Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another little trick I know 4

Here is a  little trick for stretching canvas. When I start stretching a canvas I put a staple in the middle of each side. As you can see above the tension is uneven around that first staple. Before I drive the next one, I grab the end of the canvas up at the corner and pull it taut. I still have the canvas pliers in my other hand pulling the canvas as you see above. I pull it just as hard as I can.

I grab the canvas up there at the corner and pull it so that the canvas is tensioned not only across the stretcher but along it's length as well. It would help to be an octopus to do this. I release the hand up at the corner and use it to hold the staple gun to drive the next staple between the initial one and the corner. I space my staples about two inches apart. I do this for the first two or three staples on each side. That little tug helps prevent buckling or an uneven tension across the length of the side I am stretching.

I thought I would throw this in here too. This is a reprint from a previous post, but it certainly falls into the little tricks category

There is a trick to pouring from a new can of solvent. For years every time I did it I got turpentine all over. Then someone showed me how to do it. The trick is to turn the can over. Pour the solvent ACROSS the top of the can, like in the grainy cell phone picture above. You will need to hold your mouth just right for this to work, but try it, no more turpentine filled shoes!
There are about a million little tricks in painting.

 Above is pictured a device that sits on my easel. It is just a couple of stretchers screwed to the top and bottom of a length of 1 by 10. What it does is elevate the painting I am working on. I am 32 feet tall, so almost all easels are too short for me. I can't crank them up them up high enough to comfortably work on smaller canvasses, This one is an 18 by 24. The other thing it does is allows me to put a larger canvas on the easel quickly by removing this "easel stilt" rather than having to adjust the height of the easel itself. Notice that I have a half sheet of luan plywood sitting on the easel behind my painting. This allows me to tape my reference photos or inspirational reproductions of relevant master paintings next to what I am working on. It also eliminates the distraction of seeing whatever is behind the easel around my painting.


I have scheduled another workshop in the White Mountains for the autumn color season.  This is a first, I have never done a fall workshop up there. It should be a great time to paint the Presidential range from the Inn overlooking Franconia Notch. If you are interested, click on the link below and it will give you all the information about signing up. I limit the workshops to 10 participants, that keeps them a workable size and they almost always fill up so if you want to come, sign up before it is filled.

 Fall Color Workshop  September 8th through 10th

 This is the Sunset Hill Inn in Franconia, New Hampshire. I have been teaching workshops there for about three years and it is the ideal location.  Because I have taught so many workshops there the inn keepers have learned what painters at a workshop need and they are now practiced at hosting my workshops and making sure we have what we need to operate without any distractions or responsibilities other than painting.There is a broad rear porch that overlooks the mountains so we can still paint outside no matter what the weather does. The lower level of the inn  is ours to store our paints and canvas so we don't have to haul it all to our rooms and it makes a good place to teach too. The view of the mountains is spectacular and in the fall it will be even better. The inn takes good care of us. We have our own private dining room too. They handle  our meals and even bring us lunch so  we can work all day uninterrupted. The inn is one of those big old historic affairs from the 19th century and is homey and informal. Most of the rooms have gas fireplaces, it is cool in the evenings up in the mountains in the fall, so that is nice after a day outside.

 This will be the first fall workshop I have done there and I am thrilled. I love teaching workshops anyway. Everyone is always excited to be there and hang out with the other artists. It is like a three day party. We go from breakfast until bedtime. This is a total immersion program and I run the class about 12 hours a  day. I do an evening lecture while we wait for dinner to be served.The fall color in the White Mountains is legendary and people come from all over the world to see it. In the 19th century all of the great Hudson River painters made a point of being there too, just a few miles up the road from the inn. We don't need to leave the grounds of the inn  to find great subject matter so their is no problem with hauling easels around or caravanning cars to daily locations. We just walk out the back door and the whole Presidential range is spread out before us.

The schedule includes;
  • a demo every morning, on the first day I explain the palette and the various pigments.
  • In the afternoon the students paint and I run from easel to easel doing individual instruction and try to diagnose each students particular barriers to better painting.
  •  after the demo each day I run  a series of exercises  teaching root skills like creating vibrating color and the parts of the light (that is what you need to know to establish light in a painting) I am going to add a new exercise this time on color mixing.
  • I do a presentation before dinner with images from my laptop. One is a history of White Mountain art so you can see what the greats of American painting did with the same landscape we will be painting during the day. The other is unpacking  the design ideas in the works of great landscape painters, particularly Edward Seago and Aldro Hibbard, two favorite artists of mine.
  • I promise I will work you like a borrowed mule.

If you have never seen autumn in New England this is your chance to paint the most spectacular fall color in America.The cost of the workshop is 300 dollars, I charge a 150 deposit up front when you register. In return for that I will hold your place in the class. I won't give away your place to anyone else, so I don't return deposits. If you don't intend to come, don't sign up!
It is nessasary to stay at the in . However in the past several people have asked if they could stay with their brother in law or pitch a tent a nearby campground. If you want to do that, it's OK but you will have to pay a flat fee of 150 dollars to the inn for the use of their facilities. That fee will include your breakfasts, lunches and one dinner.The link to sign up is below;


Sergio Lopez said...

How do you pull both the canvas and the pliers AND drive a staple into it?? I am sooo not getting it :?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I pull the canvas pliers with my left hand, I reach up with the right hand and tug the length of the canvas. I then release that hand, grab the stapler and drive in the staple. Octopus stuff!
..............Stape said...

That business with the upside down solvent can works like a dream. It takes a leap of faith but I don't even have to use the funnel it works so well.

Theresa Grillo Laird said...

Great idea with the stretcher bars and the 1x10. I've been piling up 2x4's narrow side up. Very unstable!