Watercolor Challenge: Bluebonnets

Love Jean Haines’ loose, lovely painting style? Try it yourself with this simple watercolor challenge!

Follow along with Jean as she demonstrates painting bluebonnets in just a few minutes. It’s a great way to practice, warm up, and put spare scraps of watercolor paper to good use.

Watercolor Challenge: Bluebonnets with Jean Haines | ArtistsNetwork.com

Spring Medley by Jean Haines

For this watercolor challenge, you will need:

  • Your favorite watercolor brush
  • A small brush, like a liner or rigger
  • Watercolor paints in the following or similar colors:
  • French Ultramarine
  • Cascade Green
  • Cobalt Turquoise
  • Yellow
  • Scraps of watercolor paper
  • Reference photo

In this quick study, you’ll practice observing your subject, making petal shapes, and varying color. Try setting a timer for five or ten minutes to keep yourself from working each shape too seriously. You might find yourself creating more interesting shapes when you’re a little rushed! Jean also demonstrates how to create the impression of more bluebonnets in the distance with just a few touches of the brush. Finally, you’ll see how to use brush techniques for lifting and adding color to add light, interest, and excitement to your flowers.

“These little studies are invaluable for progressing as an artist,” Jean says. “Painting one or two things quickly each day is a good way to improve your skill for observation and speeding up on technique.”//fast.wistia.com/embed/medias/a5cwabr93m.jsonp//fast.wistia.com/assets/external/E-v1.js?dfe0f9


Want more from Jean? Find her full-length videos at ArtistsNetwork.tv!

Watercolor Workout
Watercolor Flowers
Watercolor Animals
Watercolor Mindfulness

About the Artist

An accomplished author and painter well known for her passion for art, Jean Haines teaches hundreds of students via hosting international watercolor workshops all over the world. With awards
and exhibitions across the United Kingdom, United States, and internationally, Haines is a member of the SWA, Society of Women Artists, and was a recipient of the Anthony J. Lester Award. Visit JeanHaines.com for more information on her upcoming workshops.

The post Watercolor Challenge: Bluebonnets appeared first on Artist's Network.


Paint Along 32: Professional Insights for Painting Water | LIVE with Johannes Vloothuis

TIME: 1:00 to 5:00 PM EST
DATES: 3 Saturdays: March 4, 11, and 18

WHERE: From the comfort of your home
You do not have to attend the sessions live. Everything gets recorded and can be downloaded at no extra cost.

Register for the Paint Along 32: Professional Insights for Painting Water Live online workshop here now!

Learn How to Paint Water

Water is a common element in landscape paintings, and one that can add interest and movement to your work. Since water takes so many forms–still, bubbly, cascading, wavy, deep and dark, or shallow and clear–learning how to paint water benefits from practice, especially the principles of water reflections.

In this live online workshop, you will learn painting techniques to depict water as you join landscape artist Johannes Vloothuis, and hundreds of other artists, to strengthen your painting skills with 12 hours of painting fun distributed over the course of three Saturdays. Johannes will start his paintings from scratch, and finish them in real time while you watch over his shoulder and learn detailed painting tips as you hear him think out loud. And if you want, you can do the same painting along with him from the comfort of your home!

Sample painting by Johannes Vloothuis

Sample waterscape painting by Johannes Vloothuis

In this online course, you will learn to become more assertive when it comes to painting water in its different forms. You will receive drawing templates before each class, which you can trace onto your painting surface. And, during each session, you will receive verbal techniques, color combinations, professional secrets, and instructions to guide you along the way. One painting demo will be in oils, another in watercolor, and another in pastels. Join us now to add this exciting subject to your landscapes.

Painting demonstrations will include the following subjects:

  • A still pond with colorful blooming water lilies
  • The gorgeous Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • A rocky coastal scene in Acadia National park with a lazy crashing wave

You do not have to attend the live courses. Everything gets recorded and can be downloaded at no extra cost.

Register for the Paint Along 32: Professional Insights for Painting Water Live online workshop here now!

 Some Reviews from others courses from Johannes Vloothuis:
  • “I’m new to the online class process and was interested in whether or not any instructor would be able to give personal assistance. Wow! I was happily surprised to find that not only did I get a great class that was loaded with info, but also I asked questions and received answers directed to me. I love these classes. Review by Mary
  • “Excellent class for the Landscape artist.” Review by Mike
  • “There is always something new to learn.” Review by Darlene
  • “I see my work improving.” Review by Mary
  • “Excellent. Jo always manages to come up with new information for us.” Review by Frances

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 courses.

Missed the previous online seminars? Click here to purchase the WetCanvas Live! recordings from NorthLightShop.com


What is an online seminar?

    • It is a live, online event that you view on your computer at a specific day and time. Think of it as a workshop right in your living room.
    • Our events are scheduled on Eastern Standard Time (EST), so if you are in a different time zone, you will need to take scheduling into account — for example 1 PM EST = 12 PM CST, and so on…

What are the technical requirements for participating in an online seminar?

  • You need a computer and a reliable broadband connection, as well as a Web browser (e.g., Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer).

What can I do during an online seminar?

  • Hear the presenter deliver the workshop (via phone or VOIP)
  • See visuals from the presenter’s computer (e.g., PowerPoint, web browser, or any document they wish to share)
  • Ask the presenter questions in real time

What if I have any technical problems getting into the seminar?

  • We have technical support on hand to help you. Nearly 100% of our attendees don’t have any trouble after we assist them. You can sign on at least 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to begin, giving you time to ask questions if you have any trouble.
  • Our seminar system will work with both Macs and PCs.

What happens if I miss something during the seminar?

  • We record our seminars and offer them for sale at NorthLightShop.com following the close of the course.


The post Paint Along 32: Professional Insights for Painting Water | LIVE with Johannes Vloothuis appeared first on Artist's Network.

Technique Tuesdays: Working with Vintage Materials

Vintage materials add unique touches to mixed-media art, telling a story and providing texture, dimension, color, and patina. Whether it’s bumpy rust on an antique hinge, a hand-written ledger entry, or a threadbare piece of an old quilt, these items have a story that artists love to share.

A few expert tips and techniques can go a long way in working with these treasured bits. We’ve gathered several ideas from our artists just for you, along with helpful resources. Pull some vintage items from your stash and start creating!

1. Old photos offer plenty of possibilities for art journal pages, collage, and more, but sometimes it’s tough to give up the original. Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae used a transfer technique and incorporated it into an assemblage titled “Cherish” for their book Explore Mixed Media Collage. Start with a photocopy of a vintage photo (a laser print will also work) and apply gel medium over the surface. Place the copy image-side down onto fabric; in this case, a vintage white baby dress. Once the gel medium is dry, wet the back of the paper and roll the paper off gently with your fingers. Allow to dry.

Assemblage using vintage materials from Explore Mixed Media Collage

Vintage materials in this piece include an antique baby dress and photo, which was transferred using gel medium. (Art by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae, photo by Christine Polomsky)

2. Vintage jewelry is hard to resist, but it can be pricey. Good news for mixed-media artists—you don’t need perfectly intact pieces to create stunning, one-of-a-kind jewelry. In the article “Simple Vintage Assemblage Jewelry” in the November/December 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Andrea Verrill showed how to recycle parts of vintage jewelry with resin-filled bezels to make a cohesive piece. She says it can be overwhelming to sift through boxes of trinkets to decide what to use to make a jewelry piece, and offers some advice: First, keep in mind the color and theme of your piece, and reusability of the item. Second, consider components such as broken watch parts, charms from old earrings, and damaged crimp beads. Seen with new eyes, they can all be incorporated successfully. Don’t be afraid to combine disparate pieces. Verrill frequently joins chunky chains with refined ones, and rhinestone drops with matte charms.

Recycled vintage mixed-media jewelry from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

Various parts of vintage jewelry pieces can be recycled and reimagined into stunning new pieces. (Art by Andrea Verrill, photo by Sharon White Photography)

3. The next time you’re at a thrift store or flea market looking for vintage materials, pick up a few old books and turn them into unique mixed-media wall art. Jenn Mason showed how in the article “Paper Hearts” in the Fall 2014 issue of Paper Art magazine. Choose a sturdy book cover, one that’s not  brittle, and draw a heart shape on the cover in pencil. Create 2 small heart-shaped templates in different sizes from chipboard or cardstock, and cut 20-30 hearts in each size. Stack the templates, fold them in half lengthwise, and poke two holes along the fold for sewing. Use the templates to create sewing holes in the cover, within the heart shape. Bonus tip: Place a folded towel underneath the book cover to protect your surface while poking the holes. Thread a needle with embroidery floss, tie a knot in the end, and sew the hearts to the book cover. Take the needle from the back side of the cover, and sew the hearts in place. The hearts can be bunched up, laid flat, or nestled against each other. Continue adding hearts, creating more sewing holes if needed.

Collage created from a vintage book cover and pages, featured in Paper Art magazine

An old book cover and its pages were used to create this dimensional heart. (Art by Jenn Mason, photo by Sharon White Photography)

4. When Roxanne Evans Stout pulls together vintage materials for her collages, she often chooses bits and pieces that have meaning to her, something to think about when creating your own collage. “Morning Poem,” featured in her book Storytelling With Collage, has a scrap fabric background, to which she’s attached bailing wire bent into a circle, a vintage keyhole, and remnants of a garden ornament. “These objects are all different but all connected and beautiful in their simplicity,” she says. “This collage is made of small pieces of my life that all hold a memory or a special meaning.” Vintage pieces, even if they’re found, can express a cherished memory or set a mood.

Vintage materials can imbue a piece with meaning; art from Storytelling with Collage

Incorporating vintage materials that are special to you can imbue a piece with meaning. (Art and photo by Roxanne Evans Stout)

5. Dina Wakely incorporates vintage photos on her art journal pages, but she gives them a decidedly contemporary look. In Art Lesson Volume 10: Wielding Complementary Colors, she created a layered collage art journal spread using stencils and acrylic paint. For collage elements, use vintage images printed on plain paper; laser-printed images work best, since the toner won’t bleed. Tear the edges of the image and adhere it to the page with gel medium. Paint around the image with white paint, making sure the paint connects to the sides, top, and bottom of the page. While the paint is still wet, paint an analogous color around the image without covering all of the white; this helps ground the image into the background. Add another analogous color. Paint the image, using complementary colors to make it pop on the page. Add shadows and details with water-soluble crayons. Outline the image with a water-soluble pencil, like a Stabilo All pencil.

A vintage image gets a contemporary spin from Dina Wakley, from Art Lessons Volume 10

Vintage images get a contemporary spin with paint, mark making, and stencils. (Art and photo by Dina Wakley)

6. Working with some vintage materials can be tricky; old papers and fabrics may be especially fragile. Cas Holmes has a technique for combining such pieces so they’re sturdy enough to use as book pages, and she explained it in her article “Stitching a Story” in the March/April 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Lay out a rough composition of the papers and fabrics you want to use. Layer the pieces, making sure that they overlap each other by at least ¼”, with no gaps. Bonus tip: Take a photo of the layout to reference the design as you go. Cover your work surface with plastic sheeting, brush each collage element with a dilute mixture of cellulose paste, and layer it back on the plastic sheet. When dry, peel off the backing plastic and iron the collage between Teflon sheets or pressing cloths. Add details and borders with machine stitching, creating patterns and designs with free-motion stitching. If you like, add some hand stitching as well. Sew a zigzag stitch along all four edges of the piece.

Vintage materials made into an accordion book, featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

Fragile vintage materials like old papers and fabrics can be shored up with glue and stitching. (Art by Cas Holmes, photo by Sharon White Photography)

7. Hand-written vintage recipes are gems from the past, especially if they’re handed down from family members. Jenn Mason used technology to incorporate these treasures into a handmade fabric book in the article “Digital Recipe Book” in the 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts magazine. To print recipes onto fabric, cut muslin fabric into 7 ½” x 9″ pieces. Using a foam brush, apply digital ground onto the muslin in one direction, allow it to dry, and paint another coat in the opposite direction. When dry, tape the muslin to a sheet of copy paper, which acts as a carrier sheet. Scan and print the recipe onto the muslin. The printed recipes can then be incorporated as pages in a fabric recipe book.

Turn family recipes into book pages for a new recipe book, as featured in Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts

Preserve family recipes by printing them on fabric, and making them into a book. (Art by Jenn Mason, photo by Larry Stein)

8. You already know that antique books are rich resources for vintage materials, with almost every part of a book recyclable for all types of artwork. In her book The Art of Expressive Collage, Crystal Neubauer devotes a section to explaining how to deconstruct and recycle books. Among her great tips: After separating the cover from the text block (pages), run a razor blade along the edges of the cloth that covers the book boards; this makes it easier to pull the cloth from the book. As you take apart the book, consider saving unusual elements, such as library cards, labels, and handwritten notes. Sometimes books hold hidden treasures, so flip through the pages for anything that previous owners left behind, such as pressed flowers and leaves, notes, and drawings. As Crystal says, “One book can yield a bountiful collage harvest.”

Vintage books can stow tons of treasures, as seen in The Art of Expressive Collage

When repurposing a vintage book for artwork, look through the pages for treasures like drawings and pressed flowers. (Photo by Christine Polomsky)

9. Heather Murray is another artist who loves to use vintage photos in her artwork, especially sepia-tinted family photos. In “A Mixed-Media Memory Painting,” in the September/October 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, she showed how to copy and manipulate photos, then incorporate them expertly into a mood-filled painting on canvas. To start, select a high-contrast black and white photo of a person or people as the focal image. Look for interesting expressions and attitudes that you can build a story on. Select background photos of trees, houses, etc.; these don’t have to be in proportion. Scan and crop the photos if necessary, add contrast if needed, and print them in black and white on matte photo paper. Scale the size of the photos for their position on the canvas. Cut the figures out. Paint a dark background on the canvas with acrylic paint, leaving some areas white for an underpainting effect. Add more color as needed to help tell the story and complete the background, adding a horizon line if necessary. When dry, audition the figures and other images on the canvas, and adhere them with a generous amount of gel medium. Add gel medium to paint to thin it, and paint the figures and other images, layering the paint gradually. Let dry.

Vintage photos as focal images in a mixed-media painting, featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

Old photos can serve as focal points in mood-filled mixed-media paintings on canvas. (Art by Heather Murray, photo by Sharon White Photography)

10. If you can’t find an actual old piece for your art, there are ways to recreate it. Fossils, for example, can be difficult to find and expensive, so mixed-media jewelry artist Staci Smith made replicas from polymer clay to use in stunning necklaces. In “Boldly Subtle” in the January/February 2015 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, she recommends starting with a 2 oz. block of white polymer clay and conditioning it until it’s soft and pliable. Roll the clay into a ball, and form a pendant shape, flatting the ball with your hand or a clay roller until it’s about ¼”-½” thick. Stamp a design into the clay (she used a fern stamp) and brush a sanding pad across the clay to create a stone-like texture. Make a hole at the top of the pendant, and make divots on one side of the pendant. Bake according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and when cool, brush a layer of acrylic paint across the surface. Immediately wipe it off, leaving some paint in the recessed areas. When dry, rub off some of the paint with a sanding pad on the edges and high spots to create a worn look.

Faux fossil pendant featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

Real or faux? This “fossil” pendant was made from polymer clay. (Art by Staci Smith, photo by Sharon White Photography)

Before beginning your next project that incorporates vintage materials, check out these resources that will get you started and keep you inspired!

Working with Color video with Crystal Neubauer

Lean how to work with various vintage materials and add pops of color to your collage art in the video Working with Color with Crystal Neubauer.

Metal Sketchbook Pendant video with Jen Crossley

Create a one-of-a-kind sketchbook pendant using vintage objects in the video Metal Sketchbook Pendant with Jen Crossley.

Delight in the Art of Collage by Lisa M. Pace

Learn helpful techniques for working with vintage materials in a number of projects in Delight in the Art of Collage by Lisa M. Pace.

The post Technique Tuesdays: Working with Vintage Materials appeared first on Artist's Network.

8 Painting Substrates (And the One Thing You Should Never Paint On!)

Editor’s Note: Today’s painting advice comes to you from Nancy Reyner’s book Acrylic Revolution. Get the book for tips on selecting and priming these painting substrates, and much more advice for painting with acrylic, in Nancy’s Acrylic Revolution (save 25% through February 28 on this and more during North Light Shop’s “Back to the Basics” sale on surface treatment and texture books for artists!).

Read through this list for eight surfaces, and see the one thing you don’t want to paint on below.

Yours in art,

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

You Can Paint on Anything: Painting Substrates for Acrylic

By Nancy Reyner, from Acrylic Revolution

Acrylic can be painted on just about any support. Select among the many choices in this section for convenience, longevity and aesthetics.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Selecting canvas: Canvas comes in three weights: light, medium and heavy. Use lightweight for smaller works, medium-weight for medium-sized works and heavyweight for larger pieces. The quality of canvas varies depending on the weave—the tighter the weave, the more expensive. If you are painting a realistic, detailed portrait with thin applications of paint, use the tighter weave. A coarse weave can add an interesting element to a textural landscape or abstract painting. Canvas also comes pre-primed or raw. It is easier to stretch an unprimed canvas, but a pre-primed canvas allows you to skip the priming step and start painting sooner.

1. Canvas

Canvas is commonly used as a painting surface and offers many advantages: it’s absorbent, has a wonderful fabric texture, is lightweight and portable. Canvas supports comes in three types: unstretched, stretched and commercially made canvas boards. Canvas paper also comes in pads, but canvas paper feels very slick, not at all like real canvas fabric.

Stretching it yourself takes practice. You’ll need wood stretcher bars, a staple gun and stretcher pliers. Wrap the canvas around the bars and tack it down in the back, pulling it tightly each time. Start from the center and work outward. Stretched canvases can be purchased in standard sizes, or custom-made by your art store or framer. Those that are mass-produced with a machine can sometimes cost about the same or less than supplies for stretching it yourself.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

A deckle edge is a beautifully ripped edge found on nicer sheets of paper such as Arches 140-lb. (300gsm) cold press. Hold a strong metal ruler down at the place to be ripped. As you press down on the ruler with one hand, use the other hand to tear the paper along the ruler’s edge.

2. Paper and Cardboard

Paper and cardboard are great support choices if you are a beginner or just want to experiment. Both are economical and easy to find. Both have absorbent surfaces that make washes and over-watered acrylic techniques possible. Select acid-free papers or cardboard, which are more archival and will not have impurities that might stain through into your painting.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Reinforce the back of the panel: If the pieces of wood are 1⁄4-inch (6mm) thick or thinner, have them braced or cradled on the back to create a wood panel. This will add support to keep it from warping and make handling easier.

3. Wood and Composite Panels

Wood is a great support for paintings, especially for thick applications of paint and other techniques that require a rigid, sturdy support. There are many types of natural wood available, as well as composites such as Masonite, high-density fiber board (HDFB) and medium-density fiber board (DFB). Birch makes great thin, lightweight panel for large paintings.

Wood has many impurities, resins and other natural elements that may seep through into paint layers, causing stains and yellowing. Always clean the surface first, coast it with a stain sealer, then prime before painting.

Composites are strong and have the feel of wood but don’t have a natural wood grain. Another type of composite product is particleboard, which is made of pressured sawdust. Moisture will cause the surface of particleboard to swell, so sand it after the first few coats of sealer and primer to smooth out the rough surface, and it should remain smooth for subsequent coats and painting.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Glue lightweight fabrics onto a rigid support such as wood, panel or card- board using the directions in technique 55 for gluing paper. You can also glue thin fabric onto a stretched canvas. Just add support under the canvas and follow the same gluing technique.

4. Patterned Fabric

I love browsing in fabric stores to get ideas for colors, patterns and textures. Sometimes I buy small pieces of fabric just to hang around my studio for inspiration. A fun technique is to take your favorite fabric and use that as the starting surface to begin a painting. No need to stare at that white canvas with fear. Get a jump-start by beginning your painting with colors and patterns already there!

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Secure the silk to a stable surface to make it easier to paint and to control your brushstrokes. The method you choose should be temporary; use pushpins, staples, fabric tacks on stretcher bars or an embroidery hoop.

5. Silk

If you want to paint on silk and hope to keep the fabric soft and freely flowing to use as a banner, fabric installation or wearable art, fluid acrylics offer a more stable alternative than fabric dyes. Dye works well on silk, but is not as lightfast and stable as acrylic. This technique demonstrates how to use acrylic on silk for durable, lightfast, washable color while maintaining the softness of the fabric. This technique may be used on fabrics other than silk.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Painted car (acrylic on metal) by Rick Garcia

6. Metal

The two issues of concern for preparing a metal support are adhesion and rust control. This technique works best for ferrous metals like steel and will provide a long-lasting rustproof support for indoor or outdoor use, suitable for coating with acrylic paint. There are many types of metal to choose from. Research safety issues, availability and necessary additional preparation. This demonstration uses 11-gauge, 18-inch (3mm) Mild Steel. Whatever metal you choose, have it professionally cut to your specifications.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

Clean the glass using a rag soaked with liquid dishwashing soap, diluted 1:10 with warm water. Wipe the glass with denatured alcohol, glass cleaner or distilled vinegar to remove any grease. Clean both sides of the glass. Be careful handling the edges, as they may be sharp.

7. Glass

One reason to paint on glass is to take advantage of its clarity. The main concern with painting on glass is adhesion. Etching or sandblasting the surface will add tooth. Both methods will make the glass slightly cloudy, so etch only in the areas where paint will be applied.

Purchase glass at any glass supply store and have it cut to size. Float glass and window glass are smooth, clear, inexpensive choices that will work well. Glass also comes colored or textured. If you are sandblasting, use glass that is at least 1⁄4-inch (6mm) thick. If your glass piece will be freestanding, cover the sharp glass edges with framing.

8 Painting Substrates for Acrylic | ArtistsNetwork.com

“Four-Year-Old Dominican Girl (Self Portrait) (acrylic on porcelain, 13.5x10x8) by Julia Santos Solomon. The artist first sculpted this porcelain portrait, then applied an undercoat using a bright color. Additional acrylic paint for the features was built up in layers.

8. Objects

Painting on 3-D sculptures or objects encourages you to think differently because the object needs to be considered from all angles. You can make your own ceramic sculpture, have a metal shop cut shapes according to your template, or just use an interesting shell, branch or rock. You can also purchase ready-made objects in lawn and garden shops or hobby and craft stores. If the ready-made object is already painted, lightly sand it, prime with acrylic gesso and repaint. Contact the manufacturer’s technical department to get recommendations for cleaning and priming. If you are placing the finished artwork outdoors, ask about special sealants or protective finishes, and use paints that rate high on light- fastness tests to keep your art from fading quickly. ~Nancy

Do Not Paint on This >>>  >>>  >>>Briony-kitty-cat

Just being silly! I hope you learned a new variety of painting substrates for acrylic, and that you smiled, at least a little. 🙂 

Click here to get your copy of Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner today, and watch the ArtistsNetworkTV video below for some instant art inspiration from Nancy herself. ~Cherie


The post 8 Painting Substrates (And the One Thing You Should Never Paint On!) appeared first on Artist's Network.

10 Principles of Painting with Oil Painter Gregg Kreutz

Oil painter Gregg Kreutz has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Here, he shares with us a few principles he implements in his own creative process. Read below, and don’t forget to order your copy of The Artist’s Magazine‘s newest issue.

10 Principles of Painting with Oil Painter Gregg Kreutz

1. The four stages of painting are: placement, background, shadow and light.

2. To paint something convincingly, you have to determine local color, shadow color, turning color and highlight color.

3. Dynamics (high contrast, color, paint thickness, and so forth) bring passages forward (see Fish Market Dawn, below).

Fish Market Dawn (oil on canvas, 25x32) by Gregg Kreutz

Fish Market Dawn (oil on canvas, 25×32) by Gregg Kreutz

4. Paint relationships—not isolated things or people.

5. Everything is either light against dark, dark against light or same against same.

6. Paint passages in the light thickly (see Fall at the Farmer’s Market, below).

oil painter

Fall at the Farmer’s Market (oil on canvas, 16×20) by Gregg Kreutz

7. Light turns gently into shadow and emerges crisply from the shadow.

8. Every object needs a form shadow (see Up the Lane, below).

oil painter

Up the Lane (oil on panel, 12×14) by Gregg Kreutz

9. Shadows are dark versions of local color.

10. Highlights are never on the starting edge (see Golden Earring, below).

oil painter

Golden Earring (oil on canvas, 24×20) by Gregg Kreutz



Need a break at work? Check out these easy drawing exercises!

The post 10 Principles of Painting with Oil Painter Gregg Kreutz appeared first on Artist's Network.

5 Presidential Portraits | Paintings to Inspire

In honor of President’s Day (Monday, February 20, 2017), I’d like to share with you a few portrait paintings of U.S. presidents. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve also included a quote from each featured president. If I missed one of your favorite presidents or presidential quotes, share it with me in the comments section below. My hope is that you can apply some of the chosen quotes to your artistic endeavors, as well as be inspired by these historic works. ~Cherie

Presidential portraits | George Washington

George Washington (image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

1. George Washington, 1st U.S. President, 1789-1797
Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
Featured painting above ca. 1779–81, oil on canvas, 95×61.75, by Charles Willson Peale (American, Chester, Maryland 1741–1827 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Gift of Collis P. Huntington, 1897


Presidential portraits | James Monroe

James Monroe, (image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

2. James Monroe, 5th U.S. President, 1817-1825
“Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all – liberty!”
Featured painting above ca. 1820–22, oil on canvas, 40.25×32, by Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts), Bequest of Seth Low, 1916


Presidential portraits | John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams

3. John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. President, 1825-1829
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Featured painting above 1858, oil on canvas, 62×47, by George Peter Alexander Healy (1818–1894)

Portrait painting of General Andrew Jackson

General Andrew Jackson, prior to becoming a U.S. President; image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

4. Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President, 1829–1837
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
Featured painting above ca. 1819, oil on canvas, 48.5×36, by John Wesley Jarvis (American [born England], South Shield 1780–1840 New York); Credit: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1964

Presidential portraits | Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

5. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President, 1901-1909
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
Featured painting above 1903, oil on canvas, 58.1×40, by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925); Credit: The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

The post 5 Presidential Portraits | Paintings to Inspire appeared first on Artist's Network.

6 Key Elements to Abstract Art Success

Every piece of art has it’s own vocabulary, a visual vocabulary that give it structure and interest. This vocabulary is made up of six basic elements: Line, Texture, Shape, Form, Color, and Value. Whether you do abstract art, non-objective, or even realistic, you’ll find at least one, if not more, of these elements at work.

Each of these basic art elements are important to the success of your work, but we tend to take them for granted. In artist Dean Nimmer’s art instruction video on Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, he shows you how when you focus on each element individually, you can learn to use them to increase success in your painting. Each element has its own characteristics and can help make your art more interesting. Explore the elements of line, texture, and form here as extracted from Dean’s video instruction.

Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success | The Divide

Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success | The Divide, by Dean Nimmer


The character of line can be subtle, aggressive, lyrical, rhythmic. Different types of line can be included in one piece of art, and can transition from one type of line to another. Pay attention to the quality of line itself and how you are using it in your art.

Abstract Art with Dean Nimmer: Element of Line

In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean uses line to portray movement.


In Dean’s exercise on texture, he shows you techniques for working with random texture to enjoy the process of making art without worrying about results, as well as ways to use texture in a more controlled way. When you pay attention to the element of texture you’ll find new ways to make this element work to your advantage and energize your art.

Explore texture in Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success with Dean Nimmer

In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean creates random texture from marbles dipped in paint.


There are different possibilities for shape within a composition. We tend to see shape as positive form, but Dean shows you how paying attention to negative shapes between form will stimulate your creativity. In abstract art, it’s not important what the shape is or what it looks like, but what character and qualities it has to contribute to your art.

Explore Shape in Dean Nimmer's Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success video

In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean uses shapes made from negative spaces as positive forms in a composition.

Preview Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success below, and find the entire demonstration on ArtistsNetwork.tv!

About Dean Nimmer

Professor emeritus at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Dean Nimmer has exhibited his work in more than 200 solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Europe, China, Japan, and Australia; his art can also be found in several public and private collections. A regular workshop instructor, Dean’s goal in teaching is to inspire artists to find and access possibilities for creating original artworks with an enthusiasm for the process of making art. Get more abstract inspiration in his book, Creating Abstract Art (from North Light Books), or visit DeanNimmer.com for more information.

The post 6 Key Elements to Abstract Art Success appeared first on Artist's Network.