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Acrylic vs oil

September 12th, 2020

Acrylic vs oil

Acrylic vs Oil
So you may question, which is better, oil or acrylic? I will share with you my opinion, and my tactics to adjust for each medium. My experience with oil is a love/hate relationship. I loved how oil blended, how it quickly made my paintings come to life as opposed to acrylic, where it takes layers and layers of acrylic to get the same effect. However, here is where things went sour for me with oil. One day, I had a tiny dot of oil paint on my elbow that I did not know about. This little dot, which was bright blue paint, made its way all over the house before I realized the horrific mistake I had made. Little blue dots, all over my house. By the time I noticed, it was too late. My house had a bad case of blue measles. Maybe it had a little to do with the bottle of wine I drank while painting, but I’d like to blame it on the fact that oil takes too long to try. Oil paint taking a long time to dry is a blessing but also a curse. You can take your time working on your painting without worrying about your paint drying up and the blending capacity is phenomenal. Cleaning is horrid. I’ve heard some artists let their paint completely dry on the brush then they say it crumbles off. I haven’t tried that yet, mainly because I am afraid the brushes are going to be ruined. During the summer, I use acrylic, and in the winter, I use oil. The reason I do this is because I reside in Texas, and I need to paint outside when doing oil, to avoid my house from contracting blue measles again. Painting outside in the summer would be a death wish so I stay inside during the summer, painting with the much safer medium, acrylic. Over the years, I have learned to tweak the acrylic with blending gel, which you find at Micheals art store, to have the acrylic blend better and not dry out too fast. Sometimes I use water to thin out my paint a bit but the blending gel works great. You can see the blending gel technique used in paintings like “foot cramp” and “delicate ferocity” on my website, aprilsalleycatart.com. With acrylic, I always use many layers. I wait for the first coat to dry, and go over the painting usually a total of 3 times. After the whole painting is finished, I spray a lacquer or some kind of finishing clear coat over the painting to give it that rich look that oil gives, and also to protect the painting. With oil, you can usually skip the layering and the painting becomes rich right away. I sometimes use a coat of gesso over the canvas before starting, this is because when using acrylic the paint will break across the canvas giving it a terrible look. Most of the time I get over excited about an idea and I forget the gesso part, so it’s always nice to paint them with gesso and set them aside so when you are overzealous to paint your amazing, fantastic, oh my god, crazy, this is going to be so awesome idea, you have a gesso canvas ready. It’s kind of like stocking the toilet paper so when you have a crazy need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW moment, there is toilet paper available. It’s not fun stocking the toilet paper but you will be happy you did when the moment is right. So these are my little secrets on acrylic and oil. Once I get the courage to let oil dry on a paintbrush (preferably one I'm not too fond of) I will let you know if it works out okay. Otherwise, play with the two, see if beating the brush like Bob Ross did to clean his oil off in turpentine makes your heart flutter with excitement.

What Can Art Do For You

September 8th, 2020

What Can Art Do For You

Why do we paint? Painting can be a great outlet for your sanity to take a bath in. It washes your soul free from all the bustle in city life, it calms the constant chatter of your thoughts, it eases your worrying onto a blank canvas. Painting can be a much needed healing process. My aunt passed away recently. She was like a mom to me. The most wonderful woman I had ever known. She was giving, patient, kind, compassionate and very slow to anger. I wanted to be just like her. She was perfect. Then, the most terrible thing happened. She fell victim to Alzhiemer’s. I can’t explain how horrifying this disease is. I lost my aunt not once, but twice. When her death finally came, I had actually lost her completely two years before that, because I no longer recognized the aunt I once knew. I loved her so much, her death ripped my heart right out of my chest and served on a platter, I could almost hear God chuckling at me as I died inside. I took a deep sigh of depression and a shot of desperation, grabbed a canvas and painted her. It took quite a while to paint her, because I had to take frequent breaks from profuse wailing. I looked like I had some allergic reaction, all swollen in the face from crying so hard. I saw her in my painting, in her portrait, staring back at me, there was the aunt I loved so dearly. She had taught me everything about being the best person I could be, how to be kind and humane, never judge anyone and to always be respectful of others feelings and truly care about all living things. I would torture myself even more by putting on her favorite music such as Pink Floyd’s “wish you were here”. The neighbors probably thought I was manic-depressant because I was crying well over the legal decimal limit, any louder and only dogs would be the only ones able to hear me, every single day until the painting was finished. However, I feel it helped me a great deal. It was my last connection with her, and that was very important because my last connection with her was so brutally taken by Alzheimer’s. The point of this long, sad, story, is that art can be our refuge. Our dreams accomplished on canvas, our pain splattered with the paint, our happiness poured out in color. I will take a canvas anyday over a bottle of xanax. Matter of fact, I think I’m so weird that xanax actually had a reverse effect on me and the result was not good to say the least. Paint is still missing on the walls from my xanax episode. However, painting is healthy, doesn’t cost a lot, can really be better than any drug and can answer your questions faster than any counselor can. So paint. Sit down, put on your favorite music, have a glass of wine and dive into your sanity session. Pay attention to how you feel, let your emotions guide your brush, allow those feelings to surface so you can deal with your reality while you paint your fantasy. If you are interested in seeing the portraits I have done, they are in the personalized paintings section of aprilsalleycatart.com.

Progressing in Art

September 8th, 2020

 Progressing in Art


I have surprised people with the speed of my progression in art. I kind of resembled a Tesla, going from 0 to 60 miles in 1.9 seconds. So how did I manage to progress so fast so quickly? First, you must listen. Listen to every artist you know, because even the artist who seems to be lacking behind you will know something you don’t. Some artists become too confident, or don’t take constructive criticism well. This is a must. You must listen to others, try your best to understand where they are coming from or what they see that you don’t, and try not to get your feelings hurt. They are HELPING you. Even if you don’t want to hear it. Secondly, humble yourself. You are not the best. Nor will you ever, ever be the “best” artist. How come? Because everybody has different taste. Keep yourself as humble as you can, because the more humble you are, the more room you are leaving for growth. There are many, many great artists out there. Just get on a world-wide internet art group and you will be humbled as fast as that Tesla goes. It’s okay to take your ego down a notch. Maybe you are the best artist in your family, heck, maybe in your town, but you are not the best artist, and that’s okay, because it means you must learn. People that think they know everything never learn anything. Being humble is the key. Thirdly, do not rush your artwork. This isn’t a race. If you are rushing your artwork, you have not found your key. If you don’t know what I am talking about, go read the blog about painting animals. It will explain the duty of finding your key. Once you find your key, you will not want to rush, you will enjoy painting, hours and hours will go by, and you will be sad that you must stop in order to eat something, go pee, and go right back to painting. Enjoy the process, above all, I stress this the most. If you can’t enjoy the process, it will show on your paintings. Other people will see that you don’t enjoy painting. They may see technique, great shading skills, maybe even great perception but it won’t mean a thing if you didn’t enjoy the process of painting. Painting is an extension of your soul. I talk a little bit about this in my bio on aprilsalleycatart.com. If you haven’t read it, please feel free to see what I view art as. It is who we are, splattered on canvas, lovingly, soulfully, with intention and emotion, deeply fond of the experiences in our life and how it shows on the canvas. Embellish this! Celebrate this! The things in life that hold emotion should never be rushed, but only delicately caressed until it gently slides into the finished outcome.

Painting animals

September 8th, 2020

Painting animals


Through most of my artwork, I am usually picking some animal as my subject. You may ask why I am always painting animals, why not nudes, landscapes, cities or fruit? I started painting landscapes, awhile back. I actually started Saturday mornings with Bob Ross. I can thank Bob Ross for my initial passion for art and painting. I loved his easy going attitude, he was the most fabulous hippie that I would have loved to have met. Sadly, he was before my time, and I missed out on meeting such an art God. I became really good at it, painting exactly like Bob Ross. However, there really wasn’t a connection for me. I dropped art for a while, because I couldn’t see where it was going. Just recently, I picked it back up again, and again, painting landscapes, and started with a few portraits. I wasn’t quite impressed with myself. Then I started on cats. I thought to myself, “hmmm, I’m on to something..” However, I still hadn’t fully connected with my art yet. It was when I did a mash up of my creative mind and the cat that sparks flew and it became an instant passion that I romantically pursued with all of my heart. My emotions flowed onto the canvas, I was able to create the feelings I had in full color. And, having a total blast doing it. I felt I had reached a new level of enlightenment in my paintings, one that took me to a higher level of consciousness. On my home page of aprilsalleycatart.com you can see several examples of where my imagination greets the animal in the painting and kisses it into reality. Sometimes, the eyes will stare deep into your soul and say, “I’m taking a lick of this rainbow ice cream, whatcha gonna do about it?” such as in my painting “unbiased panther”. The point of painting animals is the animals are the key to my imagination. They unlock the door of my emotions and artitual soul. As artists, we all need to find our key, the one that unlocks our full potential as artists. I was lucky. I didn’t have to search long to find my key, but I do know some artists that haven’t quite found their key yet. What’s your key that unlocks your full potential?

Surreal art

September 8th, 2020

Surreal art


So what is surreal art? Surrealism started in Europe after world war I and was highly influenced by Dada which was an art movement that consisted of a broad range of art, including sculptures and poetry. When people view a piece of surreal art, they may find it odd, unreal, twisted, sometimes humorous, like a dream that puts Alice in wonderland on a new level of oddity.So what sparked my adventure in surrealism? Well, I’m quite familiar with the term “weird.” I fancy being weird. It makes life fun, adventurous, and colorful. I don’t think my brain is quite normal, which definitely comes through in my art pieces such as “genetically mutated disaster” or “bongo jim”. It may come as a surprise to you, but I was completely sober when I did those paintings. The problem (or gift) is, I see things everywhere that don’t really exist that most people miss on a daily basis. No, I am not hallucinating. My creative side takes over and I am able to visualize things that other people can’t fathom until I have put it on canvas and then they go, “ohhh so that’s what you mean.” I am used to this reaction. I tell people my idea and they just look at me like I have three heads and a dragon fart coming out of my mouth. Then I tell them, never mind, I’ll show you when I am done. I think experienced artists have an open mind and can visualize just about anything. I have a few artist friends that I can wonderfully connect with on a artitual level. They get me. I tell them my idea, and they look up for a minute and say, “yap, yap, I see it.” So spread your wings and fly through the pages of aprisalleycatart.com and see what connects you to surrealism. When looking at any surreal art, you have to give it time. It usually takes about five minutes for it to speak to you. The more you look at it, the more you fall in love with it. It’s the beauty of surrealism.

Heart and Soul of an Artist

July 12th, 2020

Heart and Soul of an Artist

The paintbrush is an extension of our thoughts and feelings. As artists, we express ourselves with a flick of a wrist, a sigh and a stroke, a thoughtful movement with our fingers. It is an outlet for emotions, what we feel, how we see, portrayed on a blank white surface.

There are many ways to express what is happening inside of us. However, when true expression and thought comes out as music, art, creative hobbies or even cooking, we create an end result that can be beautiful or possibly quite disastrous. It is important for artists to enjoy the moments we are creating. To trust the process. To allow our thoughts and feelings to flow through our fingertips. We need to embrace who we are that defines our style. Allow the colors to shine as what we perceive. Allow the shadows that haunt us to be present in our paintings. We can release our fear, our happiness, our love and our anger out on to our canvases.

Painting, writing music, creating fantastic things can be healing. It allows us to feel and observe what needs to be healed. Dive into our feelings and swim with our brush, microphone, our tools of creativity. Embrace your creative side and cradle the ability to evolve and grow through art. Enhance what you already know by defining who you are. Allow the freedom of your soul to be unleashed and flow where it is needed.

The rest of us will stand back and appreciate the abstract world of your inner being as you allow yourself to be vulnerable and exposed, available for all of us to enjoy. There are no "bad" artists. We can not judge an artist that is expressing their soul. There are only "new" and "old" and "unique" artists. Let your spirit be your guide into the world of art, walk down the old path traveled by many, picking up pieces of yourself until you arrive at your personal masterpiece. The road will never end, but there will be many masterpieces along the way. Enjoy the journey.