Friday, October 31, 2014

Colley Whisson YouTube demo videos [feedly]

Colley Whisson YouTube demo videos
// lines and colors

Colley Whisson YouTube demo videos
Well known Auatralian painter Colley Whisson, who I wrote about in 2011, has for some time been posting short demo videos of his painting process on YouTube.

These are quite short, roughly 3-4 minutes, and each briefly cover the process of a particular small painting.

The videos are not professionally produced, and the audio, in particular, suffers a bit on some of them. They also vary somewhat in format; those labeled "Speed Paint" are time lapse of the painting start to finish, with music and no commentary. The rest are slower, with fades between stages of the process, and voice over commentary by Whisson on his process.

They are a bit more rushed than one might like, and missing any glimpse of color mixing, though Whisson does often mention which base colors he is using. For whatever limitations they may have, however, I found them interesting, and instructional.

I think those interested in oil painting technique will find them of value — particularly in their strongest aspect, which is close-ups of Whisson using his brushes in various ways to achieve different effects in creating his wonderfully painterly and textural surfaces.

There are about 20 videos as of this writing; most are landscapes but there are also still life, animals and figures.

Whisson's website lists a book, only available in Australia, and a sold-out DVD of other, slightly longer videos. There is mention of work in progress on a long form demonstration DVD, but I don't know its status.

[Note: the images above are not linked or embedded videos, just screen captures from several different videos. Please follow the YouTube link provided below.]


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Arnold Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead (Alte Nationalgalerie version) [feedly]

Arnold Böcklin's Isle of the Dead (Alte Nationalgalerie version)
// lines and colors

Isle of the Dead, Arnold Bocklin, five versions plus etching by Max Klinger
Isle of the Dead, Arnold Böcklin

Today is Halloween, or Hallow'een, short for "All Hallows' Evening" — the evening before a day dedicated to remembrance of the dead (and marked by costumery and other activities meant to mock death itself).

With the theme of the dead in mind, here is one of five different versions of a famous painting by Swiss Symbolist Arnold Böcklin, each titled Isle of the Dead ("Die Toteninsel" in German), and differentiated in their titles by the museum or gallery in which they currently hang.

The version shown here, now in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin (and at one time owned by Adolf Hitler), was the third version painted, and the most famous — partly due do an etching based on it by Max Klinger (images above, bottom), and widely reproduced versions of lower quality.

The link I've given for the painting is to the Google Art Project zoomable image. There is a high resolution downloadable file of that image on Wikimedia Commons, along with images of the other versions of the painting (images above, bottom, above Klinger's etching). The fourth version was destroyed in WW II, and only a black and white photo remains.

Isle of the Dead was extraordinarily popular and influential, inspiring numerous artists, including other Symbolists, the Surrealists and subsequent generations of fantasy painters.

There is an entry on the five paintings on Wikipedia, and another about them on In the latter article, John Coulthart explores some of the pop culture references to the painting, including the notion that it was the inspiration for the views of the approach to Skull Island in the original King Kong.

See also my post on Arnold Böcklin.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Small, Pale and Watery? I Don’t Think So [feedly]

Small, Pale and Watery? I Don't Think So
// Artist's Network

Have you ever tasted a new and delicious dessert, and later found out that it was actually relatively healthy? Food can surprise us, and art is no different. I'm constantly being reminded that pastels, oils and watercolors can be manipulated to raise an eyebrow and the question, "Is that really…?" Transparent watercolor falls within this category as well, as Linda Stevens Moyer can attest. Moyer is the author of Light Up Your Watercolors Layer By Layer: Transparent Glazing Techniques for Luminous Paintings, and in the following excerpt she shares her thoughts on this medium, as well as a mini-demonstration on how to paint a parrot.

How to paint with transparent watercolor

Haiku #2 (transparent watercolor, 40×60) by Linda Stevens Moyer. Private collection. Photograph by Gene Ogami.

"Transparent watercolor is a challenge," says Moyer. "It has been called one of the most difficult mediums to master. It is true that there are certain rules to follow in creating a painting in transparent watercolor–perhaps more than in a number of other mediums. However, once the rules (or procedures) become part of the painter, I don't believe that there is a more beautiful way of expressing any subject matter.

How to paint a parrot

"There are many different 'looks' to transparent watercolor. The most popular misconception is that watercolor paintings must be small, pale, watery compositions. On the contrary, watercolors may be mural-sized, bright, detailed and filled with strong values. The look depends on the expression of the individual artist.

"I've found through years of teaching that a structured foundation will make for a confident painter. I believe that structure in learning leads to freedom of expression." (Tweet this quote!)

Mini-demonstration: How to Paint a Parrot in Watercolor
by Linda Stevens Moyer

1. Make a Drawing and Apply the Warm Colors
Begin with a No. 2 pencil drawing, and then layer cadmium yellow pale, cadmium orange and alizarin crimson. Use several layers of each color. For example, layer alizarin crimson in three distinct steps: light, medium and dark. This layering of one color can be seen in the shadowed portion of the parrot's head.

2. Add the Cool Colors
Layer the following colors over the warm colors: phthalo green mixed with a touch of yellow ochre, phthalo green, phthalo blue and ultramarine blue. Notice how the previously applied alizarin crimson dulls and darkens the cool colors. In some areas the warm colors are allowed to come through the new application of cool colors, creating a look of iridescence in the bird's feathers.

3. Finish With a Dark, Dull Color
Wherever a color or value change is desired, apply various tints of a dark, dull blue-green (mixed with phthalo blue and burnt sienna). The effects may be very subtle, but help to establish detail and subordinate the intensity of the previously applied layers.

Stereotypes do little good, even when it comes to painting with various mediums. I hope that if you're new to watermedia in particular, that this inspires you to push the boundaries of what you can do with your your art. Note that if you want to try this lesson for yourself, you'll want to scroll down for the original reference photo. And of course, get even more instruction when you get your copy of Moyer's Light Up Your Watercolors Layer By Layer today at North Light Shop.

Hoping you find freedom in expression,
Cherie Haas, online editor

Reference photo of a parrot

Reference photo from Light Up Your Watercolors Layer By Layer: Transparent Glazing Techniques for Luminous Paintings by Linda Stevens Moyer




The post Small, Pale and Watery? I Don't Think So appeared first on Artist's Network.


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Steakhouse Step-by-Step [feedly]

Steakhouse Step-by-Step
// Gurney Journey

Here's a step-by-step watercolor sequence. I'm standing on the corner of 24th and Main in Bryan, Texas, looking east across the railroad tracks to the Longhorn Steakhouse. 

The watercolor sketchbook is held up to standing height by a pochade easel on a fully extended tripod.

I'm attracted to the tight grouping of telephone poles and the gray light. The lay-in is drawn with a blue water-soluble colored pencil, which will partially dissolve. Note the eye level or vanishing point is below the level of the tracks.

I wet the entire sky, covering it with some overall warm color, then the light gray cloud shadows, and as it starts to dry up, the distant blue sky. Then I cover the big planes of the shadow, leaving a few white accents.

 The poles and small details go in with Payne's gray and a round brush.

The whole painting takes an hour and a half. I shot some video, too, so I'll edit that and upload it next week. to paint in Austin!
Homemade sketchbook pochade easel using adjustable torque hinges

72- Minute Instructional Video: "Watercolor in the Wild"
More info about the HD download at Sellfy (Paypal) or Gumroad (credit cards)


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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Edward Robert Hughes (English, 1851-1914) Dream Idyll (A... [feedly]

Edward Robert Hughes (English, 1851-1914) Dream Idyll (A...
// The Curve in the Line

Edward Robert Hughes (English, 1851-1914)

Dream Idyll (A Valkyrie), 1902


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Seven pieces of good advice that stayed with me [feedly]

Seven pieces of good advice that stayed with me
// Muddy Colors

as usual, interpret this image however you please
David Palumbo

Last week, while recording an interview for an upcoming episode of Creative Trek, I was asked to share a piece of advice which has stayed with me over the years.  A few jumped to my mind at that moment and then later that day I kept thinking of others, so I thoughts I'd jot a few down here on Muddy Colors. 

1: Be prepared to pay your dues

I grew up in a family of artists, so it is inevitable that much of the good advice I've received over the years would come from my parents.  This was one that I heard again and again before I even began learning to paint.  Basically, be grateful for every job you can get because it takes a long time to climb the ladder.  Not every job is going to be fun and/or easy, so be ready to tackle the low rent and uninspired jobs with a professional attitude.  Looking back, I find this to be very much a tightrope.  On the one hand, you don't want to be taken advantage of and there are plenty of people out there looking to exploit you as far as you will let them.  Opposite that, you need to be humble and know that, at least when starting out, you should be following up as many opportunities as possible.  Finding the balance is hard and I think most of us only get it after several stumbles, but a humble attitude will help a great deal.  I've seen several people with tremendous potential wash out because of their egos and an attitude that the world owed them some kind of special treatment.  This is not really a business for prima donnas. 

2: Don't teach yourself the mistakes of others

Early on, I had some ideas about working as a comic artist and was fortunate to have a portfolio review by Joe Quesada.  After looking at my (in hindsight) very crude pages, he told me that he felt I was looking too much at other comic artists and not enough at real life.  He told me that, while you can learn a great deal by copying the work of those who inspire you, the vast majority of your study should be direct observation.  When you copy another artist, you are copying their mistakes and teaching yourself their bad habits.  Working from life, on the other hand, lets you train without that baggage clouding up the picture.  You are much more likely to develop your work into something unique if you learn from the world unfiltered.

3: Lead with the work

About the time that I graduated from PAFA, I was exploring fine art and had a meeting with Neil Zukerman who runs the CFM Gallery in Manhattan.  He was kind enough to talk with me not only about my work but about making contact with galleries cold.  Basically, when someone walks into a gallery off the street and requests a review of their work, the automatic assumption is that it will be either a poor fit for that gallery or just simply horrible.  To save everyone a lot of time (and to avoid the automatic brush-off), he told me to introduce myself while simultaneously handing the curator a sample (print, postcard, etc.) of my very best work.  Maybe they will be interested and maybe not, but it will get things right to the point and hopefully let you lead with a good first impression.

4: Don't worry about being fast, just worry about being good

In my first (of several) portfolio reviews with Magic the Gathering art director Jeremy Jarvis, he wondered if I might be rushing my work.  Many aspects were sloppy and would have been much stronger if I'd simply slowed down and taken my time.  Speed comes from the confidence of experience and, if I wanted to be fast, I first had to learn how to slow down and get good.  Nobody is impressed that you turned out a bad piece quickly, but they are impressed when you turn out something really good.

5: Don't forget to push the design

A year later, I sat down with Jeremy Jarvis again at that same convention for another review.  My new portfolio had all new work which I had taken my time with and paid close attention to strong technique.  What I'd failed to pay attention to was my character, costume, and environmental design.  Jeremy pointed out in piece after piece where I could have pushed things to be more interesting, more lived-in, more unexpected, and just MORE.

6: Don't be scared to be different

As I was starting to get work more steadily, I began feeling frustrated in my process and technique.  I had always felt that, to be a fantasy artist, I should be working in a tightly rendered highly detailed and polished style.  After all, that is what fantasy art usually looks like, right?  My frustration was that I was growing more and more interested by painterly work along the lines of NC Wyeth and other early 20th century illustrators and this was at odds with the mainstream looks.  I was lamenting this to Greg Manchess, one of the few current fantasy artists I knew who did work outside of that tight render box.  After going on and on about how I wished I could work looser but was worried about this and that and the other thing, he just said something along the lines of "well, yeah, I don't know, why don't you just try it?"  I was struck by how simple that made it seem and how ridiculous it was to have not realized this myself.  It was a few years before I really changed my process, but in that time I was working on personal pieces and experiments which ultimately proved to me that I needed to shift direction.  The first and most important step was to stop worrying and just do something.

7: Make your work with purpose

This last one was not advice given specifically to me, but something which I've heard Rebecca Guay say to students many many times.  Whatever you make, you need to make it your own in some way.  Find something to love in every piece, find something personal to contribute to every assignment, and always know what you want for the viewer to feel when they look at your work.  If you don't make your work with purpose, it will have no impact.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stephanie Hans [feedly]

Stephanie Hans
// lines and colors

Stephanie Hans, comics art and illustration
French illustrator and comics artist Stephanie Hans is known in particular for her painted style comics covers and interior panel illustrations.

She excels at dynamic comics covers, many for American titles, that involve women characters in forceful or emotional roles.

Her website is in French, but it's easy enough to navigate for for those who don't read French. The portfolio has sections for cover art, comics (bande dessinée), and illustration, along with a bibliography.

You can find more of her work on her deviantART gallery and Tumblr, as well as the site of her U.S. artist's rep, Shannon Associates.


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Q&A: How to Achieve Realistic Texture Using Colored Pencil [feedly]

Q&A: How to Achieve Realistic Texture Using Colored Pencil
// Artist's Network

Q: Lee, can you write a blog post about achieving realistic textures like fur/feathers or bark in colored pencil? I love doing wildlife/nature. I just find it hard to get a solid or smooth look with colored pencils, even though they're my favorite medium. I take a really long time layering and burnishing to get the effect I want … the amount of time I take seems to be my biggest drawback to overcome.

Colored pencil still life painting

Still life (Prismacolor colored pencils). I used a colored pencil technique we call "scratching" to create the highlights in this caning.

A: First, it sounds as if you're doing everything right, for it's a back-and-forth process of burnishing and layering that gets the job done. Realism in colored pencil is created with many layers and repeated additions of color. Nothing is ever just one color, and texture must be added AFTER the colors are fully developed. This takes time and patience.

I love using an X-Acto knife for scraping small lines and texture into colored pencil, especially when I'm using Prismacolor. The rich color and heavy wax content of Prismacolor pencil builds up a thick layer on the paper. It's then very receptive to the scraping technique, allowing small lines to be scratched out. These lines appear much more fine and delicate than you could ever draw in with your pencil. It's a perfect technique for creating small hairs and whiskers in animals, veins and ridges in flowers and leaves, and texture in woodgrain and tree bark.

This process takes time because the drawing must be built up in order for it to work. Many of my students will try to rush the process, which becomes a problem. They start scratching too soon, and can inadvertently gouge and damage their paper. Once this happens, it's a hard thing to overcome.

Damaged colored pencil drawing

Unfortunate damage due to my impatience

Close inspection of my drawing of my dining room table will reveal a "hole" I created in my drawing. This wasn't a gouge with an X-Acto knife, however. It was a case of over-zealous burnishing. This particular drawing was done on mat board, which is made in ply's. These layers of fused paper can't take the abuse that I dished out. After too many hard layers of white to create a highlight, the ply's separated and pulled off. I was heartbroken. I did my best to camouflage it with color. I pushed down the edges of the hole to make them lay down and stick to the wax around it, and then I sprayed fixative to seal it. Under glass, and from a distance, few would notice. Unfortunately, it's the first thing I see when I look at my drawing. I had gotten in a hurry, wanting to finish the piece. I paid the price for my impatience.

The coolest part of this drawing though is the scraping. Look at the wicker caning on the chair back. Each one of those holes gathered an edge of reflected light. I scratched out the light in each one, and yes, it took days and days.

Colored pencil art

Scratching can be used for hair and fur, and small details like you see in this colored pencil art.

This leads me to my second comment, which is: "What is everyone's hurry when it comes to their art?" Why are we so darned impatient? SLOW DOWN! It's the most common trait I deal with as an art instructor. Everyone wants it done in one session, yet, they look at my work and say they want theirs to look like mine. Well folks, unless you spend the umpteen hours I do on a single area of a drawing like I do, it'll never happen. It's a shame too, because often the only difference between my work and the work of my student isn't the skill level. It isn't lack of experience compared to me either. No–it's often just the difference of the time devoted to the project. I've found that few are willing or able to toil relentlessly on a single piece like me. I've been known to work on something off and on for years. I've been known to draw for 18 hours straight without food or sleep. It's an obsession I never want relief from. (Tweet this!)

So, the moral to this story is: Take your time. And to the reader who submitted the question above, keep up what you're doing! Just spend more time doing it! Your work will only be as good as the amount of time you invest in it. Your process sounds to me as if you're on the right track (just the short track). Try the scenic route instead!

Until next time!

Edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of

Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond

The post Q&A: How to Achieve Realistic Texture Using Colored Pencil appeared first on Artist's Network.


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Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell [feedly]

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell
// Colossal

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell illustration gifs animation

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell illustration gifs animation

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell illustration gifs animation

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell illustration gifs animation

Looping Illustrations by Drew Tyndell illustration gifs animation

Nashville-based artist and illustrator Drew Tyndell creates these looping animations which he paints frame by frame in Photoshop. He was first inspired by a Stan Brakhage piece he encountered at an animation exhibition at the Frist Museum in Nashville. After creating a 64-frame animation of a cube by hand-painting each slide, he then decided to go digital, exploring forms and shapes found in some of his own geometric paintings on wood. To see more of his animation work check out his Loops gallery. (via The Fox is Black)


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