Mixing Up the Painting Process with Canvas & Coating

When San Francisco-based photo retoucher Leonard Gordon started exploring painting as a hobby, he was intrigued and influenced by Surrealist works by artists like Georgio De Chirico. He developed a similar style of artistry, but began playing with the way his artwork was finished.

Leonard Gordon applies a semi-transparent layer of thinned oil paint on his artwork, Maple Leaf, which is printed on Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas.

“I start with a line drawing projected onto a canvas,” Gordon says. “Then I paint it with acrylic and take a picture of it with my Canon EOS Mark 3, then scale it to 36×48 in Photoshop.”

Next, Gordon takes the photo of the printed piece to his friend, Dennis Mayer, a print provider in Burlingame, Calif., who prints it onto Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas using his Canon imagePROGRAF printer. Then, Mayer adds a layer of protection with Sunset Satin Coating and returns it to Gordon.

Typically, that would be the end of the process, but Gordon was intrigued with what would happen if he used thinned oil paint on top of the coating to enhance the artwork further. The result was dramatic.

“When you put the oil painting on top of the coating, the whole thing just comes alive,” he says of the painting, pictured above, before the final layer of oil painting, and after. “That’s what’s giving the painting depth. It’s all about bringing out the color of the print itself.”

Mayer has been working with the Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas for years. “I first started using it because of the Fredrix name recognition,” he says. “I like the texture and the matte finish helps to achieve an art fee to the prints.”

Gordon’s artwork, which includes Maple Leaf as well as several other Surrealist paintings, will be on display for his first gallery show this Spring at Jim Gleeson’s studio in San Francisco.

Using Print-N-Stick Fabric as an Art and Photo Medium at Elizabeth’s Art Gallery

Print-N-Stick Fabric Demo
Bethany, an employee at Elizabeth’s Art Gallery, shows how they have been printing, sticking, peeling, crumpling and re-applying LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric.

As you can tell from recent posts at the LexJet Blog, print shops, artists and photographers are finding creative ways to use the versatile LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric. At Elizabeth’s Art Gallery in Goderich, Ontario, Canada, its most recent photo exhibition, DPI 2014, features Print-N-Stick Fabric.

The proprietor of Elizabeth’s Art Gallery, Elizabeth Van den Broeck, is a custom framer, fine-art printer, painter and photographer. And, Elizabeth’s Art Gallery is not only a gallery, but a custom frame shop, fine-art print shop and art supply store that also holds workshops for children and adults, hosts art and camera clubs (the current exhibition is for a camera club), and is active in the local arts community.

Elizabeth's Art Gallery
Some of the photo art printed on LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric at the DPI 2014 exhibition at Elizabeth’s Art Gallery.

“I’m always looking for something different to print, paint and make images on; that’s always been my quest: to find different ways of looking at images. I’m also an equipment collector. I like having access to everything I could want. I like being able to do everything from absolute scratch,” says Elizabeth. “Everyone is doing canvas and different photo and fine art papers. We’re looking for other ways to work with photos. In addition to Print-N-Stick we’ve been experimenting with photo-sensitive dyes on fabric, and of course, the traditional canvas and photo prints.”

The DPI 2014 exhibit is just the beginning of Elizabeth’s use of Print-N-Stick. As part of a public art group, Elizabeth is looking for ways to provide seasonal public art, as opposed to permanent pieces. She calls it a “back-door deal” that literally makes use of the back doors in Goderich.

“I’m thinking it would be cool to do temporary pieces that can be applied and removed with no indication they were there. I want to apply art with Print-N-Stick to my whole back door and see if we can do the back doors of the back alleys of all the spaces in the town square, so it’s kind of a back-door deal,” she says.

Elizabeth already has a test piece on her back door that she says has been “seriously mistreated,” meaning that it’s been crumpled up, applied to various surfaces, peeled off and applied again, finally on the back door. “The print quality is perfect, and it’s very easy to apply,” she adds.

Elizabeth's Art Gallery
One of Elizabeth’s encaustic paintings, which won Best in Show at Paint Ontario.

Elizabeth has an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 that she’s had for the past five years. The printer, through no fault of its own, has a mind of its own sometimes. The printer was a victim of an F3 tornado that ripped through Goderich in 2011, damaging or destroying most of the buildings and ripping out all the trees in a park adjacent to Elizabeth’s building.

Elizabeth’s Art Gallery sustained roof and water damage and was out of commission for about eight months. It could have been worse, as the building next door was completely torn away by the tornado.

That’s probably why Elizabeth describes her business, beyond its eclectic photo and art mix, as “enduring.” She’s been in business for 22 years and has been printing since the inception of digital printing back in the ‘90s.

Elizabeth's Art Gallery
A sampling of some of Elizabeth’s oil paintings. Check out the collection of her work at www.elizabeths.ca under ELIZABETH’S ART.

You should check out her magnificent original paintings, which you can find at www.elizabeths.ca under ELIZABETH’S ART. There you’ll find her encaustic, pastel, oil, acrylic and textured acrylic paintings.

“I try to push colors and paint negative space. I paint the space between things first, so that whatever the subject is, they just arrive,” she says.

Prints that Win: Something Old, Something New

Portrait photography

Lightning does strike twice, or at least the LexJet Sunset Award for outstanding photography did. Ann Naugher was honored earlier this year with a LexJet Sunset Award at PPA’s Southeast District competition for her portrait entitled Windswept, and most recently added another to her collection with another portrait entitled Monet’s Garden at the PPA’s Southwest District competition.

Naugher’s specialty is children’s portrait photography enhanced with Corel Painter, printed on fine-art canvas, embellished with oil paints and then finished with a lacquer. What results are classic yet timeless pieces of art that have gained a nationwide following of enthusiastic and appreciative customers.

Though Naugher has carved a popular and award-winning niche with her style of portrait photography, she likes to share credit with the artist who paints her backgrounds – David Maheu of Backgrounds by Maheu – and the subjects of the photos.

For the Monet’s Garden portrait, Maheu painted a rendition of Monet’s Rose Garden at Giverny, which Naugher then used as a background and the key element from which everything else in the photograph flowed.

“My business is primarily based on high-end, classic children’s work. When I do ‘classic’ I never want it to be stodgy, boring or monochromatic; I want to incorporate contemporary with classic,” explains Naugher. “The old master’s work at the time was very contemporary and the colors used are very much in vogue today. I wanted to give my client something new and vibrant, but born of something old and timeless.”

When Naugher visited with the judges following the PPA Southwest District competition, her goals were corroborated by their comments, such as that it’s a classic portrait that incorporates good lighting, balance and composition. “That’s what I was hoping to accomplish,” she says.

Monet’s Garden garnered a 99 out of 100 at the competition. Previously, at the Oklahoma competition (Naugher is based in Tulsa), it scored a 100.