Yep, I’m back

20 Aug

To  everyone who reads my post, I apologize for not being here for so long. The past eighteen months has been a trip for me.

I have really never had any health issues till recently. To start with my wife passed away last year and then shortly after I wound up in the hospital for a week. Then a month after that The4re I was again in a different hospital with a blood clot in my right arm, which resulted with  the loss of three finger tips. I am thankful it wasn’t worse because at first the doctor told me I would lose my hand.

But thank God that wasn’t the case, I have regained use of my hand somewhat, but still have nerve damage that makes my fingers sort of numb and tingly all the time. Hopefully that will get better over time.

I have not maintained or updated my sign painting website. I plan on doing that though very soon. I know my auto responder for the free lessons died on me for some reason. I have to get that straightened out ASP. If anyone wants the  free lessons, email me at and I will send them to you.

I want to thank everyone for supporting me during these past months and my readers that keep coming back.

My painting site is if you would like visit it. God bless everyone and thanks again James C

Christmas Window Art

26 Nov

Thought I would touch base on Christmas art, since now is when people decorate for the holidays.

I have rattled quite a few coins this time of year in the past and it is just as popular now as it has always been. Holiday window art is easy , fast and pays well for the time involved.

All you need is a few simple inexpensive tools, a few colors of cheap enamel paint ( red, green etc.) and a quart of cheap white latex paint, indoor or outdoor, either will work fine.  get yourself  a few of the cheap foam rubber brushes and a few chunks of old foam rubber from an old cushion.

Some folks ask me to use water soluble paints, i don’t and I will tell you why. Water soluble  paints, if they try to wash it off after the  holidays just makes a mess and stains the concrete under it. So I use the enamels and regular latex paint. When it is time to remove it, just use a razor blade scraper and it peels off easy. Then sweep it up and remove, no messy stuff to deal with and you or whoever if finished.

Now I will give you an idea of things I have painted and how I did them. For instance I would take a 3 inch foam brush (that is if it was a large window) And just paint Merry Christmas, Under that sometimes I would add Happy New Year also in Red. I will come back to this in a few as it has dried somewhat later. While that was drying I would paint a Christmas tree or anything Chrismasy, angels, deer, Santa or whatever I felt like at the time. Always trying to stay with the Christmas themes and colors

Well now the fun begins, take a piece  of your foam rubber  (softball size or larger) and lightly dip in the white latex paint for the snow and ice effect. Use a dabbing motion on all the tops of the letters in Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, including all of your horizontal strokes as well. This gives that winter wonderland affect that sets it off. After that is done you can use the foam rubber with the white to add snowmen or snow across the bottom. I even add snowflakes spaced among everything using the corner of the foam rubber.

What ever you paint this method of painting works great  and is fast. If it doesn’t look real pro, don’t worry , this type of art will except some one just learning, no problem it’s the thought they want to get across nothing more.

If you want to ask me  any questions go to my website below and enter the support link and send me a message. There is an area for your website , just put any url in it and it will work for you.

I hope this may help you, if your just learning sign painting. Like I said if you need some guidance just give me a shout and please   me a comment and let me know what you  think.

Thanks and God Bless, James Chastain

Sublimation Printing

25 Feb

This is something I thought some folks might be interested in, Sublimation Printing. It is really unique, my son has the equipment to do this type of printing and I really got into it. The affects you can achieve with sublimation printing are different than any other kind of printing.

GENERAL PROCESS  of sublimation printing is fairly simple.

Things you will need are really not that many, but relatively expensive. The heat transfer ink cost about as much as the printer it self, but goes a long way unless you get to having fun and print a bunch of stuff experimenting with it. ( like we did) So you need computer software for fonts and graphics , such as Serif or Photoshop, there’s many available. you will also need a sublimation printer which prints on special heat transfer paper. then you will need a heat transfer  press for flat surfaces. they are heat transfer wraps for mugs, plus others for various applications.

The affect you achieve using sublimation is akin to a ceramic glaze on plates and other flat objects you transfer on an last much longer than traditional printing or painting.

You can put anything on them and my favorite is cutting an image from the background inserting it into a different background or framing it in frame  and printing on solid color background.

Just remember to to flip it horizontally before printing on the paper so when you put it face down on the material your using it will print right and not backwards.

Thanks, hope you enjoyed this topic

Silk Screening Overview

4 Sep

I did a lot of screening through the years for multiple copies of the same sign, It was much faster and they were all identical. When I first started, I really did it the hard way compared to the methods used today.

I used a lacquer based film, which was two layers, one was just a backing and the front green film was vapor thin it seemed. Ah it was thicker than that, but really thin. It was also transparent, so I would hand draw my pattern and put it underneath the film. Then I would start the pains taking process of cutting out the letters or logo with a sharp point xacto knife. I would remove the part where I wanted the screening ink to go, whether it be positive or negative copy.

I goofed up often and had to patch or redo my efforts, but after a while got good with it and had less problems.

After I had my film cut, I would build a 2×2 inch wooden frame to stretch my screen on, lol this was really fun.(yeah right) When the frame was constructed, I would use a double x dynex synthetic mesh cloth and would use a staple gun to fasten it to the frame with 1/4 in staples. I would get it square on one corner, usually the top left corner and put couple of staples in it and take a hammer and drive down tto be tight and be sure to hold . Then I would stretch it over to the other corner and fasten there. After doing all four corners, I would pull the middle of one one side in line with the corners and fasten there, repeating the other sides the same. when on the opposite side from an already fastened side , I would pull it and stretch the waves out as tight as I could. The screen should be very taunt for the screen to work properly

Now the real fun begins and that would be adhering the film to the screen. So what you would do is be on a good smooth flat surface to work. Lay your film down face up or the side you cut, not the back side. I kept it in place from moving by using some masking tape on the edges. Then set your screen down on top of  it and secure it where it will not move on you. Using a special adherring solvent you take a lint free cotton cloth  (I liked baby diapers for this) and dampen it with the solvent and rub it through the screen onto the film, being careful to not saturate. To much and you would dissolve the film and lose your efforts thus far.

After it has dried, usually about 15 or 2o minutes, you could carefully remove the backing. If everything was done correctly, whammo you have your silk screen. But there is couple more things needed to be done before actual useage.    I used a 2 inch wide brown paper tape , one you had to wet the glue side on, kinda like a stamp. Putting it around the film on the back all the way over on the wooden frame. Then on the inside, I did the same and in the corners where mesh met frame i would fold the tape an apply there. This would keep the ink from oozing through and making a mess.

Next step is actually screening now, I mounted a set of hinges on the top of the frame and then onto my table, where it would raise up and down from the bottom end. By putting a small strip of wood on the side that you could fold down to hold the screen up was useful as well. Now take the stock you’re going to print on and lay it underneth your screen, when you have it in registration with the screen, raise the screen up and ron a strip of masking taps along the sides of the stock. This ensures that each time you print a copy and put new stock under it, it will be in the same place. The squeegy you use should be just a little shorter than the inside of the frame, this way you just make one pull, if not you will have to make two pulls and this usually creates bleed under.

After making a few test runs on a slick paper etc. and getting the right consistance in your ink, your ready to turn out some work.

Note, this method will work, but they are easier and better methods for screening now. This was used in the early stages of silk screening.

Coming soon,  I will explain the latest techniques of screening.

Laterz  James Chastain

There’s a Demand for Sign Artist!

7 Mar

I have met quite a few sign men and I haven’t run across one yet that was caught up. They were all booked well ahead of their work schedule and always had plenty of work.

What I enjoyed the most in the sign business was that every time someone wanted me to paint a sign for them, it was a new challenge . Every sign had it’s own personality, unless you were painting  several of the same sign.

Unlike most 9 to 5  jobs, you could be creative and let your talents flow. You could design a sign or signs with an array of colors and letter styles to conform with the business or personal needs of the consumer.

The one that had the problem here was the person needing a sign. To find someone to actually paint them one, because the actual sign artists ( sign painter) were far between. But if they wanted a computer generated one, these shops were on every corner and the signs that each made looked about the same. No character to them at all, least wise that was the way I saw them.

If anyone was ever considering this trade, now would be an opportune time to get involved. There is no-one training for this specialized art feild to speak of.  It is truly a dying art form, as  many old timers in the biz like myself has observed. If you have a full time job and can’t afford to just quit is understandable, but you could learn and earn while working at your primary job to supplement your present income. Once you become known as a good sign artist, you won’t need that 9 to 5er with the sign work that will be coming to you.

If you want to learn this rare trade, I can help you get started with basic training and it cost you hardly anything. I will share my link to my website and you can see what I have for you. So visit and look around, you are not obligated in the least and I would love to have you as my guest.

While there leave a comment in the guest book and tell me what you think about the sign business and how you would fit in maybe. By the way you don’t have to be a great artist to be a sign painter, but it really helps you to grow faster in the business.

Visit  me here at

Until next time regards, Continue reading

Plastics Rejecting Paint

30 Nov

I remember my first experience trying to letter on plastics. was that ever a mind boggler.  A friend of mine wanted me to paint the name he called his 4×4 pickup truck on the bug deflector on the hood.

I hadn’t been painting but a few years at the time and had never painted on plastic before. What happened was funny after I thought about it, but at the time i got really frustrated with the crazy acting paint.

After I cleaned the bugs and road film off of it, I gathered the paint I was going to use, snap  a couple of lines to keep my letters uniform. I was using the same graffic arts or bullentin paint I used for most all my projects and started, and i wiped it off and started again.

After about three or four times I realized this wasn’t going to  work, so I just sat down and thought to myself, what is going on here. Then it dawned on me the problem.

When I cleaned it I used an old hand towel (cotton of course) to clean it with. When i cleaned and rubbed it dry, I created a charge of static electricity to build up on the plastic. So what happened was every time  I got my lettering brush close to the plastic the paint actually leaped from the tip of my brush and went like a cobweb  every which way. The reason it did this was because the paint had lead in it and the static field was like a magnet that drew the paint  to it. In fact after that I would tell people i could paint the plastic and never touch it with the brush and yes I had to prove it.

If you use acrylic enamels or lacquer base paint though, this doesn’t happen. Using these paints is hard for beginners though because it dries way to fast. You can use regular enamels once you learn the right paint consistency to use. If you get your enamels to thin they will surely give you a cobweb.

Just thought you might get a laugh from this, but if your trying to make a dollar or two, it isn’t so funny at the time.

To your Sign Painting success, James Chastain

It is a real heartbreaker!

21 Jul

I visited a large number of sign shops and to my disappointment, I never had the opportunity to chat with anyone old or new in this unique art field that even knew what a quill brush was. These sign shops thrived on software, vinyl and masking tape.

The real sign painters are all but extinct, it appears. I have seen some neat signs turned out by computer, but they lack the touch a true artist gives them. Since no two people do things exactly the same, all the sign artist had their own techniques  and manner of doing things, this added great variety and an array of colorful eye catching signs on businesses and road sign everywhere you looked.

I know starting in the 70s neon signs all but faded out, except maybe Las Vegas and a few places like that. The plastic internally lit signs replaced them, but now neon is coming back along with led lighted signs.

I am just hoping that the sign painters that are left are training someone to carry on the trade. Because the demand for hand painted signage is on the rebound and there will be plenty of work for those who can paint a  sign.

I would love to hear your comments on this, let me know  what you think!


Please visit my training website for more information

until next time James Chastain

PS: While your there sign up and grab the free lessons!