paper and will leave a stained tint of the color. Again, use the recommended GUIDE TO WATERCOLOR PIGMENTS to see which pigments stain strongly and which don't (pigments stain simply due to a very small particle size). Beginners will be better off using non-staining pigments.

"Artist" versus "Student" paints > Some manufacturers offer two lines of watercolor products - artist (finest) quality and a student line that is typically less expensive and comes in a smaller color selection and tube sizes. The cost difference is usually achieved by using less or a lower grade of pigment and the addition of brighteners and fillers. Since price is a poor judge of quality of a product, "professional" paints made by some manufacturers can be of lower quality than student line of the most reputable brands. It is highly recommended to buy the highest quality product and focus on value for your money (tinting strength, lightfastness, packaging quality and color appearance).

✿    Brands & Resources

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Article written for Artist's Toolbox of #projecteducate :dalove: Current week schedule can be viewed HERE
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PE: 5 reasons to believe in yourself

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 7:56 AM

Success is not a measure of how much money you earn or how popular you are, rather, it is being able to find your passion - one that makes you happy and ultimately, one that you would be happy to leave as your legacy. To make a step forward to reach your dream takes smarts and guts but why couldn't you? Here is five reasons why you can.

:bulletpurple: 1. Everyone was born equal

More-less, this is true, some people are born more challenged than others but we all possess skills and ability to learn. It is possible to build something out of nothing if we really want to. It all comes down to our preferences and decisions.

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Eleanor Roosevelt

:bulletpurple: 2. Overcoming your fears

By constantly challenging yourself, you can get rid of fears that used to follow you. You will no longer be worried, you'll know you can count on yourself.

"If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right."

Mary Kay Ash

:bulletpurple: 3. Happiness

When you believe in you, it brings you strength and happiness. Happy people do everything more efficiently and are healthier.

"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint", than by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

Vincent Van Gogh

:bulletpurple: 4. It's contagious

Once you start believing in yourself, you will provide a good example for others as well.

"Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you."

Cynthia Kersey


:bulletpurple: 5. You are all you have

The truth is, even at times when nobody's got your back, you can stand still and focused. After all, you have nothing less than yourself in this world.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not."

Kurt Cobain

Do you believe in yourself?

Share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :frail:
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PE: Developing your personal style

Sun Jun 9, 2013, 6:00 AM

Developing your personal style


You obviously love to create, you do it often and now the time has come when you realize that this is no fling, this is something you would want to do for the whole life. You can learn a lot about techniques from numerous sources, you can find the right audience on the internet but there is one thing nobody can help you with but yourself - how to gain a specific style of your own?

:bulletpurple: What is a personal painting style?

 - It's an identifiable style that enables the viewer to determine that the artwork was done by you
 - In some cases, your style can be viewed as an extension of your personality

:bulletpurple: How can one develop it?

 - Developing your style takes time, time and time once again. Don't have the time? No style for you!
 - It's not acquirable in an art class. While it can be helpful to study by an assistance of someone who's mastered the craft, what they can teach you is technique.
 - It can still change and it probably will. You will keep on developing it for the whole life, each painting is a different step on the road.
 - It grows as you do what you do so often you get CONFIDENT of doing it.
 - You can help it by eliminating the elements from your work that aren't working, keeping the ones that work.
 - Process of developing a style is bound with defining yourself and growing, which includes study.

:bulletpurple: What factors can influence it?

 - Most of all, your choices. Things you like and incline towards are most likely to end up as a part of your style.
 - Work of other artists. There is a lot of opinions on how helpful is to be inspired and influenced by others. However, inspiration is something we can't escape, especially while keeping in touch with an art community, and it can help pointing out a certain direction on our road. Some advice even recommend to copy a specific style for learning purposes. Temporarily.
 - Money. Don't they influence everything? While it's great to be a starving under-appreciated artist as long as you have your freedom and your original idea that one day everyone, wait, it's not really that great. You will probably want to balance what you want to create with what others like to see and buy. It's still up to you what proportion of your style will be dictated by money. Warning, this will probably get you frustrated, eventually.

As an aspiring artist being on a way of developing a personal style, you should:

 :bulletblue: Get acquainted with an art history. Knowledge of different styles done by famous artists, their lives and influences is crucial for your growth.

 :bulletblue: Visit museums and galleries as often as you can. Browse for interesting artworks online too, of course.

 :bulletblue: Try as many techniques as you can, experiment. Interesting exercise: Paint same subject several times using different techniques and styles. Come back to them after a few days and observe your strongest points.

 :bulletblue: Evaluate your work, seek critiques and use them for improvement. Remember, developing a style is by no means a search for the easiest way.

 :bulletblue: On the road, you will probably find a "comfort zone". It does not mean you have done searching for a style. BREAK IT to discover a whole new level.

:frail: takmaj Maja Wronska, Poland

"I think it's very important for an artist to be unique and have a recognizable style. Young artists usually explore arts in the books and on the internet, and it's really hard for them to resist copying someone else's art. When I was 15, I was redrawing all Van Gogh's works with oil pastels. I was pretty good at this, and I remember I wanted to be as good as him one day. You asked me what factors were influencing my style. Well, Van Gogh's work for sure."

Shanghai by takmaj  Saint Petersburg by takmaj  Tower bridge by takmaj

:frail: guillembe Guillem Marí, Spain

They say an idea is a new combination of existing elements. I would say something similar about an artistic style. It's a combination of techniques, motivations and sensibilities. It's about paying attention to artists you like, enjoying their art, then combining all these things you like about them and somehow integrate them in your own artistic process in a fresh and personal way. I'm not saying to do this in some scientific mathemathical way, but to follow our instinct as much as possible, always staying true to ourselves and to our audience. To find our own voice it's important to first listen to what others have to say. "

The fertile ground of uncertainty by guillembe  Inwards by guillembe  Alternative by guillembe 

:frail: STelari Sylwia Cader, Poland

"Style isn't something you can acquire desperately, you won't get it consciously. Creating what you like and focusing on improving your technical aspects is the best thing you can do, the more, the better. Style comes on its own if you train to improve all the rest and that's what I basically do. I don't focus on drawing one work after another exactly like I did a previous one (which is easily noticeable by looking at my works in general); I test new mediums to find the one I really like while depicting what I love."

      Never enough by STelari    Who were you, forgotten? by STelari

:frail: andreuccettiart Alessandro Andreuccetti, Italy

"Building a personal artistic style is an activity that cannot be improvised from nothing, it takes years of study and filling dozens of notebooks with sketches and notes. Even those who are naturally gifted will not obtain satisfactory results without the daily practice. Your life experiences have a profound effect on your style - every event is reflected in your work. A meeting, a visit to a museum, a story, a disease, everything is transformed in our minds and then crystallizes, forming new ideas, new perspectives. Each brush stroke is the result of years of study, because that brushstroke, that color, that shade have a history, are the distillation of centuries of art that, more or less consciously, they flow through the hand, then the brush and finally settle on the canvas, determining the character of the work."

Per Strada by andreuccettiart  Ultima Fatica by andreuccettiart  Suonatore di sitar by andreuccettiart

:frail: Rssfim Ronaldo Serafim, Brazil

"I can include myself in this pursuit. It started many years ago and it hasn't stopped. The conclusion is that I'm still developing my way of painting. On the other hand, I can confess a long path has already been trailed. We should not hurry up this process. Just let it happen in a gradual way, with no expectations. One day you'll find yourself pretty satisfied with your artworks. This can be the first sign you're getting to the point. Norman Rockwell, for example, spent decades of his life trying to paint what he'd call "His Great Masterpiece of His Life"...The best thing to do is to paint. Over and over... exaustively...In addition, I think we all should read some books, not only the artistic ones, but those from all subjects (history, fiction, architecture, photography, comics...). They can give us excellent ideas! Some of them will catch your attention and you'll want to transfer them to the painting. Unfortunately, there's no magical ingredient but hard work, discipline and dedication. And please, do not get anxious during this long learning process. Anxiety can be a real obstacle. "

Article written for #projecteducate's Community week :frail:
Special thanks to *takmaj, ^SylwiaTelari, ~guillembe, *andreuccettiart, *Rssfim :heart:
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9 ways to overcome (artistic) Frustration

Everyone has heard of it, everyone fears the very sight of it, but if you are an artist, there is a good chance it creeps at you regularly, more often than a flu, in various forms and intensity; in psychology, Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition / obstacle, is related to anger and disappointment and its strength depends on the size of the established challenge. When Frustration calls you more often than your mother does, it's time to take an action!


Try to get your feelings straight by walking it out of your system. Is it raining or snowing? Even better, get soaked and dry out.


Sleep on it. Make yourself busy with small repetitive tasks, watch a good movie or comedy, play a game, visit your family or a friend, cook a new recipe, get a haircut, tidy up your room or house, watch a documentary, have a chocolate, take a horse riding lesson, play with a child, but try not to take this stage too long.


When you once have facts about the cause of your condition straight, make your peace with it. No matter how soothing it is to deny the reality, being honest with yourself is the only way to get you back on your feet.


Emotional and mental condition is tightly bound with your body, workout will not only encourage your metabolism but get endorphins (hormones of happiness) into your brain.


Besides doing a good thing, the feeling of being useful will give you a new strength.


This is a great exercise, it will make you see things globally. From the bird's eyeview, even a really huge dark hole looks like a tiny dot.


Even a public one, here on DA. Get it out there, sometimes it is a response from other people who are going through the same trouble that will help you to overcome it.


What can motivate better than love? Try to open your heart, make a list of things you love about your work/project/whatever the object of your efforts is, recollect happy moments you experienced in the past - you'll see this must be worth fighting for!


..and share it with your friends, on your blog, in your journal. Next time it strikes, you will be prepared!

The most important thing is to realize that Frustration is a part of the Struggle and Struggle is a gate to a new level - THAT level we seek to reach. Is dealing with being frustrated from time to time a good thing - than? I think so.

What is your experience with Frustration? Do you have regular ways to overcome it or does it surprise you unprepared? How long does it take you to get "stabilized" again?

Share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

Turn frustration... by HugickaSuppressed frustration II by KvikkenFrustration by jvg246

You're my frustration by fluorescent2892

same old frustration by MerdollFrustration by 12of8Frustration - Co-Production by ttancredi


Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :heart:
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