Keys to Fulfilling a Customer’s Wish When the Subject Must Be Imagined

How we remember a place vs. what we actually saw can be influenced by what was most important to us, whether it was a building, a bench, or a corner of a garden. Surely you’ve pictured a favorite place in your mind, only to arrive at the location in person and realize it’s not the way you’d remembered it? Our mind creates a memory that is ideal which does not always match reality.

So what happens when a client commissions you to paint a downtown scene in a way that doesn’t exist? You ask acrylic artist Bernie Hubert for advice.

Trinity Methodist Church/Brown Palace Hotel, Denver (acrylic on canvas, 30x30) by Bernie Hubert

Trinity Methodist Church/Brown Palace Hotel, Denver (acrylic on canvas, 30×30)

Hubert recently completed Trinity Methodist Church/Brown Palace Hotel, Denver (acrylic on canvas, 30×30) that depicts a view that you will never find in real life. His client, a friend, had a very specific request for him to recreate a vignette of the city that doesn’t exactly exist—complete with details that have special meaning to her. The client emphasized that she wanted a specific vantage point, one where she could see the famous Trinity Methodist Church, and also see the equally famous Brown Palace Hotel across the intersection. It’s a lovely design concept, but in reality, the church and the Bank of Colorado building obscure much of the Brown Palace.

To prepare to paint what his customer was requesting, Hubert employed a photographer to take reference photos of the church, the hotel and the intersection while standing on a very tall ladder. The view from above, looking down on the intersection just a bit, provided the artist with some much needed perspective.


Acrylic artist photo reference Bernie Hubert

Photo Reference

Combining the technical details with artistic license was an easy task for Hubert whose first career was as an engineer. “Once the engineering part is done (which translates to the photography in this scenario), the artistic part commences,” he shares. “Next, it’s a matter of stitching together all that photography in order to create the composition, being ever cognizant of the verticality of all the elements.”

Another important consideration for Hubert in creating this painting was the play of light in the city. Light does not always shine into the bottom of the city canyon to reach the pavement below. He explains, “Generally shadows and sunlight are a good thing in a painting, creating interest and a grounding, but in the city it doesn’t shine evenly, so I decided to paint the scene on a cloudy day.”

The key to fulfilling a customer’s wish when the subject must be imagined, according to Hubert, is to hone in on the details that are most important to the client and paint those as accurately as possible while manipulating, as little as possible, the supporting characters of the painting, such as the other buildings. “If I had radically altered the layout of this street view the result would have been obviously fictionalized. But by just gently changing the composition, I was able to create an image that is very close to reality and still creates the imagined view cherished by the client.”

The post Keys to Fulfilling a Customer’s Wish When the Subject Must Be Imagined appeared first on Artist's Network.

Pastel Pick of the Week | PSA 44rd Annual Exhibition

“The Pastel Society of America’s (PSA) 44th Annual Exhibition: Enduring Brilliance!, with paintings on display from 34 U.S. states, as well as from Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, Israel and Malaysia, is one of the most diverse and colorful exhibitions in the history of the society,” says Jimmy Wright, PSA president and exhibition chair. Held September 6 to October 1, the exhibition is “a dazzling showcase of professional excellence, presenting a broad range of artistic approaches, from realism to abstraction, again demonstrating the exceptional technical breadth of soft pastel and the universal appeal of the medium to all stylistic applications,” he says.

PSA Master Pastelists Judith Cutler, Richard McKinley and Wright served as the jury of selection for the 1,496 submitted paintings. Juror of Awards was Mark D. Mitchell, Holcombe T. Green curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Yale University Art Gallery. He awarded more than $40,000 in cash and material awards, which exceeded last year’s prize pool.

The awards banquet, held September 25 at the National Arts Club in New York City, recognized top award recipients, including Daniel E. Greene, recipient of the PSA Founders Award, given by The Flora B. Giffuni Foundation, for Wool Spindles, Silk & Moire; Helen Kleczynski, winner of the Art Spirit Foundation Dianne B. Bernhard Gold Medal Award; Edward Robitz, who won the Chartpak, Inc./Schmincke Award; Nancy Ness, recipient of the Great American Art Works Award-The Fuller Monty; Robin Frisella, whose work earned the Lila Gold Memorial Award, donated by Duane Wakeham and Richard Sutherland; Anne McGrory, recipient of the Great American Art Works Award-The Mini Monty; Debora L. Stewart, winner of the Herman Margulies Award for Excellence, donated by Dianne B. Bernhard; and Barbara Groff, recipient of the Flora B. Giffuni & Joseph V. Giffuni Memorial Award, donated by JoAnn Wellner.

Hall of Fame Honoree Rhoda Yanow was celebrated for her work and contribution to the pastel community. PSA also recognized Friend of Pastel honorees Maceo Mitchell, PSA School for Pastels director, and Bob Strohsahl, manufacturer of Great American Art Works pastels and PSA donor and patron.

Eight artists earned Master Pastelist status: Teresa DeSeve, Robin Frisella, Marcia Holmes, Isabelle V. Lim, Glen Maxion, Arlene Richman, Debora L. Stewart and Anna Wainright.

For more information about PSA and the exhibition winners, visit

pastel still life_Daniel E. Greene |

Daniel E. Greene’s Wool Spindles, Silk & Moire (30×36) received the Pastel Society of America’s Founders Award, given by The Flora B. Giffuni Foundation.

pastel_figure_painting_Rhoda Yanow |

2016 PSA Hall of Fame Honoree Rhoda Yanow is known for her expressive figure paintings such as Dressing Room (24×36).


PSA Gallery Tour Richard McKinley |

Richard McKinley, PSA Master Pastelist and one of the jurors of selection, leads the PSA 44th Annual Exhibition Gallery Tour on September 23.






























PSA 44th Annual Exhbition |

PSA Master Pastelists Christine Ivers, Brian Bailey and Richard McKinley, and Pastel Journal Managing Editor Jessica Canterbury, take in the PSA’s 44th Annual Exhibition pastel painting talent on display in the Grand Gallery at the National Arts Club in New York City.



























































The post Pastel Pick of the Week | PSA 44rd Annual Exhibition appeared first on Artist's Network.

Inktober Daily Drawing Challenge 2016 | Draw, Share, Win!

It’s time for Inktober again, and that means it’s your chance to share your ink drawings with us for a chance to win some awesome art supplies! What is Inktober? Artist Jake Parker began this drawing movement in 2009 to motivate artists of all skill levels around the world–including you–to practice art every day for the month of October. #InkTober inspiration |

To encourage you to participate, we’re inviting you to post your daily ink drawings on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. and tag us @ArtistsNetwork (follow us!) and use the hashtag #Inktober. We’ll choose a random winner* to receive a sketchbook, sets of graphite drawing pencils, and more. In the meantime, keep reading to see how Inktober can have a big impact on your art (and life).  ~Cherie

Can Inktober Change Your Life? by Jake Parker

I can’t tell you how many e-mails, messages, and comments I’ve received from people telling me that Inktober got them drawing again. They tell me that for years they hadn’t really drawn or drawn anything for themselves, but committing to Inktober got them out of the slump and back into drawing and, more importantly, being creative.

I don’t think that it’s specifically Inktober that broke them out, but it’s because that they did a limited month-long challenge.

Do you like the feeling of being in a creative slump? Are you happy with the artistic level you are currently operating at right now? Are you satisfied with the amount of art you create in a month?

If you’re shaking your head as you read this, you need to take on an art challenge like Inktober.

Inktober Daily Drawing Challenge 2016 | Draw, Share, Win!

Featured art by Jake Parker. Jake’s latest book ‘Little Bot and Sparrow’ from Roaring Brook Press is a story of friendship that can inspire anyone, even robots, to dream. Learn more about his book at

I think a drawing challenge like this works because of the following principles and benefits that are hard baked into it:

Constraints: When doing a challenge with a specific set of constraints, you eliminate most of your options, which allows you to focus on the creation of something. More options can lead to more opportunities to get frustrated and lose interest.

Inktober is about the constraint of medium. You must draw with ink. When you sit down to do the challenge you don’t have to decide what colors you’re going to use or whether you’ll be rendering in pencil or watercolor. Because the challenge has stripped away all of these variables that can get you sidetracked or frustrated, your creative energy can be focused straight into your drawing. Other constraints you can put on yourself are:

  • Subject matter: You can tell yourself you’re just going to draw a different landscape or monster design for the month.
  • Time: You can set a time limit, like 15 minutes or an hour, and see what you come up with in that time period.
  • Style: Perhaps you want to develop a new style. Instead of rendering your drawing with cross-hatching you might stick to just drawing with swooping graceful linework.
  • Tools: My first Inktober was all about putting my technical pens away and learning how to effectively use a brush pen.

Accountability: Once you start something with a specific end point (like 31 days), you have built-in motivation to get to that endpoint. You become accountable to yourself for that. But you also have built-in empathy for all your excuses, so you need to announce to friends, people on art forums or your online followers that you are doing this challenge. Knowing that you told someone you’re going to do something gives you that extra push of motivation.

There’s also a healthy Inktober community of artists to pull inspiration from and to help you motivate and inspire others. Find a group of artists who are doing the challenge and join them, or form your own Inktober group. You’ll feel accountable to these people and have more desire to finish the challenge.

Habit imprinting: The act of carving out 30-60 minutes EVERY day and physically doing something starts you on the path of forming a habit. Some studies say it takes 30 days of doing something to form a habit. Stopping for just one day sets you back and works against you.

Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit introduced me to the “habit loop.” I’ll let him explain it:

“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop … becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.”

When you create something there’s a handful of rewards your brain associates with it. There’s a sense of accomplishment that feels good. There’s the reaction from others to the thing you created. Perhaps there’s a relief that it’s over and you can check it off your list. Maybe your brain just likes the extra activity going on up there.

Inktober forces you to create something every day. By doing that your brain gets this little daily reward and soon starts to crave it. You give it a cue by reminding yourself it’s time to do the drawing, then you go through the routine of creating it, then you share it with others, or you just admire what you created and your brain gets the reward it craved.

Inktober Daily Drawing Challenge 2016 | Draw, Share, Win!

Macro Goals and Micro quotas: Big goals really work. Envisioning yourself obtaining the thing you want to accomplish gives your challenge more gravitational mass to suck you into it. But big goals can also be overwhelming and accomplishing them might feel impossible. Especially when our daily activities rarely produce dramatic results.

Doing a daily challenge introduces micro-quotas that help you to balance your big goal with what you’re doing day-to-day to accomplish it. Your micro quotas are the things you do each day to accomplish the big thing. Instead of getting overwhelmed by doing 31 drawings, you just tell yourself you need to ONE drawing that day. This makes your big goal approachable, and ultimately achievable. It trains you to accomplish big things by breaking them down into manageable bites.

Mental growth: Your brain loves the kind of stimulation a drawing challenge offers. Creative problem solving has proven to be one of the best forms of mental growth. Sitting down each day to solve the problem a blank sheet of paper offers you fires up your neurons and forces you into higher modes of thinking. It forces you to think outside of the box.

After about 10 days into every Inktober I think, “Oh boy, I’m out of ideas.” It’s usually around this time that I start doing really off-the-wall stuff that sparks a new flavor of creativity in me and sets me off in a new, more exciting direction. The first 10 days is all my old tricks, the last 21 days are exciting and invigorating because I’m covering new ground.

These five things carry considerable power. It’s power that can break you out of a creative slump. It’s power that can elevate your ability to new levels. It’s power that can turn you into the prolific creator you want to be.

Which could very well be life changing.

Inktober Daily Drawing Challenge 2016 | Draw, Share, Win!



Are you ready to take on the Inktober challenge? Here are the rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it online (Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, or just pin it on your wall.)

3) Hashtag it with #Inktober (Extra credit: Tag @ArtistsNetwork for your chance to win a package of drawing supplies!)

4) Repeat

Note: You can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. Whatever you decide, just be consistent with it. Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better off you’ll be.

That’s it! Now go make something beautiful. ~Jake

Bio: Jake Parker is a New York Times Bestselling Illustrator and an author of several graphic novels and books for kids. Parker created Inktober in 2009 to get better at inking. Seven years later it has become a worldwide phenomenon with millions of ink drawings created by thousands of artists since its inception. Jake’s home on the internet is He can also be found posting on Instagram under the handle @jakeparker and sharing more of his ideas about art on his YouTube channel.

*Enter the Inktober challenge with ArtistsNetwork for your chance to win drawing supplies:
Share your ink drawings on social media through the month of October, using the hashtag #Inktober and tag us @ArtistsNetwork. Winner will be chosen November 1, 2016. Must be a U.S. resident due to international contest rules and regulations.

The post Inktober Daily Drawing Challenge 2016 | Draw, Share, Win! appeared first on Artist's Network.

Exhibition of the Month: Rembrandt and Company at the National Gallery

Our Drawing exhibition of the month takes us to Washington, DC, where the National Gallery of Art is hosting a fascinating show that explores the ways artists of the Dutch Golden Age used drawing to prepare their amazing paintings.

Dutch landscapes, still lifes, and scenes of daily life possess a remarkable immediacy and authenticity, giving the impression that Dutch artists painted them from life. However, artists actually executed these works—as well as biblical and mythological subjects—in studios, often using drawings as points of departure. “Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt” gathers more than 90 drawings and 25 paintings by such Golden Age masters as Aelbert Cuyp, Pieter Jansz Saenredam, and Rembrandt van Rijn to reveal the many ways Dutch artists used preliminary drawings in the painting process. Among the selections are compositional drawings, individual figure studies, carefully ruled construction drawings, and sketchbooks. The exhibition also includes several paintings, examining the underdrawings artists made on their panel and canvas supports before painting their scenes.

Drawing Exhibitions | Rembrandt | Artist's Network

Joseph Telling His Dreams, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633, grisaille on paper, 21 15/16 x 15¼. Collection Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. All artwork this exhibition courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

“Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt” is on view through January 2, 2007. After its stay in Washington it travels to Paris, where it will be on view at the Fondation Custodia from February 3 to May 7. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalog. Enjoy this sample of artworks from the show, and if you’re in or around Washington this fall, we hope you get the chance to see them in person.

Drawing Exhibition | Pieter Jansz Saenredam | Artist's Network

The Choir of the St. Bavo in Haarlem, by Pieter Jansz Saenredam, ca. 1597–1665, oil on panel, 19 5/16 x 14 7/16. Collection Fondation Custodia, Paris, France.

Drawing Exhibition | Gonzales Coques | Artist's Network

Portrait of a Man Receiving a Letter From a Boy, attributed to Gonzales Coques, ca. 1660, oil on panel, 22 x 17 3/8. The Orsay Collection, London and Paris.

Drawing Exhibition | Michiel van Musscher | Artist's Network

An Artist in His Studio With His Drawings, by Michiel van Musscher, mid-1660s, oil on panel, 18½ x 14 3/16. The Princely Collections, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

The post Exhibition of the Month: Rembrandt and Company at the National Gallery appeared first on Artist's Network.

Announcing the 2016 Ones to Watch | Celebrating Emerging Artists

We’ve been introducing our picks for Watercolor Artist’s Ones to Watch for the past 15 years, and the thrill never gets old. Each year, we go straight to our friends on the frontlines—the exhibition jurors and instructors who spot emerging artists long before they come to our attention. It is with great pleasure that we present the 2016 Ones to Watch!

View their selected works in this video preview, and read more about each individual in the December 2016 issue of Watercolor Artist, available now in the printed edition or as a digital download.


Watercolor Artist’s 2016 Ones to Watch:

KIE JOHNSON | Watkinsville, GA
DAN KNEPPER | Jackson Center, OH
KAREN KNUTSON | Eden Prairie, MN
JOHN KEEPAX | Coral Gables, FL
SIDRA KALUSZKA | Christiansburg, VA
MIKE HENRY | Port Huron, MI
CASON RANKIN | Asheville, NC

Subscribe to Watercolor Artist and get a free gift!


The post Announcing the 2016 Ones to Watch | Celebrating Emerging Artists appeared first on Artist's Network.

Crucial Pastel Painting Techniques for Beginners | Liz Haywood-Sullivan

A free mini-lesson on pastel painting and how to draw with pastels

Here in the Ohio valley, we’re beginning to see the first hints of summer’s end. The green foliage on some of my favorite trees has begun to fade, as the transition to oranges, reds and yellows begins. Even the grass doesn’t seem as vibrant as it was just a few weeks ago. Fortunately, there are scents and flavors that accompany these autumnal changes in color: Pumpkin spice and cinnamon are creeping into coffees and candles in stores, and with them comes the knowledge that “the most wonderful time of year” is also coming, and what sweet memories that can bring!

While your neighborhood leaves may not be in full fall swing at this moment, now’s the time to prepare to paint the changing landscape before you. In the video Landscape Painting in Pastel: Fall Color, Liz Haywood-Sullivan explains how to begin with an ideal underpainting and then add appropriate colors in layers to build up a beautiful autumn landscape. For those brand new to the medium, here are some pastel painting techniques from the artist herself.

Pastel painting | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

Pastel Painting Techniques for Beginners by Liz Haywood-Sullivan

One of the advantages of working with pastel is that there are so many different ways to work with the medium. It is very expressive and can stand on its own, but also works well with other mediums. Experiment with pastel on top of a print, over an underpainting of watercolor, or with charcoal, pencil or oil.

How to paint with pastels | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

How to paint with pastels: Blending

Blending: Blend sparingly. Try patting gently instead of smearing over an area to soften too much detail.

Apply the Technique:Blend for still water, especially when creating reflections; sky at the horizon; corners and bottom of paintings to reduce detail. It’s also good for areas where you wish your painting to be restful and quiet.


How to draw with pastels | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

How to draw with pastels: Working on point

Working On Point: Hold the pastel like a pencil and work on the tip, making thin lines.

Apply the Technique: Use for crosshatching, or finished detail work such as tree branches, ship rigging, to sharpen architectural forms and for final accents that require a controlled hand.


Chalk pastel techniques | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

Chalk pastel techniques: Working on the side

On the Side: Broad strokes are made by holding the pastel on its side. Good for blocking in your drawing in the first pass.

Apply the Technique:Build up areas where you wish the broad strokes to indicate information without getting into fussy detail, such as in painting foliage.


Pastel painting | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

Pastel painting techniques: Hatching and crosshatching

Hatching and Crosshatching: Crosshatching is when strokes are placed uniformly at angles to each other, or use random hatching, where the marks are not so uniform.

Apply the Technique: Build up a color and form you don’t want to blend. This technique is also good for working on surfaces with a distinctive pattern or a rough tooth you wish to downplay.


How to paint with pastels | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,

How to paint with pastels: Layering

Layering: Layer these broad strokes over each other with a light hand, so the color underneath is still visible and not blended.

Apply the Technique: Use for moving clouds or choppy water. This is so effective it can be used to create an entire painting.

Get your copy of the Fall Color video workshop today so that you can begin learning
the ins and outs of pastel painting for the autumn landscape.

Pastel Painting for Beginners: Working Safe With Pastels

Artists know today that they need to take responsibility for their health when working with any artistic medium. This is especially important when working in any space where your decisions can impact others, especially children. Organizations like ASTM International (see sidebar) act as watchdogs, but safe handling of art materials is an individual artist’s obligation. The issue with pastel is the dust it creates. There are several measures you can take to prevent the transmission of this pastel dust. Drawing with pastels | Liz Haywood-Sullivan,


If possible, work in a space that is dedicated to your art. If you are unable to do this, then don’t work where food is being prepared. Close a door or place a curtain across a doorway. When you clean up your studio, use brooms and wet cloths or mops to collect the dust. A vacuum will just stir up particles into the air. Of course, working outdoors is the easiest way to get around this.


I have a HEPA-rated air filter that sits on my easel and has revolutionized the cleanliness of my studio and whole house. When turned on, it creates a protective suction of air that draws the pastel dust down into the filter before it can reach my face as I am working. I also use this filter to clean my pastels. I turn it up high, take a pastel and brush it clean. I highly recommend a mechanized air filter system to keep your space clean. The peace of mind is worth the effort!


Pastel dust can have a cumulative corrosive effect on your hands, so I recommend either using medical gloves or a hand cream barrier. Some artists don’t mind gloves although they will make your hands sweaty. Skin barrier creams are a good alternative. Just rub a bit of cream onto your hands and fingernails. Wash it off when you are done. Very effective.


If you don’t have an air filter in your space and you find pastel dust is bothering you, research using an air mask or respirator. Be sure to use one that can screen out the fine particulates pastels create.


A quick, easy, portable and inexpensive method to keep dust from escaping your easel
is to get a roll of 2″ (5cm) wide masking tape. Pull off a strip that is just wider that the painting on your easel and attach one long edge along the bottom back of your painting, pinching the sides of the tape together creating a trough in front to catch the dust, which is easily discarded when you are done. If you take classes, the facility will appreciate this courtesy.

What is ASTM and Why Should You Care?

You have seen this label on your art materials, but do you know what it is? A label containing the phrase “Conforms to ASTM D4236” means that any art material carrying this language has been tested. What is ASTM? |

If it contains any component dangerous to your health, then by law, the manufacturer needs to disclose the hazardous component and give you directions as to its proper use on the label. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) was organized in 1898 and its work included developing standards for art materials. Today, ASTM International is one of the world’s largest voluntary standards-writing organizations, creating standards for every product imaginable. ASTM Subcommittee D01.57 has worked to write voluntary standards for the health labeling, performance and quality of artist materials. Currently, this subcommittee is developing a lightfastness standard for the pastel medium, which will ensure that artists are aware which pastels will not fade with time and exposure to light. Next time you pick up art supplies, look for this label—and buyer beware if you can’t find it!

The post Crucial Pastel Painting Techniques for Beginners | Liz Haywood-Sullivan appeared first on Artist's Network.

Now Available: Watercolor Artist December 2016 Issue | A Celebration of Watercolor Painting

I don’t mean to brag, but our latest issue is pretty spectacular. The December 2016 issue of Watercolor Artist contains so many diverse watercolor painting styles, inspiring artists and watercolor techniques that anyone would agree it’s remarkable. In the latest edition, you’ll find tips for creating depth, shortcuts to color harmony, working with reference photos and, of course, the 2016 Ones to Watch. View the preview below for a sneak peek.

Look for the issue on newsstands October 18, or order your print edition or digital download of the December 2016 issue here!



Subscribe to Watercolor Artist and get a FREE GIFT!



The post Now Available: Watercolor Artist December 2016 Issue | A Celebration of Watercolor Painting appeared first on Artist's Network.