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Can you wait for inspiration

Some artists would argue that trying to be more productive is futile, as inspiration doesn’t come on demand. I love artist Chuck Close’s response to this idea…  Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

What makes an artist an artist

Certainly, we are unique individuals with our own creative impulses and drives, but we do have so much in common. So step away from the canvas, put the paintbrush down, and see how many of these “signs” apply to you! It’s a fun…   Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

How to deal with unfinished paintings

One of the New Year resolutions on my artistic list is to resolve more of the unfinished paintings residing in my studio. Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” In my studio, there are a lot of forsaken works wistfully awaiting completion… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

Out-door painting tips for the plein air painter.

By Doug Swinton

Almost any artist will tell you that there’s a certain appeal to working outdoors that can’t be found anywhere else. Outdoor painting is challenging to say the least but remember it’s more about the process than the finished product… Read more… 

Submitted by Janet S.

Building a center of interest in an Oil painting.

By Lynda S. Price

Call it the focus, the focal point, or the center of interest. For Doug Higgins, it’s a crucial part of planning his paintings. Once a scene strikes him and he has a clear image of the composition in his mind, he sets up his easel but Higgins says, he never accepts nature as she comes…

Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

What is the color harmony of the scene?

By Becky Joy

Is there a color that dominates? What color do you see more than others? Or, is there a color that stands out from all the rest? Is there a mood you want to capture using color? Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

How to paint looser and juicier

By Becky Joy

I receive emails from artists telling me they want to learn to paint looser and with more paint. We all start painting tight, detailed paintings, painting what we see… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

Step by step demo on glazing using Acrylics

Submitted by Janet S.

Packing for painting by Doug Swinton

Travelling with your art gear can be challenging, especially if you don’t have experience. The normal tendency is to bring as much as possible but the right way to think about it is the exact opposite… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.


5 Ways to use shadows in your paintings

By Brandi Bowman

I love to use shadow to help define, or carve out, my subject. I say carve out because sometimes painting can feel like sculpture when you create edges and the illusion of depth… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S. 

Is it done?

By Richard McKinley 

It can be frustrating during the painting process when we know there’s something wrong—something that’s just not quite right—but we can’t seem to put a finger on it, or what to do to resolve it. While some paintings just seem to fall into place, others can require considerable adjustment to be considered finished. I assure you, having a studio filled with my own unresolved paintings, that this perplexing situation has no prejudice between novice and professional artist. While there may be no cure, there are a few things that may prove helpful… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

A short documentation of a Watercolor in progress.

By Alex B.

Here I will describe and show the way I plan and start a Watercolor landscape painting. I usually take lots of reference pictures everywhere I go and I save them on my computer for later when I have time to go through them. Some time, I chose a reference picture that looks promising, although the composition is not quite to my liking but, by applying some ‘artistic licensing’ it could become quite an attractive composition… Read more…

 Submitted by Alex B.

Right brain, left brain

 By Richard McKinley

When we talk about right brain, left brain, we refer to the left and right hemispheres of the human brain, which process information in very different ways. The left side tends to be more linear, sequential, symbolic, logical, verbal and reality-based, while the right side tends to be holistic, random, concrete, intuitive, nonverbal, and fantasy-oriented. Looking over these descriptions, it’s easy to see why artists are often referred to as being right-brained. True, the right side of the brain does heighten the ability to be creative, but engaging the left side from time to time can prove valuable, too, encouraging an artist’s ability to organize, study and analyze. This may lead to greater success… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

Framing paintings – Some thoughts

By Carolyn Henderson.

In any painting, the biggest expenditure for the artist is the frame that goes around the finished piece. If it is a watercolor painting, there’s the matting, the glazing, and the frame holding it all together; for the oil on canvas or acrylic work, it’s “just” the frame, but depending upon the size of the finished work, “just” the frame isn’t cheap.

In the same way that fine houses are built bit by bit, with craftsmanship, so are businesses. Build the price of the frame into your work and ensure that you receive the profit you need to keep growing… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

Four ways to paint without preconceptions

By Courtney Jordan, editor of Artist Daily, May 2012

Short of lobotomy, we will always have the equivalent of mental trails that our brains follow when we are painting. Artists develop these based on painting techniques that they’ve learned along the way, or they can be expressions of inherent ideas that each of us has about how to paint

Motivating oneself to wipe the slate clean of these ideas can deliver exponential benefits to an artist interested in raising his or her awareness of what they are seeing and how they see it. Because being wise to those tendencies and having ways to paint without preconceptions means an artist has more control over their vision, and not the other way around… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S.

Not painting (the procrastinating artist)

By Carolyn Henderson.

The Norwegian Artist and I have a friend who specializes in painting small pet animals…that is, when he paints. Most of the time, our friend is thinking about painting, or castigating himself for not painting enough, or remodeling the garage studio so that it’s easier for him to paint, or reading about painting, or attending art group meetings and talking with colleagues about how challenging it is to get in the mood to paint. He rarely paints.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a reason. Like many artists who are not yet, or maybe never want to be, making a full time living with their art, our friend is tired at the end of the work day, and by the time he sets up his work area so that he can continue where he left off three weeks ago, it’s time to put it all away again. What to do? Read more…

Submitted Janet S.

Leading the viewer’s eye into the focal point

By Marion Boddy-Evans

Norwegian artist Edward Munch painted four versions of his famous “Scream”, which has a strong focus but also encourages the viewer’s eye around the composition.

At its most basic, the focus or focal point in a painting is the thing that’s the most important or interesting. But for the artist it is much more than that. Focus is the element of composition which identifies the artist’s intent with their painting. It is both the seed of inspiration and the framework around which the artist has built their creative process.This means that determining and developing the focus is one of the most important parts of the artistic process. Without it the painting will be arbitrary and vague, the viewer will be easily distracted by the next bright, sparkly thing in their field of vision… Read more… 

Submitted by Janet S.

Another ‘shorty’ from Janet…

I am not a happy outdoor painter, but this short video was very inspirational to me … and might be to other painters that are on the ‘cusp’ of becoming plein-air painters. (SEE VIDEO)

The power of green


By Doug Swinton

A lot of artists have trouble with green because there are so many shades to mix and so many types to buy. What I’ve come to understand about green is that less is more.

Removing most of the greens off of my palette made a positive difference to my paintings. If you want harmonious greens you have to mix them. I now carry only one green, Viridian, a green with subtle blue undertones that also makes nice turquoise colours… Read more…

Sent by Janet S. (Courtesy of Doug Swinton) 

Talking ‘bout blue skies

 By Richard Mckinley

Visually, we are closer to the portion of the ozone layer, which is the blue of the sky, directly above our heads. The farther we look into the distance, toward the horizon, the lighter it appears. Landscape artists often embellish this effect by darkening the sky at the top of a painting and lightening it towards the horizon to magnify the appearance of depth within a painting. The intensity, or chromatic brightness, of a blue sky also diminishes as it recedes toward the horizon. This is due to the compounding of reflective light across the surface of the landscape. It is more pronounced when the sun is positioned lower in the sky. The farther into the distance you can see, unencumbered by mountains and trees, the more evident the effect… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S. (Courtesy of Richard Mckinley)


Scott Burdick gave a great speech at the Master Painters Convention last fall. He is making a point for the beauty of realism and its loss to those that support the cult of modern art highly supported financially in the museums of today by the taxpayers’ money.

This Speech/Video presentation really gives voice to many who fear conventional beauty is truly gone from art.

Here is another useful link. Please check it out.

Questions to ask a painting

By Diane Overmyer

I have paintings propped up at various key places where I know I will be able to see them as I am doing my normal day to day living. I know some paintings are finished and don’t need another thing done with them… those I prop up and enjoy while they are drying… others, like you talked about in your letter, I am unsure about. It was nice to read that I just need to wait for the painting to speak to me. This is good advice… some may not make it into my show, if they don’t speak up soon! On the other hand, I have found that if I run through a quick list of questions, sometimes the answer comes in a timely fashion… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S. 

How to be a famous artist

By Marion Boddy-Evans, Guide

A not-too-serious list of 5 things every artist who plans to be famous must do.

To be remembered down the centuries, for your work to be admired and studied, your name to be in every art reference book … who hasn’t dreamed about being that famous a painter? If you’re going to get serious about achieving it, then here are some things you should be doing now already… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S. 

Limited palette—Unlimited color harmony

By Jane Jones

This article is based on an excerpt from the Brushing Up column in the October 2012 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Pearls & Gold (oil, 26×18) by Jane Jones achieves color harmony by means of a limited palette of three colors.

With so many paint colors to choose from, why would a painter want to work with a limited palette? One good reason would be to create color unity or harmony in your painting… Read more… 

Submitted by Janet S.

Helpful tools for isolating the view

Landscape Painting Tips October 15, 2012 by Richard McKinley

When we view a painting, we are perceptively transported into a scene of the artist’s design. The encapsulating of the painting on all sides heightens this magical phenomenon, making the most important edges in a painting the perimeter. This is why most artwork is presented with a frame, or displayed on a flat neutral background when presented unframed. Besides the obvious framing benefits of a delineated edge, the encapsulation perception that it creates can prove useful when painting… Read more…

Submitted by Janet S. 

Magic art tools

Submitted by Janet S.

Three ways to create depth in a painting

 By Becky Joy

There are three ways to create depth in a painting:

1. Linear Perspective.

2. Aerial Perspective.

3. Separation of PlanesRead more…

Submitted by Janet S.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Karina Mak permalink
    September 27, 2014 12:27 am

    Thank you so much, Janet to share the wonderful informational instructions !

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