Welcome Bienvenidos!

* Individual and group art classes are available :) Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com

* Summer classes in Coloring, Painting and Mosaic are starting! Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com to arrange a local class for a fun summer activity. Ages 9 to adult, beginner to advanced.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Image File Quality Info for Artists

Today's post, with more info than tips!

I'll share little nuggets of knowledge that are helpful to me. Hope they will be of use to you too!
(Actually, in this post there are a Lot of nuggets to save for later reference, even if you don't use them).

Nitro Surf's Up!, Sue Betanzos,  9"x12
 Colored pencil on Strathmore 400 mix media paper.

In this digital age, there have never been more choices regarding printing.
Artists, photographers,and the general public can print images on almost Anything.
Here's a review of the "10 BEST ONLINE PHOTO PRINTING SERVICES 2018.

What is important to know is the image quality that is submitted to the online site of choice.
The better the image quality, the better the product. This goes for portrait work too.
Artists with local clients often prefer to take their own subject photos. Especially if the client photos are from a phone camera or not the quality that can be worked from.

Ready for some tech info? Save the links to refer back to if needed. Log them in your mental rolodex as you use them. Looks like a lot, but it really isn't once you use a few of them.

Many sites will require specific print formats:

• RGB - Common color model for DIY print sites. Red, Green, Blue. Computer monitors are RGB.
CMYK -  Used in printing process. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black).  This color selection works great for painting too.  Better than the regular "color wheel" theories. (Ex.: blue + yellow does not make as nice a green as Cyan + Yellow. More on this later).

Some of the common file types are listed below. Click on the letters for an info link.

PDF - portable document format. Very common, preserves original fonts, sizes etc.
PNG - portable networks graphics. Larger files, preserves transparency. Printful only takes PNG or PSD.
TIFF - Tagged Image File Format. Large files. Great for image printing resolution.
JPEG - Or JPG, is a form of compressed file. Very commonly used for web images or transmitting.
EPS - Encapsulated Post Script. Commonly used with Adobe Illustrator for vector based images.
PSD - Photoshop file. Many platforms accept psd files. For images edited in Adobe Photoshop.
AI - Files with this extension are created in Adobe Illustrator.
BMP - Bitmap Image File. More used on Windows platforms.

Pixels and Dots Per Inch. Why it's good to know them.

Photographer Andrew Dacey  has a great article explaining the difference between DPI and PPI.
Once you get it, it seems pretty simple.
PX - Pixels. Computer resolution. Very important to know when creating specific image sizes for web and printing. I use a converter like THIS ONE 
DPI - Dots Per Inch. The reason why some images will look grainy, soft, not clear - low dpi.

There you are, some terms you will become more familiar with as you use a few.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Free photo sites for artists and designers

My Tuesday Tip: Free reference photos for artists!

These days it's pretty easy to get good quality resource photos For Free or a very low cost.
The photos are usually used to either paint from for artists or design with for graphics.

Which means there is no excuse to steal photos off the web. Two words: Copyright. Infringement.

Above: Screen shot of Wildlife Reference Photos site.

Below is a list of free stock photo sites (except one very reasonable one). There are many free sites , but these seem to be the most popular for quality photos at hi resolution options to download safely without virus issues.

Pixabay: probably the most popular free share site.


Unsplash.com: another very popular free stock photo site.


Wildlife reference Photos : excellent quality photos. Only 5.00 an image.

• Photos for Artists FB Group: a closed group on Facebook that you apply to.

There are many stock photo sites. Professional photographers will sometimes charge higher fees, depending on their reputation. For example, a photographer for National Geographic or other high profile media is going to have a higher fee than a hobby photographer.

By professionals I mean those that make their living from their photography art vs those that like to take lots of photos.
You will often find what you need in both and if the photos are what you want, always ask if you can use them.

Prices range from free to 40.00 to 80.00 on up. Again, depending on the reputation of the photographer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Australian Shepherd Mini Painting

Acrylics will always be my go to medium. Fast drying, easy to use. This is Aussie Risa on Canson Watercolor paper 140 lb paper, 5"x7".

Walmart had the best price by at least 4.00 from other stores. Of course, with a 40% off 1 item online coupon, Michaels would also be a good deal.

The Strathmore site is also pretty fun and informative. Their Strathmore 400 Mix Media paper is
great paper for a lot of media, it holds up well with good weight and paper tooth. They have a new one that is an even heavier paper. (340 lb)

For just casual sketching I have used the Canson Mix Media 9"x12" for years. And guess what?  Again, Walmart sells it in my town. It's super reasonably priced and the 98 lb paper is heavy enough to take most media without much buckling.

The brushes are the synthetic Simply Simon from Michaels. Their cheapest since I go through them often.
You can also get it all at Michaels and Hobby Lobby for even less by using their online 40% off coupon for one item.

No matter what you decide to use, it's important to practice - a lot. Just start drawing, painting. Pick something that moves you and just Start :)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Colored Pencil Dog Portrait of Faeyre

This lovely girl was easy to be inspired by. Her soft steady gaze is part of her calm wise demeanor.
Faeyre is an Australian Shepherd.

Colored pencil is a slow medium. My shortcut for this is using odorless mineral spirits to quickly fill the paper with an underpainting for the pencil layers. I like Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits, but Gamsol works too.

Much of my work in all media involves an underpainting. Painting and drawing are foundations I always start with.
Colored pencils used: Prismacolor, Faber Castell, Koh-I-Noor. Each brand has a quality I like. This was mostly done in Prismacolor with their soft, buttery rich color letdown. The fine details were done with the harder leads of the Koh-I-Noor and FC.

Prismacolor pencils are wax based. Faber Castell and K.N are oil based. Both dissolve well and blend with each other when the mineral spirits are used. Paper used is Strathmore bristol vellum in a soft white. This colored pencil painting has 6 layers of pencil to achieve depth and richness of color.

I loved painting this lovely girl!

I always make a color swatch to sample the colors I think I might want to use.
The ones with the numbers are the colors I used for this portrait.

• PC = Prismacolor
• FB = Faber Castell
• KN = Koh-I-Noor

Sunday, October 8, 2017

You Are Loved Dog Portrait

Australian Shepherd dog portrait in graphite finished. I love drawing animals, dogs especially. It was really fun to play with the Faber Castell 9000 pencils. I'll list the tools I used for this at the bottom.

Drawing is the foundation for all, whether you doodle or want more. It's what humans have been doing to express themselves since the cave days of drawing :)

"You Are Loved", 14'x13.5", Dog Portrait, Graphite on paper. SueBetanzos.com

Tools of the trade for my drawing below:

• A set of Faber Castell 9000 pencils in the leads of: HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B.
• A 9B and extra 6B Derwent pencil because I use those pencils  so much.
• Kum hand pencil sharpener.
• Mechanical .05 mm pencil with 4B lead for fine details.
• Pentel click eraser.
• Kneaded eraser.
• Small pointed blending tool to soften and fill some areas.

As you can see, my favorite pencils for graphite portraits are the 4B, 6B, 8B, 9B.
Any pencil is good for your sketch book.  Now start drawing! :)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I See You Dog Portrait, Graphite

This Aussie dog portrait is almost finished. I love working in graphite pencils on a favorite dog breed, the Australian Shepherd.

This girlie's eyes say "I see you, you are loved" to me :) It is the message that shines from our companion's eyes whenever they look at us.

The Faber Castell 9000 pencils are awesome and I'll finish the darkest areas soon for contrast.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I See You, Dog Art Portrait

Playing with my new Faber Castell 9000 graphite pencil set. The smooth leads stay sharp and leave rich marks, shading beautifully.

Also using a .05 Pentel hi-polymer lead in a mechanical pencil with a 4B lead helps get fine lines without sharpening. I love drawing animals. It's great to flip to drawing after the marathon mosaic mural :) Drawing is my foundation since forever.

This Aussie girl lives in Switzerland. The graphite is a study for a painting to establish the main values (lights and darks).  I was going to use it as an underpainting, but decided to let it stand on it's own.

Grisaille underpainting is really helpful when painting.  It is a technique many of the old and new masters use.
The main work of composition and values is established in black and white. Then it's just a matter of coloring or painting over it.

I like to establish the darkest areas first in relation to the lightest. Then it's easier to find your middle values. The eyes are usually the focal point in portraits. Get them right and the rest falls into place... usually ....

Monday, August 28, 2017

Artful Oasis

The finished mural with a few photo edits :)

After blending out some of the palm tree on the yellow area and color adjusting.

Before photo editing. Early morning was the best time to finish the edges, but the light was in a lot of shadow.  The mosaic mural was centered over the pool.  Their landscaper put the palm trees on either side after the installation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Red Glass Mosaic Mural Progress

Can't wait to see this on the wall, sparkling with it's rich jewel toned colors!

Almost ready to grout, and the optional water bubble circles will be left out of the mural.

With the heavy moisture in the air, installation will be moved another week so the adhesive will have time to cure. The adhesive will continue to cure for about a month, but a week will be good for installation.

The grout will be a neutral gray in a middle tone, maybe 2 shades. Fast forward a couple of years in the intense Tucson desert climate  and it will fade to a shade lighter, as all exterior things do.
Except glass, ceramic, stone, some metals!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Red Glass Mosaic Mural

6'x2.5' stained glass mosaic *** Almost Finished! *** Yay!

Just the tip to go. Then going back to add in bubbles (circles), accents, adjustments etc. If I get the glow tiles in time, I'll use them for some of the bubbles in the blue areas. Using iridescent glass now.

Will use dark grey grout as it will fade in a few years to light grey in the intense sun. Maybe black in the red areas.

Black marks in the center are where the mosaic halves join. Blue stickers are where the bolts go to install. Sanded calk will finish the edges when installed.

Fabricated with glass from local Expressions Art Glass and my stash of glass :)
To be installed at exterior pool area. Stay tuned for installation news.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Red Abstract Glass Mosaic

A peek at the progress of this lovely glass mosaic.
Each glass piece is carefully matched in color, hand cut, shaped. Hundreds of pieces go into a mosaic.  It's further along now and I'll take new pics to share soon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

St. Anthony and the Silver Hoops

A small, strange magical story that happened last week.

Have you ever heard of of the little prayer to St. Anthony regarding lost objects?

I've always used it with good results - don't ask. I'm not an organized religion follower, yet I enjoy some of the Catholic saints.  I'm known for my St. Francis artwork and enjoy painting them because of the love and relationship he had with nature and animals.

St. Anthony is another person who has had a positive effect.
My little magic story:

I wore a pair of silver hoops shopping one day and discovered one missing when I got back into my hot car after shopping . I went back into the store and asked if anyone had turned it in - of course not.

I was bummed. So even though the earring had been lost at the store, I repeated the little prayer several times when I got home, then gave up. This was three weeks ago.

The other day, I got a back pack out I hadn't used -  since May. When I reached into the front pocket, there was the other silver hoop earring...
Honestly, I was astonished and in wonder - but refrained from the usual questions. Focused on Gratitude instead :)
Yes, magic Does exist, especially when we least expect it.