Monday, May 9, 2016


As a public service announcement I would like to Impart some wisdom and advice to parents who’s kids want to do a painting/art project.

Last week I was in the art supply store getting some brushes.  The next isle behind me I hear a young daughter telling her mother, “I need to use oil paint for my painting because they are the best!”  The mom seemed to be deferring to the girl since she didn’t seem to know about paints or art supplies.   An alarm went off in my head; NOOOOOOO!  I was just about to run to the other isle flash my professional artist badge and tell everyone to freeze!  When I heard a sales person intervene.

This Mom was one of the lucky ones.

If your child wants to try painting do not start with oil paints!
Here is the horrifying truth about oil paint:  

1 They take forever to dry, “forever” being relative to your kids point of view, when I say forever I mean days.  Some colors take longer then others.

2 Tubes of Oil Paint are expensive relative to other types of art paint.

3 Cleaning up.  We know how much kids like to clean up, oil paint is cleaned up with Turpentine, mineral spirits, and other smelly toxic chemicals.  Personally I love the smell of turpentine but I would not like it for the general aroma for my home.  One session of this kind of clean up they will be done with paining forever.

Here is another scenario that will occur with oil paint;   You will notice a smear of blue paint on your dinning room chair, “Oh crap where did that come from?”  then you will notice a smear on the wall, and like a character in a Hitchcock movie coming to the realization there has been a murder, you will then see the paint splotches everywhere.  And the murderer is in your house!
Someone sat in a blob of oil paint and since it won’t dry for a week is unknowingly transferring it everywhere.

Now, I don’t want to discourage anyones artist endeavors, and if you are an adult or teen who wants to try oils, they are versatile great for blending an excellent medium, and there are so many resources for instruction on oil paining you will probably have a great time. There are other paints that are much more suited for the first timer.

Acrylic paint is so much better for the first time painter, Tempera is also good it just doesn’t have the permanence unless you add egg whites to it then it “Egg Tempera” is very durable, and has a place in art history just like oil paint.  Water color paint is also good.

Acrylic is cleaned up with water and soap, thinned with water, and drys very quickly instant gratification.  It will be much easier clean up for the parent.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Most of the time I share many techniques for creating art, but how about hanging the art on the wall?

My wife and I love art and have a nice collection, so where to place new art is important, and hanging it so it won't crash to the ground is also important.  At my house I am the picture hanger and this one of those areas that can be intimidating even to the experienced crafty handy person who is capable of home repairs and making stuff.  Here are a few tips to make this go smoothly.

Have a nice Level, this one is about 9 inches and I think I had it for about 12years very simple.  Generally I use various nails to hang pictures depending on the weight.   Even if your walls are sheetrock you can still hang an 8X10 or 11X17 frame with a couple of nails placed at an angle.  For pieces that are bigger heavier I love this company: Ook Picture Hangers all sorts of hardware for hanging.  Most hardware stores cary the Ook variety picture hanging kit.

Choose the spot to hang the picture, just eyeball where it should be placed.  Then behind the frame I will put painters tape on the wall one horizontal piece with the vertical coming down from the approximate center.   Take a pencil and draw on line right along the top of the frame,  then I'll make a little cross at the center will be.   I've been doing this for a long time so I can usually get the center with out measuring, depending on how confident you feel you can measure to find the center.

Now on the back of the picture use a tape measure hook it on to the wire, or the bracket find the distance from the wire under hanging tension to the top edge of the frame.   This was about 2 1/4"

Back to the tape find where that 2 1/4" mark will be.  Make a hash mark with the pencil.

Now use the level to create a nice level line about 2 inches for each of the two nails.

At each end of the line take you nail and just tap it to create a small pilot hole as a marker, I have a tap hammer for most of my picture hanging, it's a lighter touch and easier to control with tiny nails.

Remove the tape and hammer the nails in at about a 45 degree angle.  The tape keeps it all clean so if you remove the picture you only have the little holes to patch up without a bunch of pencil marks.

Finally done!  Now I can get on with my Saturday.  Use the level to check the if the picture is straight, this one is not perfectly level but I matched it to the other frames.  My rule of thumb:
"If you have to stare at it for more then 30 seconds to tell if it's hanging crooked, it's fine." And as it is with everything the more you do it you will become an expert. Then unfortunately everyone will start enlisting you to hang their pictures.