Volume 10, Number 3, September 2008
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Watch Your Step! – Arty Stepping Stones
By Janean Thompson
Photo 2: This edgy spiral motif will look great on the stone and will be repeated on other items in the garden.
The stencil I cut is made of manila folder so that I can reuse it. The motif will be replicated on chair cushions and canvas chairs I will bring into the space at a later date. (Photo 2) The edgy spiral is a theme I have already used in several places in the garden. The shape, reminiscent of a path, is one of my favorites and one that shows up a lot in the art I do.
Photo 3: Slight shadow detail brings out the spiral shape.
|Photo 4: Chopsticks make great calipers for holding stencils in place.|
The first color is applied as a base color. It is airbrushed over with the finished motif and covers the gray concrete. This gives a foundation for the rest of the airbrush work. After the base color is completely dry, I use chopstick calipers to hold the stencil positive in position and paint on some slight shadow detail. (Photos 3 & 4)
Apply airbrush acrylic to the area within the area of the stencil. Leave the stencil in position and allow the first color to dry. Then add a second layer of color. When dry, carefully lift the stencil away from the stone.
A bit of brush detail work and the finished stone is ready to join the others in the garden. (Photo 5) Of course you can purchase pre-made stones for your gardens, but adding such personal touches to my “island” is fun, economical and gives the place unique character.
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(Ed. Note: The following article applies to paints that are oil based; water-based paints may be cleaned from the airbrush with airbrush cleaner available from art supply stores.)
Hello again everyone! In this article I will be discussing a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for some time: airbrush maintenance and cleaning.
Keeping your airbrush clean is probably the single most necessary and neglected aspect of our hobby, at least in my case. One clog can ruin hours of meticulous work on a project, and who among us has never experienced that?
I’ll be using the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, but since all brushes are basically designed the same, these steps work with all of them. Let’s get to it!
CAUTION! Accomplish all of these steps in a well ventilated area! Some thinners give off fumes that are dangerous if inhaled and can actually be absorbed through your skin and eyes. These thinners can cause brain and nervous system damage so be careful above all else!
If you’re pressed for time, one simple step to clean your brush is to fill the color cup with thinner, hold your finger over the nozzle, depress the trigger and force backwash the thinner though the brush. Be sure you turn the air pressure down to less than 5 PSI or you’ll have thinner exploding out of the brush, which of course defeats the purpose. Continue to backwash thinner back and forth through the brush until the cup is empty.
This is, however, a quick fix and by no means cleans your brush thoroughly like it needs to be, so here’s where the fun begins.
Here are the tools I use to clean all my brushes: hemostats, cotton swabs, and small brushes. These brushes can be obtained at any local department store in the dental aisle. Just look where the toothbrushes are and they should be alongside. There are two different shapes available, but my favorite is the cone shaped brush. The hemostats (medical instruments) are used simply as a handle for the tiny brushes. I got mine from the Internet, where they are widely available.
Disassemble your brush according to the manufacturer’s directions, and place as many small parts into a small glass bowl of thinner. The next steps can be accomplished in any sequence that you wish.
Use cotton swabs to clean the surface and interior of the color cup. On a siphon-fed brush, cotton swabs can be used to clean the opening that the paint bottle fits into.
Here you can see how handy this little brush and the hemostats can be. Use these to clean the threads and the small crevices that exist on all airbrushes.
While I clean the outside and inside body of the brush, I just let the small parts sit in thinner. This helps to loosen up the paint that is stuck inside the brush.
Once you’ve cleaned and scrubbed all the surfaces of the brush, you’re not quite ready to assemble it yet. There are two more steps. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the needed device as they aren’t sold where I currently live, but these can be obtained in any department store like the small brushes. Drop by the jewelry counter and pick up a sonic jewelry cleaner. A note of caution: If the cleaner you select is made of plastic, do NOT fill it with thinner. The thinner dissolves the plastic and it will fill the small parts of your airbrush. I found this out the hard way. Instead, fill it with rubbing alcohol. Drop all the parts in the cleaner and let it run through a few cycles. Most cleaners have a timer on them, so I set mine to run 3 or 4 times. No matter how well you otherwise clean your brush, the sonic cleaner will prove to you that there’s still paint inside. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your brush will be after going through this process.
The only problem with the sonic cleaner is it will also remove a lot of the lubricant. But this is easy to fix. Get a small bottle of machine oil and put a drop where the trigger meets the plunger. Depress the trigger a few times to work the oil through the moving parts. Be careful not to overdo it as you don’t want oil mixing with your paint.
Finally, reassemble your brush and shoot one final cup full of thinner through the brush. That’s all there is to it. Half an hour of maintenance will save several hours of slow, meticulous work--as I know from experience.
Hope you enjoyed the article and found it useful! See ya next time!!
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Salt Lake City, UT, was the “scene of the crime” for the 4th
annual Ultimate Air Affair that took place August 29 – 31 and was hosted by
ASET-USA. Sherri Candland was the master of ceremonies and, as usual, Wild
Bill Williams was our host. Instructors included Craig Fraser, Steve Vandemon,
Bones, Jason Doll, Bob Soroka, Steve Driscoll, Pamela Shanteau, Dean Loucks,
Brian PaPa, Deborah Mahan, Mike Lavallee, Fonzy, Gerald Mendez, Paul Quinn and
the great Ron Gibbs. Also in attendance was Emmy award-winning producer Tom
Zapecki. Tom is shooting a documentary about airbrush painting that features
Pam Shanteau. Pam brought him along to showcase all of the great airbrush
painters that instruct at the Ultimate Air Affair.
All of the instructors arrived a day early so they could take a
ride to Helper, Utah, to explore the new “Air Space,” which is a new gallery
for airbrushed art. The curator, Sherri Candland, led everyone around the
gallery to view the works on display and the areas that are under construction.
Fantastic paintings and objets d’art created by Gerald Mendez, Steve Driscoll,
Bob Soroka, Deb Mahan, Mike Lavallee, Pamela Shanteau, Jason Doll and other
artists amazed us all. The gallery is still under development, so expect more
great things to come in the future from the Air Space Gallery.
We returned to the ASET headquarters at light speed with Sherri leading the pack in her Porsche. We all struggled to keep pace in our trucks and SUVs, at times reaching 120 mph. Fortunately, no law enforcement officers made their presence known and we made it back in one piece with no additional points on our licenses. J
Now it was time to get focused and provide the personal instruction that the Ultimate Air Affair is famous for delivering. Because of the very large class size, the other instructors assisted each artist with his or her class presentation, insuring that every student received the attention they deserved.
Day 1, August 29
Day one of classes began at 9:00 am. Deb Mahan kicked off the program with her beginner introduction to airbrushing lesson. Students were instructed on the proper use of tapes, shields and, of course, the airbrush. The metal surface preparation that is required before airbrushing was also demonstrated by Deborah and exercised by the attendees. After Deb’s session, everyone had a solid foundation upon which to build in the subsequent classes.
Day one’s second class was taught by the duo of Bones and Bob Soroka. The skills explained in the session were creating textures and the use of freehand shields. Carbon fiber along with other “found” objects were employed to render special textures and creative effects. Bones started the session with the texture effects and Soroka finished with intuitive uses for the Artool freehand shields that showed students how to airbrush a stretched tendon-like montage with a distorted face within the tendons.
Pamela Shanteau’s folded flag lesson batted clean-up for Day 1. Vinyl paint mask was employed to transfer the design onto the panel. Under Pamela’s tutelage, the students removed certain portions of the paint mask and airbrushed them in to eventually create the folded flag image that Pam is so well known for. Students learned about vinyl paint mask as well as paint erasure techniques to render details.
Day 2, August 30
Fortunately, everyone survived the Day 1 activities with no tears or bloodshed! Attendees were in their seats early and ready to assimilate some of Steve Vandemon’s patented painting methods. Steve designs some of the most awesome tribal patterns on the planet, so everyone was geeked to pick up some pointers on creating and airbrushing these iconic images.
Fonzy and Deb Mahan showed the students how to paint a portrait of a woman’s face. The two tag-teamed for the lesson and led the students step- by-step through the project. It seemed to go well as all of the students ended up with a pretty good-looking portrait. After the session was complete, everyone broke for an awesome barbeque lunch provided by ASET.
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Jason Doll was next up and he delighted the students with an eagle portrait class. Dagger strokes were required because the lesson combined stenciling with freehand painting. The students warmed up by getting the basic shape of the design rendered using a stencil that they cut with a razor blade. With the easy part done, they were required to remove the stencil material and go to town by completing the project with feathers that were painted entirely with freehand dagger strokes. In the end, there were many fine feathered friends in attendance at the end of the class.
Dean Loucks changed gears for the students’ next lesson. Dean has a very successful business in Elkhart, Indiana, and he shared his recipe for success with the students by presenting a lecture that outlined his business plan and approach to every challenge that a painter encounters during the course of a career. Dean practices what he preaches and has the toys to prove it. All who were in attendance listened raptly to his sage business advice.
Paul Quinn and Brian PaPa teamed up for a dual-edged approach to a skull. The artwork featured a painted brushed metal border effect along with wood grain airbrushed inside of the skull along with a black background. To top it off, a classic pinstripe design adorned the panel as well. This lesson required the use of both the airbrush and a pin-striping brush, so the students had their hands full to learn many new skills to take home with them.
Day 3, August 31
Color Theory is a very important aspect of any good art. Color expert Deborah Mahan took the time to explain the finer points of mastering color to interested students. The lessons learned in her discussion should help them understand when and how to use certain colors to improve their paintings.
Pirate Skulls greeted the students on Day 3 of the Ultimate Air Affair. Gerald Mendez presented a class project that taught realistic skull painting methods as well as rendering fabric textures. The students airbrushed creepy pirate skulls with a bandana across the forehead. Artool shields were employed liberally to aid in the painting of the design.
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Flames-O-Plenty was the theme for the Mike Lavallee session. The flame master himself instructed the attendees about his approach to “Real Flames” or “Tru-Fire.” Mike had the students keep their Gerald Mendez projects on their easels and had them add airbrush fire onto the pirate skull image. Combining the two projects was kind of a neat idea. Artool shields played a big part in the class, but to complete the effect, the flames were augmented with subtle freehand detailing to soften up the edges of the flames and make them appear more natural.
Portrait painting is probably one of the toughest things to teach. Many skills are required to create an appealing portrait. Steve Driscoll proved up to the task of directing the Air Affair students in their quest for the perfect portrait. Steve’s step-by-step instruction and down-to-earth approach to the subject matter was just the ticket to guarantee good results.
Canada’s own Ron Gibbs was next up and he chose a skull portrait as his project. Yeah, I know, a skull is a skull is a skull, but Ron managed to find a cool way to render his example and he spent as much time teaching how to paint the negative space around the skull as he did the skull. Did I say skull enough? Anyway, Ron is one of the most respected airbrushers I know and he can paint whatever he wants.
Craig Fraser ended the Air Affair classes by adding mechanical and bio-mechanical details to some of the completed projects that were done in the previous classes. Most of the emphasis was on using the Artool shields to create the mechanical effects.
The Ultimate Air Affair was a great success, as usual. All of the students walked away with some new skills and great insights into airbrushing in the custom car and motorcycle industry.
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Iwata-Medea Inc. has announced the release of the new Custom Grip Handle designed for the Iwata Trigger Airbrushes: Kustom TH, Kustom TR, Revolution TR 1 and Revolution TR 2. The Custom Grip Handle is ergonomic, textured and has a non-slip grip for better airbrush control. This new design adds comfort while holding your Trigger airbrush. See your retailer and visit www.iwata-medea.com.
Artool Products Co. has announced the release and availability of the new Artool FX4 Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Craig Fraser. From the mind of Craig Fraser, and the work-release program at the Artool Chemtox Lab, here are six new Kustom FX stencils that Craig has drawn specifically for your own creativity! Here’s the lineup: WRENCHED (FH FX4 22), FRONDS (FH FX4 23), SCRAEG (FH FX4 24), CLASSIC CAMO (FH FX4 25), DIGITAL CAMO (FH FX4 26) and GATOR (FH FX4 27). Then there’s the whole shebang as a set (FH FX4 28), plus the Artool FX4 Mini Series (FH FX4 28 MS), which is sold only as a set.
With artists becoming more discerning about stencils, here is a new batch of Craig Fraser Kustom FX to fill in those pesky graphics and mural backgrounds that are just screamin’ for more details! These aren’t your run-of-the-mill public domain Internet designs; these suckers are guaranteed to rock your world with radical concepts and themes.
“...because airbrushing without Kustom FX is a cardinal
The new Artool FX4 Freehand Airbrush Templates by Craig Fraser are now available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier. For a complete listing of the Iwata-Medea-Artool catalog on the Web, go to www.ArtoolProducts.com. E-mail: email@example.com
|WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.|
Learning & Product Expo: ART!
Pasadena Conference Center
October 24-26, 2008
Renowned artist A. D. Cook will teach hands-on workshops for artists at all levels—from novice to advanced. Basic Airbrush Techniques, 3-hours, will be offered on October 24 and 25; Intermediate Airbrush Techniques and Advanced Airbrush Techniques (3 hours each) will both be offered on Oct. 25; and a Master Airbrush Class – Full Day Advanced will be offered on Oct. 26. Materials/equipment are supplied for use in class. For more information/registration, visit http://www.learningproductexpo.com/home.cfm.
Artist & Display
Choose a Day: Saturday, November 8, or Sunday, November 9
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn basic airbrush techniques with instructor Robert Paschal! Learn a new skill that will increase your income potential. Knowing basic airbrush techniques will allow you to apply them to painting or enhancing decorative murals, nails/makeup, cakes and pastries, automotive/motorcycle designs, temporary tattoos, artwork, crafts, models and much more. The use of all equipment/supplies is included, and seats are limited.
Beacon, NY (60 miles north of New York City)
December 5 and 6, 2008
Cultivate your basic airbrushing knowledge to learn advanced stenciling, shielding and airbrush painting methods. Pam will share her unique professional secrets for rendering details and special effects to complement your airbrushed art.
Go way beyond standard airbrushing and combine fine art painting techniques with basic airbrushing skills. Create amazing airbrushed effects that will amaze your clients and take your airbrushing to new heights. Prerequisite: Since this is not a beginner class, students must have a basic working knowledge of the airbrush. All materials/equipment are supplied for use in class.
For more information on the above two workshops, visit www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm or call 845.831.1043.
...the link between you, the visual artist, and the manufacturer of art materials.
|ARTtalk is a monthly eight-page newsletter available FREE-OF-CHARGE from Participating Art Material Retailers in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques—how to work and paint with watercolor, oils, or acrylics; use pastels or pen and ink, airbrush, and more. You'll find information on art history, current events and art world news, as well as an occasional "Kids' Korner." Subjects vary and change each month.|