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September 2013

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Playing with the ACEO format


I like small things, always have...and the tiny playing-card size ACEOs has allowed me to own some original work I wouldn't have been able to afford, otherwise. I've bought them from three different artists, so far, and I'm delighted.

ATCs, which you have probably heard of, are artist trading cards, and that's how the phenomenon started out--you can see more here, if you're still wondering: 1,000 Artist Trading Cards

But many people who were not artists wanted to collect these little jewels, too--so ACEOs were born--still the size of a playing card, but "artist cards, editions and originals" to meet this need. Some ACEOs are prints (you can even find them on Amazon!) and some are still original, as are mine, so far.

I finally decided to play around a bit with the 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" format myself, and I'm delighted with the results! This little set of three really goes together--they were painted about the same time, using basically the same palette. My favorite is the "Crow Barn" at upper right (you can click on the image above to see the larger size.)

As I've mentioned before, I've been working on the new edition of Watercolor Tricks & Techniques for North Light Books, and I used several of the techniques on these ACEOs.

Here are some of the techniques I used on the little ACEO below--the image is in my Flickr album, here: www.flickr.com/photos/cathy-johnson/3105560540/, complete with notes to show what I did where.  I was using my favorite bristle brush meant originally for oil painters--I stuck the end in a pencil sharpener to give me two tools in one.

It's short enough to fit in my travel case, too...




I used the bristle brush especially on this little card, both the bristle end and the sharpened end.

I recently sold one of my ACEOs on my new fine arts gallery, the "Solstice Bonfire," done on gessoed paper; these are on regular watercolor paper for a more traditional, transparent effect.  If you're interested, please visit Cathy Johnson Fine Arts, here: cathyjohnsonart.blogspot.com/

The gift of original art is a lasting one, and ACEOs put it in everyone's reach.

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