Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Painting Perspective | Techniques Used to Accentuate Depth [feedly]

Painting Perspective | Techniques Used to Accentuate Depth
// Artist's Network

In last week's post, I discussed the effects that linear and aerial perspective have upon the appearance of depth within a painting. Understanding the physics behind the two can give an artist the ability to manipulate them for creative purposes without compromising the integrity of the scene.


In my plein air pastel, Coastal Morning (9×12), I gently raked harder pastel sticks of blue and violet gray over receding passages of the scene to heighten the atmospheric effect.

Foreshortening: The proportions of linear perspective can be easily altered to exaggerate or diminish the depth relationships of objects within a composition by utilizing foreshortening. An object's dimensions along our line of sight become smaller as it recedes; whereas the dimensions of an object when viewed across our line of sight stay relatively the same. By expanding or contracting the related height and width of objects (e.g. widening the closest section of a road, path or stream bed or raising the closest post of a fence line), we can give the impression that these elements are closer, exaggerating the appearance of depth. An example in figurative work would be making the fist of a boxer throwing a punch towards the viewer larger than it appears in reality. This gives the impression that the fist is inches away from contact with the viewer's face and increases the dramatic effect. (You can find examples of this in classic book and magazine illustrations.)

Exaggerating Atmospheric Perspective: Amplifying the appearance of aerial (atmospheric) perspective is another means of accentuating the appearance of depth within a painting. The visual effects upon objects as they recede into the distance are that they become lighter in value contrast, cooler in color temperature, weaker in color saturation, and less sharply defined. By subtly manipulating these aspects, an artist can greatly accentuate the sensation of space within a painting.

Your Pastel Palette: When it comes to orchestrating the aspects of aerial perspective, pastelists have to rely on their palette to facilitate the color and saturation shifts that will occur as objects recede. This is one of the reasons that no matter the subject matter, every pastel palette must represent the full spectrum of the color wheel. While the wet painter can easily mix four or five tubed pigments together to represent a full color spectrum, the pastelist must either meticulously layer, or have a stick of pastel that is capable of doing the task. This is not to say that your pastel palette must be filled with hundreds of sticks, but it should have enough sticks to represent the basic color families in degrees of lightness and darkness. A few grayer (neutral) tones will also prove handy when attempting to denote the desaturation of color in the distance.

Your Plein Air Pastel Palette: One way I've been able to keep enough pastels to be able to manipulate the tonal effects of aerial perspective, but within a smaller palette for plein air painting, is by utilizing harder pastels that can be gently layered over more colorful/intense pastel passages. These harder pastel sticks are atmospheric tones of soft blue and violet in lighter values. By using very little pressure, they can be lightly raked over passages to represent an atmospheric effect. The three brands of harder pastels that I use the most are Rembrandt, Cretacolor and Caran d'Ache.

Painters, as I like to say, are like magicians. Like every performer, we can at times be a bit theatrical. Artistic perspective is one aspect that is good to dramatize.



Read Richard McKinley's latest column "Watch Your Tone" about the importance of your painting's surface tone in the new August issue of Pastel Journal on sale now in the North Light Shop.

New Pastel E-Mag! Discover a master pastelist's tips for painting the landscape in our special e-mag collection, "Albert Handell: Essential Lessons in Pastel Painting," available to download for only $2.99!

New on DVD! Painting snow in pastel with Liz Haywood Sullivan!

New on DVD! Painting surface color and texture with Liz Haywood Sullivan!

New on DVD! Plein air painting in pastel with Liz Haywood Sullivan!



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July Artist of the Month | Roger Dale Brown [feedly]

July Artist of the Month | Roger Dale Brown
// Artist's Network

We're excited to have our July artist of the month, Roger Dale Brown! He was a finalist in The Artist's Magazine's 30th Annual Art Competition. His painting, New Orleans Street Car is below. Keep scrolling to see what Brown has to say about art and life. ~ Nashville, Tennessee


I took art in high school and did very well. After school I dismissed art for 12 years. Art wasn't encouraged as a career option, so I shifted away from it. I moved to LA in August of 1993 where I sold eyeglasses. On January 17, at 4:30 in the morning the Northridge Earthquake struck, and the store where I worked was demolished.They re-located me to another store, and it was there, that an artist came in to buy some glasses. We started talking, and he could tell I had a passion for art. He invited me to his studio for a critique of my work. I really didn't have a lot to show, except some old pen and inks from school and a few drawings I did over the years, but I felt compelled to accept his offer. I didn't see myself selling eyeglasses forever and his offer intrigued me. We talked for an hour as we toured his studio, and at the end, he asked me if I wanted to be his assistant painting murals and faux finishes…I accepted… I worked with him on 5 large jobs for some Hollywood icons. One day we were to meet a designer to give a bid on a job, but he never showed up. I desperately needed the job, so I asked them to give me a shot and they did. They told me to set an appointment with the clients. It was the shortest meeting in history. I really didn't know how to conduct a meeting. I sat down with them and asked what they liked. They said Monet. I said "wait right there" and left the meeting. I went to the nearest book store and found a book on Monet, but it was too expensive. I saw a calendar that featured Impressionist artists, so I bought a $5 calendar and went back to the clients. We flipped through it and they pointed out the one they liked. In my one bedroom apartment, I tacked up a canvas and painted a Monet with house paints. They liked it. That was how I started my own business and my art career.

In 1997 I got caught in the crossfire of a bank robbery and decided that was enough. It was time for me to go home. So I moved back to Tennessee and started my business. The thought of painting canvases kept creeping into my thoughts. I painted canvases, without much instruction over the next 4 years and, time after time, I failed horribly. By chance while visiting a gallery, the owner mentioned he was going to host a plein air workshop taught by Jason Saunders. Jason had studied with some of the great contemporary artists. I got excited and took the workshop in 2002. It was his first workshop to teach and my first to take. He recommended I take a class with Scott Christensen. Three months later I was in Wyoming taking from Scott. What really stuck with me from Scotts workshop, was his emphasis on the foundation of painting and setting goals. I always love a challenge, so when I got home I set goals. I was still working my mural business, but I set a goal for myself to paint one plein-air painting a day for 365 days, and to paint 100 studio pieces. My daily routine was to work 4 hours on murals, then on the way home, I would stop and do a 6×8 plein-air, after I got home, I would paint in the studio for 4 to 6 more hours. I also set a goal to be in a gallery by the end of the year. At the end of the 365 days I had painted 350 plein-air paintings and about 120 studio pieces. A lot were bad. I failed on my plein-air goal, but after painting 350 paintings on location a year, and painting them with the intent to study, I grew. I did reach my goal to be in a gallery. Persistence and passion played a huge part in my development of artistic abilities. Over those first 2 years I studied and became a student of art. To this day I strive to continue to learn more…

I liked the movement of the car and how the air moved around it. It was a challenge to create the sparkles and flecks of debris kicked up from the passing streetcar. There is always opportunities that arise during a painting. You have a choice to take advantage of them or not. I always have a plan before I start a painting. I have a mental image of the finished painting. I ask a series of problem solving questions that can help me best achieve this image. Right now, I really want to go to locations that inspire me. I want to spend enough time to absorb the culture. Beverly and I are staying at locations longer, to explore and study the culture, light, color palette, and nuances of the location. This helps me evoke the spirit of a scene. I can tell a better story, since I have seen the place through the eyes of the people who live there, not just through my eyes.


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Drawing Flowers: A Helpful Hint for Beautiful Florals [feedly]

Drawing Flowers: A Helpful Hint for Beautiful Florals
// Artist's Network

Drawing flowers in one of my all time favorite subjects. It doesn't matter what type of flower it is, or whether I create them in color or black and white. Drawing flowers simply makes me happy! Because I'm also a photographer, the studio is filled with reference photos I've taken over the years. My favorite pastime, when not in the studio, is visiting botanical gardens so I can take more photos. An artist can never have enough. Many of my students share the same passion, so I allow them to use my photos. Every class I teach has at least one or two students creating beautiful floral masterpieces!

How to draw flower petal edges

Look at all of the lights and darks created by the edges of this plant. The edges are the most important part of drawing flowers and plants.

So what makes a good floral drawing? Composition, and how the subject is placed on the page, and contrast are essential for creating depth and realism. But when it comes to flowers in particular, I personally believe that the single most important element is the ability of the artist to create realistic looking edges.

Flowers are made up of many, many edges, due to the overlapping surfaces created by the petals and the leaves. It's important that the edges of all these surfaces look believable. When teaching, I find that students often struggle with this, for their edges often turn into outlines. The realism is lost due to this. It can be very frustrating.

How to draw a rose

A rose by any other name is…"Drawing Good Edges!"

Here is a helpful hint that may make drawing flowers easier for you. Memorize this theory, and use it with everything you draw.

We all know that the preliminary sketch you create is made up of lines. (I call this an accurate line drawing.) It's the foundation of your piece on which you build your rendering. But, each of those lines needs to be turned into an edge, so it doesn't look outlined like a cartoon. To do this, remember what a line really is: merely a separation of two different surfaces. The line you drew is telling you that these surfaces are either touching or overlapping. To make the line you drew turn into an edge, there's a pretty simple solution:

First, analyze your reference and look for the five elements of shading. This will tell you where the light source is and the cast shadows are.

How to draw flowers in graphite

Even in graphite, you can see the theory of "light over dark" and "dark over light" at work in the edges of these flower petals.

Second, identify in your reference which surfaces are dark and which are light. Now look at the darkness of the line you drew in your sketch. Which surface does the darkness of that line belong to? Is it part of a shadow below the surface? If so, you must blend out the darkness of that line into that area. Is the surface you're drawing darker than the background? Then blend the darkness of the line into that surface.

As you work, analyze all of the edges in your photo reference, and ask yourself: Is it light over dark or is it dark over light? Then, blend the darkness of your drawn line into whichever surface it belongs. Make sure it fades out gradually and completely. Voila! It's an edge, not an outline!

Studying your edges is critical, especially since they can change. Don't let them fool you. The edge of a single flower petal may appear light against dark in one area, and then switch suddenly to dark over light. Don't try to draw edges without close observation, or you may miss some very important tonal changes.

I know this may sound difficult, but practice, practice and practice some more. Soon it'll become second nature to analyze every line drawn. Study my examples here, and look for the beauty of edges in these florals. I think you'll find that drawing flowers will make you happy too!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

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


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Do you have any tips for shading? It's really difficult for me... >. [feedly]

Do you have any tips for shading? It's really difficult for me... >.
// Art and Reference point

The only way to get better, is to keep practicing it. I never use to shade, and I'm still learning. With my art, I do simple stuff and I follow basic steps that apply well for me.

Why not try this:

Before you do any shading, figure out where your light source is. Basic knowledge when shading.

Here, we have the light source above and in front. ABOVE an IN FRONT. So you gotta think how the shadows would go. He'd be pretty well lit.

Remember, the nose isn't flat, that's going to create a shadow on his face, unless it's right in front of him and not from the side like it is.

So how would it be from the back?

He'd be more shadow than light.

Another tip for shadows:

Some people might draw shadows on after colour the flat colour, but if you know there is going to be a lot of shadow, much more than lit up skin, try this way:

Colour with your shadow colours, and fill in the light instead.

I filled it in with light this time, instead of filling in shadow.

But really, you just gotta take a big leap and adventure with it. That's how I got to where I am and I still have far to go.

And also try shading with different colours. In these pictures I shaded the skin and clothes with pink set to multiple, and the hair with purple on multiple.


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theartofanimation: tokyogenso [feedly]

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Curiosity and Wonder Are My Religion: Henry Miller on Growing Old, the Perils of Success, and the Secret of Remaining Young at Heart [feedly]

Curiosity and Wonder Are My Religion: Henry Miller on Growing Old, the Perils of Success, and the Secret of Remaining Young at Heart
// Brain Pickings

"If you can fall in love again and again… if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical… you've got it half licked."

"On how one orients himself to the moment," 48-year-old Henry Miller wrote in reflecting on the art of living in 1939, "depends the failure or fruitfulness of it." Over the course of his long life, Miller sought ceaselessly to orient himself toward maximal fruitfulness, from his creative discipline to his philosophical reflections to his exuberant irreverence.

More than three decades later, shortly after his eightieth birthday, Miller wrote a beautiful essay on the subject of aging and the key to living a full life. It was published in 1972 in an ultra-limited-edition chapbook titled On Turning Eighty (public library), alongside two other essays. Only 200 copies were printed, numbered and signed by the author.

Miller begins by considering the true measure of youthfulness:

If at eighty you're not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good Lord for his savin' and keepin' power. If you are young in years but already weary in spirit, already on the way to becoming an automaton, it may do you good to say to your boss — under your breath, of course — "Fuck you, Jack! You don't own me!" … If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, man you've got it half licked.

He later adds:

I have very few friends or acquaintances my own age or near it. Though I am usually ill at ease in the company of elderly people I have the greatest respect and admiration for two very old men who seem to remain eternally young and creative. I mean [the Catalan cellist and conductor] Pablo Casals and Pablo Picasso, both over ninety now. Such youthful nonagenarians put the young to shame. Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middleclass men and women who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will last forever or else are so frightened it won't that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out.

Miller considers the downside of success — not the private kind, per Thoreau's timeless definition, but the public kind, rooted in the false deity of prestige:

If you have had a successful career, as presumably I have had, the late years may not be the happiest time of your life. (Unless you've learned to swallow your own shit.) Success, from the worldly standpoint, is like the plague for a writer who still has something to say. Now, when he should be enjoying a little leisure, he finds himself more occupied than ever. Now he is the victim of his fans and well wishers, of all those who desire to exploit his name. Now it is a different kind of struggle that one has to wage. The problem now is how to keep free, how to do only what one wants to do.

He goes on to reflect on how success affects people's quintessence:

One thing seems more and more evident to me now — people's basic character does not change over the years… Far from improving them, success usually accentuates their faults or short-comings. The brilliant guys at school often turn out to be not so brilliant once they are out in the world. If you disliked or despised certain lads in your class you will dislike them even more when they become financiers, statesmen or five star generals. Life forces us to learn a few lessons, but not necessarily to grow.

Somewhat ironically, Anaïs Nin — Miller's onetime lover and lifelong friend — once argued beautifully for the exact opposite, the notion that our personalities are fundamentally fluid and ever-growing, something that psychologists have since corroborated.

Miller returns to youth and the young as a kind of rearview mirror for one's own journey:

You observe your children or your children's children, making the same absurd mistakes, heart-rending mistakes often, which you made at their age. And there is nothing you can say or do to prevent it. It's by observing the young, indeed, that you eventually understand the sort of idiot you yourself were once upon a time — and perhaps still are.

Like George Eliot, who so poignantly observed the trajectory of happiness over the course of human life, Miller extols the essential psychoemotional supremacy of old age:

At eighty I believe I am a far more cheerful person than I was at twenty or thirty. I most definitely would not want to be a teenager again. Youth may be glorious, but it is also painful to endure…

I was cursed or blessed with a prolonged adolescence; I arrived at some seeming maturity when I was past thirty. It was only in my forties that I really began to feel young. By then I was ready for it. (Picasso once said: "One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it's too late.") By this time I had lost many illusions, but fortunately not my enthusiasm, nor the joy of living, nor my unquenchable curiosity.

And therein lies Miller's spiritual center — the life-force that stoked his ageless inner engine:

Perhaps it is curiosity — about anything and everything — that made me the writer I am. It has never left me…

With this attribute goes another which I prize above everything else, and that is the sense of wonder. No matter how restricted my world may become I cannot imagine it leaving me void of wonder. In a sense I suppose it might be called my religion. I do not ask how it came about, this creation in which we swim, but only to enjoy and appreciate it.

Two years later, Miller would come to articulate this with even more exquisite clarity in contemplating the meaning of life, but here he contradicts Henry James's assertion that seriousness preserves one's youth and turns to his other saving grace — the capacity for light-heartedness as an antidote to life's often stifling solemnity:

Perhaps the most comforting thing about growing old gracefully is the increasing ability not to take things too seriously. One of the big differences between a genuine sage and a preacher is gaiety. When the sage laughs it is a belly laugh; when the preacher laughs, which is all too seldom, it is on the wrong side of the face.

Equally important, Miller argues, is countering the human compulsion for self-righteousness. In a sentiment Malcolm Gladwell would come to complement nearly half a century later in advocating for the importance of changing one's mind regularly, Miller writes:

With advancing age my ideals, which I usually deny possessing, have definitely altered. My ideal is to be free of ideals, free of principles, free of isms and ideologies. I want to take to the ocean of life like a fish takes to the sea…

I no longer try to convert people to my view of things, nor to heal them. Neither do I feel superior because they appear to be lacking in intelligence.

Miller goes on to consider the brute ways in which we often behave out of self-righteousness and deformed idealism:

One can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless… I have accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in ways that would make animals blush. The ironic, the tragic thing is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God's blessing when massacring his fellow men. He forgets that God is not on his side but at his side.

But despite observing these lamentable human tendencies, Miller remains an optimist at heart. He concludes by returning to the vital merriment at the root of his life-force:

My motto has always been: "Always merry and bright." Perhaps that is why I never tire of quoting Rabelais: "For all your ills I give you laughter." As I look back on my life, which has been full of tragic moments, I see it more as a comedy than a tragedy. One of those comedies in which while laughing your guts out you feel your inner heart breaking. What better comedy could there be? The man who takes himself seriously is doomed…

There is nothing wrong with life itself. It is the ocean in which we swim and we either adapt to it or sink to the bottom. But it is in our power as human beings not to pollute the waters of life, not to destroy the spirit which animates us.

The most difficult thing for a creative individual is to refrain from the effort to make the world to his liking and to accept his fellow man for what he is, whether good, bad or indifferent.

The entire On Turning Eighty chapbook, which includes two other essays, is a sublime read. Complement it with Miller on writing, altruism, the meaning of life, what creative death means, and his 11 commandments of writing.

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The Art of Looking: How to Live with Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland [feedly]

The Art of Looking: How to Live with Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland
// Brain Pickings

"When you look closely at anything familiar, it transmogrifies into something unfamiliar."

For my book club collaboration with The Dish, Andrew Sullivan's online oasis of intelligence and idealism, I had the pleasure of sitting down with cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz to discuss her immeasurably wonderful On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes (public library) — one of the best books of 2013 and among the most interesting I've ever read, a provocative exploration of how powerfully our experience of "reality" is framed by the limitations of our attention and sensory awareness.

Our conversation ranges from Alice in Wonderland to John Cage to Susan Sontag, by way of dog cognition and productivity, in the service of understanding how different minds expose the many everyday wonderlands hidden before our eyes. Highlights below — please enjoy.

On the idea that everything is interesting if you look closer:

When you look closely at anything familiar, it kind of transmogrifies into something unfamiliar — the sort of cognitive version of saying your name again and again and again, or a word again and again and again, and getting a different sound of it after you've repeated it forty times.

On the notion that "a writer is a professional observer":

I am, professionally, an observer of animals — by which I mean nonhuman animals. I actually have been less interested in looking at people… But of course, as it turns out, the human animal is also infinitely more complex than I give us credit for. And I appreciated — a lot — the fact that, at the end of this book, I could take a walk with anybody — it didn't have to be an expert… — and I became more appreciative of anyone's perspective. If you can just get somebody to talk about what they see when they're walking down the street, they will almost inevitably be seeing something different than you. Because they are a different person, and there's a whole background there. And, actually, I think that is a kind of writerly trick — it's sitting in the restaurant and making up stories about the people who sit around you… being interested in [them] and being able to imagine, backwards, their stories.

On the parallels between Horowitz's book and mindfulness meditation, and the urgency of her overarching message in a culture that often, to our detriment, prioritizes productivity over presence as a form of toxic modern self-hypnosis:

I am not encouraging productivity — and I don't mind that that's the case. I value the moments in my life that are productive, certainly, but only the ones that are productive and also present. Writing the book was "productive," literally — it was a product; it was also an enjoyable engagement in the present. So it doesn't have to be either-or.

But [I have also] spent time in a job where you then wonder, a year later, what happened to that year. And if I had bothered to sit on the subway, commuting to my office, looking — looking — I think that those moments would have been memorialized, and I would know what happened to that year…

I don't mean to be testifying against productivity per se, but I do see that it's certainly mindless, the way that we approach there being only one route to living one's life. And it is within us, this capacity to alter that — at any moment, even within that framework — to change your state.

Horowitz turns the table on the productivity question:

MP: What's interesting about the productivity dogma is that we live in a culture where we worship work ethic — by a very narrow definition — as some sort of this grand virtue. And we define it as showing up, day after day after day. But I often think that that's the surest way to lull ourselves into a kind of trance of passivity, where we show up but we're absent from our own lives. And I think one of the most beautiful things you do is you show how we can be present in our own lives, through these eleven different people and their perspectives.

AH: Thank you. You know, you are thought of as being, probably, an excessively productive person — again, in that literal sense. You have such a fertile mind — would you say you are not productive? Or, how do you achieve your productivity?

MP: I think productivity, as we define it, is flawed to begin with, because it equates a process with a product. So, our purpose is to produce — as opposed to, our purpose is to understand and have the byproduct of that understanding be the "product." For me, I read, and I hunger to know… I record, around that, my experience of understanding the world and understanding what it means to live a good life, to live a full life. Anything that I write is a byproduct of that — but that's not the objective. So, even if it may have the appearance of "producing" something on a regular basis, it's really about taking in, and what I put out is just … the byproduct.

AH: Right. When I went on these walks, I didn't know what I would get. That was important, also.

MP: It's kind of like going down the rabbit hole but digging it in the process, too.

On Looking is an absolutely magnificent, mind-expanding, spiritually enriching read — sample it here and here. You can follow the Dish book club here and join me in supporting The Dish which, like Brain Pickings, is ad-free and supported by readers.

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Eye Candy for Today: Daubigny’s Landscape with Sunlit Stream [feedly]

Eye Candy for Today: Daubigny's Landscape with Sunlit Stream
// lines and colors

Landscape with Sunlit Stream, Charles-Francois Daubigny
Landscape with Sunlit Stream, Charles-François Daubigny

In the Metropolitan Museum of art. Use zoom or download links under image.

Ah, summer…..


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Marianne North [feedly]

Marianne North
// lines and colors

Marianne North, Victorian botanical art and landscapes
I really enjoy botanical art; at its best it combines some of the best characteristics of landscape and still life. Too often, however, botanical artists seem to feel that they must restrain themselves to timidly rendered watercolors, almost devoid of individual artistic expression, lest their efforts be considered less than scientific (how different from scientific illustrations of animals, particularly paleontological reconstruction art).

A notable exception to this is Marianne North, a Victorian English botanical artist, who also painted landscapes and occasionally still life.

North was also a biologist. She traveled extensively, and not only recorded exotic plant species, but the landscapes she encountered in India, Japan, Ceylon, Brazil, Canada and the US, among other places.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London houses an extensive collection of her work in the Marianne North Gallery, which it declares is "the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artist in Britain". There is a gallery of prints on the Kew site (you have to click through to the detail page, then click on the image again for the large version).

A large selection of her work can be viewed online on the BBC Your Paintings site. There is a book available, Marianne North: A very Intrepid Painter (also here).

Not only did North defy convention in her travels and lifestyle, her work is notable for her use of oil in her detailed representation of plant species, rather than the more conventional approaches in watercolor or gouache.

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Oil Painting: How To Become a Master [feedly]

Oil Painting: How To Become a Master
// Artist's Network

I wish I could say that I always had the words to describe what I see and how it makes me feel. But, there are times when I look at a painting that's on a gallery wall or my computer screen, and language fails me. My sight is the only sense that I'm aware of for a few moments as I lose touch with my surroundings, my past and my future. The present moment is all that I know, and even that is limited to just what I see in front of me.

Often, this happens when I'm presented with oil paintings that are in the style of the Old Masters. Cindy Salaski, author of Oil Painting With the Masters: Essential Techniques from Today's Top Artists, is even more passionate about this than I, and it's my honor to share with you the introduction from this, her new book. It includes 10 step-by-step demos from top award-winning master artists and teachers, as well as a bonus gallery featuring oil paintings from 10 additional contributors. It might just leave you speechless.


Oil painting by Glenn Harrington

Pianist (oil on linen, 18×24) by Glenn Harrington (

Introducing Oil Painting With the Masters by Cindy Salaski

While reading one of my favorite art books, Watercolour Impressions by Ron Ranson, I thought to myself, This is such a wonderful book. Why hasn't someone written one like it featuring the great master oil painters of today? As I continued to turn the pages, admiring one beautiful impressionistic watercolor painting after another, the thought struck me, Why don't I write it? Like Ranson, I became interested in painting late in life. I became consumed by the beautiful work of the contemporary Impressionists. Great painters like Albert Handell, Kevin Macpherson and Jeremy Lipking fascinated me. I began to search for more oil painters who had this gift, this magic touch. I sought out the great master oil painters of today, and I found them.

If you're like me, you aspire to paint like a master. You stand in front of a painting in a museum and say to yourself, If only I could paint like that. You watch a master like Camille Przewodek paint during a workshop and you think, That looks easy. I think I can paint like her. So you try to paint like Przewodek, but you discover that it's not as easy as it looks.

You try to do another painting. Once again, it's not as good as Przewodek's. You might think, I just don't have any talent. I haven't been blessed with the magic touch. Thinking like that is a big mistake. Each one of us possesses that natural gift we assume belongs only to the chosen few.

A strong passion for painting and years of hard work are what made the painters in this book the great masters they are today. Unleash your talent by learning everything you can about composition, values, color, texture and edges, and by doing hundreds of paintings following the methods of the masters.

Oil painting by CW Mundy

Portrait of Anne (oil on linen, 36×24) by C.W. Mundy (

I worked at drawing on and off for years. Copying cartoons from the newspaper or comic books was easy for me. My copies looked exactly like the originals. Yet whenever I tried to draw a portrait of a person, it looked like something a child drew.

Then one day I discovered the book, How to Draw Lifelike Portraits From Photographs, by Lee Hammond. That discovery led to a big turning point for me. After studying Hammond's book and learning how to use pencil shading and blending, I began drawing portraits that looked like real people.

I'll never forget the day I showed one of my brothers a portrait I did of Pierce Brosnan. He just stared at it and said, "You did this?" And when I showed it to a cousin, she said, "Wow! Cindy, you should be an artist!" My confidence grew by leaps and bounds thanks to that book. I became a bit arrogant after that, though, figuring that if drawing was that easy, then painting should be a cinch.

It's been five years since I began painting in oils, and I still haven't reached that "wow" moment yet. Yes, oil painting has humbled me. But I don't blame my failure on a lack of talent. I blame myself for not scheduling the time to paint every day.

If you're like me, and you haven't reached that "wow" moment yet, then I encourage you to keep working hard until you do. Once you reach it, the feeling you experience will be one of the most joyous of your life. I know. I've experienced that feeling, that strong sense of achievement, with my drawings, and I can't tell you how I yearn to experience it with my paintings.

If you don't aspire to paint like a master but just want to have fun painting, then I'm sure you'll also enjoy this book. After all, if you want to learn how to do anything and do it well, it's always wise to seek out the best teachers in any given field. (Share this on Twitter!)

It is my pleasure to present to you 20 of the greatest master oil painters of today in Oil Painting With the Masters. I hope you enjoy the journey you take with them and achieve whatever goals you desire. Keep in mind that persistence and determination are the keys to success. So, work hard. Feed your passion. And you, too, can become a master. ~Cindy Salaski


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hchomgoblin: Browsing through old files, I found these, and... [feedly]

hchomgoblin: Browsing through old files, I found these, and...
// space in text


Browsing through old files, I found these, and thought they belonged up here (since half my posts seem to be Bioware-centric).

These were the first three pages in a longer comic, but I never scanned the rest of it (I deemed it too embarrassing), and now I have no idea where the originals are. I made this before the extended cut was released, in my determination to have a satisfying ending.

EDIT: Robin has these pages for sale on McConnell Art (now I know where three of the originals are)


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Reverse Perspective Painting Creates Amazing Optical Illusion as You Move around It [feedly]

Reverse Perspective Painting Creates Amazing Optical Illusion as You Move around It
// Colossal

Reverse Perspective Painting Creates Amazing Optical Illusion as You Move around It reverse perspective painting optical illusion

First: watch the video, it's all spoilers here on out.

On first view of this clip by Benjamin Dalsgaard Hughes, I was convinced the skewed perspective of the painting was some kind of digital trick on an HD display, somewhat similar to the dancing shadows we saw a few months ago. But then, the sudden disorienting reveal. What! This particular optical illusion is what's known as reverse perspective painting, where objects (usually rooms) are painted on a physically skewed surface resulting in images that appear in reverse when viewed head on.

The painting above is by Brian Williams and is currently on view as part of a show on 3D art that just opened at The Gallery Ice in Windsor. Perhaps the most well-known artist working with forced perspective is Patrick Hughes. Here he is discussing his own work at Flowers Gallery a few years ago. Love the bit at the end where the entire crowd is squatting up and down to view the painting.

(via Sploid)


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