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Photo Reference • Print vs Monitor

Painting from a reference in your art studio.

Photos vs Monitor - Doug Swinton

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

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

In Praise of Painterly Painters

by Charles Movalli

Color Perception

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

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

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


Visiting Alaska 2015

Let your dreams grow and the artwork will follow.

Visiting Alaska 2015

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

10 Things To Ask Yourself While Painting

Self-critique checklist for painters.

10 Things To Ask Yourself While Painting

This list is something I have used for many years while outdoor painting but I recently started using it in the studio as well.

To start with, try to finish within two hours (three hours maximum), before the light changes too drastically and you get too deeply invested in the piece and lose judgment. For indoors, it’s good to walk away after a couple of hours for a bit and come back with a fresh eye.

Throughout the course of the painting a little self-critique is a valuable exercise. My father always said; “When you dig yourself into a deep hole, take the time to inspect the quality of your work that got you there in the first place”. Worthy advice. Thus, during the course of the session, especially when close to finishing a painting, pause and ask yourself the following questions:

5 things you didn’t know about Bob Ross.

"There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend."

Repetition is the key to painting mastery.

Bob Ross? The guy that almost every artist loves to make fun of? Not so fast! There is more than a grain of truth in that folksy voice…

“It’s funny to talk to these people…” said Joan Kowalski, the media director of Bob Ross Inc. “…they think they’re the only ones who turn on the show to take a nap.” Bob knew about this. People would come up to him and say, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you’ve been putting me to sleep for 10 years.” He loved it.”

I didn’t nap. I watched. And as I watched, I saw a whole painted world materialize in ½ an hour - mountains, clouds, streams, cabin, bushes and paths. I was mesmerized.

10 Things That Cause Mud in a Painting.

Your painting may not be as fresh as it could be.

10 Things That Cause Mud in a Painting.

Many factors can cause your painting to look duller than a subway station in December and you may be surprised to know that most of them are not even colour issues. Here is my list of the top reasons why your painting may not be as fresh and dazzling as it could be.

Four Pencil Stubs

Derwent Pastel Pencils Worked to Death

Derwent Pastel Pencils and a drawing

A man accompanied by his wife visited Swinton's one day. Being around 80 years of age, this was a special outing. They went out only when it was absolutely necessary.

"I work them to a stub" he said, displaying in his hand four tiny remains of what used to be pencils.

Drawing is a sacred act, an ancient activity, a language onto itself. There is hardly a human being that hasn't done it. If you doodle, you draw. Some however, take this simple act to another level...

I took a Copic from Swinton's

and I keep forgetting to take it back

I took a Copic from Swinton's

It was an accident, but I keep forgetting to take it back. It's almost like I did it on purpose. Recently, I even found myself using it. I think I'll take it back, maybe, one day, soon... But first - let me try it out on this Yupo Paper. ohhhh Nice! Smoooth.

From all of us at Swinton's - Happy Halloween 2013

this video may or may not give you spine-chilling nightmares.

From all of us at Swinton's - Happy Halloween 2013

Video of Doug painting some very very scary pumpkins for Halloween. WARNING! This video is not suitable for those that are easily frightened by the colour orange. This hair-raising painting may or may not give you spine-chilling nightmares. Proceed with caution!!!

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