All posts by Nancy Reyner

How to Prepare Gold Leaf for Oil Painting

I could have sworn I had it all covered with my video on how to apply gold leaf. You know that old expression “everything but the kitchen sink”? Well that definitely applied. My video, How to Apply Gold Leaf, (see it for free here) gives all the tips and tricks for creating a gold leaf surface to paint on, and then how to prepare the leafed surface for overpainting with acrylic paint. HOWEVER, it appears I was amiss to include how to prepare the leafed surface for overpainting with OIL PAINT! How silly of me. So here I go with this additional information.

Real Gold Leaf vs Imitation Gold Leaf
First I want to repeat some info from the video to mention the difference between using real gold leaf and imitation (or composite) gold leaf (made with copper and zinc). In the video I explain why I choose to use the imitation gold leaf and not the real gold leaf for my painting purposes. In summary, these two types of metal leaf look exactly the same when using a particular application method – and that is by using size (glue or adhesive) to adhere the leaf. Using real gold (involving extra expense) is worth the expense (in my opinion) when you will be showing it off uncovered, as in a frame, AND using a different application method – water gilding not size. Water gilding is extremely labor intensive, and since I cover a good portion of the leaf with paint, it doesn’t make sense for me to go to the expense of using water gilding and real gold. I know there are some good reasons some of you may have for using real gold, and that’s fine. I just wanted to share my opinion.


On left is real gold leaf; On right is imitation gold leaf

How to Apply Gold Leaf
Whether you are using real gold or imitation gold leaf, the techniques for application using size adhesive are the same. So for this process, please watch my video (link above) to get all the information on using size adhesive to adhere the leaf. However, if you plan to use OIL PAINT to overpaint the leaf, then make sure you stop the video when you get to the latter part, after the leaf is applied and burnished, and I start to talk about sealing the leaf. Since there are different considerations in sealing the leaf for oil paint vs acrylic paint substitute the following information on sealing the leaf for oil paint.

Applying Gold Leaf OVER Oil Paint
Just one word of caution before I proceed on instructions for sealing the leaf for oil painting. If you are applying gold leaf OVER oil paint, then first make sure the oil paint is fully dry. Depending on how thick you are applying it, and your climate conditions, it may take up to a month or more. Once the oil paint is dry, follow my video instructions to apply the leaf, BUT with one exception – use an oil based size adhesive, NOT the water based size adhesive. Bet way to tell the difference? The oil based size will say on its container label to clean brushes with solvents, while the water based size will instruct you to clean brushes with water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Does Real Gold Leaf Need to be Sealed?
Real Gold Leaf does NOT tarnish. So you do NOT have to seal it to protect it from tarnishing. HOWEVER, the real gold leaf is so thin (and so is the imitation leaf) that once it is applied onto your painting, and not sealed, it can be marred if mishandled. So even though you do not need to apply ANYTHING over the real gold leaf, you may still want to seal it to add some protection from getting scratched or damaged.

Are Sealing Requirements the Same for Oil Paint as Acrylic Paint?
NO! Sealing requirements are different depending on which paint you will be using to apply over the leaf. If you are overpainting the leaf with acrylic paint, then stop reading this article and just follow my free video (link above). If you are overpainting the leaf with oil paint, then DO NOT seal the leaf before painting. The oil paint may redissolve the sealer. Instead paint with oil paint over the unsealed leaf, and when your painting is complete and fully dry, then apply a sealer over the entire painting – including both leaf areas and painted areas.

I recommend using any professional leaf sealer that is solvent based. An appropriate sealer should have on its container label instructions to clean it up with solvent, and to wear protective gear such as a mask and gloves. Check with the company that makes your leaf to see if they carry an appropriate sealer. I like to use Golden’s MSA Varnish for brush application, or the same product by Golden (but in a spray can) called Archival Varnish Spray.

Important Reminders for Acrylic Painters
Imitation leaf will tarnish TWO ways. It will tarnish when exposed to air, and also when exposed to the ammonia in all acrylic products while the acrylic is still wet. Once the acrylic dries the ammonia has dissipated and will not tarnish your leaf. SO, if you are applying acrylic paint over real gold leaf you can opt to wait to seal at the very end when your painting is complete. BUT if you are using imitation gold leaf, you MUST seal it when you have finished applying the leaf onto the surface and waited the appropriate time for the adhesive to fully dry (I like to wait a week). This means you will seal the leaf BEFORE you apply any acrylic paint or products over the leaf. I know this gets confusing, but I have to add a note here. You can seal your imitation leaf using an acrylic product IF AND ONLY IF the acrylic product you are using to seal is super fast drying, (so fast the ammonia will dissipate before it can tarnish the leaf) like the Archival Varnish Spray, Golden’s GAC200 or GAC500.

In Summary

Apply oil paint directly over real or imitation leaf without any need to seal the leaf before painting.

Do not apply oil paint OVER sealers. But sealers can be applied over the oil paint.

Apply acrylic paint directly over real leaf without any need to seal before painting (but sealing the leaf may allow the acrylic paint to be applied easier.)

When applying acrylic paint over imitation leaf, the leaf MUST be sealed before painting.

It’s a good idea to seal your painting at the very end, even if you already sealed the leaf before painting. Sealing with an archival varnish enables the painting to be cleaned, and adds UV protection

Special Award Winner Donna Gillispie

Artist: Donna Gillispie, Lake View No. 1, 4′ x 12′, mixed media and wood panels
Photo Credit: Linda Edge-Dunlap

I was recently given the honorable task to present an award to an artist included in the online exhibition HerStory 2017 Art Exhibition, curated by Renee Phillips, Director of Manhattan Arts International.

The show is intended to promote outstanding women artists, and runs from April 27, 2017 through June 27, 2017, featuring 63 selected artists.

For my special award, a main criteria was a painting that shows innovative paint application or playful experimentation. In addition to the quality of paint usage, there were other criteria I was seeking. The work should be visually engaging with contemporary design, and offer a uniquely personal story, situation or viewpoint.  I found all of these in abundance in Donna Gilllispie’s painting Lake View No. 1 shown in full at the top of this article.

I was impressed by the painting’s eye catching and riveting appeal and its epic mural size of four feet by twelve feet. Lake View No. 1 is a satellite view of Table Rock Lake, at the intersection of three rivers, located close to where the artist lives, and a place she frequents. The idea of the lake is imaginatively abstracted, and Donna succeeded in capturing the wide variety of colors she sees at the lake. From the sunsets through the four seasons, the work’s color palette reflects its shifting moods. On the far left are the colors for winter, then moving to the right is spring, summer then fall.

This detail gives us a hint of Donna’s passion and expertise with her use of mediums. Using an incredible range of materials Donna pulls them altogether in a cohesive and rich display. Materials include metal leaf (gold, copper, silver and variegated), watercolor, acrylic paints, gold leaf flakes, wood panels, acrylic gels and mediums, glass beads, paper. Watercolor paper is stretched first then woven to form the visible grid design in this giant painting collage. The two bands of color on the top and bottom are made with rice paper. Elsewhere in the work Donna uses tissue paper with gesso to texturize underneath the leaf. Smooth areas contrast texture, warm contrasts cool, and the woven paper grid expertly mimics the grid of the square leaf pieces, and mosaic use of multiple wood panels. Donna uses Fibonacci number proportions to create the swirl shape of the rivers. This painting is a rich mix of creativity, thought, technique and playful experimentation.

Donna Gillispie Bio:
Inspired by a childhood love of painting, Donna obtained a Fine Arts degree from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Since, she has consistently studied the arts through a lifetime of books, museums, and working alongside several nationally known artists. She particularly enjoys studying the Old Masters, with them finding a very effective way to learn about historic procedures, techniques and expressive content. While her paintings are often representational, Donna starts each one with an abstract design pattern. The compositions then evolve instinctively and are essentially arranged by putting together those shapes and designs which are related and connected to each other. She is often drawn to unusual perspectives and imagery. She also feels a painting can be a powerful tool of communication, invoking a plea to the viewer to join her in caring deeply about a subject. The area lakes near her home, have profoundly influenced her recent works, as she celebrates them with the joy of painting through color, form, and texture.

Link for more of Donna’s work

Link to view the HerStory2017  Exhibition

 

Free Your Creativity

This 45 minute interview of Nancy Reyner was taped on February 23, 2017, as part of Julie Merritt’s Mindfully Alive Retreat, an online series of interviews with artists on the topic of creativity. Nancy explains how all artists have creative blocks, and that they are a natural part of our rhythm. She explains what a creative block is, and reveals her five favorite methods to free a creative block when you get one.

 

A list of Nancy’s five favorite methods discussed in the video interview. These are also included in her new book, Create Perfect Paintings, published by North Light Books.

(1) Reconnect with your inner voice:
(2) Coaching, therapy and some DIY methods to self-therapy
(3) Practice positive thinking
(4) Avoid perfectionism
(5) Know how to take a break – and enjoy it!

How to Prepare Wood Panels for Painting

Why Use Wood Panels for Painting?
There are many types of surfaces that painters can use for fine art painting. Canvas on stretchers have been used for a long time, and wood panels even longer. Wood is stronger and more durable then the fabric of canvas or linen, and is therefore more archival. Contemporary painting techniques such as pouring paint (i.e. Jackson Pollock) and gluing collage-style are much easier with a sturdy level surface such as wood. (By the way, Pollock did not use wood for his paintings).

Proper preparation of an artist support is essential for producing long-lasting artwork. Raw wood panels need to be sealed prior to priming and painting, to keep moisture from getting to the wood causing warping and other damage. So once you purchase a wood panel you need to do two important steps before painting: seal to keep out moisture, and then prime to strengthen adhesion between the paint and wood panel.

Where to Get Wood Panels
If you are lucky enough to have wood working machinery, you can make wood panels yourself. Otherwise you can purchase commercially made wood panels from art stores, and online artist supply sites. Ampersand makes great panels of good quality. They are the only commercial panel company that I know of that properly seals and primes their panels called Gessobord. Less expensive versions are available through Dick Blick and other online sites. Commercial panels can come with or without cradled sides (separate wood applied to the panel to add depth to the sides), and with or without coatings (such as gesso or other primers).

I have two issues with commercially made wood panels. I like to work large and in sizes that are not standard. Since commercial panels only come in standard sizes, and only up to around 40″ per side, if you want a custom size, or something larger than 40″ there are not many options. Some commercial companies offer custom panels, but may take up to six months (not kidding) to get it to you. Commercial panels use hardboard for the painting surface. Hardboard can get very heavy when used for large sizes. I created my own brand of panel, Nancy Reyner Custom Artist Panels, only available through, Artisans Art Supply. These are high quality panels, custom made in three weeks or less to your size preference, cradled with 1 7/8″ sides, and made with a special poplar wood material that is super lightweight.

Preparing Your Wood Panel
Oil painters must seal wood to stop any acidic oil in the paint, from penetrating into the wood support, which can cause the fibers to rot. While acrylic painters do not have this same issue, sealing is still an important step if you plan to use acrylic paint, to eliminate Support Induced Discoloration (SID). SID is a phenomenon that occurs uniquely with acrylic paints. Supports naturally contain impurities that can cause an amber yellow discoloring to any light colored or clear acrylic layer that is applied to the wood, unless the support is sealed properly.

Sealing (sometimes called sizing) reduces chances for the wood to warp due to shifts in humidity, and therefore adds an important archival process to your artwork regardless of which painting medium you choose. Sealing also provides an easier surface to apply subsequent paint layers.

Sealers are often confused with primers. A sealer protects the underlying layer or material. It usually needs to be glossy (or non-absorbent) to properly protect by creating a barrier. A primer is a foundation layer that improves paint adhesion onto the support. Generally, a primer refers to a coating that prepares the surface for the acceptance of paint. Gesso is a primer and not a sealer. Gesso, when applied, has a satin or matte finish, is absorbent in nature, and therefore will not seal the wood unless multiple applications are used.

A general rule is to apply at least two coats of sealer directly onto the raw wood to protect the wood. Then apply primer to enhance adhesion, return tooth to the surface, and whiten the surface for optimizing paint colors you plan to apply over it.

Instructions to Prepare Your Panel
(1) Clean off any dust or debris from all faces of the panel including the cradled sides, first using a vacuum or air pressure if very dusty, then wiping clean with a microfiber cloth (or other lint free cloth) slightly dampened (with water).

(2) Lay the panel flat on a table, propping it up several inches on all four corners with jars, wood props, etc to allow for wiping away any drips, and ease of application.

(3) Apply a glossy acrylic medium over all exposed wood surfaces. Golden’s GAC100 is made especially for this purpose. It’s special thin formulation of polymer acrylic, applied over the wood, soaks in quickly and minimizes brushstrokes and texture.

Tip: Let one surface dry fully before flipping over to seal the reverse side. Drying times can vary. If dry to the touch with no tack, it can be flipped over without sticking to the props.

(4) When all exposed wood areas are sealed and fully dry, the wood will feel very coarse. That is because the wood grain gets raised with this first coat of sealer. Lightly sand all surfaces to smooth them using a 220 grit. There is no need to heavily sand, just an easy swipe with the sandpaper will suffice. Sanding blocks with a fine to medium fine grit are convenient for this purpose.

(5) Wipe the surfaces clean after sanding, then apply a second coat of sealer. Usually two coats of a sealer is sufficient, making the wood appear slightly satin or glossy in sheen. Optionally add more coats if you desire a more saturated seal. It is important to allow sufficient drying time (1 to 3 days) before continuing to prime or paint, so that the size can coalesce into a uniform film (especially important for oil painters).

(6) When fully dry after sealing, it is recommended to apply one or two coats of a primer, such as an acrylic gesso, especially to the front surface to regain surface tooth. Priming your panel, regardless of which paint medium you plan to use, will add a second archival process to your artwork, by strengthening adhesion between your first painting layer and the primer. Opt to prime all surfaces, including the back and sides, for a clean white professional look.

For acrylic painters, one coat of a better quality gesso, such as Golden’s Gesso, will add adhesion strength between the sealed wood and your first layer of acrylic paint. Lesser quality primers are satisfactory when used with oil paint.

Once the gesso is dry to the touch it is ready for applications of acrylic paint. Wait 1 to 3 more days for applications of oil paint.

Here is a link for more information on Nancy Reyner Custom Artist Panels

Making a Living with Your Art!

Making art is my career. It pays my bills while also being very fulfilling. Lately I’ve been asked to talk on panels and seminars on the topic of making a living with your art. This 26 minute interview,  was part of an online series called Starving Artist No More hosted and produced by Heidi Easley.

Heidi interviewed many artists from around the world, gathering tips for artists on how to make a living with your art. The series was broadcast free Feb 1-3, 2017. For more information on her series or to view the other interviews:  http:// starvingartistnomoresummit.com

And here are more tips from my book Create Perfect Paintings.

Career Tips for Artists

(1) Make the best paintings you can. Strive to make your work the best it can be. Put your best foot forward in all your efforts, not only with painting, but business aspects as well, such as your website, writing, your portfolio, showing up on time for appointments, following through with commitments, etc.

(2) Develop a clear vision. It’s important to clearly understand what you paint and why. Equally important is to envision how you want a career to relate to your painting. The book “The Answer” by John Assaraf, offers great ideas to create your vision.

(3) Stay open and positive. This is more work than it sounds. It takes a lot of effort to keep from whining, complaining, getting stressed and being negative. But once you create a habit of positive thinking, it releases an enormous amount of energy and adds confidence.

(4) Show your work. Online publishing sites allow you to create a small portable professional looking portfolio for very little cost. Carry it everywhere as you never know what opportunities will come up. Find ways to exhibit your work. Have an exhibition in your studio. Invite friends, and put a posting in the local paper. Ask at your local restaurants, banks and other public venues if you can hang your work on their walls. Donate work to public institutions like colleges and hospitals.

(5) Continually Seek New Venues. Always be on the lookout for better galleries, dealers, and agents to sell your work. Find artists whose work is compatible to yours online or in galleries you may visit, and read their bios to find out where they show. Research galleries, agents, grants and any other information you feel an affinity with to see if you can use these in your own search.

(6) Seek Advice From Experts. To allow more time for you to paint, use specialists to do the work you don’t want.  Use coaches for guidance, financial advisors for budgets, photographers for professional shots of your work, lawyers for contracts, web and other tech experts to keep your website running, and social media teams for publicity assistance.

(7) Stay connected with your team. Stay in touch with anyone who helps you in your career, especially your venues and dealers. Make a list of all those who help you, both friends and business associates. This is your team. Stay in touch regularly. Online correspondence is not enough. Add occasional team get-togethers such as a cocktail party in your studio, or a fun night out.

(8) Protect your time. Be aware and protective of how your time is spent. Eliminating one extra unnecessary activity in your day, such as watching television, can increase time for business tasks, or even more studio painting time.

Conversations with Artists

Hear inspiring conversations with artists on Art Fusion Radio, a new live radio program from Santa Fe on KVSF 101.5 FM. The program features interviews of Santa Fe artists and musicians, hosted by Ron Whitmore, co-owner of Santa Fe’s Artisan Art Supply. Here is NancyReyner’s interview, broadcast December 2016, with musicians Cynthia Becker and Don Curry.

Ron created this program to emphasize what he sees as a synergy between the two art forms. Each show features one local visual artist describing their path, process and work followed by a local songwriter performing live original music. The show is broadcast Thursdays from Noon to 1 PM, at Artisans – public invited. To see the schedule and hear more interviews, visit Art Fusion Radio’s website on SantaFe.com.

How to Paint Large from a Small Model

Here’s one of my favorite painting techniques I call the String-Grid Method. Starting with a small to-scale model, you can enlarge it to a bigger size easily, gridding with string. This technique is from my book Create Perfect Paintings. First let’s explore why and when you might want to use this technique.

We are unique beings, and therefore we can find infinite ways to work through a painting from start to finish. In general, most painting processes fall into two categories based on the desired end result; control or surprise. If you have a specific vision in mind as to how your completed painting will appear, then the best process will be the one that offers methods of control. If you want more surprise, then flexibility is key for your process. Either way is valid, but acknowledging your choice in the beginning will cause less frustration later.

The String-Grid method is an example of a controlled process. When I am working with a client on a custom commission I usually need to submit proposals with multiple ideas. Making several small-scale, rough image layouts or models is one way to do this. Models can be made with mediums and surfaces that will differ from the final work. Images can be made from reference materials you find from your own archives or elsewhere. References can be photos, drawings, collages, postcards, or prints, found in magazines, on artists’ websites or through general internet searches.

Once a model is selected by the client, I can then use the following String-Grid method to make sure the final finished larger sized painting looks like the smaller scale model the client wanted. It is quick and easy to create and leaves no trace of the grid in the final work. Here are four easy steps.

Start with a Reference Model.
I made this small model fairly quickly, measuring only 6” x 4” (15 cm x 10 cm) with oil pastel on paper.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 1. To transfer the image from the model onto a larger final surface, overlay a grid onto the model. Start by taping clear acetate over the model. Using a marker and ruler, divide each side in half, then half again, continuing to divide until grid sections are as small as you want, marking with a dot at each division. The more detail you have in your model that needs to be transferred, the smaller you need the grid sections to be. Now connect the dots to make the grid lines with a colored marker, seen here using blue.

 

 

STEP 2. Using a different color marker than the one used for the gridlines, trace over the image along general design lines. Here I used red.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 3. Remove the acetate from the model, placing it over white paper to see the general design lines in red more clearly.

STEP 4. Grid your final painting surface. Using a ruler and pencil, divide the sides of your surface in half, then half again, marking the sides or edges with only a dot. This time, though, instead of connecting the dots with a marker to create colored lines directly onto the surface, use string to act as lines. To create string lines, hammer extra long (5/8” [16 mm]) metal pushpins along the sides of the painting surface and close to the top where each dot has been marked. Insert pushpins at a 45 degree angle to the surface, so string lines will be raised up from the surface. If your surface does not have deep enough sides, drive the pushpins into the front face, close to the edges, either through the canvas into the stretcher bars or directly into the wood if using a wood panel. Tie string around one of the pushpins nearest to a corner and continue to wrap the string around each pushpin until the grid is complete, securing it with a final knot around the last pushpin.

To begin the painting, dilute a light-colored paint and brush on your design using the model’s general lines and grid as reference. The string will be slightly raised off the front surface, allowing enough room for your brush to freely paint underneath. When your wash sketch is complete, simply remove the pushpins and string. Continue painting without the grid until complete.

Finished Painting
This gridding method using string accurately transferred the image from the small oil pastel model to this finished acrylic painting.

Nancy Reyner, Floral 1, 32” x 20” (76 x 51 cm), acrylic on canvas, private collection

For more painting techniques visit my website shop for videos and books. Also you can view free instructional videos on my website.

How to Paint Better

 

Create Perfect Paintings will enhance your artwork and creative process, easily identify and resolve painting issues, bring more attention to your work and extend its viewing time.  Ideal for those times when we ask “Now what?” or “Is it finished?” A groundbreaking book for artists with inventive ways to critique your own art!

Other helpful sections include how to resolve creative blocks, optimal ways to use both your right and left brain, clarify your vision, prepare materials, display your work, and even that tricky notion of how to balance creating art with career. With hundreds of insights, tips, illustrated techniques and ideas, Create Perfect Paintings shows you how to push your work to the next level by strengthening your perception, visual thinking and technical skills, regardless of medium, style or level of experience.

Keeping Your Paintings Original

As artists we are always looking for new ideas and inspiration. Browsing through the internet in search of images, glancing through art books or a visit to galleries and museums are common ways to get the imagination going.

Working too closely from a photograph, though, has its issues, especially if the photograph you are using is not your own art or photo. Direct copying from another artist is not only illegal, it can stifle your creativity and dull down your own work. Albert Pinkham Ryder said “Imitation is not inspiration, and inspiration only can give birth to a work of art.”

To keep your painting fresh and original while still using photographs, here is one idea that works for me. Pick out at least three photographs to use as references for a particular painting, instead of just one. By combining some aspects of each into a whole new image, you may come up with not only something original, but a total surprise.

Suggested Tips for this Process: After finding three reference images, choose one aspect from each image that you want to use for your own work. For instance, one image may have a color palette you like, another image can contribute an interesting composition, while a third contains a detail that catches your eye.

Here are 3 images I found that I liked while browsing calendars and magazines.

Image 1
Blog_5

Image 2
Blog_7

Image 3
Blog_4

These three images are made by other artists, not me, so instead of copying them directly, I need to transform, distill or select from them, to create a brand new image of my own imagination. I decided to use Image 1 for its composition, Image 2 for color, and Image 3 for the gate in the foreground. I first changed the composition in Image 1 from its square format to horizontal, and moved the horizon line downwards by cropping the bottom.

Blog_6

Next I mixed colors to match those found in Image 2. I painted a loose underpainting using washy (diluted with water) paint to get the general color scheme and composition onto the canvas.

Blog_3

The underpainting includes my interpretation of the composition from Image 1, the colors from Image 2, and the gate from Image 3. Here it is refined further for a more realistic landscape.

Blog_2

This was so fun I decided to try the same process on a new canvas to create something more abstract or non-objective.

Blog_1

This painting uses the same aspects from the references as before, but results in an abstract. Compare these final paintings to the original three references. They have veered dramatically from the references, and transformed into something original. It has been said that nothing is original, since all artists will use, recycle or reinterpret from what they see around them, even if not consciously. We can’t help it, we are a product of our time and environment. The key is to strive to find your own vision, and subsequently make art that only you can make. Hopefully you may like this idea as much as I do, or perhaps can find your own method to use reference imagery in original ways.

I will be teaching a workshop in Santa Fe on September 30, 2016, exploring this and other methods to recycle and reinterpret imagery for painting. Click here for more information on that workshop, or click here to schedule your own private or custom painting session with me at my Santa Fe studio.

 

Painting Waves and Clouds

Waves and clouds are frequently included in my paintings. Here are some details of them, cropped from my work:
unnamedThere are two methods I use to get wave or cloud effects.

The first method uses washes on a glossy surface and is from p. 99 of my book Acrylic Illuminations.

(1) Make your surface glossy. Simply apply a coat of gloss medium over your painting when you are ready to add cloud or wave effects. If you are just starting with a blank canvas, first apply a paint color then the gloss medium. In my book example I started by painting the canvas a rich black color under the gloss. (2) When dry, apply a wash (60-70% water to any paint color using fluid paints, or 90% water if using heavy or thick paints) over the gloss, and (very important!!!) do not play with it – just leave it alone to dry. If you move the wash around too much it won’t work. When dry it should have puddled up into some interesting patterns and shapes. Most problems with this technique occur when not enough water is used. The wash should move around in a puddle when you apply it, and should stay puddled while it dries.

The second method to get wave and cloud effects is to paint them using good old classical painting techniques with paint on a brush. The old masters have been doing this for years. Most of my waves are painted this way, as the wash technique described above produces happy accidents sometimes, but uncontrolled effects such as these don’t work other times.

There is a myth that abstract painters can’t paint, or that traditional painting techniques are unnecessary to paint abstraction well. I do believe it is my classical painting skills I learned in art school, in workshops and through many years of practice that are key in getting my abstract paintings to work. I have dedicated most of my recent years using acrylic, exploring ways to invent new tricks and techniques for  unusual contemporary painting effects. These tricks are fully shared in my books and videos. I have not included traditional painting techniques in these instructional tools because those are already being taught. I figured I didn’t have to repeat it. I recently checked the internet and found many good instructional videos for traditional painting. We are fortunate to be living in a time where abundant instruction is free and easily accessible.

The waves and clouds I paint, compared to others I found online, tend to be softer because I blend them more, and with greater transparency because I add more mediums to increase their transparency. Both blending and transparent applications such as glazing are in all my books and most of my videos because they are essential painting techniques.

I like to make sure I use a combination of abstract tricks (like pouring) along with classical painting techniques in my work. That is one of the things, I think, that helps make the work intriguing. The waves and clouds, however, are painted traditionally. No tricks. No pouring, no hair dryer pushing the paint, no combs – (these are other suggestions from folks who emailed me asking how I paint them.) Just hours of mixing color and carefully applying the waves.

I attached a few paintings from other painters I found online using traditional techniques for waves and clouds.

These are from 19th Century French master Gustav Courbet.
imagescourbet1courbet2
from www.pixelcreation.fr
cloudswithhousefrom www.conceptart.org
clouds1