Volume 11, Number 1, May 2009
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Surviving our Times with Work and Play
By Donn Shanteau
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Another avenue we took to maintain our customer base was to “partner” with our regional Harley-Davidson dealerships. The dealers were all aware of who we were and what we did and were happy to promote our services and display some of our works in their showrooms. For our part of the “partnership,” we provided custom art on promotional vehicles that the dealers used to promote themselves, in addition to adding some free airbrushing on raffle motorcycles that the dealers might be selling tickets for. By providing these premiums, our business name was included in all the promotional literature sent out and displayed by the dealers. This has kept our name in the public eye and generated sales and good will with the HD dealers and their employees. Now the sales forces of the dealerships are ad-hoc sellers of our services and we gain free exposure in the pricy realm of a Harley Davidson retail showroom. This scenario will work with any potential business that would be an appropriate venue to display your work.
We also donate services to local charities to aid their fundraising. Just like with the HD dealers, the practice keeps our name on people’s minds. Another positive side effect is that it feels good to help a worthy cause. I have found that no matter how tough things are for me sometimes, there is always someone else that has it tougher, way tougher.
I like to see the bright side of any situation. If things are slow, it’s a great time to re-connect with friends and family. For years on end, we worked 340 or so days a year, missing birthdays, cook-outs and other family/friend events. Sometimes when you slow down enough to take a calm breath, it makes it easier to discover what makes you really happy and what is important in your life.
A period of slow business can also be a guilt-free time to spend exploring new painting methods or techniques without having clients hanging on the doorbell wanting their stuff. When things do pick up--and they will--you will be armed with some new tricks to amaze your clientele.
As for me, I plan on going fishing in my spare time. The last four years have only produced a handful of fishing trips and that has got to change. Oh, and tomatoes…I am finally going to plant some tomatoes. There is nothing better than a fresh vine-ripened tomato!
Keep Painting, Stay Strong, Hang Loose!
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There is almost nothing more pleasant than a vase of flowers, with their color and freshness enlivening an entire room. But it is not always possible to have “freshies.” So, why not have the next best thing? Did you know that you can create very life-like carnations--and easily?
Our project this issue will be to make a vase of everlasting carnations. The bouquet will be colorful and will last without care or attention of any kind. Materials needed for this project include: An airbrush (I continue to use my Iwata Revolution HP-CR 4500 because colors are so easy and quick to change.); an air supply (My trusted small, convenient, easy-to-use and quiet Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Air Compressor is perfect); high quality paper toweling – preferably without embossed patterning; acrylic airbrush paints in a selection of floral colors; skewers or floral wire to use as stems; floral tape, cellophane tape; and cleaning station, if desired.
To start this project you will need to first tear the paper toweling into strips. Start by tearing an irregular strip, wide at one end, thin at the other. (Photo 1) As you tear the toweling, try to create a feathered edge with an edge that undulates up and down. The longer the strip you can make, the more “petals” your bloom will appear to have. Tear a number of irregular strips and experiment with the formation of the flower bloom prior to airbrushing colors. This will help you recognize the type of strips you will need to create the bloom shape and size you want. To create a super full bloom, you can combine two strips together, making the second strip wider at both ends than you did the first strip. This width will ensure a larger, fuller bloom. (Photo 2)
Photo 1: Angled torn paper toweling is the basis for handmade carnations.
|Photo 2: Full blooms are made by adding another strip of toweling.|
For coloration of your “bouquet” you will want to create the softest, most lightly applied pattern possible. The tones you will be airbrushing will be placed along the top edge of the torn strip. That will give you a two-tone appearance when the bloom is scrunched into shape and attached to the stem: dark on the top edges and lighter inside. These blooms are not unlike the old fashioned Kleenex flowers made in the 1960’s. Soft in appearance, fluffy, feathery edged…they are really fun to make.
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To make the first of your blooms, fill your airbrush color container with a soft floral tone. I will use a red tone so the spray pattern and placement can easily be seen. You can use any color you wish, and remember that natural carnations come in yellows, pinks, rose, peach, orange, burgundy, purple, red and white. A mixed bouquet is very pleasing. You might want to do many different colors. My examples will all be dark so you can see what I did.
A light application of color is first misted along the top edge of the strip. (Photo 3) Allow this to dry completely. Drying won’t take very long because the amount of color is very light. When dry, it is time to form the blossom.
Photo 3: Very light mists of color create the tone for each bloom.
|Photo 4: Start each bloom with a “knot” that forms the center.|
Start by gathering the narrow end of the strip into a small, pleated knot on the top of a floral wire or skewer. (Photo 4) To hold the center in place and to give a good foundation for the remaining wraps, tack the starting center with a bit of tape. Continue to bunch and wrap the bloom until the first strip is attached. Tack with tape to hold. Wrap with florists tape and continue the tape down the stem for a couple inches.
Create several blooms as described above and then add leaves to each stem, if desired. You can even cut and airbrush the leaves, too, if you want. Place the stems in a vase of dried Baby’s Breath or greenery. Determine if the bouquet is complete or if more are needed. These carnations look great in a vase, as package décor or in other craft projects. Consider making lots of them – they are really easy. (Photo 5)
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Summer is drawing near and that means our minds are turning towards outdoor activities. One of the most sought after summer pastimes is fishing. I think nothing is more fun than cranking in fish on a lazy summer’s evening, so why not combine a favorite past time with our favorite hobby.
Airbrushing custom baits is a very wide practice; in fact, many anglers, not artists themselves, have taken up airbrushing just for this purpose. Some people on the Internet make their entire living doing just this. Airbrushing your own fake bait gives anglers the advantage of having specific color schemes and special effects to fit their personal tastes. This can be a useful tool in gaining an edge over the competition.
Airbrushing baits is very simple and is a great small project for a new artist or hobbyist. The baits I have were hand carved by the customer, but you can also do this by just buying a bait at the store and giving it a light sanding and coat of primer. I began by giving the bait a white base coat.
The Iwata G5 works great for this because the bait is a little large to base coat with an airbrush but definitely too small to break out a full-sized sprayer. The G5 has a perfect size pattern and puts out just enough material to cover without running. The white base coat is necessary with the system of paints I am using, but it also helps to seal the surface to a uniform finish. One thing you should note is that if you are going to carve a bait like my customer did, you may have to put several coats of sealer primer on it and sand it smooth to get out any leftover whittle marks.
After this base has dried it is time for the fun stuff. I had a lot of fun doing this project because the colors are bright and there is no masking involved--this was essentially all freehand airbrush work. I began by throwing down a hand-mixed iridescent green for the top of each lure.
As you can see I also put down a chartreuse belly on each bait. This color also had a sort of neon property to it. When you paint these baits, look at some other designs to get ideas because many of the color schemes are tried and tested by different pro fishermen in different places. This particular scheme is called baby shad or blue shad, a very popular design in the bass fishing world.
As you can see in figure 3 (below, left), I then put the blue stripe along the middle of the bright green. This blue is also iridescent, meaning it has a reflective candy-like shine to it. This is important because you want these baits to pop in the water so fish notice them. After the addition of the blue dots on the side, I changed colors to a fluorescent orange to do the lower chin.
With all of the basic airbrushing taken care of I decided to add my own special touch to the lures. I made a blue and green flake additive that is immersed in a clear coat. I used the HP-C to shoot this right over the blue stripe; this will give the bait a sparkle and, hopefully, attract more fish.
After the painting is finished I sealed the baits with a matte acrylic clear coat. This gives them a uniform finish and will protect the paints from UV rays and chipping or fading.
Now you are ready to fish, so go out and have a good time. This particular bait brought in a bass on its second cast out. Don’t believe me--paint one yourself and try it out. See you later, and until next time--keep painting!
|Medea Com-Art Colours|
|All airbrush colours are not the same. Com-Art is considered to be one of the finest and most versatile professional airbrush colours in the world. Because of a common hydro-carbon base binder, Com-Art transparent and opaque colours can be used together without bleeding between colours. This non-toxic, ready to use paint is specifically formulated for use with an airbrush and never needs to be filtered or strained. Com-Art colours are heavily pigmented and light fast, allowing for accurate 4 colour separations. They provide superior atomization, smooth spraying, and they dry instantly.|
When we started at The Modern, we were using a very basic airbrush model for lack of knowledge. It served its purpose. But we kept our eyes open and through the different classes related to our work--including a basic airbrush workshop with Robert Paschal--we made an educated decision to change our equipment and to start using the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush. We chose this one because of the multipurpose requirements of our trade. We needed an airbrush that could handle the pressure. The benefit of having a tool this strong and adaptable has allowed us to use the airbrush without worry regarding the stress we cause it due to a busy and sometimes chaotic environment.
Whether we are working on sugar or chocolate, the Eclipse HP-CS is able to cover our wide range of uses and is well suited for the demanding usage and precise control that we are looking for. What has kept us turned on to this specific tool is the ability to be able to fine-tune the spray for each application.
The cup size works great because it always seems just enough for each task we have at hand. Being able to mix colors as we go enables us to work more effectively and timely, which is an added bonus. The ability to minimize the amount of paint we use also saves us money, which in turn improves our efficiency. Overall this has allowed us to better appreciate how the Eclipse HP-CS sprays, while maintaining the characteristics of each project.
Being pastry chefs in a busy midtown restaurant, the need for sugar and chocolate decoration is considered more of a luxury/hobby than a general function of our jobs. The efficiency afforded by the Eclipse HP-CS allows us to open the door to new possibilities to do more and not cut into our day-to-day responsibilities.
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Supplies/equipment needed for sugar art:
Pot, small brush, candy thermometer, non-stick mat, powder colors, Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Airbrush and an air source
To make a sugar piece we start cooking sugar and water to 160 degrees Celsius. While the mixture is coming up to temperature you must brush down the sides of the pot every so often to keep the sugar from crystallizing and burning.
When the desired temperature is reached, we pour the sugar onto a non-stick mat (preferably a marble surface) to cool. After letting the sugar cool down a bit, wearing heavy-duty plastic gloves we start pulling the sugar until it reaches a satin finish. At this point the sugar can be cooled down, wrapped properly and stored for future use. Then we take the amount that we need and place it under a heat lamp to maintain the proper temperature.
When we have the sugar at a workable temp under the lamp, we cut a piece off and put it on the end of a sugar pump. This is slowly inflated to the desired shape before applying cold air to help set the piece faster.
For spraying the colors, we use powders that are mixed with warm water, adjusting the color each time based on the piece we are working on. We have had success with the colors from Albert Uster Imports (https://www.auiswisscatalogue.com/1_COLORS/Colors.html). They have a style that we like, the colors are mixed in small amounts so there is little or no waste and each project can be different from the last.
When we started out creating sugar art, we used to add color directly, but that allowed for a one-dimensional perspective and lack of depth. We have since taken a new direction to finalizing our designs with the help of our Eclipse. Through airbrushing, we are able to apply the color in several layers each in succession, giving our object a more three-dimensional look and feel. For the frog, we started with a light shading of yellow to help lighten the green. Then we finished with black to help with the shading and contrast.
Since changing direction and the incorporation of an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush, we have revamped our approach to decorating our chocolate and sugar sculptures. The airbrushing tool has opened our eyes to new possibilities for decoration and artistry within our confections.
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The New Iwata Studio Series Ninja Jet Compressor is the perfect choice for portable air--with a compact size, reliable performance and affordability.
It has a built-in airbrush holder, carrying handle, protective black metal cover, on/off switch, adjustable pressure regulator and comes complete with an air hose. It’s low maintenance with an oil-less piston motor, is 1/12 HP and PSI ranges from 5-18. Weighing in at just 5.9 lbs., the Ninja Jet is great for hobbies, crafts, cosmetics, nails, bakery or just having airbrush fun!
Iwata’s new Big Mouth Airbrush Bottles have never-before-seen features that will change your airbrush life! The offset connector allows larger diameter bottles to affix easily to your airbrush, and the raised air intake creates a splash-proof opening. They also have a durable, one-piece, easy-to-clean cap and a leak-proof seal—and are solvent proof. Choose from 1 oz. cylinder, 2 oz. cylinder, 3 oz. jar, 2.5 oz. cylinder, and 4 oz. cylinder. Adapter caps are available separately and all Big Mouth Airbrush Bottle Caps will fit most popular brands of paint.
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|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.|