That ATT commercial, in which an adorable little girl excitedly proclaims “We want more,” has reminded me of one of the most frequently asked questions I get from painters: How do you know when your painting is done?Is it Done Yet? Knowing when to stop and call a painting finished is, without a doubt, one of the most mysterious of painting dilemmas, and one that has plagued artists throughout time.
CALL FOR ART! THE URBAN SKETCHER’S NOTEBOOK101 Cityscapes and Scenes to Color DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION FEBRUARY 29, 2016Readers have asked for more, more and more coloring books and inspiration. We are hoping urban sketchers like YOU will answer the call! We are putting together a uniquely crave-worthy collection of urban sketches to color, crowdsourced from every corner of the world and we want to include your work!
Is No One Underpainting?The process of underpainting has such a buttoned-up reputation as an oil painting technique. If it were cast in a movie, it would be the uptight, by-the-book stickler that no one wants to hang out with. That’s because the process of underpainting is often associated with a belabored, rigid series of steps that delays us from getting to the “real” painting—which is why a lot of beginner painters tend to rush it, or skip it altogether.
The Depth of Colored PencilI’ll admit that in the past I have been guilty of thinking of colored pencil art as colorful and bright and not necessarily able to be coupled with serious subjects or moody narratives. As I’ve spent time looking at sketchbooks of draftsmen creating colored pencil art and figure drawings made using colored pencils, I’ve discovered that the medium is as diverse as any other.
Think Like a Watercolor PaintingIt warms my heart when I hear artists expressing excitement about their chosen painting medium. Artists are the ones in the business of knowing all the ins and outs of their materials, whether it is watercolor painting, acrylic or oil–among others.For them to articulate such positive responses about their paints, pencils and brushes validates the artistic process and stirs an equal amount of enthusiasm in me.
7 Secrets of Color Mixing for the Contemporary PainterI can’t emphasize it enough: color is fun, color is exciting, but color has to be used smartly if you want your paintings to work. Too much chaotic color mixing results in, you guessed it, chaos. Not enough color, yup, means your painting is going to underwhelm you.
Acrylic Painting in the Sweet SpotWhen I don’t get that “forced out” feeling when I look at an artist’s paintings, I sit up and take notice. I was reading about the acrylic art of Karen Nelson in the just-out Fall 2016 issue of Acrylic Artist, and something teased my brain after I looked at painting after painting of hers and I didn’t feel like I was in a crowded room that I was going to leave as soon as possible.
With winter around the corner, I’ve been spending as much time as possible outdoors, going hiking and reading in the sun, walking from place to place when I do my errands in the evenings, and just finding every excuse for an outdoor excursion, day and night. Landscape painting is another perk of the season.
For just a few seconds, I thought watercolor painting pencils were some kind of April Fool’s flashback prank. I mean, everything I think of and know about watercolor painting is that it is fluid and kind of uncontrollable. In a pencil, how can watercolor still have that same looseness? But then I thought about the reverse of this—watercolor pencils might mean no more watercolor paintings going off the rails.
I adore color in watercolor painting—deep ruby reds, bold blues, verdant greens, rich golden yellows…I could go on and on, but one thing that I often forget in my zeal is that color is not just a matter of hue. Saturation and subtle color layers also play a huge part in how a successful painting comes together.
How a Watercolor Artist Paints Every Moment of the DayPlein air artists are the first to tell you that you can go back to the same paint site over and over again during different times of day and it is like being in a whole new place every time. It can crystallize colors so it almost feels like you are looking through a kaleidoscope.
Figure Drawings Basics: Fun, Messy and Made of Thin, Firm LinesLooking at any one of John Singer Sargent’s drawings, I really can’t mistake them for anything but the work of his hand. His line work is so thin, firm, and consistent, even in figure drawings full of visual movement and force.The other thing they are is a bit wild–messy and free and a lot of fun.
Acrylic Painting Ideas for BeginnersSummer is in full swing! Let’s take advantage of it and put a little art in our lives! Chris Cozen is here with guidance on acrylic painting ideas for beginners, which means we can all jump in right now. There’s no professional experience or skill required! All you need is to get inspired with experimenting with lush color and bold color mixing, and set aside some time for yourself and your art projects!
Your Best Oil Painting Brushes Are Here“They’re like magic.” “It was my savior.” “Don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost it.”I kid you not, these are some of the reactions we got when we asked artists to talk about the best oil painting brushes that they have in their studios. For beginners or intermediate painters, choosing brushes can seem overwhelming because there are so many choices so we’ve put together this primer on what every oil painter should know about paint brushes, including how to choose brushes, how to clean them, and more.
New York Bridges from Antonio MasiWatercolor painter Antonio Masi was born in Italy in 1940 and immigrated to America with his family in 1947. He’s spent a lifetime and a career in graphic art advertising in New York City. It would be no overstatement to say that New York has his heart and that the New York bridges are his lifelines.
Paint Flowers to Get It AllYou don’t have to think terribly hard to figure out that the painting genre that has all of these characteristics in common is floral painting. But to paint flowers in a way that doesn’t become a simple exercise in rote recording, I take note of the power of the flower in these three areas.
You can often tell a landscape painting that was painted en plein air from one that wasn’t. But what really sets an outdoor painting apart? I went to some of the best plein air artists, instructors, and seasoned painters in the country to see what they think distinguishes a plein air landscape painting, and discovered several pearls of wisdom that I want to share.
We’ve been introducing our picks for Watercolor Artist’s Ones to Watch for the past 15 years, and the thrill never gets old. Each year, we go straight to our friends on the frontlines—the exhibition jurors and instructors who spot emerging artists long before they come to our attention. It is with great pleasure that we present the 2016 Ones to Watch!
Get a Stellar Watercolor Painting Every Time With These TipsThere are certain aspects of painting that are true essentials: Basic elements such as perspective, value, shape, color and texture, for example. Add to this the principles of design, elements for specifically painting landscapes or portraits, and then top it off with the ins and outs of using one of the most popular mediums, and you have a recipe for watercolor painting.
Color Wheel ReduxThe idea gives me chills. For me, painting is all about color schemes and giving the color wheel a workout. It is the kaleidoscopic chroma that draws me in, and I usually spend more time entranced by the colors I’ve mixed on my palette than actually applying paint to my surface.When I found out that nationally renowned artist and professor Mel Leipzig creates his large-scale figurative paintings with just four colors I was surprised.
Mixed Media Paintings That Glow with an Inner LightFor many, Ross Bleckner’s art put an image to the poignancy of loss during the AIDS epidemic and made the pain of mourning somehow bearable and beautiful. His mixed media paintings have always been able to make me gasp at how vibrantly their surfaces seem to glow.