Category Archives: Basics

Happy Holidays

Christmas Palm 7.5x4.5" Acrylic on paper ©2014 Lucinda Howe

Christmas Palm
Acrylic on paper
©2014 Lucinda Howe

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a warm and happy New Year.


Back to Basics

Journal Page 2004: Painting and Gardening
Watercolor on paper
©2012 Lucinda Howe


Happy New Year!

As the new year approaches, I have been taking stock of my life and art.

For years I wanted a large studio with plenty of storage and work space.  In 2010 I found and moved into a space on Two Notch Road.   It has been great to have the extra workspace, but it is expensive and a bit inconvenient.  What I didn’t consider was how much I have missed my garden.

I have always been a gardener and have drawn inspiration from plants and flowers for my art, so I’ve have decided to move my studio back home.  We are going to renovate a room on the back of the house to give me more space and a view of the garden.  It feels a bit like giving up on a long-term dream to move out of my large studio, but I’m also excited about returning to my roots.

Now I am doing some cleanup, renovating my square foot vegetable garden, and studying seed catalogues.  You can expect me to be writing and painting more about my garden in the coming weeks.

How about you?  Have you neglected some part of your life that inspires your art?  How are you returning to your authentic self in the New Year?



Also posted in Garden, Studio, Uncategorized

How To Make a Cradled Panel

During Open Studio this past weekend, I was demonstrating how to make a cradled panel. The slide show below  illustrates the steps.   I use this technique to add a 2″ wood frame on the back of paintings on wood or masonite panel to give a look similar to a gallery wrap canvas.  The edges are finished with black paint.

How To Make A Cradled PanelStep 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7Step 8Step 9Step 10

Tagged |

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints


Golden paints

Golden Fluid Paints with Mixing Guide

Since I’m teaching a class for the next few weeks, I thought I would address a few of the questions that come up in the class.  One of the first things we discuss is the type of paint we will be using

I ask my students to buy a set (or individual bottles) of Golden fluid acrylics containing the following colors: Hansa Yellow Medium, Naphthol Red Light, Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Yellow Ochre, Titanium White, and Zinc White.  The set comes with a mixing guide that shows you how to mix almost any color from these 8 paints.

These fluid paints are top quality artist paints with a high concentration of pigment that work well for the glazing and watercolor techniques, and can be mixed with higher viscosity mediums textural effects.   We will also use other artist quality heavy body paints in tubes from Liquitex, Golden, and other manufacturers to add texture in the top layers of the painting.

I recommend that you buy the best quality materials (especially paint) that you can afford, even as a beginner.  Student grade paints have less pigment, so they don’t cover well or mix evenly, and you will be frustrated at being unable to obtain the results you expect.

If you want to learn all the technical details about the Golden color mixing guide, here is a link

Also posted in Acrylics Tagged |

3 Steps to Jump Start Your Creativity

In an earlier post, I asked what you would like for me to write about.  One of the requests I received was for a creative jump start.

Over the years, I’ve read many books about increasing creativity.  I have found three things that appear in all of them.  Try these steps the next time you want to start a new project.

BREATHE – Breathe deeply and exhale slowly.  Whether you call it meditation, prayer, or yoga, following your breath helps you relax and tap into the wordless, holistic part of your brain.

SCRATCH – In her book The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp talks about “scratching” for ideas.  You can scratch for ideas in nature, books, music, museums or shop windows. Take photos, write down snippets of conversation, observe connections between things. Don’t edit, just take it all in.  Think about possibilities for your project.  Think about how to transform or recombine your ideas.  Then let it rest and go for a walk.

MOVE – Movement, particularly rhythmic movement, seems to reset our normal pace and flow of life when we get out of kilter.  Walking, swimming and other sports provide movement.  The rhythm can also come from playing a musical instrument or doing a routine activity like ironing, raking, or knitting.  During this time, just enjoy the movement and let your subconscious process your ideas.

Now it’s time to take action.  Go to your studio, seize your materials, and START!

Tagged |

Why Use a Square Format?


Vétheuil, 1901, by Claude Monet at The Art Institute of Chicago

I hope you have enjoyed the holidays with family as much as I have.

Along with everything else going on in December, I had the good fortune to make a quick trip to Chicago and was able to spend an afternoon in the Art Institute of Chicago visiting some of my favorite Impressionist and Post Impressionist works.

The description of  Monet’s Vétheuil, 1901, included the comment,  “As he did for numerous works, beginning with canvases for the series Mornings on the Seine…, he used a nearly square canvas, so that the decorative effect takes precedence over the details of the scene itself.”

I’ve been taught that the horizontal format typically used for a landscape painting is serene while a vertical format is dynamic.  The square is supposed to be stable and balanced.  But I had never considered that using a square format removes the meaning normally associated with the format.  However, I do use a square format for my waterlily paintings, and I’m experimenting with using it for other subjects.  I’m also paying more attention to how the format affects the meaning of the work.

Do you believe the format of a painting affects its meaning?  Do you use a square format?  If so, what type of subject works well with a square format?

Tagged , |

What Is A Gallery Wrap Canvas?


Regular Canvas

Regular stretched canvas stapled on the side

Have you seen a description of a painting on a gallery wrap canvas and wondered how that was different from a regular canvas?

A normal stretched canvas is stapled on the sides and needs to be framed for a finished look.








Gallery wrap canvas

Gallery wrap canvas with no staples on edges

When the stretchers are deeper and the canvas is wrapped around to the back and stapled out of sight, it is called a gallery wrap canvas.  The edges of the image may be extended around the sides or the sides may be painted a solid color.  This type of canvas does not need to be framed and produces a more contemporary look than a framed piece.





Do you like the contemporary look of a gallery wrap canvas, or do you prefer your art in a frame?  Post your comments below.


SC State Fair, October 12-23

The South Carolina State Fair opens this Wednesday, October 12.  I have a painting of the Gervais Street Bridge in the special 225th Anniversary of Columbia exhibit and two more paintings of the bridge in the Professional Division, Painting on Canvas section.  Please visit the Fine Art exhibit in the Cantey Building and let me know what you think of the art.

Tagged , |

3 Tips for Using Acrylic Texture Mediums

Do you have a collection of acrylic mediums lying around in your studio gathering dust?  Watch this video for three tips on how to use these products.

[qt:/videos/ 320 240]


Also posted in Acrylics Tagged , |

Getting Acquainted with Gordes

Gordes, Journal

Gordes, travel journal watercolor by Lucinda Howe

Gordes is a small hill town in the Provence area of France.  The day our group visited, we were there for a short time, and I had time for only two small drawings in my travel journal.   Later, I added watercolor to remind me of my impressions of color, emphasizing the sand colored houses with terra cotta tile roofs surrounded by a variety of greens on the hillside and some purple in the shadows.

Gordes, photo

Gordes, photo by Lucinda Howe

This week in my studio, I made a small pastel painting based on the journal and photo.  The photo allows me to correct perspective and shapes, and the journal drawing adds color harmony that is not evident in the photo.  Doing a small pastel piece allows me the opportunity to become better acquainted with the unfamiliar landscape and to work out composition problems in preparation for a larger painting in the future.



Gordes, pastel

Gordes, pastel, 8x10", Lucinda Howe





Also posted in Travel, Uncategorized Tagged , |

Work in Progress

Work in Progress, Tropical Garden, Acrylic, by Lucinda Howe

Last week I gave you a lot to read, so this week I’ll make it easy for you.  Watch the short video below to see a large painting in progress.  Plan to come to visit during the Columbia Open Studio weekend May 21-22, 2011 to see if I have finished the piece. Hope to see you soon!

[qt:/videos/ 320 240]

More information about Columbia Open Studios

Also posted in Acrylics, Business, Studio, Uncategorized Tagged , , |