<![CDATA[J Melton Impressionist Art - Impressionist Art Blog]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 15:44:48 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Stretching A Canvas A Step By Step Guide]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 01:41:37 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/stretching-a-canvas-a-step-by-step-guideWhether you're purchased an unstretched painting or wish to reuse your stretcher bars over and over again, you will need to learn precisely how to stretch a canvas. If the painting is minute in size, such as an 8x10, you won't have much difficulty. However, attempting to stretch a bigger piece of canvas can be immensely difficult. I find myself consistently stretching a bigger canvas, removing the staples and doing it again, in order to get the perfect tension. I love a stretched canvas, which beats like an Indian drum. Below, you'll learn precisely how to stretch a canvas, by following my method.

Things You'll Need
First and foremost, you're going to need a few items. These will be listed below for your convenience.
  1. The canvas, whether or blank or a finished piece
  2. Scissors
  3. Assembled stretcher bars of the appropriate size
  4. Staples
  5. Staple gun
  6. Possibly a staple remover
Once you've obtained all of these items, you will want to move ahead. Your stretcher bars can truly make a world of difference. If the bars slip and side, when interlocked, you're going to have difficulties getting a proportional and tight stretched canvas. As far as canvas goes, I prefer something somewhat thick, which will not tear like paper. I always purchase a roll and utilize the same bars repeatedly. Although some people will say that stretching the canvas isn't worth it, I like the process and it allows me to obtain the precise tension that I desire.

Some Recommendations
Everyone is different and each artist will prefer something unique. However, I figured I would provide you with my recommendations regarding canvas and stretcher bars. I've bought a handful varieties of each, so I have more than a little experience. First, the stretcher bars are crucial. I've purchased some from Hobby Lobby and was definitely disappointed. These bars don't secure together very well and make it difficult to get a good square finish, with plenty of tension. If you're going to purchase your own stretcher bars, I recommend using Fredrix or Jack Richeson. Both are great, secure together well and can be used repeatedly, without any troubles.

In terms of canvas, I generally buy two brands, Fredrix and Richeson again. I either purchase Richardson Caravaggio Canvas or Fredrix Primed Canvas. Despite doing everything else, I do not recommend priming your own canvas. I have also used Sargent Art's Canvas from Amazon. Although it is affordable, you can tell it. I can literally tear it in half with my bare hands. Still, it is good for those working on a limited budget and those that just want to paint as much as possible to enhance their skills.

Supplies Needed

Step 1 - Preparing Your Canvas

First and foremost, you will want to cut your canvas. If you've purchased an unstretched painting, this will not be necessary. This step is fairly straightforward and shouldn't give you any difficulty. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of room to jerk and pull the canvas, so you can achieve plenty of tension. Dry try to be cheap and save canvas. At least allow an inch overhang, so you can get a good grip.

Step 2 - Start In The Middle

Once you've gotten your canvas cut to perfectly fit your stretcher bars, you'll want to put away your scissors and canvas roll, unless you plan on stretching more than one canvas. Either way, grab your stapler and start in the center. The first four staples should be all centralized. Two for the shorter sides and two for the longer side for a total of four staples. Make sure you pull the canvas as tight as possible or you'll run into trouble in the future.

Step 3 - Long Side Middle And Outward

After you've finished with the four central staples, you will want to pick a long side of the canvas and jump back into the middle. Proceed to the left or right of the central staple, grab the canvas with your fingers, pull as tight as possible and secure it with a staple. Continue working in the same direction, until you place the final staple into the nearest edge.

Step 4 - SAme Thing Short Side

Once you've finished the long side, you'll want to switch to the short size of your canvas. Again, start in the middle and staple towards the long side, which has already been finished. Once you're finished, you'll have an entire corner of the canvas completely stretched. If this corner is lacking tension whatsoever, you'll want to pull out the staples and do it again. This isn't fun, but I've done it many times, in order to obtain the precision tension that I desire. Some people may not be so OCD about a tight canvas, but I am.

Step 5 - Repeat For All Sides

Now, repeat this process for the remainder of the corners. Remember to always start on the long sides of the canvas, before doing the shorter sides. Also, always start in the middle and work towards one side of the canvas or the other.

Step 6 - Finish The Corners

stretching canvas
Finally, you can choose to leave the corner flaps hanging, or you can staple them securely to the canvas. When I paint, I often leave the flaps hanging loose in case I wish to remove the canvas at a later time. However, if you're stretching an already completed painting, you will want to grab ahold of the canvas' corner and full them inward. Initially, I found this to be somewhat difficult and some insist there is a magic solution. Just pull the canvas, so that it overlaps and falls into place and you'll be fine.


Well, you're done. I hope the information provided has been helpful to someone out there. Also, sorry for the terrible pictures. Took them and put the camera away. Sadly, they turned out a little darker than I had hoped. Remember to stretch the canvas to the tension you desire. I like a canvas, which beats like a drum, so my thumbs are usually sore and nearly raw, after the process has concluded.
<![CDATA[The Best Varnishes for Oil Paintings]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 00:31:47 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/the-best-varnishes-for-oil-paintingswinsor and newton retouch varnish
Every artist and collector wants to preserve their treasures.  In today's article, we explore a handful of them and what benefits one can have for using these on heirloom artistic pieces.  

Gamblin Oil Paints

Oregon-based, Gamblin Oil Paints offers a selection of varnishes.  From gloss to matte finish, there are a number of solutions for the owners desire.  The company website (gamblincolors.com) is a good resource for those unfamiliar with their products.  It should be noted that their varnishes are available in aerosols and brush-on applications.

Blair Spray Matte Fixative

For those wanting a low-cost matte, you can't go wrong with this spray.  The manufacturer states that along with oil-based paint works, it is excellent on blueprints and other documents.  It has a low-odor, and is well-received by the craftsmen community. The Blair Spray Clear Matte Fixative is an excellent option for those looking for a quick fix.

Bob Ross Damar Varnish Spray

Incrementally higher-priced than most other aerosols, this lives up to it's namesake.  For those moments in time that should be preserved, like when the chirping birds sing from happy trees, you could do much worse than the Bob Ross name.  It provides a steady amount of product dispensed, waterproofing it, and really helps make those colors pop.

Lascaux UV Protect

One brand that offers three varieties in aerosol form, Lascaux UV Protect is a premium-priced selection that prides itself on it's fast drying solution and low odor.  Between matte, gloss, and semi-gloss, Lascaux offers solutions for many in the field.  The spray nozzle is noted for it's dispersion and should be considered when high-value pieces are to be sealed.

Montana Varnish Sprays

For variety needed at a lower-cost, a selection of varnishes are available from Montana.  They provide good protection against yellowing over time, and can be used on a large number of surfaces.  Gloss, matte, and semi-gloss are readily available, and the price point is good for those needing to archive pieces.

Retouch Varnish

For me, I prefer utilizing retouch varnish. Although this type of varnish isn't meant to provide the user with long-term protection, it can be used as soon as the painting is dry to the touch. This gives me the ability to get the painting varnishing quicker. I use Pebeo's Retouching Varnish, but cannot find it anywhere anymore. Now, I use Winsor and Newton's Retouch Varnish and it works well.

In Conclusion

For more information and varieties of varnishes in the field, one need only do a search.  Most of all manufacturers of paints also provide their own brand of protection.  Your mileage may vary, and in this field, often, you get what you pay for.  There is no shame in learning from experience, but in a culture that is quickly looking to disposable media (digital media) for artwork, the capacity to preserve actual hard copy is a must.

Hopefully, you have enough information to start your own selection for whatever product you have in mind that should be saved for the years ahead.

<![CDATA[Art Giveaway - Sign up now]]>Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:52:18 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/art-giveaway-sign-up-nowHello there! Thank you all for entering. The art giveaway has ended and the winner, Judy Wartman, has been contacted. Thanks again and be sure to check back frequently, as more giveaway could be coming up in the near future! :)

Hi there everyone! When I first started drawing and painting, I initially entered the Manga/Anime niche. I purchased all kinds of great supplies and filled my toolbox full. Unfortunately, I took an interest to oil painting and left the Manga stuff behind. Fortunately, I did keep all of my old stuff and now, you'll have the opportunity to win some of it! First up, I am going to give away the Manga Mania Shoujo by Christopher Hart. I enjoyed the book and did find it helpful! If you're interested in learning how to draw Manga girls and women, this is the book for you! At the time, the book was around $20 or so. Not so sure now, but it seems to have dropped. Either way, the winner of this contest will receive the book for free and shipped and handling will also be free.
Manga Mania Christopher Hart
If you're interested in signing up for the contest, here's what you'll need to do. There are two ways to enter and both entries will be accepted, so you can entry twice.

1. Go to my Twitter page, @CobltBlue4, Follower and Retweet one of my tweets.


2. Go to my Facebook Page, Like my page and share one of my posts.


3. Do both for having a better chance of winning.

The contest will start immediately after this post goes live. From there, you will be able to enter, until November 15, 2015. On November 16, 2015, a winner will be chosen. Contestants should be at least 15 years and older or have their parents permission, before signing up! Well, what are you waiting for? Enter now!

<![CDATA[2 New Original Oil Paintings]]>Tue, 27 Oct 2015 21:58:44 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/2-new-original-oil-paintingsHey there all! Just got around to uploading some new pictures. These are bigger paintings and they were painted, within the last month. Paints used? Pebeo, Winsor and Newton, M Graham and Richeson. I believe anyway.
This first one is landscape of a field with barns obviously. Originally, I was going for something entirely different. What the heck, right? I threw some crows into the painting and went with it. In the end, I reckon it looks pretty good and has a bit of atmosphere to it. The picture really doesn't do it justice and I really need to invest in a better camera.

For the bottom painting, well, it should speak for itself. With all of the political shenanigans going on, it is hard not to get into the mood, isn't it? I wouldn't necessarily consider myself to be a political individual, since I can barely stand listening to any of the politicians speak for more than five minutes.

I do keep up with the latest ongoings though and watch C-Span regularly. Since Comcast hasn't been friendly with me recently, I only get Al-Jaazera. I suppose this is a good thing, since it prevents me from being brainwashed by CNN and Fox News.

Anyway, the painting features the only current presidential candidate that I sympathize with on the majority of the issues, Rand Paul. Low in the polls? Check! Outsider? Check! Different from the rest? Check! I can be categorized similarly, so all is good.

With the GOP debate tomorrow, we can only hope Paul energizes the crowd and voters. If it doesn't, I am not sure the future holds anything substantially different from what we have today. Anyway, another day, another dollar. Cheers all.
<![CDATA[New Impressionist Still Life Painting]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 23:40:26 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/new-impressionist-still-life-painting
Hey there guys. Finished this oil painting a few weeks ago. Sorry for the horrible picture. For some reason, my camera is terrible and couldn't get the scanner to work properly. Anyway, every once in awhile, I like painting still life paintings.

With this one, I originally painted something similar, didn't like it and painted over it. Although you might not be able to tell it in the photo, the painting turned out to be very pretty and much better than the original. It was painted using Gamblin's Solvent Free Medium. This medium makes the paint really gooey and a little awkward to lay paint on top of undried paint. However, it does create a somewhat choppy and fresh effect. It doesn't do a great job making the paint dry quicker though.

The painting is a 9x12, if I remember correctly. It has finally dried and is ready to hang. However, I don't have much wall space left, at this point.
<![CDATA[Oil Painting Techniques For Beginners - The Scumbling Technique]]>Mon, 19 Oct 2015 12:36:47 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/oil-painting-techniques-for-beginners-the-scumbling-techniqueAs a beginner to oil painting, it is absolutely imperative to make sure that you experiment with a handful of different techniques. Glazing is definitely one of these, but it is a technique, which demands precision, in order to be successful. In fact, glazing is difficult and will likely leave you bewildered and frustrated on your first attempt. If you want to learn one of the easiest painting techniques for beginners, you should look no further than the stumbling painting technique! Below, you will learn all about it!

What Is Scumbling

Scumbling is an oil painting technique, which works similar to glazing. The differential between the pair is the fact stumbling uses opaque paint. It can also be done with transparent oil paint, but this will result in less effect. This is the most common technique used by impressionists, especially Claude Monet, to give his paintings layers of broken color.

The Purpose of The Scumbling Painting Technique

There are many excellent reasons to use the scumbling technique, but most will do it to give their painting more life. With broken colors, it is possible to push off an optical illusion of sorts onto the viewer. When they look at the broken colors, it'll force their mind to mix them optically. Therefore, yellow that has been scumbled over blue, will make the eye think it is seeing green.
Of course, when the viewer gets close to the painting, they'll be able to see that you scumbled the paint onto the surface.

How To Perform The Scumbling Technique

One of the best aspects of scumbling is the fact that this technique is tremendously easy and very fun to achieve. Although mastering it will take practice, even the newest of painters will be able to enhance their paintings with it. To scumble, you will need either a sponge or a dry brush. Then, you will want to follow the techniques below!
  1. Dip your brush into a little bit of paint (preferably opaque oil paint)
  2. Try to use stiff paint, as this will allow it to spread more easily
  3. Push the brush gently onto a cloth or paper towel to remove excess paint
  4. Next, you will want to scrub or rub the paint across the intended area

Take note that it is best to use an older and more durable brush for the scumbling technique. Also, you must wait, until the painting has dried, before scumbling! Otherwise, this will cause the paints to mix directly on the canvas, which is something to try later on.
<![CDATA[Painting Oil Painting For Beginners - How to Improve Painting Skills]]>Sat, 17 Oct 2015 20:47:47 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/painting-oil-painting-for-beginners-how-to-improve-painting-skillsHey there! Are you interested in learning how to paint with oils? If so, you should prepare yourself for a long, frustrating and fun ride! Learning the most imperative oil paintings techniques for beginners can be very tedious, so you will need to prepare yourself for a challenge. Thankfully, the process will also be fun, so you won't get too frustrated along the way. Below, you will find the best tips for improving your skills and progressively improving your finalized paintings.

How To Oil Paint For Beginners - Improvement Tips

Many people believe that they'll be able to improve their skills, by learning how to draw or using a ruler. Oil painting is different and these techniques can help, but practice makes perfect. Below, you will find the most important tips a painter could ever hear.

Use Limited Paints
One of the best ways to improve your skills is by using a limited palette. Learning how to properly mix paint is vital. Using 8 to 10 different colors for each painting will never force you to challenge yourself. Therefore, you should stick with a limited palette frequently. Only use the primary colors of red, blue and yellow. From these three colors and white, you will be able to create thousands of different colors. You can also use a black, but this is not recommended for those striving for an impressionist style of painting. Using a limited palette will also ensure that your paintings maintain harmony!

Start Small
Many painters will feel the urge to begin with 16x20 inch paintings. Although you will eventually get there, you should start with small paintings. I highly recommend purchasing 5-10 8x10 stretched canvases and a roll of un-stretched canvas. This will give you the ability to create 20-30 8x10 stretched canvases and will also force you to learn how to stretch your own canvases. This is how I proceeded and it forced me to learn various skills. By painting a small painting every day or every other day, your skills will improve immensely, within a month and even more in two months!

Study Works and Read Tutorials
Also, it is highly recommended that you study the works of the old masters. At this point, you likely already have an obsession with one or two painters. Replicating their style and reproducing their works can be tremendously helpful. It'll allow you to enter their mind and work through the painting in the same manner they did. Also, reading and watching online tutorials can be exceptionally beneficial. Signing up for forums, like WetCanvas, is a good idea and will allow you to learn from other artists.

Try all Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners
As a beginner, you should do your best to experiment with an array of different painting techniques. Learning how to glaze is vital and will give you the ability to add something special to each of your painting. Once you've practiced and mastered the skill, you can try painting a grisaille, or underpainting, and adding your colors through glazes.

Also, you should learn about scumbling, which was very popular among the impressionists. This simple, but effective, technique allows the painter to add broken color to their paintings. Claude Monet was a big fan of this technique and utilized it frequently.

You should also consider the impasto technique. This one is tremendously easy, but can add more life to your painting. Remember those Van Gogh paintings, in which the paint is thickly layered onto the canvas? That is impasto. Lay down thick amounts of paint and leave it.

Go Outside!!
Remember that you live in a world, which is mobile! Your phone can go with you everywhere and so can your canvas and paint tubes. By getting outside into the sun, you will be able to see your paint more clearly than you would in a dimly lit studio. This will also open you up to new ideas and force you to paint from life. Although this might be a challenge, at first, painting from life is fun and will give you a the option of growing more personal with your subject. Can you capture the light, before the sun shifts? The task can be a great challenge and will significantly improve your skills.
At the end of the day, learning how to paint is all about practice. Nobody will paint a beautiful painting on their first attempt. I may upload some of my first works, so everyone can enjoy a good snicker. Trust me, they were horrendous, but I stuck with it and have improved enormously. If I was able to do this, you will be able to do the same! Grow your skills, improve your confidence and the quality of your paintings will begin to improve slowly, but surely! Plus, your love for painting will transform into an overwhelming obsession.
<![CDATA[How To Clean Oil Brushes]]>Wed, 14 Oct 2015 20:23:05 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/how-to-clean-oil-brushesAs an oil painter, you should already understand how difficult it can be to remove oil paint from your hands, clothing and especially your brushes. Unlike acrylic paint, you cannot wash the paint away with a little bit of water. Instead, you'll need to put in a little more effort and will need the right oil paint brush cleaner. There are a few oil paint brush cleaners on the market, but only one of them will prove to be perfect for your needs. Below, you will learn everything you need to low about cleaning oil paint brushes.

Choosing An Oil Paint Brush Cleaner

First, you will need to find a good brush cleaner. Choosing the right one for your particular situation will depend on a number of different factors. Are you going to be painting inside or outside? Do you have asthma or any breathing problems? Remember that there are cleaners, which can be very harsh. If you are going to be required to paint in a studio, you may want to consider choosing a odorless and less harsh cleaner. The Mona Lisa Paint Thinner is a good option. It is odorless, fairly safe and won't cause you to choke. Unfortunately, it isn't as effective as some of its harsher alternatives.

On the other hand, you may want to choose The Masters Brush Cleaner, which is available from General Pencil. This stuff works great and lasts for an incredibly long period of time. The best aspect of all is the fact that the brush cleaner actually smells good! Finally, you might want to opt for Jack Richeson's Lindseen Studio Soap. The stuff is harmless, long lasting, effective and I think it smells good, although others may feel differently.
Click for details!

Cleaning Oil Paint Brushes

Once you've gotten your cleaner and some paper towels, you'll be ready to clean your brushes. Thankfully, the process is fairly easy. First, you should begin by squeezing all of the excess paint out of the brush's bristles. Once this has been completed, you can introduce your brushes to the brush cleaner. Using some type of brush washer or cleaning tank is recommended. I have used the cheaper Mona Lisa Brush Cleaning Tank and its serves its purpose well. However, if you wish for a better alternative, you might want to opt for Guerrilla Painter's 10-Ounce Brush Washer. This one is much more portable and more durable.

Once you've gently brushes the bristles in the cleaner, you will want to pull it out and dry them thoroughly. If more paint remains, you may want to repeat the process, until all of the paint has been removed. Finally, you should clean the brush with a little bit of soap. The Masters Brush Cleaner is recommended here. Be sure to use lukewarm water. After the brushes are thoroughly clean, you should sit them upright, so the bristles aren't disturbed
Click for details!
At the end of the day, your brushes are vital and you should go above and beyond to keep them protected! Above, you have found a quick guide, which will educate you how to properly clean your oil brushes. Be sure to find the right cleaner, be gentle and clean your brushes after each use. By doing so, your investment will be better protected!
<![CDATA[Best Oil Painting Medium For Different Purposes]]>Sun, 11 Oct 2015 21:56:58 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/best-oil-painting-medium-for-different-purposesWhen attempting to paint with oils, it is absolutely vital to make sure that you have the right oil painting medium for your specific style of painting. There are numerous different types of mediums and they're all unique in their own way. There are mediums, which will speed up the paint's drying rate, while others will slow it down. Therefore, you need to know exactly how you wish to paint, before making you decision. Below, you will be able to learn more about the best oil painting mediums.

Best Oil Painting Mediums

Click for more details
Winsor and Newton Liquin Impasto
In my own personal experience and due to my own personal style, I like to use a paint medium, which will not thin the paint too badly. At the same time, I prefer to have a paint medium, which will rapidly improve my paint's drying time. There is why I find Winsor and Newton's Liquin Impasto to be the best.
The medium is a little bit harsh, but it works wonderfully outdoors. I can guarantee that I have gone through ten or more tubes this year alone. The medium makes the paint dry super fast! In fact, the majority of your paintings can be dried the next day, with Liquin Impasto. Just make sure that you use it outdoors and you won't have a problem.

Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel
My second favorite old painting medium is the Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel. This gel makes your paint very thin and loose, but not like Walnut or Linseed Oil. It will allows you to apply the paint in an impasto way, but it is somewhat different to work with. Unfortunately, this medium won't increase the drying time too much. It still works great though and I have been able to create some cool effects with it.

This would undoubtedly be my second choice. If I am stuck inside, I use it more frequently than Liquin Impasto, because it is a little less harsh on the old lungs.

M. Graham Walnut Alkyd Medium
Finally, if I really want to thin down the paint, I will use M. Graham's Walnut Alkyd Medium. It works great, speeds up the drying process slightly and doesn't hurt the lungs too badly. I use this medium much less frequently, but I do keep a little bit around just in case.
<![CDATA[Arun Tabletop Easel Review - Best Tabletop Easel For Painting]]>Sat, 10 Oct 2015 15:47:00 GMThttp://jmeltonart.weebly.com/impressionist-art-blog/arun-tabletop-easel-review-best-tabletop-easel-for-painting
Hey guys! As an oil painter, it is of the upmost important to equip yourself with the appropriate gear. Brushes and paints are important, but a good easel is even more so. In February of 2013, I purchase the Winsor and Newton Arun Tabletop Easel. To this day, I still use the easel and it works exceptionally well. It does have a single little flaw, but it works great and provides the user with plenty of space. Below, you'll learn about my experience with this easel.

​First and foremost, it is a good idea to look at the specifications of this item. It is very lightweight at 9.4 pounds and is even easy to carry about, after it has been filled with brushes and paints. It fits a wide assortment of different canvas sizes and I even use it for oversized canvas. I just leave them hanging over the top a bit and paint a little less roughly.

Nice Storage Slots
The easel is equipped with a sliding drawer. There are several sections found inside. They're big enough for brushes and large tubs of paint. Others are small enough for small tubes of paint. By playing a little Tetris, it is possible to fit a good amount of items inside. In fact, I generally store more paint tubes inside than I actually end up using.

Incredibly Well Made
As mentioned above, I had have this easel since early 2013. During this period of time, I have used it on average 3 to 4 times a week. It has withstood the test of time thus far and never leaves me hanging. All of the bolts are still as tight as the day I received the easel. It is incredibly well made and works exceptionally well. The canvas holding portion of the easel never gives way, when painting. It remains firm and never tips or wobbles no matter how much pressure I put on it.

A Tiny Flaw
There is one tiny little flaw that could be improved. The portion that actually secures the canvas is built with a lip. When the canvas is secured in place, it makes it difficult to paint the canvas in its entirety. This isn't a problem, without a remedy though. I just position the canvas in between the wooden lips and tighten them securely. The canvas might slide around a little, but not often.

  • Very affordable
  • Incredibly well made
  • Winsor & Newton brand
  • Good longevity thus far
  • Holds plenty of brushes and paint tubes

At the end of the day, I couldn't be happier with this tabletop painting easel. It serves its intended purpose excellent. Despite a single flaw, I would definitely recommend it to a friend! If you're interested in buying this be sure to follow this link to Amazon!!!