Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Art Supplies and Equipment Recommendations

The studios of other artists have always held a certain fascination for me. I like to see and learn from others.  It occurred to me that perhaps some of my own studio "finds" would be of help to blogger's.  So, here goes....

Still life stands are not as easily found as I thought they would be. After I spent literally months searching and finding nothing that would work for me, I found this gem (left) by Mabef at T-Square, a local art supply store in Grand Rapids, MI.  It's a sculpting stand that is adjustable right and left as well as bringing the subject up to near eye-level.  I'm tall and it was really hard to find a stand that raises high enough plus one that didn't take up a mile of floor space. This stand may be available through a local store near you  and/or via one of the many art supply catalog companies for about $125.

For "Over Abundance" (below) the stand was placed close on the right of my easel so that I could sight/size my work.

"Over Abundance",
14x11", oil on canvas panel

Website development was a huge mystery to me.  After hiring and struggling through working with this and that designer and spending an inordinate amount of money and time away from painting to work with these folks I decided I had to bite the bullet and find an easy way of doing it myself.  The answer, after a lot of research, was Fine Art Studio on Line (FASO). Their simple template method and superb tech support, available 24/7, made it a snap for even a computer dummy like me  to quickly and easily present my work professionally. I'm not alone.  Any number of artists that we've all heard of such as Mian Situ, Keven MacPherson, Laura Robb, Matt Smith, Ron Rencher and William Schnieder  are among the users of FASO's website template system.  You can Google these artists to see their sites and contact FASO at to start your own easy to do website.

Last  but not least, I prefer to paint on canvas and later hand-mount it on panels, when working plein air or small in the studio. This offers me an easy way to travel with many studies/paintings in my suitcase without the bulk of panels or stretched canvases. To do this I require a high quality reversible archival adhesive.  Again, after a lot of research I found Lascoux's 498 HV Adhesive to be the best possible option. However, it's  hard to find.  Recently my source dropped it from their inventory and I had to web-search of another distributor.  The only one I found was Museum Services Corporation available at:

385 Bridgepoint Way
South St. Paul, Minnesota 55075-2466
PHONE 651-450-8954
FAX 651-554-9217

A liter costs $60 plus shipping but this will mount a lot of paintings and I know that those I choose to mount are archivally sound.

I hope the studio information above helps and cuts you some slack in research time. If you found this of use but have other studio questions/needs let me know and I'll post what I'm doing to resolve the issues for me and/or my students.  Good luck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Inspired and Breathless in Utah

 While I don't have to travel to find subjects to paint I must say our western U.S. holds my heart and takes my breath away. Until recently I have to say that of all the National Parks, Teton and parts of Yellowstone have  been my number one favorites.  That was before I experienced Zion  in the snow.  This beautiful magical wild place gave me an experience that I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.  Beyond its ageless heights of limestone and sandstone, amazing in their own right, the beauty of the Virgin River canyon was compounded with unexpected snow.  Hiking the canyon last Sunday morning, in blizzard like conditions, I felt a personal joy for the richness of all that nature can offer.

Side pools collect water from the heights and feed the river. The water shows teal green and red color in contrast to the white snow.

A monolith near the entrance guards the canyon.

Wind and the Virgin River created the canyon over millions of years. Seasonal run-off and flash flooding carves out the soft rock.

Other special experiences on this trip included Thanksgiving with my daughter Renee and her family in their home, hiking and playing with grandkids in 18" of snow at Snow Basin in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake and gallery hopping in Park City, Utah's ski capitol.

At Bryce Canyon I stopped to help a Chinese family  with their camera so they could all be in the picture.  They in turn did the same for us.  In spite of the language barrier, after much gesturing, smiling, and bowing, we all went away happy. Later, with the exception of a lone Steller's Jay for company, we picnicked in the 27 degree weather.  What fun!

Steller's Jay waiting to clean up any crumbs that escaped our mouths.

Left to Right: Renee, Ian, Roger and Maddie. The black-headed gnome is...Me!