Avoiding That ‘Cartoon Look’ in Your Paintings

The ideas presented here are reproduced from a paper I did for my painting class a few years back.

A New Way of Seeing and Painting (For Studio and Plein Air Applications)

A recent address delivered to one of my painting classes:

What Do Tertiary, Monochromatic, and Analogous Have in Common?

Because I’ve been painting so long, I use color intuitively. I just “feel” my color. I choose colors automatically and know which ones harmonize or contrast with each other depending on the effect I want. I have long since stored by paint-splattered color wheel deep in a drawer in my studio, ignoring the wealth of information hidden within it. I’m sure I learned all there was to know about color in high school or college, so what is the point?

Is Plein Air in Moonlight Possible?

Moonlight has fascinated artists for centuries. Writers have composed about its romance, artists have painted its mystery, musicians and composers have been moved to produce beautiful passages that evoke those ideas. But while moonlight has been depicted by many painters, it was often done from memory — out of necessity, because it’s hard to see and paint in the dark.

What Is Holding You Back in Your Quest to Become a Better Landscape Painter?

Probably the same thing that challenged my progress as an aspiring artist many years ago, and the same thing that holds a lot of art students back: preconceived notions about the painting process. That was the short answer. Now for the long answer. I am going to attempt to tackle that question in a circuitous route, but one that hopefully will connect with the reader.

Artists and Kids Paint Bryce Canyon National Park

I was recently invited to be a guest artist at Bryce Canyon National Park during the annual Geology Festival. It is the first time an artist has been invited to present at the event, which is sponsored by the Park Service and the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. It was my hope that my visit might kick-start a permanent artist-in-residence program there. I think we may have succeeded.

Brushwork

Brushwork is the last of the five tools in the “Painters Toolbox of Expression,” and this tool deals with texture. Because textural technique is very personal to the individual artist, no one approach is considered to be correct. Like edges, special brushwork is not even necessary, but more an enhancement to a well-designed painting. It’s generally true that brushwork is rarely spoken of by art teachers, and therefore seldom taught, especially on the university level.

Packing with Pastels

Our hard-working sales superstar Tracey Norvell recently posed this question to prolific artist Jude Tolar: “Do you know of a great, light pochade box for pastel painters?” Tolar’s response was worth quoting in full.

Diving Into Plein Air

It’s hard for a lot of artists to “take the plunge” into full-time painting, let along taking up art in the first place. However, the story of Emilie Lee is about as extreme — and entertaining — as it gets. Take a look!

Edge Control (For a more nuanced painting approach)

This week’s article deals with the fourth tool in the “Artist’s Toolbox of Expression”: edge control. Think of these last two tools (edges and brushwork) as icing on the cake, because they are not altogether necessary, but are enhancements to an otherwise well constructed painting.

Designing Your Paintings with Values (Along with some tips on scene selection)

Can anyone imagine doing a painting without using a number of values? Well, as an abstract design possibly, but it would be a weak design, depending solely on color for its strength. So strong are values in the painting process that the old adage is true that says: “In painting, values do all the work, but color takes all the credit.”

How to Mix Color and Get Good Harmony (Without the Frustration)

This week’s article delves further into the “Painter’s Tool Box of Expression.” Last week I highlighted drawing, and this week we will look at color.

Packing and Plein Air

For the very adventurous outdoor painter, room — and weight — are crucial things to consider. PleinAir Today recently visited with artist Gary Geraths, who offered up some sage suggestions.

Drawing and Creativity (A Way to Prepare)

When it comes to painting, the act of drawing is often a departure from the classical linear concept that is understood by most people. Drawing, in the painting arena, has more to do with large compositional ideas and design elements, such as placement of objects or masses, linear movement, relative sizes of objects, weight distribution, and shapes.

The Landscape Painter’s Learning Guide, Pt. 2

This week, I will follow up on my article from the last issue of PleinAir Today, titled “Three Important Skills Every Landscape Painter Needs.” In this segment I begin to explain some of the concepts that are recommended as a map for studying landscape painting. In my workshops, I do this as a Power Point presentation, but I’ll attempt to explain it here in a few paragraphs.

Why This Works: Wildlife Gives Interest to Landscape

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Nancy Woods Daniel’s “Blythe Ferry Winter Day.”

Three Important Skills Every Landscape Painter Needs

There are three divisions of learning that every landscape painter needs to master in order to paint well. What are they? Find out here.

Why This Works: Color Harmony, Cohesion Through Brushstrokes

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Doug Gorrell’s “River Mist.”

Why This Works: Less Is More Sometimes With Color

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Steve Miller’s “Off the Gov’t Pier.”

Why This Works: Quiet Solidness, Good Light Source Info

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Fen Rascoe’s “Waiting on a Truck.”

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