Articles tagged with: instructional

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:

Why do I get worse the longer I paint?

How do you know if you're making progress?

Apples and Oranges - Adeline Halverson

I recently read Adeline Halverson’s blog post “WHY DO I GET WORSE THE LONGER I PAINT” and because I frequently hear this question myself I asked Adeline for permission to share the article with you. I’m sure you will agree she tackles a lot of painting issues that need to be addressed.

Enjoy our guest blogger Adeline Halverson and don’t forget to leave her a comment below…

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.


Identifying and Painting Tricky Values Accurately

Light colours in shadow & dark colours in light • Art Lesson by Doug Swinton

Identifying and Painting Values Accurately

This art lesson deals with a simple idea which is often under-utilized or overlooked by most artists. It explains how to accurately recognize and render light values living in the shadow family and dark values living in the light family...

Before you even begin, make sure you have a good source to paint from. Without good lights and shadows in your reference the painting will end up looking flat. Now try to separate your scene into the light and shadow families. Accurate separation of lights and darks makes for a more pleasing painting.

Color Understanding vs. Perception

Developing superior color sensitivity • by Michael Downs

Color Perception

Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch… these are the five basic senses that perceive external stimuli which in turn are interpreted by our brains. Each sense can be refined with training, practice, and experience.

Sommeliers train their palettes for tasting the subtle flavors within a good wine; conductors train their ears for hearing the nuance of sounds within an orchestra; and hence, painters should train their eyes for seeing variation of colors within their subject matter.

Repetition is the key to painting mastery.

Discipline needed for artistic self-realization.

Repetition is the key to painting mastery.

In painting, repetition is the key to getting better results. Like warming up with finger exercises on the piano or practicing scales on the guitar, repetition in painting is the key to getting finer work. Even professional athletes continue to hone their skills between games. In the painting game, repetition is one of the disciplines needed for self-realization…

4 Things To Get Right Before Painting

Don't reach for that brush until you have the essentials covered.

Painting Fall Trees

Many students think that leaning to paint means mixing up paint and brushing it on in an interesting fashion. There is so much more to learn in order to create an interesting painting. I agree that pushing paint around is the fun part, but it's even more rewarding when you get the following aspects of the painting process done correctly.

Top 10 Art Books (2014) Every Artist Should Own

Know Stuff. Paint Better.

Top 10 Art Books (2014) Every Artist Should Own

Knowledge precedes execution: the more you study prior to painting, the better your actual painting will be. So with the arrival of a new year, I have a renewed vision to reread all the best art books in my collection. Here is my list of the top ten art books every artist should own.

Express yourself and be inspired with the help of these wonderful books, tips, & tutorials. From the beginning artist looking for a comprehensive introduction to the more experienced painter looking for a challenge, everyone can find a valuable lesson designed to help you create a brand new piece or add new depth to your technique. Here’s to your creativity!

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