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Notes on Copying

Of course, you do not want to copy other artists’ work. Besides violating copyrights, it’s just unethical.

But why not learn from copying? Many artists paint old masters paintings just to learn how to do it. And you do learn a lot. As long as you aren’t selling it, or passing it off as a real old master, you’re good.

But another way of learning from copying is to paint photographs. You take the photo, so it’s your copyright, and no problem. There are a number of ways to do this. You can paint or draw by just looking at the photo and putting it into paint and paper or canvas. You’ll learn a lot from doing that. But most new artists who try that just give up and say they don’t like their own painting.

In order to teach one of my grandsons some art lessons I got him a “light table.” The one I got cost about $10 and it is a very thin piece of plastic which plugs into a computer port and lights up. Then you put your photo or whatever you want to copy on that and a blank piece of paper on top and the light shines through and you can draw outlines and shading of your subject.

The grandson has been very enthusiastic with it – he’s done about 30 drawings of things he would never draw just off the top of his head. And the result is that now he knows how to draw them.

I just recently tried it out myself, and it’s so much fun, I can’t get enough. I’ve been drawing faces and buildings and although I paint these subjects without the “light table” I have learned a lot about the details that go into making a good drawing by using it.

Think it’s cheating? Well, old masters had their little shortcuts, too. Look up camera obscura (“Camera obscura, also referred to as pinhole image, is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image on a surface opposite to the opening.” –Wikipedia.) It was used to make drawings for paintings back before cameras. Tools of the trade.

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Framing Tips by EC Sullivan

Fine Art by EC Sullivan

Fine Art by EC SullivanIf you have plenty of money, go to a frame shop and get your new painting custom framed. Always the best to let professionals do it. Mom and Pop frame stores tend to be less expensive than Hobby Lobby or Michaels or other big chains.

If you want to do it yourself, here are some tips.

Take your painting to a store whenever they are having a sale. Hobby Lobby has sales on frames about every other week. Michaels, too. Another good place to go is Jerry’s Artarama if there is one near you – they carry good frame packages (means you get the frame, glass, backing board and hanging stuff altogether) and pretty good prices. Or order online.

Pick a frame that your painting will fit into. Pick a piece of mat board of a color that goes well with your painting (this is why you bring the painting to the store with you). Cut the mat board to fit in the frame and mount your painting on top of the mat board using acid free double-sided tape. The deckled (ragged) edges of the painting will be showing, but I personally like that. When you pick a frame, you might have it an inch bigger than the painting, or 3 inches or 2 inches height-wise and 3 inches length-wise. Just make sure the picture fits into the frame with room to spare, and the mat board will take up the rest of the frame area.

If you do not like it get someone at the store you are in to cut a mat for you.

Unless you bought the package frame deal at Jerrry’s, you now need glass or plexi to fit into the frame to protect the painting. You can get non-glare glass or plexi, which is the best, but more expensive than plain old glass. You can get the frame store to cut it for you. It’s cheaper to get glass or plexi at Lowes or Home Depot and they also will cut it for you.

Lastly you need a backing board. Foam core is a good backing board. If you bought a whole sheet of mat board, you can use another piece of mat board.

To put it altogether, use glaziers points. You push them into a wooden frame. I have a frame gun for these, but that’s a huge expense and not needed unless you are doing a lot of framing. You can also use a staple gun – not very professional, but nobody is going to see the back.

To hang it, use a piece of framing wire and eye screws or D rings. You can get little picture hanging kits at craft stores or hardware stores that has everything you need to make a nice wire hanger.

If you’re in Hobby Lobby, check the frames clearance section – these are custom frames that customers have rejected. I’ve often found one that fits the painting I want to mount, and the price goes down as the year goes by – in December they are 90% off. These frames are not in the framing part of the store – they are off somewhere else. Ask where they are.

Call or email me if you have questions.

Elizabeth Sullivan
512 431 7756
ecsullivanart@aol.com
http://wildspiritartworks.com/

© Copyright 2020 EC Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.