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Blog Category: Artwork

Canvas and the Icarus Board: Final Post

"Symbiosis"

Below are the steps I followed to mount my artwork on canvas and varnish it.

Trimming the canvasTrimmed canvas

 

Left - after spraying the canvas with 5 coats of Prismacolor Final Fixative Gloss, and letting it cure overnight, I trimmed away the white boarder.

Right - the canvas is now trimmed and ready for mounting.

Mounting toolsPressing with a brayer

 

Left - for mounting I used Frank's PH Fabric Adhesive (purchased from my framer) and a foam roller. I apply this type of adhesive only to canvas or fabric in general. When mounting paper I prefer to use Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film (for more on this subject please visit my post on Glassless Framing).

Right - after mounting the canvas on my Ampersand Claybord with 3/4" cradle, I rolled a brayer all over the surface, paying particular attention to corners and edges.

Under books overnightTrimming the edges

 

Left - I then placed the canvas-mounted board upside down under heavy books overnight.

Right - in the morning I carefully trimmed the canvas around the edges of the board. I had originally extended the drawing a quarter inch all around to account for possible misalignment during mounting.

Left-over stubbleCleaned-up edges

 

Left - as you can see some stubble was left over after trimming.

Right - I cleaned up the fuzz with a fine grade sandpaper.

Painting the sidesPainted sides

 

Left - I finally began to paint the sides of the cradled board with acrylic. I applied three coats.

Right - the sides are all painted.

Varnishing toolsRaised board

 

Left - here's everything I used for varnishing: Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS Gloss, a container for mixing the varnish, a small measuring cup, a wide brush for the top surface, and a smaller brush for the sides. I mixed one part water to two parts varnish.

Right - after elevating the board from the table I began varnishing the top.

Wet varnishVarnishing the sides

 

Left - notice how the first coat of varnish looks while still wet. I painted four coats, waiting three hours in between.

Right - I used the small brush to spread the varnish drips all over the sides. I like the sides to be as glossy as the top surface.

Varnished and framedClose-up

 

Left - after curing for a week, the panel was finally framed without glass.

Right - Here you can see a close-up of the frame and panel.

CONCLUSIONS:

Why did I do all this? Well, I wanted to experiment with canvas and the Icarus board. I clearly could not have used stretched canvas and did not want to use 1/8" canvas panels. These panels are a good option for artists who work with the Icarus board. However I like my art to be mounted on panels with at least 3/4" cradle so I needed to use canvas by the yard.

The best discovery I made during this experiment is to apply one coat of Art Spectrum Colourfix Clear Primer on the acrylic painted canvas. This establishes an amazing ground for any type of drawing medium so that it can strongly adhere to the canvas. Colourfix primer can be applied directly to the canvas without an acrylic underpainting, if one chooses to do so. (edited 10/9/11)

Perhaps in the future I will experiment with artist crayons and oil pastels on canvas and the Icarus board. These mediums lend themselves to larger and looser applications.

I'm very happy with my finished artwork. Coming from an oil paint background I can tell you that it looks better than any of my old oil paintings. These were never varnished (who wants to wait six months?) and appear blotchy and uneven.

To read the two previous posts on "Canvas and the Icarus Board", please click on the following links:

Canvas and the Icarus Board
Canvas and the Icarus Board: Part 2

If you are interested in how I mount and frame my artwork on paper without glass, please click on this link:

Glassless Framing

Thank you for reading my blog! Feel free to comment or ask questions.

 

Canvas and the Icarus Board: Part 2

Symbiosis

As you can see, I'm finally finished with my experiment on canvas (16'' x 24'').

It hasn't been an easy ride. While family and business obligations kept interrupting my creative process, the other reason it took me so long is that I chose a very complex subject in addition to a brand new technique.

If you need to refresh your memory, you can review the first blog post here: Canvas and the Icarus Board.

As I was layering the colored pencils on the acrylic-painted canvas, I became increasingly unsatisfied. The waxy pigment wasn't adhering nor covering as well as I had hoped. After many hours of trials and errors I finally came to an acceptable solution (see red type below).

Following are steps and suggestions:

  • Purchase acrylic gesso primed cotton canvas by the yard - tightly woven is best suited - do not use coarse textured canvas.
  • Cut a piece of canvas about an inch wider on each side than the final size.
  • Trace your drawing with colored pencils using a light box or a window.
  • Extend the drawing a quarter inch all around to account for possible misalignment during mounting.
  • Block-in the colors using acrylics - make sure to cover the whole canvas with paint.
  • With a sponge roller apply an even layer of Art Spectrum Colourfix Clear Primer. This simple step will help colored pencil adhere well to the acrylic painted canvas.
  • After the primer is completely dry (I waited 24 hours), you can begin layering your wax-based colored pencils on the Icarus Drawing Board at medium heat. High heat will help you blend large areas.
  • As a last step, clean up all your whites, edges, and details on the cool zone.

Below is a picture of all the colored pencils that I used in this project:

Colored Pencils Used

I'm planning to spray fixative, mount the canvas on a cradled board, varnish it, and frame it. I will have more images and give you my final thoughts on a third blog post.

For more on "Canvas and the Icarus Board" please click on the following links:

Canvas and the Icarus Board
Canvas and the Icarus Board: Final Post

 

“Eucalyptus”

Eucalyptus

 

This is not what I usually draw or paint. It's quite small (6" x 4"), it has lots of fine details, it's very photographic, it doesn't have water, reflections, distortion, flowers or pebbles, and it's not made with the Icarus Drawing Board.

So, why did I do it and what have I learned from this experience?

Well, I did it as my contribution to the Los Angeles Colored Pencil Society Chapter project. We are putting together a compilation of small drawings of common California trees for the CPSA Convention in Dallas, Texas. I chose the eucalyptus tree because it grows everywhere in my area and it has a very attractive, colorful bark.

The drawing is so small and detailed that I really couldn't use the Icarus board nor any other wax-based media besides colored pencil. What I learned from this experience is that it's good for an artist every once in a while to do something out of the norm.

  • Doing this small drawing reminded me how I really enjoy working big.
  • The Icarus board would have allowed me to accomplish a much larger version in the same amount of time, especially with the addition of artist crayon or oil pastel.
  • Photorealism is not my cup of tea.
  • I missed pushing the colors as far as I usually do.
  • I truly missed the magic of water.

I just can't wait to go back to my technique and artistic direction.

See you all in Texas in 10 days. Stop by the CPSA TRADE SHOW where I will demonstrate the Icarus Drawing Board.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 -  9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Renaissance Hotel, Richardson, Texas 75082

 

“Social Network”

Social Network

22" x 28" - Wax-based Media (Colored Pencil and Artist Crayon)
Created with the Icarus Drawing Board.

I finished this piece just in time to enter it into the 19th Annual CPSA Juried Exhibition. There's something about this group of pebbles, linked together by water, that reminded me how we are all connected, socially and otherwise.

This year the Colored Pencil Society Convention will be in Dallas, Texas. I will be demonstrating the Icarus board at the CPSA trade show Saturday, July 16, from 9:00 to 2:00.

I have a short demonstration coming up on Saturday, April 30th, in conjunction with the Los Angeles CPSA district chapter meeting. Click this link for directions.

 

“Fire and Ice”

Fire and Ice

18" x 18" - Wax-based Media (Colored Pencil, Artist Crayon, and Oil Pastel)
Created with the Icarus Drawing Board.

This is my latest work in my pebbles series - a very abstract approach to nature. I took this picture in my studio and I've had the hardest time balancing the colors correctly. I'm fairly satisfied with the results but as soon as I get a professional scan, I'll decide if this image will need to be replaced.

I've had a lot of fun with this project, the subject of which is a group of pebbles I collected on Moonstone Beach in Cambria.

It will be my entry for Explore This! 7, a Colored Pencil Society juried online exhibition which will be on display on the CPSA website for one full year, from February 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012.

Edit (10/24/10): you can read about the specific technique I used for this artwork on a previous post titled A Shortcut for Details.

 

True Colors

Here is my artwork for this year's CPSA Silent Auction. It's colored pencil (Prismacolor Premier) on Stonehenge paper. As I was working on this piece, Cyndi Lauper's song "True Colors" came to mind. I  ended up playing it repeatedly, maybe a hundred times over. The words describe how I feel about this flower to perfection, hence I decided to borrow the title.

True Colors
11" x 14" - Wax-based Media (Colored Pencil)
Created with the Icarus Drawing Board

 

Artist Trading Cards

I have just finished making two ATC cards for a group project with the San Diego District Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society. It's the first time I have attempted to do such miniature artworks (2.5" x 3.5") and I have to say... it's been a challenge. I like to work big so that the finest line in the painting is at least twice the size of the pencil point. In these two examples the point of the pencil felt too thick for the size of the projects.

California PoppyVinca Major

 

2.5" x 3.5" - Wax-based Media (Colored Pencil)
Created with the Icarus Drawing Board