July 2016 Artist of the Month | Tong Luo

Congratulations to our July 2016 Artist of the Month, Tong Luo! Luo was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! His piece Lonely Girl can be seen below. Read more about Luo, his art education, what he tries to accomplish with his vision, and who has been a constant source of inspiration throughout his life.

Guangzhou, China


Lonely Girl (oil on canvas, 36×36) by Tong Luo


My father was a great influence one me, he taught fine art to college students. I started creating art at six years old, and went on to graduate from Guangzhou Academy of art in 1997 and the New York Academy of Art in 2013. I’ve been a full-time artist since 2001, but before I was a college lecturer.

My medium of choice is oil, and I would describe my style as contemporary realism. My goal is to depict the isolation that rests between people and the environment around us. I typically work from photographs, and my pieces typically take three to four weeks to complete. Lonely Girl took roughly this long to complete.

It is incredibly difficult to explore a person’s subconscious, and even harder to interpret into a painting. Still, it’s my favorite part of the process, figuring out how to represent a person’s thoughts.

In the future I’d like to exhibit my art more. I’m looking forward to a show called Art Toronto, in Canada, this October, Canada’s international contemporary and modern art fair.

A friend of mine convinced me that I should enter my work in the Annual Art Competition so more people could see my work, and I’m glad I did. Creating art is my way of showing how I perceive the world around me. I want to thank my wife and my parents, the people who have given me complete support.

The post July 2016 Artist of the Month | Tong Luo appeared first on Artist's Network.


Protected: Landscape Symbols Workshop Part 2 with Johannes Vloothuis | Recordings

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


The post Protected: Landscape Symbols Workshop Part 2 with Johannes Vloothuis | Recordings appeared first on Artist's Network.

Pastel Nocturnes That Pierce the Night

Today’s newsletter features the work of Christine Ivers, whose pastel nocturnes beautifully capture the warm glow that can only be seen at night. As you’ll learn in her following article, the technique she uses need not be mysterious to you. Read this, then preview Christine’s pastel painting workshops for free at ArtistsNetwork.tv. There’s even an 8-minute demo of the topic she covers here–don’t miss it! ~Cherie

Painting Glowing Lights in Pastel by Christine Ivers, PSA-MP, IAPS/MC

It was by sheer accident that I stumbled across my love of painting night scenes. Actually, it was a rainstorm that precipitated that accident one night when I was eating at a restaurant. I had my camera and when we were exiting the restaurant I was fascinated with all the reflections and bouncing lights. I crossed the street, stood under an awning and shot many pictures of the street that night. Once I saw the photos I had to paint the scene, and I haven’t turned back since.

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

Christine tells us that “Late Night Dinner” (pastel on Wallis Museum paper, 13×17) was her first nocturne. Click here to preview Pastel Painting Techniques Cityscapes at Night.

The more I painted the night, the more I learned about the incredible variance of illumination. Cool bulbs, warm bulbs and crazy colors in neon…From a simple interior fluorescent bulb lighting the interior of a building to the emanating rays of a stoplight saturating the darkness around it, I was determined to paint these images.

So I studied the lights. I took time to really look at what was happening and quickly realized that it wasn’t so much the color spectrum that made the magic (although so many of us love to play in THAT beautiful world of pastel). Rather, it was actually the value runs that created the dynamics of glowing light. And the astounding thing about that was that I only needed a total of three values to make the lights glow!

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

Midnight Frosting (pastel on handmade textured Gator Board, 17×24)

Just look at the three “glowing” lights in the distance of Midnight Frosting (above). Three value steps created that illusion. Warm white, warm orange and a slightly cooler red made those lights sing! The same thing happens with the window in the right side of the painting. The source of this glow was a fluorescent overhead in a little beauty parlor next to my studio. Most fluorescent bulbs that businesses use emanate a bluish green light. I wanted to capture the interior, showing that I could see the ceiling of the room, thus the bulb is in the center of the window as I’m looking up and across.

The cast glow and shadows on the snow in the parking lot were made by lights shining off the back of the building and were very warm. If you look closely you’ll see there are many values that create that luscious warm-to-cool area of the painting. The transition to the coolness of the “glow” in the foreground parking lot then melts into the darkness of night. This is one of those paintings that painted itself.

Let’s look at a few close-up examples of different types of colored lights.

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

This neon bulb glow is comprised on five values. You can see each step as it goes out into darkness. I chose not to go back and thoroughly blend the transitions. My final step was to reapply the soft cool white pastel pencil on the actual bulb. When creating neon glows be sure to have a starting point and an ending point. All neon light fixtures run on gas that is captured within the glass; they’re usually one continuous bulb going in and out of a background of metal to create the word or words for the sign. Since I wanted this glow to fade into darkness I chose the last color for the outer ring to be just one value step away from the black.

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

In this glow example the illumination is coming from an overhead street lamp. There are many varied bulbs in city lamps and I love the green ones. This example also shows you how I placed the layers of value to travel out to the darkness. I could have used a few more value steps, as I did in the example above, but I wanted this glow to really pierce the night. The other technique used here is to paint the initial rings of color and then go back and forth with each value to blend the pastel. I only used the sticks to do this but you can use your finger or a stump to achieve a very smooth transition if required.

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

No Smoking Allowed (pastel on Wallis Museum paper, 17×23)

In the painting above I was challenged with not only the glow of the exterior overhead lights but also by the refraction caused by the glass from the interior lights and reflections. In order to create the effect of that refraction I used random strokes that cut through the panes of glass so that the glows weren’t exactly round. Although all of the light sources seemed to be given off by the same type of bulbs, the painting had to tell the story of the interior versus the exterior lighting.

Painting pastel nocturnes | Christine Ivers, ArtistsNetwork.com

Venetian Glass (pastel on handmade textured Gator Board, 18×24) PIN this!

The “stars” of this painting are the two glows in the foreground with one of them reflecting in the water. In order to make this work with the buildings I had to figure out how to paint the glows over the concrete and make the reflected glow in the water slightly less vibrant than the one above. Using the same methods as before, I just ran the outer rings onto the concrete. One was behind the building on the left so the light reflected on the building has a lighter value. The upper right glow obliterated the building because it was a light that hung off the side of the same structure. I purposely put two extra tiny glows in the back to tie it together.

I hope this gives you some insight as to how relatively easy it is to create the mystique of the night. ~Chris


The post Pastel Nocturnes That Pierce the Night appeared first on Artist's Network.

The Visual Thrill of Color | Acrylic Painting Ideas

Chris Cozen is back with guidance on acrylic painting for beginners! In today’s guest blog post, be inspired with ideas for experimenting with color. For a limited time, Chris’s Acrylic Color Explorations is included with Acrylic Artist (Summer 2016), Guide to Acrylic Mediums, and a set of disposable palettes in this exclusive collection. Enjoy! ~Cherie

Acrylic painting ideas | Chris Cozen, ArtistsNetwork.com

‘Reflections’ by Chris Cozen, who says to “limit your pigment choices but push and pull them to develop all their nuances.” PIN this!

On Color and Acrylic Painting by Chris Cozen

Hello again! As always, I’m so pleased to be able to tell you all about my favorite subject–acrylics. I am all about color and that’s why I’m so happy that I finally took the time to gather up all the bits and pieces I’ve learned along the way and put them into Acrylic Color Explorations: Techniques for Expressing Your Artistic Voice so you could have them as well.

Acrylic painting ideas, color wheels | Chris Cozen, ArtistsNetwork.com

Wheeling through color … PIN this!

When I was writing Acrylic Color Explorations I found myself making dozens of color wheels so that I could explore various red-blue-yellow pigment combinations. Each one was a marvel to me. What I learned from all those wheels was that acrylic color is infinitely malleable and easily tweaked and adjusted. I also learned that you can get by with a lot fewer colors if you fully understand what the colors you already have can do. Before writing this book I had never really considered keeping a color journal to record the discoveries I made as I intuitively mixed on my palette. I learned as I went along that a journal would help to encourage my own color explorations and push me to experiment more. I hope you will consider starting one of your own. You can follow some of the lessons in my book to get started or just experiment. I like using a bound journal with 140 lb. watercolor paper. This allows me to record water media explorations as well as straight acrylic without bleed-through. This sturdy paper holds up to collage, glazing and markers as well.

As always, when working with acrylic color it’s important use the best quality paint you can afford. I always use Golden Artist Colors but will branch out to include other acrylic products or alcohol inks for fun. Artist quality paints have the most pigment per ounce and are the most cost effective in the long run. If you’re just beginning, consider using “student grade” paint which has substantially better pigment strength than craft paints. One of the points I talk about in Acrylic Color Explorations is that you should know your pigments. Some are good mixers and others not so much. Whenever you add Titanium white to any color you will create a tint. The transparent qualities of some pigments will also be affected by the addition of white shifting them to opaque or semi-transparent. This is a great exercise to add to your own color journal.

Acrylic painting ideas | Chris Cozen, ArtistsNetwork.com

Chris’s color journal for acrylic painting. Colors used on left side are Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Titan Buff; colors used on the right side are Napthol Red Light, Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Paynes Gray, Titan Buff.

Color All Around

I’m living in the Northeast right now, which is a long way from California, where I usually call home. I arrived here in Ohio at the very beginning of spring. I was visually thrilled every time I went outdoors to see the variety of greens on display as the new leaves developed. Anything from gray green, to chartreuse, lime, blue-green and more. I ran to get my color wheels to see which pigments I could use to capture them. I keep them with my color journals so I’m always ready to record color when I see it. This kind of color exploration will really improve your ability to see and record the colors you experience.

There are all kinds of ways that you can explore color in your journal! One of my favorites is to choose three colors that you don’t ordinarily use but already own and then find out what they can do. First combine each of the colors with white and with black to create tints and shades. Then start exploring what happens when you mix two of the colors together, then two more and then the last two. Each of these secondary colors can have tints and shades as well. If you like mixed media, add your painted papers and collage elements to your color journal, or use an image as a prompt to explore color. I often draw on the top surface of my color pages just for fun. The pages of Acrylic Color Explorations can give you more than enough material to get you started in your own color journal.

Artfully yours,

**Free download: Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques To Try Today!
**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!

The post The Visual Thrill of Color | Acrylic Painting Ideas appeared first on Artist's Network.

Talking Texture with Acrylic Artist Donne Bitner

In the summer 2016 issue of Acrylic Artist we feature Donne Bitner and take a look at her watercolor-like paintings of invented landscapes and seascapes. We caught up with Bittner to take a closer look at her work New Day Dawning. Here’s what she had to say.

New Day Dawning (acrylic on wood, 20x18)

New Day Dawning (acrylic on wood, 20×18)

Acrylic Artist: You’ve mastered the ability of creating watercolor-like washes with acrylic. Tell us about your technique.
Donne Bitner: I like to thin the paint with water rather than acrylic medium. After years of painting with watercolor it’s what I gravitate to apparently. That’s what gives my acrylic work a softer, more watercolor-like appearance.

AA: Your acrylic work painted using watercolor techniques has depth and great texture. How do you achieve this?
DB: My treatment of acrylic would look rather flat on a wood surface, so I spend time building a unique surface with depth, before I begin my painting. This acrylic painting on wood has a subsurface of spackling. I am also keen on using gesso, molding paste or joint compound. These materials lend a texture that gives the final work a 3-dimensional quality. I like the rough quality of the final texture.

AA: Do you have to prepare the wood before you can apply the gesso, spackling or compound?
DB: There is no preparation of the wood for these textures; they can be applied straight on the surface. For the joint compound I like to apply it, let it dry and then sand for a soft, smooth surface that still has some texture. Once the texture dries the paint is applied straight away. I think the texture gives the painting another layer of surprise.

AA: Are there special tools you use for applying the subsurface?
DB: No, no special tools are needed. A simple paint spatula will work. It’s like icing a cake. The more raised areas the more texture.

AA: Any words of wisdom you can share with an artist experimenting with gesso, spackling or gesso on wood for the first time?
DB: These materials are fragile and will chip so be sure to clean off edges in the wood. Acrylic medium can be added to make the spackling stiffer, although I never have used it thus far. Every medium has its peculiarities and you need to take the time to work with them and get to know them. This approach, with spackling, is not as indestructible as molding paste but there is a beauty to the paint over the texture that makes the extra care worth it to me.


To read the full feature article on Donne Bitner in Acrylic Artist, visit Norhtlightshop.com to order a copy of the Summer 2016 issue now.

The post Talking Texture with Acrylic Artist Donne Bitner appeared first on Artist's Network.

Announcing the Winners of AcrylicWorks 4 Competition

Congratulations to the 115 artists selected for North Light Books’ fourth annual Best of Acrylic competition AcrylicWorks 4: Captivating Color! If you see your name below, please check your email accounts (and junk boxes) for instructions on next steps. You will receive an email from us with the subject line “AcrylicWorks 4 Winner Notification” on Monday June 27th, 2016. A sincere thank you from Jamie Markle and the editors at North Light for sharing your beautiful artwork with us.

Best wishes,

Sarah Laichas
AcrylicWorks Editorial Coordinator

AcrylicWorks 4 Winners

  1. Aguilar, Marco | Soulmates
  2. Alfano, Jan | Juicer Gang No. 1; The Butler Did It
  3. Athanas, Denise | Within Bounds II
  4. Bell, Linda | The Spotted Cow
  5. Bennett, Rick | Vessel II
  6. Bharathula, Ashwini | The Resting Gondolas
  7. Bogart, Darien | Fireside
  8. Brandsema, Susan | Distant Thunder
  9. Breier, Chris | Early Spring
  10. Brunton, Desiree | Wholehearted
  11. Buckrell, Brian | Shoreline Monument
  12. Bulatovic, Suzana | Chicago Dream
  13. Bundock, Bruce | Summer In Ulster County
  14. Burman, Harry | Carol 2
  15. Capolongo, Bruno | Twilight (Pincushion Island, Muskoka)
  16. Carsten, Robert | Swallowtail (Sunflower Series)
  17. Cencula, Kathleen | Gone Fishin’; Not Quick Enough
  18. Cipolla, Susie | Off Season
  19. Hollenbeck, Laura Crabtree | Maddie
  20. Craig, Ron | Revised Night Shift; Pure Pork
  21. Dar, Sharon | El Moro
  22. Dizdar, Sanela | Rhapsody in Blue Rain; Nadia
  23. Dore, Rhonda | Naxos
  24. Duff, Nadyia | Up
  25. DuRose, Edward | Tranquility – Trumpeter Swans
  26. Ellery, Kim | Please Do Come In
  27. Fendley, Debilynn | Body Electric
  28. Ferrero, Tom | Above and Below
  29. Freeland, Dawn | Green Hills
  30. Frizzell, Charles | Ole Yeller
  31. Fuller, Ellen | Algae, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  32. Gallagher, Joan | Kohr’s
  33. Gardner, Janet | Peppermint
  34. Garlock, Jaclyn | I Bough You a Brand New Mustang
  35. George, Tricia | Symphony
  36. Girard, Theresa | Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie
  37. Gockel, Jimmy | Jimi
  38. Goettee, Michael | Red Butte With Tourists
  39. Golden-Musick, Mary | The Bask
  40. Goodnough, Sarah | Dancing With Courage
  41. Kerbs, Denise Granger | Emerald Eyes
  42. Gratiot, Robert | Gucci, Boston; Vintage Marbles
  43. Grayeck, Len | Spring Snow
  44. Grunau, Mel | Beyond the Glacier
  45. Hall, Angie | Day at the Lake
  46. Hershenson, Kenneth | Apple Jack
  47. Highsmith, Robert | Young Bison
  48. Hildebrandt, Kathy | True Colors
  49. Honerlah, Randy | Sun Splash
  50. Hughes, Sheryl | Owliver
  51. Jaster, John | Symphony in Color
  52. Kelly, Kitty | Hands of Time; Limelight
  53. Kemp, Linda | First Frost – Autumn’s Patterns
  54. Kiser, John | Pink Harbor
  55. Kling, Bob | Great Expectations
  56. Kohlman, Kevin | Quiescence
  57. Kovich, Loren | Turmoil
  58. Laidacker, Jonathan | Andra; Mike and Lo
  59. Lee, Diana | Tea Roses
  60. Lim, Tai Meng | Red Eggs
  61. Lin, Ai Di | Deliberation
  62. Livingstone, Ober-Rae Starr | Every Moment
  63. Madonna, Marissa | Hair Study
  64. Maimon, Yael | Tricolor Cat Asleep
  65. Mari, C. | Forces of Nature
  66. McMillan, Vickie | Love, Life and Community
  67. Mehaffey, Mark | Morning Glow
  68. Moncrief, Jo | Searching for What Was; Turbulence & Tranquility
  69. Morrison, Andrew | Across Octavia, 7th Floor; Yesterday and Today, Grant + Jackson
  70. Munoz, Ramon | Broadway NY
  71. nichols, r mike | Rambo
  72. Nisbet, Margaret | Beautiful Things
  73. Oberc-Habzda, Marzena | Elder Plant
  74. Osa, Doug | Southbound from Bucyrus
  75. Pelissier, Sandrine | Green Bouquet; Slice of Life 2: Louise
  76. Peluso, Mary | Fire Escape Dog
  77. Petillo, Bob | Jackson Square
  78. Peyton, Anne | Blue Sky of Autumn; In Perfect Balance
  79. Preston, Elizabeth | Life Bubbles
  80. Pytlos, Mark | Flaming Parrot
  81. Raffield, Natalie | 101 Zebras
  82. Rimpo, April | Freight Yard
  83. Robert, Val | Inner State
  84. Ruggles, Joanne Beaule | Blindness
  85. Rundle, Marguerite | Dunrholyn 005
  86. Runyan, Joyce | Fall Into Winter
  87. Sample, Esther | Between the Ropes; Last of the Storm
  88. Schmitt, Veronica | Catch of the Day
  89. Schreiber, Brent | Listen 2
  90. Smith, Jerry | Ripple Effect
  91. Starkova, Anna | Spring Is in the Air
  92. Stebleton, Robert | Retired Ladies
  93. Styler, Anda | Weathered Grey
  94. Sullivan, Jacqueline | Energy Emerging
  95. Sweeny, Robert | Las Paredes de San Miguel
  96. Szatkowski, Frederick | Fortress
  97. Talocci, Natalie | Peacock
  98. Thomas, Robert | House in the Sky
  99. Traeger, Kathy | Who Ya Gonna Call?
  100. Twiss, Elaine | Vintage Matcbooks
  101. Van Dyck, Randy | Tough Nut to Crack
  102. Vera, Rosa | The Scapegoat
  103. Vercruysse, Stephane | Couple and Pets
  104. Vininsky, Shernya | Purple Shadows
  105. Walker, Liz | Chaco Canyon Conversation
  106. Watanabe, Akiko | Angel Light
  107. Weingartner, Robbin | Winter Light
  108. Welch, JoAnne | Water Flowers
  109. Westerhold, John | Pipe Dreams
  110. Wicks, David | Cruisers
  111. Wilda, Steve | Honed to Imperfection
  112. Wilkins, Dominique | Hope
  113. Wilson, Jarrod | Petty’s Girl
  114. Wintermantel, Mikel | Vineyard Afternoon
  115. Zavez, Marsha | Dog Tired

   AcrylicWorks 2  


Watch acrylic art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV

Get unlimited access to over 100 art instruction ebooks

Online seminars for fine artists

Find acrylic painting downloads, books, videos and more

Subscribe to Acrylic Artist magazine

Sign up for your Artist’s Network email newsletter and get a FREE bonus download

The post Announcing the Winners of AcrylicWorks 4 Competition appeared first on Artist's Network.

Teaching Pastel in China | Robert K. Carsten Goes to Suzhou

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” said Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and pastel artist and teacher Robert K. Carsten would no doubt agree after participating as part of a team of international pastel artists invited to offer instruction to a group of art educators in China. The experience provided a view of what looks to be a very bright future for pastel in this part of the world.

A Summary of the Event From Robert K. Carsten:

If you take 100 talented and dedicated school teachers, introduce them to the history and practice of pastel painting so that they, in turn, can share their newfound knowledge and experiences in their respective classrooms—what do you have? Simply put, the planting of seeds that is sure to grow the awareness, appreciation and practice of pastel for generations to come in China.


First session teacher-students with staff, consultant and instructors.

This past spring, I was privileged to spend three weeks in the beautiful city of Suzhou, China, a city near Shanghai, as one of four international pastel instructors invited to be part of a team of professionals for an innovative, outstanding program. The event was sponsored by the beautiful Ming Gallery of Art and its well-designed Ming Jia Arts Education Center, as well as the Beijing Art Center, along with cooperation from the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS).

The participating artists used soft Mungyo pastels and Montmarte pastel pencils on Yi Cai sanded paper. An immense amount of work went into the planning and logistics of this comprehensive program. Many people were instrumental to the development and running of this pilot program, including: the professional staff of the gallery and educational center; Mr. Simon Yang Hui, consultant to the Ming Gallery; Mr. Yang Yan, who was involved with the promotion of the project and selection of the school teachers in Beijing; and pastel instructor and event coordinator Isabelle V. Lim. Organizers have invited instructors for an additional four instructional sessions later this summer and fall.


Master Hang Mingshi demonstrating a portrait.

All of the participating teacher-students came to Suzhou from the Beijing area for one of two separate one-week sessions, learning from a number of instructors, including: Hong Kong artist Isabelle V. Lim who taught color, movement and abstraction; Polish/French artist Jerzy Moscicki, who taught on light and precision in still life; Spanish artist Aurelio Rodriguez Lopez, who taught portraiture; and me, teaching about impressionist landscape painting.


Isabelle Lim instructing a teacher-student.

During the middle week, Aurelio taught a master portrait workshop, coinciding with his solo exhibition opening at the Ming Gallery of Art while Isabelle, Jerzy and I—along with Suzhou pastel master extraordinaire Hang Ming Shi, the Ming Gallery staff, and Mr. Yang Yan—lectured and demonstrated for teachers and students at three local schools: Canglang Xincheng Experimental Primary School, Suzhou No.6 Middle School, and Fangzhou Primary School. Each school gave us a tour of their wonderful arts education facilities and we viewed outstanding student work.


Jerzy Moscicki giving still life painting tips to a teacher-student. Interpreter Julie looks on to assist.

Also, during that week, we enjoyed guided tours of the river town Zhou Zhuang; walked and had tea on ancient Ping Jiang Street; visited the enchanting Humble Administrator’s Garden; and also toured the extraordinary new Horticultural Gardens by Lake Tai.


Robert Carsten gives pointers to a teacher-student as interpreter Alice assists.

China doesn’t have a long tradition in this medium. In fact, most of the participants had never used pastel before. Yet, I found the attention, enthusiasm and diligence of both teachers and young students to be exemplary—beyond my wildest dreams. Of my experience in this lovely city in southeast China, I would say that the hosts were most gracious; the teacher-students and young, school students were extremely motivated to learn; everyone was always helpful and friendly; the food was second to none; and the promotion of the pastel medium was first class. Suzhou is truly a pastel paradise with a very bright future.


Moscicki leads students as the audience of teachers and students watch at  Fangzhou Primary School.


Aurelio Rodriquez Lopez with master workshop student and portrait by student of Aurelio.


Moscicki and Carsten demonstrated pastels at the Suzhou No.6 Middle School. Consultant to the Ming Gallery Mr. Simon Yang Hui is pictured on the left as well as school administrators.


Students were presented with certificates at the closing ceremonies.






Robert K. Carsten, of Vermont, is an artist, teacher, writer and enthusiastic promoter of the pastel medium. Check out his step-by-step demonstration of a still life painting here.

The post Teaching Pastel in China | Robert K. Carsten Goes to Suzhou appeared first on Artist's Network.