Friday, April 24, 2009

Creating watercolor paintings with oil paint.

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Can a watercolor painting be created using oil paint? The answer is yes, to some degree. The question is - is it worth the effort and when should this technique be used?

Watercolor painting itself is very demanding and its techniques are quite unique. The water in the watercolor paint changes shape of the paper and appearance of the paint when it dries. Watercolor is also not 'forgiving', since mistakes cannot be hidden by painting over. Thus, it is very complex and tricky media to use. On the other hand oil doesn't have these limitations, not to say it has no difficulties on its own, but it lucks the effects that can be created with the watercolor paint, or is it?

The idea is what if for example an oil painting of foggy or rainy day needs to be created? With watercolor paint, considering an artist is proficient with it, it is very easy to paint fog or rain. Watercolor allows for scattering of light creating transparent layers that are perfect for painting fog for example. What about oil?

Yes, same effect can be accomplished with oil paint. It has many limitations that watercolor paint does not, but for this particular example it can be done. See picture of the original oil painting on canvas on top and here is the closeup of the top right corner.

It is oil painting of downtown Chicago on a rainy day. The watercolor effect in this painting is accomplished using oil paint. It has a slightly different feel to it then watercolor painting, but the effect is the same and it fits the painting very well.

It is obvious that oil paint will not replace or cannot accomplish the same thing watercolor paint can and vice versa, however if an artist is proficient with both medias , then watercolor look and feel can be accomplished even with oil paint. This works well for specific landscapes when dim light conditions are portrayed in the painting.

One thing to note, it is somewhat tricky and complicated to get watercolor effect using oil paint, and requires some research from the artist. The way it has to be done is also depends on the painting itself, such as landscape, colors used, etc... so there is no simple direction s on how to accomplish this. However, any artist should be able to figure it out after a number of tries.

Here are some additional examples of oil paintings on canvas where watercolor effect is produced using oil paint.

Mikhail Onanov

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Impressionism – Dos and Don’ts

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Impressionism is one of the latter art styles. There are some criteria's and techniques that define it, but are they really a must have or just a definition?

According to –
"Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists exhibiting their art publicly in the 1860s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari."

Thus the term initially defined a single painting.

Then, again according to it was used more broadly –
"Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.
The emergence of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous movements in other media which became known as Impressionist music and Impressionist literature.

Impressionism also describes art created in this style, but outside of the late 19th century time period."

So, what do you need to do as an artist to insure that your artwork fits the definition of impressionism? Interestingly, not much.

The term is so 'widely' defined that virtually any artwork, unless it can be absolutely positively defined as abstract (or it's variation such as cubism, etc...) can fit the term.

Most artists nowadays use visible brush strokes (yes you can see them in virtually any painting if you are close enough).

Most artist use open composition.

Almost anyone knows how to use light and make emphasis on it. Outside of abstract oil paintings (or probably broader definition of abstract and oil paintings) you can not really create an artwork without using light and making emphasis on its qualities.

Most of the art will cover ordinary subject mater, unless it is futuristic artwork.

All art is about perception and experience and again most artwork is about experiences we (humans) have.

No artist will probably agree that their visual angles are not unusual, thus most are using unusual visual angles.

Thus, this really leaves only handful of exceptions – abstract paintings, etc... and one rule. But even the rule is really more of a guideline than a rule. The rule is: "In pure Impressionism the use of black paint is avoided."

So, take a hard look at all the paintings you have the chances are 90% of the artwork that is not abstract is actually impressionism.

And here are some examples of impressionism art:Impressionism Oil Paintings on Canvas.

Mikhail Onanov

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Want to sell your Art? – move to the right place.

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I have traveled a lot within United States and abroad. One thing I have noticed is that there are some places where it is easier to sell real art and then there are some that require a 'different approach'.

Right now I’m in South Carolina in a little town called Hilton Head Island. This is very popular tourist destination and there are art stores all over. The city is very nice and it has its own unique appeal and charm. However, looks like most of the art stores are oriented towards tourists hunting for cheap souvenirs.

There is no demand for high quality artwork in the place like this. I can understand why, it is hard to carry large original and expensive painting around and most of the people here are from out of town, thus it makes sense that small framed watercolors, pastels or acrylics are in demand and large oil paintings are not. I would think that people buy these in lieu of taking a photograph, and it is just a fancy way to say – 'hey I can actually buy a paintings instead of taking a picture'. So, the theme of most of the art here is all about local attractions – lighthouse, marina, boats, ocean, etc...

On the contrary, same theme can be found in New York City for example, but it probably would be higher quality artwork created not just for home d├ęcor and souvenir purposes, but create as a real art.

Which brings me to the point, it seems that to make a few quick bucks and sell many low quality art – tourist destinations are the way to go. For more serious art major urban metropolitan areas would probably work much better. It seems like it is easier to get name recognition in larger cities that have many art galleries, then in small tourist towns.

I would think quantity wise it is easier to sell a lot of paintings to tourist, considering that they are fairly inexpensive, which most of the time would imply low quality, however seems like no one was able to become famous by doing that.

In the end if you are already well known and established artist it really doesn't matter where you live, but if you are on the way up chose your location carefully and move to the right place if you can.

Mikhail Onanov - Oil Paintings on Canvas