Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fork Pork

Fork Pork by Guerrero Z. Habulan, 2008
oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Pencil is one of the oldest artist’s materials known today and is also one of the most widely used. Pencils are cheap relatively easy to use, mostly mess free and highly portable, making them the medium of choice for artists over millennia. A form of pencil has been used since Roman times when a lead stick was used to mark papyrus. Since then lead and graphite have been used variously, often encased in wood, or even plastic.

Using a Pencil
One of the outstanding things about a pencil is both the precision and the range of lines that can be made. Pencils range in softness from 9H to 9B. This classification system ranks the hardest pencils as H, and the softest as B, with a numbering system from 1-9, with 1 or 9 being very hard or soft, numbers 8-2 decreasing in hardness or softness, H and F being merely moderately ‘hard’ and ‘fine’ and HB and B being moderately soft. Using a full range of pencils a wide range of effects can be built up, although for creative landscape, portrait and life drawing it is most common to use pencils ranging from HB to 9B, which are softer and produce thicker bolder lines. Pencils from F to 9H tend to be used for technical drawing and produce a much softer, more precise line. Pencil can be used in its own right for a finished artwork, in any style, but is also often use to mark up and plan out paintings, charcoal drawings, watercolours or pastel drawings. It is also often used in planning sculpture. The wideness of it use comes often from the fact that it is such a convenient medium for sketchbook activity as much as due to the fact that it can be so easily worked over, without showing any trace in the final work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For two centuries now Moleskine® (mol-a-skeen'-a) has been the legendary notebook of artists, writers, intellectuals and travelers. From gifted artists Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), to poet and leader of the surrealist movement AndrĂ© Breton (1896-1966) to Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) considered the most influential writer of the last century, to famous travel writer Bruce Chatwin (1940-1989).

These notebooks have proven they can withstand the trials of travel and abuses that ensues from normal use. This is the one true trusted travel journal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paint Mediums

Watercolour paints are paints that can be diluted and manipulated by water making them easy to use outdoors, or indeed anywhere. Watercolour usually comes in thin small tubes or in small plastic trays (called ‘pans’) and tends to be painted on to paper with a brush. The medium is historically popular throughout Europe and the Far East as well as in India and in Ethiopia, and the paint most commonly referred to as ‘watercolour’ is bound by water soluble carbohydrates, these days usually glycerine or honey.

Gouache is an often overlooked paint medium comprised of watercolour mixed with chalk to give it an entirely opaque effect. Cheaper than high quality oil paint, and easier to use for the fact that it can be thinned with water, it is an ideal substitute for both oil and acrylic, especially for bold colourful works. Often used in graphic work and for poster art, gouache is an unsung hero of paint.

Oil paint is made by mixing pigment with an oil binder. Painters have employed it long before it became popularly available (it had previously proved too expensive to use). Generally Jan Van Eyck (1385-1441) is credited with inventing oil paint as we know it (circa. 1410). In fact it had been used in the form known to us before the 15th Century but Van Eyck was a pioneer of many of the techniques used today.

Acrylic paint is the newest of the widely used artistic mediums, having been developed for commercial use as recently as the 1950s. It quickly became popular with artists and is now perhaps the most commonly used artists' paint, although it has not yet superseded oil as the most highly regarded medium.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Is Zentangle?

What is Zentangle?

Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being. Zentangle is enjoyed by a wide range of skills and ages and is used in many fields of interest.

Characteristics of Zentangle

Intuitive Artform

With Zentangle, anyone can create beautiful images from repetitive patterns. This method is easy to learn and easy to do. And even though it is a specified series of steps, it results in a creative expression that transcends its own rules.

Fun and Relaxing

Zentangle provides a fun and lighthearted way to relax and intentionally facilitate a shift in focus and perspective. Zentangle is unencumbered by dogma and cost which can weigh on other approaches. Nevertheless, Zentangle is sufficiently structured and organized so you can enjoy and benefit from an activity that otherwise might be considered whimsical.


You cannot fail to create a Zentangle. That is because a Zentangle is meant to look like a Zentangle. It does not need to look like anything else and has no up or down.

Unexpected Results

Zentangle is an unusual approach to art because you have no idea what its result will be when you begin. Your creation is not restricted by your expectations.


Zentangle is an artistic meditation that supports relaxation, focus and inspiration and can be a wonderful daily ritual. Zentangle's philosophy, symbolism and metaphor is elegant and profound. There is much to discover about life and one's self through this simple act.


Creating designs, manipulating symbols and putting pen to paper is part of our human heritage. In a time of keyboards, computer mice, and cell phones, Zentangle allows a return to a comfort and familiarity of timeless, basic creativity.


Zentangle provides an easy to learn method of relaxed focus which can be done almost anywhere, alone or in groups, without any special abilities or costly equipment.


Zentangle is elegantly designed, crafted and presented. If you are going to do something, then do it with the finest tools and materials available. We use the best paper and pens available to ensure your Zentangles will be a respected and treasured work of art. Unlike other methods of relaxation and focus, Zentangle yields a fruit which is beautiful and can be appreciated, collected, chronicled and reflected upon for years to come. Using fine materials is an act of respect for yourself and respect for your art.

Non Technical

Zentangle is not limited by technology. Your creativity is not directed by how someone else wrote a particular program, nor does it need batteries or electricity. Zentangle provides a counterbalance to our increasing use of computers, mice, screens and keyboards. It returns us to that fundamentally human behavior of manipulating symbols and putting marks on paper. Zentangle is not pre-programmed. Your creativity is your only limit and Zentangle has a way of increasing and inspiring expression of your personal creativity.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Is Impasto?

What is impasto? Impasto is an art term used to describe thickly textured paint that is almost three-dimensional in appearance.

Using an impasto technique often leaves visible brush strokes in the finished painting. Many times those brush strokes are actually more important than the subject matter itself.

You could almost say impasto is a type of sculpture—but for painters. And on a canvas.

For example, if you see a painting and you’re not sure whether the artist has used impasto technique, just look at the painting from the side. Check for globs of paint sticking out from the canvas. That’s impasto.

From the front, impasto paint is highlighted by whatever natural light is in the room (since it sticks out so much) and with heavy impasto you’ll be able to see shadows underneath the paint too.

Unlike wet-on-wet blending techniques, impasto really makes a physical statement, which is why you’ll find it most often in expressive, abstract works.

At least, that’s the way it is today.

You see, impasto has been around for a long time, and it wasn’t until Van Gogh came along that impasto was used for it’s expressive qualities. Before Van Gogh, artists would build up layers of paint to add realism to their work, making objects appear more three-dimensional.

But Van Gogh was different. He used impasto to gave weight to his brilliant colors, movement to his skies, and emotion to his landscapes.

Check out this detail of Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses.

He could have painted with the exact same colors without the impasto, but what would have happened? There would have been no movement, no feeling in the painting. No Van Gogh.

If you’re an artist, impasto’s not too tricky to do yourself.

Mostly it involves loading up your brush or painter’s knife with more paint than you’d normally need. Then, instead of “dying” or “scrubbing” the canvas with color, just let the paint squish onto the canvas and sit there.

You don’t want to fiddle with any one spot too much, otherwise you’ll lose that three-dimensional quality by overworking the paint.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mixing Colors

In order to understand color in painting one first has to have a basic knowledge of color theory. The retina of the eye receives input from objects outside. Sensitive cones in the eye translate these sensations form the outside. These cones in the retina respond the wavelengths of light and "decode" or translate these signals in terms of color to the brain. A tree appears green because the cone in the retina responds to the light energy and this overrides the other cones. Because of this process, and due to that fact that the signals to the brain determine the color of an object, we could say that things in themselves do not have color. If this is the case then there can be no objective colors. The point is that seeing color is a personal and individualistic experience. The process of being an artist is making yourself aware of color and this awareness can only be achieved through training and practice.

A first experiment in color: complementary colors

One of the most important aspects of color in painting is to understand complementary colors. Complementary colors are opposite colors and are very important when mixing colors for painting. Green and red are complementary colors. They are opposites in the sense that they are diagonally opposed in the color wheel. This means, practically, that they tend to react against each other if put side by side.

Try this exercise as a first experiment in color. Paint a red rectangle on a piece of paper. Once this is dry, paint a smaller green block in the center of the red rectangle. Take another piece of paper and paint a blue rectangle and then a green block in the middle of the blue rectangle. Place the two pieces of paper side by side and step back to look at them You should notice that the green block placed against the red background is far sharper and more predominant than the same size green block against the blue backgrounds. This is due to the fact that the green block was painted directly over its complementary color. Complementary colors contrast and therefore tend to complement or "show up" each other. This knowledge will come in good stead when painting a landscape or a human face. The purpose of this experiment is also to emphasize that the mastery of color requires study and practice.

Complementary colors also have another painting advantage. Try the following experiment. Place equal amounts of red and green paint next to each other on a tray or palette. Take a palette knife and begin mixing the two colors in the center of the tray or palette. You will notice that the mixture turns darker and muddier the more the colors are mixed. This is an important principle in using color. Commentary colors contrast and tend to produce gray tones or variations of the original colors that are darker. There are many tonal variations of colors in nature and mixing complementary colors can produce these different tonal ranges. Here is another experiment to try out for yourself.

Paint a tree in nature or from a picture. As you begin to work on the green leaves, you will soon begin to notice that there are various differences in the tone of the green. Some greens are lighter and some darker and some purplish. Mixing the original green with complementary and similar colors creates these variations. Variations of green, for example, can be made with a mixture of red. Shadows and purple tones can be made in this way; and if green and red are mixed in equal parts, a nearly black color will be produced, which is perfect for dark shadows. A note on this aspect is important there. Instead of using ordinary black for your shadows, you should mix the colors that you are using with their complementary colors to create a deep black. For example, by mixing the green with the reds you will eventually create a deep black which will have the advantage of having elements of both the original colors, and so create a shadow area which is much more realistic.

All that you need to know about color.

The basics of color are disarmingly simple. You will, however, find that working with color is a lifelong and complex practice.

Primary and secondary colors.

Primary colors are basic colors that cannot be mixed from any other colors. These colors simply exist by themselves...

The primary colors are: red, yellow and blue

Secondary colors are those colors formed by mixing any two of the primaries together.

Secondary colors are...

Red and blue mixed creates purple.

Red and Yellow mixed together creates orange.

Yellow and blue create a green.

If one mixes all three primary colors together the result will be a neutral brown-gray. The rule with regard to determining complementary colors is that it is the primary color not used in the mixing of any secondary color is its complement. For example, mixing yellow and red creates orange; the primary color that is missing here is blue. Therefore the complementary color of orange will be blue.

There are numerous theoretical rule that can be cited about color. The artistic truth is that none of these rules will truly teach you about color and color mixing. The following is a far more practical method of learning about color.

Once you have understood the basics of color theory and how complementary colors are produced, then begin with the following procedure.

Take some paper and begin creating swatches of color. The paper you use will depend on the medium in which you are workingin. For example, if you are working in oil, then use paper that has been prepared for oil painting. Alternatively, coat the paper with a layer of acrylic paint. You can also, of course, paint on a prepared canvas surface, but this may prove to be somewhat expensive. If you are working in acrylic, then any paper will do.

Begin experiencing with mixture of primary colors. In other words, mix red with blue, and red with yellow to produce a range of different hues and tones. The key word here is experimentation. Taking one color at a time, experiment with mixtures of other colors and find a range of possible variations within that color. For example, if you start with red, then mix blue and create swatches of different gradations of blue and red. Move onto red and yellow and create swatches of different degrees of orange. Once you have worked your way through he primary colors you can begin creating variations on the complementary colors. The entire purpose of this process is to train your eye to the endless variations within the three basic primary colors. Keep these swatches or place them where they will be visible while you paint. Add to these swatches as you work on your paintings, and use them as a reference point when searching for as special tone or color.

Remember that working with color must be essentially intuitive. Applying rules will not be sufficient. Color is most of all about awareness and perception. Study the colors around you. Study and sketch the objects that are commonplace in your home and garden. The purpose of this is to begin to actually see color. This is something that many people think they do, but very few actually achieve.