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• Review: Artsy Editorial – Kandinsky’s How To Be An Artist

Above:

Above: “Composition VII” (1913) by Wassily Kandinsky – In Collection At: The State Tretyakov Gallery

Review: Artsy-Editorial – Kandinsky’s How To Be An Artist

“I came across a fascinating editorial article on the Artsy website, written by author Rachel Lebowitz, about a master artist whom I deeply admire, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. As I always do in my blog’s, I will interpret this article and apply it to my personal experience and practice in the arts.

Kandinsky taught at the Bauhaus for an 11-year period and detailed his art theories in books. He had complex and detailed ideas to convey about the practice and philosophy of art. This Artsy Editorial focused his ideas into five points of interest or “lessons”. Although I feel they are interesting “lessons” for my own painting practices I really believe they show only 5 of a complex and involved philosophy of the past master Kandinsky.

The true depth of Kandinsky’s concepts are in his books he authored. The first book he wrote was titled ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ (1911). Within this book he laid out his tenets for artistic creation as a spiritual act. Kandinsky wrote a book called ‘In Point and Line to Plane’ (1926) in which he expands on elements such as rhythm and amplification. Each of these books delve in detail into his progressive practice and exploration as both a painter and tutor and could be of great interest if you wish to read about Kandinsky’s theories of practice.

The article author Rachel Lebowitz states:

“…Kandinsky did not intend for his theories to be prescriptive. Art making, he insisted, was about freedom. Nevertheless, there are several lessons that artists should heed if they are to meet Kandinsky’s requirements.” (1)

In my opinion, this article describes how Kandinsky felt his theories as ideas which can be drawn from, by artists. Therefore, although this article refers to each point as “lessons”, my opinion is that I do not think they should be so finite, maybe they should be guides, not lessons.

Kandinsky did not intend for his theories to be prescriptive. Art making, he insisted, was about freedom. Nevertheless, there are several lessons that artists should heed if they are to meet Kandinsky’s theories.

We start with five below that where highlighted in the Artsy article and the five “Lessons” are as follows:

Wassily Kandinsky  Dreamy Improvisation, 1913  Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen,

Above: Wassily Kandinsky ‘Dreamy Improvisation’ (1913)
– In Collection At: Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen.

Lesson #1: Express your inner world, not the latest artistic trends

If we reflect on the history of art, it is littered with ever changing movements in art, which I feel could be referred to as “trends”. I always want to stay true to who I am as both a person and artist; therefore, I always draw on who I am as a person, with my artworks interpreting my persona and life experiences. I try to not focus on external trends and influences towards my work, but I do use this to progress and push my ideas forward.

The meaning of the word “merit” or the phrase I would chose to use is “artistic merit”. This phrase was not 100% clear to me when considering if that was directly relevant, so I looked up the definition of “artistic merit”:

“Artistic merit is a crucial term, as pertains to visual art. However, many people fail to distinguish between the problem of distinguishing art from non-art and the problem of distinguishing good art from bad art. In many cases, people claim that such-and-such object is “not art” or “not real art” when they intend to say that they do not consider it to be good or successful art.” (3)

I believe that art trends are interwoven with the concept of “artistic merit” or what people consider the value in art is always subjective; therefore, it is intrinsically linked with “artistic trends”.

Above: Wassily Kandinsky ‘Composition in red and black’ (1920) – In Collection At: The State Museum of Art, Tashkent

Lesson #2: Don’t paint things. Paint in abstract form

I understand the thought behind this lesson; however, I do not agree with blanket opinions on what an artist should or shouldn’t create.

On a personal level, lesson #2 has an interesting point regarding my own artistic journey and practice. Over the years I have always had the desire to further abstract my ideas and this is a style that I now feel freedom and peace within. However, I am talking about my work and this does not apply to each artist.

Above: ‘Mirage’ (2016) by Laura H Elliott

Every artist interprets life in their own individual way. This reiterates that art is highly subjective and also highlights how trends can impact in the arts and highlights how lesson #1 is hard to follow.

It was during the time when I was 16-18 years old that I had a teacher who always pushed me into direct replication or realism. This was evident in both her projects she gave us and her regular interventions when I was creating artworks. It was only aged 17, that I rejected her beliefs and I began to create what I wanted. It was at this age when I created an abstract sculpture. This piece was inspired by Picasso and based on an amphibian, often named as a ‘Jesus Lizard’ as it runs across the surface of water.

When I was 25 I began studying an Art and Media Diploma. It was during this time I was guided by a vastly different, vibrant tutor who encouraged a self-directed practices. It was a refreshing change and has directly contributed to my current practices to this day.

The article states how art is an “…outward manifestation of the artist’s psyche—of his or her authentic thoughts and feelings” (1).

I was 25 when I returned to studying and practicing art, having worked in the nursing field for years. I left behind direct ‘replicas’ of the world I saw around me and began to relax and move towards abstraction or simplification in my art. I find my abstract work a relaxing and deeply enjoyable experience, a new freedom. I think this lesson does not address how complex and intricate the process of development is an artists and, therefore, this lesson is not a belief I would support.

Above: Wassily Kandinsky ‘Gespannt im Winkel’ (1930)
– In Collection At: Collection Kunstmuseum Bern

Lesson #3: Approach color as a window into the human soul

The article states that inspiration for Kandinsky was found in the

“…Fauvist paintings he saw while living in Paris from 1906 to 1907—with their wild hues that were entirely divorced from the real world—proved to be even more influential. Embracing this type of freedom in color.” (1)

I think this encompasses my own practice and passion. I find freedom in colours, with each choice expressing my inner emotions and moods, allowing them to be expressed to the world. When I paint in an abstract expressionist style it allows me to relax and find true solace from both my mental and physical disabilities. In a way, they are a window into my soul and the soul of every artist, including Kandinsky.

Wassily Kandinsky ‘Violett’ (1923) – In Collection At: Redfern Gallery Ltd.

Lesson #4: Inject rhythm into your painting, like a musical score

I am not sure how to explain my own work in relation to music. I have had a deep seated passion and ear for music and the layers contained in every piece I hear. I have previously written about the impact of music on my work and this passion and inspiration has not dissipated. Granted, I do not deafen both myself and family with heavy metal anymore, but I listen and enjoy all types and styles as time passes.

Above: ‘Joy’ (2003) by Laura H Elliott

This article says Kandinsky felt “…as an artist used colors, he or she was in effect playing different musical notes, causing [he said] vibrations in the soul” (1).

Different colours resonate with each of us in different ways and this is how I interpret this idea by Kandinsky. When collectors buy my work, I see a tangible response and this could be the vibrations Kandinsky speaks of.

The article goes on to state that “…a painting would do well to be composed like a musical score.” I see a rhythm in all artworks, but I interpret this in an emotional response due to the person I am: emotional, complex and passionate.

I use my art as a therapy and see vibrations as emotion during and after creating each piece of work. My work since 2016 has contained a new wave of colours and this might enhance and develop my work like a piece of music, thus creating a rhythm.

Wassily Kandinsky ‘Composition’ (1925) – In Collection at: Leila Heller Gallery

Lesson #5: By creating original work, you will further the cause of humanity

This is a grandeous statement, however, I agree with its sentiment. It has to be said that art has been academically proven to be a key component in our lives and well-being, a therapy, so lesson #5 is the truth. Speaking for myself, art is a fundamental part of who I am as a individual and gives me clarity, solace and strength.

Above: ‘Forever Grateful’ by Laura H Elliott

I have to agree with lesson #5 as it highlights my own belief in work as an artist. I truly believe that art helps humanities living and well-being, despite the commonly held point of view that art is not as fundamentally important as academic areas.”

So….What do you think of Kandinsky’s five lessons?

Wassily Kandinsky ‘Untitled’ (1921) – In Collection At: Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel

Sources and Useful Links:

1) https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-artist-kandinsky/amp

2) http://www.wassilykandinsky.net/book-117.php

3) http://www.definitions.net/definition/artistic%20merit

4) http://www.wassily-kandinsky.org/

5) http://studiosixtysix.tumblr.com/post/151158596757/13reasons

6) http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2015/01/12/can-office-artwork-influence-employee-productivity/#243c119d2c44

7) https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1138946616232550&id=100003516670643

8) http://studiosixtysix.tumblr.com/post/151158596757/13reasons

9) http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2015/01/12/can-office-artwork-influence-employee-productivity/#243c119d2c


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip

Buy my work online @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

Pintrest https://www.pinterest.com/lauraelliottart/

Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott-ba-hons/6b/959/533

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• My Guide: The Worst Kiln Ever Bought & the Perfect Replacement Kiln

My Guide: The Worst Kiln Ever Bought and the Perfect Replacement Kiln

It was back in 2012 that I took an exciting new step in my artistic works, by starting to create mini landscapes in metal clay. I then decided to buy a kiln; however, this was a step I did not properly research and the consequence was my choice to buy a cheap, generic, untested and un-recommended kiln.

The beauty of having your own kiln is that you can fire multiple pieces at the same time and you can fire larger pieces of work. In addition, you no longer need to fire your metal clay with a blow torch on a firing brick, which takes a painfully long time. The piece below was one of my first simple bowls I created, featuring metal leaf, which was later sold with my representative gallery Degreeart.com.:

Above: ‘Fallen’ by Laura H Elliott – Sold with Degree Art Gallery

Later on I created a larger design, a clock made from two slabs of clay and a copper sheet, shown below:

Above: ‘A Stitch In Time, Saves Nine’

When I bought the kiln I really only looked for the most affordable kiln which offered me with the most space. I came across a generic or none branded kiln and bought it. My kiln was shipped to me by courier and the first one arrived damaged. The company delivered me another kiln and I began to use it. Having no knowledge about kilns and no advice really meant I was buying ‘blind’.

As you can see, the element was in-set into the back of the kiln wall and you could see the element turn bright orange when you opened it, having fired your work. Having the element exposed in the back wall created just 1 of number of issues, all detailed below:

1) The Hole In The Door:

The most dangerous aspects of the kiln lay in the instructions. The kiln stated that the small hole on the kiln door could be used as a peep hole.

Warning: Do NOT look through the hole in the door!!!! To look into the kiln would be absurd, as you would need to get so close to see anything that you would damage your eyes.

This is a crazy suggestion so please do not do this. This hole is a vent for smoke and a way oxygen enters the kiln during firing. Every kiln has a vent hole to remove fumes as shown below; however, this is not a viewing hole!! You can see in the left picture below that the hole glows red during firing, so always a danger sign:

The image below is the Prometheus Pro 7 kiln and the image below shows the muffled viewing hatch:

2) Keeping The Set Temperature:

The kiln temperature during firing was never even. The front of the kiln was cooler than the rear, thus causing uneven firing. This meant my hard work creating metal clay designs where ruined 6+ times due to the temperature difference (see below):

3) The Dangerous Element:

The element was open and vulnerable to damage. Eventually the element burnt out and was irreparable (see below)

4) The Element/ Heat Distribution and How It Broke Down:

Surrounding the element was firing brick and as the kiln was used the rapid temperature change cracked the bricks. Once the bricks where cracked this meant the temperature was even more uneven (see below):

The Prometheus Pro 7 kiln has a muffled design which distributes heat throughout the kiln evenly, as shown below:

5) The Dangerous Door:

The door was very hard to open and shut which is very dangerous, especially at temperatures of 900 degrees (see below). The door was covered with a thin plastic covering and went soft and was NOT heat-proof. I had to use my Kiln gloves to open the door to avoid being burnt.

In comparison, the Prometheus Pro 7 kiln has a lift door, much safer if you lift it fully back, slowly:

6) The Outside Surfaces of The Kiln:

The external surfaces of the kiln where dangerously hot. I suspect that this worsened as the firing brick wall cracked, broke the element and would no longer work.

7) Controlling The Temperature:

The kiln temperature it stated on the controller was incorrect and was always firing about 150-200 degrees higher. This caused my work to be ruined. In addition, during the allotted firing time the temperature never stayed at the same level.

So…out with the old and in with the new…

…The Prometheus Pro 7 PG kiln:


This kiln is of “muffle” construction which means that the element is wrapped around the chamber and so is safely hidden away, leaving the kiln safe to use without a door switch.

Above: Image Courtesy Cookson Gold

Prometheus Pro 7 Official Kiln Text

About this kiln:

“Prometheus 7 Programmable Kiln is our larger kiln (similar in size to the Paragon Lilly Kiln and Paragon SC2), suitable for both personal and professional use. It is perfect for Art Clay, PMC, and glass fusing. It is also great for enamelling, low fire ceramics, and china painting, as well as annealing and hardening silver, gold and other metals.

It’s a 1100°C front-loading kiln, with a built-in, easy-to-use, 3-key digital programmable controller.

PROGRAMMABLE CONTROLLER

The programmable controller means you can set what temperature you want the kiln to fire at (target temperature), and also tell it how fast you want it to heat up (ramp speed), and how long you want it to hold at the firing temperature (hold/soak time), and the kiln will then turn the heating off once it has completed the programme. If you want you can also say how slow it should cool down, and if it should hold at a temperature whilst cooling down.

You can set 9 programmes, and each programme can have up to 8 segments. A segment could be like this: heat up at 300° C per hour, until you get to 800°C, then hold that temperature for 45 minutes.

To be able to set several segments with different heating speeds and temperatures are very useful if you’re firing base metals, like copper and bronze (where you want to heat up slower and hold steady to burn the binder out at a lower temperature before the full firing at a higher temperature), or doing glass fusing (which needs a slow heating, and a slow cool down, with a soak/hold at a low temperature to anneal the glass once fused).

A good thing with programmes is that you only set them once, and they will stay there until you change them. So you could set one programme for firing silver clay, another for fusing glass coasters, and another for that perfect BRONZclay firing schedule you’ve come up with.

This kiln has a Orton AutoFire Express Digital Programmable Temperature Controller (like the one on Paragon, Sierra, and Evenheat kilns) which is programmed exactly like the one used on the Paragon SC2 Kiln.”


Sources and Recommendations:

  1. Cookson Gold: http://www.cooksongold.com/
  2. Prometheus: https://www.prometheushobby.com/
  3. Prometheus Kilns: https://www.prometheushobby.com/Kilns/Prometheus-Kilns-PRO-7-PRG-p123c59.html

All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright artist Laura H Elliott BA (Hons)

Laura Elliott represented by Degree Art Gallery: http://www.degreeart.com/artists/laura-elliott

‘Laura Elliott BA Hons – Artist & Metal Clay Designer’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

The Palette Pages Artist Interview Laura Elliott: http://www.thepalettepages.com/2016/03/28/lauraelliott/

Laura Elliott Art Website & Blog: https://laurahelliott.wordpress.com/

View my Professional Profile at Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott/6b/959/533

#art #britishlandscapes #britain #landscapes #buybritish #laurahelliott #lhe #painting #metalclay #gemstones #artgallery #gallery #flux #fluxexhibition #degreeart #mardleyburygallery #painting #artlover #artist #artwork #artcollector #contemporaryart #originalart #ownart #rca #contemporaryart #originalart #prometheus #prometheuskiln

• My Guide: My Basic Tool Kit For Metal Clay

My Guide: My Basic Tool Kit For Metal Clay

My experience in metal clay has been a fun, steep learning curve and over time I have gathered tools to help. I wrote this guide to help you learn from my experience, to share ideas and places to source products (listed at the end).

Please note: Health and Safety precautions must be taken to protect yourself and others during use and storage of any tools and clay you use or have in stock.


1) Clay:

You need to chose which metal clay you wish to focus on. I advise silver metal clay, though this is a more expensive, due to the ease of use and success rate. I advise trying:

Art Clay Silver 7g (shown below)

There are three types of metal clay products:

  • Clay: Slabs weighed in grams

  • Syringe: Clay with added water which adds a flow and you can use it to stick clay together, dot or place clay in lines or swirls

  • Paste: This is a cross between slab clay and syringe clay, which gives it the ability to build thicker layers and details


2) Basic tools to start creating designs with metal clay?

Simple tools are needed and these are as follows:

* Teflon Mats: A4 and smaller mats to dry designs on

* Cutters: Round, Square, Oval, Rectangle. I recently came across a fantastic mini round set of cutters called ‘Tubey Cutters by Joy Funnel’ which I bought from Metal Clay UK (link at the end).

* Balm: A product that reduces sticking, sometimes called ‘Badger Balm’ featuring lavender or olive oil.

* Hard Clear Plastic Rollers: These rollers are best to be clear plastic, because you can easily see what you are doing through the roller.

* Rolling Slats: The original method used to control how thickly you roll the metal clay in Japan was by using playing cards. I find they are fiddly and so I invested in a set of plastic strips at different thicknesses, as shown below:

* Water Pen: This is a perfect tool to add water in a controlled manner from the water storage part, into the bristles. I also find this useful to smooth edges and to stick layers gently together.

* Carving Tools: These tools enable you to handle clay, gently stick layers and edges. I use a set which are used for wax carving, but perfect for metal clay as well.

* Tissue Blades: I use one that is inflexible and one that is bendable.

* Mist Spray: This is a small mister spray that creates a light, fine mist of tap water.

* Tupperware Containers: I use a lock tight Tupperware container once I have opened a packet of clay, in order that the clay stays at its best condition. I also add general household cling film into the container and spray a light spray mist of tap water into it before closing the lid.

* Cutting Blade: I found that a craft knife, often used for card making and Sculpey Polymer Clay is useful. This must be handled with care and following health and safety precautions

Capture+_2017-09-28-11-46-02-1Capture+_2017-09-28-12-31-48-1

* Perforating/ Point Tool: I found a perfect tool to make holes or designs in the clay.

* Texture Sheets: There are an endless array of texture sheets made out of soft rubber or clear/ opaque plastic


3) Sanding Your Designs

To finish my designs I use 4 different types of sanding tools, taking a great deal of time to remove even the smallest flaw. The sanding tools I use are:

Sanding Paper:


Sponge Backed Sanding Sheets
Sanding Blocks:

Sanding Needles or Strips: Plastic and Metal:


4) Making Your Designs Shine:

* Polishing Wax:

This cleans and shines your work with lots of shinning.

* Agate Burnishers:

These tools use a piece of a genuine gemstone called ‘Agate’ carved in different shapes, mounted onto a wood or metal handle. These tools mean you can get a mirror shine on your work. They come in many sizes and shapes.

I have written a blog about Agate Burnishers you can read by clicking here


5) Setting Gemstones:

Gemstone Tweezers: I thought that any tweezers would be fine, but they do not grip the gemstones properly. I advise you to buy a pair, which will make your gemstones easy to handle and avoid dropping them, thus damaging them.

Bezel Settings: These are machine made cups, which are either fired in place or soldered after firing to mount gemstones, mainly cabochon cuts.

Prong Settings: These are machine made ‘settings’ that look like a crown of sorts, which are fired in place in order to mount gemstones, faceted gemstones. They are sunk into the clay, fired, cooled and then the gemstones are set with gemstone setting tools.

Bezel Wire: This is a thin, rectangular wire which is submerged into an extra layer of clay and then fired in place. Once this is done, you put the gemstone in place and rub or bend the wire over the edges with a metal or agate burnisher. This bezel wire can come in many designs and means you can set both cabochon and faceted gemstones.

Glue: Yes, this is a very controversial option of setting gemstones or components. It is very commonly used in major retailers and jewellery sellers, so do not discount it. It is a simple tool or method to mount your gemstones. I would suggest to use E6000 silicone glue as it is permanent, flexible and does not go brown or brittle.


6) Other Tools For You To Consider In The Future:

Rotary Tools: This tool can range in price from £20 GBP to £200 GBP+. I have found that there is the best/ most expensive in the market by a branded company called ‘Dremel’; however, my years of experience has taught me that even a cheap rotary tool can last and work perfectly well. Mine has, so test the tool by buying a cheap version you can afford is best to test how a rotary tool can help your work. A rotary tool can:

  • Polish
  • Shine
  • Grind
  • Drill
  • Cut


7) Other Types of Metal Clay to Consider:

  • Silver: 925, 950 and 999
  • Copper
  • Bronze: Classic, White and Sunny
  • Goldie Bronze: This powder comes in a huge array of colours, which is hydrated with water to make clay just like the ready hydrated types, such as brands like ‘Art Clay’

Product Sources:

  • Metal Clay UK: They sell a starter kit and many other products along with amazing Customer service

http://www.metalclay.co.uk

  • Cookson Gold:

http://www.cooksongold.com

  • Metal Clays 4 You:

http://www.metalclays4you.co.uk


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip

Buy my work online @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

Pintrest https://www.pinterest.com/lauraelliottart/

Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott-ba-hons/6b/959/533

#art #britishlandscapes #britain #landscapes #buybritish #laurahelliottart #laurahelliott #lhe #painting #metalclay #gemstones #artgallery #gallery #flux #fluxexhibition #degreeart #degreeartgallery #painting #artlover #artist #artwork #artcollector #contemporaryart #originalart #ownart #rca #contemporaryart #originalart #commissionart #buyart #buyartonline

• My Guide: Saving Your Paint Brushes

My Guide: Saving Your Paint Brushes ~ Acrylic Paint

I know our brushes will not last forever, but they are our tools of the trade and they last longer when cared for correctly. I have learned the hard way and now have 20+ year old brushes I use today, as I changed the way I handled, cleaned and stored them. I think, the better you care of them, the more money you save as brushes are expensive investments.

BEFORE CLEANING:

Here is the way I clean and care for my brushes:

  1. Leave used brushes in water to make cleaning acrylic paint easier.
  2. Wash each brush separately as holding all your brushes in one hand means they damage each other.
  3. When you wash each brush, run the cold water over the bristles and use your fingers to separate the brush fibers to rinse the paint out until the water runs clear.
  4. While rinsing the brushes use a moisturizing or brush cleaning soap by stroking them across the soap. Hold the bristles and gently move the handle to create suds to create a foam. Doing this, will gently push the soap up into ferrule, deep in the bristles, to clean away any paint that is there.
  5. Rinse the bristles thoroughly.
  6. When the brushes are still wet, gently use your fingers to put the bristles into their original shape. If they are flat edged then pinch the flat edges between your fingers to re-create the chiselled edge.
  7. There are two ways to dry brushes : standing them handle down in a brush ‘rack’ or lying them flat on top of kitchen roll or a towel.
  8. Once completely dry storing the brushes in plastic brush tubes protects them from any damage or being transported.

AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS:

My Natural Bristle Brushes After Deep Cleaning

My Natural Bristle Brushes After Deep Cleaning – Although they are not new looking they are 80% clean as they are old and used every time I paint.

Goats paintbrush re-shaped after cleaning

Laura H Elliott BA (Hons) Art

Paintbrush re-shaped after cleaning

My essential brush

Paintbrush re-shaped after cleaning

My top tips on caring for your brushes:

  1. The key to cleaning your brushes is not to use warm or hot water. The heat hardens the paint and makes the task more difficult.
  2. Don’t leave your brushes so that the paint drys as it makes cleaning harder and it is best to only have the water covering the bristles.
  3. I find if the brush handles are in the water the wood, handles absorb the water and this starts to crack and peel or crack the varnish which then breaks off.
  4. Some alcohol based brush cleaners dry the bristles as well as cleaning them. They can be useful for dried on paints but use them with care.
  5. Don’t rub brushes on or at the bottom of your jar or water palette as this will damage the brush. See below:

wp-1465323270587.jpg6) Blot them with kitchen roll or a towel.

7) Dry your brushes naturally in the air. Heating them on something like a radiator is not good as the bristles and the varnish on the handles can get brittle.

8) If there is paint stuck in the bristles, use a very fine tooth comb/brush, as shown below

Steel Comb For Combing Out Dry Paint

9) If there is dried on paint, there is many products on the market you can try.

What brush cleaners do you use?

I mainly use the ‘Colourful Arts Brush Cleaner and Preserver’ brush cleaner which does not dry the brushes out and is not abrasive. Shown below:

Brush Cleaner

The brush cleaner I use for stubborn paint, which I feel is a efficient cleaner with a slightly mild exfoliation type of product called ‘The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver’. I feel it is okay to use, but my brushes are getting dry. I will keep this to combat dry paint on brushes due to its abrasive qualities, but I need something that cleans and moisturises, a bit like a facial cleanser.

Brush Cleaner

The following Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner works well for me. It removes the hard, stuck on paint from one of my most used brushes which is a 3 inch hog hair brush. It isn’t expensive, but creates the effect I want when I paint and I have been unable to find a replacement. The following Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner works well for me:

Laura H Elliott BA (Hons) Art

This is the Winsor & Newton Paint Brush Restorer Official Product Information:

“For dried acrylic, oil, and alkyd colour, this is a non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable, non-abrasive, low vapor product that safely and easily cleans both natural and synthetic brushes without damage to the brush head. It is not recommended for use on painted or varnished surfaces; contact with brush handles should be avoided. Not for use with polycarbonate or other plastic surfaces.”


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by artist Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

View my professional gallery of works at:

Quick Link: http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

Pintrest https://www.pinterest.com/lauraelliottart/

Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott-ba-hons/6b/959/533

• Artwork Focus: Try, Try and Try Again! My Shadow Box Design Journey

Artwork Review:

Try, Try and Try Again! My Shadow Box Design Journey

It was back in 2015 when I saw my first metal clay shadow box designs. I thought they not only looked beautiful, but they presented a technical challenge to my clay skill-set. I then embarked on a slow exploration of how I might create my own metal clay shadow boxes.

The first attempt in Copper metal clay by the company Prometheus (as shown below) was unsuccessful attempt. The way I built this design was a success; however, it was when I kiln fired this piece that it was damaged, due to a major fault in my 1st kilns poor temperature control.

Above: My first failed shadow box design

Above: My 1st shadow box, which was my unsuccessful attempt

I then re-attempted this idea in 2 different designs, but chose to try it in Fine 999 Silver (made by the company Art Clay) a medium I trusted and still trust to this day. The second and third pieces where, I am pleased to say, successful and are shown below. Saying this, I still wanted to repeat the original design in Copper metal clay (made by the company Prometheus):

Above: My 2nd shadow box titled ‘Tanzanite Foothills

Above: My 3rd shadow box titled ‘Swirl

Despite the above success, I loved my first attempt at a shadow box, with the beautiful inherent effects Copper metal clay brings with it.

Above: My 3rd shadow box titled ‘Forever Grateful

This design was inspired by the sacrifice of our service men and women, home or abroad during the wars, past or present. I include my own family, who I am endlessly proud of, who served Great Britain in conflicts including World War 1 and World War 2.

The image that has always stuck in my mind is the red poppy fields in France, a visual image that represents the sacrifice selflessly given for our freedom. This piece is my tribute, which I have titled ‘Forever Grateful’, and features Red Garnets and Tigers Eye to represent the poppy fields.

The piece below was created at the same time as the piece above ‘Forever Grateful‘:

Above: My 4th shadow box, titled 'Swirl'

Above: My 4th shadow box, titled ‘Coast’


Metal Clay Shadow Box Re-sources:

  1. Metal Clay Masterclass With Patrik Kusek – Learn In Person: http://www.mcsj.co.uk/masterclasses/patrik-kusek/metal-clay-shadow-boxes-masterclass.html
  2. Metal Clay Dress Pendant and Shadow Box Vignette – Online Course: https://www.craftcast.com/recordings/metal-clay-dress-pendant-and-shadow-box-vignette

All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip

Buy my work online @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

Pintrest https://www.pinterest.com/lauraelliottart/

Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott-ba-hons/6b/959/533

#art #britishlandscapes #britain #landscapes #buybritish #laurahelliottart #laurahelliott #lhe #painting #metalclay #gemstones #artgallery #gallery #flux #fluxexhibition #degreeart #degreeartgallery #painting #artlover #artist #artwork #artcollector #contemporaryart #originalart #ownart #rca #contemporaryart #originalart #commissionart #buyart #buyartonline

• My Guide: Kiln Gloves = Safety First!!

My Guide: Kiln Gloves = Safety First!!

I always say safety first!! When you use any kiln or to handle hot mediums, such as fired metal clay or glass, make sure you have a really high quality pair of gloves and eye wear.

Please note: I am not a safety advisor, just someone who is giving you some of my experiences with the kiln gloves I have used.

Always seek professional advice and speak to the manufacturer of any products you buy to check for suitability.

A useful and informative health and safety PDF article is at the link below:

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx%3Fid%3D5921%26p%3D0&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwjA6PH2i6TSAhXIKMAKHR7UCIkQFggLMAA&usg=AFQjCNHrO4C7Bjg79QIH7Yg9amEZo57LAw

I purchased my first kiln and a pair of kiln gloves (at the same time) from a supplier of ‘generic’ or unbranded products, but foolishly didn’t check if they where suitable for the temperature the kiln reached.

My top tips are:

  1. Check the gloves are 100% heat proof to the temperatures you will be handling:

My first pair of gloves became burnt on the surface and the heat traveled through and burnt my hands. The gloves are shown below with areas of the gloves are grey and other areas are blue. I found that the best sections that are heatproof, where the blue areas. The pictures show how my gloves accidentally touched a kiln shelf and how this high temperature burnt my gloves and, ultimately, my hands underneath!! Ouch!!

Very dangerous!!

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2. Check they are the right fit!

The other thing to seriously consider is the size of your hands. Buying the correctly sized gloves means you will be able to handle the kiln fired pieces safely.

A good fit is a safe pair of gloves!!

The 2nd pair I bought are far safer:

  • They fit my small hands
  • The heatproof blue material covers 100% of the gloves surface
  • They cover my wrists and part of my forearm

These gloves are from a company called Raynor, as shown below:

3. My last tips are a list of great products you can purchase to protect you:

Kiln Spatula

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Safety Goggles


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

Buy my work online @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

Pintrest https://www.pinterest.com/lauraelliottart/

Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/laura-elliott-ba-hons/6b/959/533

#art #britishlandscapes #britain #landscapes #buybritish #laurahelliottart #laurahelliott #lhe #painting #metalclay #gemstones #artgallery #gallery #flux #fluxexhibition #degreeart #degreeartgallery #painting #artlover #artist #artwork #artcollector #contemporaryart #originalart #ownart #rca #contemporaryart #originalart #commissionart #buyart #buyartonline

• My Guide: What Acrylic Paint For Which Technique?

I think there are a vast array of paints on the market and I thought I’d share with you my experience with certain brands/types of acrylic paints. This will include a few thoughts of what they are like to work with and the final effect you could anticipate.

This is my opinion only and has not been endorsed by the brands named.


1) Daler Rowney Standard Paints

I have used these paints for 20+ years and are the corner stone of my paint supplies. They offer you a huge range of colours, are perfect for beginners, easy to dilute to work with the paint in a watercolour/ wet on wet technique. I use System 3 Daler Rowney paint as they have a great effect to layer up washes of colour, like you see in watercolour paint techniques.

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2) Pebeo

I have recently accidentally discovered Pebeo high viscosity acrylic paints, having run out of copper paint . I love the silky and textural way it holds palette knife marks and offers a slight translucency in colours such as the neon choices.

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3) Heavy Body Daler Rowney System 3

 I mainly use Daler Rowney paints. Daler Rowney also do a 3D paint but it is thicker and has a strange plastic look. The Pebeo high viscosity has a better finish and has a great final effect.

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4) Reeves

Student paints are thinner and I find the pigmentation/colour is not as good. Recently, another paint that I have found has interesting glossy finish due to the resin content in the paint mix. Reeves has created beautiful, high pigment paints since 1766. Their drawback is they are very washy coloured if extra water is added to them. 

Reeves Official text:

Reeves Fine Artist Quality Acrylic Colours have a high pigment concentration to give excellent light fastness and strong vibrant colours. Reeves acrylic paints offer outstanding coverage. The superior acrylic resin used guarantees excellent adhesion and a free flowing consistency. You will enjoy different ways to use Reeves acrylics, straight from the tube to create impasto effects and build volume like oil colour, or diluted with water to execute watercolor or poster colour techniques.” 


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5) Liquetex

I have worked with these paints and they have a silky effect, yet strong when dry, with an exquisitely high pigment quality.

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6) Acrylic Paint Pens

I have tested a gold and silver version. Great to add lines, to highlight/ low lights and sign your work with. I find them restrictive and hard to paint with, as they bypass paint brushes and only offer a set width during application. Possible use could be to sign artworks by using the black pen, as normal pens are never advised to be used to sign your work as the ink often rub off or look messy.

7) Golden Acrylic

I have not tried this paint, but aim to give them a go.

8) Winsor Newton Acrylic 

As always, Winsor Newton paints have an extremely high pigment/ colour quality and are beautiful to work with. Highly recommended.


What techniques do you often use when working with acrylic paint?

As I mentioned above, I sometimes water mine down for washes which I build up layer by layer. I use a selection of plastic pots, add a dab of Daler Rowney System 3 and cover the paint with 1-2cm of water, depending on how thin you need the paint to be.

What do the watercolour or wet-on-wet techniques look like in your artworks:

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Are there any additional mediums you can combine with acrylic paint?

I have used Liquitex mediums for around 10+ years, with natural sand and glass beads as my two favorites. They add a new dimension to you paintings, so give them a try.


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by artist Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

Quick Link @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Blog Web: https://laurahelliott.wordpress.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

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