Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

We close out 2015 with a big thanks to all of the amazing artists that work with our brushes, our artist representatives and demo artists, and to Splashes of Hope whom we are honored to support and who in turn honored Fred Mink as Man of the Year this past April.

Fred Mink, Jr.
Frederick v. Mink, Jr.
We also close out the year thankful for the work and dedication that Fred Mink gave to FM Brush, Inc., and the inspiration he continues to give through the ideas and traditions he brought to the company.  

Lastly, we close 2015 thanking you, the artists who support us through staying in touch online, at trade shows and through email.  Keep us posted on your artwork and share as much as you can with us in 2016; we look forward to your painting and meeting many more of you in the future.

Warm Regards and Happy New Year from all of us at FM Brush 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Cathy Weiss

Cathy Weiss, osprey
Two Elephants

Cathy Weiss, osprey
Osprey the Fishermen
Washington artist, Cathy Weiss has a strong, professional background in illustration and graphic design, having studied and graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California.  But, her passion and heart have driven her north, to rural Washington and around the world to capture the design of nature.  Cathy's work reflects the wildlife she has experienced in person; the animals she portrays are those whose story she knows personally.  Her thoughtful subjects and soft brushwork have brought her paintings to the forefront of modern wildlife art.  

Cathy is just as careful about the materials she chooses for her work as the subject matter she seeks.  She has long been an advocate for environmental conservation, and that is how we met, through a discussion on better materials for our earth.  In her search for brushes, Cathy wanted tools that were not harmful to animals.

For Cathy's technique, she uses mostly rounds and flat brushes; larger, stiffer brushes for the block-ins and softer sables for the detail work.  Cathy has been looking for alternatives to natural hair and has found some compatible brushes in the Interlock Bronze line.  She thins her oils with a lot of medium and thinner for washes in the background, so she needs brushes that can stand up to solvents, hold their spring, and keep a sharp point, too.  Interlock Bronze is a great fit.  The Faux hair brush lines will give Cathy options, too, for natural hair feel without the side effects for her detail work.

Cathy's work is currently touring internationally in the Mandala Wildlife Arts Exhibition in Singapore and the show will travel to Dubai.  In January, her work will be in the 21st Annual Arts in Harmony 2016 International Show at Elk River Arts Alliance in Minnesota.  To keep up with Cathy's process, work and exhibitions, you can find her online:  www.cathyweissfineart.com

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website..

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Artist Resources: Oil Painting Mediums

There are numerous mediums for oils in the paint material industry.  So many in fact, that this list below holds only some of the most common.  Most lines of oil paint, although relatively simple in formula (compared to acrylic), use different oils for their recipes in order to create their standard paint lines.  So, each company has a range of mediums for their oil paints specifically.  I have listed most of the standard mediums as well as some brand specific mediums that tend to be favorites.

Linseed Oil -- Made by pressing flax seeds and lightly refined. Can be used in moderation to thin oil colors or as an ingredient in traditional painting mediums.

Cold Pressed Linseed Oil -- This is pressed from flaxseeds without the use of heat or solvents.  It is a higher acidity than alkali-refined linseed oil. Used as a medium with oil colors for thinning, lower gloss and transparency, and pronouncing brush marks.

Stand Oil -- A thick, honey-like linseed oil with excellent leveling properties. Increases flow, transparency, and gloss. Slower drying and less yellowing than other linseed oils, it creates a smooth, durable, and flexible film.

Refined Safflower Oil -- Safflower oil is expeller-pressed from safflower oilseeds. As it yellows less than linseed oil it is good for making pale oil colors. Safflower oil dries faster than poppy seed oil. Poppy seed, sunflower and safflower oil can be safely used to make oil colors, such as light or pale colors, but they are not recommended for use as a painting media and should not be expected to replace linseed oil because they have a weaker binder.

Poppy Oil -- naturally a slow drying oil; often used with lighter colors as it is a pale oil.

Clove Oil --Clove oil is made from the leaf of the plant by steam distillation. Add a drop to oil paint to slow down drying. Add to egg tempera, emulsions and glues to prevent mold and bacteria. 

Spike Oil -- Lavender Spike Oil is a natural, low-toxic substitute for turpentine. 


Walnut Oil -- Made from fresh dried walnuts,  cold-pressed and then lightly refined. It is a clear, pale yellow oil that is odorless. As a thin oil, it is used to make oil paint more fluid. As it yellows less than linseed oil (but more than safflower oil) it is good for making pale oil colors. Walnut oil dries more slowly than linseed oil, drying in four or five days. It is said to have a less tendency to crack than linseed oil, but this has not be verified by research.

Copal Medium -- for glazing, thinning and wet in wet techniques; it speeds drying and enhances flow

Damar --  Damar is the most popular natural resin for making spirit varnish. Add turpentine and you have golden clear concentrated dammar varnish. This is the most economical way to obtain dammar varnish. Dammar can be used as a varnish, a medium for gloss, encaustic medium or egg tempera medium.

Balsam Resin Medium -- Created from balsam resin, linseed and spike oil.  Adding to paint will increase gloss, glow, adhesion and fusion to previous layers.

Cobalt Drier -- A powerful medium that speeds the drying time of oils, meant to be used sparingly

Gamblin Solvent Free Gel -- a solvent free medium improving flow, gloss and transparency, with no solvent or petroleum distillates

Weber Turpenoid Gel -- fast drying medium increasing transparency and flexibility, drying to a matte finish.

Sennelier Van Eyck Gel -- This is a mastic-based medium that allows the artist to superimpose oil colors rapidly, even when paint is fresh, without diluting the underlying coats.  
It fixes brush strokes, giving them a varnished, enamel finish. It also increases gloss, transparency and depth of color.

Alkyd Mediums -- Made from a slow-drying pure alkyd resin with the consistency of a thick Stand Oil. Dries to a glossy, flexible, and enamel-like film. Useful in making other mediums or added directly into oil paints to modify transparency and flow.

Winsor Newton Liquin --This is a general purpose semi gloss medium which speeds drying, improves flow and reduces brush stroke retention, and resists yellowing.

Gamblin Galkyd -- Galkyd thins oil colors and increases transparency and gloss. When used in greater proportions with oil color, Galkyd will level brush-strokes, creating an enamel-like surface. Thin layers will be touch-dry in approximately 24 hours.

Wax Mediums -- Wax mediums are made with beeswax, damar resin and refined linseed oil, meant to thicken paint or finish a painting surface, able to be buffed to a satin sheen.

Much of this research has been taken from my favorite resources for oil painting:

  • Natural Pigments, which has loads of articles and is an online store for raw materials.  
  • Gamblin Artist Colors has quite a few videos of their mediums and great info on color theory, as well as wonderfully supportive technical staff.  
  • Williamsburg Oils makes great quality colors and has a strong technical website and knowledgeable staff.    
Keep Painting,
Karyn

For more information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Brushes for Heavy Body Paints

Interlock Bronze
Beau Blanc
With so many lines of painting brushes to choose from, how does an artist know which one to start with for a particular medium?  A while back, I created this post on best choice brushes for select paints of all types.  

Here, however, is a list of our best brushes for heavy body paints, either oil or acrylic.  Most people prefer natural bristle brushes for oil as they stand up well to pushing paint on a linen canvas and hold up to solvents.  But, our synthetic brushes are an alternative worth trying because they have been designed to hold up to rough canvas or solvents or heavy mediums.

Interboro
Beau Blanc is our top of the line natural bristle brush, with interlocked boar bristle's designed to hold it's shape and a distinct line.

Interboro is also a natural bristle and has the benefit of coming in some alternative wave shapes for textural work like foliage or fur.

Interlock Bronze has long been one of my personal favorites, for most of my acrylic work because of the range in shapes and sizes and the perfection of the synthetic hair.  

Golden Stag is another synthetic line with a stiffer fiber and smooth hair, meant to take a load of paint.  It can push heavy body gels and work in brush strokes like no other.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, from all of us at FM Brush, Inc. and Dynasty Brush.  Spend the time enjoying your loved ones, eating and celebrating and maybe even painting!



We will be closed today and tomorrow for the holiday, to be with our families and friends.  We will be back in on Monday to answer voicemail, emails and your calls.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Lisa Goesling

Group of Columbines
Chicago artist, Lisa Goesling works in the unusual media of scratch art.  It is subtractive drawing, where the artist removes ink from a soft, smooth surface to reveal the white underneath.  The scratching can be done with a variety of exacto knife blades or wire tools.  Once the image has been developed, the surface can be colored with inks, watercolors or acrylics.  Lisa found scratch art through a cancer diagnosis in 2006, where she needed the rest and had the space to work hours on end. She shares, "The idea that adversity teaches us to turn the negative into a positive is a great analogy for transforming these black boards into thriving works of art."

Lisa places color into her pieces thoughtfully, sometimes over the whole work and sometimes sparingly, to tell more of a story about the piece.  She uses a water-soluble ink and needs brushes that hold their shape for both mixing her color and applying it.  One of her favorite brushes is Black Gold, because it keeps it's integrity, and the hairs stay together when applying fluid to a smaller area.  Part of Lisa's exquisite work is the fine detail she is able to accomplish, and in that, the right tools make all the difference.

Lisa's work will be in several upcoming exhibits next year and she will be the artist in residence at the Studios of Key West in March 2016, teaching a workshop on scratch art using Scratchbord on March 14th.  You can keep up with Lisa's busy exhibition schedule on her website:  Lisagoesling.com.

Keep Painting, 

Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Artist Resources: Watercolor Mediums

There are numerous mediums for each type of paint out there, too many to list in a single post combining them.  Each manufacturer of a paint also has their own versions of mediums, opening the door even wider to experimentation.  However, for the most part, paint is designed to work seamlessly with it's own brand's mediums.  Below, I've started the "Mediums" series with some popular watercolor mediums.  


Masking Fluid/Liquid Frisket -- There a variations on masking fluid, that are either colored or cloudy and even some that are not removable.  Masking fluid allows the painter to keep paint from covering an area of the paper, to either remain white or lighter.  It can be painted over and then removed with a rubber cement eraser to reveal the layers beneath.

Ox Gall -- There are plenty of synthetic Ox Gall Mediums on the market, but originally this was made from an Ox's gallbladder.  It is used as a wetting agent in watercolor; it increases the flow of watercolor helping create smoother washes.  

Gum Arabic or Gum Acacia -- This gum is from the Acacia tree, the sap is heated in boiling water and used as the binder for watercolor.  Gum Arabic adds transparency and gloss to watercolors.

Glycerin -- Glycerin is an alcohol of syrupy consistency that is used as a plasticizer to enhance the binder capabilities of watercolor and reduce brittleness.  It is not usually sold as a medium, but rather for those wanting to make their own watercolors.

Iridescent Medium -- This medium adds briliance and a pearlescent quality to the watercolor pigments.

Texture Medium -- Texture medium creates a textured finish, and can be painted directly on paper or added to the watercolors.

Lifting Aid -- Lifting aids are meant to be painted over plain paper or washes and create a surface where future layers can be removed more easily.

Granulation Medium -- This enhances the effects of granulating pigments and creates a mottled effect with pigments that are normally smooth.

These "Artist Resources" posts are designed to be thorough, although they are brief.  If there are notes missing, please let me know in the comments.  Or, feel free to let me know your preferred mediums and brands.

Keep Painting,
Karyn

To learn more about Dynasty and FM Brush, Inc. products, check out our website.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Urban FX

Joiners in 3 sizes
I can tell you all the technical specs you'd want to know about Urban FX, but there is nothing like trying them out for yourself.  I've used the joiners quite a bit, both in mural work and in my studio, and I love the sharp line and amount of fluid they can hold.  

This whole line of brushes, both the synthetic and the bristle lines are made specifically for mural artists, so they work ideally with scenic and mural paint -- a soft bodied acrylic or latex based paint.  They do hold quite a bit of fluid, though, so work well for glazing or take a beating on harder surfaces, like concrete.
Our patented shapes and edgers
The Urban FX line has long handles made of white birch, with a smooth rubberized coating for a non-slip grip and comfort in all conditions.  There are two lines of hair for painting on a range of surfaces and effects, including synthetic for smooth surfaces like metal and dry wall, and bristle for tough brick and concrete work.  Each line of hair comes in a range of sizes and shapes for unlimited variation.  I can't say enough how fun these brushes are and how well they hold up to a mural artists' needs.

Try it and let us know what you think.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Robyne Recca


Massachusetts artist, Robyne Recca recently completed a 40 foot long fence mural, sending us pictures along the way to let us know how her Black Gold brushes held up during the work, especially the liners she used to fill in graining.  With very little formal training, but a lot of determination, Robyne was inspired to create beauty in her yard with the memories of her late mother.  She is finishing up the last 8 foot tall panel and sealing the fence before cold weather season.  In the meantime, Robyne is currently working on an oil piece, and just returned from New England Traditions, where she reconnected with other instructors and painters.  Robyne most often works in acrylics and water soluble oils, both of which do quite well with Dynasty Black Gold.  


Robyne began teaching herself Calligraphy while raising a young toddler.  She created greeting cards with script and colored pencil.  The only class she took was a 5 hour class in oil painting, producing the boy in the snow painting, it was through this that she knew her potential.  Robyne went on to teach design and painting at local colleges and privately in her own studio, all of which she continues regularly.  You can find Robyne online at Facebook and her website:  artfromtheheartusa.com


Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Faux Sable


Faux Sable is more than a great all around paintbrush.  It is superior in its spring and ability to keep an edge, not to mention the full bodied tuft that holds loads of pigment and fluid.  This brush was designed to replicate the standard-grade Red Sable brush, and it will not disappoint.

All of our synthetic brushes are formulated, processed, and custom blended in-house.  And, we continue to search for and find synthetic solutions to natural hair. We create synthetic hair to mirror the qualities of their natural counterparts but remain cruelty-free.  

Since this brush is synthetic, it holds up to the wear of canvas and rough substrates without losing its crisp edge.  Imitating pure sable, this brush holds onto fluid and is sensitive to the painter's pressure and release.  It is delicate enough for watercolor and tough enough to withstand use as a wide glazing or varnish brush.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dynasty Brush Works Responsibly

Jeff Mink and Shining Moon painting
Shining Moon painting with a Dynasty special made brush
alongside Jeff Mink
One of the main reasons I enjoy working with Dynasty is their responsibility in formulating brushes and the way they give back to the community.  Besides making stellar brushes, Dynasty continues to give internationally for the cause of animal welfare and art.

We support the fight against animal testing by partnering with responsible suppliers and vendors.  Handles come from managed wood reforestation programs.  We also support several conservation and wildlife protection organizations including: Friends of Asian Elephant and The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International.  We manufacture special brushes for elephants who paint, like Shining Moon shown above.  We support the Kids in Need Foundation, providing free school supplies.  We supply brushes to Foundation for Hospital Art and Splashes of Hope, which paint murals on the walls of children's and VA hospitals.  In addition, we contribute to several art organizations to support artists and their work, like Manhattan Arts International.  

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, August 28, 2015

World of Color Expo Spotlight

The World of Color Expo 2015 registration is happening now for the premiere east coast fine and decorative art educational exposition.  Opening on  November 2-7 at the Washington Dulles Hilton, Dynasty Brush has a booth on the trade show floor and several instructors will be there using and demonstrating our brushes, including Jill Fitzhenry.

Below, Jill shares the projects she'll be doing and the brushes she'll be using.  Check our Facebook page often for more info about the upcoming exposition and stop by our booth if you'll be attending.




Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Artist Resources: Image Transfers

Image Transfers have to be one of my new favorite painting concepts, and I've been studying numerous ways to achieve them.  There are several ways to get an image to transfer from a laser copy directly to a painting surface, or to print directly onto paint with an acrylic gel skin.  There are also ways to transfer an image in encaustic, opening the door for amazing collage ideas.
GAC 100 works well for image transfer

One of the fastest ways to transfer an image is using a laser printer or xerox and an acrylic medium.  Inkjet prints do not work with this method because the images move and disappear on the paper with waterborne medium.  However, there is a huge variety of mediums that work to transfer an image, such as gloss medium, matte medium, soft gel, polymer medium and many of the GAC products from Golden Artist Colors.  
  1. Crop the edges of the paper as close to the image as possible, so that there is very little extra paper.
  2. Coat the surface of the substrate thoroughly with the medium and a soft brush (Faux Sable is my preference).  You can transfer an image on a panel, canvas, piece of furniture, wall, whatever accepts paint.
  3. Press the image face down on the surface.
  4. Use an HDPE plastic overlay (High Density Polyethylene does not stick to acrylics) on the image and press down with a plastic trowel or brayer to push the image completely into the medium and adhere to the surface.  
  5. Remove the plastic and let the image sit a few minutes.
  6. Gently peel away a corner to see if the image has adhered; if not let the image sit a while longer.
  7. Once the image has adhered, peel away the excess paper and very gently rub off the remaining paper with a wet fingertip.  
  8. Let the image dry throughly and continue removing any paper as needed with water a gentle rubbing.
The above technique is shown below from a video produced by Golden Artist Colors' Materials Specialists Team.  



For more information on image transfers in acrylic, refer to the Golden Artist Colors website and video library.  There are also videos on using Digital Grounds to print on or creating gel skins with images in their library.

For more information on image transfers in encaustic, refer to the R&F Handmade Paints website and Encaustic Resource Library.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Golden Stag





It is really hard to choose a favorite brush, if you use several different types of paint or media, work in a range of sizes, or just like art materials (like me).  But, if I had to choose a favorite for my heavy body work, it would be the Dynasty Golden Stag Brushes -- hands down.  Mostly, this brush is incredibly comfortable with a sharp edge.  I couldn't ask for anything more.

This is a synthetic brush, with the feel of a dense bristle brush yet stronger.  It is built to withstand hours at the easel and hold its spring and edge for years.  Incredibly comfortable handle and a double crimped ferrule for balance.  Since these are synthetic, they hold up well on canvas and rougher painting surfaces, like stone or wood.  Available in round, filbert, flat and bright in a variety of sizes and sets.  You can find these lovely brushes where Dynasty brushes are sold:  dynastybrush.com/dynasty_distributors

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, August 7, 2015

In Memory of Frederick V. Mink, Jr.

It is with heavy heart that FM Brush Company announces the passing of our beloved C.E.O., Fredrick V. Mink Jr.

Frederick Mink began his career as a physicist, working as a lead scientist at NASA Goddard. After many years, Fred decided to come back to NY with his wife and kids in tow to join his father in the family brush business. Fred is 3rd generation of the Mink family to run the FM Brush Company working with his family to expand the Glendale facility and open our facility in Thailand in 1987.


Fred combined his personal experience and his passion for brushes to create some of the most distinctive brushes on the market today.  As a true brushmaker Fred worked with independent artists interpreting their dreams into tools for their creative journey.  Fred felt his greatest accomplishment next to his family was his longstanding friendship within the artists’ community.

Fred’s legacy continues in his family, who stand by his commitment to the arts and artists alike.  He will be greatly missed by all of those who he touched.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers at this time.


Donations in his memory may be made to the Lustgarten Foundation or to Splashes of Hope  - 

See more at: Whitting Funeral Home

Rest in Peace, Fred, you will be missed. 

Karyn 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Artist Resources: Varnishing

Varnishing is a personal artistic decision, taking into account the variables in application and the desired finished product.  There are a lot of materials out there for varnishes and applications, but these are two of the best paint manufacturers for varnish products and technical help in application.  Golden Artist Colors makes MSA and Polymer varnishes, and Gamblin Artist Colors makes Gamvar and Cold Wax varnishes.  Between the two, you can finish almost any type of artwork.  

Golden Artist Colors has a large resource on their YouTube channel for varnishing.  They include not only how to use their products, but how to decide if you need to varnish and how to remove varnish.




Gamblin Artist Colors has products for varnishing oil paintings or using cold wax as a varnish for a matte finish, suitable for finishing a range of mediums.  Scott Gellatly demonstrates both of these products in the following video from their YouTube channel:



The best brushes for most varnishes are large flats; I prefer the 2" Faux Squirrel for most of my varnish work.  Other options include the 2" brushes in the Palmer line.  

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Interboro


Interboro brushes
Interboro is by far my favorite bristle brush, mainly because it holds up beautifully with the heavy bodied acrylic paint I use -- but also because it comes in SO many sizes and shapes that I can always find what I need.

Since it created with fine pure white Chungking bristle, which is double boiled to ensure it's shape after continued with heavy paint, this brush holds up under the hardest wear. The tuft is designed with our proprietary Interlocked technology to utilize the natural curve of the bristle, maintaining the length of the natural hairs.  This brush is excellent for oils, heavy body acrylics, and encaustics.  It also comes in larger sizes -- good for mural work.

Interboro brushes
Interboro is our long handled oil painting brush which comes in our speciality patented angle wave shape, ideal for landscape foliage or animal hair, in sizes 6, 8  and 10.  It also comes in fans, brights, filberts, flats, rounds in a range of 1 - 20 in size.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: New Faux Squirrel Shapes



Faux Squirrel shapes from Dynasty

You already know how great the Faux Squirrel line is, a favorite for watercolor artists.  The supple hairs hold a lot of fluid, created out of a blended synthetic with an exceptional tip that holds it's point and spring.  Plus, these synthetics are created to work like real squirrel hair, without the environmental downside.  You also know that this brush comes in ultra large rounds, quills and super wide flats.  

But, did you know that it is now available in several of the cool Dynasty patented shapes?

Just this year, we've unveiled the new line of Faux Squirrel shapes, including Whales Tail, Wave Flat, Wave Filbert, Wave Angle, in line with the Black Gold patented shapes.  The line also contains the reliable favorites like Angle, Dagger, Liner and Oval wash.  

You can find these new shapes where Faux Squirrel brushes are sold; try them out and let us know what you think!
Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Artist Resources: Encaustics

R+F Handmade Paints
Melting wax, image from R+F Handmade Paints
Encaustic painting is a unique medium all to itself, requiring specific tools, substrates, and brushes.  Encaustic is from the Greek word Enkaustikos meaning "burn in", where the layers of paint are burned in or fused together with heat.  Encaustic painting is one of the oldest painting traditions, founded by the Greeks as early as the second century and mostly known by the portrait work on Egyptian tombs, known as Fayum portraits for the region where they were discovered.  Since encaustic is not effected by humidity changes or yellowing and it is painted primarily on wood panels, encaustic is extremely durable.  Works can last centuries.

Encaustic paints are made by melting and mixing beeswax with a touch of linseed oil and pigments, finely ground.  The wax mixture is heated before and during use and fused onto a wooden panel so that the layers adhere to one another and the surface.  There are numerous ways to paint in encaustic as some artists work on a heated surface for blending and others paint with a heat tool in hand.  Sometimes mineral spirits are added as a thinner for the paints, and artists often use soy wax to clean brushes.  Thankfully, the list of resources on beginning in and working with encaustic is extensive, (see below).


Seggebruch from Ampersand Art Supply
Artist Patricia Seggebruch fusing work, 
image from Ampersand Art Supply
Most artists paint on a stiff substrate like wood with an absorbent gesso.  Natural bristle brushes are usually sought for working in wax as they tolerate the high heat without melting and stand up to the weight of the wax paint.  (Dynasty has a set dedicated to just Encaustic work.)  However, synthetic technology is becoming more suitable in high temperatures, and testing is in process for more brush and tool options for encaustic work.

There are significant resources online (and offline) for artists interested in encaustic through the following retailers, artists and instructors:

R+F Handmade Paints Encaustic Resources
Enkaustikos Encaustic Paints
Ampersand Art Supply Encausticbord
Evans Encaustics
Encaustic Art Institute
Exploring Encaustic with Bethany Handfield
Haley Nagy Encaustic Resources & Tips
Wax Works West
International Encaustic Conference


Well-known encaustic instructors listed below; (this is by no means a complete list).  Your local art supply store will know artists in your area.

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch
Bonnie Leibowitz
Lisa Pressman
Elise Wagner
Franciso Benitez
Linda Robertson
Ellen Koment
Susan Ukkola

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Pam Comeau

2=1, oil on canvas, 24" x 48"
4+1, oil on canvas, 20" x 24"
Montreal painter, Pam Comeau is part of the newly open 10th Annual Healing Power of Art Exhibition for Manhattan Arts International, an organization started and run by Renee Phillips.  "In different visual forms, styles and mediums, these artists create art as a catalyst to heal others, themselves, or to raise awareness and well-being in our society," explains Phillips.  


For several years, Dynasty Brush, Inc. has supported Manhattan Arts International as a sponsor for this particular exhibition.  This year, Dynasty Brush chose Pam Comeau for her thoughtful work in the exploration of healing.  Her painting takes healing to a whole new level as she explores emotional and spiritual healing through her work. Her art exhibits exquisite design and careful detail while bringing the viewer into the visceral world of the spiritual. Dynasty awards her thoughtful exploration of spiritual and emotional healing through her oil paintings.  

Comeau discovered Manhattan Arts International through an arts networking newsletter and found that the Healing Power of Art Exhibition qualifications perfectly described her All = 1 series-- how compassion heals emotional difficulties.  Her entry, 6=1 caught my attention right away.  Comeau's work visits emotional healing, setting her work apart.
6=1, oil on canvas, 27" x 45"

Mostly self-taught, Comeau creates figurative work with elements of animals, nature or objects for a metaphoric meaning.  Her work is thoughtfully designed with a grisaille underpainting and meticulous layers of oil glazes. In using oils, Comeau enjoys the lengthy drying time for changes and additions.  She uses mostly flats brushes, in a range of natural and synthetics, and only small rounds for detail work.  Comeau found oil paint through a thoughtful gift, something that came at the right time and the gratitude has stayed with her.  "I was very lucky because 22 years ago, when I first wanted to try oils, I was a single mom and money was a bit too tight to set myself up.  One day I was painting a design on a piece of furniture with regular house paint when a neighbor passed by and saw what I was doing, the next day, he came over with a box full of supplies that had been sitting untouched in the closet.  Brushes, canvas, a full box of oil paint and even an easel that the and his wife never used.  The first painting, a still life, was for them.  I will always be grateful," she shares.

The Healing Power of Art online exhibition opened April 30, 2015 and will run through June 30, 2015.  Currently, Comeau is spending her time in the studio creating a new body of work, but you can keep up with her exhibitions and see more in her gallery online.  You can also read more about her in an interview with Manhattan Arts International.  

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Susan Williamson


Susan Williamson has a passion for farm animals, getting to know them intimately through her painting.  She shares that she had an awakening during an encounter with a bovine and has never looked back.  "My goal is to depict these non-human animals as the sentient, beautiful beings that they are.  That's it."  Susan mostly paints cows, but she says all farm animals have a place in her studio.  She looks into their face, at their stance, or patterns in the coat and paints from her own photographs.

Susan recalls a childhood full of drawing and painting, taking breaks for family and the corporate world.  Once she left her full time job at an engineering company, she began her own education, taking classes with artists like master watercolorist, Jim McFarlane, and reading art books to enhance her knowledge.  

Early on, Susan explains that she chose her materials based on the instructor's materials list or articles in magazines.  "In the beginning, I tried to save money and cheap out on materials which made the process more frustrating and gave me less satisfying results.  Maybe it was a combination of poor quality materials and a learning curve, but most of the paintings were thrown in the trash.  Using high quality materials is so much more satisfying. . . more pigment, more tooth, effective brushes all make a difference."  

These days, Susan works in pastels or oils, depending on the subject and how detailed she would like the painting to be.  In either medium, Susan relies on the best substrate, painting media and brushes.  Her oil pieces are layered with beautifully rendered brush strokes, and Susan works with a range of brush sizes and shapes to achieve her technique.

Susan has a few upcoming shows including Historic Yellow Springs and a fundraiser for the local SPCA:  The Traditional Artists Show.  There is also much more of Susan's work and intimate animal portraiture on her blog:  Mud, Manure and Paint.   or through her website and store:  susan-williamson.artistwebsites.com

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Current Events from Dynasty Artists

Two exceptional and internationally renowned painters to learn from:

Representational artist, Susan Lyon will be teaching a 4-day "Painting the Portrait in Oil" class in Cape Cod at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham, MA this coming September 15-18.  With emphasis on an accurate drawing, Susan will demo each day drawing and blocking in color with her brush techniques.  Each day a new color will be introduced and explored to create a likeness on the model and color harmonies.  

Jerry Yarnell has numerous workshops this year in Skiatook, Oklahoma at his home studio and in other areas around the country.  Each month is booked with workshops on landscapes, animal portraiture or aspects of architecture.  Take a look at his website for dates, times and descriptions as well as registration.  Jerry also has full online classes through his website and private lessons.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Paint Brush Highlights: Badger Flowing

badger flowing brush

Badgers are fierce animals, known for their ferocity in taking on almost anything, especially if they want to eat it, including poisonous snakes.  The softer side of a badger, however, is its fur.  Badger hair was primarily used in shaving brushes because of its water retention, and badger hair makes an excellent brush for applying varnish and shellac.  However, badgers are a protected species, and Dynasty prefers to respect the environment and further brush technology by mimicking animal hair via synthetics.

Our Badger Flowing brush is made with a proprietary bristle blend that looks and performs like real badger hair.  We call it "Badgerette".  These brushes are made without filler strips or plugs in the tuft, so they are solidly filled bristle.  And, they are cupped chiseled entirely by hand, which preserves the flagg tip and offers a beautiful working edge.  
badger flowing brush
Because of the chiseled edge, this brush prevents bubbles from forming in a varnish application.  So, these beauties are perfect for professional coats of varnish, shellac, lacquer on the finest paintings, or woodworking or even musical instruments.  These full, soft brushes are also ideal for faux finish work and even oil paint blending.  

The ferrule on this brush is what makes it so unique and gives it the name "flowing".  From the 1920's up to the mid 1960's, brushes were "cemented" with vulcanized rubber, to hold the bristles in the ferrule.  Although this worked well for some applications, the rubber was vulnerable to solvents and could damage the brush from both the handle end and the bristle end -- inside the ferrule.  So, metal ferrules were designed with a sealed backend.  This flowing ferrule was born and made more robust brushes.  Brushes now are cemented with epoxy so the flowing ferrule isn't needed.  However, we at Dynasty cherish tradition and we stand by our commitment to making the world a more beautiful place with our materials -- including our Badger Flowing Brush.

Keep Painting,
Karyn

"Artisans creating brushes for Artists" For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Artist Resources: Pigments in Art Materials

"Indian pigments" by Dan Brady -
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Pigments are small particles used to color and tint materials such as paint, cosmetics or textiles.  They can be created from organic materials, such as  minerals like iron oxides.  These were some of the first pigments used in the earliest cave paintings, and they are still used today.  Pigments are also now synthetically made to give us more brilliant colors, like Prussian blue, which was discovered by accident in 1704.  The industrial revolution brought about many more developments in synthetic pigments, for both manufacturing and art.  There are too many wonderful stories about the history of pigments for me to write about here, but if you're interested, I have listed books about them below.

Pigments are usually chosen for their high tinting strength relative to the material they are coloring.  Pigments differ from dyes in that they are insoluble in the vehicle they are coloring, whereas dyes are soluble, or they dissolve in the vehicle.  For art and many commercial applications such as fabric coloration and car manufacturing, it is ideal for pigments to be permanent.  Pigments that are not permanent are called fugitive.  

In paint-making, pigments are combined with a binder and a vehicle to create a medium.  Before the invention of paint tubes, artists used to always make their own paint, purchasing pigments and supplies from local alchemists.  These days, pigments can be purchased individually for artists that want to make their own paint or pastels, at the sellers listed below.  
"From prehistory through to the present, paint has been defined simply as pigment -- a range of colors in a finely powdered state (from inorganic, natural organic, and synthetic sources) -- in conjunction with a binding medium (such as wax, egg, casein, oil, acrylic resin, or gum arabic) to hold the pigment and fix it to a support.  The binding media affect the paints' handling and provide diverse effects.  For instance, oil, acylic, and wax bring out the depth and intensity of the pigments, imparting them with a different color quality than they have in the dry state, whereas casein and gum arabic have little visual effect on the pigment colors." pg. 102, Krug.
Chrome Orange
Pigments are identified on tubes of paint or individual pastels by their ID numbers, such as PO: 21.  The "P" meaning Pigment, the "O" meaning Orange and the 21 is the number of the pigment in the international database.  PO21 is Chrome Orange, which can be used on it's own to make a single pigment paint or it can be combined with other pigments to form variations on the hue.

There are so many fine art resources to find out more technical information about pigments and how they are used in paint and pastel making; I've listed many below, but feel free to share other links in the comments for me to add.

Technical and Chemical Information:
Pigment Sellers
Books & Videos
How It's Made did a feature on Pigments a few years back:



Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Bibliography

  • Krug, Margaret.  An Artist's Handbook:  Materials and Techniques.  Laurence King Publishing, London. 2007.