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Exploring Caran d'ache

A rapt audience of about 35 interested artists gathered in the Main Street Artists Studio one recent evening to learn about many of the Caran D’Ache art materials. The presentation was given by the company’s national rep, Stefan Lohrer. He was very interesting, informative and entertaining.
            Stefan explained that the company was founded in 1915 in Geneva, Switzerland, where the headquarters and manufacturing facilities remain to this day. Intriguingly, the name Caran D’ache, which was adopted in 1924, traces its origin to the Russian word for pencil – karandash.
Stefan talked about the manufacturing processes, quality control and technical considerations. Then he walked us through an array of products, including Luminance top-of-the-line colored pencils, Pablo colored pencils, Museum Aquarelle high-end water-soluble colored pencils, Supracolor Soft Aquarelle water-soluble colored pencils, traditional graphite drawing pencils and water-soluble graphite pencils, pastel pencils and pastel cubes, Neopastel oil pastel sticks and Neocolor II water-soluble crayons. He also introduced us to the Caran D’Ache Full Blender, a colorless pencil designed to blend, dry mix and intensify the colors of  colored pencils. 
          Stefan gave numerous examples for using the products, including some novel ideas. He certainly sparked the imaginations of the artists.
            At one point Stefan held up a tiny item, an aquarelle travel brush with its own water tank. It filled easily with water and Stefan cleaned it just as easily. It’s a perfect mate with Caran D’Ache water soluble pencils. The brushes come in a package of three different tips: large, medium and fine. I was ready to buy them immediately so I could follow Stefan’s suggestion and travel very lightly for outdoor drawing and painting.
          The audience was very intrigued by the Neocolor ll watersoluble crayons. The luminous colors have an ultra-high concentration of pigment. They can be used for many purposes, including a simple drawing and mono-print process to create self portraits. You can “color” your image directly on a mirror, then press a damp piece of watercolor paper on the mirror, using a roller to transfer the image to the paper. If you hear enthusiastic laughter coming from the MSA studios this fall you will know we are introducing visitors to this process. We’re experimenting and we’ll let you know when we’re ready to go public.
      Everyone who attended the presentation received a goody bag with a generous selection of samples. But if you’d like to check out these fine products, Rochester Art Supply Inc., which sponsored Stefan’s visit, carries a comprehensive collection of the Caran D’ache brand at the venerable store at 150 W. Main St.
 ~ Sue Hegan Henry


To What End Paint

To what end paint?
 
            Fame? Not likely in my case, for a variety of reasons. My mother wanted me to paint, but my father would have insisted on perfection, whatever that is, to exploit any talent the kindergarten teacher told my mother I had. It took me until I was 30, after years of therapy, to have the courage to express anything at all on canvas,
            Wealth? By the time I was 35 I realized I could never support myself with art. I needed a profession to pay for painting, so I went to medical school. At a recent show, I sold four paintings. After the gallery takes 40 percent, I might rather have kept the work for the fee, which hardly compensates for the effort put into it. 
            Self-publishing is a very expensive business. In 2013, I published my first children's book, Froggy Family's First Frolic. Although we have sold most of the books we had printed, we still took a considerable loss. I don’t enjoy marketing that much, but reading the first book to children and hearing parents describe how much their offspring adore having it read to them brings me great pleasure. 
            Glory? One of my teachers kept telling me I had to get my work out there, so I entered shows. Some I have gotten in, some I haven’t bothered with. One of the pieces rejected, TWICE, is a small painting that our daughter Helen Mirra, a world-renowned artist, said is the best I have ever done. It is my favorite. Only a few members of Main Street Artists wanted a print of a painting based on an ambitious collage honoring them.
            Power? Actually, yes, making art is healing, and it has taken me through a number of very rough times. Art brings me power by the necessity of practicing non-attachment. Now it is keeping me alive. For each of the last three projects (my first book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic; the Main Street Artists collage and painting; and my current book, Froggy Family’s Fine Feelings) I have said to myself, “God, please let me live long enough to finish this project.” 
            To what end paint then, if not for Fame, Wealth, Glory and Power? Ultimately, as the fox said to The Little Prince (Antoine de St Exupery, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1943):
             “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
            My motto in life is “Love God, and waste time. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” 

– Margot Fass  

Top to Bottom:  Final cover in oil, acrylic color study, first study in charcoal

Artists' Communities

I stumbled upon this interesting article on artists' communities and thought I would share it.  The Main Street Artists' Gallery & Studio is a thriving and successful example of an artist community.  
http://www.artistterms.com/artbusiness/artiststudio/choosingstudiotips.htm

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