Photo Reference • Print vs Monitor

Painting from a reference in your art studio.

Photos vs Monitor - Doug Swinton

I love painting from life. The challenge of rendering what I see in front of me into a painting is one of the greatest joys in my life.  

Mechanical means of “observation” such as photography, remove most of the personal experience one has when painting from life.  Though a camera is technically brilliant, it feels nothing toward the subject. It has no understanding of what is being recorded. It simply records a flat representation and leaves out the countless stimuli an artist can experience when creating a painting.

In Praise of Painterly Painters

by Charles Movalli

Color Perception

"The piano ain’t got no wrong notes."
Thelonius Monk

While looking through some old notes I had taken a few years ago I came across this article I had photocopied. There ain’t no wrong way to paint but this version of how to paint really speaks to me. It was penned by Charles Movalli, a fantastic painter and an even more dynamic teacher...

Charles Movalli is one of Cape Ann’s best known painters and teachers. Born the son of artists in Gloucester, MA in 1945, Movalli became an art teacher, influential art editor and writer but above all, he is a painter. His dramatic brushwork creates the vibrant lighting and sense of movement that captures the essence of a scene.

Color Understanding vs. Perception

Developing superior color sensitivity • by Michael Downs

Color Perception

Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch… these are the five basic senses that perceive external stimuli which in turn are interpreted by our brains. Each sense can be refined with training, practice, and experience.

Sommeliers train their palettes for tasting the subtle flavors within a good wine; conductors train their ears for hearing the nuance of sounds within an orchestra; and hence, painters should train their eyes for seeing variation of colors within their subject matter.

Identifying and Painting Tricky Values Accurately

Light colours in shadow & dark colours in light • Art Lesson by Doug Swinton

Identifying and Painting Values Accurately

This art lesson deals with a simple idea which is often under-utilized or overlooked by most artists. It explains how to accurately recognize and render light values living in the shadow family and dark values living in the light family...

Before you even begin, make sure you have a good source to paint from. Without good lights and shadows in your reference the painting will end up looking flat. Now try to separate your scene into the light and shadow families. Accurate separation of lights and darks makes for a more pleasing painting.

Creative Process (Part 3)

The Artistic Method Continued • Article by Doug Swinton

The Creative Process

Having a plan is the essence of getting good results in painting. Once you go through your process of systematic preparation it's time to get your hands dirty. Along with using the 5 Dominances of Painting to help in the choosing of your reference and developing preliminary sketches, there are a few other simple ways to keep your painting on the right track.

Below is a set of 5 rules to keep in mind. As you follow these methods with every painting they will become engrained in your process. Planning out your method this way allows your brain to be free from overthinking and thus allows you to stay in the creative zone.

The Artistic Method (Part 2)

Creative Process Part 2 • Article by Brian Batista

The Creative Process
Pierre-Auguste Renoir writes, “In painting, as in the other arts, there's not a single process, no matter how insignificant, which can be reasonably made into a formula.”

There may not be a single formula for art but there are ways to help you be more creative. In my experience better planning means better playing. I sweat less when I am systematic. This means having a plan before diving in: making lists, researching and sketching. These tools go a long way in helping me follow thru.

12 Ideas for Keeping Things Fresh in Your Art Studio.

Strategies to prevent boredom from creeping into your art practice.

12 Ideas for Keeping Things Fresh in the Studio.

People often ask if I get bored painting landscapes all the time, to which I reply, “Yes yes I do!”. But it’s not the subject I get tired of. I get weary with any painting that does’t materialize quickly enough.

I suffer from ADD, an infliction that wasn’t on the radar when I was growing up. Back in those days it was known as the “He’s such a boy” disease. My eldest son has ADD too, which became apparent when he started performing poorly in school. It wasn’t until I started helping him, along with three special service teachers, while reading many books and attending many seminars on the subject, that I noticed they were also describing me...

10 Things I learned about painting fall colours from my trip to Alaska

Autumn Painting Tips from a Northern Excursion

10 Things I learned about painting fall colours from my trip to Alaska

In the fall of 2015 I drove to Alaska and painted along the way. This expedition was my life long dream - read more here. As far as painting is concerned, the colours there are slightly different and more intense. Below are my field painting notes from this magnificent journey.

Visiting Alaska 2015

Let your dreams grow and the artwork will follow.

Visiting Alaska 2015

This autumn I completed my lifelong dream of driving to Alaska. Below are a few reflections from the long trip and several paintings I made on the way.

The Creative Process (Part 1)

An Internal Game • Article by Brian Batista

The Creative Process

Everybody’s creative process is unique to them. Just getting started can be difficult. Facing a blank white sheet of paper or a freshly prepared canvas can be intimidating. Finishing can be just as bad. Then there are all the ups and downs in between. Sometimes creativity is a battle other times it’s a playful game. When we create, we face ourselves. There are many challenges. Creativity means navigating ebbs and flow along the meandering path that is the “artistic method”.

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