JAMES KELSO

                            PAINTINGS - PRINTS - DRAWINGS

JAMES KELSO

01491 613003                      PAINTINGS - PRINTS - DRAWINGS               jim@kelso.co.uk

 

Unique, original artwork from £75 to £7500.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Where did you study art?

I’m self-taught.

What paints do you use?

Oils, acrylics and watercolours.

What are acrylic paints?

All paints are pigments suspended in a carrying medium. Traditional oil paints are colours suspended in oil; watercolours are suspended in glue and so on. Acrylics arrived in the 1940s. They're polymer colours; that is, colours based on synthetic resins, which are dispersed in a clear acrylic emulsion.

Can acrylics be mixed with other paints?

You can mix watercolour paints with the acrylic medium and they become, in effect, acrylic paints.

What paint brands do you use?

I mainly use Liquitex acrylics, Winsor & Newton Artisan water-soluble oils, and Winsor & Newton watercolours. Liquitex acrylics are made with similar light-fast pigments as oils.

What are the advantages of acrylics?

The acrylic medium, so it’s said, gives a more brilliant, vivid quality. The good thing about acrylics is you thin them with water just like watercolours. Acrylics, unlike oils, dry fast. When dry they form a tough, flexible film that is completely waterproof. In fact, they have an almost rubbery elasticity that they retain, without becoming brittle, for longer than oil-paint films. Acrylic colours remain stable because the polymer medium is inert. You can make acrylics matte, semi-matte, or glossy by mixing them with appropriate mediums. No other paint gives such full-bodied, freely stroked or juicy effects. That's not to say they can do everything oils can. They can't. There are some effects you can only get with oils. But the same can be said for tempera, or watercolours, or gouache. Acrylics are versatile, easy to use and non-toxic.

Why do you also use oils?

When the first water-soluble oils were introduced I wanted to try them. My ‘studio’ was in my bedroom so it was no place for the smell of turpentine.

What grounds do you use?

I used to use canvas but I now paint on hardboard, known in the USA as Masonite. I sometimes glue two sheets back-to-back, rough side to rough side, to give added strength. I also cradle some panels with strips of mahogany along the edges as well as cross-bracing them to give extra rigidity.

Why hardboard?

Hardboard is a builder's material, smooth on one side and patterned on the other. I paint on the smooth surface. Hardboard is the most recommended board of its type for artists' use. That’s because of the way it's made. To make hardboard they explode wood fibre under steam pressure of 1000 lbs per square inch and then press the refined pulp with heat. The fibres interlock to form a permanent hard mass. There’s no binder used but, during the process, they impregnate the fibres with a small amount of sizing compound made of paraffin. This makes the fibres waterproof. The finished boards are highly resistant to moisture. They’re less liable to warp, especially if they're braced, hence the cradling. Hardboard is an entirely reliable material. It is superior to wood as a support for easel paintings.

Why the change from canvas?

I don't like the weave of the canvas showing through the paint film. It tends to impart a regular, slightly pimply texture that can impose itself on the image. I also like to scratch and attack a painting’s surface, which you can't do with canvas. As an aside, the reason canvas replaced wood as a ground, was so paintings could be rolled for transportation. Canvas has no intrinsic merit. It came to be used simply for transit reasons. Today, of course, because so many great artists have used it, canvas has a certain cachet. You can roll up a canvas painted with acrylics and the picture won't come to any harm provided you don't roll it too tight.

How do you prepare the hardboard?

I cover the hardboard with a watery wash of acrylic white gesso. This seals the panel and prevents further coats of paint being absorbed. I then apply up to six more coats of gesso. When each coat is dry, I spray it with a little water to reawaken the paint, and then rub it down with fine abrasive paper until the surface is smooth. Finally, I apply a coat of acrylic titanium white and rub that down. The result is an intensely white surface, tough and robust, yet perfectly smooth and highly reflective. I work on top of this, using paint as thinly as possible to achieve the maximum colour brightness.

What varnish do you use?

I spray the completed panel with Winsor & Newton’s Artists’ removable picture varnish. This makes it easy to clean. Simply remove the spirit varnish and any surface dirt will come off with it.

Any final finishing tips?

On the back of each painting I often draw a diagram showing how I've worked and the materials used.

Are all paintings framed?

Yes, but prints are sold unframed.

Can I choose my own frame?

Yes, but at your own expense.

Should paintings be hung out of sunlight?

Yes. Although the paints used are light fast it is wise to avoid hanging paintings in direct sunlight.

Do paintings have fixing points or brackets?

No. The paintings are strung ready to be hung, but you must supply your own X-hooks or other wall mounting fixings.

What about copyright?

When I sell a painting I retain the copyright. The copyright may be sold separately.


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