FREQUENT QUESTIONS

How do you get such rich, deep colors with watercolor?
What are your framing suggestions?
Do you accept Commissions?
What is the Giclee process used to create your prints?
What is archival quality framing?
Can you paint with watercolors on canvas?

Can you paint with watercolors on canvas?
Yes! It’s true. Creative Mark produces a fine portraiture canvas (tightly woven) which is treated with a special gesso (primer) that allows pigments to “sink in.” It is alkaline based so it doesn’t resist the water like gesso used for acrylics and oils. The process has taken a few years to develop, with lots of experimenting on types of muslin, kinds of primers, and final finishes. I still use the Da Vinci watercolors and charcoal. The techniques are classic to watercolor work. When I have completed the image, I spray the canvas with a crystal clear coat of acrylic polymer to seal the pigments into the canvas. Then I spray a triple thick coat of “plastic” to help protect against abrasion and scratches. The last coat is a UV resistant polymer. It blocks the harmful sun and light rays and keeps the image. The finished product is archival and is tested for colorfastness; the pigments to 175 years, the finshes to 225 years… may we live long enough to see them fade!

How do you get such rich, deep colors with watercolor?
The colors you see on a finished piece are the result of many layers of transparent watercolor. Each individual layer of watercolor is light and can look washed out. The deep colors and subtle shading are achieved by painting eight or more colors one over the other. So, each finished painting is the cumulative effect of the same image being painted over and over with different layers of color. I also use only about eleven colors in the grumbacher line. These colors are tried and true for my palate from experimenting over the years. They are very rich colors to begin with.

What are your framing suggestions?
Personal taste and your decorating scheme will dictate varying answers. However, I have found what works most often is a gold wood frame. I prefer simple, but ornates can work just as well. I always double mat using a "Palm Beach White" produced by Crescent, "Dove" produced by Tru-view, or comparable mat board. The width of the mat can vary from three inches for a smaller piece to six inches on a larger one. When in doubt, go with the wider mat. I find this visual buffer allows the painting to stand on its own instead of competing with the colors and decorations surrounding it.

Do you accept Commissions?
Yes. I am quiet comfortable interpreting existing images into colors more suitable for your environment or adapting images for personal significance (the right number of sisters around the table, etc.) Typically, I talk through the request with the client and develop an appropriate price for the proposed work. Then, a sketch is created and submitted for approval. Upon approval, half the price is collected and the painting is begun. When the painting is complete, a digital image is e-mailed for final approval. With final approval, the balance of payment is collected and the piece is shipped. Please call or e-mail to start the commission process.

What is the Giclee process used to create your prints?
Giclee (pronounced zhee-clay) is a French word meaning "to spray." Giclee printing is the current quality standard for reproducing limited edition prints. High-resolution scanning and digital printers combine to spray extremely fine droplets of ink onto heavy watercolor paper or canvas. The result is outstanding visual quality with sharp detail and brilliant color saturation.

What is archival quality framing?
Archival framing indicates the types of materials used in the framing process. Archival materials are designed to protect the painting and ensure it remains in its original condition. Cheaper materials contain acid that attacks the watercolor paper causing it to weaken and discolor. All of the foam board and mat board used in our framing process is acid free. Also, ultraviolet light attacks the watercolor pigments causing them to fade over time. We use conservation glass that blocks 98% of these ultraviolet rays.

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Tom Barnes Fine Art LLC, 85 Poplar Street, Guyton, GA 31312     757.477.2599              info@tombarnesfineart.com