Euclid Art Associationís April Meeting Featured Euclid Artist, Don Wells
At our April meeting, we featured local Euclid artist, Don Wells, demonstrating Airbrush Techniques in acrylics. Don called his presentation, “Treasures at Night”. As he proceeded to paint on his prepared canvas of purple and yellow, the hidden treasures of balance and symbolism began to appear. His tool of choice is an airbrush, a small air-operated tool that sprays paint on a surface by means of compressed air, but he has not given up on the use of traditional brushes or even his finger. Working off a tank of compressed air (using CO2 for less noise), he first tested the air and paint flow. He then began building structure on the painting, free hand, using white paint to start with. The further away his airbrush was from the canvas, the softer the rendering. For a finer line, his whole arm moved, up and down, 1/8 to 1/2-inch from the canvas. “By starting off soft, you are not committed yet”, he said. Don likes acrylics (water based with low VOC) because “you can continue to layer over until you are satisfied that you have given your picture life and depth.” Don displayed a high level of energy and enthusiasm as he painted. We sat in quiet amazement as we watched Don paint, interacting with him by asking many questions.
There is a whole new vocabulary of terms and techniques to learn with airbrushing. Don used a ‘dagger’ stroke, moving in and out over a range to build up depth. He also used fluffy fiber found in pillows, as a stencil to create cloud structures. To help define edges, he used a piece of mylar to guide the paint for a straight edge or a french curve for a different effect. He even asked young Jaden to tear a piece of tissue paper in a zigzag shape that he used to create mountains. He would stop occasionally to clear out the siphon or snap on a different color. To get a gray color, he ‘chased’ white through the gun with black. “You only get a few seconds to chase out the gray”, he said. And, you will need good ‘trigger’ control to avoid pitfalls of overpainting. Don said, “Feel comfortable and have fun. If you make a mistake, just paint over it!”
Don started his airbrushing career working at Randall Mall for a local shop called Button’s and Tees. That’s where he developed a love for acrylics and other unconventional techniques. Not only does he express his passion for airbrushing on a variety of mediums, he also digitally creates amazing t-shirt designs. Don now devotes a substantial amount of his time teaching students this custom trade at Ohio Technical College. In addition, he recently started teaching airbrush techniques at Shore Cultural Centre. He is a trained commercial artist and he’s been airbrushing for over 28 years. Don opened Wells Creation (21936 Lakeshore Blvd just west of the Lake Shore Coffee House) in Euclid over 20 years ago and is now considering a move to the Shore Cultural Centre.
We had an amazing crowd. Over 45 members and guests attended the demonstration and enjoyed refreshments afterwards. Thank you, Kelley and Mary, for providing all those delicious desserts and other goodies. We enjoyed pumpkin walnut bread with cream cheese frosting (a crowd favorite), homemade spinach dip, chicken salad, deviled eggs, peanut butter fudge, assorted veggies, cheese and crackers and more. You made the Easter Bunny proud!
Our president, Lee, explained why Lirpa Loof couldn’t make it to the April meeting. She accidentally grabbed a bottle of magnetic ink thinking it was juice and now she is stuck to the ceiling of the space station. To learn more about the adventures of Ms. Loof, check out our April newsletters at EuclidArt.com.
Euclid Art Members
Euclid Art Association purpose is to stimulate an interest in the visual arts among our members and to provide a focus on the fine arts for the community.