ARTICLES

The Progressive Focus Method For Painting a Portrait In Oils

By William F. Martin For years I struggled, attempting to paint a portrait that displayed a relatively accurate likeness of ...
Read More

Save Every Last Drop of Canada Balsam

The well known and highly regarded artist Bill Martin has a great idea about how to save your Canada Balsam ...
Read More

COMING FULL CIRCLE FOR ARTISTS

Globally we are coming full circle, returning to biobased materials. In fact, many early artist materials were based on natural ...
Read More

The Self Destructing Painting

Recently, while visiting an upscale gallery to look for new art, I came across a painting that I enjoyed very ...
Read More

The Mystery of Sfumato

Much of today's art places stress on bright colors and strong sharp lines. In a gallery the "high contrast" look ...
Read More

Unusual Textured Gesso Effects

Many people use Masonite or birch boards rather than canvas for painting supports. Usually, artists use boards because they desire ...
Read More

The Color of a Culture

Can a culture develop an identity around certain colors? In the case of Indian Yellow, it appears to be the ...
Read More

Green Acrylics?

Acrylic paints often contain small percentages of formaldehyde or ammonia as preservatives. These can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, ...
Read More

Our Monitors are Fooling Us

Most of us have replaced our CRT computer monitors with LCD monitors, creating a significant problem for artists. LCD monitors ...
Read More

PHOTO EXPOSURE PROBLEMS – A SOLUTION FOR ARTISTS

Recently someone asked about problems with underexposed images on a camera. Sometimes if you are at a gallery reception, messing ...
Read More

A BETTER MAULSTICK

Painters often use a maulstick to steady their hand when working on details. The Dutch word "maalstok" means "painter's stick" ...
Read More

FIREWORKS IN THE STUDIO – DRY PIGMENTS

Iron oxide is possibly the single most common pigment used in oil and acrylic paints. Powdered aluminum is used in ...
Read More

KEEP IT SIMPLE

According to the Chemical Abstract Service, there are now over 50 million chemicals listed in their catalogues. New chemicals are ...
Read More

COLOR UNDER-DRAWING

An artist friend in California sent an email with this idea. Historically, charcoal and pencils have commonly been used for ...
Read More

Should the Hazardous Art Materials Law be Repealed?

Recently the Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety (ACTS) people in New York called for the repeal of the labeling of ...
Read More

OIL OF SPIKE LAVENDER AND “VENICE OF THE NORTH”

Bruges, in the Flemish region of Belgium, is sometimes called the "Venice of the North". During the 1400s, it was ...
Read More

BEYOND CADMIUM TO MORE COLORS!

At one point, cadmium red was thought to be a safer alternative to vermilion (cinnabar). Because of the mercury in ...
Read More

HOW TO DESTROY A GOOD BRUSH!

The secret is near the metal ferrule.  If paint gets packed up too close to the ferrule, it is almost ...
Read More

ARTIST DESCRIBES USE OF SPIKE LAVENDER

It is always interesting to hear about the different ways artists use Oil of Spike Lavender.  This is a description ...
Read More

PAINTERS WHO PREPARE THEIR OWN MATERIALS

"The painter who prepares his own materials knows them in a very different way from one who buys them ready ...
Read More

NOT ALL PIGMENTS COST THE SAME!

Recently a promotion for artist's oil paints was mailed to thousands of artists across the country. The extra large size ...
Read More

WHO GAVE COLORS THEIR NAMES?

In the mid-19th century, King Ludwig I of Bavaria longed to have something like the fine lime frescoes he saw ...
Read More

THE FINE ART OF MESS MAKING

The image of a messy workbench often comes to mind when people think of an artist's working space.  Perhaps the ...
Read More

HAS WHITE BEEN USED TOO MUCH BY ARTISTS?

"The tendency to put in more and more white is so usual that it would be well to restrict the ...
Read More

NANOTECHNOLOGY AND ART – SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT IT?

Recently, a highly regarded art supplies manufacturer closed up shop and sold everything to a much larger company, agreeing to ...
Read More

THE SECRET OF THE OLD MASTERS!

Artists sometimes are fascinated by the search for a "Secret" that makes old master paintings last so long and look ...
Read More

THROUGH THE ARTIST LOOKING GLASS

Working on a creative project up close, hour after hour, can make it difficult to get a fresh sense of ...
Read More

HUFFINGTON POST ART PAGE – FEATURED ARTICLE

It is common for an art student to show up for the first day of painting class and discover that ...
Read More

NO MORE LOCKED PAINT TUBE CAPS

This idea was sent to us by a painter who solved a problem.  The problem is that the caps on ...
Read More

THE MAGIC FLY AND THE NEW ART

According to legend, Giotto was the ugliest artist in town, but he was also the greatest illusionist.  As a boy, ...
Read More

HOW TO STORE ARTIST’S PAINT TUBES

When tubes of artist's oil paints are displayed for sale, they are usually hanging down in a rack, with their ...
Read More

THE ANCIENT COLOR FROM A FISH

The Greeks observed that the common cuttlefish emitted a brownish-black pigment when attacked.  They discovered that pigment could be made ...
Read More

White Paint: The Problem With Nano-Particles

Historically, lead-based white was the pigment used in art, for hundreds of years.  But of course, lead is toxic and ...
Read More

PAINTING KNIVES IN HISTORY

Painting knives are certainly great tools for contemporary artists using impasto techniques.  Some form of the painting knife has  been ...
Read More

WORKS OF ART ARE NOT FROZEN IN TIME!

This idea of interaction with art is in contrast to the idea we sometimes have that great works of art ...
Read More

WHICH CANVAS IS BEST FOR ARTISTS?

Artists have been aware for some time that there are problems with the canvas materials normally used to support paintings ...
Read More

ART AND ANXIETY

ART AND ANXIETY - "Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to ...
Read More

Van Gogh’s Problems with Cadmium Yellow

The yellows in one of Van Gogh's paintings, "Flowers in a Blue Vase", have been turning orange-grey.  This is not ...
Read More

Artists – Are They Workers or Entrepreneurs?

In the 1930s, over 15,000 artists were commissioned by the federal government to create art for public places, including libraries, ...
Read More

Plein Air Artist Inventions

During the 1800s, Plein Air painters were scattered throughout the country, from far west to the North Pole.  Landscape painting ...
Read More

Art, the Amazon Effect, and Fast Clothing

It used to be called the Wal-Mart effect, where large-scale merchandising techniques and international manufacturing made consumer goods so much ...
Read More

Artist Charcoal and the “Withies”

Not all art materials come from large manufacturers.  The Coate family in Somerset, England makes willow baskets and artist willow ...
Read More

What’s Next for Artist Paint Tubes?

In 1841, the American artist John Goffe Rand invented collapsible metal tubes for preserving oil paints. These tubes made it ...
Read More

THE CRAZY IDEA OF NON-TOXIC PIGMENTS

Recently, some folks have been marketing raw pigments for making "non-toxic" paints at home. This is the oldest mistake in ...
Read More

BRING BACK SALON-STYLE ART GALLERIES!

Most Americans are used to visiting museums and galleries where there is one work of art hung in each horizontal ...
Read More

The Bio-based Revolution and Art Materials

According to the University of Minnesota a bio-based revolution is underway, and it is fundamentally changing how the world produces ...
Read More

Extreme Plein Air

In 1924, Nicholas Roerich set out on a five-year expedition loaded with all his painting supplies, travelling to Tibet, Sikkim, ...
Read More

REVOLUTION IN ART MATERIALS

Globally, many people are working to replace petrochemicals with biobased alternatives.  The art materials introduced in the coming years will ...
Read More

TRANSLUCENT PAINTING – AUREOLA

Around 1122 A.D.,  an author known as Theophilus wrote a manuscript called On Divers Arts, where he described the technique ...
Read More

THE DESTRUCTION OF GANDHARAN ART

The art from at least nineteen archaeological sites including four Buddhist monasteries, several Buddhist reliquary towers known as stupas, and ...
Read More

REALIST ART OR ABSTRACT SPIRITUALITY?

There is a long established connection between abstract art and spirituality, highlighted by Vassily Kandinsky's well-known book, Concerning the Spiritual ...
Read More

WHEN MY BLUE MOON TURNS TO GOLD

There is an old song from the 1940s titled When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, sung by Merle ...
Read More

BIOMASS – WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The main point about biomass is that it comes from the waste left behind when plants are processed for food ...
Read More

ARTIST SOCIAL MEDIA IDEA!

If you have a page promoting your art on facebook, you probably know facebook will promote it for you, if ...
Read More

FEATURED ARTIST: CAROLE COLLINS CHALMERS

As Carole's web site says, "Carole Chalmers is an imaginative painter who is driven by an incredible passion for self-expression ...
Read More

SPIKE LAVENDER OIL AND THE ANCIENTS

Oil of Spike Lavender has been known and used since ancient times, along with several other species of lavender. The ...
Read More

COLOR FROM A WORLD WITHOUT SUN

Almost as valuable and expensive as gold, vermilion was the unique red pigment demanded by the rich and powerful throughout ...
Read More

A TALE OF THREE OILS

Once upon a time, artists who worked closely with their materials knew that oils must be purified before they could ...
Read More

EXUDRA & THE COLOR-TECHNIQUE FOR EYES

In the 12th century, there was a commonly used color called exudra, which was a mixture of black and red ...
Read More

SARGENT PAINTED THIS WITH TURPS – NO WAY!

There are accounts of John Singer Sargent being free in his use of turpentine, but there is no way his ...
Read More

WATER WASHING ARTIST OILS

It is easy to take for granted the oils we use in painting. Most of us probably assume that linseed, ...
Read More

WHAT ABOUT THE BALSAMS?

Balsam is another word for the sap that comes from trees, mostly conifers. Balsams have been used in art throughout ...
Read More

NATURAL VS. “NATURE-IDENTICAL” SPIKE LAVENDER

A synthesized “nature-identical” Oil of Spike Lavender has recently been made commercially available in the United States. This oil is ...
Read More

MAKE YOUR OWN “SECRET” WET-ON-WET MEDIUM

Wet on Wet, or alla prima (“first attempt”) painting has become increasingly popular, with plein air (“in the open air”) ...
Read More

NEW! ORGANIC BRUSH SOAP

We finally released the brush soap everyone has been asking for. This new Organic Brush Soap is made from organic ...
Read More

PAINTING WITH SPIKE LAVENDER – MARK PATNODE’S RECIPE

When Mark was young, he would come home from school to find his mother working on a painting in one ...
Read More

FAT OVER LEAN – SHOULD I WORRY?

This article deals with a question about "fat over lean" that is often asked by artists who have seen the ...
Read More

SPIKE LAVENDER: A SOLVENT-THINNER OR AN OIL-MEDIUM?

Recently, several people have asked this question! Turpentine, acetone, and mineral spirits are often called "solvents". You can't paint with ...
Read More

The Artist, the Monk, and the Color Beyond the Sea

The teacher of Raphael was a highly regarded artist named Perugino. Perugino was one of the first Italian artists to ...
Read More

HOW TO STORE A GIANT PAINTING

Many artists have collections of their own work, stored for the future. But, what happens when the art measures 14' ...
Read More

FEATURED ARTIST: KIMBERLY BROOKS

Punk History - Oil on Linen Kimberly Brooks is an amazing contemporary artist whose work has been showcased in the ...
Read More

SOLVENT EXPOSURE LEVELS FOR ARTISTS

Artists are becoming increasingly aware of health issues related to solvent exposure in the studio. Many art schools are now ...
Read More

THE LONG AND SHORT OF ARTIST GRADE PAINTS

For thousands of years, people have made pigments from materials found in the earth: minerals, metals, biological and organic substances ...
Read More

TESTING BRUSHES IN BIOBASED ARTIST THINNER

Artist brush makers have recently introduced synthetic mongoose brushes to the market. The synthetic hair in the brushes comes from ...
Read More

KATHRYN NOSKA PAINTINGS

My motto, “Take Time to Find the Unseen” is realized through Symbolism, the language of my art.  I explore the ...
Read More

SPIKE LAVENDER AND VAN EYCK – THE RECIPE

"The mixture used by Van Eyck was light and fluid and dried easily. The colors were ground in linseed oil ...
Read More

A CASE AGAINST ODORLESS MINERAL SPIRITS

This is a guest article written by Peter Campbell, the highly regarded artist, workshop presenter, and video producer whose work ...
Read More

The Best Secret of the Masters

Currently there is a revival of interest in the techniques of historic master painters. Artists sometimes are fascinated by the ...
Read More

18 YEARS OF SPIKE LAVENDER – PAINTINGS BY ALEX KOLESZAR

Alexander Koleszar just finished a stunning exhibition called "Chiaroscuro of the Butterfly" at the Archangel Gallery in Palm Springs. You ...
Read More

Using Natural Oil Mediums with Water-Soluble Paints

Sometimes artists purchase water-soluble oil paints in hopes of replacing turpentine, OMS, or other harsh solvents, with water. While this ...
Read More

PAINTING CLOUDS WITH BALSAM SPIKE VARNISH

Jack Tenney is an artist that contacted us about his work with landscapes - particularly his interest in using walnut ...
Read More

FLYING WITH ART MATERIALS

At The Art Treehouse, one very common question asked by artists concerns the shipping of art materials by air, or ...
Read More

WALNUT OIL IN PAINTING

Today, oil paint is often made with linseed oil. Linseed oil dries relatively fast, creates a good film, and has ...
Read More

THE BRIGHT FUTURE OF ARTIST PAINTS

In recent years issues of toxicity and the environment have been at the forefront of concerns for artists who wish ...
Read More

CREATING ART WITH MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY

I am an artist with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS, a physical reaction to even the smallest amount of a variety ...
Read More

QUALITIES OF A GREAT OIL PAINTING

Oil painting is a unique art form due in large part to the individual qualities of the pigments, as well ...
Read More

Ways to Use Oil of Spike Lavender

                              Direct link to Oil of Spike Lavender product page HERE. 1) Mix with Linseed Oil and tube paints for ...
Read More

IS ART ABOUT PATTERNS OR PEOPLE?

In the historical development of Western art, early Christianity was a major source of inspiration, development and preservation. However, as ...
Read More
safa-materials.jpg

SAFA QURESHI SELLS PAINTINGS

Safa Qureshi sums up her art....   “My creativity seems to come from a place deep within me. I often ...
Read More
TheGiftGiver-300.jpg

SAMUEL SHELTON DESCRIBES HIS PROCESS

Here is a remarkable new painting by the artist Samuel Shelton!  The Gift Giver is 24x30 oil on panel using ...
Read More
sunforst.png

DRYING TIME: ALKYDS & COBALT IN ART

At the Art Treehouse, we often receive questions about the drying time of paints. Some artists prefer to keep the ...
Read More
Link to What Makes a Great Artist Thinner?

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARTIST THINNER?

Here is the clickable link to the article What Makes a Great Artist Thinner? -- Because it is a printable ...
Read More
Maryanngraziano.jpg

EVERY PORTRAIT IS AN OPPORTUNITY!

The last image we posted of Mark Balma's work received a large number of inquiries about his technique. It seemed ...
Read More
traincarswithfeelings-600.jpg

ECOLOGICAL RELEVANCE

JK Thorsen has a new December show at the Connect Gallery in Omaha. JK is a full time artist with ...
Read More
Painting and Glazing Mediums

BILL MARTIN’S LAYERING & GLAZING MEDIUM

Because of the quality of his work, Bill Martin is often asked about the medium he uses in his painting ...
Read More
Pigment Settling in Biobased Thinner

RE-USING BIOBASED ARTIST THINNER

It is common for painters to have a small container of Biobased Artist Thinner near the work area so that ...
Read More
0