Time Saving Tips for Artists

As expected, time has been an elusive beast since becoming a parent. But work still needs to be done! Below are some tips and guidelines I have followed and you may find helpful: – First, don’t beat yourself up if you have an unproductive day. Life happens. You just need to work with the time … Read more

Why Stain and What Color?

A reader asked about why I sometimes stain the canvas and how I determine what color to use for the stain. I wrote about this a few years ago but it’s a common question so I’ll revisit it. It’s harder to judge your colors when painting on a bare white surface. Every color looks dark … Read more

Engineers, Doctors, and Artists

For some reason, my readership includes a surprisingly large group of engineers and doctors looking to take up painting. Almost all of them have the same question: How do I relax my painting style? They typically have surgical drawing precision and a keen eye for detail by virtue of their professions. But this often comes at … Read more

On My New Painting Approach

If you have been following my “On the Easel” posts, you might have noticed that my painting approach changed ever so slightly. Old approach: I would start by rapidly blocking in rough colors and shapes. I would then spend the rest of the painting refining the subject. Below are some examples of paintings using this approach: … Read more

A Lesson on Color Temperature

This is a brief lesson on color temperature. As a reminder, color temperature is how warm or cool a color appears. For example, red appears warm next to blue. Orange appears warm next to purple. But that’s a deceptively simple explanation. Effective application of color temperature is much more nuanced. A great exercise to help … Read more

There’s Nothing Better for Inspiration Than…

I find there’s nothing better for sparking my inspiration than simply getting outside and immersing myself in nature. That’s what I did yesterday. I had not done any painting since the birth of our baby girl, as expected. But it was time to get things moving again. I went for a run at a local … Read more

Composition in Two Questions

Composition can feel overwhelming with all the rules and theories. I find it helpful to distill it all down into two basic questions: What do you want to say? (What is your big idea? What is the message you want to communicate through your work?) How are you going to say it? (How are you going to … Read more

12 Palette Knife Painting Tips

I’ve been a big fan of the palette knife lately. Both New Zealand, Stroll in the Park and Sierra Nevada were painted almost entirely with palette knives (see them here). And I just put the finishing touches on another, which I’ll show you in a few days. In light of this, I put together some tips to help you … Read more

Tips for Painting Shimmering Light

Here’s a new painting: Wellington Point, Shimmering Light. The key idea of this painting is of course the shimmering light on the water. Shimmering light isn’t an easy thing to paint. Too much and it looks garish and sloppy. Too little and it looks weak and timid. Below are some tips for getting it right: It’s … Read more

Painting With a Specific Objective

Whenever possible, I try to go into a new painting with a specific objective. Perhaps I want to learn more about a certain technique… test a new color… or experiment with a new style. I find this to be the best way to broaden my knowledge and experience. It’s not enough to read or watch … Read more