The Complete Painter's Handbook

In our new special issue, American Artist guides you through the most important aspects of the painting process, from selecting your materials to preparing a canvas to advanced techniques for accurately depicting landscapes and figures.

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Editor’s Note

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Contributors

Resources 

12
Glossary: Key Painting Terms
Artists speak their own language, which includes terms describing materials, painting techniques, and concepts from art history. We’ve compiled a list of the most common terms that you’re likely to come across in classes, workshops, books, videos, and this magazine.

22 
The Cookbook: Recipes for Mediums and Mixtures
We’ve assembled a cookbook of favorite color mixtures, recipes for painting mediums, and other advice about how to achieve the perfect look for your painting.

28
Artist Roundup: Reading and Resources
Professional artists recommend books and other resources that helped them develop into the painters they are.

Improving in Painting Media

36
Tony Pro: Seeing the Color of Light
by Michael Zakian
Portrait and figure painter Tony Pro teaches artists how they can better observe and understand the qualities of both natural and artificial light, and how they can use that information to make appropriate color choices.

46
Adding Movement and Interest to Still Lifes in Oil
by Naomi Ekperigin
For her oil floral paintings, Joni Falk uses paths of light and carefully delineated values to grab and guide viewers’ attention.

52
Achieving Optimal Effects in Watercolor
by James Toogood
A watercolor expert shares fundamental advice about materials and techniques that will help you master this luminous but challenging medium. 

64
10 Steps to Determine Values in Watercolor
by David R. Daniels
Although my paintings may appear playful and spontaneous, the key to their success is a carefully laid-out value structure. Here is how I teach others to use studies to plan effective compositions.

70
Working With Acrylics
by M. Stephen Doherty
Charles Harrington teaches how to take full advantage of acrylic paints and how to avoid problems with the fast-drying, water-soluble medium.

76
6 Pastel Painters Share Materials and Techniques
by Linda S. Price
The style and appearance of finished pastel paintings are influenced by both the pastels an artist selects and how the artist uses them to create a finished work. Here, several top professionals share how they create vibrant pastel paintings.

88
Everything You Need to Know About Encaustic Paint
We recently sat down with Richard Frumess, president of R&F Handmade Paints, to learn more about encaustic painting. He explains how the paints work, why so many artists are devoted to the medium, and how an interested artist can learn more about this ancient practice that’s experiencing a major revival.

96
Know Your Aquamedia
by Michael Skalka
Egg tempera, casein, and gouache may not be as commonly used as watercolor and acrylic, but each offers special qualities that are not achievable with another medium. Here, we describe the unique advantages of these types of paint, along with some of the challenges that they present.

100
Artist Roundup: Painting Advice From the Pros
We asked professional artists and teachers to impart the wisdom that they feel is most important to share with artists looking to reach mastery of their chosen medium. Their recommendations range from words of encouragement and inspiration to specific advice about materials, composition, and values. Here’s what they said.

Studio Essentials

108
Create Your Own Solutions to Painting Challenges
by Joel Popadics
Sometimes it falls to the artist to devise ways to paint in difficult conditions. Here, watercolor artist Joel Popadics shares how he created a simple, inexpensive palette that allows him to paint in the winter.

112
Mixed Media: Experiencing the Experimental
by Naomi Campbell
The development of new materials can have a huge impact on an artist’s body of work. I recently had the opportunity to test a select number of newly released products, many of which have provided new energy to my creative process.

122
Artist Roundup: Painting Supplies + Studio Equipment
No two artists have the same working methods, nor do they have the same preferences when it comes to materials. But knowing what works for experienced painters can provide a great starting point from which you can experiment and find the tools that work best for you.

Achieving Mastery

132
Using Layers to Create a Sense of Space
by John A. Parks
John Evans’ evocative and compelling oil paintings emerge from a long process of struggle, overpainting, layering, sanding, and soul-searching.

140
Encaustic Alchemy
by Courtney Jordan
New Mexico artist Francisco Benitez employs ancient methods to produce works of art that feel both contemporary and classical.

 


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