All posts by M. Stephen Doherty

M. Stephen Doherty

About M. Stephen Doherty

I've been interested in art since I was a child,  and I was fortunate to be able to take Saturday art classes at the Cincinnati Art Museum from the time I was 9 years old until I finished high school. I majored in art at Knox College and graduated summa *** laude, Phi Beta Kappa (proving artists can use both sides of their brain!).  I then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Cornell University; taught art in public schools, a community college, an adult education program, and a college; worked in the marketing department of a company that manufactured screen printing supplies; and was hired to be editor of American Artist in January, 1979.

Thomas S. Buecher introduced me to plein air painting and it immediately became a passion of mine because it got me outdoors and allowed me to continue learning when I traveled to judge art shows, attend conventions, give lectures, and interview artists. Over the years I've exhibited my paintings at Bryant Galleries in New Orleans, Trees Place Gallery on Cape Cod, and in a traveling exhibition titled From Sea to Shining Sea.

I've written 10 books on artists and art techniques and contibuted articles to magazines, websites, and exhibition catalogs. Now as I prepare for semi-retirement, I'm trying to hone my painting skills -- especially those related to painting portraits.

I've been very fortunate to have met thousands of talented artists who have enriched my life with their art, their friendship, and their advice. I am grateful to Jerry Hobbs and Susan Meyer who hired me in 1979, to the talented people who worked with me on the magazines, and to the artists and advertisers who supported American Artist, Watercolor, Workshop, and Drawing  magazines and the related websites.

I've also been blessed with a supportive, talented wife, Sara; a daughter, Clare, who works for an insurance agency; a son, Michael, who is a computer enginner in Austin; a son-in-law, Shawn, who can fix and carry anything; a granddaughter, Amanda, who has me wrapped around her finger; and my mother, Dotty, who has advised and encouraged me from the beginning.

How to Successfully Paint Color Relationships from the Start

Old Timer by Aaron Westerberg,12 x 9, oil on canvas. Painting instructors often ask students to consider two important relationships between the colors squeezed out on their palettes: value and temperature. By that they are asking them to consider whether one color mixture is lighter or darker than another, and whether the mixtures tend to…

Drawings by Old Masters: Lasting Influences

Two exhibitions of Old Master drawings that are currently on view in New York City—Rome After Raphael, at the Morgan Library & Museum, and The Drawings of Bronzino, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—explore several interesting issues, including the influences of two of the most important figures in the history of art, Raphael and Michelangelo,…

Sight-Size Drawing and Painting

I've written a number of articles on artists who use the sight-size approach to painting, but the method became clearer to me while I was writing an article on Paul DeLorenzo for the spring 2010 issue of Workshop. The procedure is to stand a measured distance away from both the easel and the subject being…

Paint Landscapes From Sketches, Memory, and Photographs

Ever since my trip to Venice, Italy, last year, I have been looking at paintings of the city by 19th-century artists such as Sargent and Whistler, as well as contemporary artists such as Steve Rogers and Leonard Mizerek. I've become more aware of how these artists exaggerated color relationships, simplified complicated spaces, and composed shapes…

Watercolors by Architects

Greek Steps, Sifnosby Thomas W. Schaller, 2008, watercolor, 12 x 9. I just finished writing an article on Thomas W. Schaller's watercolor paintings for the April 2010 issue of American Artist, and it occurred to me that Thomas is the third licensed architect whose watercolors I have written about in the past year. I described…

Painting From Photographs

I normally work from plein air sketches or my imagination, but this scene I photographed while on vacation in Costa Rica was just too beautiful to pass up. As most artists do when working from a photo, I made adjustments to the composition to better suit my painting. I first changed the foreground to make…

The Road to Success

Curt Walters started hisdemonstration painting along the South Rim of the Grand Canyonby lightly indicating theplacement of shapes. By all measures, my friend Curt Walters is one of the most successful artists in the country, certainly among artists in the Western United States. He has won almost every major award given in juried competitions, including…

Watercolor Painting as Live Performance

The beach scene in Manuel Antonio. I normally paint with oils mixed with Galkyd fast-drying medium, so I assume I can make radical changes in the composition of shapes, values, and colors as I formulate the intended outcome of my pictures. But I had to exercise more thought, control, and restraint when I painted scenes…

Important New Research on Artists and Art Materials

It’s quite probable that you were already creating artwork by the time you were 20 years old. In fact, you were likely spending a good bit of time drawing, painting, sculpting, or crafting when you were 12. Those are two of the inferences that might be drawn by looking at the data compiled in Artist…

Brushing Shoulders With Celebrities

I recently had to select five security questions in order to gain access to a website, one of which asked me to name the most famous person I’ve met. That got me thinking about the fact that artists often brush shoulders with prominent individuals from a variety of professions. Portrait painters meet more captains of…

Cover Contest Winners

If you are one of Daniel James Keys’ 463 friends on Facebook, you’ve noticed that he used the cover of the July/August issue of American Artist as his avatar, the small image that appears when he posts a comment or news of his professional activities on the social-networking website. That’s because one of Daniel’s still…