It’s Flashback Friday and we’re feeling nostalgic for the series of comics we used to run, Wonton’s Art Lessons! Created by a former employee, the very talented artist, Lisa Kash. This comic is called, “Lesson 13: Types of Ink”. Enjoy!
It has been a rough start to the fall in the art materials industry. The Los Angeles area lost an institution with the closing of Swain’s HQ Art Supplies, which has been supporting artists and selling art supplies in Glendale for seventy years, and we are very sad to see them go.
The imminent closure of C2F, one of the few distributors of art materials was also announced. They were the primary source for a few of our favorite brands (such as M. Graham, Bee Paper, Pentalic, and Cheep!), but it looks like most of those will find new homes so we plan to continue stocking them as long as we’re able!
We live in interesting times for retailers and the art materials industry. Sometimes we feel like we’re mice scampering beneath the feet of giants with names like Amazon, Blick Art Materials, and Artist & Craftsman Supply, and it’s tough to lose friends and allies like C2F and Swain’s.
We, and our employees, thank all of you who have stuck with us, are just discovering, us, and hope to feed your artistic endeavors for years to come.
Oil painters are increasingly invested in the craftsmanship of their artwork. An accomplished and experienced oil painter recently asked us about Gamblin Ground, and why they would use it instead of or in addition to regular gesso. Creating a strong foundation for imagery is an important consideration, and Gamblin Oil Painting Ground creates the perfect foundation for contemporary oil painters. Below are notes on the key characteristics of Gamblin Ground, application tips, and notes about shelf life.
Gamblin Ground Gamblin Oil Painting Ground makes a strong, bright, non-absorbent foundation for oil paintings. Gamblin Ground is formulated from alkyd resin, titanium dioxide, and calcium carbonate – titanium dioxide gives opacity, while calcium carbonate gives tooth for strong adhesion.
Gamblin Ground makes a brighter and less-absorbent ground layer compared to acrylic “gesso” – meaning that oil paint layers on top retain better color saturation. Gamblin Ground can be applied to a “pre-primed” acrylic gesso canvas or panel to make a good painting support a great one.
Not every day is Christmas… We all have a collection of less-than-successful paintings that shouldn’t see the light of day. Since Gamblin Ground is oil-based, it can be used to cover old paintings so the support can be re-used. We recommend roughing up the old painting with sandpaper or steel wool, followed by wiping the surface with a rag wet with Gamsol before the Ground is applied. This will ensure proper adhesion.
Application Because the percentage of pigments is so much higher than in acrylic “gesso”, painters need only apply TWO thin coats of Gamblin Ground instead of the recommended four coats of acrylic. Fabric supports should be sized with PVA Size before applying Gamblin Ground.
Gamblin Ground is thicker than acrylic gesso, and requires different application techniques, which are demonstrated on Gamblin’s Video Demos page.
Shelf Life, Formulation Improvements. We have heard from painters who’ve experienced Gamblin Ground skinning over in the can, and Gamblin has taken steps to mitigate this by managing formula solvent levels and drying rate. They have also improved the Ground by lowering its odor. Ongoing tests show that formula adjustments over the past two years have resulted in reduced skinning and improved shelf life.
Still, Oil Painting Ground is formulated to dry faster than oil colors, and it doesn’t discriminate between drying on a canvas and in the can. Gamblin date stamps the bottom of each can. Painters, please remove the wax paper seal after the first use, drizzle a little Gamsol on the surface of the Ground and cover with a plastic seal (i.e. Ziplock baggie cut to fit). This will help prevent skinning in the can by limiting the Ground’s contact with oxygen.
You asked, we did it. We scheduled a calendar full of classes and workshops in our new space. Our opening month classes and workshops have been leading up to the introduction of Master Class at Raw Materials, where prominent artists teach intensive workshops that go beyond art school. Master Class will provide intensive interaction with professional artists working in a variety of media and will draw from a broad spectrum of cultural viewpoints. Students interact closely with working artists and can gain insight into how artists approach the making of art and respond to the work of others. Teaching groups are deliberately small, intense, and personalized.
Internationally-acclaimed Los Angeles-based painter Salomón Huerta was born in Tijuana, raised in East L.A. and attended the Art Center College of Design on a full scholarship, where he graduated with highest honors. Huerta also holds a Master of Fine Art from UCLA and is best known for his series of paintings depicting anonymous subjects with their backs to the viewer, facades of color-saturated, suburban homes, and larger than life-sized, masked Lucha Libre wrestlers. Huerta’s paintings have been collected and exhibited internationally, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Gagosian Gallery London, Worcester Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institute, and at the Whitney Biennal. Huerta is represented by Louise Alexander Gallery.
About a year ago, Salomón Huerta was nice enough to shoot this short video about his favorite art supply store and the products he uses. Check it out:
On August 24th, Raw Materials Art Supplies was lucky to have Certified Ross Instructor David Arquette teach a Bob Ross Painting Class—our very first class in our new location! To no one’s surprise, the class sold out quickly.
In just under two hours, students eager to start a painting hobby learned how to paint an outdoor landscape. Based upon the PBS “Joy of Painting” series with Bob Ross, these artists of various abilities and experience painted and learned Bob Ross’ painting techniques, thanks to David Arquette’s guidance and friendly style.
If you missed out and couldn’t get a seat to the class, don’t fret. David said he had so much fun he’d like to do it again.
Five years ago these guys went shopping at Raw Materials with help from our then-mascot and head of security, Wonton. Good times. And today, we open for business at our new location at 645 S. Los Angeles Street. Will you be there?