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Painting Secrets

10 useful tips for outdoor and studio painting.

Outdoor Painting in Oregon

10 useful tips for outdoor and studio painting.

I just got back from 10 days of painting in Oregon. It has been a long while since I've had so many days in a row to paint. Oh how much one forgets... Upon having a few wobbly pops after a good painting session, I took note of some recurring issues that every artist should consider. These notes were written with oil painting in mind but many of them pertain to other mediums and apply to outdoor painting as well as studio practice.

Dear Mr. Swinton: Regarding your 10 Tips for Outdoor Painting

"The more vertical the object the darker in value it is."

Chilly Spring Day - Oil painting by Doug Swinton

Dear Mr Swinton

Regarding your 10 Tips for Outdoor Painting...

Could you give me an example in one of your paintings that might explain "The more vertical the object the darker in value it is." I am having trouble envisioning this.

Linda Tanaka
Lethbridge

Outdoor Painting Tips for the Plein Air Painter

9 tips from Doug Swinton

Plein Air Painter

Almost any artist will tell you that there's a certain appeal to working outdoors that can't be found anywhere else. Outdoor painting is challenging to say the least but remember it’s more about the process than the finished product. Below are 9 ways you can make the most of your next session en plain air.

1. Hey good lookin’.
Start with a good, long look. Painting landscapes lets you create work that can take the viewer on a journey into a new environment. To create a truly expressive work of art, it helps to take more than a cursory look around and quickly set up shop. Walk around, sit a spell. Nature will soon reveal itself if you're patient.

10 Things I Know About Painting

By Doug Swinton

Doug Swinton • 10 Things I Know About Painting

Since the day the late Brock Linehan asked me "What do you know for sure?", and I had trouble answering, I've never stopped asking myself that question. Over the long haul some things keep repeating themselves and as I paint in my own studio or attempt to solve problems with my students, I realized that some things are always true. This list keeps growing but here are a few of those "for sure" things I've come to believe.

If there is anything you believe to be true every time, in other words, universal to every good painting, please post it in the comments section.

Painting Secret #43 • The Power of Green

Simplify your palette by mixing your greens.

Overgrown

A lot of artists have trouble with green because there are so many shades to mix and so many types to buy. What I've come to understand about green is that less is more. Simplify.

Removing most of the greens off of my palette made a positive difference to my paintings. If you want harmonious greens you have to mix them. I now carry only one green, Viridian, a green with subtle blue undertones that also makes nice turquoise colours.

Watch Video...

Painting Tips #42

8 things I know for sure.

Painting Tips #42

Your eyes play tricks on you. Your brain wants to see it all - don't let it! If you want details in your painting, put them in later. Begin by tricking your brain into seeing less. It's simple. Squint! 

What is cause and effect? Every detail in your painting, every stroke, every colour and tone has a job to do. Pay attention to the entire painting to figure out what the effect of an individual stroke is and more importantly, what effect you want to create.

Read more to see the 8 things I know for sure...

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