Volume 6, Number 2, July 2004

Published six times a year by The Paschal Group, Inc.
Publisher: Robert Paschal
Editor: Jeanne Paschal
Also see — The Newsletter for Visual Artists

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Airbrushes & Supplies


With Michael Cacy
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Painting a Rock Out on an Ocean

More Thoughts on Being an Artist-in-Residence in Bermuda

My first tenure as an Artist-in-Residence has ended, and I have traded the sunny skies of Bermuda for Oregon clouds for the time being. If you caught the last installment of "Cacy's Corner," you know that I worked for four months as an official Artist-in-Residence on the island under the auspices of the Masterworks Foundation.

"Wharf Lights" oil wash on canvas

During my four-month stay (January through April), I created paintings for a February show at the Masterworks Gallery in Hamilton and a show at the end of April in the Masterworks Gallery at the foundation's headquarters in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Both shows were successful and very exciting for me. Having worked as an illustrator for most of my career, producing a volume of fine art for gallery shows was extremely satisfying. "Look, Ma... no art directors... ."

I felt very fortunate to have received lots of press leading up to both of my gallery openings. My work was featured in the annual Arts Issue of Bermudian magazine. The newspapers Royal Gazette and The Bermuda Sun ran big articles, and I was even featured on two of Bermuda's television channels. I was relieved that the local arts community accepted my efforts. Even the reviewers were kind to me. All this mention was key to the success of my showings, no doubt.

In addition to painting my "slice-o-life" impressions of Bermuda, I became fascinated with portraying aspects of Bermuda's unique history. At least a quarter of the paintings produced were of a historical nature.

"Smuggler's Lair" Smugglers along Hungry Bay circa 1790 oil wash on canvas

As is expected in this Artist-in-Residence program, one piece was selected to be "gifted" to the permanent collection of Masterworks. The painting decided upon is one of my historical pieces entitled "Robinson's Recollection." I am very proud to have this painting become part of a permanent collection of works painted in Bermuda over the years, including art by Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, Ogden Pleissner, Jack Bush, and others.

"Robinson's Recollection" oil wash on canvas

The premise or idea for the image came out of my research on Bermuda history. I found a willing model that posed for reference photos, chased goats around with my camera on a hillside (the goats weren't so willing as models), and photographed buildings in historic St. George's (Bermuda's original capital city) as my background. The final drawing came together on the canvas exactly like what I had envisioned in my mind's eye.

The overall experience of becoming immersed in an arts community four thousand miles from home was a thrill. There is a wealth of artistic talent in Bermuda, and I enjoyed getting to know a number of Bermuda's top artists along the way at parties, gallery shows, and visits to various island studios.

One aspect of painting on an island that differs from my normal routine in my studio back home is the extreme humidity. Paint takes a whole lot longer to dry, and stretcher bars warp and crack in no time at all. I guess that's the price for being in paradise-a small price to pay, as far as I'm concerned.

In addition to painting up a storm, I conducted more workshops while in Bermuda than any artist in the history of the Masterworks Foundation. What fun! There were classes for professionals only, amateur artists, students, and at-risk kids presented in almost every corner of Bermuda. Some courses focused on mixed media and others dealt primarily with airbrush techniques. I'd like to thank Iwata-Medea for their generous support and Miss Deb Harper of Bermuda for coordinating workshops and just about everything else that needed to get done in four months.

"Portulaca" oil on canvas

So, would I recommend the experience of getting involved as an Artist-in-Residence to other artists? Yes, of course, and especially if you and your paints like to travel. Personally, I found the adventure very rewarding. For more thoughts on these types of programs, refer back to my previous "Cacy's Corner" article in the archives section of AirbrushTalk.

And now, before I close, here's something else that you might want to investigate. There is an interesting, brand new service that I have recently discovered along the electronic information highway called NSA ( This site offers online portfolios, info on grants and calls-for-artists, career development resources, and international art news. Here's what they say: "Starving artist no more…sell your art. Make a professional online portfolio without any knowledge of website design in just an hour or two. An NSA portfolio is easy-to-create, more affordable than a website, and puts your art in a searchable database that is actively marketed to buyers.

At NSA you'll get tools and advice for promoting your work and building your career. Post news of your shows and openings, and use an opt-in email list to keep your name in front of potential buyers." Especially if you still don't have a website of your own, check 'em out at

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Create a Unique Playhouse

By Janean S. Thompson
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Any large corrugated box can be transformed into a neat playhouse by decorating it to reflect a theme that is unique. You can create a playhouse that will delight some youngster and that can be used indoors or outdoors on sunny days with easy and quick set up. Since I was fortunate enough to have an empty refrigerator carton, I used it to make the playhouse. You could make it any size or color with decor to coordinate a special style: fort, cottage, wood-look log cabin, faux stone or wild and wacky "apartment." How fancy or decorative is limited only by your imagination. For this project, I've decided to create a cottage-style house complete with windows and a front door that opens.

Supplies you will need include a large corrugated carton (e.g., refrigerator carton or washer/dryer carton). You will need an airbrush for base coats and all decorative applications. I used my trusty Iwata Eclipse G6 because it is perfect for larger scale paint applications, along with my Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet air compressor. Acrylics were used for the base colors and airbrush colors were used for accents. Select base coat colors for both the roof and the building plus additional decorative colors determined by the style of house you are making. I used medium brown base coat for the roof and soft blue for the building. I did a double coat on the building area for better coverage. I used purple for the window box, red for the shutters and green for a trim color. Your style will determine the colors you will want to use: dark brown for a log cabin base coat or bright yellow or maybe red or blue for a modern look. Double-sided foam tape was used to hold the parts together and a small piece of clear plastic was taped inside the door window to replicate "glass."

Begin by cutting the box to define the roofline and walls of the cottage. Save all scraps because you will be able to add them as shutters, window boxes, etc. When you have determined the peak height, mark the center front and center back at that level. For the roofline, draw lines from the center front and center back to the outer edges of the house. The degree of slant on the roof is your choice, but for my cottage I chose a low pitch, giving more interior space. Cut along those lines on the front and back of the cottage. Then lightly score the sides between the points where the front/back peak ends. Fold the extra towards the peak to create the roof. The extra material will create the roof and eves when folded over the top of the peak. In my situation, I had extra material for the roof, so I joined the painted roof sections but created a separate, overhanging roof for a better appearance. You can fashion shingles using a scrap of cardboard to create a template like the edges of the layers of shingles. Use a darker tone for the shadows. When completed, I attached the roof to the top of the cottage.

With the body of the cottage completed and the roof in place, I then created the decorative touches. I first painted the window box a bright metallic purple. This window box is nothing more than a strip of corrugated cardboard onto which I attached sunflower blossoms and greenery. I created shutters by painting louvers onto the surface of two additional strips of cardboard. I painted strips of scrap cardboard green and mitered the corners to frame the "glass" in the door.

Attaching the components was really simple. I affixed ample amounts of double-sided foam tape to the back sides of each piece and simply pressed them into position. The window box strip was "filled" with blossoms and greenery by pushing the metal stems between the layers of the corrugated material.

The last photo is of the completed playhouse. (Photo 6). It took about 2˝ hours to complete, including all painting and joining of components. A more involved plan would take a bit longer, but it goes quickly because it is pure fun. Not only can you hone your airbrushing skills, but you will also be creating a little treasure in which someone will love to play!

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Painting the Xenomorph

by Wes Hawkins
Start Over/W.A.D. Productions
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Hello again everyone! Last time we covered painting the Predator Creature. This time around it's the Predators' arch nemesis' turn, the deadly Alien! For this project, I'll be using GEOmetric Designs' awesome Alien Warrior, along with the optional accessory packs (an optional head, H.R. Giger arms, and a facehugger). These are pinned to allow for switching out the optional parts at will.

Due to the pose of this piece, I will paint each part separately before final assembly. Secondly, it is strongly advised that the artist mix up plenty of each color used to ensure he or she won't run out. Each color (besides the base coat) is custom mixed. If a second batch has to be mixed, it is doubtful that the colors will match. Now that the rough stuff is out of the way, let's begin, shall we?

Usually when I paint, I hold the subject in one hand and spray with the other. However, in this case a stand was required in order to make the painted lines more precise. This does not have to be anything elaborate; the point is I didn't have to touch the piece.

Special thanks to Harry Harris for these three pictures from his collection of Alien memorabilia. I couldn't have completed this project without his help!


I noticed that the highlights are lighter than the deeper recesses of the body. To handle the detail work, I chose a Custom Micron CM-C Plus airbrush. With its precision Micro Air Control (MAC) Valve, the Micron brush is excellent for tiny detail work of this nature. I sprayed all the parts flat black. Next, I mixed up a combination of leather with black and brass. Using this color I began spraying the highlighted raised portions of the head, body and arms. This left just a hint of the black undercoat showing on the highlights and deeper in the recesses.

I lightened the color a few shades using leather and sprayed the highlights again, this time leaving the original highlight color on the edges. This is hardly noticeable when looking directly at the object but becomes apparent when viewed at an angle. The smaller details on the sides of the head and limbs were highlighted with a dry brushing of steel.

Next, I oversprayed the entire kit with Transparent Sienna Brown at a distance of about 12 inches. This blended all the work together and added to the general subtlety of the paint.

Next, I sprayed flat black directly on the center of the forehead to follow the reference. The teeth were painted silver with a wash of black to outline each tooth. The claws were painted silver, as well.

The Alien creatures secreted some sort of slimy goo. To simulate this, I mixed up a batch of clear epoxy glue. As the glue began to solidify, I smeared some on the mouth and chin of the creature and pulled it downward to form the dripping drool. This takes a little practice to get the timing down correctly, but it is well worth the effort.

The final touch on the Alien is a sealing coat of matte sealer. This actually highlights the highlights, so to speak. The subtlety of the previous color changes now becomes much more obvious.

That wraps it up--a fast and simple way to bring this science fiction legend to life. Now, let's turn our little beastie loose to go hunt some Predators! See ya next time!!

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Spray-On Beauty Makeup*

by Bradley M. Look
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

For the professional working makeup artist, it's easy to state that between 80 and 90 percent of all application is that of the beauty makeup. In fact, you needn't look any further than to read the year-end stock reports from the leading cosmetic moguls of their multi-billion dollar empires. Consumers from every walk of life are forever looking for that elusive "Holy Grail" that promises eternal youth (or at least will soften the visible signs of age) and make you a flawless beauty with a foundation that gives you all-day coverage. Recently, while on hiatus from my series, I received an email from a reader of Airbrush Talk, who writes:

I am a makeup artist for weddings and commercials. I have been researching airbrush for a very long time and feel like I am running into walls. I know of the brand Dinair, but I want something that has a more natural feel. I was reading your article and I think it is the most informative thing I have found on the subject. I have asked many other makeup artists for advice on different products and they are very reluctant in giving it to me because they feel that I would be their competition. They have nothing to worry about. I am more curious at this point as to what brands there are out there that I could try. Could you please point in the right direction? Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Warm regards.

For those who may not have read my article titled "The Art Of Airbrushing Makeup Part Two: What Product Line Do I Use?" I would urge you to access AirbrushTalk's archives for Vol.5, No. 2 - July 2003, before continuing on.

As Stacie has asked for the most natural feeling airbrush product, I must stop here and point out something. A "natural feeling" airbrush cosmetic on a client's skin will be determined by how much product is applied. I find that, generally, many makeup artists-- when they first start using the airbrush--tend to be very heavy handed. So by the time they've had base, highlight, contour, and blush applied, the client or talent has the sensation that his or her face has been "Earl Schiebed" (a noted automobile re-finishing company in the Southern California area that promises they'll spray paint any car for only $99.99!!! What a deal!) However, people tend not to feel like their face has been lacquer coated. Don't forget the golden rule: Less is more.

Now, as to the question of what product line would give the most durability for a wedding or commercial shoot, I would again suggest a referral back to my article in Vol. 5, No. 2 - July 2003. And while you're there, just print up a copy for your files to use as reference. I would tend to shy away from product lines that are strictly water-based (unless working under controlled circumstances) as they can also be water activated from normal perspiration. As anyone who has attended a wedding can testify, the bride is always usually on the dewy side anyway. This is especially true during the summer months when the majority of weddings take place. I would advise that if a water-based airbrush product is to be used, that it be properly sealed with a makeup sealer such as Ben Nye's Sealer, Mehron's Barrier Spray, Green Marble Sealer, Kryolan's Fixer Spray, or Cinema Secrets' Super Sealer. All of these products are readily available from the sources listed at the end of July 2003's article.

While some might argue with me, I believe that the more durable airbrush makeups are ones that are polymer-water based, polymer-SD alcohol 40 based, and silicone SD alcohol 40-B based.

Let's walk through an airbrush beauty makeup to fully understand some of the standard techniques used with its application. Ready? Okay, let us get started.

Before beginning any makeup, your supplies must be laid out in an order that works for you. As you can see (PHOTO 1), my materials are arranged from right to left, since I am right handed. My basic makeup box is set off to the side of my set towel (with a disposable professional towel on top), brushes in holder; then you can see to the left are my Aztek cleaning station and airbrush set in its holder. As space is always at a premium in makeup trailers, my compressor (which is an Iwata Power Jet) is always placed on the floor under my work area.

Here is our model, Michelle Grant Bouse, who has graciously consented to sit for this photo session. "Before" photos are never a flattering representation of the talent, but that's what they usually look like when they first sit down in our chair. Incidentally, I would like to point out that Michelle is one of the instructors at Make-up Designory (MUD) in Burbank, California. Michelle also has worked on NBC's daytime drama Passions, which uses airbrush application of beauty makeups daily.

Always start any makeup with a freshly cleaned face. An astringent to remove any facial oils can follow this, usually most evident in the "T-zone." Usually, it's then customary to prep the skin with a light application of a water-based moisturizer. Blot away any excess with a tissue. Alternatively, you can also choose to use a commercially available skin primer over the moisturizer or in place of it. Such primers are Kryolan's Ultra Under Base, Smash Box Photo Finish, English Idea's Foundation Primer and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. Of course there are other brands available; this was only a partial listing. Generally, many of them contain cyclomethicone (a silicone) as one of the main ingredients, which imparts a "silky" feel to the skin. Here I am applying the primer using a latex sponge, working from a wax palette sheet. Apply primer sparingly.

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A cream concealer is applied over any discoloration under the eyes, red spots, and blemishes. Use a small sable brush to apply. Blend off makeup so that there aren't any hard edges. Powder to set. Afterwards, spray with a little water or moisture spray to remove excess powder. Blot water with a tissue, if needed.

We're now ready to airbrush the base on. Set the regulator on your compressor between 3 and 6 psi. Squeeze around 6 drops of an appropriate airbrush foundation in the color cup. For the demonstration, I am using the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, a personal favorite of mine. I always start by first spraying a little of the color I've chosen on the forehead, checking for color compatibility to that of the subject's skin. If the color is deemed correct, then continue by spraying the rest of the face. Folding a tissue in half, use it as a loose shield to protect the hairline from any overspray while working. Spray in circular movements so as to avoid producing lines in the application.

When you want to haze some foundation under the eyes, angle the brush at a downward 45° degree angle so as not to spray product in the talent's eyes. Have the talent hold her breath, and again spraying at a downward 45° angle, spray the nose tip and upper lip.

Continue working the foundation down the neck. If the ears will be visible, have the talent put earplugs in before spraying. Remember to use your tissue as a shield to avoid getting product on hair.

We're now ready to move on with applying highlights. Squeeze a couple drops of a lighter foundation into remaining base in the color cup. Mix either with a spatula or by back flushing. Covering the needle cap with your index finger, push down on the finger lever, and then slowly pull back so that airflow gets channeled back into the color cup. The product will "gurgle" as the two colors mix together. Remember that the first color squeezed into the color cup will be the first one out before it shifts to the secondary one you mixed. So always get in the habit of testing your spray on a tissue before working on the talent! This will keep accidents from happening.

Lightly spray highlight under the eyes (again using the 45° angle as before), on the cheekbones and in the nasolabial folds (that's a fancy word for smile lines). Clean out the airbrush before continuing. Use a recommended cleaner appropriate to the product line you're using. If you are unsure what cleaner to use, contact the makeup manufacturer before spraying.

We'll now move on to contouring the face. Squirt a couple drops of your base in the color cup and then add a few drops of a darker shade. Mix the two colors together as described for the highlight. Test the shade on a tissue and then lightly shade under the cheekbones, the jawbone, and the side of the nose, if needed. Clean out the airbrush again before continuing.

Now, you're ready for the blush. If the color you've chosen is intense, mix it with the base to subdue it somewhat so that it is in harmony with the rest of the face. Clean the airbrush again before moving on.

To apply eye shadow, lower the regulator on the compressor to no higher than 3 psi. Load a suitable color in the airbrush. Holding the eyebrow up slightly to make it taut, mist on the color. Dry the wet eyelid with just air from the airbrush before releasing it. Repeat on the other eyelid. Clean the airbrush once again.

Clean off the eyebrows of any makeup by spraying a little isopropyl alcohol on a disposable mascara brush using a pump sprayer. Let dry before continuing. You can either freehand or use a stencil to airbrush the eyebrows or choose to use traditional makeup techniques such as an eyebrow pencil to fill in where necessary. I used the tried and true method, the pencil!

Michelle's face is lightly set with loose translucent face powder. The excess is brushed off.

Conventional dry eye shadows are applied to the lids before lining them with Bobbi Brown Black Ink. Mascara is then applied.

To finish off Michelle's lips, I first applied a lip conditioner and lined them with a pencil. Using a lip brush I blended the pencil color into the conditioner. The lipstick is now applied, finishing the makeup look.

Here are some photos of the finished makeup.

I would like to thank several people; without their help and support such an ambitious project as this would not have been possible. First, to my beautiful and patient model, Michelle Grant Bouse, thank you for allowing me to show you au natural. A heartfelt thanks to Ms. Pat Garner for lending her skills in the styling of Michelle's hair! Thanks to Maurice Stein and Ron Vine at Cinema Secrets for allowing me to use their classroom for the photographing of this makeup! And last, but not least, to Joe Podnar for his willingness to shooting this session!! As you can see, it's never easy to do such an ambitious project without a lot of help and support!

* Disclaimer: The information contained in these notes is presented in good faith, but no warranty, expressed or implied, is given and the author/manufacturers assume no liability for the use or misuse of this material. Further, no part of these notes may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photographic, and recording or otherwise without prior written permission from the author. © June 2004 features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

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...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.




Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in September 2004!