What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for almost twenty years now. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Some class samples...and some paint tips

from this past weekend in Scottsdale at Frenzy Stamper. Here's my Storyteller workshop sample that I was demoing in class:I love the way this book opens and it's many possibilities!

People have asked me lately some tips, tricks and hints on using acrylics. Here are some favorite tidbits:

1. I don't care what anyone else says. Go out and spend a little bit of money on some good quality acrylics. I use Nova Color (Yes, Virginia. They ship. No, I do not have anything to do with the company. I work for *me*. I use what I like and what I have found to be the best.)You can also use Golden, Lascaux, Windsor Newton, etc... You will see a huge difference in your work using a good quality paint vs. the little cheapy crap, I mean craft, paints. Those little paints you pay a $1 for are primarily binder (glue) vs pigment (color). That's one reason why people have problems with pages sticking together.

2. You only need a handful of colors. You do not need every color out there. I don't care what the paint companies push on you. You only need a few colors to make a rainbow of colors.
Here are the colors I recommend:

Nova Color-(Yellow) Azo Yellow Medium; (Red) Quinacridone Magenta; (Blue) Phthalo Blue #115; Titanium White; Carbon Black; optional but fun to work with: Burnt Sienna, Paynes Grey; Raw Titan Matte. I do like using Paynes Grey and Raw Titan Matte as opposed to black and white to give me more of a broader range of color mixes.

Golden- (Yellow) Hansa Yellow Medium; (Red) Quinacridone Magenta (for mixing a broad range of violets, purples, etc…); (Blue) Phthalo Blue; Titanium White; Carbon Black; optional but fun to work with: Burnt Sienna; Paynes Grey; Titan Buff.

3. Use Gloss or Polymer Medium about 50/50 to extend your paints. It will make your paints go farther. Do NOT use what the paint companies label Extender as that will extend your drying time. I prefer Gloss or Polymer medium (they are FLUID and *not* gel) vs. matte as the matte has a substance in it that dulls the gloss and will make your work look cloudy if applied in layers. Use a high quality paint company (like I mentioned above) and your work won't look too shiny or too dull but Goldie Locks "Just right".

4. You need ONE gel medium to glue. ONE. I don't care that "they" sell fifty million kinds. You need ONE. Got it? Good. I prefer Gloss, that's just me. Most of my students seem to like the "regular" gel medium. If you scoop out some gel medium and put it on your palette, let it sit for 30 minutes, you'll have "heavy gel medium". If you let it sit longer, you'll have extra heavy. If you let it sit even longer, toss it ;) Want to make it more fluid like? Add gloss medium to it. The companies want you to think you need it all, but you don't.

5. Use a cheap brush. Seriously. Go out and buy a bunch of chip brushes in various sizes. Get messy with them. To clean use a wee bit of dish soap, water and a rag. The brushes will last you a long time and unlike $20 to $50 brushes, you will use them.

6. A little paint goes a long way. One of my students said it best, "When you pick up your paint, you want to make it look like your brush is having a bad hair day." (Thanks Jeane for that description!) Pick up a little bit of paint at a time. You don't need a ton to paint with. Experiment with how much paint vs. how little paint you pick up. Experiment with how you hold the brush. Using too much or too 'thick' of a coating of paint is another reason pages stick together.

7. Waste not want not. When you are using paint, only take a little at a time. Take what you need. I know paint is expensive, but trust me on this one. Take out a little at a time and play, use what you need. Don't put paint back into the container (you risk contamination. Seriously. Mold. Stinks. Yuck.) You WILL know how to play and mix that same color again if you keep playing. The more you play with paint, the more you will "know" what to do.

8. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to paint and layer color. Trust me. I'm determined to figure out as many as possible. Ask my students. (same goes for collage. It's not just gluing "shit" down.)

9. You do not need to dump paint water down the drain. Ever. You do not need clean water when you paint. Here's what I do-
At home, I use a glass jar that I fill with about an 1" of water. One inch. Next to the jar, I have old rags or paper towels. I bang the bristles against the bottom of the jar getting the brush wet, I wipe off excess water on the lip of the jar and then I run the bristles over the rags that are next to the jar. I repeat as often as necessary to clean the brush. I use the same dirty, grungy water for DAYS until it *evaporates*. This will save you many trips to the bathroom. It will also save your pipes. Trust me. It works.

10. I use a barrier cream on my hands before I paint and then I put more on before I go to wash my hands. The brand I use is EZ Air Invisible Care. Again, I do not work for them nor do I have anything to do with them. I BUY it myself. I have found it to be the best (and most affordable!) on the market. My little disclaimer, some times with hand creams and lotions from certain places, I break out. I have been using this stuff for YEARS and have never had a reaction...and you guys know, I paint a lot. I swear by it. Put a little on your hands before you paint. Then before you wash up, put more on. Use some soap, water and a towel (paper or regular ol' towel) and scrub. The paint DOES come off.

11. When painting, I tend to build up the paint in layers. I leave open spots as I paint with one color. Then, I will scrub the page with a paper towel or old rag (to speed up the drying time). I'll clean my brush. Then I'll add a different layer of color. Repeat the scrubbing with a paper towel or old rag. When done painting, scrub page and put a piece of waxed paper between the pages. I've been using this techniques for years and have found that my pages do not stick (unless I pack half assed and pile heavy stuff on top of my books-which is a no no! Let your finished book sit proudly on top of your bag when you leave class.).

12. Stay away from Cadmiums, Chromiums and paints like that. You know the ones I mean. The ones with a big Orange "X" on the label. They contain heavy metals. If they get into your body, there's no way for them to get out. Also, something may be labeled non toxic, but use common sense. Don't dump paint water (see above!) in a sink where there are eating utensils. Wash your hands before you paint. When drinking and painting, use a cup with a lid. We want you to be around for a very long time, living a happy and healthy art filled life.

13. Play and have fun with it. Seriously. Acrylics are very forgiving. Don't like what you did? Let it dry and paint over it. You *can* make it work.

14. Learn the rules (yes, there are rules)...then break 'em. See what YOU can come up with and how far YOU can push the envelope.

Use up the paints that you have before you buy new ones. Paint DOES dry out. Keep it in a cool, dry place.

When learning to mix colors, start with small pin point amounts of colors. It is much easier to learn to mix small bits of color vs a ton of paint which can be overwhelming and frustrating.


&rew said...

Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing these invaluable tips and warnings on paints containing heavy metals.

amyrehnae said...

thanks so much for this!! Cool, I learned several new things today!! Now, when are coming to Texas to teach a class? I am in love with the descriptions of the ones you are doing! I have sooooo much to learn!

Vittoria Bella said...

These are great tips, and I use them all the time -- your classes and your tips have changed the way I approach my art making! Thanks so much for reminding us of these important things. You're great!

Nona Parry said...

Me too what Cindy said! These are Totally Terrific Tips ;-)

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge-from-experience!

Nona, in New Zealand

Jeane Frizzell said...

Pure genius! We HEART Kelly!

freebird said...

Enjoyed your list of tips. I'd love to take one of your classes just to see how you do your painting and clean up. However I live in an area too far from anyplace you'd ever be. Ever think of making a DVD?

Kelly Kilmer said...

Hi! Thanks for your kind words! I'm looking into some form of online classes...trying to figure out how to translate them (as they are very hands on) to online.

I'm also actively looking for new locations and different areas to teach in-stores, art retreats, scrapbook stores, rubber stamp stores, etc..

juliebenner said...

these are fantastic tips kelly! thank you for sharing them, us beginners are always so grateful for what seems like obvious tips :)
take care, joolz

PJ's talkin'.... said...

OK,Ok, I'm going to give the Golden tube acrylic another try. I paint fast, so that's why the Delta works for me. But I shall see if I can slow it down a tad. Thanks for sharing all the info! Especially the cleaning those dirty word brushed. Sick of washing and washing... :) PJ

Margaret said...

Hi Kelly
Thanks so much for your tips especially useful for us 'out of town' gals. Cheers Margaret

Wabbit said...

I use the pink and white scrubbie sponges to get stubborn paint off my fingers and nails. Especially necessary when I haven't put enough Invisi-Care on my hands before painting or I've forgotten altogether. The scrubbie thing doesn't hurt and it gets the dried paint off fast.

Great list, Kelly. Thanks for putting it down in so many words for us.

Tricia said...

wonderful tips! thank you so much!!!!

nelda ream said...

I just found your blog and love it. Thanks for these wonderful tips on using acrylic paints, and for the health warnings.

Lou McCulloch said...

Thanks Kelly- you are a wonderful source of information and inspiration! Lou McCulloch

Sherry Goodloe said...

I took a few classes with you several years ago, and learned how to *free* myself when painting and collaging.

The tips you have given here are GREAT Kelly. Thank you for sharing!

Carmen said...

Great info Kelly! Thank you!

Elizabeth Golden said...

This was some great advice on paints, I think people are just scared to try things or they think if they buy everything then they can do it all. When I started painting I was only allowed three paints - yellow, red, and a blue. My teacher would come around with a white and maybe she would give you a raisin size dollup of white. We mixed our own colors - not till I was way into high school did I realize you could buy different color paint. I still mix my own colors.

Marrianna said...

Kelly - I posted photos on my blog from Frenzy Stamper:
www.reddancerstudio.typepad.com. I enjoyed learning your techniques and have even started practicing/playing. Thanks so much. See you in Scottsdale sometime soon. Marrianna

Dawn said...

Your tips are invaluable, just by spending time reading your blog I have learnt so much THANK YOU

Leslie said...

I follow a LOT of art blogs, but yours is far and away the best for handing out information I can actually USE. There's so much stuff at the art stores that I was overwhelmed at first, but now I come poke around your blog before I make any purchases. It's saved me money and irritation. Thanks!
PS can you somehow make me a better painter?? LOL

Kelly Kilmer said...

Thank you, Leslie, for the kind words.

As far as becoming a better painter, you know what they say-practice and time! :)