Still Life

. Still life painting from a villa in Pompeii, c. 70 AD.

Still life painting from a villa in Pompeii, c. 70 AD.
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Still Life Painting

The still life painting genre is as diverse as its history is long. From the times of the Egyptians when paintings of food and valuables were depicted on tomb walls to the floor mosaics and wall paintings of Pompeii to High Renaissance works of art to contemporary still life painting of today, the genre has always been one that artists turn to again and again.

Objects that still life painters gravitate toward are also as varied, from items of the natural world to those crafted by human hands. Through them, still life art compositions articulate ideas about luxury and excess, religious symbolism, personal as well as allegorical explorations, and universal human reflections on life and death.

The still life fine art practice is one that artists have committed to over the centuries
because the essentials of art can all be explored including color, form, composition, and light. Artists can look to this unique genre for the answers that painters are forever trying to find.

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Still Life Oil Painting Demo

Ismael Checo uses rich color to create an exotic and intense experience of the world. Here, we present an online exclusive still-life painting demo as an example of his oil painting technique.

Checo's Materials

Palette

Oil paints from various manufacturers including Holbein, Winsor & Newton, and Gamblin

Brushes

Bristle and sable brushes from various manufacturers

Support

Mostly lead-primed linen and occasionally a panel made of MDF board primed with acrylic gesso from Liquitex

Medium

A mixture of stand oil and gum turpentine

Varnish

As a final varnish, Rembrandt synthetic varnish from Talens

Still life painting demo step 1
Step 1
The artist begins by drawing with a wash made of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, and flake white. The shadows are washed in to create a simple grisaille rendering of the subject massed into the simplest and clearest shapes.





Still life painting demo step 2
Step 2
Using a bristle brush, the artist applies color in broad strokes to establish the major relationships in the composition.





Still life painting demo step 3
Step 3
Working slowly and paying great attention to the color impression at each point in the image, the artist makes simple, clear statements mixing and placing one color at a time. The artist is inclined to exaggerate the saturation of the color slightly with the understanding that he will be able to go back later and add gray if needed. Although the artist does some blending and scumbling with the brush, he is careful not to overwork the image.





Still life painting demo step 4

Step 4
In some cases, the artist will change to a sable brush toward the end of the painting to achieve a more delicate and more highly rendered finished work.

The Completed Painting: Still-life Demonstration

2003, 10 x 15½. Collection the artist.

Setting the Still Life Art Standard

. Still Life with Watch by Willem van Aelst, oil on canvas, 1665.

Still Life with Watch by Willem van Aelst,
oil on canvas, 1665.
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Dutch still life painting set the standard for out-of-this-world virtuosity in the 17th century, and I'll never get over the unusual mix of objects these artists chose to depict: food of all kinds, polished silverware and gleaming glass, embroidered and heavily worked tablecloths, and tons and tons of flowers.

What I sometimes forget was how symbolic all of these objects were to the audience that had the occasion to view them all those years ago. And it's also interesting to note that artists often purposefully chose to depict items that might be a challenge to paint as a way to display their painting skills.
 
All of this symbolism and desire to show off resulted in a lot of paintings that look over the top and a bit unreal. Take floral still life painting for example. Painting flowers was a popular focus during the golden age of Dutch painting. Symbolically, artists and viewers were interested in the nature of a flower's existence—from freshly cut and blooming to wilting and dying—because of the implied "moral" lesson behind the work, namely that life is fleeting and death, a certainty.

But fresh flowers in a painting were also a sign of supreme luxury. During the 17th century, having a bouquet of flowers was virtually unheard of in even the wealthiest households. In fact, in most Dutch homes flowers weren't displayed in the way we are used to at all. Instead blooms were displayed one by one in small vases or tulip-holders designed specifically to hold relatively few flowers.
 
By creating this kind of ostentatious floral painting that depicted incredible bouquets most viewers couldn't ever hope to actually see in person or have in their homes, artists were accomplishing two things: One, pointing out the artifice of such displays as a reminder that life is not all about luxury and putting store in such things is a waste. But they were also subverting that very message—by displaying such beautiful bouquets in the first place they were sorely tempting viewers to buy the painting, essentially conveying the idea that you can't have such luxuries in real life, but this painting will give them to you and the flowers in this painting will never die.

For us to pay the tradition of Dutch painting forward and to be part of this engaging and fascinating stii life genre means really understanding the motivation for the art and the technical execution that it took to get to those amazing final works and working to toward the painting foundation we need to have our own artistic golden ages.

Focal Points When Painting Still Lifes

Reflections in Gold by Gayle Levée, 2007, oil painting still life, 16 x 20.
Reflections in Gold by Gayle Levée, 2007, oil painting still life, 16 x 20.

Deciding where to place the elements in a painting can be difficult, but the decisions are crucial to creating a successful still life. When a composition is done well, it may go unnoticed; however, a poorly composed piece instantly strikes the viewer's eye as awkward. The goal of a still life composition is to direct the viewer's eye through a painting and lead them toward what the artist thinks is important. Although there is no single right way to do this, there are specific devices one can employ in order to draw a viewer's eye to a point of interest, as well as to create the illusion of objects existing in tangible space.

Many beginning painters tend to devote their energy to drawing and painting objects accurately, and find it difficult to create a strong composition. "It's easy to become overwhelmed by all the possibilities," says artist-instructor James Sulkowski, who teaches plein air workshops to help students overcome the fear of decision-making. Some artist-instructors suggest using a viewfinder, which many artists employ when faced with a large scene. One can purchase a viewfinder at any art supply store, or make a simple one out of cardboard. Regardless of the material, it serves the same purpose: a viewfinder allows an artist to isolate the key elements of a scene, as well as view multiple compositions before committing one to paper.

When faced with a large scene, it is helpful to ask several questions. Why do I want to paint this scene? What initially attracted me to it? What content is needed to attract the viewer and make them feel what I feel? As these questions are answered, it becomes clear that a given scene is not set in stone. An artist can alter the scene to suit the emotions or message he or she seeks to share with the viewer. A still life portrait is meant to spark the imagination and excite the senses; it should be an image that is begging to be painted or drawn. If a certain area or image is not appealing, change locations or choose alternate subjects. Or, one could crop a scene tightly and focus on minute details that often go unnoticed in a large scene.

Sulkowski recommends that students determine the focal point before applying the brush to the canvas. "No matter what the circumstances, an artist needs to identify the focal point of his or her painting and then structure the painting process so that the viewer immediately understands the center of interest. When painting en plein air, it is very important to keep that focus in mind so time and energy aren't wasted on elaborating areas of the canvas that are of secondary importance." The same also holds true when painting a still life.

Nashville artist-instructor Gayle Levée has her workshop students spend hours arranging elements to create the best composition. She advises that they initially put together more objects than they think they'll need in their still life artwork, and then choose one as the focal point. "Place that object first, and then place the supporting pieces around it," she suggests. When painting a still life, Levée begins with the focal point, and makes measurements on the canvas proportional to the center of interest.

In her painting Reflections in Gold, Levée employs the rule of thirds to draw the viewer's eye to the vase and fruit (view a demonstration of the piece). This is one of several devices that can draw the viewer's eye to a center of interest. This rule, employed in painting and photography, is meant to yield a more aesthetically pleasing composition. It advises that artists divide a canvas into three sections both horizontally and vertically, and place the center of interest at a point of intersection, or in the upper or lower third of the frame. By doing so, the focal point is taken out of the "dead center" of the canvas, and the viewer's eye is led across the entire space. Once a focal point is established, determining the emotions or message it evokes will help one decide which of the aforementioned tools will most effectively tell a clear and evocative visual story.

 

True Stillness in a Still Life

Precarious Perch by Sarah Siltala, 2007, oil on board, 12 x 12.
recarious Perch by Sarah Siltala, 2007, oil on board, 12 x 12.

Sarah Siltala primarily paints still lifes and landscapes, although she occasionally draws figures in charcoal to hone her drawing skills. "I am inspired by nature and its bountiful gifts, whether a fruit, a flower, a cloud, a tree, or a bird," she says. "Seeing beauty everywhere inspires me to paint." This is not surprising given that the artist grew up surrounded by the picturesque landscape of New Mexico, which has attracted plein air artists from around the world for decades. Sometimes inspiration strikes her instantly, and other times she has to ruminate on a subject before she is moved to paint it.

Siltala often turns to her sketchbook in which she keeps various drawings, ideas, and images that inspire her as she prepares to paint. She spends a considerable amount of time determining the composition of her still life paintings, seeking to create a sense of calm and peacefulness in her work. "I'm not attracted to busy compositions," she says. "Instead I concentrate on one or two main ideas. When setting up my still lifes I rearrange and usually delete objects so that I am sure to catch the optimum light and shadow in the final painting." When she is satisfied with her still life arrangement, she takes several photos of her final setup for reference in the studio. She often works on more than one painting at a time, making it infeasible to have every still life set up throughout the painting process.

After cutting and sizing her wood panel, she applies gesso and then sketches her composition in charcoal. She begins painting with light washes, slowly building up color. If you were to watch a still life demo from Siltala, you would see her working in the style of the Old Masters, building layer after layer of transparent glazes. She cites Corot, Rembrandt, and Inness as her inspirations. Regardless of the size of her surface, Siltala's pieces take weeks to complete, because each layer must fully dry before the next can be applied-even though she uses an alkyd medium to speed up the drying process.

"I often play with each layer as I lay it down, pressing sponges, crumpled fabric, or plastic wrap into them and lifting off some of the wet glaze to reveal the previous layer," the artist notes. "After playing with several layers in this way, an impressionist color field results, with specks of individual color layers showing through." Siltala considers this layer-building stage to be meditative, for it requires her to work calmly and slowly, relying on patience as each layer of paint dries. "It is a very nice balance to my hectic lifestyle of raising two young boys," she says. "Life moves very fast, and I believe in taking time to feed the spirit. I'm always thrilled when patrons recognize a feeling of peace in my paintings, because I am capturing what I truly seek to express in my work: a quiet moment of peace, beauty, and simplicity in an often chaotic world."


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  • The grapes establish dominance in an otherwise bland still life painting setup. Your still life! By following a few key guidelines when creating still life painting setups, you will be on your way to creating successful, dynamic paintings that really
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  • Two Women with Still Life by Willem de Kooning, pastel and charcoal on paper, 22 1/4 x 18 3/4 in., 1952. The artifice of line is one of the aspects of drawing that I am most in love with. The fact that we can take line—which doesn't exist in
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  • I get excited and a bit chagrined whenever I discover oil painters of the past that I've never heard of. I realize that I'm no walking encyclopedia, yet I like to think I've got sound footing in oil painting . But the history of fine art oil
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  • Don't give up your plein air focus over the winter months. Try to paint from life indoors and keep sketching. ( Melting Snow by Ben Fenske, 60 x 75, oil on canvas.) For some of us, winter weather is just a bit too unpredictable and chilly to spend
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  • Orange and Holly by Alan Bateman, acrylic painting. Alan also won our Move Over Hallmark! Holiday Card contest . It's the time of year for decorated garlands, ribbons and bows, and cheery lights, all of which have me in a festive mood to create a
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  • In the December/January issue of American Artist magazine, the editors and staff put out feelers throughout the art community to find artists who are established or up and coming, and deserve recognition. They had limited space in the print issue, so
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  • In this issue we start the new year with the delicate but bold paintings of Law Wai Hin, whose landscapes, still lifes, and floral paintings combine Eastern and Western sensibilities to create a personal vision.
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  • This being the day after Thanksgiving, we celebrate leftovers in my house—and pretty much all other activities that result in eating. So I thought, why mess with family tradition? I'm devoting today's column to one subject matter I rarely
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  • Delphinium by Sherrie McGraw, oil painting, 8 x 10. Sherrie McGraw's work always surprises me because she doesn't allow the objects she is painting to dictate how she paints. Instead, McGraw paints to articulate form, masses, and her own ideas
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  • This is a blog about drawing people from one of my favorite co-workers, Cate, the online editor of Cloth Paper Scissors . Enjoy! Proportion is key to life drawing. When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, I was privileged to take classes at Cranbrook
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  • Demonstration: Exploring Composition Through a Limited Focus A "limited focus" isn't limiting at all, but expands our options in composition The first compositional move any painter makes is to apply a limited focus. Whether it be a still
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  • In honor of 2012, this issue offers a survey of 12 new or unknown artists, based on the recommendations of respected art professionals. We also feature our art materials buying guide, with shopping tips for all your studio needs.
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  • 5 Step-by-Step Demonstrations Show You How to Capture The Movement of Water, Create Vibrant, Dense Washes, and Collaborate with Other Artists; Create a Figure in 30 Seconds
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  • Am I built like Jason Statham? Hell no! But a parallel approach to art practice has helped me when I make pictures of guys who are. I find it useful to phrase the ongoing practice of painting and drawing in exercise metaphors. Whatever your daily practice
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  • 25 Skilled Artists Teach Their Best Techniques; Step-by-Step Lessons & Lists of Materials; How to Paint Floral Still Lifes With Skill & Understanding
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  • Notice how the composition of this sparse still life is deft--from the angle of the bottle to the serpentine curve of the ivy sprig. (Dried Ivy by Kristin Kunc, 8 x 12, oil on linen, 2008). I'm not a knick-knack girl, but I do really have a connection
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  • I'll be honest with you all--I am not a painting technician. I read a lot about art and, as you know, love to look at paintings and drawings all day long, but I am still a babe in the woods when it comes to many methods and approaches to painting
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  • Paris by Danny McCaw, 24 x 16. Not to be a whiner, but I don't have an artistic legacy to build on. So far as I know, no one in my family is an artist or has any particular leanings towards painting or drawing. That's why I'm so enamored with
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  • Self-Portrait by Kristin Kunc, oil on linen, 2011. As you probably well know, I'm online...a lot. And I'd like to think of myself as somewhat well informed about artist websites. I'm on them all the time—whether it is through an email
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  • Sarah Simblet (her pen drawing, Isis 38 , above) taught me a lot about how intertwined the semblance of motion and mark-making are in really good drawings. Maybe it is part of having an arts career or maybe it is just me, but I love books and magazines
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  • Learn classical techniques with an inspiring guide that shows you how to create stunning pieces with ease and confidence. Make your colors sing and enhance your process—top contemporary masters of today show you how. Challenge yourself with more complicated arrangements and develop the confidence
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  • Fallen Tree, Mississippi by Jeffrey Smith, 11 x 14, oil painting. My studio is filled with stuff to look at: still life objects, postcards of paintings that I love, and written notes of things to think about and remember as I'm working on a painting
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  • Artist Al Gury is known for his direct or alla prima painting knowledge. The oil painting, above, shows his decisive ability to create complex colors and shapes through successive layers. I love saying the phrase 'alla prima' but it's way
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  • I don't want to learn how to paint from just anyone. I don't mean that snobbishly, but I know how I work and learn. I am a visual learner and I learn by doing. Hearing someone drone on and on makes me want to get up and run around the room, so
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  • Self-portrait in Red by Melvin Toledo, oil on canvas, 20 x 20. Artist Daily Member Spotlight: Melvin Toledo When I can see the "art" in the everyday, that's when I know I'll be working and thinking at my fullest potential. I'm still
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  • America is a land of rich diversity that extends throughout our landscapes, cities, and regions. I'd say that one of the most distinctive places we have is Cape Cod. Now, being a born-and-raised Southern girl, I have always romanticized the northern coasts and beaches because they always look so
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  • Ellen Cooper’s In Defiance of Erebus won the People’s Choice and First Place Award. After participating in a panel discussion about career goals for artists at this year’s Portrait Society of America Conference I wanted to share a few more tips that I use to keep my art growing and
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  • When Scott Royston sets his sights on flowers for one of his still life oil painting compositions, he isn’t drawn to tiny buds or small bouquets but expressive flora in full bloom. For him, painting flowers is a gradual process that starts with a rough sketch in his sketchbook and toning his canvas
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  • Self-Portrait Sitting on the World by Julie Heffernan, 2008, 78 x 56, oil on canvas. I started with another post about Julie Heffernan’s out-of-the-box conceptual acuity and dynamic oil painting methods , but I just couldn’t stop there. Here
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  • From the time I started drawing, I have had a constant battle with myself over how to start. For years I have been looking for the one right way to sketch in a composition or block-in an underpainting. Lately, and with the help of my Studio Incamminati instructors, I have learned that there are several
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  • Get instant improvement on your portraits, landscapes, and still life’s from master teachers.
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  • Golden by Daniel Gerhartz, oil on canvas, 16 x 12. Since its inception in 2009, Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference has brought together some of the top instructors of representational art under one roof for a long weekend of workshops
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  • Breton Wash Basin by Edward Minoff, oil painting. Edward Minoff: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Edward Minoff graduated with honors from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Throughout his high-school and college years he studied painting
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  • Red Carnations with Ming Rice Bowl by Jacqueline Kamin, oil painting, 20 x 16. Jacqueline Kamin: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Born in 1950 in Washington, DC, Jacqueline Kamin received her formal art education from the Corcoran Museum School in
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  • Quang Ho at his easel. Quang Ho: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Quang Ho was born on April 30, 1963, in Hue, Vietnam. He immigrated to the United States in 1975 and is now a U.S. citizen. His artistic interest began at the early age of 3 and continued
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  • Morro Bay Rock, Near Cambria by C.W. Mundy, oil painting on linen, 16 x 20. C.W. Mundy: Weekend With the Masters Instructor C.W. Mundy, an American impressionist, was born in 1945 and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated with a B.F.A. from Ball
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  • Santa Catalina Island by Kevin Macpherson, oil painting, 30 x 50. Kevin Macpherson: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Kevin Macpherson is one of the country's leading plein air painters and is highly respected among collectors and fellow artists
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  • Sometimes in making a small study for a larger oil painting, an artist will sketch in certain areas very loosely. It's almost as if she says to herself, "and there's some other stuff that fills in this area of the composition, but I'll think about that later." With the set of small
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  • I've been waiting all my life to have a red-carpet moment, but who knows when the Academy will get around to remembering my searing director's debut at the age of 14, when I put on a musical version of Hamlet to the theme song of The Beatles' "Obladi Oblada." (Maybe you had to be
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  • Measure First, Draw Second; The Pathway to Great Compositions; Make Every ?Brushstroke Count; Learn How Top Artists Paint; How the Academic Technique can Work for You
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  • Learn more about Mary Whyte’s full-length DVD. I'm a reader and studier by nature, but the lessons and techniques that I learn from books and magazines always seem to click much quicker when I watch an artist paint, rather than try to puzzle
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  • 14 Top Instructors Share Their Secrets; How to Paint From Photographs; Complete Instruction in Painting Figures, Still Lifes & Landscapes; 12 Step-by-Step Demonstrations & Lists of Materials Check out what's featured in the Fall 2009 issue of American Artist Highlights.
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  • Trying to capture the likeness of a person in a finite period of time and meeting the high expectations often associated with portraiture are far from effortless tasks. They take commitment and savvy to do well. Our eBook Oil Painting Lessons on How to Paint a Portrait: 15 Portrait Painting Techniques
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  • On the Cover: Belle (detail, reversed) by Galina Perova, 2007, oil, 50 x 44. Private collection. FEATURES Rosemarie Beck: Exploring the Physicality of Paint by Eric Sutphin This New York artist used themes from mythology, music, and literature as ways
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  • Twilight by Anthony Ryder, 1998, pencil and pastel on gold paper, 25 x 19. The event I’ve been looking forward to since I came to Artist Daily is just a few days away. Weekend With the Masters 2010 is almost here. I’ve been told that the energy
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  • In this special Artist Daily gallery, we present online reproductions of the work of Robert Kogge , who was featured in the September 2010 issue of American Artist . In the introduction to his article "The Still Lifes of Robert Kogge: More Than Meets
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  • Experiment with Acrylic; Learn from the Masters: Hawthorne, Hensche & Sargent show you how to become A better artist; Drawing from Life; Combine Media in Deep & Meaningful Still Lifes
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  • Hundreds of artists submitted their artwork to this year’s Watercolor cover competition, and determining a winner was quite challenging. After carefully reviewing all the entries, the editors of Watercolor chose nine finalists, and we’re pleased to announce that Teri Starkweather is this
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  • For all you landscape painters, collectors, and connoisseurs out there who happen to have a half million or more lying around, I wanted to tell you about some of the amazing landscape work for sale in the “Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures” auction opening today at Christie’s
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  • SPECIAL REPORT Explore New Creative Ideas With Acrylics; Learn From Sorolla’s Epic Masterpiece; Increase the Drama in Pastel Paintings; How to Plan & Improve Your Watercolors
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  • 25 Skilled ArtistsTeach Their Best Techniques; Step-by-Step Lessons & Lists of Materials; How to Paint Floral Still Lifes With Skill & Understanding
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  • Special Report: "Green" Products for Artists; Use the Right Practices to Paint Better; Paint Classical Themes in a Contemporary Context; How to Judge Values Accurately.
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  • On the Cover: Let Me Out (detail) by Catherine P. O’Neill, 2008, watercolor, 18 x 22. Collection the artist. Stephen Scott Young: A Modern Master Explores New Subjects & Techniques Thinking More, Painting Less DEPARTMENTS Editor's Note Contributors
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  • It’s often said that artists don’t find their personal style—it finds them. Although I agree with this statement, I found in my experience that individual style develops only after a number of other tasks are accomplished. All professional
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  • Hillside of Poppies 2008, oil, 24 x 30. I have a few suggestions to offer for this painting. The artist may want to consider showing some cast shadows across the path. These shadows would have the same direction as the shadows of the trees, bushes, and
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  • I recently joined a gym in my neighborhood, with the hopes of working off some of those extra holiday pounds that seem to wear out their welcome around this time every year. My schedule is pretty busy, so I try to streamline my visits, making a beeline
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  • Portrait of an Old Man by Roger Burch, 2009, oil on linen, 20 x 16. The artist of this painting may want to consider lightening the irises of the eyes—especially the man’s right eye, since it is farther away from the viewer. Some edges of
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  • It’s often said in sports circles that the best players often make the worst coaches. That’s because it is hard for naturally gifted athletes to relate to players who are not so innately talented. A perfect example of this is former Boston
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  • 1000+ Great Workshops & Art Classes Our 47th Annual Directory; Be Guided By Your Artistic Voice; Combine & Enhance Images With Acrylic Paints & Mediums; Interpret Reality With Colored Pencils
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  • On the Cover: Winter Glow (detail) by Neal Hughes, 2008, oil, 16 x 20. Collection Dr. Pat White. Blending Traditions of Still Life Painting Representation & Invention in Watercolor DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Note Letters What’s New at artistdaily
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  • On the Cover: Breakfast Club (detail) by Gordon France, 2004, watercolor, 20 x 28. Private collection. Artist to Artist: Dean Mitchell Modern Masters: Jan Kunz DEPARTMENTS Editor's Note Contributors Noteworthy FEATURES Weekend With the Masters Review
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  • ‘Tis the time of the year when galleries across the country host their annual holiday exhibitions, giving artists, dealers, and collectors the opportunity to gather around great art and share some Christmas cheer. Whether these shows are organized
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  • Several of the masters gathered together for a photo during the Saturday evening “Encouraging the Mastersof Tomorrow” silent auction and reception. From left to right: American Artist editor-in-chief M. Stephen Doherty, Joseph McGurl, Kevin
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  • Welsh Landscape by Patti DeWitt, 2007, oil, 16 x 20. A common challenge in painting summer landscapes is that there is usually so much green. In these cases artists can take lots of “artistic license” and have fun mixing lots of different
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  • Joe Gyurcsak explaining his palette to a workshop class. I fancy myself to be a halfway-decent cook, although undoubtedly an amateur. I often find that the best way to unwind after a long day is to put my thoughts aside and create a meal for my family
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  • Mountain by Michele A. Congdon, 2008, watercolor, 18 x 22. Three things would help this painting. First, the artist can vary the softness and hardness of edges. Edges in the distance can be made softer, even losing some into the sky. Second, the artist
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  • Sofie by Nora Velastegui Pettersson, 2004, watercolor, 22 x 18. The artist has created an engaging portrait of a young woman. I especially like the simplicity of the nose and the mouth. The forehead has a great sense of roundness. Parts of the hair could
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  • The basic set of supplies John Hulsey uses when painting on location. The recent spat of wet weather in New York has made it difficult to get outside to paint, but that doesn’t mean we in the American Artist offices haven’t been thinking about
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  • 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
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  • Mountain Stream by Mary Ann Stafford, 2008, pastel, 18 x 24. The rocks and water in the foreground are very effective. I would like to have more of an impression that the water on the back waterfall is moving toward the viewer and connecting with the
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  • Check out what's featured in the December 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • By subtly layering pastel, Marlene Wiedenbaum creates a luscious and convincing sense of the world.
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  • Roses and Delphiniums by Janet Walsh, 2009, watercolor, 201⁄2 x 16. Janet Walsh recently stopped by our New York office to deliver a new set of watercolor paintings to be photographed for her next article in Watercolor magazine. The images will
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  • Jealous Much? by Sheri Crawford, 2008, oil on Masonite, 16 x 20. Bravo! This painting is strong in both concept and execution. It really does not need any “fixing.” A good exercise in this case is to consider alternate ideas for a piece. Another
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  • Curt Walters painting at the Grand Canyon. None of us want to be stuck in the rut of painting the same subjects over and over again, so we try different landscape locations, select new groups of still life objects, or join a sketch group that hires models
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  • Joseph McGurl teaching a class at Weekend With the Masters. I’ve never talked to as many excited artists as I did during American Artist’s Weekend With the Masters, an event that took place from September 9 through 13 at the Colorado Springs
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  • 14 Top Instructors Share Their Secrets; How to Paint From Photographs; Complete Instruction in Painting Figures, Still Lifes & Landscapes; 12 Step-by-Step Demonstrations & Lists of Materials Check out what's featured in the Fall 2009 issue of American Artist Highlights.
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  • Although I am known for using vibrant colors to create what appear to be playful, spontaneous images in my watercolor paintings, the key to the success of these paintings is the value structure of the compositions. Here’s how I teach others to use studies to plan effective compositions.
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  • Check out what's featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Watercolor .
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  • My office is also a conference room on the third floor of a building on 46th Street in Midtown New York City. The desk and file cabinets are pushed against the east wall of what was once a library, and a large conference table and eight chairs are arranged
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  • When building his studio, Christopher Pierce looked nearby for inspiration from an American master.
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  • I frequently commission articles on exceptional artists who sell their original artwork through outdoor shows. I do that for two particular reasons: One is that those artists are, of necessity, well organized and able to deliver requested photographs
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  • Check out what's featured in the October 2009 issue of American Artist.
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  • In the new atelier she opened in Rome, Andrea J. Smith teaches students to use a limited palette of colors when painting exactly what they see from a measured distance away from the subject and the easel.
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  • Our critic offers her suggestions for this portrait of an old man.
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  • Catherine Murphy’s provocative and tense graphite drawings defy category, leaving the viewer wondering if she is tightly rendering abstraction or abstracting realism.
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  • Very few rules are absolute in art. But one rule keeps popping up in our magazines, quoted by art instructors and artists of all types...
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  • Find out about American Artist's Reader Advisory Panel.
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  • Our critic discuses the importance of texture when portraying the mass of the land against the sky.
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  • The Table of Contents for the September 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • Whether painting in oil or pastel, Connecticut artist Claudia Seymour avoids static compositions by using line, color, and design to move the viewer’s eye through the painting.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw discusses highlights while looking at this charcoal drawing.
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  • Steve Doherty offers his suggestions for ways artists can increase the probability that their drawings and paintings will express their passion.
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  • Steve Doherty offers pieces of advice he's heard from dealers and artists on how best to help sell artwork.
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  • The Table of Contents for the Summer 2009 issue of Watercolor magazine.
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  • In the Watercolor Fundamentals article in the Spring 2009 issue of Watercolor , I explained how to set up and paint a basic floral still life. This time I will demonstrate a more involved arrangement of roses and delphiniums.
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  • Our critic looks at an impressive self-portrait drawn by a high-school student.
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  • The Table of Contents for the July/August 2009 issue of American Artist.
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  • Emerging artist Daniel James Keys couldn’t enroll at an art school, but he used every other available means to educate himself as an artist, to connect with other painters, and to promote his artwork. His experience proves that with determination, support, and computer savvy, artists can make significant
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  • Steve Doherty offers readers six tips on how to draw anything accurately.
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  • This Texas oil painter shatters multiple myths—including the notion that artists are myopic and single-minded. Qiang Huang helps workshop participants learn how to draw, paint, and sell their artwork using modern technology and traditional painting methods.
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  • Our critic looks at a painting that includes extreme high contrast and simple shapes and offers recommendations on the painting’s lighting.
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  • Steve Doherty relays some of the advice Jack Beal and other knowledgeable art teachers offer their students on the subject of composition.
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  • The Table of Contents for the Summer 2009 issue of Workshop magazine.
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  • Artists from across the country submitted their work for consideration in the 2009 American Artist Cover Competition. After an extensive selection process Suzanne Eisler’s Still Life With Butterfly was chosen as the winning image. It is presented here, along with artwork from the nine other finalists
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  • The table of contents for the June 2009 issue of American Artist.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw looks at an oil portait and suggests careful consideration for the value in the background to help showcase the strong elements of the painting.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw recomends simplifying the background to call more attention to the subject of the painting.
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  • Get instant improvement on your portraits, landscapes, and still life’s from master teachers.
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  • Steve Doherty talks about a young California artist he discovered while browsing the American Artist member's gallery.
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  • The Table of Contents from the May 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • Colin J. Callahan discuses the influence of Dutch still life painters on this particular artist's work, and suggest further exploration of the masters to help with painting still lifes.
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  • Recent visits to still life painting workshop and exhibitions has reminded Steve how still lifes provide an opportunity to share some aspect of our lives with those who look at our drawings and paintings. Here, he expands on that thought, and asks about the ways you compose, execute, and personalize
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  • The Table of Contents for the Spring 2009 issue of Watercolor magazine.
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  • Artist and teacher Mel Stabin recommends painting loosely and boldly, an approach that has defined his career.
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  • A simple floral arrangement can be the perfect subject for beginner still lifes.
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  • Q: I’m working on an oil portrait, but I’m having trouble getting the right tones. What colors do you recommend? A: Painting a successful portrait is similar to painting a successful still life. Assuming that the subject has one major light
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  • The Table of Contents for the April 2009 issue of American Artist magazine.
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  • The table of contents from the Spring 2009 issue of Workshop magazine.
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  • Colorado artist Quang Ho’s new instructional DVD series offers a concise version of what students can expect in his workshops, including his eight visual approaches to painting, his views on developing understanding, and a discussion of everything he wishes he had known before he started painting
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  • The NOAPS recently held its 18th annual national exhibition. Here we present some of the event's award winners.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw explains how establishing a sense of depth is essential to a successful composition.
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  • Be careful not to paint portrait backgrounds a shade that is similar to a dominant color in the figure.
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  • Steve Doherty discusses artists' work spaces and ask readers for their suggestions on how to best utilize your space.
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  • In this critique, Dawn Whitelaw discusses the importance of silhouette.
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  • Steve Doherty discusses the social aspects of watermedia painting and the proliferation of watermedia organizations.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw discusses proper technique when working with chalk and charcoal.
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  • Dawn Whitelaw suggests "calibrating the lights" to strengthen the overall composition of this painting.
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  • One of the most useful aspects of painting workshops is the personalized critiques offered by knowledgeable instructors. Now you can get this advantage anytime through the American Artist Critique Blog. Through this blog, you can get commentary and suggestions
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  • An artist recently included me in an e-mail blast in which he complained about the way major museums favor “Modern Art” over representational paintings by the likes of Sargent and Rembrandt. He said it “kills my soul … and I know
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  • John A. Parks examined the art of Giorgio Morandi in the December issue of American Artist . In one section, he asserted, "[His] paintings are a testimony to the act of something deeply contemplated. It is a kind of painting that has nothing to do
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  • Whether creating fine art or illustration, for Connecticut artist Bernie Fuchs—who boasts a long and successful career as an illustrator—it’s all the same. Either way, “I’m making a picture,” he explains. A Perfect
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  • Arranging the objects in a still life painting can be as challenging—and enjoyable—as painting the subject matter. Here we offer advice from several still life painters on how to create a visually stimulating setup. Blackware, Papaya, and
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  • When Chris Krupinski made the transition from oil to watercolor painting, she refused to sacrifice her love of detail and bold, rich color. A Glass of Cherries 2004, watercolor, 30 x 22. All artwork this article collection the artist. by Naomi Ekperigin
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  • Master landscape colorist Kevin Macpherson is a plein air impressionist who is passionate about sharing his skills with other artists through informative workshops, books, and DVDs. Here, he answers questions regarding his training, his technique, and
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  • Hundreds of artists from around the country sent in submissions for American Artist’s 2008 Cover Competition, and the editors narrowed the selection down to the 10 they thought best captured the skill level and style of our publication. When those
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  • Read the transcript from yesterday's live online chat with pastel artist Janet Monafo. 2008-06-09 11:00:12.0 Administrator: You have joined a chat with Janet Monafo, a top pastelist who has been highlighted in American Artist magazine. Feel free to
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  • The Irvine Museum's spring 2008 show keeps with their annual tradition of featuring artwork that highlights the outstanding display of wildflowers that once characterized spring in California. Abundance of Color: California Flowers in Art Through
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  • This New York City artist has found that the more he understands the science of the elements in his still life scene, and the more carefully he executes his drawing and underpainting, the freer he can interpret the subject matter in the final stages to
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  • This New Mexico artist slowly builds up transparent glazes of oil colors to create still lifes and landscapes with luminous, vibrant, and subtle textures. Evening Solitude, 2008, oil on board, 15 x 15. All artwork this article private collection. by Naomi
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  • This Boston acrylic painter teaches art the way a life coach helps a client achieve life goals. by Bob Bahr Rolli advised students to keep their still life arrangement simple so the emphasis is on painting rather than drawing. Students come to Ellen Rolli
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  • In the Fall 2007 issue of Workshop magazine, we presented Daniel E. Greene's approach to teaching drawing and painting in art-school classes, short-term workshops, and filmed programs. Here we reproduce the article from the November 2007 issue of
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  • Working with a complementary palette can lead to harmonious paintings and the creation of clear, vibrant colors. By Naomi Ekperigin Still Life of Egg and Glass, by Jacob Stevens, 2007, oil on board, 24 x 18. Private collection. For many artists, choosing
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  • Janet Monafo once tossed objects onto her studio floor in an attempt to paint a more random arrangement with pastels. “I really wanted to accept whatever happened, but in the end I couldn’t resist my need to carefully organize the shapes and
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  • Artists looking to work with pastel can learn valuable techniques and tips by studying artists who first explored the medium and discovered the possibilities the medium offers. by Naomi Ekperigin Although the work of oil painters and draftsmen is well
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  • Congratulations to the 10 finalists chosen in the 2008 Watercolor Cover Competition. These accomplished artists each take a different approach, revealing the versatility and adaptability of watermedia. Here, they describe their sources of inspiration
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  • Artists Carl and Sandra Bryant use tiny pieces of glass to create intricate mosaic works of art. by Stephanie Kaplan Autumn Landscape by Sandra Bryant, 2006, glass mosaic, 24 x 32. Collection the artist. Mosaic Landscape by Sandra Bryant, 2005, glass
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  • This New York City artist paints landscapes, still lifes, and portraits that highlight the relationships between seemingly disparate objects. by Naomi Ekperigin This Situation 2006, oil, 20 x 16. All artwork this article collection the artist. Self-Portrait
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  • For this Massachusetts artist, water is both her subject and her medium. Iceberg From Our Zodiac, Antarctica No. 2 2005, watercolor, 24 x 36. All artwork this article collection the artist, unless otherwise indicated. by Naomi Ekperigin The majority of
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  • This Florida-based artist paints still lifes in oil that hint at a human presence. Trio on Marble Block 2007, oil, 36 x 48. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise indicated. by Naomi Ekperigin For 15 years, Arturo Samaniego’s
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  • This New York City artist’s creative process involves self-reflection, during which she asks herself not only what she is painting, but also why she’s compelled to do so. by Naomi Ekperigin Daniel I 2006, oil on linen, 22 x 18. Collection
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  • This Nebraska artist went from scientific illustration to still lifes and figures that enable him to examine life in a new way. Cranberries 2008, oil, 24 x 16. Collection the artist. by Naomi Ekperigin Mark Marcuson is an equal-opportunity artist. Having
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  • In an exhibition opening this month in New York City, Daniel E. Greene presents still-life and figure paintings inspired by the experiences and objects of his childhood. Those paintings allowed him to explore the themes of challenge, contrast, and competition
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  • Students at the Community College of Philadelphia receive thorough instruction in the fundamentals of drawing and painting, especially those currently enrolled in Jeffrey Reed’s introductory course, Art 115—Painting I. by M. Stephen Doherty
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  • An appropriate background is essential for setting the scene in a still life composition. by Janet Walsh Silver Server With Cups 2002, acrylic, 12 x 24. The artist has done a nice job painting these still life items. However, the artist may want to consider
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  • Utah artist David Koch likes to bring elements of his state’s pioneer past into his computer-aided compositions. by Linda S. Price Crossing The Sweetwater 2002, oil on linen, 55 x 44. Collection Walt and Katie Gasser. Until David Koch won a competition
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  • Read the transcript from yesterday's live online chat and drawing tutorial with colored pencil artist Arlene Steinberg. Be sure to attend our next live chat with pastel artist Janet Monafo on Monday, June 9 at 2pm EST. 2008-05-12 11:00:03.0 Administrator
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  • The 10 Finalists in the Watercolor Cover Competition offer their insights on the creative process—from finding inspired subjects to selecting materials to applying the final details. Cymbidium Equinox by Kory Fluckiger, 2004, watercolor, 27 x 19
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  • Arlene Steinberg develops her detailed colored pencil drawings in much the same way as an oil painter would proceed. She carefully determines a composition, builds from dark shadows to bright highlights, and underpaints complementary colors to enrich
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  • In the summer 2008 issue of Watercolor magazine, we discussed how Angela Bradburn experimented with new approaches since the beginning of her career. We offer more of her watercolors in this online exclusive gallery. Blue Ridge Blueberries 2003, watercolor
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  • Varying color and subduing the background helps create an effective floral composition. by Janet Walsh Geraniums 2005, acrylic, 8 x 10. The artist has certainly made good color choices in the bouquet, and has created the feeling of sunlight throughout
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  • Use negative space on both sides of the canvas to create a unified composition. by Elizabeth Pruitt Bleu 2007, acrylic, 36 x 24. The artist has created interesting negative shapes on the left side of the painting where the flowers go off the canvas. The
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  • Indicating a light source is essential to painting 3D objects. by Elizabeth Pruitt The Moroccan Vase 2006, acrylic, 19 x 12. This piece is reminiscent of Picasso's work. The eye travels nicely down the curving line of the vase in the foreground. However
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  • This Illinois-based artist has a degree in animation but found her true calling was painting portraits and still lifes in oil. by Naomi Ekperigin Hurricane Lamp With Candle 2006, oil, 9 x 12. Collection the artist. Lindsey Tull is a young artist who has
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  • Heralded as a rebel of the Romantic movement, Gustave Courbet is today considered one of the first to propel Realism into the modern world. by John A. Parks The Desperate Man 1844–1845, oil, 17¾ x 21?. Private collection. Born in 1819, Gustave
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  • In the December 2007 issue of American Artist, Joseph Gyurcsak used the work of Giorgio Morandi and Paul Cézanne to help illustrate lessons on developing paintings. Here, we present a step by step demonstration of his painting Subtle Grays . The
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  • Six top artists combined observation, investigation, and invention to respond to the encompassing reality of the landscape. They will be exhibiting their sketches and studio paintings together for the first time this summer. by M. Stephen Doherty The
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  • For almost 20 years, Jimmy Sanders has set specific goals for his art education, the types of paintings he creates, and the projects he undertakes. “Goals are dreams with deadlines,” he says. “They are important to realist painters who
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  • Renowned for his watercolor paintings of the figure, this artist reminds others to simplify, merge the subject with the background, and respond in a way that is natural and authentic. To read more features like this, subscribe to Watercolor today! Watercolor
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  • From the thousands of art-instruction books available, we offer a list of those that have proven beneficial to new artists. by Naomi Ekperigin There are many options available for artists wishing to improve their skills. However, the price and time commitment
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  • We present biographies and artwork from our 20 esteemed watercolor teachers. by Beth Patterson Mary Alice Braukman The Power of Letting Go by Mary Alice Braukman, 2005, mixed media and collage, 22 x 30. Collection the artist. Mary Alice Braukman is an
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  • We present the semifinalists in the pastel category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Changing Channels by Mike Barret Kolasinski, 2007, pastel on archival foam board, 12 x 24. First Place: Mike Barret Kolasinski Chicago artist Mike Barret Kolasinski is passionate
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  • Combining close observation with an intuitive approach, Joyce Washor creates tiny paintings with big impact. To read more features like this, subscribe to Watercolor today! by Tina Tammaro My Cup Runneth Over III 2007, watercolor, 4¾ x 3¾
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  • Pay careful attention to color temperature. by Elizabeth Pruitt Maddy No. 1 2006, pastel on acid-free foam board, 24 x 20. The artist has achieved an intimate feeling in this paintingâ??itâ??s as if the viewer is drawn into the horseâ
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  • Deciding where to place the elements in a painting can be difficult, but the decisions are crucial to creating a successful piece. by Naomi Ekperigin Deciding where to place the elements in a painting can be difficult, but the decisions are crucial to
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  • In the April 2008 issue of American Artist, we discussed how Christine Lafuente's still lifes and plein air landscapes are oriented toward achieving a color harmony that captures the play of light across the forms. In this online exclusive gallery
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  • In the April 2008 issue of American Artist, we discussed how Maryland artist Abigail McBride is still acquiring skills to help her successfully build paintings more than 20 years after she started studying art seriously. We present more of McBride's
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  • When Rhode Island artist Peter Hussey taught himself to paint, he noticed that great artists often used diagonal and curved shapes to bring viewers into and around their pictures. That lesson, along with many others he learned by studying both historic
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  • Break up strong lines when possible to add interest. by Elizabeth Pruitt Looking South— Hollywood Beach, Florida Acrylic, 36 x 24. This painting has a nice composition. However, the diagonal line that runs from the lower, left corner should be irregular
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  • We present the semifinalists in the acrylic category. by Karen Stanger Johnston First Place: Amy Guidry Out for a Run by Amy Guidry, 2006, acrylic, 20 x 24. Courtesy Jenkins Connelly Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana. "I choose my subjects based on
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  • After a successful 20-year career as a watercolorist in Tulsa, Patrick Gordon moved to New York to create large, multipanel oil paintings of flowers. “I’ve never worked harder or had more fun than I have in the past few years,” he explains
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  • With limited time to paint, pastelist Dave Stout has learned to pare down his supplies and develop an efficient and effective working method. Like what you read? Become an American Artist subscriber today! by Linda S. Price Back to the Clouds 2006, pastel
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  • A more finished drawing is possible when a model poses for an extended amount of time, but this luxury comes with particular challenges. Identifying and preparing for the potential pitfalls will improve your figure drawing . To read more features like
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  • Winter 2008 Watercolor featured artist Joyce Washor combines close observations with an intuitive approach in this still life demonstration of Three Onions (2:18) . Click to Play | View Details
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  • Massachusetts-based artist Barney Levitt creates rich and detailed oil paintings from precariously placed still lifes. by Naomi Ekperigin A Fine Balance 2006, oil on panel, 16 x 19. Collection Garrett Demarest Minnie Smells a Trap 2007, oil, 16 x 20.
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  • Although viewers may first be attracted to the beautiful and romantic subjects of Steve Hanks’ extraordinarily detailed watercolors, they soon become engaged by the expressions of love, loss, and hope conveyed by the images. That’s because
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  • Read the transcript from our online chat with mutimedia artist Fran Hardy. 2007-07-26 12:00:14.0 Administrator: You have joined a chat with Fran Hardy, an artist who transforms her graphite drawings into remarkable multimedia pieces that incorporate sgraffito
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  • The Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, in New York City, presents this third solo exhibition of still life paintings by Roberto Bernardi. Roberto Bernardi: New Still Life Paintings Through December 1 Bernarducci Meisel Gallery New York, New York (212) 593-3757
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  • In the winter 2008 issue of Watercolor, we discussed how Stephanie Anderson’s paintings were as fresh-looking as the subject matter, thanks to her fast, decisive technique and skilled handling of paints, brush, and paper. Here, we showcase more
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  • In the winter 2007 issue of Watercolor , we explored Yachiyo Beck's exquisite and unique still lifes. Here, we offer more of her watercolors including a variety of landscape paintings. Teal Blue Vase With a Peach 2006, watercolor, 14½ x 8½
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  • By employing a most unusual form of contrast, Yachiyo Beck has found a way to create still lifes with a distinctly personal flavor. by Jennifer King Afternoon Apples 2005, watercolor, 18 x 28. Collection the artist. If one of her paintings looked like
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  • Santa Barbara artist Ann Sanders finds natural beauty in her surroundings and puts it down in pastel using proven methods—and she stresses that you can too. by Bob Bahr Devereux Afternoon 2006, pastel, 11 x 15. Collection Shirley Dettmann. The scenes
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  • Two masters of still life painting have much to teach us about developing our paintings. by Joseph Gyurcsak Ochre & Blue Gray 2007, oil, 12 x 16. Collection the artist. Two of the most admired masters of still life painting are the Italian artist
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  • Oil painter Debra Teare mixes the best of conventional trompe l’oeil techniques with her own modern sensibilities to make her illusionistic pieces. by James A. Metcalfe Everything Nice 2007, oil, 13 x 10. Collection Christine E. Lynn. For more than
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  • Hackett Freedman Gallery presents this exhibition of recent still life paintings by Northern California artist David Ligare. David Ligare: Aparchai Through October 27 Hackett Freedman Gallery San Francisco, California (415) 362-7152 An illustrated catalogue
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  • For New York City artist Ellen Buselli, painting is centered on translating what she sees to canvas, which is why she finds observing and understanding the nature of color and light so important. by Linda S. Price Classical Light 2007, oil on linen, 20
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  • In the January 2008 issue of American Artist, New York City artist Ellen Buselli explains why she finds observing and understanding the nature of light and color so important. Her attention to light and color is also evident in the still lifes presented
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  • This Dominican-born artist uses rich color to create an exotic and intense experience of the world. by John A. Parks Standing Nude Study 1988, oil, 20 x 16. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise indicated. Although he has long
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  • We present the semifinalists in the drawing category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Study for the Portrait of Autumn by Chusit Wijarnjoragij, 2007, brown and white colored pencil, 25 x 19. First Place: Chusit Wijarnjoragij For Thailand-born Chusit Wijarnjoragij
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  • We present the semifinalists in the watercolor category. by Karen Stanger Johnston After the Harvest by Gail M. Wheaton, 2003, watercolor, 30 x 22. Collection Evan and Patricia Harter. First Place: Gail M. Wheaton Arizona artist Gail M. Wheaton completed
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  • We present the semifinalists in the colored pencil category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Ya Reckin by Rosemarie Rush, 2006, colored pencil, 16 x 20. First Place: Rosemarie Rush Like most of the images of Western life by California artist Rosemarie Rush
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  • We present the semifinalists in the oil category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Hyacinth (and the McCoy Pot) by Ellen Buselli, 2006, oil on linen, 12 x 16. Private collection. First Place: Ellen Buselli Ellen Buselli’s favorite subject is the still
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  • During the second half of the 19th century a single writer held enormous sway over the hearts and minds of American artists, critics, and their public. by John A. Parks Devonport and Dockyard, Devonshire by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1825–1829
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  • Primarily an oil painter, Elizabeth O’Reilly makes a point of painting the figure in watercolor, where she stretches her painting skills to solve new kinds of problems. by Lynne Moss Perricelli Large Woman With Umbrella 2006, watercolor, 16¼
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  • Chicago’s School of Representational Art offers a classical art education in a modern world. by Mark G. Mitchell Tartan by Steve Ohlrich, 1999, charcoal and pastel on white paper, 25 x 19. On the top floor of an old factory warehouse in the arts
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  • Former woodcarver Suzanne LaPrade is very much interested in the underlying structures that make up her pastel and oil subjects. by Karen Frankel The Heiress 2006, oil, 48 x 30. Collection Mr. and Mrs. P.T. Farrel. The woods behind Suzanne LaPrade’s
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  • A look at the anatomical structure of the ear, and some helpful tips on how to draw people . by Ephraim Rubenstein Maddie 2005, pastel on sanded board, 19 x 15. In this portrait of my daughter, Madeleine, her ear is lit very dramatically from behind.
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  • In the October 2007 issue of American Artist, we explored how Maryland oil painter Carolyn Egeli, renowned for her portraits, seeks the essence of her subjects and settles for nothing less. In this online exclusive gallery, we present more of her landscape
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  • View a demonstration of Slice of Life by Watercolor magazine feature artist Scott Moore (5:06). > Moore process of still life watercolor Click to Play | View Details
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  • Be sure to locate the light source in the composition before you begin painting. by Elizabeth Pruitt Moonlit Forest 2006, acrylic, 24 x 30. This artist demonstrates some good, basic painting skills; however, the artist might want to consider the following
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  • This California artist pursues an aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to plein air painting. by John A. Parks Dos Roses 2006, oil, 12 x 9. Courtesy Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Ken Auster uses loads of thick paint and
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  • Veteran California oil painter Meredith Brooks Abbott explains how she has maintained a devotion to the routine of painting every day, with continually improving results. by Molly Siple Bird Refuge 2006, oil on linen, 11 x 11. All artwork this article
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  • Traditionally trained artist Sarah Lamb uses her passion for the kitchen to bring a new vitality to the art of the still life. Mousse au Chocolat 2005, oil on linen, 20 x 32. All artwork this article private collection unless otherwise indicated. by John
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  • In the September 2007 issue of American Artist, we explored how after years of enjoying the immediacy and energy of painting landscapes outdoors, Californian Pat Kelly brought the same materials and techniques into the studio to paint still lifes. Here
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  • It is critical for artists of all levels to understand and feel comfortable using linear perspective. by Stephanie Kaplan Understanding linear perspective is important for all artists, beginners included, regardless of their medium or subject matter,
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  • Read an excerpt from the July/August American Artist feature on still-life artist Emphraim Rubenstein. by William Chapman Sharpe Self-portrait With Vanitas Symbols by David Bailly, 1651, oil, 25½ x 38?. Collection Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal,
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  • This oil painter finds that his ongoing series of paintings depicting books allows him to venture into a number of themes—including self-portraiture. View an online exclusive gallery of Rubenstein's work. by William Chapman Sharpe The Great
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  • In the spring 2007 issue of Watercolor magazine, we discussed how Debi Watson improves the quality of her watercolors and catches the attention of exhibition jurors by striving for new subjects and by searching for techniques that get the paints to work
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  • After Colorado artist Stephen Quiller finishes presenting exercises, demonstrations, lectures, and critiques during a workshop, students often comment that no other instructor has covered that vital information with such depth and clarity. Even experienced
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  • After Colorado artist Stephen Quiller finishes presenting exercises, demonstrations, lectures, and critiques during a workshop, students often comment that no other instructor has covered that vital information with such depth and clarity. Even experienced
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  • View more of Ephraim Rubenstein's paintings depicting books in this online exclusive gallery. Library I 1997, oil, 32 x 21. Private collection. Books: Pile IV oil, 8 x 9. Prviate collection. Books: Pile IV oil, 8 x 22. Collection the artist. Books
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  • by William Chapman Sharpe In the July/August issue of American Artist, William Chapman Sharpe investigated how oil painter Ephraim Rubenstein used books as subject matter in his paintings to explore their meaning in society and to serve as an indirect
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  • In the December 2006 issue of American Artist , veteran painter James Tormey conveyed powerful meaning in his still lifes by continually shifting the backgrounds and settings in which they appear. Here, we present 10 more of his meticulous oil paintings
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  • This veteran painter conveys powerful meaning in his still lifes by continually shifting the backgrounds and settings in which they appear. by John A. Parks Icon 1994, oil, 18 x 12. All artwork this article private collection unless otherwise indicated
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  • Take a closer look at Philip R. Jackson's unconventional still lifes in this online exclusive gallery. Tension Series: Sweet Victory 2006, oil on panel, 7 x 5. All artwork this gallery private collection unless otherwise indicated. Tension Series
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  • Mississippi artist Philip R. Jackson’s unconventional still lifes ask viewers to see the beauty in everyday objects. by James A. Metcalfe The Mighty Goldfish Cracker 2004, oil, 8 x 10. Private collection. By casting ordinary items—a bunch
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  • The Hackett-Freedman Gallery will present this exhibition of recent work by Guy Diehl, an acrylic artist whose paintings reflect a deep interest in art history, through June 30. Guy Diehl: Recent Paintings Through June 30 Hackett-Freedman Gallery San
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  • Scott Royston, our December Artist of the Month, paints using a medium he makes himself: powdered pigment mixed with black oil. by Edith Zimmerman Eggs to Dye For 2003, oil on panel, 13 x 18. Scott Royston , our December Artist of the Month, paints using
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  • Lori Simons explained her techniques for painting watercolor still lifes . by Lori Simons Velvet Red Bouquet 2005, watercolor, 18 x 14. Collection Kent and Meg Ulery. Never be in a hurry when watercolor painting. Make sure you have ample time to complete
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  • The Wichita Art Museum, in Wichita, Kansas, will present this exhibition of work on paper by William Bailey through May 13. William Bailey on Paper Through May 13 Wichita Museum Art Museum Wichita, Kansas (316) 268-4921 The Wichita Art Museum, in Wichita
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  • “The Baird Collection of Early California Paintings” will be on display at the Monterey Museum of Art, in Monterey, California, through April 22. The Baird Collection of Early California Paintings Through April 22 Monterey Museum of Art Monterey
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  • In the November 2006 issue of American Artist , still-life artist Benjamin Shamback explained how an energetic underpainting gave life to his carefully refined oil works on metallic surfaces. In this online exclusive gallery, we offer more still-life
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  • After a Trip to Italy, Fred Wessel learned more about egg tempera painting and adding gold leaf to his panels. He now teaches those procedures for emulating the dazzling beauty and inner glow of 14th- and 15th-century pictures. by M. Stephen Doherty The
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  • Nine years ago, Mark Norseth moved his family to Hawaii and discovered the perfect place to record the power, movement, and coloration of the sea in pastel paintings. by Tamara Moan It’s easy to spot Mark Norseth around the town of Kailua, perhaps
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  • A combination of variable brushstrokes, a warm and dark underpainting, and careful observation of environmental conditions help New Hampshire painter Colin J. Callahan capture light with a sense of energy. by Bob Bahr Banana 2001, oil on paper, 31 x 21
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  • We counted the number of times historical figures were referenced or reproduced in the first 10 issues of Drawing and showcased the the most mentioned here, with illuminating comments from two experts. by Bob Bahr It’s possible the greatest drawer
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  • In her acrylic paintings, Emily Cameron Pressly creates comprehensive records of her experiences, emotions, and observations by working from her impression of a subject rather than from direct observation. by M. Stephen Doherty When I paint our garden
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  • Forbes and American Artis t again invited a group of artists to spend a week together interpreting a vast Colorado ranch in their choice of medium, subject, and style. by M. Stephen Doherty View of Cat Mountain by Ephraim Rubenstein, 2006, oil, 9 x 17½
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  • In the winter 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, we explored how James M. Sulkowski showed students how to paint people posing in lush garden scenes during his Pennsylvania workshop. In this online exclusive gallery, we offer more of his oil paintings.
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  • In the winter 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, we offered an inside look into Montana painter Ned Mueller's plein air workshops. Here, we showcase his figurative and landscape paintings as well as a few drawings. Norwegian Summer 2006, oil, 11 x 14
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  • Debbie Cason Rankin explains how drips, puddles, and runs can capture a subject’s emotional state. by James A. Metcalfe Life Is Good 2004, watercolor, 14 x 20. All artwork this article collection the artist. “Hopefully this painting leaves
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  • Pastel artist Diana De Santis has devised an approach that allows her to focus on subjects rather than materials and techniques. by Lynne Moss Perricelli Diana De Santis believes in keeping things simple. Rather than pursuing complicated methods of working
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  • In contrast to his methodical, painstaking technique, G. Daniel Massad takes an intuitive approach to conceiving his pastel still lifes, allowing the imagery to emerge in its own time. by Lynne Moss Perricelli The Way Through 2001, pastel, 161/2 x 16
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  • In the February 2007 issue of American Artist , we explored how Rick Hansen painted landscapes and still lifes that reflected the way things appear at one moment in time. Here, we offer more of his paintings in this online exclusive gallery. Backwater
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  • In the January 2007 issue of American Artist , we presented the winners and finalists of the 2006 Casein Art Competition. Here, we present more paintings from these fine artists. Canary Stare by Joseph Todorovitch, casein, 24 x 18. Still Life of Sally
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  • What will the 25th anniversary issue of Watercolor magazine look like? The answer could well be determined by the artists in this article who were recommended by teachers who are in contact with some of the most promising watercolorists. We asked those
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  • In the January 2007 issue of American Artist , we explored how Katherine Ann Hartley took her still lifes and her career to a new level of professionalism she never could have imagined by committing to a period of intense instruction and painting the
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  • Joseph Gyurcsak, the resident artist for Utrecht Art Supplies, is an art materials expert who assists artists, companies, and industry manufacturers in understanding different aspects of art materials and techniques. He also travels extensively, conducting
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  • In the November 2006 issue of American Artist , we explored how oil painter Sarah Lamb's passion for cooking brought a new sensibility to the art of still life. We present an excerpt from the article. by John A. Parks Peaches 2005, oil on linen, 17
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  • Sondra Freckelton is widely recognized for her well-planned, thoughtful, and expertly crafted watercolors she develops using principles that expand artistic expression; and she is appreciated for helping others learn those principles while gaining a concrete
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  • The work of still-life and figure painter Raymond Han will be the focus of this exhibit at Forum Gallery, in New York City, through October 21, 2006. Raymond Han: Recent Paintings Through October 21, 2006 Forum Gallery New York, New York (212) 355-4545
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  • North Carolina artist Kate Worm uses rollers to apply watercolor and gouache to create breathtakingly bold paintings. by Christopher Willard Brushes are overrated, at least according to Kate Worm. The North Carolina artist frequently uses no brush at
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  • This Pennsylvania artist combines alkyd with oil to achieve poetic paintings of his local landscape using a closely controlled technique. by John A. Parks Gene McInerney paints delicate views of his beloved Pennsylvania countryside with a fullness and
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  • Room interiors provide an excellent opportunity to paint a variety of light intensities, colors, and effects; but they also present challenges in trying to capture the subtleties of forms within those dimly lit spaces. by Joseph Gyurcsak Interior scenes
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