Showing posts from January, 2016

A Bit About Blending, Tiling, and Scrubbing

-By Vanessa Lemen

Some notes and tips inspired by observations made while teaching oil painting

I've noticed a lot of times when students' paintings become muddy-looking that it not only has to do with accurate (or inaccurate) color mixing and observation, but it has a lot to do with application as well. In classes, we go over observation of color, the mixing of pigment, and application of paint to the surface. Lately, it's come up that though students may be spending quite a great deal of time and effort to get the colors correct according to what they're observing in the set-up, they're still getting muddy paintings at the end of a 3-hour alla prima session.

I'd like to note that the term “muddy” is a relative term. Mixing colors in order to get browns or grays is definitely a way to work, and you can achieve an endless number of colors by mixing to indicate the subtlety of differences in hue and temperature. Those browns and grays aren't necessarily mu…

The Real/Unreal

Greg Ruth

"The poet might know what he wanted to write, but he will never know what he wrote". 

 Alejandro Innaritu opens up "A World Unseen" with the above quote which hit me at the perfect time as this also posted above image was released to the public at the same time, to great fanfare and to my own great confusion. By every trackable measure, this piece for FREEDOM IS SPACE FOR THE SPIRIT written by Glen Hirshberg is to date the most popular and well received piece I have created for, which is surprising and funny because unlike most of my process with Irene where I commit to and execute a faulty version of the final piece before having a eureka! moment that leads me to the good, I was ready to throw this one out right away and only sent it to her as an apology before getting it right. I was sure I had repeated my usual pattern, and missed the nail with the hammer but wiser from erring, knew where to strike next. I emailed it to her, and began composing i…

Studio Tour

-with Donato

My wife and I were house hunting nearly 20 years ago when I walked up the spiral iron stairway to this studio for the first time. The wide (by Brooklyn standards) room, an existing slop sink, and bank of north facing windows were all planned out by a previous owner who was a graphic designer in the 70's. I knew this was a place I could call home, and have happily lived in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn ever since.

The studio occupies the entire top floor of our brownstone, broken into three rooms, with the painting studio on display here. I have adorned the rooms with bounties from Brooklyn, from beautiful 100 year old oak flat-files and storage units which used to house library card catalogs and documents from long ago closed legal offices, to antique pulleys and wood working tools. The history emanating from these objects is a reminder to me that time is pressing on all of us and to do today what you dream of for tomorrow.

As a traditional painter, I prefer to work under natu…

Thinking Like An "Eye"

-By Jesper Ejsing

I wrote an
article previously about focal point. In the article I compared the painting with a
water surface. You drop a stone on the most important part of the painting and
the ripple it makes, is guidelines. The further out from the center the less
contrast, value, detail level and so on, you need. What I meant is you take away
stuff, so that the stuff left behind has the more impact. It is like a nice
dish; too many flavors and it all falls apart and you do not know what you are

Yesterday I
was sketching an orc for fun. In the process I used the blur tool to even
strokes out since I did not want to waste time rendering. But; as I did so I
was reminded why the focal point is so important. The human eye works like a
camera lense. It can only focus on one thing at a time. So if you equally
render every detail of a panting with the same sharpness or detail, you kind of
ruin the illusion. I always wanted my artwork to be small windows into another
world. In copying the "…

Thinking On Paper

-By Dan dos Santos

I happened across this wonderful excerpt from a 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' episode the other day, and I found it's sentiment to be really charming and surprisingly insightful as well.

Although the lesson he is trying to teach is ultimately about the importance of creating something, there is another remarkably astute observation within it...

"Now, I wouldn't have made that if I'd just thought about it."

I often times find myself laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about what I'm going to paint. In fact, I was doing this just yesterday thinking about a painting I am going to do for an upcoming gallery show curated by Lauren Panepinto. Although I may come up with a good idea or two, it never compares to the ideas I get when I actually put pencil to paper, and let my thinking happen on the page.

When I am actually drawing, and not just thinking about drawing, I stumble across much more interesting concepts. I use that wo…

Gurney Gone Wild!

-By Arnie Fenner

It used to be that if you wanted some art instruction outside of art school you were pretty much limited to some Andrew Loomis or John Gnagey books, but now it seems like there are an infinite number of classes, books, workshops, and other educational opportunities available for artists these days. Of course, not everybody can afford to attend a workshop, either in person or online, but most anyone can find a few bucks to spend for a how-to video. Plus there's something to be said for setting your own schedule, going at your own pace, and repeating as many times as you need.

Some of the best tutorial resources are available from James Gurney. No surprise. If you follow Jim's blog—Gurney Journey—you already know that he regularly offers a daily treasure trove of tips, insights, observations, and historical perspective that are invaluable all on their own. But his how-to videos are the next-step-beyond that all artists of all levels can benefit from.

He's just …

D Day

Above: Rick Berry, Don Ivan Punchatz, Tim Kirk, and Dave Stevens

provided the Call for Entries poster art for Spectrum 1.

In case you forgot, Monday—January 25—is the deadline to enter Spectrum 23.

Dan dos Santos has written about entering strategies, John Fleskes has posted some helpful tips about submitting, and I've written about awards and art competitions in general along with a number of other aspects of Spectrum through the years.

The reasons to enter Spectrum are many and the benefits for having work selected for inclusion in the annual can be significant. There's no prescreening, no pretension, and no agenda other than to highlight and celebrate the best works of the fantastic art field created in the previous year. Spectrum is the only f&sf art competition that brings the jury together in one place to review entries and cast their votes. The big deal, of course, is that more people see Spectrum than any other art annual being produced today; it's a proven valuabl…

Rubens the Giant

I had the great pleasure tonight to go and listen to Micah Christensen speak about Peter Paul Rubens for a very fast hour.  I love when an expert is also a gifted speaker and presenter.  I left feeling inspired to do more in my own work and also with a greater appreciation for one of my favorite artists.

I had a different post planned, but after being inspired tonight, I decided to share some of the hi-res images I have collected of Rubens work with some comments.  Be sure to click on the images, some are really quite large.

Starting with a stunner.  Look at the remarkable fabric and rendering of the collar.  I love the graceful flow of the red fabric that frames her head and then merges into the form of her dress.

 Rubens style is interesting and compelling.  His paintings are full of details and richness, but the brushwork, the shapes he used to describe the forms are often economic to the point of being minimalistic.

Just look at this detail from the painting above.  The eyes are paint…