“Ask CJ”

 An art advice column in collaboration with the
Arizona Consortium for the Arts.

Consortium For The Arts

Ask questions about art product.
Ask questions regarding your work of art finished or in progress.
Ask questions about your portfolio needs or gallery or show entries.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ceejayrider
    Mar 15, 2010 @ 23:37:19


    —– Original Message —–

    To: ‘CJ Rider’
    Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11:15 AM
    Subject: a question from an artist

    Hi CJ,

    I hope all is well.
    Busy here…

    I wonder if you could help my friend? She paints in acrylics and recently when she has been putting on the top varnish to seal the painting, it has been ‘clouding’ and she doesn’t know what is going on or how to rectify this. Do you have any advice?
    Thank you in advance,

    Dear Friend,
    Clouding usually means it is too thick = more drying time should clear it up.

    If it does not, she can use fine sandpaper to sand down through the cloudy areas as well as sanding across the whole surface to insure an even finish. After it looks ok, she should clean it with a damp rag, allow to dry and then give it a final thin coat of varnish

    When you use lacquer, varnish or acrylic medium to protect a painting it should be applied in very thin layers. You should allow the product to completely dry between layers. You should also lightly sand each layer with fine sand paper ( with the exception of the final layer.)

    hope this helps


  2. ceejayrider
    Mar 15, 2010 @ 23:42:38


    —– Original Message —–

    Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2010 7:32 PM
    Subject: Need your brain

    Hi CJ,
    Ok–Soooo I just finished a piece that has molding paste on a gessoed canvas. It also has Soft gel. Do you know what I should use to put a sealant type gloss finish on it. I want to be able to have people touch the piece. Help-need your brain.

    Thanks from an Arizona Artist
    p.s. I’d like to stay with Golden Products unless you feel otherwise.

    On Mar 14, 2010, at 10:35 PM, CJ Rider wrote:

    Dear Arizona Artist,
    You can easily stick with Golden- they have everything you need.
    Here are a couple of ideas to give your piece a protective coating:

    You can get a spray version of acrylic varnish (which is removable for archival purposes) if you do not want to make further brushmarks or texture on the piece (GOLDEN Archival Aerosol MSA (Mineral Spirit
    Acrylic)Varnish w/UVLS )

    You can use a leveling agent like the tar gel or gloss medium if you want to even out the texture of the piece and create a non-removable protective coating. Or use the bottle version of varnish (MSA (Mineral Spirit Acrylic) Varnish with UVLS).

    I would personally check out the Golden acrylic varnishes. See which one best suits your finishing needs.
    Drop me an email if you have further questions –


  3. ceejayrider
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 15:58:53

    What are ATC’s?

    I have been asked many times “what are ATC’s and what are they good for” and why should I get involved?

    The short answer is that ATC stands for “Artist Trading Card” they are 2.5″ x 3.5″ and they are an artist’s business card.

    Being hand-made by the artist, they are more personal than a regular business card.
    ATC’s are traded with fellow artists and are collected much like baseball cards. They usually reflect your actual artwork and medium of choice.


  4. ceejayrider
    Jun 01, 2010 @ 18:46:18

    Tips to creating light and contrast in your paintings:



  5. Velvet Tetrault
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 12:58:34

    Hi. I have a question about sites that host, for sale, original art by artists. I have a website, a blog, and an Etsy account to sell my jewelry and paintings. While my website views seems to be growing, my Etsy views seem to be almost non-existent, except for a few “favorited” items by people. I recently came upon sites such as Daily Paintworks, Zatista, and Gallery Today. For a monthly fee, they host and handle sales for original paintings by artists. I don’t know that I have enough paintings for sale to be worth a monthly fee. But more than that, I’m wondering if these types of websites are beneficial. I googled them, and they are all on the first page of google for the keywords, “Original paintings by artists”. Have you heard anything about these sites? Do you know if they have proved profitable for any artists?
    Thanks, Velvet


    • ceejayrider
      Jun 02, 2012 @ 14:29:09

      Thankyou for your question Velvet –
      I have been involved with many online free and for fee sites. My sales are pretty equal between my personal site and blogs vs paid sites. I always point/link my paid sites to my personal and vice-versa – I think that is important for well rounded coverage.

      It is a personal decision for each of us to decide to take that next step to paid sites. I tend to think that the more you can invest in yourself with careful studied choices, the better your coverage and resulting sales will be.
      As you mentioned, the sites you researched are a hit for the google keywords…making sure the company you join has a good promo campaign for their members and site in general is key for sellers!

      I know many that join any selling sites with a free account, put up the limited amt of listings – make sure they post links to their original site- as allowed and keep those sites updated. As a site begins having sales or lots of hits, they might pick up a subscription to that site.

      So really to answer your question I would say, the more coverage the better; however, just because one artist is successful on a certain site, it does not guarantee success for all. – As another resource, have you tried listing on Ebay during their free listing days?

      There is no real answer…. but I hope I have helped somewhat.
      CJ Rider


  6. velsytetra
    Jun 03, 2012 @ 17:25:25

    Yes, that helps. In particular, I didn’t realize that some sites have free limited listings. I would like to investigate that as a way to see if my traffic is increased by using the sites before I subscribe for a fee. I also didn’t realize that I would be able to point back to my own website from the selling sites, which is an added benefit. I will contact a couple and ask them about their policies first before signing up.

    I had thought that Ebay might be so big that I would have the same problem that I do on Etsy: having so many thousands of items listed on the site that it’s rare for any particular item to be seen. However, since you mentioned it as a possibility, I will try doing a few listings on Ebay.

    Thanks you very much for your response.


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