Thursday 28 June 2012

Painting of the Day: "A Golden Interlude"

  "A Golden Interlude" by Diane Weiner

24" by 21", Oil on Linen

  I really like animals, and I feel cows are a really important part of humans' life, whether they know it or not. We drink milk, eat cheese, have beef. All these produce come from cows. And they look really cute and most are really gentle. Thus, a painting (Diane Weiner has done a series of them...) seems like a really good way to showcase the best side of them.

  The warm glow of the sun, accentuated by the shadows on her face. Plus, I like the subtle hues of pink and lilac on the background.

Link to her website right here:

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Catherine Lidden

  Today's recommended artist is Catherine Lidden. She does her works in pastels, primarily on Colourfix paper. Here is a selection of her works.

 "Ancient Wisdom"


"Stripes Are In"

"Egg and China"

  Would you believe that the painting above was done in pastel? I thought it was done in oil. I couldn't find her website, but here is a link to see some of her art, and you can contact her at

Ten suggestion for the Professional Artist

Recommendations made by artist Randall Lake to Stephen Parphen during a painting trip to Europe in 1984.

1.  Believe in yourself.  Be tenacious, tough-skinned and your own most severe critic.

2.  Do not expect financial susses.  Pursue art because you love it-whatever you love doing you will do well.

3.  There are no short-cuts in this profession.  For most of all, creativity has more to do with daily work than momentary inspiration.  Don't wait for the grand vision; work and re-wok. When inspiration does come, your skills will be up to the task of using it effectively.

4.  Do not expect or depend on external praise. It is the norm of the gallery, dealers, art center and museums to look upon the undistinguished artist with indifference.  Accept it: Society does not owe you recognition or a living- that you must earn by your services to the society in which you live. 

5.  Painting is not a nine-to-five profession. It is life work, which demands that your  schedule will be vary. If the imbalance makes you feel guilty, then teach.

6.  Although Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958) was a composer of music, the advise he gave to young composers at Cornell University in 1954 is equally applicable to the visual arts "  Musical invention has been described as an individual flowering on a common stem.  Now young composers do not try to be original; originality will come by itself if it is there.  However individual your flowering may be, unless it is firmly grafted on the common stem, it will wither and die ... Try the beaten track first; if an irresistible impulse leads you into the jungle, be sure that you know the way back."

7.  Learn the basic skills of drawing and composition in high school and universities courses. Although taste may change, the basic skills do not.  If your instructor wants to teach "creativity", change classes and lear academic discipline instead. When you become an artist, "creativity" comes naturally. It can not be taught.

8.  If you want to be a realist and paint the figure, learn anatomy to perfection early on in your career, and never, never thing you have "mastered" the figure. Take Winslow Homer's advice to his students:  "Paint figures my boys; leave the rocks for your old age-they're easy."

9.  Try many art forms and take ricks.  By that I mean go beyond what you are comfortable doing. If what you are doing doesn't have a possibility of failure, nether will it be brilliant. Exceptional accomplishment in any of the arts has always been the result of risk taking.

10.  Always remain a student: learn through research while remaining flexible. To paraphrase Henry Matisse: "One should never become a prisoner of one's style or reputation."


Monday 25 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Thomas Easley

  Thomas Easley's roosters just caught my eye with their energy, their rhythm, and how he perfectly captured their personalities. Of course, he does paint other subjects, one of them being realistic wine still life, and I assure you, he does it just as brilliantly.

  As his website states: "Easley Roosters are more than simply roosters. They are proud creatures beaming with confidence and sure of their role in the world. Painting a rooster embodies the joy of creating and provides Thomas the challenge to capture their attitude, yet maintain the elegant grace each possesses. It is artwork for fun, meant to celebrate life and stimulate a visceral connection."

  Brilliantly said.

  He has been a self-taught artist, and has held his brush for 30 years, and I do think it shows in the confidence of his brush strokes.

  If you would like to view his wine still life, or available prints of his work, view his website at:

Saturday 23 June 2012

My Workspace

  This is my workspace. It's situated in our living room, facing a window whose view is of some sky, a part of a small hill and lots of high-rise buildings. I also have a study room, in which my mum does her day job in. I have my still life set up there and draw there at times too. However, most of the time I'm at my table.
 Here's all the things I have on this small workspace.

Friday 22 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Bernard Scholl

  Working in the "Trompe L'oeil" method, Bernard Scholl is currently in France. Light is omnipresent in each artwork of Bernard Scholl, but it is a light that cherishes what it touches. It is light which bathes the work in silence and serenity, that makes the end result remarkable in its virtuosity.

  Although I don't fully appreciate hyper realism, I'm sure some of you might enjoy the poetry and symbolism behind these wonderful paintings. Thus, do visit his website right here to view more of his works.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Painting of the Day: "Chalkboard Universe"

"Chalkboard Universe" by Rob Gonsalves

  Our featured Artist for today, Rob Gonsalves, hails from Toronto, Canada, and was born there in 1959. The first thing I thought when I saw his works were "Surrealist", yet, on second look, his works do not quite fit in that movement. He prefers the term "Magic Realism" to describe his paintings, (A term coined by him.) and has been influenced by Magritte and Escher.

  One of his works, "The Sun Sets Sail" was used as the cover for the "Masters of Deception", released in 2004. He's in all, a brilliant Artist, so do check his blog out.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Phil McAndrew

We're back with our "Recommended Artist" segment.

  Today, I'm featuring Phil McAndrew, whose website's url is just brilliantly thought out and humorous at the same time. Check it out:

  This reminds me of Loca, the pug who can't run. (It's a funny video, I promise.)

This is too funny.

Very nice monochrome piece.
I can imagine the guy going, "We were out in the open sea, alone in that terrible storm on that fateful day. You wouldn't believe how bad the weather was. The sea was rocking.
The large angry waves were trashing our little ship..."
And I just love the expression on the kids' faces.

  He's a cartoonist, an illustrator, a writer, and a comic artist. Check out his advice for artists in a post titled: "Super Obvious Secrets I wished they'd Teach In Art School". It's written with wit, has sound advice, snippets of personal stories, and truths about artists. A must read for all.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Book Review: "Colored Pencil Solution Book"

  It's a brilliant book written by Janie Gildow and Barbara Benedetti Newton, covering subjects that are difficult to render in colored pencils.

  The first chapter covers the basics. From what a good workspace should be like, different types of colored pencil brands in the market, erasers, sharpeners, different types of papers and their differences, fixatives, and what to look for when buying a colored pencil. The book offers a good run down on the basics, with the added tips of certain things to watch for. (For example a slip sheet to prevent smudges on your work while drawing.)

  The next chapter covers composition. The chapter has a good amount of illustrations and examples to aid beginners in understanding how to identify what makes a good composition. Page 33 even has a small list to show how you can effectively judge a composition on whether it'll work or needs improvement.

  After, I would have expected the authors to go right into demonstrations and the like, but they didn't. They covered basics, such as how to transfer a line study onto the actual surface you want to work on, layering, blending and burnishing, how to remove some pigment, and the use of solvent in an art piece. I really enjoyed page 46-47, as they explained how you can draw on a black background. (I'll give you a hint: think reverse grisaille.)

   Pages 52-53 were interesting also. Showing how one can add interest to your work by using different strokes on your paper to provide excitement. The pages cover the vertical-line technique, juxtaposing colors, and the open crosshatch technique, which are all brilliant.

  Chapter 4 then moves into color theory, talking about the color wheel, the temperature of colors, and values. The complementary wheel on page 63 is by far the first of such that I've seen and I'm hoping to try it out some day soon. Then the chapter goes on to talk about shadows and forms, and different ways to create impact on your work

  The last three chapters are the chapters that are laden with demonstrations. All demonstrations have line drawings, which you, the reader can use, from the back of the book. All the demonstrations also clearly show what kind of surface the artist uses and what colors were used.

  The 5th chapter covers "reflection and transparency solutions", and talks about metals, glass, water, semi-transparent subjects, mirrors, and the elusive single drop of water. Chapter 6 offers solutions to render textures, such as fabrics, indian corn, the smooth waxy surface of peppers, and velvety roses. While the last chapter, "problem subjects and fixing mistakes" is very interesting for the little problems that can cause big headaches when we don't know how to fix them.

  "Learn that all is not lost when you make a mistake." as the authors write. From repairing dents and nicks in your paper, to lightening your colors. The authors even share what to do if you've stained your paper with coffee or raspberry juice. The chapter ends with a few more demonstrations on difficult subjects. The anatomy of lace is broken down for you. (They're very good at rendering lace.) There's a mini demonstration on how to draw a basket, how to make stripped fabric look believable, and how to draw fringe.

  All in all, I've learnt a couple of things from this book. Like, that layering in uneven patterns make for a far more interesting subject, how to draw on a black background, the complementary color wheel, (which I've never seen elsewhere before.) and the vertical line technique.

  "Colored Pencil Solution Book" has a good coverage of the basics, and a beginner reading it will understand the materials needed, and the different ways colored pencil artists draw. For advanced artists, the book offers a few good techniques, and help on how to render subjects. (And I mean, how many book teach you how to remove coffee stains from your art work?) With an easy to follow layout and beautiful design, it's a good book to have in your shelf for reference.

Saturday 16 June 2012

An Artist's Basic Lighting Tutorial

  There are very extensive Photography guides in the web, but a lot of them cater to avid photographers. You could always take a look through them. My little tutorial will, however, focus more on the "Lighting" aspect of photography. It will show you how lighting affects a picture.

Before the tutorial though, I have a few tips to share:

1. Use a tripod. Just, please do. It'll give your image more stability, and more stability equals to more information in your pictures, which in turn makes it easier to draw from them. And while you're at it...Use the timer on your camera. It will prevent the shake that happens when you take your pictures.

2. Aperture. Smaller stops (larger f numbers) produce a longer depth of field, allowing objects at a wide range of distances to all be in focus at the same time. So, the smaller the stop, the more details you get in your background. I would say it is especially useful in photographing still life.

3. Set your Sensitivity meter to 100. I don't know about your camera but mine has its "Auto setting" set to 100, and there must be a reason for that. Noisy images are hard to work with. "Noise" is the grainy speckles that come up on your pictures when you set the Sensitivity meter too high. I actually made the mistake of setting my meter to 800, the highest setting on my camera, and kept getting noisy images but not knowing why. The bigger the number the better, right? Not so much... Think of it as an age.... When you reach a certain age, you'll start getting wrinkles. (You go higher than 100 on your sensitivity meter, you start getting noise.)

4. To make white things look really white. Set EV conpensation up by 2 notches. I learnt this because I stumbled upon a very good wildlife photography book in my local library. Your camera sees white things as a middle value, namely grey. To compensate for that, you "add light" to your pictures to make them white. Focus on the object once, adjust EV compensation, then snap away.

5. Have strong lighting. (Unless of course a dreamy effect is what you're after.) Lighting greatly determines what kind of pictures you get, how much values there are in your picture, and whether or not you'll want that picture as a reference. Which brings me to my tutorial.

  To show you the difference between good lighting and bad one, here are two pictures with the exact same composition, but with different light sources.
Without Lighting.

With Lighting.

  The first picture was taken on a cloudy day, without artificial lights. Of course, there are times when natural light works, however, today was not the day. The second picture is much better because it has a wide range of values, from white highlights to dark shadows. It was taken with a single artificial bulb on the left of the camera.

Friday 15 June 2012

How to Adjust White Balance

Again, the link to the Photoscape website is as follows:

This is a tutorial video that I made to go along with this post.
 Fullsize the video to see it clearly.

A Homage to Fashion

  For the first time ever, the Louvre will be hosting a catwalk fashion show in its premises. In the past, designers were able to showcase their creations in the museum's courtyard, but the show that happened on the 12th of June, just three days ago, was held on the inside of the building.

  With a 120m long runway, models will adorn the brilliant pieces by Massimiliano Giornetti in the 2013 Resort Collection. Now, I've seen the collection in pictures, and I really like the neutral palette that is used. The frills and organic materials used are also a nice touch, but beyond that, it is a wonderful start to a breakthrough in the fashion world.

  Might I say, though, to the people whom usually come by my blog for the Art, that Fashion is an art form too. Have you seen Fashion Illustrations before? God, they're gorgeous.

A link to a slideshow of the collection can be found here.

Thursday 14 June 2012

I was thinking...

... of doing a time-lapse video of one of my painting. It's going to be a painting of a brown bird, inspired by one of my Dad's painting.

has inspired me to draw this:
  The picture above, is of course, a picture and not my actual painting. I think it'll be cool, though. The music that I'm planning to use can be listened through Soundcloud, or Youtube. It's "You Are The Moon" by Hush Sound.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Painting of the Day: "Departing Storm"

  The painting doesn't actually have a name yet, and I contemplated putting the title of this post as Painting of the Day: "Untitled" but it wasn't very descriptive. So, Robert, I hope you don't mind me naming it for you for the sake of a title.

  The painting in question was done for the WetCanvas Art Exchange. It was a whole lot of fun. (Although I didn't participate as my schedule does not allow it.) And... they've just revealed the results. Here, is Robert Sewell's piece:
  It's, in the Artist's own words: "something like 6" by 16 1/2", Prismacolor pencils on beige Mi-Teints paper." :)

  Jokes aside, it's a truly beautiful work, and I am, once again, very much inspired by him. Which is why I've already featured him in "My List". The warm and cool colors work really well, and you can see the composition is very well thought out to make the painting balanced. (I really like the swirly colors also.)

Monday 11 June 2012

Painting of the Day: "In the Morning"

  Done in Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper, by Jacob Chang.

"In the Morning", 29" by 38" (74 cm by 97cm)

  If you have seen one of my earlier post regarding different types of brushes, you could remember me talking about hake brushes. You know, the long-ish, soft brushes. Well, here is a prime example of how to utilize a hake brush.

  Jacob Chang put masking fluid on the still life. Then used a hake brush to draw in the background. He then removed the masking fluid, drew in the subjects of the painting, and added details to it too. The results is a beautiful, soft looking piece. He used quite a few lost edges, which adds to the dream like quality of the piece.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Painting of the Day: Abraham Darby's Morning Light

"Abraham Darby's Morning Light" by Joe Anna Arnett

  They're really beautiful, aren't they? I love the hints of purple and dark blue in the background, and the diagonal composition. Brilliantly done, with splendid brushstrokes. Do head on over to her website at to see more of her Arts. (Clicking on "Original Art", then on "Archive" is always a good idea.)

Recommended Artist: Carol Nelson

Clockwise from left: "Seven Poppies 10105", "Poppy Patterns 1038", Threes Company 9106". 

Clockwise from left: "Sandstone Wall 11076", "Alger 9046", "Chamisa Ridge".

  Carol Nelson started to do Art as a major back in the days. However, she truly found the joy in Art in painting. It's been 10 years since then, and she has been teaching countless others in the creative methods that she uses. She covers a diverse range of subjects, from still life to animal portraits, to landscapes, and portraits. She utilizes both a realistic way of drawing, and also an abstract form.

  With a huge collection of paintings she's created thus far, I urge you to visit Carol Nelson's Website to take a look. You won't be disappointed.

   Also, because I really like the color of the following painting, I'm showing it alone. Here it is:
"Blue and Green Vases"

"Stephanie, you missed a day!"

  Yes. Yes, I did miss a day. I don't like to post on the weekends as that is when I get to spend quality time with my parents, so I would usually queue two posts for the weekends. However, on Friday, I failed to do so, and yesterday, I thought I could head down to my local library, borrow a couple of books, then head back home and post.

  However, that was not the case. I came home, and my parents wanted to go out. Thus, we decided to go to Singapore's ever-so-busy Orchard Road. Orchard Road is the shopping district here, and we had loads of fun out. We came back really late, so I didn't have the energy to post.

  Thus, today, I will post two posts just for you, to make up for yesterday. :)

Now, back to the normal schedule.

Friday 8 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Julian Merrow-Smith

  Clockwise from left: "White Rose in a Jar", "Quinces in a Spanish Bowl", "Still life With Plums and Silver goblet", and, "A Dish of Strawberries"

  Also, because he draws landscapes, here's "Mill House on the Sorgues"
 8" by 5" (20cm by 30cm), Oil on Board.

  Julian Merrow-Smith is a brilliant daily painter. He and his wife jointly run "Postcard from Provence", a blog featuring his Art. They currently live in South France, on a farmhouse, with three cats. He has been producing and posting his beautiful paintings, usually small, for eight years now.

  He paints still lives (objets trouvĂ©s), pottery, and seasonal produce from the local markets. Whilst many of his landscape paintings represent scenes within walking distance of his studio. The blog sends 30,000 e-mails a week, and you can help support them by buying an original, a print, or by donating to them.

  Here's his website;

Thursday 7 June 2012

Book Review: Dramatic Light

"Dramatic Light" by Patrick Howe.

  I've featured Patrick Howe's "Five Jars" in my Painting of the Day segment before. (Click here to view that post.) Just recently, I've finished reading his book, "Dramatic Light", which focuses mainly on watercolors and oil.

The layout of the book is good, and easy-to-follow. The first chapter covers tools that you should have, the kind of papers and canvases that are available, basic color theory, and basic techniques in watercolor. I especially liked the little lesson he gives on pages 24-25 about how to enlarge a photo. There are also practical techniques for composition, using photos and reference, and how to subjectively  analyze your work.

The next chapter covers "Transparency". Patrick Howe, in this chapter, breaks down the rules on what makes things look transparent and how to convey a sense of transparency. He has a mini demonstration on page 41, which I found very helpful, and the preceding pages are all demonstrations in either oil, or watercolors.

  Chapter three covers "Translucence". (translucency) Semi-transparent objects, like, paper bags, silk, and stained glass are used in the demonstrations. While chapter four covers "Luminosity". I liked the last demonstration of this chapter very much. It was a landscape in oil, with the sunlight filtering through the leaves, and I would have never thought to use bright orange as an underpainting. To find out how he does it, I guess you'll have to read the book yourself.

Finally, he covers the all elusive "Light and Reflection" in the last chapter, teaching his dear readers about how to paint water in a convincing manner. At the end of this chapter, he gives good, sound advice to artists. Like, where to find inspiration, the business of Art, things you should consider when dealing with a gallery, and of course, how to price your Art.

  I especially liked the way he broke down the so-called formula to price your Art, because most Artists will say, "Oh, it's up to you to price your Art.", or, "It's a personal choice." I'm not saying that isn't true, but new budding Artists need a price system to at least begin with, and Patrick Howe's guide was well thought out.

  All in all, "Dramatic Light" is a good book. I would recommend it to those who like to follow step-by-step demonstrations. (Keeping in mind the restrictions that printing has on demonstrations.) Even though I felt the works that he has on sale are far better than those in the demonstrations in the book, it is a book that covers tough subjects such as transparency, and water. Thus, I commend you for taking on such difficult subjects Mr. Patrick Howe.

  And as always, visit the artist's website right HERE to see more of his works.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Denise Garner

  Denise Garner– she's a brilliant artist, and her watercolors sing in harmony.

From "The Seasons" series, "Summer" 8" by 10"

Medical Legends, "Fare Thee Well" 11" by 14"

"Dragonskins" 11" by 11"

  I like "Dragonskins" best. However, the picture that shows on her website looks slightly different than the one that is in the book that I found her through. ("Fantasy Art Now") In the book, the background looks more of a raw sienna. Her clothes are also of warm browns instead of blue, but that just might be color correction issues. Denise Garner states in the book, Fantasy Art Now, "... The purpose of the painting was to experiment with various textures, and to juxtapose the feminine with the somewhat violent."

Her website contains more of her works.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Painting of the Day: Lady of Shalott

"Lady of Shalott" by Yvonne Gilbert

  It's done in colored pencils, and her touch is so light that it makes the entire painting so translucent. I like how the girl's feet are pressed up against the edge of the paper, whilst her head is partially out of view. Wonderful use of tone and colors, and I love the detail of the painting behind the girl. The gold is also very, very well drawn.

You can visit her website at

Monday 4 June 2012

Book Review: Cool Croc

  "Cool Croc" is a book featuring a compilation of green-oriented cartoon strips by Cheah. The comic features Billy, an Aborginal boy, and his salt water crocodile friend, Saltie.
  Join Billy and Saltie in their daily adventures as they tackle issues on life, wildlife, and the environment, with a good dash of humor and wit in the tropical waters, mangrove, swamps, and rainforests of northern Australia and Southeast Asia. It's 119 pages filled with many interesting characters, fun and humor, done by the ever witty Cheah, who hails from the northern state of Kelantan in Malaysia.

Going at just SGD$13.90 per copy, it's a great book filled with well-drawn animation. To order, simply contact Cheah at

  You can also visit Cheah's website at:

Sunday 3 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Gary Greene

  If I remember correctly, I got to know Gary Greene through "The Complete Colored Pencil Book", which, by the way, is a brilliant book that is worth the read.

  Gary Greene does high-key paintings full of wonderful details.





  He sells prints of his works here.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Recommended Artist: Banksy

  We're back on Street Art. Banksy has an awesomely made website that you should really check out. Click here to view it. A large picture will appear. Just click it, and you're in. And now, for his Art.

Who says Street Art isn't Art?

Other paintings of his are politically inclined, and have messages in them, but I'll leave you to find them on his website.

Painting of the Day: "Clara"

"Clara" (Kinda) by Mark Glover

  Thought I would go for something more stylistic today. Done in Colored Pencils. It's the first painting you see on his site, so he must obviously like it, and I do too. The tones used. Her expression. It's a simple, beautiful, elegant piece.

  You can find the Artist's other works, here.

Friday 1 June 2012

Painting of the Day: "Five Jars"

 "Five Jars" by Patrick Howe

Watercolor. 28" by 22" (71cm by 56cm)

  Brilliant use of colors, isn't it? Love the transparency of the jars, and the warmness of the light. I'm currently reading a book written by him. I've glanced the pages over and it seems like a good book. So, hopefully you'll be seeing a book review soon enough.

Visit his website here.