Articles tagged with: Doug Swinton

10 things to keep in mind when taking an art workshop

How to get the best results from your next art workshop.

The Painting Purge - Cleaning the studio to achieve fresh ideas.

Whatever your level of experience, workshops are a super fun way to learn new art tricks and expand your skills.  

Swinton’s is gearing up for summer workshop season and we have more than ever to choose from.  As an instructor, head wrangler, and an active participant, I have some insights of what to consider when choosing a workshop and how to get the best results...

The Painting Purge

Getting rid of studio clutter to achieve new directions.

The Painting Purge - Cleaning the studio to achieve fresh ideas.

For some artists, the studio becomes a dumping ground for unresolved artwork and everything else that doesn’t seem to have a home. Although you may not be conscious of it, the clutter in your workspace competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

When you are surrounded by unresolved paintings, your brain can’t help but continually try to work out possible solutions instead of focusing on fresh possibilities.

Finding ways to un-clutter will give you a sense of power and a freed mind, leaving more room for you to be creative...

The Secret Curve

Using convex vs. concave lines in life drawing.

The Secret Curve - Convex vs Concave Lines in Figure Drawing

There’s a little secret in life drawing that not many artists know about. If you know about it you’re already using it, if not, you will start after reading this article.

It can be our little secret. 

Here it is: If you want your figure to have a natural look, use convex (outy lines) and not concave (inny lines).

Why? Everything alive starts as a molecule and begins to grow. Growing is an outward motion. As things grow, they begin to take on a bulge toward the outwards or convex.

(I think my stomach adopted this law too personally.) 

The Magic of the 70/30 Split

Using opposites to create a dynamic painting.

The Magic of the 70/30 Split - Using opposites to create a dynamic painting.

Good painting is all about opposites. Warm vs.cool, big vs. small, colourful vs. dull, etc. When we use opposites in our work, they play off of each other to create dynamic excitement and heighten the visual appeal.

Warm colours allow cool colours to sing. Big shapes concede to the small shapes, allowing them to dance joyfully. Colours burst when placed in a sea of grey.

The key is to avoid using the same amount of opposition. When you split the opposites into equal parts you negate the effect.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole and explore how all of this works…

Painting Beyond Chaos - Simplification and Massing

How to simplify your subject to produce a better painting.

Painting Beyond Chaos - Simplification and Massing - Doug Swinton

The busier the scene the easier it is to paint.

I know this sounds odd but a chaotic scene has a way of being easier to paint than something overly simple. Large empty/flat areas with little information can be hard to handle because there aren’t enough visual clues to glean ideas from.

Your subject (nature, photo reference, still-life, figure) can sometimes seem to have so much complex information that it becomes hard to decide what it is you want to paint, but at least there is something to work with. It’s just a matter of learning to read beyond the chaos and find the story that lies within. Here is how:

12 Ideas for Keeping Things Fresh in Your Art Studio.

Strategies to prevent boredom from creeping into your art practice.

12 Ideas for Keeping Things Fresh in the Studio.

People often ask if I get bored painting landscapes all the time, to which I reply, “Yes yes I do!”. But it’s not the subject I get tired of. I get weary with any painting that does’t materialize quickly enough.

I suffer from ADD, an infliction that wasn’t on the radar when I was growing up. Back in those days it was known as the “He’s such a boy” disease. My eldest son has ADD too, which became apparent when he started performing poorly in school. It wasn’t until I started helping him, along with three special service teachers, while reading many books and attending many seminars on the subject, that I noticed they were also describing me...

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 I learned about painting fall colours from my trip to Alaska

Autumn Painting Tips from a Northern Excursion

10 Things I learned about painting fall colours from my trip to Alaska

In the fall of 2015 I drove to Alaska and painted along the way. This expedition was my life long dream - read more here. As far as painting is concerned, the colours there are slightly different and more intense. Below are my field painting notes from this magnificent journey.

How To Sign Your Painting

Branding Your Artwork

How To Sign Your Painting
  1. Do not use your regular signature.
  2. Full name? Surname only? Initials?
  3. Your signature is your brand.
  4. Designing your signature.
  5. Tidiness and consistency.
  6. Where to place a signature.
  7. Composition.
  8. Signature as logo.
  9. To date or not to date?

Dominate Painting

Using dominant & recessive qualities of pigments to your advantage.

10 Things To Ask Yourself While Painting

Painting is about contrasts. Big against small, thick against thin, bright against dull, light against dark or shadow, bold against quiet, colourful against pastel, etc. These dominant and subordinate relationships are what create tension and interest in a work of art.

Dominant/recessive juxtapositions are throughout your work and extend to your palette. There’s a simple rule to follow that will help - Always add dominant to recessive...

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