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Starting Art September Edition
October 06, 2008

Issue #17 - September 2008


Welcome to the latest issue of Starting Art!

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Best wishes,


*** CONTENTS ***

1. A Quick Word From Bob

2. Video Tutorial(s) of the Month - The Watercolor Secrets "Sneak Peek" collection.

3. Video Tutorial - Evening Sky in Pastel Pencils

4. Article: Watercolour Paper - To Stretch or Not ?

5. video Tutorial - Eyes in Pastel Pencils

6. Featured Art Group - Mastering Oils

1. A Quick Word from Bob

It's really just to say a massive thank you to all who've purchased Watercolor Secrets. It's only been launched a few days and Phil and I are genuinely astonished (and humbled) at the interest you've shown and support you've given.

It has taken nearly 18 months of going through massive learning curves (we still are!) for the requirements of video production and getting a product to the stage where we felt confident it was going to be of real value to you.

The reaction so far confirms this approach was the right one and I'd like to thank everyone of you who has given us such fantastic feedback and encouragement.

As you know, there was a special discount offer during launch week. We intended to hold that open until this Friday (10th Oct) but due to the overwhelming response the offer will end tomorrow (Tuesday). After Tuesday, Watercolor Secrets will be closed to new members for a week or so, while we make sure everything runs smoothly, and will re-open at the full price.

Once the dust has settled and we've got our breath back, we've plans to produce more videos on subjects you've asked for - such as watercolor flowers, acrylics and so on.

However, I want to make one thing clear...

Although the sales of Watercolor Secrets and future products will help us to keep the site developing as we think you'd want it, it's my firm intention to continue providing the free-to-view videos and articles that have characterised the site over the past two years.

So, if for whatever reason you're not able to purchase products, there'll still be something new to view each time you visit any of the different parts of the site - and of course, with every issue of 'Starting Art'...

OK, I know this was going to be a quick word but then, ten paragraphs really is a quick word from me, so I'll stop now and let you get on with enjoying the rest of the Newsletter.

2. Video Tutorials of the Month - The Watercolor Secrets 'Sneak Peek' Collection.

For those who may have missed the collection of sample tutorials that were part of the Watercolor Secrets launch, I've included them below. If you missed all the build up there's still a chance you can get a copy of the course at the special offer price... but you MUST act quickly as this offer ends tomorrow (Tuesday).

How to paint basic trees

Attack of the cauliflower... and how to stop it

Muddled with puddles?

The Gentle Giant

...and if you've seen the videos already (ie because you put yourselves on the priority list for Watercolor Secrets), then you haven't missed out as further down I've included a couple of extra videos, this time on using pastel pencils.

Ther're not by me but by a guy called Colin Bradley that I found a while back - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Video Tutorial - Evening Sky in Pastel Pencils

Artist colin Bradley produces a lovely, landscape scene dominated by a rich, evening sky...

Here's the video

4. Article: Watercolor Paper - to Stretch or Not ? I'm often asked how necessary it is to stretch paper to be used for watercolours. I've covered the actual stretching routines in one of the lessons on the 'Watercolor Secrets' course.

However, stretching watercolour paper is a personal decision that varies from artist to artist. Some artists are quite happy painting on unstretched paper and/or don't use very liquid washes so the problem doesn't really arise for them.

Others lightly clip their paper to a board with (say) Bulldog clips and as the paper cockles, pull it outwards gently before gripping it again with the clips, keeping it relatively taut.

As a general rule I personally feel happier stretching a weight of 140lb (300gsm) or less, particularly if I'm doing a studio or commissioned painting. One reason is that I have a couple of Ken Bromley Paper Stretchers (no connection other than as a satisfied customer). There are other brands around which I've not tried but feedback also seems to be very positive. I've tried using cheaper 90lb paper, as mentioned with these stretchers and it does work very well...

If you're interested, here's the link for a short video about these paper stretchers:-

I find stretchers give me a lovely flat surface every time so I never need to worry about paper cockling. Again I painted many of the lessons in Watercolor Secrets using the stretcher. I had quite enough to think about getting the filming right without worrying if the paper was going to keep still!

Using gummed paper tape is the traditional method of course, but it can be hit and miss until you're used to the technique.

Having said all that, of course, most watercolor pads come in 140lb weight and it's not really possible to stretch the paper on the pad. And to be fair, we're not talking about the paper curling wildly in all directions, just sufficiently that through inexperience, you might become frustrated.

And don't forget, if you leave paper to dry, it will usually dry back to an almost flat condition anyway, so just leaving it alone for a short while might be a solution...

If you use a pad, try wrapping an elastic band around the outer edge or a couple of paper clips to hold the page in place at the loose corners. This will give a little more control if the paper starts to curl too much for you.

Alternatively, use a 'block' as I demonstrated in the course. These are pads with all four edges glued, with a small gap in the edge to slide a knife in to release the paper when your picture's completed. They're more expensive than watercolour sheets but work well - especially outdoors.

And finally, the size of your picture will determine how much it's likely to cockle - and therefore whether to stretch or not. A 10" x 8" (25cm x 20cm) sheet of 140lb w/c paper will, for example, bend and cockle much less than a full Imperial sheet of around "30"x 22" (75cm x 55cm)....

5. Video: Eyes in Pastel Pencils

This time colin Bradley shows you how to develop the eyes - the soul of a portrait - in a pastel painting of a young girl...

Here's the video

6. Featured Art Group - Mastering Oils

Set up by Dawn, Mastering Oils is open to everyone, no matter what level... they share and explore this wonderful media with you, try new techniques, give advice, lessons & offer support:

Mastering Oil

That's it for this issue. Best wishes and see you next time.


Note: Please do NOT reply to this e-mail as it won't reach anyone at How to Draw & Paint. Because of the number of subscribers we now use mail-out software and replies will get lost in cyber space. If you have a question please use the contact form.

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