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  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Entries in Tips (5)


Cleaning Your Brushes

Don’t spend money on fancy art store soaps and cleaners. Use your art budget for your paints That’s where quality counts. To clean your oil painting brushes, swish them in clean ‘turp’ and rub them over a bar of Ivory soap. (Do not use other soap brands, because they contain perfume, which contains alcohol. That dries out your brushes.)
Repeat this procedure three times. The last time--leave the soap in your brushes, reshape them with your fingers, and let them dry standing up in a jar. Leaving the soap in the brush resizes it. You can also use Murphy’s Oil Soap--but the Ivory soap bar is easier to carry around in your paint box. To clean your acrylic painting brushes, follow the same procedure as above--but use water instead of ‘turp’.

A Recipe for the BEST Oil Painting Medium

Photo by D. Chaskin

Those of us who paint in oils always need medium for thinning our paints. The pre-manufactured mediums work well--but they’re expensive and you can’t recycle them. I mix my own medium with 1 part refined linseed oil + 1 part stand oil + 1 part damar varnish + 3 parts odorless turp (or odorless mineral spirits or odorless paint thinner). I store this medium in glass jars. At the end of each painting session, I pour my dirty medium into a large can. Within a couple of days--all of the paint sinks to the bottom. I pour off the clean medium into my glass jar and keep using it over and over again. Works like a charm!’s cost effective and environment friendly.


Tips on Buying Brushes for Oils and Acrylics

Photo by D.’re in an art store or shopping online--and you come across this great deal on brushes in packages. The price is too good to be true! BE CAREFUL... because the “deal” just might be too good to be true. Shedding brushes are a nightmare for the painter. When you buy brushes--you want to be able to tug on them a bit, to make sure they’re non-shedders. Once those hairs get into your painting--they’re virtually impossible to remove. When you buy brushes online--make sure to stick with reputable, known retailers. Their brushes will be decent. Also, don’t spend tons of money on brushes for acrylics. Remember...acrylics are basically plastic. So acrylics are tough on brushes. No matter how well you care for them--they will take a beating over time. So buy good but not super expenses brushes for acrylic painting. If you’re an oil painter--you can treat yourself to some fine brushes. The linseed oil in your paint and medium will help to preserve your brushes over time. If you paint in both media--use separate brushes for each.


Art Lesson: The Principles of Design

Click Photo For Larger ImageThe Principles of design help us to organize and unify our works of art. Artists "design" their works by controlling and ordering the Elements of Art in them. If we just put objects anywhere in a work of art—without thinking about how to arrange them—that work would probably not be very interesting, or very good. The Principles of Design help us to create effective compositions. Balance, for example, helps a work of art to make sense—in interesting ways. Two sides of a work don’t have to be exactly the same in order for the art to have balance. A see saw—with one side up and the other down—is still in balance/ When we put lines, shapes, forms and colors together that are different from one another, we create a contrast that can be quite powerful. Emphasis or Dominance are what the artist uses to encourage the viewer to focus on very specific areas in a work of art. Elements such as diagonal lines and particular colors (like red) provide a sense of movement in our art.


Art Lesson: The Elements of Art

There are seven elements of art. Line, shape, form, value, color, texture and space. We use a line (or lines) to make a shape. We use value (the lightness or darkness of a color) to make a form (which is a shape that appears three-dimensional). We use color, space, and texture to organize a work of art--and give it the qualities we want it to have.

Click Photo for Larger Image