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Meet Raven, who has been my little friend and inspiration since 1996. She is my shadow, my familiar, the source of hair in my paint.

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Back to the Basics: Supplies

I am a self taught artist, and I have never really thought about my approach or how I would go about teaching others the skills that I have learned over the years, but I hear a lot of people assume art is a “gift” or a “talent.” I suppose this is true to some degree, but I believe that everyone is in fact an artist and that “talent” lies in the perseverance and overcoming the urge to give up every time you get discouraged, whether it be from an external factor or your own.

There is no right or wrong way to paint, but all artists face the same challenges. My hope, in sharing some of my own experiences and techniques I have developed, is to inspire some of my readers and to help them avoid some of same the pitfalls I face.

Let me begin by explaining that I use acrylic paint on canvas, and I use a glazing method. This method can be particular daunting at first, but it is incredibly enjoyable and forgiving once you get the hang of it. As I said earlier though, there is no right or wrong way to paint, but if you do not find this method enjoyable, it may not be a style that is right for you.

These are my supplies:

Golden Acrylic Paint

Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Gloss)

Masterson Sta-Wet Premier Palette (tray, acrylic paper, and sponge)

Brushes, I prefer a 2 and 4 Round “Simply Simmons”

A lucky water glass (I’ve been using this mason jar since I first started. Haha)

Fredrix Ultra Smooth Portrait Grade Canvas or Masterpiece Elite Portrait Smooth Linen Canvas

Photo references

(preferably your own photographs, but if you are not into photography or have friends who are, there are many stock photography web sites where for a small fee, you can purchase nice quality photos to use as reference. Just be sure to read their policies regarding copyright.)

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All of these items can be purchased online or at your favorite art supplier. I have tried many brands of acrylic paint over the years, but I prefer Golden exclusively for the color and consistency of the paint. Feel free to experiment with any brand you like, but even if you are a beginner, I highly recommend buying the best paint you can afford. I have found that anything “student” grade or economy is frustrating to work with and gives poor results.


“Sirius”

“Sirius” is a classically inspired creation depicting a beautiful star goddess with a soulful expression and shining eyes, holding a lantern (a symbol of hope and peace) in outer space. The sky frames her like a halo. Since ancient times and across multiple civilizations, Sirius, the dog star, has been surrounded with a mysterious lore. This constellation is shown in the upper right corner of the painting.

This is an original piece of artwork, hand painted by fantasy artist Susan Van Sant. The painting is rendered on portrait smooth linen canvas. It is 11″x14″ in size and the canvas is gallery wrapped, 3/4″ deep. It is ready to hang without a frame but is a standard size for easy framing if you choose to do so. Please consider adding this painting to your collection of fine artworks.

The watermark stamp is shown on internet images only to protect the artwork from being copied. The only writing you will find on this painting is the artist’s own signature in the bottom right corner in iridescent gold paint.

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“Sirius” 11″x14″ painting on canvas. copyright 2013. Susan Van Sant

Click here to check availability to purchase

 

Copyright Information: All images and other content Copyright © by Susan Van Sant. All rights reserved by artist. Buyer is not purchasing the rights to the image. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are reserved solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated, or misappropriated in any way. If you are in any way unsure of the legal rights retained by the artist following the sale of the work, or are purchasing this artwork with the intention of re-selling this work you must be aware of the Visual Artists Rights Act.


“Moon Goddess”

“Moon Goddess” is a classically inspired creation depicting a beautiful nude goddess with a soulful expression and shining eyes, holding the moon in her hands. The earth frames her like a halo.

This is an original piece of artwork, hand painted by fantasy artist Susan Van Sant. The painting is rendered on portrait smooth linen canvas. It is 11″x14″ in size and the canvas is gallery wrapped, 3/4″ deep. It is ready to hang without a frame but is a standard size for easy framing if you choose to do so. Please consider adding this painting to your collection of fine artworks.

The watermark stamp is shown on internet images only to protect the artwork from being copied. The only writing you will find on this painting is the artist’s own signature in the bottom right corner in iridescent gold paint.

moongoddess

“Moon Goddess” 11×14 original painting on canvas. copyright 2013 Van Sant

click here to check availability for purchase

 

Copyright Information: All images and other content Copyright © by Susan Van Sant. All rights reserved by artist. Buyer is not purchasing the rights to the image. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are reserved solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated, or misappropriated in any way. If you are in any way unsure of the legal rights retained by the artist following the sale of the work, or are purchasing this artwork with the intention of re-selling this work you must be aware of the Visual Artists Rights Act.

 


“Flesh and Bone”

“Flesh and Bone: Skull and Roses” is a classically inspired creation depicting a beautiful girl with a soulful expression, holding a human skull and two pale pink roses. Antique feather wallpaper provides a subtle angelic quality.

This is an original piece of artwork, hand painted by fantasy artist Susan Van Sant. The painting is rendered on portrait smooth linen canvas. It is 11″x14″ in size and the canvas is gallery wrapped, 3/4″ deep. It is ready to hang without a frame but is a standard size for easy framing if you choose to do so. Please consider adding this painting to your collection of fine artworks.

The watermark stamp is shown on internet images only to protect the artwork from being copied. The only writing you will find on this painting is the artist’s own signature in the bottom right corner in iridescent gold paint.

Image

“Flesh and Bone” 11×14 Original Painting. Van Sant © 2013. All rights reserved

click here to check availability for purchase

Copyright Information: All images and other content Copyright © by Susan Van Sant. All rights reserved by artist. Buyer is not purchasing the rights to the image. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are reserved solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated, or misappropriated in any way. If you are in any way unsure of the legal rights retained by the artist following the sale of the work, or are purchasing this artwork with the intention of re-selling this work you must be aware of the Visual Artists Rights Act.


“Fauna”

Sweet little Fauna sits in the woods, surrounded by orange tip and marbled white butterflies which are native to the United Kingdom. This is a little wood elf, adorned with pearls, gold, and soft fur.

This is an original piece of artwork, hand painted by fantasy artist Susan Van Sant. The painting is rendered on portrait smooth canvas. It is 11″x14″ in size and the canvas is gallery wrapped, 3/4″ deep, edges painted black. It is ready to hang without a frame but is a standard size for easy framing if you choose to do so. Please consider adding this painting to your collection of fine artworks.

The watermark stamp is shown on internet images only to protect the artwork from being copied. The only writing you will find on this painting is the artist’s own signature in the bottom right corner in iridescent gold paint.

Image

“Fauna” 11×14 Original Painting. Van Sant © 2013. All rights reserved

click here to check availability for purchase

Copyright Information: All images and other content Copyright © by Susan Van Sant. All rights reserved by artist. Buyer is not purchasing the rights to the image. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are reserved solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated, or misappropriated in any way. If you are in any way unsure of the legal rights retained by the artist following the sale of the work, or are purchasing this artwork with the intention of re-selling this work you must be aware of the Visual Artists Rights Act.


“Harlequin”

Harlequin catches your gaze as she dances amidst flying playing cards. Her face is painted, her body tattooed with skulls and roses, and her bodice is adorned with white lace.

This is an original piece of artwork, hand painted by fantasy artist Susan Van Sant. The painting is rendered on portrait smooth canvas. It is 11″x14″ in size and the canvas is gallery wrapped, 3/4″ deep, edges painted black. It is ready to hang without a frame but is a standard size for easy framing if you choose to do so. Please consider adding this painting to your collection of fine artworks.

The watermark stamp is shown on internet images only to protect the artwork from being copied. The only writing you will find on this painting is the artist’s own signature in the bottom right corner in iridescent gold paint.

Image

“Harlequin” 11×14 Original Painting. Van Sant © 2013. All rights reserved

click here to check availability for purchase

A lot goes into making a finished painting, but it all starts out with a quick thumbnail sketch of a single idea. As you can see, it doesn’t look like much at first..

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“Harlequin” initial rough sketch on a piece of newsprint paper

Once I work out some basic issues, I use grey watered down paint to sketch out the design onto the canvas.

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“Harlequin” early sketch onto the canvas where I work out the basic shapes.

After I lay down the initial sketch, the real fun begins. I then start blocking in the color until I’m happy with the proportions and the rest main character. Once this is done, I can start the glazing process where I use thin layers of paint on top of each other, almost like sculpting, creating highlights, shadows, and gorgeous blends of middle tones until the painting is complete! As you can see from the early sketches, the painting evolves somewhat from the initial sketches where I may choose to add or omit items as the artwork in my mind’s eye becomes a reality.

 

Copyright Information: All images and other content Copyright © by Susan Van Sant. All rights reserved by artist. Buyer is not purchasing the rights to the image. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are reserved solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated, or misappropriated in any way. If you are in any way unsure of the legal rights retained by the artist following the sale of the work, or are purchasing this artwork with the intention of re-selling this work you must be aware of the Visual Artists Rights Act.


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