Wow, this happened to me in second grade, now it’s happened again.
Because of circumstances beyond our control John and I are in . . well. . . John would say “real estate hell”, I would call it an escrow holding pattern.
Living in an empty house with only a mattress in the living room is not an ideal situation. All of my art supplies from my easel to my paints are in storage containers in transit to Phoenix. The good news is that losing one’s self in art can be as simple as a pencil and pad of paper.
During this journey I’ve discovered a website that has partially saved my sanity.
Russian artist, StanProkopenko, who is an instructor at the nationally known Jeffrey Watts Atelier has created an online course focused on anatomy for artists. It’s called Proko.com
What really strikes me about this site is;
From the outside in
I’ve always had a hard time with anatomical charts of front or back facing diagrams with color coded muscles to memorize. This “inside outward” approach seems so removed from what we are working with as artists. Stan’s approach starts with the outside surface, and works inward.
When painting from a live model, have you ever had a situation where the lighting was so poor that minimal anatomical information was evident, leaving you to “make things up?”. That’s fine if you’re a landscape painter, pushing a tree over or adding a mountain, but if it’s a figure “things” can’t be randomly manipulated…unless you have a working knowledge of what’s happening under the surface. This opens up a world of possibilities to enhance the design, movement and expression in a painting.
Stan has lots of hands on lessons, just watching the videos will not give you the full benefit, picking up a pencil and doing “the work” that Stan lays out will make a huge difference in understanding anatomy for artists.
Stan has an off beat sense of humor that makes a dry subject more enjoyable to learn. Check it out, let me know what you think-
It’s important to protect a framed painting from abrasion while being shipped in a box and this soft fabric bag, which I make, is what works for me.
I start out with cotton furniture pads from U-Haul, that’s right, they are made from a very soft 100% cotton felted material, which means no static electricity to attract dust to your painting.
What you’ll need for this project is:
U-haul pads, ( I can get two bags for 18″ x 24″ paintings from one pad, each pad measures 69″ x 86″ ).
Ruler or tape measure
Sharpie or other marker
Scissors or rotary cutter
I make these in one piece, so there’s a minimum of sewing involved. Begin by drawing a diagram with the height, length and width of the framed painting plus the seam allowance, as below.
The measurements going across the top from left to right are
1/2″ seam allowance
1″, in this case the depth of the framed painting was 2″, divide in half I have 1″ on each side
28 1/2″ this is the actual measurement of the front wide, plus 1/2″ for ease
1″, the other half of the 2″ depth
1/2″ seam allowance
The measurements going down the right side from top to bottom
1 1/2″ extra at top edge to fold over
38″, the length of the painting
2″, the 2″ depth of the painting, this is the bottom of the bag
38″, the length of the painting, (going up the other side)
1 1/2″ the extra to fold over the top
With a Sharpie and straight edge draw lines on the pad to represent the overall width, on this project 31 1/2″, than lines across for the overall length, 81″ here.
Cut this piece out with scissors or a rotary cutter.
If making multiple bags I like to pin a tag to each bag with the dimensions and bag #, this saves time trying to figure out which bag is which later.
Fold the fabric in half, bringing the 1 1/2″ edges together and sew a 1/2″ seam down each side.
Making the corners in order to get the width at the sides; go down to the lower edge and flatten the seam out to make a triangle. Lay the measuring tape across the corner centering the tape, here on 1″ since the bag is 2″ wide.
Using the tape as a guide sew across the corner at this point, (being careful to not sew the tape).
Trim off the corner close to stitching, repeat on other side. You’re done!
Slip it over the painting, and put it in the box. We usually cut 3/4″ foam insulation sheets (from Home Depot) to fit the top, bottom and sides of boxes.
These boxes are easy to pack up and easy for the people at the other end to repack in case the painting needs to be shipped back. Have never had any damage, and they are reusable several times.
Boxing the remainder of my paintings for transit to Phoenix, takes me back to the first time I shipped an oil painting …
Many years ago when my painting “Vinnie” was accepted into the Oil Painters of America Annual Show, hiring a professional packaging company to box up my work seemed like the best choice.
After arriving home with the prepared, boxed, painting, a temptation to open it up set in. How had they protected the painting, what type of packaging materials did they use?
I finally gave in. Carefully cutting the tape, (didn’t want to destroy what I had just paid for), slipping it out onto my work table I saw several layers of bubble wrap. Unraveling the plastic sandwich revealed the surface of Vinnie’s face… pock-marked with bubble imprints! Panic set in.
John and I stood there silent, trying to take in what our eyes were seeing. When we could finally think straight, the deduction was that the varnish had reacted with the wrap. Maybe removing the layer of varnish on the painting would also erase the textured layer. Carefully messaging mineral spirits over the surface eventually removed the marks, restoring Vinnie to his former self.
My lesson… never use bubble wrap next to an oil painting, and…DIY in the future.
In the next post, I’ll share how I make custom bags to protect my paintings in transit…