Acrylic Paints on Paper
I'm starting this section with my works on Paper. These are mainly acrylic paintings of varying detail from quick sketches to more complicated renderings. I also use colored pencils and pastels along with the paint on some pieces which are then designated as mixed media. All my works on paper are painted on handmade deckle edge paper.
(Click for more information).
These are just the first images I've put into a portfolio format. It's estimated that I've painted and sketched more than 10,000 works of art so far, not counting published illustrations, cards and cartoons, or the myriad of drawings from my sketchbooks.
Most of my works on paper were playfully painted in a sort stream of consciousness manner entirely for my own exploration and eternal amusement, which is why I consider them some of my best work.
Oil pastels are wonderful. They flow like butter across any flat surface with a good tooth, especially museum board, which is what I mainly use. Oil pastels are not to be confused with the more delicate and finicky chalk pastels. These work like sticks of oil paint, offering both an ideal medium for sketching as well as painting. It's really the best of both worlds.
I'm at my loosest painting with oil pastels, and yet I can easily control them for tighter, more complicated or realistic works requiring the same advantages of opacity and blending offered by regular oil paints, but without the prep and drying time. However not all oil pastels are created equal. The best ones in the world are made in Japan by Holbein and offer a constant mineral-base color system that flows better than any other brand I've ever tried.
See for more information.
I've done quite a bit of work over the years a particular 4-ply board called Museum Board. It's an amazing acid-free cloth fiber board that has a wonderful tooth for all sorts of art media, particularly oil pastels. These are just the first few pieces I've added to this gallery. There will be many more added over the next days and weeks to come.
See for more information.
About Oil Pastels
Oil Pastels were first conceived and developed in Japan in the 1920s as a higher quality alternative to wax crayons. These early pastels used a mixture of paraffin wax with stearic acid and pigments bound with coconut oil which allowed for a better flow of the colors. But they were still more a crayon than today's professional artist's pastels.
The modern age of oil pastels began after WWII when in 1947 Pablo Picasso convinced Henri Sennelier, a French manufacturer of high quality artists materials, to make a set of oil pastels which would become the top rated oil pastels for the next 40 years.
My experience with Sennelier oil pastels is that their vegetable-based formulation make them structurally inconsistent with some colors quickly hardening as others become too creamy or soft. The colors are strong but unstable and limited to about 50 or so as I recall.
In the mid 1980s Holbein came out with a much superior line of oil pastels with an enormous range of 225 colors. Holbein's pastels are mineral based and far more stable and consistent in structure. And rather than being round, Holbein's oil pastels are rectangular which I find is a much better shape for detailed renderings.
The main limitation to Hobein's line of oil pastels is that they're very expensive and hard to get hold of. At one time I was sponsored by the Holbein company in Japan where they used one of my pastel paintings on the cover of their boxed set of colors.
About Museum Board
The type of board I use for my art is a 4-ply Museum Board made from 100% cotton fiber which is acid-free and pH neutral, making it ideal for both art and art preservation purposes. The reason it’s called Museum Board is because it is the preferred archival material used by most museums and galleries around the world.
It not only meets the strict Library of Congress Standards for image permanence, but provides an excellent and durable surface for all sorts of art media, particularly oil Pastels. For those not familiar with the oil pastels, they are in essence hardened sticks of oil paint. I prefer mineral-based Holbein oil pastels which are in my experience the best oil pastels in the world for consistency and colour permanence.
Not to be confused with powdery chalk pastels, oil pastels are opaque and cover surfaces almost as well as oil paint, except there is no drying time required as there is with oil paints. I may go into the properties of oil paints and oil pastels in more detail later.
The deckle edge paper I use is handmade from 100% cotton "rag" to create a durable platform
for all sorts of art media. I prefer a heavyweight (300 lb.) cold press paper. The deckle edges are actually an artifact of the frame used in this type
of papermaking and indicative of the hand
Most regular paper is created mechanically in
rolls and comprised mainly of wood pulp which
is much less durable and prone to yellowing
and rapid deterioration compared to cloth materials such as cotton.
The harsh chemicals used in the bleaching
and refining of wood-pulp based papers make them undesirable for use where permanence
is critical and thus you will often hear of acid-
free archival or museum quality papers and
boards when describing materials typically
used by artists and in picture framing.
Deckle Edge Paper
Paper and heavier weight boards are generally available in two basic finishes designated as "hot" or "cold" press which determines the final finish quality of the paper. Hot Press papers are much smoother and better for detailed work such as technical illustrations and pen and ink. Cold Press creates a rougher textured surface which I prefer for art. The roughness of surface is also described as the paper's tooth.
While I sometimes paint over the entire surface of a deckle edge sheet, from edge to edge, I generally prefer to tape off the edges so that they form a white border around the paper. This boarder "blocking" method is something I personally prefer to do and not typical of all artists.
Framing Works on Paper
There is no single best way to frame art on paper. With works on deckle edge paper I personally like to "float" the whole sheet in the frame rather than hiding the deckle edges behind a mat or the lip of a frame.
Works on paper are almost always framed under glass or plexiglass to protect the surface, though I have seen some paper works left uncovered, sometimes being glued to a board or wood backing and protected by varnish. This is a less durable method but does avoid glare caused by glass reflections.
There are some non-glare or less-glare glass and plexiglass materials but many tend to be a bit blurry and are also quite expensive for their value. A good UV-coated glass is advisable for paper works and prints to protect from fading, especially of the work is exposed at all to direct sunlight even for a short time during the day
The best way to mitigate glare from a glass surface is by proper lighting. Using spot light on an angle from the painting will reduce natural glare and highlight the art much better than works not lit in this way. Good lighting on art really brings out the colors and makes the art much more appealing to the viewer.