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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

Lesson 4

1. What is the difference between oils, alkyds and acrylics? American Artist Magazine (Nov. 91) gives the following discussion: In oils the dry color is mixed with linseed oil. The linseed oil dries by combining with oxygen to form a new molecule. This oxidation process may takes up to a few weeks to dry to the touch and generally takes many years to dry thoroughly enough for the final transparency of the color to be observed. Alkyds combine some substances with oil used as the mixing vehicle for the dry color to speed up the drying time. They dry faster than oils and form durable paint films which have similar qualities to the oils. They are more subject to cracking than acrylics. They combine the easy manipulative qualities of oil with the fast-drying qualities of acrylics. Acrylics use an 'emulsifier' that lets water be mixed freely with the 'sticky' polymers. With acrylics, the water evaporates and the acrylic molecules form bonds. When used properly, acrylics do not crack. However, they haven't yet been tested over a long period of time. A lot of information has been collected over the years about what works and doesn't work with oil paints. Acrylics and alkyds are so new that no one can yet say how they'll stand up after several hundred years.

2. Word for the week:

AESTHETIC: Pertaining to the beautiful, refined, tasteful and artistic - North Light Dictionary of Art Terms

AESTHETICS: Also, esthetics. [<German Aesthetik >New Latin aesthetica >Greek aisthetikos sensitive > aisthanesthai perceive]

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

Exercise: values and grounds.

Sketch in white and black conte crayon on medium ground charcoal paper.As homework, Try starting a painting or drawing on a medium toned ground. You can start with a medium gray paper and use black and white chalks, or you can tone a canvas to a medium gray to start and then work to lights and darks. (Note: sometimes it is useful to work on a gray or medium toned undercoat rather than white. Starting with white as your base color will give you the tendency, early on in a painting, to evaluate all colors and values of the developing drawing against the white of the ground.)

Alternate: (if assigned by instructor)

Students beginning to work with color will learn color mixing better through use of a limited palette.

Thie is a demo of a colorwheel using only three colors and white. I recommend the following:

  • Cadmium Yellow Medium (or light)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • and, of course, white -- to make tints.

These come close to the three primary hues on the color wheel. With these three colors and white, make a beginning color wheel: Put the three colors at three equal points around the wheel. Then mix equal parts of these three colors and put each resulting secondary color midway between the primary colors. The example to the right doesn't fully duplicate this, but the general idea is shown.

Last updated: March 1, 2004