• Art

    Using a Limited Palette

    This type of palette consists of the basic primary color including blue, yellow and red. You will also want to include a white and black for mixing purposes. The specific tube of each color you choose will change your palette slightly. By using these three colors, along with black and white, you can mix any color imaginable. Working with a limited palette will improve your color mixing skills and overall ability as an artist. Who knows? You might even fall in love with painting in this manner.

    Tips for Using a Limited Palette

    When you first experiment with a limited palette, you may find yourself lost. This is a natural reaction. Simply calm down and remember the basics. Blue and yellow will mix to green and so one and so forth. The key to successfully painting with a limited palette is having patience. Once you beginning picking up the various color mixtures, you’ll memorize them making the process much easier.

    When mixing colors from the primaries, you should always start by placing your lightest color down first and then mixing into it. For instance, to mix a green, place a moderate amount of yellow on your palette and begin adding blue. Continue adding a small amount of blue until you reach the specific green you’re looking for. You can also warm up the green a little by adding a little red, change the color’s value by adding white or darken the color with a little bit of black.

    Over time and with a little practice, you’ll begin to see the different possibilities of using this type of palette. When you do this, you’ll understand that using a limited palette doesn’t not limit your colors at all. They’re all right there. You just need to mix them.

    Benefits of a Limited Palette

    I cannot preach it enough. Painting with a limited number of colors is an exceptional method of learning to mix colors. You’ll be forced to learn to mix colors successfully by painting with a limited number of colors.

    Experienced oil painters like to use a limited palette because it allows them to keep their paintings harmonious. Since all of your colors are creating using just the three primaries, your finished painting will always display perfect harmony.

  • Art

    Contemporary Ghanaian Performing Arts

    Music

    Ghanaian contemporary music has been influenced by foreign music styles and concepts though there is not a total eradication of the indigenous music styles. Some contemporary Ghanaian musicians blend the indigenous and foreign music styles in composing their songs. The foreign music styles that have influenced Ghanaian music today include jazz, pop music, Blues, Rock and Roll, Reggae, Ragga, R&B, Indian and Arabic songs. Contemporary Ghanaian music includes highlife which has more of the indigenous music elements, the hip-life which fuses slow lyric choruses with Ragga or rap music. Currently, there is the hip-pop music that is an exact rendition of the Western style of music though the lyrics and language are mostly Ghanaian in nature. There is also the church or choral music, brass band music, regimental or military music as well as the classical music.

    Several foreign musical instruments are used hand in hand with the indigenous musical instruments. These include guitars, pianos, trumpets like the saxophone, foreign drums, cymbals etc. Unlike indigenous Ghanaian music, contemporary Ghanaian music is recorded in high technological recording studios where other artificial elements are added to the originally composed music to bring it to foreign standards. They are then copied on Compact Disks, DVD’S, VCD’S, EVD’S etc.
    Contemporary Ghanaian music is played at theatres, church services, parties, concerts, dance halls, and parks. They are played during religious services to enhance praises and worship. They are also played during social functions like marriage feasts, sporting activities and the like to entertain those in attendance. During workshops, talks, and seminars, music is played to relieve stress and boredom during intermissions of the program. They are played to boost the morale of competitors in various forms of competitions. Others are played to educate us on morality, patriotism and nationalism. There are various music contest and competitions held in Ghana to promote music. These include TV3 Mentor, X-Factor, etc.

    Popular contemporary Ghanaian music stars include Dr. Ephraim Amu who composed various Coral songs for the Ghanaian community. Others include Agya Koo Nimo, Cindy Thompson, Yaw Sarpong, Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Nana Acheampong, Obrafo, Sarkodie etc.

    Dance

    Contemporary Ghanaian dance, like music, has been influenced by foreign dance styles. Some of these foreign dance styles include cracking, electric boogie etc. Dance is performed to entertain people and to express their sentiments towards one another. Contemporary Ghanaian dance forms include quickstep, mambo, waltz, foxtrot, salsa, boogie, cha-cha-cha, robot movement, twist, break and now, Azonto. These dance styles are performed at various functions such as church, weddings, funerals, parties, durbars, and festivals etc. Several dance competitions are held today in Ghana to promote dancing such as the Malta Guinness Street Dance contest. Dancing is now a very lucrative enterprise in contemporary Ghana.

    Drama

    Contemporary Ghanaian drama is performed on a stage in a theatre. Unlike the indigenous Ghanaian drama where the audience sometimes interact with the audience while the performance is in season, contemporary Ghanaian drama is performed uninterrupted by the actors and actresses who play the various roles in the story depicted in the performance. The audience, however, participates by clapping, booing and shouting in a bid to express their sentiments towards the performance. Contemporary Ghanaian drama includes plays, comedies, operas, and cantatas.

    Popular contemporary Ghanaian drama groups include the Abibigroma drama group, the National Dance Ensemble, Osofo Dadzie drama group, Adabraka drama Troupe and the Tsadidi drama group. Popular drama themes in contemporary Ghana include the ‘The Black African Slave Trade, by the National Dance Ensemble, ‘Ananse and the gun man’ by Joe deGraft, ‘The dilemma of a ghost’ by Ama Ataa Aidoo and the celebrated ‘Marriage of Anansewaa’ by Efua Sunderland.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Types, Characteristics and Uses of Paper

    1. Art Paper- This is a smooth, high gloss, coated paper with both sides coated with Kaolin. It is used for making calendars, brochures, covers for magazines, labels, book jackets etc.
    2. Bond Paper-This is a strong printing material that has been given a plate finish. It has good durability and strength. Its stiffness is good and has a good erasing quality. It also has an excellent ink-receptive quality. It is used for drawing, printing, making of letterheads, magazines, notebooks, brochures etc. Watercolours and permanent markers can be used on it with success.
    3. Bank Paper- This is a thin, smooth, light-weight paper usually white though some are coloured. They are used for producing currency notes.
    4. Brown Paper- This is a strong, buff coloured sheet that has great tensile strength. It is used for making envelopes, covering notebooks and for wrapping items.
    5. Blotting paper- This is fairly strong and glossy used for producing flowers.
    6. Cartridge Paper- This is strong, heavy stock, and textured. It is also coarse, off white, absorbent and thicker than bond sheet. It is used for drawing, making prints, book covers and poster work.
    7. Carbon Paper- This is a thin material that is either coated at one side or both sides with a dry impressionable ink. It is used to produce identical copies of original documents.
    8. Cardboard- This is a thicker, stiffer material that comes in a variety of colours and weight. It is used for producing boxes, books and packages.
    9. Cover stock- This refers to any heavyweight paper that can be used for binding magazines, brochures, booklets etc.
    10. Chrome Coat -This is a type of glossy paper that has been coated with chrome at one side of the paper.
  • Painting

    Fabric Painting

    First you need to choose the item you wish to paint. Whilst not too important better quality items will give better results and after all if you are spending your time creating your unique piece you want the finished item to be good.

    There are 3 options when painting fabric, fabric pens, fabric paints and 3D fabric pens.

    Pens are easier to use but generally can only be used on light coloured fabrics. They are also not really suitable for filling areas. Fabric pens are available individually or in sets. Dylon and Pebeo both make good quality pens.

    Paints, whilst a little harder to use, are great for block colour and if you choose opaque fabric paints these are suitable for both light and dark coloured fabrics.

    3D fabric pens are harder to use but can create some great textures and effects on your item.

    Sometimes the best method is to use pens to outline and put detail on, then use the paints to fill in and then further embellish using 3D pens.

    When you have chosen an item to paint and have your paints or pens to hand, it is time to start. If your item is new I would recommend you wash it first. Place a piece of card in between the fabric, eg inside a t-shirt or pencil-case so the colours do not run through to the back and let your imagination run wild.

    When the paint has dried (with the exception of the 3D pens) most items will require ironing to fix to make it washable. Do this as recommended by the manufacturer (usually a cool setting) on the reverse or with a piece of fabric in between so you do not iron directly onto the fabric paint. When fixed items painted with fabric paint can be washed on a cool cycle wash (40c). It is usually best to turn them inside out first.

    These are the basics to begin with so now it is up to you and your imagination to create your own unique design. Make your own unique gifts for friends and family.

  • Painting

    Caring For Paintbrushes

    Avoid storing brushes with the bristles facing down

    If you let your brushes rest in a jar of water with the bristles facing down, this can cause lasting damage to the bristles. What can happen is that the pressure on the bristles can cause them to become misshapen – they can bend and spread apart. When this happens, it’s pretty much always irreversible. It can happen even if you leave your brushes for just a few minutes. What you should do is always rest your brushes horizontally so there’s no chance of the bristles becoming misshapen. Alternatively you can buy paintbrush holders, but again make sure to store the brushes with the bristles facing up.

    Avoid storing brushes in solvent or water

    Most artists will store their brushes in water at some point, but there are actually a few why reasons why this shouldn’t be done. Firstly, when working with acrylics or watercolours, the water can gradually cause lasting damage by causing the wooden handle to swell or even crack. As for oil paints, the solvents used to clean brushes contain a number of different chemicals that can cause damage to the ferrule; more specifically, these chemicals can damage the glue that attaches the bristles to the ferrule. This can cause the ferrule to become separated from the handle.

    Clean the base of the bristles

    The reason why you want to take special care with cleaning the base of the bristles is because paint can easily get stuck there. If this happens, it can cause the bristles to spread apart and lose their original shape. It can be quite hard painting the base of the bristles, but again it’s important to make sure there’s no paint left to dry there. All you have to do is just wash your brush with warm, soapy water, making sure you get rid of all the paint. Then rinse the brush with cold water. If you happen to spot any paint, just repeat the steps until you’re sure the base of the bristles is free from paint.

  • Art

    Matting Art

    Humidity always has an effect on paper, causing it to expand and contract. If paper comes in contact with too much moisture, tide lines or even mold can develop. On the other hand, if paper becomes too dry, the fibers become brittle and could crack and tear. Matboard separates the artwork from the glass and protects it from direct contact with moisture. When matting, it is important to use acid-free matboard to prevent acid-burn which can cause yellowing in artwork. You should only use a mat window and back board made of 100% rag board or the lignin-free, alkaline-buffered mat board especially for art preservation.

    Over time due to UV light and pollutants in the air, both standard and neutralized matboard will return to its acidic state, turning yellow to brown. It should not be used with any work of monetary or sentimental value. Museum quality matboards are:

    • 100% rag board is made from cotton and therefore contains no acidic wood lignin. Use for fine art, signed prints and needle art.
    • 100% Alpha Cellulose is matboard made from wood fibers that have been pulped extensively and chemically purified to remove lignins and other acid-causing materials to make it acid-free, then buffered for an alkaline reserve to protect against airborne contaminants. Safe for fine art and signed prints.
    • NONBUFFERED 100% RAG BOARD is a special rag board made without buffering agents. Use it for certain types of photographs (albumen, dye transfer and chromogenic prints) and textiles (silk and wool) because buffering in regular rag board could react to the acidic dyes used in these textiles and processes, altering coloration.

    The mounting mat acts as an anchor for precise positioning of the picture. Use an archival masking tape, or better yet, an acid-free linen tape. Homemade starch paste is the choice of conservators it is even better than the commercial tapes marketed as archival. Attach artwork to the back mat with high-quality hinges made of Japanese paper. These hinges are adhered to the back of the artwork and to the mount board with either rice or wheat starch paste. Some preservationists like to use methyl cellulose paste also. All of these pastes are reversible, meaning they can be removed without damaging the art.

  • Art

    Stand Up Comedy Advice

    Stage Confidence

    The first of my stand up comedy advice has to do with stage confidence. All creative performers are required to overcome their demons; only they have to do it on stage and you as a comedian need to keep your sense of humor while you overcome them. This article will provide you strategies for overcoming some of the demons such as fear of the stage, hecklers, bombed shows, and forgotten lines so that you can exude confidence while you are on stage.

    Fear of the Stage

    The second of my stand up comedy advice has to do with fear of the stage. The ironic part of the phrase “fear of the stage” or “stage fright” is that you really are not afraid of the stage, are you? The stage is just pieces of wood and a slab of concrete that you stand on. What you are truly afraid of is failing and not living up to your expectations or those of someone else. Being afraid of the stage is not because of what it happening right now; it is because of what you think might happen later.

    Now that you are a comedian and have joined the ranks of those who have come before, you need to understand that everything you do from this day on is going to take you into the unknown. As a comedian, you will venture into the unknown every day, and this can be intimidating. You can either decide to turn around and go down a new path, or you can grab the bull by the horns and go on with your dream.

    As you venture into the unknown world of being a comedian, consider my stand up comedy advice and take a workshop or find a teacher to guide you along your path. The more you work with your teacher and practice your routines, the more tools you will discover. The more you practice using those tools, the more fun you will have and the more you will realize that the unknown is just a new playground.

    Understanding that the unknown is just a new playground is only the beginning. As you learn to use these tools you may still have some stage fright; this is due to one of two situations: the anxiety before the show and the fear that overtakes you while you are on stage.

  • Painting

    About Dusting Paintings

    To safely and effectively dust a painting, you should use an artist’s brush with natural hair. The bristles should be soft and, most importantly, completely clean. Never use dust cloths because the threads can be caught by raised bits of paint. Avoid using stiff bristle brushes or feather dusters because these can quite easily scratch the painted surface. You should never dust a painting with anything that’s moist, otherwise you run the risk of the paint becoming discoloured or even falling off the canvas. Finally, ensure that anything with chemicals on it never comes into contact with the painting. If you’ve been using an old cloth to dust a painting, for example, that old cloth may very well have polish on it, which can cause paint to fall away from the painting.

    To dust your painting, make sure your painting is propped up and have it leaning forward a bit. By having the painting at a forward angle, the dust is going to fall away from the painting on to the floor. Get your brush and go over the painting slowly, lightly and gently. Either work horizontally or vertically. Once you’ve gone over the painting once, go over it again just to be sure you’ve got all the dust off. If you’re dusting the painting’s frame, you should go about it the same way. With the frame, you don’t have to just use a brush; instead you can use a soft cloth or something similar. It’s very important that you don’t apply water or any chemicals to the frame.

    The less anything comes into contact with your painting, the better. The less you dust your painting, the less of a chance there is that any damage could be done to it. Of course, you have to dust your painting sometime, otherwise a film of dust is going to build up and affect the way your painting looks. Dusting your painting once or twice a year should be enough. The frame should probably need to be dusted a bit more often. Don’t fall into the habit of dusting the whole painting as soon as you notice a single bit of dust on it, otherwise you’re going to be dusting it far too often and the risk of damaging it will increase. It’s better to dust it only when it really does need to be dusted.

  • Painting

    Use a Painting Knife

    Painting knives are mainly used for applying paint on to a canvas. Because they come in different shapes and sizes, a variety of different effects can be produced. Using a shorter blade can create angular strokes, while using a longer blade makes it easier to put down a long stroke of colour in one go. Painting knives can also be used instead of a brush and are useful for adding texture to a painting. Using a painting knife to apply paint is similar to buttering a piece of bread.

    The two are often confused because they are very similar. Palette knives have a flexible, blunt blade that’s straight and wide with a rounded edge. Palette knives are more suited to mixing oil and acrylic paints on a palette, hence their name. Many people do refer to painting knives as palette knives and vice versa, even though they are different.

    Scrape the knife across the surface of the paint, as if you were getting butter or jam on to a knife. Hold the handle firmly with a tight grip and use your wrist if you want to change the angle of the knife in relation to the canvas. The simply apply the paint like you would apply butter or jam to some bread. It’s that easy, even though it is a bit different from using an ordinary brush. There are a few different techniques that can be used for extra effects.

    You can produce very thin lines of colour by dipping the knife edge into some paint then gently tapping the knife on to the canvas. Or you can spread the paint around as if it were butter, smearing it on to the canvas. This way you can have a completely flat texture. If you want ridges in your paint, simply life your knife up from the surface of the paint as you go along. You can even use the tip of the blade to scratch into wet paint, creating a variety of different effects; the sharper the knife’s edge, the finer the line will be. You can even alternate the pressure as you apply the paint, creating different effects in a single go.

    The good thing about painting knives is that they can be used with any types of paint, even watercolours. You’ll get better effects if you use a paint that is quite consistent and retains its form, as well as any marks you make with the knife. A handy hint for using acrylics is to add a bit of modelling paste so the paint will be a bit thicker. Beware that some additives can affect how long it takes paints to dry. Additives can help retain imprints and add to the overall consistency of the paint.

    This article has given an overview of painting knives and some ideas as to what they’re used for and how to use them. If you’ve always painting with brushes and fancy trying something different, go for a painting knife. Experiment with different paints, colours and techniques. Learn how the knife can add different effects to your painting and implement these into your next work to add texture and depth.