Volume 7, Number 2, July 2005

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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Tin Can Lanterns for Patio, Porch or Garden

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

There are a lot of neat projects that you can do with an empty can. One of those projects is to create a unique patio lantern in which you set a votive candle. These lanterns can be decorated in a number of ways and all add a wonderful glow to your evening dining table or garden easy chair.

Gather the simple materials needed to create interesting garden/porch/patio lanterns.

Materials you will need to create lanterns include the airbrush of your choice (my preference for this project is the Iwata Revolution HP-CR 4500), an air source (I always rely on my quiet and reliable Smart Jet), enamel paints in a variety of colors, solvent for cleanup and slight dilution of paints if necessary, several empty washed and dried vegetable or fruit tins, a scrap of wood that fits inside the cans, a hammer and heavy nail, and paper and pencil to create a design. A wire bail is a nice touch and makes it easy to move the lantern while it is lit. The bail handle can be created with an old coat hanger or other scrap of wire. To bend the wire handle you will need a pair of pliers. A votive candle and candle glass is set inside the finished lantern to contain the liquid wax as the wick burns down.

Begin by planning a design. The initial design should be uncomplicated, perhaps swirl patterns, simple shapes or straight lines.

After creating a paper pattern, it is used to align the piercing.

Once you have worked out a design, you have two options for project completion. One option is to tape the paper on which you have drawn the pattern directly to the can, and then pierce through the paper with the hammer and nail. The advantage to using a paper pattern is that you can create several very similar lanterns, related by identical pattern placement. The second method is to use the permanent marker to draw directly on the outside of the can to create an original one-of-a-kind design, and then pierce the pattern with your nail/nails. Light transmitted from the inside will cast an interesting pattern into the darkness of your garden or patio. Varying the hole size is one way to make the patterns more interesting.

Painting bright colors makes the lantern appealing in daylight and dark.

Once you have pierced the can in the desired design, it is time to paint the can. Begin by painting a base color on the outside of the lantern. Add other colors if desired, softening the color at the top or adding stripes of color. You are in total control of the colors and their placement. Creating several identically pierced lanterns in multiple colors gives a neat look whether the lanterns are casting patterns during the evening or sitting in the garden or on a table in the daylight.

When painting is completed, attach a bail (handle) by piercing two opposed holes at the top rim of the lantern. Attach a short length of scrap wire bent into a curved shape. Bend the ends to hold the handle in place. Darkness brings out the beauty of your lantern.


The bail makes the lighted lantern easy to move from place to place.   After dark the lantern glows and lights the evening with dancing patterns.

For extra charm, you can wrap thin copper or painted steel wire around the handle. You can also create different patterns using other piercing "tools" like awls, punches or nail sets. For a star-like pattern, create a small pilot hole, and then tap a heavy Phillips-head screwdriver point through the hole. If the can is thin enough, it will make an "x" pattern that will cast a star-shaped light image. Straight blade screwdrivers and different sizes of chisels create neat rectangle slits for dramatic light transmission.

Remember to be extra careful with sharp tools! But, with caution, this can be a great project with unique results.

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Canvas Wrap

by A. D. Cook
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Well, here we are in our third installment of CANVAS WRAP, where we're going to finally get the figure started.

First off, before I can start any spraying, I need to replace the acetate to protect background and reveal the figure. The background acetate pieces are replaced before the figure pieces are removed. This is where the Sharpie "X" marks come in handy to keep everything in register. Exact registration in acetate replacement is essential. If the acetate pieces are not replaced in their exact position, undesirable light and dark lines will appear in the painting, essentially outlining the figure. Once the pieces are in their proper position I can start spraying without worry of affecting my background.

I start off painting the figure with the same blue I used for the background. At this point everything is airbrushed freehand using an Iwata Hi-Line HP-CH airbrush. My air pressure is set around 10-12 PSI, which creates a slightly grainy effect. I don't want my skin to lack texture. Too smooth a skin surface and my model will look plastic and fake - too much and she'll look rough and manly. A little experimenting on a piece of scrap paper will help to determine a desirable texture. Simply adjusting air pressure can create tremendous variations in sprayed textures.

This is where saving all the acetate pieces comes in handy. The original acetate pieces are trimmed as needed and positioned to create crisp edges and detail. At this point, I'm still keeping everything light. It's easier to darken areas later. My goal here is to bring the color up globally, rather than completely finish any given area. By doing this, I'll get a better idea overall of what everything looks like and can make adjustments accordingly.

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Artool Airbrush Templates are used to add crisp lines and bring out details as needed. Holding the shield away from the surface a little while spraying can create edges with a bit of softness to them, which tend to look more realistic than overly-crisp edges. It doesn't take much. Simply holding the shield 1/8" to 1/4" away from the surface will change the edge considerably.

I use "The Bird by Radu Vero" (RV-2), which happens to be one of my personal favorites for painting breast shapes. It's perfect for the scale of my work. Using the shield's different curves can create positive and negative shapes, which are desirable to create a convincing illusion - in this case, the inside and outside shapes of the breast line. I'll use a lot of different Artool Airbrush Templates in the process of creating my paintings. I especially rely on the Freehand Match-Makers, designed by my buddy Michael Cacy. They make short work of painting hands and fingernails.

There's still a long way to go, but at this point things are starting to shape up overall, so I'm going to take a break from spraying and pull out some erasers to establish some lighter detail areas. Creating these paintings is a process of applying and removing paint to adjust everything as needed. Erasers are especially useful in establishing variety by creating convincing textures. However, some caution should be applied when using erasers; a little goes a long way, and it's relatively easy to do damage if patience and restraint are ignored. Erase softly and work slowly. In the same way that more paint can be added, more can be removed later as needed, but we'll want be careful here to not add too much texture by erasing too much too fast. This shot shows a small sampling of the variety of erasers I use.

After a bit of erasing, I'm back to airbrushing some more color, so pull out the shields, rotate the art, and start spraying. Notice here that the painting is upside down. I rotate my art in process often during the course of painting. This helps me see details that I might otherwise miss - things become shapes, allowing us to see what is really there instead of what we think we know. Equally important to rotating art is keeping your reference images close to where you're working. Here you see my reference photo directly in front of the painting.

Well, that's it for this one. In the next installment of CANVAS WRAP I'll show you how those Cacy templates I mentioned make painting the hand a breeze.

A.D. Cook is an artist based out of Portland, Oregon. Since buying his first airbrush nearly 30 years ago, he has continued to paint in many media, including dozens of larger-than-life sized murals for the Hollywood Video stores, commissioned works, and fine art paintings. His current works are life-size and larger fine art nudes and figurative paintings.

Visit A.D. Cook's web site at to learn more.

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Stencil Hygiene

by Bradley M. Look

So you went out and bought yourself a beautiful set of stencils from Artool, or maybe you took it upon yourself and burned some creative stencils for that project. You've used them and now its time to clean them up. I have to admit I've seen plenty of airbrush artists out there who don't do this often enough. The productivity and life of your stencils can be vastly improved with regular cleaning.

Just as you should always leave your airbrush clean, so should you with the rest of your equipment. This is particularly paramount when working as a makeup artist who's using an airbrush on his talent. After all, you wouldn't use a dirty sponge or brush on Tom Cruise's face, would you? A stencil also comes in contact with an actor's skin and should be cleaned frequently so as to keep your professional image intact.

Now before you start with "I haven't got the time," let me take you through the simple steps of Stencil Hygiene 101 so you can see how simple it truly can be. First, I will list the basic equipment you'll need to have on hand before starting:


  1. A solvent-proof tray (such as an enamel butcher's tray found in most art stores)

  2. Paper toweling

  3. Powder puffs

  4. Isopropyl alcohol 99%

  5. Spray bottle

  6. A synthetic brush (with soft bristles)

To begin the whole cleaning process, first detach two sheets of paper toweling from the roll and fold so that it will fit inside the butcher's tray.

Carefully, pour the isopropyl alcohol on top of the paper toweling so that it is entirely saturated with the solvent. If you are unsure that the solvent will affect the material that your stencil is made of, check a small section before immersing it.

Lay the stencil (dirty side) face down onto the toweling. Let it sit there for several minutes so that the solvent can loosen all product on its surface. Of course if both sides of your stencil have dried product on it, then you'll need to flip it over to soak.

Now flip over the stencil onto the paper toweling. Saturate a powder puff with solvent and lightly pat it to remove product. If you have some stubborn spots, use the spray bottle containing isopropyl alcohol. Mist those areas. Then take a soft synthetic brush and use a patting motion to loosen dry material.

Once you're satisfied with the cleaning, rinse the stencil off with tap water in the sink. Lay the stencil down onto some clean paper toweling and pat dry.

Store the now clean stencil away for the next time you'll need it. I like to store my stencils in an Itoya portfolio (available in art and office supply stores). This keeps my stencils flat and allows me to keep them organized for easy use when I'm working.

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New Templates from Artool

Artool Products Company, Portland, OR, is pleased to announce the release and availability of two new and much-anticipated airbrush template sets (click on either set for a larger view):

Artool TRUE FIRE Freehand Airbrush Template Set designed by Mike Lavallee

Artool TIKI MASTER Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Dennis Mathewson

--Artool TRUE FIRE Freehand Airbrush Template Set designed by Mike Lavallee --Artool TIKI MASTER Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Dennis Mathewson

Artool's TRUE FIRE Freehand Airbrush Template Set by Mike Lavallee also includes his TRUE FIRE Instructional DVD. Since his appearances on "Monster Garage", Mike Lavallee and his Killer Paint Airbrush Studio have been honored to participate in The Learning Channel's wildly popular "Overhaulin'" and "Rides" television programs. After successfully airbrushing with many of the Artool Freehand Airbrush Templates for years to create his patented TRUE FIRE effects on many motorcycles, automobiles and hotrods, Mike wanted to work with Gabe at Artool to create the ultimate shapes for creating realistic fire effects. The Artool TRUE FIRE set (FH TF1) comes with 3 separate TRUE FIRE shapes: DIABLO, WILD FIRE & INFERNO, which come in graduated sizes. That means 9 different templates! NINE!!! And, as a bonus, the set includes an instructional DVD by Mike Lavallee, where he takes you through the steps necessary to create your own TRUE FIRE masterpiece, which can be purchased separately. Mike has dedicated over 25 years to his artwork. Along the way he has touched many lives, spread many smiles, inspired awe and lived life to the fullest!

The art of wood carving has existed in Polynesia for centuries. As in other mythological religions, the ancient Polynesians believed that different elements were represented by different gods. These carvings, or tikis, as we know them, resulted in thousands of various images. Today, since retro is so completely kewl again, our "Kustom Kulture" has brought tikis back; truth is they never really left Hawaii!!! Dennis Mathewson, of Honolulu, is an avid tiki carver as well as being one of the very top airbrushing pros on the planet. He has been working with Gabe McCubbin at Artool to share his latest creation: the TIKI MASTER Freehand Airbrush Template Series (FH TM1 thru 7). There are six different Tikis to choose from (#7 is the whole set!): TRIBAL TIKI (FH TM1), KONA TIKI (FH TM2), TIKI TROUBLE (FH TM3), TIKI BAR (FH TM4), TOTEM TIKI (FH TM5), ALOHA SPIRIT (FH TM6) and the whole set (FH TM7). Dennis says, "Have fun choosing and airbrushing with these first Tiki images from Artool. There will be more--many more--to come! Aloha oe!!!"

The above new Artool Freehand Airbrush Templates 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 features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops Presents

"Basic Airbrush Techniques"
With Robert Paschal
August 20, 2005
Beacon, NY

"Intermediate/Advanced Airbrush:
Special Effects and Techniques"

With Pamela Shanteau
September 10, 2005
Beacon, NY

"Art in the Adirondacks"
October 1-2, 2005
Indian Lake, NY

Sat., Oct. 1 - "Basic Airbrush Techniques" with Robert Paschal

Sat. & Sun., Oct. 1-2 - "Automotive & Motorcycle Airbrushing" with Pamela Shanteau

If you are a beginner, you must learn the basics of airbrush technique, whether you wish to paint fine art, models, nails, tattoos, crafts, motorcycle tanks, or apply makeup, etc. Here's your opportunity to learn from an award-winning teacher!

Or are you familiar with the airbrush and basic techniques and now wish to progress to special effects/techniques or automotive and motorcycle painting? Here are two unique workshops to learn how to paint either special effects or skulls and flames from an expert in the field!

Seats are limited, so sign up now!

For further information, please visit 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.





Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in September 2005!