The Art of Food: Good Enough to Eat!

Everyone loves food, right? The smell, the taste, the look of your favorite food is just irresistible. Who can stop themselves from enjoying a tart and juicy apple, the smell of freshly baked bread, sweet and crunchy candy or a refreshing salad? I can’t! We get to see amazing art with our competition books and sometimes I can just feel my mouth start to water when a good piece of food art pops up on the screen.

I love watching cooking shows, especially the Great British Bake Off. Every time I see those perfect cakes and pastries I just want to bake and eat! It’s amazing what people can create with simple ingredients. Food can definitely be art, whether it’s a real life cake or a painting of a cake!

What are some of your favorite foods to eat or a food that you find enjoyable but challenging to paint?

I’ve pulled together 17 pieces of mouth-watering art from the Splash and Acrylicworks series. I hope you enjoy them and feel inspired to grab some fruits, veggies or breads and create your own art!

Say Ahhh by Lori Pitten Jenkins

Say Ahhhhh! by Lori Pitten Jenkins
Transparent watercolor on 300-lb. cold-pressed Arches
15″ x 17″

Color Wheels by Frank Spino

Color Wheels by Frank Spino
Transparent watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches
24″ x 18″

Onions in the Market - Barcelona by Laurin McCracken

Onions in the Market – Barcelona by Laurin McCracken
Transparent watercolor on 300-lb. soft-pressed Fabriano Artistico
18″ x 26″

Fowl Play by Judy Nunno

Fowl Play by Judy Nunno
Watercolor on 300-lb. cold-pressed Arches
29″ x 22″

Swiss Candies by Robert Gratiot

Swiss Candies by Robert Gratiot
Acrylic on canvas
32″ x 46″

Toast by Cynthia Poole

Toast by Cynthia Poole
Acrylic on fine linen
27.5″ x 27.5″

Three Green Amigos by Wm. Kelly Bailey

Three Green Amigos by Wm. Kelly Bailey
Acrylic on gessoed hardboard panel
12″ x 16″

Still Life With Blueberry Muffin by Daniel K. Tennant

Still Life With Blueberry Muffin by Daniel K. Tennant
Gouache on museum board
26.5″ x 37″

Lemons and Limes by Lea Barclay

Lemons and Limes by Lea Barclay
Watercolor on paper
7.5″ x 9.5″

Great Grannies by Catharine Millar Woods

Great Grannies by Catharine Millar Woods
Transparent watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches
21″ x 15″

Garden's Brightest Glories by Tania Walters

Garden’s Brightest Glories by Tania Walters
Transparent watercolor on 300-lb. cold-pressed Arches
15″ x 22″

Lemons and Grapes on a Quilt by Chris Krupinski

Lemons and Grapes on a Quilt by Chris Krupinski
Transparent watercolor on 300-lb. rough Arches
30″ x 22″

An Apple a Day by Susan M. Stuller

An Apple a Day by Susan M. Stuller
Transparent watercolor on 300-lb. Arches
21″ x 29″

Still Life With Tea Caddy by Joyce K. Jensen

Still Life With Tea Caddy by Joyce K. Jensen
Transparent watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches
28″ x 20″

Cherry Bowl by Anthony Rogone

Cherry Bowl by Anthony Rogone
Transparent watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches
30″ x 30″

Tea and Sushi by Evelyn Dunphy

Tea and Sushi by Evelyn Dunphy
Transparent watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches
30″ x 22″

Vegan Fare by Patricia Ryan

Vegan Fare by Patricia Ryan
Watercolor on 300-lb. hot-pressed Arches
16″ x 20″

The post The Art of Food: Good Enough to Eat! appeared first on Artist's Network.

Drawing Magazine, Fall 2016 Table of Contents

The human figure has been inspiring artists for thousands of years, but they keep coming up with original ways to approach this oldest of subjects. In Drawing magazine’s fall 2016 issue we meet several artists who take very different approaches to the figure, using such materials as Conte, powdered graphite and mixed media.

Our featured artists include Yuka Imata, who demonstrates her process; Fred Dalkey, who draws luminous, tonal figures; and Michael Meadors, whose drawings of young women offer a sort of rebuttal to flashy commercial imagery. Other articles are devoted to modeling shadows, the drawings of Jean Dubuffet, using mechanical pencils, and creating focal points for the eye.  The full list of articles is below.

Click here to get your copy of the fall 2016 issue of Drawing, click here to download the digital edition, or better yet, click here to subscribe to Drawing. The magazine will also be available at bookstores and newsstands beginning November 1.

Drawing Magazine Fall 2016 | Artist's Network

Cover image: Portrait of Tom (detail), by Yuka Imata.

Feature Articles

Meditations in Conté
The delicate tonal drawings of California artist Fred Dalkey. Interview by Austin R. Williams

Drawing Fundamentals: Illuminating the Shadows
By paying attention to reflected light we can enhance the illusion of three-dimensional form. By Jon deMartin

Drawing Magazine Fall 2016 | Giovanni Battista PIazzetta | Artist's Network

Nude Woman Seated, by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, ca. 1740, black and white chalk on toned paper, 20 x 15.

Curator’s Choice: Snite Museum of Art
Ten outstanding Old Master and 19th-century drawings. By Cheryl K. Snay

New Angles in Portraiture
Yuka Imata offers a demonstration of her portrait-drawing process. By Austin R. Williams

Beauty, Reconsidered
Michael Meadors mixes drawing and painting to offer a fresh take on the figure. By Michael Woodson

Drawing Magazine Fall 2016 | Michael Meadors | Artist's Network

Three-Page Spread, by Michael Meadors, 2015, graphite, Stabilo pencil, spray paint and enamel collage on paper, 36 x 68.

Drawing Brut
The confrontational but sophisticated Art Brut of Jean Dubuffet. By John A. Parks


Material World: The Nuts and Bolts of Mechanical Pencils
By Sherry Camhy

First Marks: Composition Basics: Eye Pathways
By Margaret Davidson

Drawing Magazine Fall 2016 | Margaret Davidson | Artist's Network

Compositional Diagram for “Reflecting Still Life”, by Margaret Davidson.

New and Notable: Christina Empedocles
By Michael Woodson

The post Drawing Magazine, Fall 2016 Table of Contents appeared first on Artist's Network.

Studio Saturdays: Recycled Journal

I am constantly amazed at how you, the readers of Cloth Paper Scissors, interpret the projects that appear in each issue. No one takes a cookie cutter approach to creating mixed-media art—you always make it your own.

In that same spirit, for today’s Studio Saturday I created a recycled journal, based on Seth Apter’s Inspiration Journal that’s featured in the September/October issue of the magazine. This no-sew book made up of single sheets is so easy to make, and better yet, the basic structure can be adapted to a huge variety of materials, and can be used for almost anything.

Recycled journal

This recycled journal is based on Seth Apter’s Inspiration Journal in the September/October 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

Seth created his book to house his favorite mixed-media techniques. I needed something that would hold my ephemera collection. I have a habit of collecting paper bits (brochures, maps, gift wrap scraps) for later use in my art journals, and then shoving them in my handbag or backpack or in a book, then forgetting where I put them. With this book I can corral everything and leave it on my worktable for easy access.

Using recycled materials always appeals to me, and I especially love repurposing everyday items that have great design appeal. Take, for example, this Wheaties box. When I saw it at the grocery store I grabbed it, even though this cereal is not typically on my training table. But the bright orange color, the iconic Wheaties logo, and the black-and-white image of Olympic diver Greg Louganis was too irresistible to pass up. I knew it would make the perfect book cover.

Cereal box book cover

I used a Wheaties box for the cover–I love its iconic look.

To measure the cover, I started with the size of the envelopes I wanted to use (repurposed from an old box of holiday cards). I added ¼” to the height and width, then cut out front and back covers from the box.

To make what Seth calls the binding bar, or the tabs on which the envelopes sit, I used decorative cardstock, cut to the height of the book minus 1/8″, and 1 ½” wide. The strips were folded in half lengthwise and glued together, matching cut and folded edges, to create this fan-like bar.

Recycled journal binding

Strips of paper were cut and glued to create the binding bar.

Quick tip: Folding the paper strips with the grain of the paper will prevent them from cracking and breaking. To find the grain, bend along two sides, then the other two. The way it bends more easily indicates the grain direction.

I glued the outermost fold of the bar to the inside front cover, aligning it with the spine edge, and did the same with the back cover. Before gluing, make sure your covers are oriented the correct way—I don’t even want to tell you how many books I’ve made with upside-down back covers.

Binding bar attached to covers

The fan-shaped binding bar was glued to the inside of the front and back covers.

Decorative paper was cut to the same size as the covers, and those were glued over the tabs to the inside covers. The tabs are now sandwiched between the cover and the inside paper, which makes them secure.

Inside cover pages glued

For this recycled journal, decorative paper was glued to the inside front and back covers, over the binding bar tabs.

Quick tip: To make sure your covers for your recycled journal dry flat, put a few sheets of scrap paper on top, then heavy books or a weight, and leave them there for a few hours until the glue dries.

While the covers were drying, I decorated the envelopes. What, you thought there wouldn’t be a mixed-media component to this? Not on my watch.

These plain envelopes were in dire need of some color, so I grabbed some stencils, stamps, and acrylic paint, fired up the Gelli Arts printing plate, and went to town. Monoprinting is such a fun and easy way to make gorgeous prints, and you can’t ever go wrong. Even if you pull a print you don’t like, you can continue to layer over it with more printing, stamping, stenciling, doodling, and collage, until you get something you love.

Monoprinting envelopes

Monoprinting is fun and foolproof.

I printed both sides of the envelopes (minus the flaps) using a similar color palette, which lends some cohesion. But you can go completely wild and make each one different—it’s up to you.

Monoprinted envelopes

Not bad for plain envelopes left over from holiday notecards!

To finish the recycled journal I simply glued the envelopes to the tabs, and added labels on each envelope to identify what’s inside.

Recycled journal envelope pages

The envelopes were attached the tabs, and labels glued onto the flaps.

Whenever I monoprint I always pull ghost prints (second and third generation prints) on scrap paper for use later; I used one piece for a wrap-around label for the cover. I also rounded the outside corners of the cover, using a heavy-duty corner rounder.

Recycled journal cover

A label was added to the cover, and the corners were rounded.

Now I’ll never have to go digging through my black hole of a handbag again looking for that photo I tore out of a magazine—and I also have a one-of-a-kind book I love using.

What will you use your book for? Post your photos in our member gallery! And if you’re looking for more information on making books or making prints, take a look at the following resources available in the North Light Shop and the Interweave store, from some of our talented artists!

The Altered book video by Seth Apter

Seth Apter’s ‘The Altered Book’ video shows how to make a recycled journal from old book covers, plus more mixed-media techniques!

Cloth Paper Scissors September October 2016

Get this and more great book projects in the September/October 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

Playful Printmaking video with Dina Wakley

Discover fantastic monoprinting techniques with Dina Wakley in her video ‘Playful Printmaking.’

Inspirations Art Journals video with Joanne Sharpe

Joanne Sharpe offers fun, easy techniques for making books you’ll love in her video, Inspiration Art Journals.

The post Studio Saturdays: Recycled Journal appeared first on Artist's Network.

Just Do It: Get the Business Out of the Way to Paint Better

“I’m an artist, not a businessperson,” said no successful creative ever. Let’s just agree on this truth: In today’s DIY world we have to be both an artist and a businesswoman (or man), because the times have changed. Balancing our creative abilities with the business of art can be a challenge for many of us. If we’d wanted to go into business we wouldn’t have become artists, right? Well, right or wrong, if we want our work to be seen and collected then we have some business to tend to.

Truth Be Told by acrylic artist, Wyanne

Truth Be Told by acrylic artist, Wyanne

In the Winter 2016 issue of Acrylic Artist magazine we featured Wyanne (that’s pronounced why-ann, not wayne), and she shared some of her secrets to business success. One not-so-mysterious tip: Schedule business time. Wyanne says, “I usually spend eight hours or more in the studio, five days a week. I devote one day to computer work, video editing, and web work, and one day off for family.” Easier said than done, perhaps, but she knows when she’ll handle the business, and therefore she knows she can be creative without worry.

Not sure how to get all that stuff accomplished or even started? Neither did Wyanne. She told us, “When I first started out, I had to teach myself HTML coding to launch my own website. Now there are great user-friendly options to make your own website. There are fantastic apps that allow you to post one update to multiple sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your blog, etc.” Yes, you can do it, too!

Just like you schedule the time you spend in your studio painting, a dinner with loved ones or when you’re going to yoga class—that is, the good stuff—schedule your business time, too. Schedule the business tasks, and then forget about them. If you don’t have time in your schedule for the business that needs to get done, you’re likely to find nagging thoughts pestering you as you try to paint, such as: I should post that new painting on my web page; I need to write this month’s e-newsletter; or my social media outlets are a week behind in updates. When you know you’re going to be in the office on Thursday you can quiet those thoughts and paint more freely, and freely equates to better in my book.

Another aspect of business that Wyanne excels in is letting us get to know her as a person. Maybe that seems counterintuitive on the surface—that showing a personal side is actually about the business—but give a thought to the products you feel strongly about, and you’re sure to realize that in many cases you have an emotional attachment to them. Wyanne understands the power of being real and being honest, and she’s built her brand around that transparency. Wyanne is a cancer survivor. If you haven’t heard her story yet, check out this video where you’ll get the story AND a peek into her painting technique and process.

I have a favorite reminder to myself: Be where your feet are. How that applies here is that while you’re painting don’t let the nagging needs of your art business try to distract you. The business is a necessary evil; unless, of course, you’re able to hire it all out—in which case, I’ll try not to resent you too much and wish you much continued success.

The post Just Do It: Get the Business Out of the Way to Paint Better appeared first on Artist's Network.

How to Use Hand Lettering for This Year’s Holiday Cards

Hand Lettering for Holiday Cards

The look of hand lettering can be seen everywhere you turn these days. It’s a look we love because, in a digital world, something so obviously created by hand speaks to us and reminds us of our shared humanity, or at least, that’s my view. Consider having fun with hand lettering this year as you think about making your own holiday cards to share with friends and loved ones.

Hand Lettering is Not Scary!

Hand lettering is not the same thing as handwriting. Whether or not you love your own handwriting, hand letting is a creative process you can enjoy and it can be as approachable as sketching and doodling if you want it to be. Yes, just as there are professionals with any creative outlet, there are artists who have a passion for hand lettering and do amazing work. But don’t let inexperience stop you from playing with this fun process. It’s perfect for simple and sweet holiday cards.

One Word Works!

All you really need for a great card is an endearing single word (or sometimes two). We’re all familiar with words of the season such as joy, hope, peace and snow. Think of a word that embodies the message you’d like to share this year and maybe it’s two words, but keep it simple. There’s a lot of powerful punch in a just one word.

Hand Letting How-To

I’ll share with you here, two quick approaches—the modern calligraphy look and artful hand-drawn letterforms.

What You Need

blank card

eraser (white is best)


permanent pens (I used a Sharpie and a few sizes of Pigma Micron pens)

other materials to embellish your word (optional)

ruler (optional)

The Modern Calligraphy Look

hand lettering step 1

1. Using a pencil and a light hand, loosely draw your word. Create large, loopy descenders for letters such as G, J and Y, and try not to have your letters too tightly packed together.

hand lettering step 02

2. When you’re happy with your penciled word, go over it with a black permanent pen. I used a regular Sharpie.

hand lettering step 3

3. Here’s where the real fun starts! Using a black pen with a fine point, draw a second line along any parts of the letters where you’d naturally go in a downward motion. Taper this second line when the motion starts to become horizontal rather than vertical.

hand lettering step 4

4. Fill in the spaces created with the second lines, using a finer pen for the points of the shapes and a larger pen for the larger areas.

hand lettering step 5

5. Add some embellishment, if you like, but try not to be tempted to add a lot. The key to this approach’s success is its simplicity. Here I used a metallic silver paint pen to make a star-like dot on my J, and I outlined it with a fine-point black pen.

finished hand lettering joy card

Hand-Drawn Letterforms

hand-drawn letterforms step 1

1. Decide how high you’d like your letters and draw parallel lines to indicate where the tops and bottoms of the letters will go. To get your word easily centered on your card, mark the center along each ruled line. Draw the center letter of your word in the center of the card. If your word has an even number of letters, obviously one letter will be to the right of the center dots and one to the left. Just freehand these letters; don’t worry about keeping things exact and perfect. We’re going for a hand-drawn look.

hand-drawn letterforms step 2

2. Draw the remaining letters. This may require a bit of erasing and starting some letters over. Take your time and use your pencil lightly.

hand-drawn letterforms step 3

3. When you’re happy with your penciled letters, go over them with a fine-point pen. Here, I used short, sketchy lines.

hand-drawn letterforms step 4

4. Have fun embellishing! Simple pointillism can be added to serifs. I also added a little snowflake. Letterforms are a lot of fun to color in, too. Get out your watercolors (my favorite) or markers and color away, or keep it minimal and leave it as is.

finished letterforms peace card

Other Ideas

Here are some other very simple approaches to using hand lettering for your holiday cards.

Shine Bright hand lettering card 1

Strands of lights are one easy element to hand draw on your cards. I wrote my words simply with a pencil, then went over them with concentrated watercolor using a liner brush. Lastly, I went over the letters with a fine-point pen.

Shine Bright hand lettering card 2

Experiment with using the same words, but playing around differently with the style. Who says all of your cards need to be the same?

Peace and Joy hand lettering card 3

For this example, I wanted to play with a flat brush and some India ink, but I didn’t want to go crazy with letters. The ampersand works perfectly!

Eat, Drink, be Merry hand lettering card 4

Yes, this is more than one or two words! I just wanted to have some fun with letterforms and I loved this challenge of adding depth to my letters.

Hopefully, by now you’re inspired to try hand lettering a few cards as we approach the holidays. Making your own cards is so rewarding and a great way to relax during what can otherwise sometimes get a bit crazy. Those who receive your cards will feel extra special, too.


If you love the idea of adding hand lettering to your art, and you’re looking for additional inspiration, you might enjoy Lesley Riley’s book Creative Lettering Workshop.






The post How to Use Hand Lettering for This Year’s Holiday Cards appeared first on Artist's Network.

FREE Online Live Painting Demo! Paint a Bird with Johannes Vloothuis

TIME: 7:00 to 8:30 PM EST
DATES: November 2, 2016
WHERE: Online from the comfort of your home

Registration now to Paint a Bird with Johannes Vloothuis in his FREE Online Live Painting Demo!

Painting Birds with Johannes Vloothuis

Please note: image shown is a completed bird painting by Johannes Vloothuis, but is not the image that will be demonstrated.

Join popular artist Johannes Vloothuis and hundreds of his students for a fun-filled evening in which he will lead a free 90-minute online live painting demo. Follow along, in real time, as Johannes shows you how to paint a vignette of a bird surrounded by flowers.

This is a free event that gives a great introduction to Johannes’ upcoming live online workshop on the Essentials of Painting Birds which begins on 11/5!

In this FREE online live painting demonstration, you can chat with like-minded artists as well as ask questions. We guarantee that you will pick up some very valuable painting tips and techniques!

Registration now to Paint a Bird with Johannes Vloothuis in his FREE Online Live Painting Demo!

About Johannes Vloothuis:

Johannes Vloothuis has exhibited his work all over the world including Saint Petersburg, Sao Paolo and The National Watercolor Museum in Mexico City. He has won several awards such as the top award in the country of Mexico for watercolor and teaches oils, watercolor and pastel. Johannes has taught over 17,000 artists of all skill levels via his online painting courses.

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8 Pinterest Boards to Create Right Now | Art Business

It’s no secret that Pinterest is a great place to go for art inspiration any day of the week (not to mention recipes, if I’m being perfectly honest), but if you’re not making the most of Pinterest boards for artists, then you could be missing out. It might be tempting to create one board, call it “Art,” and then dump into it everything art-related that you fall in love with, but there’s a better way to create and organize your faves. Here’s a list of 8 Pinterest boards for artists, along with some tips on how to use Pinterest for your art business.

Pinterest for artists |

8 Pinterest Boards for Artists

1. My Art (best for art business)
Upload images of your own paintings, drawings and/or sketches
Use the description area to note if they’re for sale and how they can be purchased.
Include a couple of hashtags to help people find this specific board
Link the image/pin back to your website
If possible, include a small watermark to protect your image from being unrightfully copied

2. Art that inspires
This is personal, as only you know what inspires you. What makes you lean in closer, gives you chills, or makes you smile? Pin that type of work to this board for instant inspiration.

3. Art Supplies
Include cool products that you want to try. Think: brushes, new pens and markers, papers/substrates, even larger items like easels or products you may need as you build your art business or simply grow your hobby
Bonus: This is a great way to give a hint to a loved one about your holiday or birthday wish list. 😉 Pinterest for artists, art business |

4. Art Tips and Techniques
This is where you can plant much of the info you find right here at ArtistsNetwork. Include step-by-step demonstrations, specific techniques that you want to try and tips for using your art supplies in new ways (or making the most of unexpected items for art, like using an old credit card to spread acrylic paint!)

5. Art Humor
Because we all need a good laugh. 🙂 A great way to find pins for this is simply by searching for “art humor” on, then start pinning (and smiling) away!

6. Art Quotes
For inspiration and motivation. Same as #5. Do a search for “art quotes,” “art motivation,” or similar phrases to find just the right words to give you a nudge when you need it.

7. Specific Subjects
Specific boards such as figures, illustration art, abstract, animals, still life, portraits, landscapes–you get the idea–are great for curating your favorite styles as well as for being a go-to resource when you’re looking for just the right reference. You may also want to create a board dedicated to your favorite artists and media.

Pinterest for artists, art business |

A pin from our “Watercolor Painting” Pinterest board for artists

8. Color
For palette ideas. Don’t be afraid to pin non-art images. Go with anything colorful that grabs your eye and screams, “cerulean blue!” or “quinacridone gold!” for example. Nature photos are always a perfect go-to, but keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with pinning a quilt, a kitchen or a cocktail if the color combinations speak to you.

Now, back to Pinterest as it relates to art business. Follow the tips in #1, and for each of your boards, include at least five pins. The more you pin, the more followers you’ll gather over time. Also, share your Pinterest page on Facebook and link to it from your website so that others can follow you and your new boards.

With an organized Pinterest page, you’ll always have a place to go to for the specific inspiration and ideas you’re looking for, including favorite videos that you pin from YouTube. Keep in mind that Pinterest is a social platform similar to any other, meaning that you don’t want to pin things that could turn away your audience and potential buyers. You can create “private” boards to keep this from happening. 😉

Do you already have your Pinterest page set up? Follow us @ArtistsNetwork and share a link to your profile in the comments below so that we can follow you!

Happy pinning,

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How to Use Photography to Create the Perfect Image

There are many tools painters would not part with—two being the camera and reference photos. Reference photos allow artists to take a second, third even tenth look at an element to be painted. Photo manipulation, be it on the computer screen or as rudimentary as cutting and pasting, frees us to arrange elements in a way to create a composition we find most pleasing. We asked acrylic artist Bernie Hubert to walk us through his mental cutting and pasting of photographic elements to create Andy’s Rodeo (acrylic on canvas, 20×24).

In his own words, the painting of Andy’s Rodeo by Bernie Hubert.

I painted Andy’s Rodeo for a friend of mine who grew up in Tennessee and still has a bit of cowboy in him. I’ve done my share of creative manipulation where the painting’s composition required enhancement and rearranging of elements to achieve the ideal final scene. With these two photo references I was able to study the details of that day at the rodeo—the bull, cowboys, gates—and incorporate the few requests from Andy to create a painting that is accurate in its details with an imagined composition.


Reference Photo A

Reference Photo B

Reference Photo B

I was asked to use the background from photo A because it was far more interesting, with cowboys and onlookers, and the bull from photo B where he appeared much more attractive, and powerful. As for the cowpoke himself, Andy requested image A because it complimented him. After studying the two pictures, I coupled Andy’s upper torso from photo A and his lower torso from B. The background is from photo A and the last switch was the blue plaid shirt from photo B to replace the shirt in photo A.

Confusing, maybe. But once you start to examine the individual elements in each reference photo and pull out the details that are most desirable—a body position here, a shirt there, a crowd member from one photo but the bull from the other photo—in your mind, the chosen elements start to coalesce into a set mental image. So, when you refer to your reference photos you are simply looking at elements, not the entire image.

To round out the painting I gave the bull a nice set of horns, and added a couple of cowboys standing around to give the painting balance. I also decided that since Harps grocery chain and Baxter Labs sponsored the event, I replaced the dull signage in photo A with their logos to add some color.

Andy’s Rodeo by Bernie Hubert

Andy’s Rodeo by Bernie Hubert

The take away from what I am sharing with you about painting Andy’s Rodeo is to take as many reference photos as you can. The photos don’t have to be great (we are not photographers by trade) you are simply capturing moments, elements, shapes and lines to reference later. Liken it to paint colors. We don’t have to use the color straight from the tube, in fact we seldom do, we mix them. It’s the same with photography elements.

{For more great information on acrylic painting, subscribe to Acrylic Artist, today.}

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John Salminen and a Close Look at 4 Architectural Watercolor Paintings

Wherever you are in your day I think you’ll find it easy to let your eyes and mind linger for a moment with today’s featured art. It spotlights the watercolor paintings of John Salminen: Master of the Urban Landscape (From Realism to Abstractions in Watercolor). Each painting in this book invites you to look into the daily, easily forgotten moments; maybe even hear the sounds that accompany each scene. A celebration of the artist’s work, this book is a collection of more than 150 watercolor paintings, accompanied by John’s own reflections and several essays, such as one by Mary Whyte, which I’ve included here. Scroll down to read Mary’s touching tribute and get a sneak peek inside John Salminen: Master of the Urban Landscape. ~Cherie

Watercolor paintings by John Salminen |

Autumn High Line (watercolor on cold-pressed Arches paper, 36×24); All featured art by John Salminen

A View of the World

by Mary Whyte

John Salminen is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished watercolor artists working today. And rightly so. His paintings exhibit masterful skill in drawing and composition, and his technical virtuosity for accomplishing ambitious works of luminous washes, glazes and texturing has few equals. John’s name recognition and impressive roster of awards speak not only of the admiration and respect of his peers but of the art world in general.

Viewing a Salminen watercolor allows us to see the world in a broadly universal way, as well as in the intricate components of the details. His subjects range from gritty urban night scenes, shocked with neon signage, to sunlit parks frothy with trees in spring bloom. In every case, we view the scene first as if from afar, then we are drawn in closely to delight in the unexpected nuances. From images of Hong Kong to his Midwest homeland, John shows us his personal experiences of the world and his obvious delight in what he has discovered. Never sentimental or hackneyed in his portrayals, John dishes up contemporary images of cars, buildings, pedestrians and busy streets. In colorful mosaic-like arrangements, the artist’s simplified, flattened shapes are sprinkled across the paper like confetti.

As a teacher, John is at the top of the leaderboard. He conducts his classes with thoughtful logic, nudging his students to think in more abstract terms while leading them through the concepts of value, color, shape and design. John adroitly teaches the timeless elements of sound painting, often punctuating lessons with his dry and self-deprecating sense of humor. Through the artist’s dedication to his craft and to his students, a rich and inspired tradition is being passed on. John has assured not only the future of watercolor in the art world but his own signature as well.~Mary

A Look at 4 Architectural Watercolor Paintings

by John Salminen 

Architectural forms are predominantly geometric, angular and hard-edged. They are ubiquitous in urban scenes, and I was drawn to them initially because they are a natural and logical result of using the square brushes I learned to employ in my early abstractions and California-style work. Square brushes make hard-edged geometric shapes, and those shapes are the building blocks of architectural subjects. My comfort level with this tool combined with a fascination for the logical patterns within architectural shapes were a perfect amalgam of style and subject choice. Many other elements are inherent in my urban paintings, but architectural forms initially appealed to me and presented me with the challenge of capturing the feel and look of urban street scenes.

Watercolor paintings by John Salminen |

Above: December in Paris (watercolor on cold-pressed Arches paper, 24.5×31)

Nothing speaks to our picture of Paris more emphatically than the Eiffel Tower. It has come to symbolize the city and, as a result, has been photographed and painted repeatedly. I wanted to portray it in a unique manner that avoided the clichéd imagery with which we are all too familiar. The tower itself is a worthy subject, so I explored the surrounding neighborhood, looking for a vantage point that would provide an interesting perspective. The solid structure of the buildings from this view enhanced the delicate lace-like ironwork of the tower, and the two disparate elements complemented and strengthened each other. The figure in the window came from a photo I took in San Miguel de Allende. Imagine her surprise when she stepped out onto a Parisian balcony!

Watercolor paintings by John Salminen |

Morning Fog (watercolor on cold-pressed Arches paper, 35×36.5) was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor in the American Watercolor Society International Exhibition in 2010.

I ventured into San Francisco’s Chinatown early in the morning, hoping to experience the streets before the daily hustle and bustle. When I arrived, I found not only nearly empty streets but also fog drifting through the temporarily quiet neighborhood. The diffused light quality added atmosphere and mood to the scene, and just as I took the photograph, a lone pedestrian ventured across the intersection, creating a focal point and adding balance to the painting.

Watercolor paintings by John Salminen |

Cozy Bar (watercolor on cold-pressed Arches paper, 15×22) by John Salminen

For many years, the Cozy Bar was regarded as a notorious landmark in Duluth, Minnesota. It has a colorful history, and I have always liked the gritty look and feel of it–enough that I first chose to paint it almost forty years ago. Although the building is now vacant and abandoned, it still appeals to me as a subject.

In my initial painting, above, I was drawn to the visual character of the building, and in my recent painting, below, I was more concerned with the broader implication of urban decay and neglect. I like the fact that when I look at these two versions of the same subject, they are a visual reminder of my evolution as a painter. ~John

Watercolor paintings by John Salminen |

Cozy Fini watercolor on cold-pressed Arches paper, 34×24.5)

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An Authentic and Easy Artist’s Statement | 10 Powerful Tips


Do you dread the process of writing your artist’s statement? Is there such a thing as writing an easy artist’s statement? It’s my hope that the 10 tips here can make the process feel more authentic and much less daunting.

An artist’s statement is a general introduction to your work. It is different from a bio, which can focus more on your history, representation, awards and so on. A good statement is like salt to cooking. It enhances the way a viewer looks at your art, by providing some context. Can writing one feel authentic and easy? One thing that might make it seem easier is knowing it’s good to keep it short.

A short and powerful statement has several advantages and uses. Short statements can be included on postcards. They can be committed to memory to invite conversation about your work with others. Most of us have shorter attention spans these days and a short statement ensures we can decide easily if we want to learn more. Consider creating a different statement for each process (illustration, mixed media, sculpting).

If you want to keep a traditional (longer) statement on hand to submit to juried shows or competitions, OK, but I’d like to invite you to at least consider making a short and sweet version, too and including it at the top of your About page with the option to “read more” in order to include the full-page version.

And now . . . the tips!

• Use Conversational Language

Does your statement read in a way you would normally speak to people? Someone who decides to read your statement will feel a greater connection to you if it sounds like you’re speaking directly to them.

• Try to Be All-Inclusive

Can a wide range of people easily understand your statement? You can get technical, socially relevant, trendy or philosophical in actual one-on-one conversations or the occasional blog post, but try to avoid excluding anyone here. And don’t worry about dummying it down; you won’t! Run your statement by friends or peers who aren’t artists to gauge how well you’ve explained your process.

• Begin Strong!

So many statements start off with phrases such as, “My work embodies _____.” or “Sally Artist has had a love of drawing for as long as she’s been able to hold a pencil.”  or “I seek the extraordinary in the ordinary.” Boring. Be brave and start off with something authentic and unexpected! (Check out the first lines of Molly Gordon, Hannah Piper Burns or Andy Yoder.

• Use First Person and an Active Voice

If you write with an active voice, you’ll use fewer words and your message will be more straightforward and engaging. Maybe you currently have a statement you’ve written in the third person (Mary was trained as a sculptor.). This is OK for a bio, but you can create more intimacy and authenticity in your artist’s statement by using the first person. (Though try diligently not to overuse the word “I.”)

• Be Specific

Replace more general or vague phrases such as “inspired by nature” with something that expresses your authentic perspective like “enchanted by the tenacity of mushrooms and the sweet songs of the finch.” You don’t have to be poetic (unless you want to!) but give us a clearer image.

• Remember, Less is More

I know this is the hardest part—trimming down when every word feels precious. Trust me: When you can truly keep only what’s most important, your statement will read much more powerfully. Try to keep it to two paragraphs of six sentences or less each. Bonus points if you can keep it to seven or less total. Tip: One part that’s typically easy to eliminate is a history of how your work has evolved over time. We all evolve and change; what we care most about is what your work expresses today.

• Be Complimentary About Yourself

This can be another big challenge, right? Think about it, though, where is a better place to frame yourself in the best light possible, than here? This isn’t about awards, it’s about authentic traits and skills that set you apart and make your work unique and strong.

•Describe, Don’t Sell

The flip side is, try to avoid using words such as beautiful, stunning or gripping and instead, use words that create a clear image of your work.

• Interview Yourself

Think of an artist you don’t know much about and whose work you admire. What type of questions could you ask them? Answer those questions yourself as a way to consider bits to include which might seem obvious to you, but not to the rest of us. Here are some to get the wheels turning. See if any of these answers might be included in your statement.

One tool I could not live without is my favorite _____.

My favorite time of the day to create is _____.

I’m often surprised when _____ show(s) up in my work.

When I need to get out of a rut, I _____.

My palette comes from _____.

_____ rarely shows up in my pieces because _____.

I create what I do because _____.

Common themes include: _____.

Why do I create the type of art that I do?

What is my favorite part of the process?

• Leave It and Come Back

Crafting the perfect statement can get exhausting! Take a break. Leave what you have so far and come back to it later. You’ll find the tweaking process much easier with a bit of space and fresh eyes.

If you’re stumped even starting your statement, Jane Dunnewold uses a great process in her book Creative Strength Training. As she puts it, “Maybe some people will stay up all night listening if you are an exemplary storyteller, but 90 percent of the time it’s important to cut to the chase or you’ll lose your audience.”

Sample statements

I leave you with three statements, from artists you may have heard of, to look at for inspiration and I hope you’ll now find the process easier and less painful!

Georgia OKeeffe

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else… Nobody really sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t time – and to see takes time… So I said to myself – I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it.”

Grandma Moses

“I paint from the top down. From the sky, then the mountains, then the hills, then the houses, then the cattle, and then the people. I look out the window sometimes to seek the color of the shadows and the different greens in the trees, but when I get ready to paint I just close my eyes and imagine a scene. I’ll get an inspiration and start painting; then I’ll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live.”

Jackson Pollock

“I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. It doesn’t matter how the paint is put on, as long as something is said. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a get acquainted period that I see what I’ve been about. I’ve no fears about making changes for the painting has a life of its own.”

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