Art Techniques


Technique is the manner in which technical details are treated or basic physical movements are used.

  • Ground

    Art Supports

    Most common art grounds and structures I use:

    • Canvas: usually woven textiles from natural or synthetic fibers - primarily cotton duck, sometimes linen, and rarely unwoven polyester;
    • Paper: pressed into sheets cotton or cellulose plant fibers - primarily 100% cotton rag, sometimes recycled acid free papers, rarely found.
    • Archival

      Archival Quality Grounds

      Archival grounds are art supports that are resistant to deterioration or loss of quality, allowing for a long life expectancy when kept in controlled conditions.

      I strive to choose art materials of the durable chemical composition (no lignin or acid free, no bleaching or optical brightening agents, etc.) and make my finished work as resistant to ultraviolet and humidity as possible.

      As grounds I primarily use rag papers and canvases made from pure cotton pulp.

      I hope that the resulting product would be archival-grade, so your investment in my artwork is as minimum safe from rapid loss of physical qualities, and preserved in the form you received it for your lifetime, provided you care for it.

      From the Society of American Archivists:

      While no materials meet the ideal definition of 'archival', many archivists use the term informally to refer to media that can preserve information, when properly stored, for more than a century.

      My art ground of choice is 100% cotton - canvas and rag papers, hand and mould made from renewable fibers, without use of animal products in the sizing layers. Sometimes I use recycled manufactured or found and repurposed archival (pH neutral) papers, textiles, and textural materials like sand or marble dust, and ground them with acrylic mediums.

      My Art Supports

      Cotton Rag Paper

      For aquarelle on cotton rug (heavier watercolor papers), I choose mould made whit 100% cotton, without optical bleaching, chlorine and acid free - guaranteeing long conservation and inalterability. I prefer roughunpressed surface and a special formula of sizing, Italian Fabriano Artistico being my favorite brand (no animal industry by-products used). 300 gsm (140 lb) is the best paper weight for me - heavy but still flexible.


      When I work on canvas, I usually apply foundation grounds myself - a toned gesso based on acrylic polymer, to which I add marble dust and pigments. Sometimes I stain canvas first and seal it with a clear acrylic medium.

      I prefer unstreached, heavy cotton, unprimed canvases, and avoid working on anything that includes new wood - for environmental and ethical reasons. If my technique calls for a harder ground, I search for artist grade recycled canvas boards, or mount cotton on sealed found objects.

    • Found

      Art grounds that had been either industrially produced out of recycled materials, or were made by hand of found materials, treated for permanence as much as possible.


      • artist papers that are 100% recycled, including 30% post consumer;
      • acid free and lignin free special purpose papers that was saved and repurposed;
      • found papers that were charged with acid-reducing solution and tested;
      • found and repurposed or upcycled suitable materials of any kind;
      • found permanent natural materials, like sand.
    • Set

      I make single works and polyptychs. Sometimes the pieces are so close in their expressive manner, color ans size that they become series. Miniatures are often offered in sets.

      • Polyptychs - usually diptychs - contain two or more singles that are intended to be viewed together, in a specific sequence or a free arrangement.
      • Sets contain works similar in style and purpose.
      • Seriesare set up by style, technique, palette, ground, and the visual approach to interpretation of the reality or ideas. They can look harmoniously together, for example, on the walls of the same room, but they intended to be freely arranged and rearranged over time.
      • Collectionsreflect the mood and, the depiction, by colors, or the time and environment in which artworks were made.
      • Polyptych

        Polyptychs consist of multiple singles that are presented together.

        A polyptych is a painting that is divided into panels.

        1. single panel - a one-piece painting;
        2. diptych - a two-panel work of art;
        3. triptych- a three-panel work;
        4. tetraptych (quadriptych)  - four panels;
        5. pentaptych- five;
        6. hexaptych- six;
        7. heptaptych- seven;
        8. octaptych- eight;
        9. enneaptych- nine;
        10. decaptych - ten panels.
      • Single

        One-piece artwork, single panel painting, one-item picture, art compositions consisting of only one part.

    • Size

      Unframed Dimensions

      My finished artwork I leave unframed, so you can decide how to present it in your unique environment, according to your taste.  Usually, I make the edges presentable as well, and in some cases the work call for being exhibited with exposed edges: from rough deckle edge to gilded with bronze or copper.


      Art supports are usually rectangular, but sometimes have irregular shape: round, triangular, wavy, etc.


      The size of unframed artwork relates to the surface dimensions of a single piece that itself might be a part of a set (e.g. of a diptych). Sizes of artwork grounds I use range from miniatures to wall painting and drawings over 30 inches.

      The size groups are arranged by the longest dimension - height or width:

      • Miniature (small) artwork sand fine art in extra-small size - are about letter or A4 sizes or smaller - less than 12 inches longest side (under ~30 cm) .
      • Standard (medium size) - over 12 to 20 inches (~30-50 cm).
      • Large - over 20 inches (50+ cm). 

      The approximate measurements of each artwork should be provided on its page.

      Loose leaf 100% cotton French and Italian watercolor paper sheets usually come in traditional Imperial sizes. I cut heavy canvases approximately the same dimensions. Some other archival papers I use are in metric sizes.

      Special Sizes of Art Grounds

      Cotton Rag Paper Sheets

      • 1/1 Full Imperial is ~ 30 × 22 inches or 76 × 56 cm,
        somewhat smaller than metric A1 (841 ×594 mm or 33-1/8 ×23-3/8 inches).
      • 1/2 Half Imperial is ~ 22 × 15 inches or,
        a little smaller than A2 (420×594 mm or 16-1/2 x 23-3/8 in).
      • 1/4 Quarter Imperial is ~ 15 × 11 inches,
        comparable to but smaller than A3 (420 ×297 mm or 16-1/2 ×11-3/4 in).
      • 1/8 Imperial is ~ 11 × 7.5 inches, a bit narrower than Letter ANSI A (11×8.5 inches or 279.4×215.9 mm), and shorter and less narrower than A4 (297 ×210 mm or 11-3/4 ×8-1/4 inches).
      • 1/16 Imperial is ~ 7.5 × 5.5 inches, close to metric A5 size (148 ×210 mm or 5-7/8 ×8-1/4 inches).

      Metric Sizes

      Other useful sizes:

      A0 size (841 ×1188 mm or 33-1/8 ×46-3/4 in) is big: nearly 3 ×4 feet.

      Metric System

      Metric measurements are used in most countries in the world, the important exceptionsbeing USA and Canada.

      Metric paper sizes are also known as:

      • SI (Système international (d'unités), The International System of Units), or
      • DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German Institute for Standardization).
  • Media

    Art media I use include painting, drawing, photography, videography, animation, crafts, bookbinding, assembly art, and design. Art media are depend on methods and materials for creating art.

    I strive to provide exceptional archival quality of my paintings for the art lovers and collectors, while using most sustainable, minimalist, and environmentally friendly methods of producing hand-made art.

    Work of art in the visual arts is a physical dimensional object that is made to fulfill an aesthetic function.

    • Dry Media

      Dry media paintings or drawings are representations of forms, objects, or ideas on a surface, drawn by hand with dry pigments, usually compacted in forms of sticks or pencils, like pastel, graphite, charcoal, etc. 

      Drawing allows one to transfer passionate moves on the foundation very quickly, and to do it without interruption for a long while, without any concerns for liquids.

      My favorite dry media are pastels, charcoal, and graphite:

      •  Pencils - I prefer 4B to 9B woodless and mechanical graphite pencils, .5mm, .7mm, 2mm, and .7cm diameter. Graphite is the most stable form of carbon, and a form of coal.
      • Sticks - I prefer non-pressed very thin or chunky deep black charcoal sticks. Sometimes I make my own by burning dry branches from the orchard without oxygen. Charcoal is the lightweight black carbon and ash residue hydrocarbon.
      • Pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints. The binder is of a neutral hue.
        • Hard pastel or conte crayons based on Earth pigments are my favorite;
        • Soft pastel I use for life figure gesture drawing and as an overlay on watercolor. The main challenge with with professional grade pastel is to find the precise pigment content to identify lightfastness. Only a few brands in the world provide sufficient information.
    • Water Media

       Water media paint is applied to a surface usually with a brush. The resulting paintings can incorporate other materials and objects, but they are primarily created in wet or fluid techniques, and usually feature a set of chromatic pigments.

      My water media consists of

      1. aquarelle (watercolor and gouache), including soluble pigment sticks and pencils,
      2. pigmented acrylic polymers:  from heavy-body and fluid paints to inks and sprays.

      Water Soluble Paints

      • Acrylic


        Acrylic Paints

        Professional acrylic paints I use are made of the same artist quality pigments, but suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Fresh acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant after fast drying.

        I use acrylics in form of:

        1. single pigment acrylic paints from the leading manufacturers like Golden or Liquitex, in heavy body for impasto, or in fluid form, often as transparent inks
        2. as gesso, which I often make from an industrial grade polymer, marble dust, and pigments - to prime canvases and to introduce textures.
        3. and with 100% acrylic polymer mediums of various viscosity, opacity, and drying properties.

        Results of the acrylic techniques can look just like watercolor, gouache or oils (the all share almost the same range of pigments), or have its own unique characteristics, unattainable in other media.

        I use only artist-rade acrylics, which are designed to resist chemical reactions from exposure to water, ultraviolet light, and oxygen. Professional-grade acrylics have the highest concentration of pigment, highest lightfastness and permanence, and can be selected in defined single pigments, which allows to maintain the color clarity in layers and subsequent mixes.

        Comparing Acrylics to Oils

        I switched from oils to acrylics in early 2000s.

        Unlike most oils, acrylics

        1. are used without toxic hydrocarbon solvents,
        2. do not yellow,
        3. elastic, do not crack, do not become brittle over time,
        4. are more flexible and maintain flexibility,
        5. can hold other materials,
        6. do not require months of curing before varnishing,
        7. do not damage canvases.

        Working with Acrylic Paints

        The major difficulties in working with acrylics in my experience are:

        1. the mediums are not fully transparent while wet,
        2. the glazes and even impasto dry quickly,
        3. not rewettable, unlike watercolor,
        4. the pigments rarely granulate.

        History and Other Uses of Acrylics

        Acrylic resin was invented by Otto Röhm. In 1934, the first usable acrylic resin dispersion was developed by German chemical company BASF and patented by Rohm and Haas. Artists' acrylics were first used in the 1940s and made commercially available by Liquitex in the early 1950s.

        BTW, the best exterior water-based paints are 100% acrylic, unlike interior, or internal, latex paints, which also contain vinyl, pva, and fillers. The main difference to artist acrlics, however, is in pigment quality.

      • Aquarelle

        Watercolor Painting

        Watercolor (watercolour) is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution. Terms aquarelle or watercolor refer to both the medium and the resulting artwork.


        Western aquarelle mediums are re-soluble after they dried. In childhood, I used a lot of opaque gouache, and disliked traditional watercolor. I have developed my own way to use transparent watercolor much later.

        Traditional Eastern aquarelle paints tend to be non-resoluble after they are applied to paper - I used them only for a short period.

        Watercolor Paints

        Professional watercolor paints I use are made with artist grade permanent pigments and gum arabic. I avoid additives like organic dispersants, fillers, or honey, and therefore I am limited only to a few expensive brands.

        In the transparent watercolor technique pigments are applied in a manner allowing light to penetrate the layers of glazes and reflect back from the white surface below, and the texture of that rag or paper can be seen through the layers of paint.


        Opaque watercolor, gouache, is a type of non-transparent water media, which I mix by just adding white pigments (titanium dioxide or zinc) to transparent watercolor paints, or just by applying them in opaque manner.

        I do not use commercial gouache paints because the manufacturers use lots of additives, premix pigments, or do not provide the level of lightfastness required for fine art.

        Gouache I use primarily in the top layers of watercolor paintings. In the past, I used it for studies for oils and as a stand-alone medium. I absolutely loved gouache as a child.

      • Collage

        My primary application of collage technique is using torn or cut pieces of my own previously created and modified surfaces. Sometimes I include plant matter, fibers, and textiles. My glue is acrylic polymer.

        I do not include magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs or any other unnatural or non-archival found objects created not by me.

        Collage is a technique in the visual arts based on assemblage of different forms.

        • Around 200 BCE, collage technique were first used in China after the invention of paper.
        • I the 10th century CE in Japan, calligraphers glued paper with poetry.
        • In medieval Europe in the 13th century, gold leaf and gemstone techniques developed.
        • Mary Delany worked in  and botanical collage in the 18th century.
        • Hans Christian Andersen and Carl Spitzweg used collage in the 19th century, and Victorian photocollage suggest collage techniques appeared by the early 1860s.
        • Collage became again a part of modern Western art from 1912, after pasted paper was used by cubists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Jean Metzinger.
        • Surrealists Gherasim Luca, Marcel Mariën, and Joseph Cornell invent new collage techniques, followed by inventions of many other artists, notably, Henri Matisse.

        Papier collé, or paper cut outs, is a collaging technique in which only paper is adhered to a flat mount.

        Cubomania is a method of making collages in which a picture is cut into squares or  triangular shapes and the pieces are reassembled.

        In canvas collage, separately painted canvas patches are attached, usually with glue, to the main canvas.

        Mosaic is the art of assembling small pieces of paper, tiles, marble, stones, and other matter.

  • Pigment

    Lightfast Pigments

    For the most part, I use pigments of highest lightfastness as paints: dispersed in natural gum or polymer, and often in form of dry drawing sticks and pencils.

    Natural coloring matter - permanent substances used for art painting - pigments in form of a dry powder are mixed with binder that constitutes paints, pigment (India) inks, and dry media compounds.

    Pigments are colored or achromatic organic or inorganic solids. They are usually insoluble chemically stable and retain a crystal or particulate structure.

    Color Index Code

    By the color classification method, pigments are coded:

    pigment yellow (PY), orange (PO), red (PR), violet (PV), green (PG), brown (PBr), black (PBk), white (PW), metal (PM).

    Pigment Lightfastness

    I use only permanent and very lightfast pigments, blue wool 7-8 or ASTM I.

    Blue Wool and ASTM Standards

    • Blue wool (BW) lightfastness levels: from 8 (extremely lightfast) down to 1 (fugitive).
    • ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials - lightfastness categories: from I (excellent) to V (poor).
    1. BW 7-8 = I. Excellent lightfastness, suitable for artistic use, will remain unchanged for more than 100 years of light exposure.
    2. BW 6      = II. Very good lightfastness, suitable for artistic use, unchanged for 50 to 100 years with proper display.
    3. BW 4-5 = III. Fair lightfastness, impermanent, unchanged for 15 to 50 years, last longer if used full strength or with extra protection from light.
    4. BW 2-3 =  IV. Poor lightfastness, fugitive, begins to fade in 2 to 15 years, even with proper mounting and display, not suitable for artistic use.
    5. BW 1       = V. Very poor lightfastness, fugitive, begins to fade in 2 years or less of light exposure, not suitable for artistic use.

    I use single-pigment paints and drawing implements that are based on primarily inorganic pigments.

    Inorganic pigments have excellent light and heat resistance and weatherability. Inorganic pigments include titanium dioxide, carbon, iron and chromium oxides, mixed metal oxides, manganese oxide, cadmiums, lead chromate,  ultramarines, iron blue, chrome green, etc.

    My main lightfast pigment groups, grouped by main chemical element, from more often used to less:

    1. Iron oxide pigments: sanguine, venetian red, red oxide, raw and burnt sienna, raw and burnt umber, yellow ochre, prussian blue, black iron oxide.
    2. Carbon pigments: natural charcoal, graphite.
    3. Titanium pigments: titanium white.
    4. Sulfur pigments: french ultramarine, ultramarine green shade and violet.
    5. Cadmium pigments: cadmium yellow, deep red, scarlet.
    6. Cobalt pigments: cobalt violet, blue, cerulean, turquoise.
    7. Manganese pigments: manganese violet.
    8. Chromium pigments: viridian.
    9. Zinc pigments: zinc white.
    10. Lead pigments: naples yellow.
  • Style

    Art Style

    Art styles are sets of distinctive characteristics that are shared between artworks, manners of presenting subject matter, ways to expresses visions and handle art mediums, philosophy and motivation behind the artwork, and choices of stylistic elements and objects of representation.

    The concept of "art movement"  is usually linked to a specific time and place.

    Each artist has own personal art style, own unique way of expression.

    • Linework

      Line is one of the fundamental elements of art design. Line usually indicates the edge of a flat shape or a three-dimensional form. Lines can be different in color and widths (constant or varying).

      Line art is an image that consists of distinct straight or curved lines.

      • A contour drawing presents dimensions, edges, outlines, and shapes.
      • A cross contour technique indicates surface of an object, usually in perspective.
      • A blind contour technique implemented without looking at the resulting image.
      • A continuous line drawing is produced without lifting the implement from the page.
      • A fast gesture drawing technique captures the essence of a figure in lines.

      Pen and ink artwork made using various inks, including sumi and ecological, and implements like fountain pens, technical, or parallel pens.

Art Media

Artworks are aesthetic physical items or artistic creations, tangible and portable forms of visual art. They require physical matter to be created, and these chosen elements are called art materials.

  • Material elements and properties of artwork that are used for aesthetic appeal and permanence:
    1. Ground - canvas, rag, and paper, heavyweight and lightweight;
      1. Shape - usually rectangular, vertical ("portrait") or horizontal ("landscape"), and all other shapes;
      2. Size - dimensions: large, medium, and small;
    2. Pigments - minerals, inorganic, and organic;
    3. Tools - used for fine art creation (brushes, palettes, stick, easels, mounts, etc).
Male Planes Study September 2022
Female Planes Figure Study August 2022
Male Torso Study August 2022
Disinformation Defense April 2022
Figure Ground Relationship March 2022
Visual Sound February 2022
Shape Pattern February 2022
Fine Art Techniques February 2022
Square Feelings February 2022
Rectangular Feelings February 2022
Principles of Art February 2022
Elements of Art February 2022
Swatch May 2021
Art Design November 2020
Art Sketch November 2020
Art Studio in Oceanside, CA May 2019
Digital Art July 2017
Illustration October 2016
Art December 2015
All Art Tags December 1999


Lena Nechet, artist - Fine art, media productions, language.
San Diego, California , USA , 323-686-1771