If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. -Vincent Van Gogh
Ongoing Adult Art Classes
SOME OF THE MEDIUMS WE TEACH
Oil paints are a slow drying paint made by mixing natural or synthetic pigments with linseed oil or walnut oil as the binder. Oil paint was invented, or re-invented, in Europe around 1410 by Jan van Eyck (1390-1441). In fact, this Flemish painter was not the first to use oil paint; his real achievement was the development of a stable varnish based on a drying oil (mainly linseed oil) as the binder of mineral pigments.
WATER SOLUBLE OIL PAINT, also called water mixable, is oil
paint engineered to be thinned and cleaned up with water, thus making
it possible to avoid using chemicals such as turpentine, whose fumes may be harmful if inhaled. Water miscible oil paint can be mixed and applied using the same techniques as traditional oil-based paint, but while still wet it can be effectively removed from brushes, palettes,
and rags with ordinary soap and water. Its water solubility comes from the use of an oil medium in which one end of the molecule has been
altered to bind loosely to water molecules.
Acrylic paints are artificial compounds made up of pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. These paints can create most of the effects accomplished in oils, and have the advantage of cleaning up with water. The major disadvantage of acrylics is that it dries very quickly.
Artist acrylics come in four varieties; heavy body, medium viscosity, open and interactive.
HEAVY BODY acrylics are the best choice for impasto or heavier paint applications and will hold a brush or knife stroke and even a medium stiff peak.
MEDIUM VISCOSITY acrylics (also called Fluid acrylics or Soft Body acrylics) are good for watercolor techniques, airbrush application, or when smooth coverage is desired.
OPEN acrylics were created to address the quick drying time of acrylics. Instead of minutes, open acrylics can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to dry completely, depending on paint thickness, temperature, and humidity.
INTERACTIVE acrylics have the characteristic fast-drying nature of acrylics, but are formulated to delay drying when more working time is needed, or re-wetting to do more wet blending.
Charcoal is available in three main forms: powdered, compressed and willow or vine.
POWDERED charcoal is charcoal well suited to "toning" large areas of a surface. The downside is that it tends to be messy.
COMPRESSED charcoal is powered charcoal mixed with a gum or wax binder and compressed into sticks or inserted into pencils. The amount of powdered charcoal and binding agent used determines the softness of the charcoal stick. Compressed charcoal is harder and can be sharpened to produce finer detailed lines.
WILLOW and VINE CHARCOAL sticks are made of willow branches or grape vines that have been burnt to a specific hardness. Unlike compressed charcoal, willow and vine charcoal doesn't use a binding agent. Willow and vine charcoal is very light and produces soft, powdery lines.
GRAPHITE drawing pencils are made with graphite mixed with clay. A mixture that has more clay and less graphite makes a harder pencil; a mixture with more graphite and less clay makes a softer pencil. A harder pencil makes lighter lines and a softer pencil makes darker lines.
Watercolor paints are made up of powdered pigments mixed with a binder, either natural gum arabic or synthetic glycol. The binder is
what holds the pigment in suspension and allows the pigment to adhere to the support (e.g. paper) once it is applied.
Watercolor paints come in two forms: as a thick liquid or paste packaged in metal tubes, and as a dry cake in small plastic pans.
TUBE PAINTS are efficient for mixing up large quantities of paint (for washes, large glazes, etc.). They are ready for mixing straight from
the tube and dissolve quickly in water.
PAN COLORS are especially convenient for field work or small studio
sketches. Don't make the mistake of thinking that tube paints are for real
artists and pans are for students or children. Winslow Homer, John
Singer Sargent and Edward Hopper, to name a few, are among many artists who preferred pan colors to paint tubes, even in the studio.
Dry pastels, also called soft pastels, are created by mixing pure powdered pigment and gum arabic to make a paste. The paste is fashioned into sticks and allowed to dry.
There are three main types of dry pastels: soft, hard and pencil.
SOFT PASTELS have a very high concentration of pigment that is held together by the least amount of binder as possible. Soft pastels are well suited to layering on lots of color, and for painterly effects.
HARD PASTELS are made from the same ingredients as soft pastels, except they contain more binder. Hard pastels are well suited to preliminary sketches, small details and finishing touches.
PASTEL PENCILS are like conventional pencils, but inside the wood is a thin stick of pastel that has a consistency in between hard and soft pastels. You can sharpen them to a point to create precise details or use them bluntly for soft, hazy lines.