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

Lesson From a Recent Painting

I just put the finishing touches on New Zealand, Stroll In the Park. New Zealand is such a colorful place. A landscape painter’s dream. There’s an important lesson in this painting. I was about 90% complete and for some reason, I didn’t like what I saw. Something wasn’t right but I had no idea what or … Read more

On Not Getting Stuck in Your Old Ways

The other day, I published an “On the Easel” post about Caloundra, Dramatic Sunrise (you can read it here if you missed it). I enjoyed that painting so much I decided to paint the subject again, from a photo taken earlier in the morning. The composition is roughly the same, but the colors and overall mood are completely different. … Read more

Wise Words From the Impressionists

The top Impressionists have inspired me since my late teens. Not just for their beautiful paintings, but also their outlook on life, art, and their constant search for light, color, and life’s fleeting moments. Below are some of my favorite Impressionist quotes. There are some wise words here. “Everything that is painted directly and on … Read more

What You Can Learn From My Failed Painting

A few days ago I wrote about my most recent painting, American Mountains. What I didn’t write about was the failed painting that came just prior. You would usually never hear about an artist’s failed paintings, but there’s an important lesson to be learned from this one. I was grasping for something to paint and settled … Read more

Art, Boxing, and Longevity

I watched Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. the other day. This was an exhibition boxing match between two former champs. I was too young to see either of them fight back in their primes, but I have racked up hundreds of hours on Youtube watching their highlight reels. Both are athletic freaks of nature. … Read more