**Please Note--the newsletter is now bi-monthly
The Taboo of Painting from Photographs
Photography is a tool like any other tool. It is a means to an end. A good artist knows how to use photos, and not be used by them. Read Article
The En Plein Air Zone Archives:
February 2013: When Your Mind is on Vacation
I’ve occasionally had some of those “out of my head” experiences, where I’ve actually been the observer, watching my hand applying pigment to canvas or paper, as if someone else was actually doing it. Then, of course, a moment later my mind yells, “Hey, dummy, that’s your hand!”.
January 2013: Let It Snow
Snow has so many unique qualities that one could write a book based solely on painting snow. But, my purpose here is to share a couple of painting demonstrations, one in watercolor and one in oil, to illustrate some painting approaches that might be useful when confronted with snowscape.
December 2013: Turning Negatives Into Positives
When I was a child, learning to draw, I had a natural tendency to identify all objects by their outline. With all their subject matter being outlined, coloring books went a long way in reinforcing the model of outlining everything. Praise was always bestowed on the kids who were most adept at staying within the lines.
For me, this model of seeing the world as a bunch of disconnected objects became basically indelible. I was well into my art career when I had an epiphany.
November 2012: Watercolor Demo: Aspen Glow
......I’m including a couple of examples of how I take my plein air sketches, and adapt them into larger, more finished studio paintings. I found this small sketch, liked the design, and decided to work up a slightly larger piece, using the sketch as the foundation.
October 2012: Making Your Paintings Stronger
Have you ever walked into an exhibition and had a painting, far across the room, grab your attention and lure you over? Even before you can recognize the subject matter, and define the technique, it dominates the wall, and there’s some strength about it that draws you like a magnet.
September 2012: Developing a Style
I seriously doubt whether my collectors continuously fret over the characterization of my painting style. I do know, however, that style seems to be a concern of the students that I teach. It is, nonetheless, a bit like worrying if your handwriting will look like yours.
August 2012 If Sargent Had Painted Hitler
An interesting thing happened a few weeks back. I sold the painting “Little Big Horn – June 25, 1876” (30x50” oil) at auction, and decided to post the image on Facebook.
July 2012 Analyzing the Landscape Part 2
Seeing these masses, and recognizing the correct value relationship between them, can be particularly problematic for neophyte artists and those unaccustomed to painting on-location. So I’m offering a tool that I think may be helpful. Read Article
June 2012: Analyzing the Landscape Part 1
The human eye is an amazing instrument. It allows us to see and interpret the shapes, colors, and dimensions of objects in the world by processing the light they reflect or emit. It is the artist’s greatest tool, and, sometimes, the greatest hindrance.
May 2012: Taking Your Studio En Plein Air
I’m not sure that there’s anything more challenging for an artist than taking your paints on-location and confronting Nature head on.
April 2012: Knowing Your Palette
I don’t believe there is anything more sensuous or beautiful than the right mixture of pigments in a well-executed painting. Nonetheless, mixing the right colors seems to be an endless source of frustration for many artists.
March 2012: Discovered Painting
Sometimes I’ll have the seed of an idea for a painting, and yet not enough of a direction for the seed to germinate. It can begin with something as simple as a photo of a particular object, like a house, boat, barn, figure etc. Sometimes it’s just a mood, emotion or an inclination to paint something dramatic or saturnine. read article
February 2012: Creative Block
A couple of months ago, my friend, Maggie Price, pastel painter, author and workshop teacher, asked me to contribute a couple of demo paintings and some suggestions for a Northlight book she is writing on dealing with creative block. I did send Maggie two demonstration paintings – one is oil, and one in watercolor. Both involved a technique I call “discovered painting” – where I have a vague idea, feeling or image, and I let the medium lead me in whatever direction it chooses, and I react as the painting unfolds.
January 2012: Watercolor – The Magical Mystery Tour
Of all the mediums, watercolor is the most idiomatically unique. After all, the vehicle used to move the pigment is water. And, what is more “Zen”- like and quixotic than water? Its very nature conjures up images of rivulets, streams and rivers, meandering across uneven terrain, skirting obstacles, and seeking the path of least resistance.
December 2011: Mike Neilson – Bold, Sensitive and Versitile
I’m very pleased that my good friend, Mike Neilson, agreed to paint an oil demonstration for this month’s newsletter. See Mike's approach to portrait painting. Read Article
November 2011 Demonstration: “Brass With Blue Flow”
This month we have a special guest artist, CW Mundy giving a demonstration of painting a still life. Read Article
October 2011 Drawing Inside Out
By skipping the initial drawing and working a painting from light to dark, thinner paint to thicker paint, and constructing positive shapes by painting the surrounding negative shapes, I’m often able to produce some unexpected edges and effects that are unavailable when I take a more mannered approach. Read Article
September 2011 Decomposing and Composing
Nature rarely supplies us with ready-made compositions. When I’m out painting on-location, I find some scene that inspires me, and then I decide how best to express that inspiration. Read Article