Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Want to learn to paint with egg tempera?

Go to Prosopon School website and click on "The Icon, release of DVD on practice and theory, 2009" to find more information about this DVD and watch clips (which are very good).

I bought this DVD recently, anxiously awaited its arrival, and with great anticipation and excitement watched all four hours of it. It cost $98 but worth every penny! The artist, Vladislav Andrejev, is a master painter and it was a joy to watch him work. I learned several things I have already done incorrectly or would have done incorrectly if left to my own devices. It is really going to help me improve my painting. I'm sure I'll watch it many times, reviewing each section before I start that step. If you are a rank beginner, there are a few things that are not explained enough, such as making bole and shell gold paint. I highly recommend taking a workshop to run through everything at least once. Luckily I already know how to make shell gold paint. The use of wax paper as an aid in handling loose gold leaf was a revelation and makes using it a snap. No expensive gilder's tips, pads or knives necessary; just cheap scissors and wax paper from your kitchen, plus a dedicated gold brush (doesn't have to be an expensive one) and a plastic container for the gold scraps to use for making shell gold paint later.

BTW, I am still working on an embroidery project but don't want to post pictures until it is further along. I also ran out of yellow thread and had to order more. That is taking up the precious little free time I have what with this being spring (gardening season) and working more hours at work and finishing woodshop class for the semester. Too many irons in the fire!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Brick stitch pattern #11

One of the difficulties of making patterns from low resolution pictures, especially black & white pictures, is that some of the patterning is guesswork. The colors are a rough guess as well as some of the stitches. I would love to be able to see better images of most of the known brick stitch embroideries, but I do what I can.

The image above is a comparison of two guesses as to what the pattern is in the B&W photo. I think the one on the right is correct but I am not positive. Anyway, here it is, Pattern #11 (and variation #11a).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Icon and other painting links

I added a new link list on the right that is a list of some of my favorite links regarding supplies and techniques in painting, especially icon painting using traditional methods. The great thing about modern icon painting is that it is little changed from icon painting of the medieval and Renaissance periods, so techniques practiced today easily translate to period techniques. Most of the sites linked to on these websites are in English and the classes are in the U.S. but Iconofile has links to classes all over the world, including this site in the Netherlands. If you are in Texas you are in luck because there are workshops in silver repousse, icon writing and illumination this year so check out Icon Arts.

Kalish Finest Brushes has really nice brushes, my personal favorite. The Series 8 liners (scroll to bottom of page) are awesome for illumination and much better than even the Kolinsky sable brushes from major manufacturers that are sold in art supply stores. Not only are they better, they are cheaper!!

Natural Pigments has the most amazing supply of traditional artist materials. They even carry such traditional and hard to find (not to mention hazardous) pigments as orpiment, cinnabar, lead white and real Naples yellow. They also do the Iconofile website and hold annual workshops in iconography (Yaroslavl 17th century style) and traditional fresco. I'd love to learn fresco but I have too many irons in the fire as it is, unfortunately. Pesky job eats up too much of my time!

I study with Betsy Porter, a wonderful lady who volunteers her time twice a month to teach an ongoing workshop in San Francisco. The cost is only ten dollars per 4 hour session and she shares her bole and pigments with students as well as some of her tools. This makes the cost of getting started very minimal. She studied with the Prosopon School, which holds workshops all across the U.S. at various times during the year. I will be attending the 6 day class in Santa Barbara this summer and I am really excited!

The Prosopon School also released a DVD this year which contains over four hours of instruction in the creation of an icon from preparing the gesso panel to applying gold to painting and finishing. Check out their website to watch clips from the DVD, it looks really good. I think I may have to order a copy!

When I was first interested in illumination and tempera painting I had a hard time finding good references and suppliers and was really at a loss about where to begin. If I had known about these websites and schools years ago I would have been jumping for joy. I plan to add to the links as I find more and have time to look through all my bookmarks. I hope this is helpful to anyone who has a similar interest and if you know of other great places please let me know.