Friday, June 21, 2024

Painting Daisies by NOT Painting Daisies

In this new video on YouTube, I explore the practice of negative painting.


The idea is to paint the negative shapes around the white shapes of the daisies. 

The goal is to reserve our attention for the spaces between things.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Is Competition Good for Artists?

Art students in Cincinnati portray a crucifixion scene based on a live model.

A history and discussion on my free-to-participate Substack page.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Be Consistent With Titles


I called one painting "Rainbow Bridge" in one exhibit and "Gideon's Bridge" in a book.

Unfortunately, both names will follow that image forever.

'Untitled' is a Title: Eleven tips for titling paintings. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Archery Target


Someone must have set up this target for archery practice. It's in a lonely place way down below a high bridge.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Rendering Realistic Fur in Gouache

 Carl Brenders (b. 1937) is a wildlife artist from Belgium known for his richly detailed gouache and watercolor paintings of mammals and birds in their environments.

How does he do it? There’s not much information about his technique available online, but I did some digging.

He begins by taking a lot of photographs of the animal and its habitat.

According to his 1994 book Wildlife: The Nature Paintings of Carl Benders:

“Even after spending weeks of research and photography in the field, the artist devotes more time to develop the concept of the painting.

“With this planned, he first makes a complete pencil drawing of the entire subject, including the background.

“Over his pencil work he then paints with sepia watercolor much like pen-and-ink drawing. On top of the sepia he airbrushes areas in watercolor, and then paints over all this with gouache.

“He finds the combination of gouache and watercolor perfectly suited to his detailed work; it achieves an effect he finds impossible with acrylic or oil paint.

“Only the Flemish masters, says Brenders, could achieve such detail in oils.”


Quotes by Dana Cooper from the book Wildlife: The Nature Paintings of Carl Benders

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Degas' Experimental Foregrounds

What's going on with the two cows in this pastel drawing by Degas? The one on the right appears to be grazing, but we don't see its head or its feet.

Degas loved to experiment with cropping elements off the bottom of his compositions, most likely influenced by photography. Here he seems to be having fun, just seeing what he could get away with.

 More about breaking the foreground line on my Substack post. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Lights Go On at Lightbox

Tickets go on sale today for Lightbox Expo in Pasadena, California this October. 



It's an inspiring gathering of concept artists, animators, plein air painters, and illustrators. Everyone is super friendly, sketching all the time. 


You can meet and hang out with artists like Angela Sung, Craig Mullins, Kiptoe, Jess Karp, Marco Bucci, Aaron Blaise, and artists who work for Blizzard, DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar (I’ll be there too, with a new book). Find out more at the Lightbox Expo website.


Friday, May 17, 2024

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Inside Dog, Outside Dog

Hand-painted T shirt design.

I'm always amazed how Smooth changes when he steps outside the house: ears unfurl, fangs come out, and tail goes up. It's a Jekyll & Hyde transformation.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Parrish Describes Pyle


In his reply to a young art student, Maxfield Parrish said: "I do wish you could study under Howard Pyle: indeed you would enjoy it. I did myself for two years. He is so full enthusiasm there is plenty to spare and you get a lot that is left over. He does everything the same way: he goes in bathing, walks, plays games as if he were saving his household goods from a fire."

Thanks, Steve!