Wise Words From Jascha Heifetz

I went down a rabbit hole of Jascha Heifetz. He was a remarkable violinist. One of the all-time greats from what I have read. I came across a quote by Heifetz that struck me: “Use your technique to show the music, do not use the music to show your technique.” (I saw this quote in a … Read more

Your Vision, Not Mine

A reader asks: I’m stuck at this point in the painting. What should I do next? It’s hard for me to help with a painting once you have started. The best I can do is provide technical pointers, but it’s your vision, not mine. I don’t know how you saw and experienced the subject…. what … Read more

On Salvaging a Painting

A reader emailed the other day looking for help with salvaging a painting that took a few wrong turns. I was able to provide some technical suggestions, but part of my advice was to consider letting it go and chalking it up to a lesson learned for next time. Salvaging a painting becomes harder as … Read more

On Pushing Your Ideas

Here’s one of my recent paintings: Maryvale, Foggy Morning. This painting is a great lesson on pushing in the direction of your ideas. There were three key ideas I wanted to convey through the painting: 1. The thick fog. I remember walking with Chontele and seeing fog seep over the distant hills. Within moments, we were … Read more

Going Large

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on a new painting, Sky, Maryvale. It’s the largest painting I’ve done, coming in at 36×48 inches. I painted it for the baby room. I want her to have something nice to look up at (we recently found out it’s a baby girl. We couldn’t wait!). Below are some insights … Read more

High Key Painting Tips

I just finished this painting. It’s based on a local fishing spot, Tingalpa creek. I went out early that morning on the kayak. Glassy water, not a person in sight, and a first-row seat to nature’s orchestra. I painted in a high key (light colors) to try and capture the peaceful feelings and shimmering colors from … Read more

How Much Paint to Put on Your Palette

Question from a reader: How much paint should I put on my palette? I always seem to run out but I also don’t want to waste paint. My thoughts: Start with a generous amount of paint on your palette. Consider any excess a cost of the creative process. Of course, be smart about it. If … Read more

What’s the Best Order to Paint the Subject?

I’m often asked about the order I paint the subject. Do I paint the sky first or last? When do I paint the background? What about the focal point? These days, I don’t follow any particular order or process. I used to rack my brain trying to find the “perfect” order, but I have come to … Read more

Question From a Reader: How to Paint Backgrounds

A reader asked: “I always struggle with backgrounds. Any tips for how to approach backgrounds and make them interesting without distracting from the main focus?” This is a great question. I’m sharing my tips as you might also find them helpful. – Focus on big, simple shapes. Don’t get lost in the details. – Simple doesn’t … Read more

3 Most Common Landscape Mistakes

I get sent many landscape paintings by readers. Unfortunately, I can’t critique all of them, but here are the three most common mistakes (or areas for improvement) I see: – Painting something you’re not interested in. Many artists seem to struggle to find something to paint. Eventually, they just paint anything, even if they can’t … Read more