Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 29, 2015

"The whole activity of considering what you want -- accepting and rejecting the opinions of others -- that is the very hard work of being an artist." -- Melanie Rothschild

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lighting Up Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the USA, a day Americans set aside for gathering together with family, enjoying a special meal together, and giving thanks for all that we've been blessed with. Many view Thanksgiving as the opening day of the holiday season with festivities lasting into the New Year, while others just enjoy celebrating the day for itself and deferring the tree trimming, light stringing and gift shopping until later.

In our house we tend to enjoy the meal, do the dishes, watch football, and wait a day or two before lugging the artificial tree up from the basement. Usually the tree sits unadorned for a couple of days in the living room as we muster up the energy to tackle decorating it. Which is an all day job. We've amassed so many ornaments over the years that I've had to divide them up into two separate collections: the Red and Gold group and the Country Homespun group. Our tree can hold only so many ornaments, therefore each year we have to choose between the two themes. The past several years the Red and Gold has won out; it's our annual opportunity to indulge in a bit of glitz!

This year our tree will be set up out on the new sun porch instead of the living room. With its floor to ceiling windows, the porch will allow the Christmas tree to be better seen and appreciated. I have a totally ridiculous Martha Stewart fantasy of seeing the tree lit up at night in all its glory, with tiny white fairy lights in the garden just outside the windows, and the arbor draped in fairy lights as well. This fantasy also features a lighted evergreen swag around the front door, lighted mini-trees to either side of it, and wreaths at the windows. Will this become a reality? Will we actually DO all this stuff? Or will we decide, after 14 trips up and down the ladder, that the concept sounded great but the execution of it is just too much? We'll see...stay tuned!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 22, 2015

One More Way to Keep Acrylics Workable

Ooops, my bad! I forgot to include the use of acrylic glazing liquid in my list of ways to keep acrylics workable longer (see my post dated 11/19/15.) Glazing liquid is a real workhorse in the studio. The basis for mixing glazes -- thin applications of transparent colors over previously painted surfaces -- it's formulated to keep acrylic paint "open" long enough to cover those surfaces so that the glaze goes on smoothly and doesn't dry too quickly. But it can also be added to paints on the palette to slow down their drying time. While glazing liquid won't keep paint workable as long as Open Medium does, it does extend their working time and makes blending easier.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, November 22, 2015

"The private and personal blessings we enjoy, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, liberty and integrity, deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life." -- Jeremy Taylor

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Six Ways to Keep Your Acrylics Workable Longer

Acrylic paints dry fast. When humidity is low and air temperatures are high they can dry to the touch in as little as a minute. This quick drying time is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because you can complete a painting on the same day you start it. It's a curse because you don't have the luxury of dawdling. To paint with acrylics you've got to be decisive. As the saying goes, "You snooze, you lose."

Fortunately there are several ways you can slow down acrylics' drying time. Below are a few of the methods that can buy you some extra time:

Use Open Medium

This acrylic medium, made by Golden, is an economical way to extend the working time of "regular" fluid acrylics, soft body acrylics and heavy body acrylics. Add a drop of two of this medium to each color on your palette, mix it in with a palette knife, and you'll gain anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more of additional working time. Exactly how long depends on the amount of paint you've put out on your palette, atmospheric conditions, and the viscosity of the type of acrylic paint you're using.

Use a Wet Palette

Several manufacturers offer specially made palettes featuring sponges in them that can keep acrylics workable for quite a long time if the sponge is not allowed to dry out. My Sta-Wet palette usually keeps them viable for about two weeks with the lid on. The only drawback I've found is that our humidity levels here in Georgia are often high enough to encourage the formation of mold in the palette's closed environment. If you store your palette away and forget there's paint in it, be prepared for a less-than-fragrant experience when you get around to using it again.

Use Open Acrylics

A few years ago, Golden Paints introduced a line of acrylic paints and mediums designed to stay workable much longer than conventional acrylics. Open acrylics are great. If you're just starting to build a good selection of colors, I'd recommend buying Open products exclusively. If you already own tubes, jars and bottles of regular fluid, soft body and heavy body products, don't despair. You can mix Open acrylics with most brands of acrylic paint and those paints will stay wet noticeably longer. (There are a few brands which are not compatible with Open Acrylics, so be sure to read labels carefully. If necessary, call the manufacturer and ask.)

Use Retarder 

Retarder is somewhat like Open Medium in that it is a liquid that's added to the paint in small doses. However, retarder is much trickier to use: you must follow the directions on the label to the letter. Mix too much retarder in with your paint and your painting can remain wet or tacky for years.

Use Water

Water is what we used back in the "olden days" to keep acrylic paints viable. A quick spritz of the paints on the palette does work, but over time, repeated spritzings will overly dilute the paint. If you use water, use it sparingly.

Use Gels and Mediums

Some acrylic gels, such as Soft Gel or Regular Gel, will keep paint from drying too fast both on the palette and on the canvas. Most matte medium, gloss medium, string gel, self-leveling gel and other such products can also extend acrylics' working time.

Try any of these methods as your budget and inclinations allow. I tend to rely heavily on my bottle of Open Medium to keep my paints wet because it's convenient to use and a little goes a long way. You may find that one of the other methods works better for you. Try them all; you're sure to find one that's compatible with your working style and budget.

Note: see my post of 11/22/15 for one more way to keep your acrylics wet longer.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 15, 2015

"An informed people is one of the best guarantees of a continuing democracy." -- Harry F. Banks

Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting Ready for a Holiday Boutique

It has been uber-crazy here lately, with company arriving from out of state and yours truly participating in a holiday boutique show, all in the same week. Which is why I haven't posted anything in several days. There hasn't been a minute to spare!

One of my goals was to have at least a dozen large pendants completed for the show. All are on 24" black ball chain necklaces, which I think compliments the pendants' vibrant colors nicely. These are pieces that will be perfect with sweaters and other casual wear. I was able to finish 13 of them in time, and here they are:
©2015 Lynn Edwards
This is a less than stellar photo (it was taken for inventory purposes only) so please overlook the shadows and bad lighting.
Admission to this holiday boutique, which is being held in Alpharetta, is by invitation, so if you'd like to attend, email me at It starts this evening (11/13) with an opening reception from 5-9, with hours on Sat. 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. I'm one of several artists showing work that includes everything from gorgeous handwovens to artisanal foods to jewelry, paintings, and handcrafted writing instruments.

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 8. 2015

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." -- Robert Heinlein

Friday, November 6, 2015

Merci! Suddenly I'm into Curves!

French curves, that is. Earlier I posted this small painting (it's roughly 2 1/2 x 6 inches) which I had created using a plastic drafting tool that makes curves, circles, arcs, angles and other cool shapes. As you can tell from the picture below, I sure had fun with it!

Geometric I                       ©2015 Lynn Edwards
When Geometric I was finished, I considered cutting it up into pieces to use for pendants, but ultimately I decided to leave it intact. It's now available online through my Daily Paintworks gallery and my Etsy shop, Playing With Colors.

To obtain a similar piece for the pendants, I created a second painting using most of the same colors. Stupid me, I failed to take a photo of Geometric II before cutting it into four pieces. The photo below shows the four pendants I made from Geometric II, along with several others that will be available for purchase after November 16:

By this time I was on a roll. I was having so much fun experimenting with this device that I wanted to expand on the concept. So I decided to order a set of French curves that I found on the internet.

Well, ooh la la! These puppies turned out to be just too much fun! Here's the first painting I did using them:

"Untitled", acrylic and ink on 7 1/2 x 8" wood panel  ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Besides experimenting with this new toy, I had another motive for painting this abstract: evaluating several different brands of acrylic paints. I test drove four different products, all acrylics, none of which I had ever used before. The results? Well, let's just say that my hands down favorites remain acrylics made by Golden and Holbein. When it comes to coverage, smooth application and pigment load, these two brands are unsurpassed, in my opinion.

I might change my mind, but for now I think I'll hang onto this piece. After days and days of rain, with more rain to come, I need something bright and cheerful to look at each morning!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 1, 2015

"We often pray for purity, unselfishness, for the highest qualities of character, and forget that these things cannot be given, but must be earned." -- Lymon Abbott