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 ARTtalk  Each month you’ll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as artists and art history, current events and art world news, schools, competitions and workshops, and a Kids?Korner. Subjects vary each month. art supplies, airbrushing, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, matting and framing, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques—how to work and paint with artist's watercolor on paper, oils or acrylics on artist canvas; how to use pastels, pencils or  pen and ink; how to work with different surfaces grounds; how to paint with the airbrush and compatible materials; the use of projectors and light boxes in your work and more. You’ll also find artists information on magazines, art books. (Established 1990)

ARTtalk Cybercopy - posted August 1, 2014
(ARTtalk’s latest cybercopy is posted on the 1st of every month.)



Brooklyn-Based Artist Swoon's Immersive Installation at Brooklyn Museum closes August 24th 
Swoon: Submerged Motherlands, Brooklyn Museum Photograph.
Swoon: Submerged Motherlands closes, Sunday, August 24. The installation centers on an approximately 60-foot tall monumental sculptural tree, which rises into the rotunda's dome, with a constructed environment at its base. Featuring Swoon's signature figurative prints and drawings, and cut-paper foliage, the installation also includes the rafts that Swoon created and sailed on the Grand Canal uninvited during the 2009 Venice Biennale. In this performance project, Swimming Cities of Serenissima, Swoon and a crew of thirty sailed from Slovenia to Venice on rafts made primarily of New York City garbage, collecting scrapped material in Slovenia, and artifacts and curiosities along their journey.
For up to date information from the Public Information office follow @BklynMuseumNews.

Media Contacts:

Emily Liebowitz (718)501-6354,




?b>Partnership Announced ?eBay and Sotheby’s have announced a partnership that will unite the global leader in online shopping with the iconic international art business and auctioneer.  Together they are developing an innovative online platform that makes it easier for millions of people worldwide to discover, browse and acquire exceptional works of art, antiques and collectibles.

?/span>New Chair Named ?Elizabeth A. Sackler has been elected Chair of the Brooklyn Museum.  The first woman in the nearly 200-year history of the Museum to serve in this position, she succeeds retiring chair John S. Tamagni.  Sackler is the founder of the Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

?/span>Winners Announced ?The 2014 Dutchess County (NY) Executive’s Arts Award winners have been announced and will be honored on Oct. 9.   See

—Important Gift Received—The Morgan Library & Museum has announced that it has received a major gift from the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), including 21 sketchbooks by the renowned artist, two of his early drawings and several original drawings by artists who were part of his circle.  The works were given by Lichtenstein’s wife, Dorothy, in memory of her husband.

—Certificate of Excellence Awarded ?Recognized as a top performing attraction, as reviewed by travelers on the world’s largest travel site, The Corning Museum of Glass (NY) has received a TripAdvisor?/span> Certificate of Excellence award for the fourth year in a row.  The accolade is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Currently at the Museum through Jan. 4, the exhibition Ren?Lalique:  Enchanted by Glass brings together glass, jewelry, production molds and design drawings dating from 1893?945.

?/span>Video Portrait Announced ?The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, has announced a new video portrait of jazz musician Esperanza Spalding.  The work, commissioned for the museum from 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition winner Bo Gehring, of Beacon, NY, is now showcased on the Portrait Gallery’s YouTube page and will be on exhibit at the museum in May 2015.  See at

?/span>NEA News—President Obama has presented the 2013 National Medals of Arts, the highest award given to artists and patrons of the arts by the U. S. government.  Included among the 12 honorees are patron of the arts Joan Harris and visual artist James Turrell. ?/b> And the 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellowships, the nation’s highest honors in the folk and traditional arts, have been announced.  Among the nine recipients recognized for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations are Henry Arquette, a Mohawk basketmaker;  Yvonne Walker Keshick, an Odawa quill worker; Carolyn Mazloomi, a quilting community advocate; and Vera Nakonechny, a Ukrainian embroiderer and bead worker.  They will be  honored in September with an awards ceremony and a concert.?/b> The NEA will award 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.07 million to organizations in 38 states, investing in local efforts to leverage arts assets to drive community development.    Since 2011, 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million have been awarded in all 50 states and the D.C.



 Art Everywhere


People throughout the U.S. have voted for the works of American art they most want to see installed in Art Everywhere US, the initiative that will transform bill- boards, bus shelters, subway platforms, airport dioramas, movie theaters and more into a free, open-air art gallery.  As many as 50,000 displays, both static and digital, will be installed among all 50 states.  Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks topped the list of 58 selected artworks on display from Aug. 4?1.  Also among the winners was Jasper Francis Cropsey’s Autumn on the Hudson.



—In the Garden of Sonic Delights is a major exhibition of sound art woven into the fabric of Westchester County, NY.  Centered at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the exhibition spans six of the region’s most dynamic cultural institutions and features 15 commissioned, site-specific artworks by some of the world’s most sought-after sound artists.  Thru Nov. 2.

—The World is an Apple:  The Still Lifes of Paul

Cézanne at The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia,

includes a select gathering of 21 paintings with themes ranging from apples and flowers to skulls, reappraising

Cézanne’s monumental achievement in the genre.  Thru Sept. 22. 

—Jeff Koons:  A Retrospective, The Whitney (NYC), is the artist’s first major museum presentation in NY and the first to fill nearly the entirety of the Marcel Breuer building with a single artist’s work.  This is also the only U.S. venue for the retrospective, featuring 150 objects from 1978 to the present. Thru Oct. 19.  Also, see Koons?Split Rocker, a 37-foot-high form featuring over 50,000 flowering plants at Rockefeller Center, NYC.  Thru Sept. 12.



?/span>Multiplicities:  New Directions in Fiber, 9th Annual Open Juried Exhibit, IMAGO Foundation for the Arts, Warren, RI, Oct. 17—Nov. 8.  Artists 18 and over may submit work created using or referencing any fiber techniques and vocabularies, in any material.  Techniques considered are traditional as well as innovative, and materials may include cloth, thread, paper, metal, glass, wood, clay, plastic, etc.  Cash awards.  Deadline:  August 31.>

?86th Grand National Exhibit, The American Artists Professional League, Salmagundi Club, NYC, Nov. 10-21.  Open to all artists 18 or older; only works in representational or traditional realism will be considered.  Original oil, acrylic, watermedia, mixed media, pastel, graphics and sculpture.  Awards.  Deadline:  Sept. 6.

?/span>Craft Forms 2014, 20th Anniversary International Juried Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA, Dec. 5—Jan. 30, 2015.  Open to all professional artists working in clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood and/or mixed media crafts.  Work must be innovative and original in design.  Awards.  Deadline:  Sept. 12.

?/span>Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant, National Sculpture Society.  This memorial grant is an unrestricted prize of $5,000 for a sculptor specializing in animal sculpture who has demonstrated a commitment to sculpting and outstanding ability in his or her body of work.  Applicants must be citizens/residents of the U.S.  Deadline:  Oct. 1.


?/span>MAD. SQ. 200, a free event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the naming of Madison Square (NYC), will be held Sept. 6 from 3-9 p.m.  The event will feature a historically themed fair and contemporary art party in Madison Square Park.  Also see Rachel Feinstein’s Folly, a large-scale sculptural installation of three architectural follies, thru Sept. 7.

?/span>Tenth Annual Windows on Main Street, Beacon, NY—Aug. 9—Sept. 13.  35 local artists have been challenged to create a unique piece of art inspired by and installed in a business storefront window along Main St., competing for juried awards and prizes.  beacon 






Working with Clay

Working in clay is one of the most interesting and expressive things an artist can do. There is a universal feeling of making "something" from what appears to be "nothing," and it is great to have successes with that type of creative process. Clay is, however, far from "nothing." It is a very precise combination of materials that when joined together with moisture is a wonderfully plastic and malleable material.

Clay formulas vary greatly in the degree of smoothness or texture they possess. Porcelain, for instance, has nearly no grit within the formula, so the surface will be smooth and sleek for glazes. It is also fired to the highest temperatures to achieve vitrification. Porcelain clay is usually a very light color of gray or pure white once fired.

Earthenware clay is the other extreme. It is more porous, has much more texture and glazes are less fluid on the earthenware surface. Colors range from tans and yellows to rich browns and reds. It is easier to manipulate than porcelain but not as smooth or "polished" in appearance.

Between these two extremes is stoneware clay, the most popular. The composition of stoneware offers a more rigid and stronger base than that of earthenware but not as "tight" a surface as porcelain.

All three clays can be shaped/formed in the same way - hand built, slip cast or thrown on the potter's wheel. In liquid form (slip), all can be cast into molds for rapid and exact duplication of shapes and forms. Of all choices of manipulation, hand building is the method used most by potters who want to offer creative and expressive forms for sale. Throwing on the potter's wheel is fun and is a skill that can be worthwhile to learn. For the creation of large forms the potter's wheel is very valuable. However, most potters agree that once the mechanics of throwing are learned, it is far less rewarding than the ability to create one-off items with hand building.

As in clay bodies, glaze formulas are a very precise measurement of components. Some of the elements in a glaze help hold it on the clay body. Some make glazes flow and intermix with the colorants. Some of the colorants can react with the other components to create an ever-changing array of glaze "activity." Potters want to have a regiment of glazes that they can depend on and that will perform well and as expected. That final step is vital to the success of any clay artisan.

Methods of glaze application are as varied as there are potters. The order in which multiple glazes are applied can affect the result in new and unexpected ways. That is not a bad thing. New can be good. Some colorants react to a minor change in glaze composition to give a huge range of colors with a very slight change in formula. For those who are less interested in experimentation or study, there are hundreds of very controlled and beautiful glazes where all that is required is to open a jar and apply the glaze. Easy can be good, too!

One can brush on glazes, singly or in layers. Designs can be painted over a base glaze to create a completely new look. Dipping is a choice of many clay artisans because in one dunk you cover the entire surface. The base of a piece of pottery must be clear of glaze or it will stick to the kiln shelf. If you dunk, you either have to put on a wax-type resist to avoid the glaze coating or wash off the base. Airbrushing glazes is a very fast application method, and if applied one over another, you can create totally unique colors and textures. Even in the method of application, there are dozens of choices, so change can be a vital part of the learning process with clay and glazes.

Carving through glazes to create designs that will show the original color of the clay is also popular. Any tool can be used that will render an area large enough to detect once the glaze is fired. Runny glazes are obviously not a good choice if you want your carving to show.

Two methods of firing clay are practical for most potters:  electric or gas firing. Electric is easiest but is a bit limiting because of the oxygen-rich environment. Gas firing uses this lack of oxygen to create red glazes with copper based glazes but also fires any glaze well. Gas draws oxygen from the clay body, through the glaze and transforms copper from green to red. Pretty amazing, but if reds are your passion you can get them with electric firing by purchasing ready-made glazes in red. Occasionally you will find an artist who does wood firing. That is a wild and interesting way to fire clay but not very practical for the average potter. The kilns are huge and massive amounts of wood are needed.

This article barely scratches (carves!) the surface of clays and glazes, but once an artisan becomes interested in the practices, designing and—dare we say—chemistry of pottery, it is one of the most engaging and creative ways to express one's artistic abilities. If you get an opportunity to try any part of the clay experience - take it!  Visit for all your material/equipment needs from clay to kilns.


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    Artist Profile

    Pablo Ruiz Picasso 1881 - 1972

    There is much that could be written about Pablo Picasso, arguably the greatest artist of the 20th century. The enormous volume of work he completed stands without question as legend. His influence on several generations of artists and his recognition as the founder of many art periods, most famously that of cubism, attests to his immersion in creativity. For 80 years of the 91 he lived, he devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed to development of modern art of the 20th century. And, all the while, Picasso was a man who loved women. During his life he had affairs, lived with or married over six women and fathered four children. He abhorred being alone when he was not working.

    Aside from the tumultuous personal life, Picasso was devoted to his art. During his early years he abandoned most of the classical training given him by his father and first instructor for his own interpretation of the world around him. Five “periods?are recognized as brought to life by Picasso.

    Most have heard of his Blue Period that lasted from 1901 to 1904 in which somber, blue tinted paintings prevailed. These were influenced by the loss of a friend. Images of this period include depictions of acrobats, prostitutes, beggars and artists.

    His Rose Period (1905 to 1907) brought out paintings with overall tones of orange and pink, many involving images of harlequins. During this period he was seriously romantically involved and the warmth of the relationship is seen in his palette of colors.

    Soon after the Rose Period came an African Period (1907 to 1909) that was influenced by artifacts from his personal collection. Many paintings of this period repeat the use of two figures.

    Cubism, the style for which Picasso is most famous, came into being when he and his friend and painter Braque challenged each other to dissect and “analyze?objects, then paint them in terms of their shapes. Color played a large part in this period of work ?monochromatic browns and shadow tones prevailed as a common thread. Each artist developed the style in his own way and each had strong similarities.

    His Cubist Period ran from 1909 to 1919, and included the use of collage as a fine art form. Heretofore, no artist had used collage and cut paper to convey images. Imagine art without collage?

    Picasso had many artist friends and some rivals. Matisse was one of the “gentle?rivalries experienced in Picasso’s lifetime. Both were strong, talented and seemed to challenge one another. A recent collection of works by both artists reveals they had a lot in common, although their styles were personal and not derivative. The bold, outlined and highly decorative nature of both artists?works is without question.

    Historically, a lot happened during the 90+ years Picasso lived, but he remained detached from any personal commitment. He was a proclaimed pacifist, refusing to fight for any side in the Spanish American War, World War I or World War II. If was thought by many of his contemporaries that his dislike of war and his unwillingness to fight was less political and more cowardice. Being Spanish but living in France during these conflicts, he escaped involvement and thus proclaimed and solidified his pacifistic standing. He did, however, remain a member of the Communist Party until his death.

    At the time of his death, Picasso had enjoyed wide acceptance as the greatest artist of his time. Many of his works were recognized within his lifetime. Some include The Old Guitarist from Picasso’s Blue Period, on display at the Museum of Modern Art; Las Meninas Series, on display at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain; and Guernica, in Madrid, Spain.

    “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.? Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.?- Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Last words: “Drink to me.?/td>

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    Painting on a Grand Scale

    When artists gravitate towards large scale works, they face some interesting challenges along with the actual creative process. How art is created ?on a grand scale ?is different from small artworks. Every aspect of the act of mural painting and other large scale artwork has considerations that make it fun and stimulating - well worth those deliberations.

    From the very ground onto which the artist places sketch lines, brushes of paint and blended colors, large scale nudges the artist into new realms of production. In order to paint large scale, the preferred ground ?canvas of some sort ?must be acquired in an appropriate size. The content of the canvas and its weight are both vital considerations when the painted surface is gigantic.

    Widths/lengths and fiber content of canvas-type grounds vary greatly, but there are sizes as large as 12 feet wide. More commonly, large scale works are completed on canvas of 60? 72? or 84?widths. Roll length purchases are necessary and can vary by manufacturer ?from 6 feet to 25 yards.

    But, after width and length, the fiber content may be the single most important element of the painting. As you would expect, there is cotton fiber in a variety of weights, but there is also linen, jute, cotton/linen blends polyester (all synthetic) and cotton/poly blends and all can be found primed and unprimed. The weight and texture of the canvas will have an important bearing on the finished artwork, and most artists match their style with the texture and surface of their ground. Choices abound!

    Rather than traditionally sized tubes of paint, most muralists/large scale painters use jars, tubs ?even gallons of artists?colors. Most manufacturers of paint offer a wide selection in larger quantities. Selection of textures in those containers is also sometimes available. Thicker paint means more pigment for application and working into large spaces.

    Application tools include brushes for sure, but those used are much larger in size. Consider when doing any work—if the scale were huge, you would want to use larger brushes. And, additionally, rollers (like those used for wall painting) and trowels are also used in larger scale works ?tools that would be difficult to use small scale become a necessity for bigger works. Trowels, scrapers, and tools not often associated with “painterly?applications are used by muralists and accomplish the job they want. Painting pads and hand “mops?for decorative surfacing of walls can come in very handy on larger scale artworks.

    Easels play a big part in big works. Studio easels in both wood and metal often accept works as large as 5-8 feet tall. They help hold the work at the proper level ?that at which it will be viewed ?so the artist is always aware of the scope, perspective and dynamics of his/her work. Some artists who do large scale work cover a wall with plywood and then staple or tack their canvas to that surface at the proper level for work and viewing. Easels and wall attachments ?whatever they might be ?help artists by allowing them to step back and take in the “big picture.?For large stretched canvas, wall mounted easels are great. They can accommodate works of around 100 inches in height. They are sturdy, help hold the stretched canvas firmly and adjust to all points up to around 100 inches.

    And lastly some artists employ the use of airbrush to do a lot of the design layout and fill-in on large works. Texturing with an airbrush can be accomplished by painting through screening, metal mesh, decorative pierced metal sheeting and many more items. Airbrush gives the type of color gradation almost impossible to achieve in any other way. Mists of tone-on-tone and the softness achieved is a huge asset to some muralists.

    In review, large scale artworks bring new thought processes to ponder and hurdles to overcome.  But, isn’t that what contributes to making art so enjoyable and rewarding—to accept the intellectual stimulation of such works and to succeed.



    Printmaking Techniques & Materials

     Printmaking is an enjoyable expression and is accompanied by some terms that often seem a bit difficult to understand. So, here some of the common terms and techniques will be explained. The scope of printmaking is huge and can be enjoyed by nearly any age group. Some of the materials used are found around the home, while others must be purchased from art material dealers
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    No matter the level of your involvement with printmaking, it is sure to be exciting. In some techniques, duplication of results is nearly impossible, which seems a bit contradictory to the basic term: printmaking. Let’s take, for our first example, the most direct and simple of prints…monoprints.

    A monoprint (mono meaning one) is created by applying ink or paint to a hard flat surface (plate), pressing paper against the plate and lifting the paper from the plate. The resulting print is one-of-a-kind, since ink or paint would be nearly impossible to set in the same place time after time. Simple doesn’t mean uninteresting, and this is a great technique for any artist.

    Collagraph, a very simple form of printmaking, is a print created from a plate (Masonite, mat board, chip board, etc.) that has natural and/or found objects with texture glued to it. The surface of the plate is sealed and, when dry, is inked on the textured plate, excess removed and a paper placed on top. Downward pressure (using a press or hand roller) presses the paper and ink together and the images are transferred (in reverse) to the paper. Again, the simplicity of collagraph prints makes them easy for everyone to try. Many, but not unlimited, prints can be made from a master collagraph plate.

    Wood block (woodcut) printing advances in difficulty because the artist uses special gouges and carving tools to create a dimensional image in a wood block. The high surfaces of the wood block are inked, paper is pressed against the inked areas and the resulting image is a woodblock print. Surfaces other than wood can be used; linoleum, wax, and rubber are a few that are a bit easier to carve. Early wood block designs were used for fabric embellishment and those blocks endure as collectables.

    Reduction prints are created with care by print artists who desire more color and texture in their work. Each color is printed individually on the ever-decreasing wood block. Working from back to front colorwise, the artist reduces the wood block with every color, printing that part of the plate that will reflect a specific color, and then removing more mass to print the next color. When finished, the only areas that remain on the block are those representing the very last color.

    Drypoint etching is more involved because it starts with a metal plate. The plate is scribed (scratched) by the artist to record a subject. Ink is rubbed into the slight toothy grooves created by the scribing. Paper is then put on the plate, pressed and the resulting print is pulled away from the plate. For all but the tiniest of printed images, a printing press is invaluable in the process. Strong definition and evenness is difficult with hand pressing methods. Many prints can be made from the original plate. Etching can be taken yet another step by using acid to enlarge and remove areas of the metal surface.

    Intaglio prints are made from a metal base into which designs have been created. This is often done with harsh chemicals, the metal dissolving where there are scribed or etched lines that have been made through a protective covering. Because of the chemical contact (acids), this level of printmaking is considered advanced and should be done under supervision and instruction. Many prints can be made from the original plate. Ink is rubbed into the low areas, paper is pressed to the surface and a print is created.

    Finally, following is a simple explanation of some terms associated with printmaking:

    brayer - a hard rubber roller on a handle used to transfer ink to the plate.

    plate ?a surface on which an image is formed, usually metal.

    baren - a circular padded tool used to rub against the back of paper to obtain an image from a master.

    hard ground -an acid-resistant material applied to an etching plate through which you scribe to create a design.

    mordant - an acid or other corrosive substance used to “bite?into a metal plate to create an image on that plate.

    gouge ?a V- or U-shaped tool for cutting a wood or linoleum block.



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