Sun 9 Mar 2014
Wed 5 Mar 2014
To you artists out there – how long do your brushes last?
I’ve had varying success with all sorts of brands. Most of the cheap bristle brushes the nice art store lady picked out for me before my first community center oil painting class are still in great shape, yet I spend good money on supposedly good brushes and they die quick, painful deaths.
Example 1: Blick Masterstroke Finest Red Sable, bright, size 4 to be exact. Brand-spanking new on the left, gently* used on the right.
* it’s a soft brush so I try not to scrub too vigorously with it, but then again I tend to get carried away while painting, and wake up in a daze with a finished painting in front of me. So.
I know a lot of brushes get shorter with use, so I wouldn’t consider the brush dead just for that. But if you look closely, you notice that the hairs no longer fill the entire width of the ferrule. I noticed this because all of a sudden this favored brush of mine started leaving hairs all over paintings and my brush cleaning cake. This brush wasn’t really expensive, but it wasn’t a cheapy or student grade – it says Master and Finest on the handle! Marketing, grrr. So I had to toss it.
Example 2: Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour Sable, 2 round. Sable can mean anything nowadays, but this one is actually Kolinsky, and not inexpensive. I used this nicely shaped round once or twice and now it’s so frayed I can’t use it for anything except clumsy blending. Kolinsky is supposed to be the best. What the hell, man?
Example 3: Isabey cat’s tongue size 4. Lovely brush, great handling. Problem – it’s not crimped. It’s brand new (and it was expensive), but I can pull the ferrule off the handle with ease. It was glued but that didn’t hold it. Anyone else have issues with Isabey brushes?
I’ve had some other brushes deconstruct, but they were cheapies. More surprisingly, I’ve had plenty of cheapo brushes hold up to much worse torment and keep on kicking. Price doesn’t mean everything, name doesn’t mean everything, and that is totally frustrating. The best luck I’ve had with brushes is those brands recommended to me by experienced artists. So – here’s my list for you!
Sun 2 Mar 2014
Axe Cop by Meg Lyman
6×12″ gouache and ink on illustration board
If you haven’t seen the show (or comic) Axe Cop, you’re missing out on one of life’s finest experiences. That is, if you’re a 30-something and grew up watching dumb cartoons.
The characters are: Sockarang, Wexter, Axe Cop, Baby Man, Unibaby, and Flute Cop. This is my first time putting a moustache on an octopus… feel free to judge me for that.
Sun 16 Feb 2014
Purple Cuttlefish by Meg Lyman
ACEO gouache and ink on illustration board
Another case of leftover paint needing a home. What better home than a cute cuttlefish?
Sat 15 Feb 2014
Another guest post from the awesome Tentacle Toast!
Founders’ “Bolt Cutter” is another perfectly crafted brew. On the spicier side of the barleywine spectrum, Bolt Cutter has a little bit of a cinnamon kick, with what seems to be a mix of hops layered in that classic caramel body. I never heard of Founders brewery prior to picking this up, but the care that was obviously put into Bolt Cutter persuaded me to try a couple more of their products (with great results, but more on those another day). Next time I grab a bottle, I’m going to grill up a couple steaks, & have some brown sugar spiked acorn squash as a side. I can’t imagine a better pairing. 15% ABV
Wed 12 Feb 2014
Crab Shell by Meg Lyman
6×6″ oil on canvas
This is going to be windy, so bear with me…
Those of you who have been following for a while, do you remember when I talked about changing what types of things I paint? I’ve wanted to make the change from cute squishy things to more serious fine art for a while. Aside from a piece I worked on for oh, 2 years, that I finally finished (and will share with you soon), I haven’t gotten much traction. I set out to discover why. Turns out there were two main reasons and it was much less obscure than I thought.
First was lack of direction. I have this HUGE list of ideas that have popped into my head over the years. Last year, I put into writing my vision of this new “serious” art thing, and I set myself some rules: if the idea doesn’t fit these thematic guidelines, into the bin it goes. It was a ridiculous, painful process, trashing some of my long-held ideas, my creative children. But they just didn’t fit. I have to stick to my vision to be taken seriously as a fine artist.
So, I had narrowed down my ideas into a set of viable paintings. But I still couldn’t get going on it. I spent some time writing down how each idea fit into the themes, and that really helped me shape where I was going with each piece individually, as well as why I was going to paint it. This also helped be decide which paintings to tackle first. Suddenly, I had a schedule! I could intersperse serious ideas with goofy cephalopod commissions and calendar paintings. Problem solved!
But then came the second problem, fear. I knew what I wanted to do, but felt almost paralyzed about how to execute it. When I actually stop and think about it, I know I can paint, and I’m not horrible at it. But this new realm of seriousness with a different audience and unknown venues punched me right in the insecurity. Let’s face it, I have gotten really good at painting cute blobby cephalopods with gouache. Still life and landscapes and portraits in oil are almost completely new for me. Plus I’ve been looking at old masters work, as well as work from contemporary artists I admire, and it gets so overwhelming. They’re so GOOD! Despite my years of painting, I haven’t yet become comfortable thumbnailing or doing value or color studies. There are so many technical aspects to think about all at once and what if I totally forget one OMG? Breeeeathe……
I finally got tired of being overwhelmed and added preliminary paintings and studies to my schedule. My next serious piece is going to involve an airplane. I look at them every damn day but I’ve never painted one… so I’m going to do several studies – but fully finished paintings – of airplanes before I tackle my vision. I am going to thumbnail and value study the hell out of them. You wouldn’t take a calculus test without ever solving an equation, would you? Also, this crab shell is a study for another planned painting. There, I tied the post together.
Enough talking! More drawing.
Sun 2 Feb 2014
Ewoktopus by Meg Lyman
Indeterminate but small size, gouache and ink on paper
A fun commission from a convention last year! Sorry for the cell phone photo quality. I’m cleaning out some older art to post for y’all while I’m working on some larger projects, and a few long how-to posts. Lucky y’all.
Sat 25 Jan 2014
Mon 20 Jan 2014
Sun 12 Jan 2014
Cuddle Owlet by Meg Lyman
ACEO gouache and ink on cold press
$22 – e-mail to purchase
A quick doodle to get me back on the gouache train after the holiday slump. I’ve been busy getting the next calendar’s concepts fleshed out, and preparing for RustyCon next weekend. If you’re local, check it out! It’s my first time there, so I hope to have a good time. My next con after that is Emerald City Comic Con in March. So stoked about that one, with all its cool guests!