Sunday, February 28, 2016
There used to be a lot of "pencil extenders" around to make it easier to use up pencil stubs. In WWII, Britain outlawed the use of the rotary pencil sharpener because it wasted so much wood and core. Hand-sharpening with a knife was the only allowed method. Today, many artists prefer to hand-sharpen to acquire the type of point they prefer.
There is often an assumption that a lot of the art supplies so common now have been around "forever", but it was actually 1936 when the first Derwent coloured pencils were made. By 1938 this brand of fine art pencils was sold around the world. Through 1950 to 1960, they were reformulated to use non-toxic materials. In 1974 Britain passed a safety limit on the use of heavy metals in all pencils. Until the mid-20th century, many pencils used to have lead in the outside paint coating so it was possible to get lead poisoning from chewing on pencils. Now, non-toxic paints and lacquers are used. Cumberland pencil launched charcoal pencils in 1994 - and now many artists couldn't do without them! Another innovation, as recent as 2006, was Inktense, shown above - the first water-soluble ink pencil. It comes in pencil form but a brush and water yields watercolour effects with more intensity than regular watercolour pencils. Another recent development is the Onyx (2008) which is blacker than a 9B pencil.
Today we are fortunate to have relatively inexpensive pencils in a variety of hardness, coloured pencils and water-soluble pencils all readily available for our use.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Friday, February 12, 2016
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
I've just been reading that sales are down in some areas at the high-priced art auctions. I think it is unfortunate that people often don't trust their own eyes and follow what they personally like. According to the article, the really rich are still buying as "every collection has to have a Picasso, a Richter, a Warhol". Buying by "signature" is sad, I think. There is a lot of good art out there- a lot of it very affordable and something that a person can continually enjoy. There are Picassos I like, and lots that I wouldn't want on my wall if I was among the very rich. Why not just have what you like?