My Favorite Art Media: the right tools make the right art!!


 

Drawing a storm cloud, wit charcoal, over the Caribbean Sea. 2009.

I just wanted to put together a list of my favorite art media (supplies). I encourage you to post, in COMMENTS, your favorite(s) and why! (all definitions, in ITALICS,  are  from wikipedia.com)

1) GRAPHITE – The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω (graphō), “to draw/write”,  for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead (not to be confused with the metallic element lead).

Graphite is my first media love because, besides crayons, it was the first tool I started to lear my craft with WAAAAY  back as a munchkin of 3 or4. Thanks, mom & teachers! I went from the HB that eveyone knows to more sophisticated pencils specifically for visual art, a cavalcade of posibilities varying in tone & grades (H is lighter and B is darker, HB & F, yes, F! are in the middle): I prefer lighter grades, like H to 3H for ex. for preliminary work. The darker tones, like 6B for ex., for finishing. Graphite is delicate and allows for great detailing! Endless effects!

2) CHARCOAL –Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen (see pyrolysis, char and biochar). The resulting soft, brittle, lightweight, black, porous material resembles coal. Charcoal in art: Charcoal is used in art for drawing, making rough sketches in painting and is one of the possible media for making a parsemage. It must usually be preserved by the application of a fixative. Artists generally utilize charcoal in three forms:

  • Vine charcoal is created by burning sticks of wood (usually willow or linden/Tilia) into soft, medium, and hard consistencies.[citation needed]
  • Compressed charcoal charcoal powder mixed with gum binder compressed into round or square sticks. The amount of binder determines the hardness of the stick. Compressed charcoal is used in charcoal pencils.
  • Powdered charcoal is often used to “tone” or cover large sections of a drawing surface. Drawing over the toned areas will darken it further, but the artist can also lighten (or completely erase) within the toned area to create lighter tones.

Before my sophisticated (yes…I am now a charcoal sophisticate) use of this medium developed, I was clunky and it was MESSY! I did NOT like it. But as it is dark and rich, not to mention one can get some funky effects from the fact it is messy, I kept being drawn to master it. Now, I utilize it just as if it were graphite. Depending on the grade (light or dark) and the pressure I use, charcoal can result in numerous appearances: lines, value work, textures. Possibilities are awesome!

3) OIL PAINT Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried film. Oil paints have been used in Europe since the 12th century for simple decoration, but were not widely adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century.

Oil paint…what can I say? It really is a glorious medium. I have always adored it. Even in the early stages of using it when I had to try and master blending one color or value into another, avoiding the look of color-block. If one doesn’t blend correctly in ANY media (paint, graphite, etc., the result can be a blatant visual jump from one color or value to the next instead of a natural blend. HATE that! Anyhow, I am mentally AND emotionally…even spiritually…taken in by the richness of and the 3D illusion that oils can give! That house really does appear it is in the distance or his skin appears as though one can actually touch flesh. WOW. And the colors & neutrals (non-colors like white, black, brown)  just speak volumes!

4) DIGITAL ARTDigital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process. Since the 1970s, various names have been used to describe the process including computer art and multimedia art, and digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art. The impact of digital technology has transformed traditional activities such as painting, drawing and sculpture, while new forms, such as net art, digital installation art, and virtual reality, have become recognized artistic practices.  More generally the term digital artist is used to describe an artist who makes use of digital technologies in the production of art. In an expanded sense, “digital art” is a term applied to contemporary art that uses the methods of mass production or digital media.

I became very aware of digital art in college. Then I fell off of it after graduating. When I was able to get the Adobe CS4 on my laptop (Creative Suite which has programs like Photoshop, InDesign & Dreamweaver in it, CS5 is already out w/ even MORE wicked tricks & applications) I started buggin out with it! Creating graphic art (creating art through digital means) & graphic design (laying out graphics through digital means, like ads) is full of possibilities. It’s also quick (unlike traditional art) to work with, depending on the project. And even though drawing & painting are first for me & are the cornerstones of visual art, there is an endless range & array of visual effects you don’t always get w/ traditional art. It’s like magic using your computer! I have heard even the most professional digital artist say “you can never learn all of Photoshop.” It’s that complex. It’s waaaaaaaaaaay more than simply airbrushing celebrities for a magazine. You’d have to use it to understand…

4)DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY – Digital photography is a form of photography that uses an array of light sensitive sensors to capture the image focused by the lens, as opposed to an exposure on light sensitive film. The captured image is then stored as a digital file ready for digital processing (colour correction, sizing, cropping, etc.), viewing or printing.

Besides digital art, photography is another untraditional art form that is based in tradition. Photography is a fun and creative way to capturethe world and your perspective of it. Photography, in general, is just as exciting s digital really. Digital just makes it faster, more convenient,  less messier and more computer compliant (in application and artistically) to work with. Because of the he ability to upload digitally-taken images to computers, new realms of art creation have opened and are advancing constantly! The views to be expressed with this art form goes on and on.

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