Painting Portraits Why This Artist Became Increasingly Annoyed

One of my favorite quotes of the past year came from artist Chris Cozen, who told me that when it comes to art, “it’s not finished until you’re happy with it.” I’ve held onto those words, repeating them in mind with every creative endeavor I’ve started, worked on, and when I was satisfied, completed. They helped me make a few things that I’m actually a little proud of, because I didn’t stop when I felt defeated. I kept going, asking myself why I didn’t like specific details, and then considering what I could do to improve them. I even opened up my art journal to a page I had painted months ago and, knowing that I couldn’t make it any worse, I drew within the existing painted designs. It’s still not my best work, but I’m much happier with it.

It’s a relief to know that we’re not alone, isn’t it–that others struggle with knowing when a piece of art is finished, and if it’s not, how to get it there. Gaela Erwin, who’s featured in the special eMagazine The Art of Self: Essential Lessons in Self-Portraiture, shares how she took one of her portrait paintings in a new direction.

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Jamie’s Critique Corner Back Porch Memories

Cheryl Metzger’s colored pencil painting, Back Porch Memories, presents the viewer with a lesson in contrasts while creating a visual story for the viewer. She has created a painting that gives us a sense of time and place while engaging the eye with a variety of textures, complementary colors and a strong range of values.

Art critique of Back Porch Memories by Cheryl Metzger |

Art Critique of Back Porch Memories

The simple elements of the still life connect the viewer with a feeling of nostalgia and evoke a sense of rural America. Even without the title, the painting takes the viewer to a home-like place, a time when life was a little simpler and less hurried. The elements of the painting are few and common to every household: a chair, four apples, a knife, a bowl and a towel. By limiting the number of objects, the artist is able to turn her focus to the composition and textural elements. It’s amazing what can be said with just five objects and a strong value plan!

Cheryl uses texture to convey the details of the scene. The glossiness of the apples conveys the freshness of the fruit,

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A Smart Approach to Urban Sketching and a Demo!

Urban sketching tutorial with Marc Taro Holmes | ArtistsNetwork.comFall is in full swing in Montreal. It’s getting brisk. Hats and gloves are coming out of the closet. Very soon it’ll be too cold to comfortably paint outside. It might be my last chance to take a day off work and enjoy painting the fall colors.

I recently headed out to Montreal’s Île Saint-Hélène. There’s a little stone tower called the Tour de Lévis marking the highest point of the island. It used to be a water reservoir. These days, it’s used for weddings and fancy parties. The view up top is supposed to be great, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see it. I think this simple stone structure will be a perfect anchor for a sketch that’s really all about the trees.

In a field sketch like the one I’m sharing today, I’m usually finished in about an hour. It can go much faster if I’m working very small, or if I’m bold with simplification. I’ll aim to do it all in three passes of watercolor–one pass for the large shapes in lighter (transparent) color, then two over the top with darker

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The art of appropriate patient selection for heart procedures

A decline in the number of heart patients undergoing unnecessary PCI (angioplasty) procedures reflects improvements in clinical decision-making and documentation to determine which patients benefit most from the procedure, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The study, which examines how clinical practice has changed since the release of appropriate use criteria, is published in the Nov. 9 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure widely used to treat clogged arteries associated with coronary heart disease. Clinicians, insurers, and policy makers have paid close attention to whether or not patients should undergo PCI, and the procedure has been the focus of national quality improvements initiatives. In 2009, professional medical societies released Appropriate Use Criteria for Coronary Revascularization, which was intended to improve patient selection for PCI and coronary artery bypass grafting.

Past studies found that a large number of elective (non-acute) PCI procedures were classified as “inappropriate,” indicating that it was unlikely that the benefits of the procedure would outweigh the risks.

“While the proportion of non-acute PCIs classified as inappropriate has declined, there is still hospital-level variation in inappropriate PCI,” said senior author Jeptha

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5 Drafting Tables Perfect For The Drawing Artist And Businessman

Finding a quality drafting table to suit your needs can make a huge difference in the quality of your work.  You want to go with something that is comfortable, easy to adjust to, and fits with how you need to use it.  Here are 5 different drafting tables to consider when looking on the market.

1. Professional drafting tableProfessional drafting tables are ideal for professional architects, engineers, artists, drafters, and everything in between.  These tables will offer you professional features and a sturdy construction for stability.  Because of the well build design, you can expect these tables to last you for many years.  At the same time, you can expect to pay for many years worth of use with a hefty bill.

2. Folding drafting tableAs you may have guessed, folding drafting tables do coincidently fold up.  The bonus to this is that you can easily move your table wherever you wish to work.  This can be convenient for artists who are on the go and want to work on the site.  They are rather light for easy transportation.  The downside to these tables is that they are not very sturdy and typically do not last longer than a few years depending

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Low alloy seamless steel tube drawing forming

By drawing die is continuous and stable process; drawn pipes or rods in drawing machine is intermittent operation. And other metal processing, like drawing lubricant can reduce stress and energy consumption, reduce mold crack and maintain a lower temperature. Because the surface finish of the product is very important to draw an indicator (usually people would think that the surface polished), drawing lubricating mechanism is very complex. On the one hand, a good lubricant due to mixed lubrication on the workpiece and the die being formed at the interface to reduce friction. On the other hand, if the lubricant film is too thick (depending on the viscosity of the metal grain size and a lubricant), the surface of the product by mixing and lubrication can not be polished. Thus, there is a thin lubricating film is desirable, which may be obtained by a low viscosity of the lubricant and mold large angle to solve the pullout. But this time the contact pressure die and the workpiece may be significant asked. If you want to be satisfied with the mold life, usually have sufficient lubricating film strength, which can be through the use of extreme pressure agents and various other additives resolved.

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Mixed-Media Art New Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

oday’s newsletter comes from guest artist Chris Cozen, who has shared her blog posts at ArtistsNetwork in the past with both inspiring advice and tried-and-true painting techniques. The Chris Cozen Acrylic Color Exploration Value Pack features three of her acrylic painting workshop DVDs, plus her new book, Acrylic Color Explorations. Here, Chris takes you behind the scenes of how she creates mixed-media art with interesting surfaces. Enjoy! ~Cherie

Mixed-Media Art: New Ideas to Spark Your Creativity by Chris Cozen

Hello again! I hope your year has been as colorfully productive as mine has been. There is always a sweet hum in my world when things are moving on course. With my new book, Acrylic Color Explorations, ready to hit the shelves, I can finally start thinking about what I want to do for my next project. There are lots of personal things brewing, which have me bubbling with creative juices. This year brought tons of travel including a recent trip to Italy and the purchase of a part-time residence in Ohio (which needs a major overhaul) so my husband and I can spend more time with the grandboys. With all of that, I’ve been a little short on studio time lately and

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Japanese paper art inspires new 3-D fabrication method

A cut or tear in a material is typically a sign of weakness. Now, a Northwestern University, University of Illinois and Tsinghua University research team has created complex 3-D micro- and nanostructures out of silicon and other materials found in advanced technologies using a new assembly method that uses cuts to advantage.

The Kirigami method builds on the team’s “pop-up” fabrication technique — going from a 2-D material to 3-D in an instant, like a pop-up children’s book — reported earlier this year in the journal Science. While an innovative first step, those earlier ribbon-like structures yielded open networks, with limited ability to achieve closed-form shapes or to support spatially extended devices.

In their new work, the research team solved this problem by borrowing ideas from Kirigami, the ancient Japanese technique for forming paper structures by folding and cutting. The Kirigami study was published today (Sept. 8) by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Starting with 2-D structures formed using state-of-the-art methods in semiconductor manufacturing and carefully placed “Kirigami cuts,” the researchers created more than 50 different mostly closed 3-D structures that, in theory, could contain cells or support advanced electronic or optoelectronic devices. Such capabilities position

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Colored Pencil Tips and New Resources for Drawing Pets

Domesticated animals have a prominent presence in our lives, and for good reason. Dogs, cats and even horses have unique personalities that come out as you get to know them. We find humor in their antics and see in them human qualities that connect us. I, for one, can get lost in my dog’s eyes, wondering what it is she’s thinking as she looks back at me. She’s probably thinking about food, but that’s beside the point. I like to tell myself that she has quite a bit more going on behind those bright, brown eyes, and I’m truthfully quite sure that she does.

Because animals are so beloved to us (and to your current/future clients, perhaps), Mark Menendez has come out with four new DVD workshops with to help teach you how to draw horses, dogs and cats using colored pencil techniques. Here he shares with us two of his tips for using colored pencils. Don’t let the title below fool you; even if you’re experienced with this medium, you may learn something new.

Wash those hands!
Here’s the best advice I can give you: Wash your hands before, during and after working with colored pencils. All paper is sensitive to

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Nuts and Bolts 9 Painting Tips for Beginners

There are many books and essays written on general painting and drawing techniques but sometimes the little practical things can make the artist’s task easier. Here are some day-to-day “nuts and bolts” painting tips for beginners.

1. If you wish to correct a watercolor mistake, the easiest way is to use a spray bottle. The stream of water works like a pressure washer. To do this in a localized area, you can spray out a specific silhouette. First cover the general area with masking tape and use a utility knife to cut out the silhouette. This works specifically well for rocks or buildings. By avoiding staining colors such as Hooker’s Green or Alizarin Crimson, the aftermath of spraying out will leave almost no residue of the previous paint.

2. If you intend to paint a risky subject, such as a portrait, there is a product called Lifting Preparation, which is to be applied before you paint. You apply this directly on the watercolor paper. This leaves a protective film between the paper and pigment. Then you can spray off the paint easily and start over. It works like Scotchgard to protect fabric on furniture.

3. There is also a new product called Watercolor

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Drawings With Depth

Striking. Powerful. Thought-provoking. As I browsed through the seventh edition of Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing, I found myself pausing on every page to take it all in–the details, the colors and the depth of the drawings. This edition features art that speaks to the theme of depth, dimension and space. The featured artists share their insights into the drawing techniques they used, as well as some background on the subject of their artwork. Today’s newsletter features Shadow Abby by Holly Siniscal, who has multiple works included in Strokes of Genius.

“With the soft sculpted silhouette of Abby’s shadow beside her on the wall, I wanted to capture the duality of her audacious spirit and vulnerability,” Holly says. “I used bold, rich complementary colors to match the intensity of her gaze and the sharp contours sculpted by shadow.

“I’ve been experimenting with different solvents to transform the waxy pencil into a more fluid and painterly appearance. The background was achieved through light pencil strokes, colorless blenders and lastly Bestine solvent, which creates that watercolor-like wash effect. The subject appears heightened with hyper-real detail against this loose expressionistic background.”

While there are many contemporary drawings in Strokes of Genius 7, you’ll see that

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Figure and Landscape Oil Palettes Compared

By Costa Vavagiakis

I use all kinds of palettes, from rectangular and oval wooden ones, to rectangular glass palettes, as well as gray and white disposable paper palettes. I favor a glass palette for its transparency, smoothness and ease of cleaning. I have a board underneath the glass that has a white and a gray side. When I’m working on a white ground, I use the white side; when I’m working on a toned surface, I switch to the gray. I do my initial mixtures on the large rectangular one laid flat on a taboret. During the painting session I’ll transfer the mixed paint to my oval palette, which I then hold in my hand to get closer to the painting, sometimes working at an angle. Occasionally, I’ll transfer the paint to my disposable paper palette and tape it to the easel or even to the painting itself. This process brings the mixed paint progressively closer to the painting.

I experiment extensively with different brands of pigments in order to find the properties of each color that best suit my techniques. Because I paint in many layers, I have to be concerned with the drying properties of each pigment. I work with

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Oil Portraits and Figures

In Tim Kennedy’s paintings, we’re invited to witness the passing pleasures of life: friends stop by for a visit; a vase of flowers sits prettily on a tabletop; a wife or girlfriend steps into the shower; the sun, raking a living room, bounces light from wooden floors and soft cushions. The color is attractive and slightly more vibrant than strict realism would allow, conferring warmth and harmonic unity. Fine drawing is much in evidence, with forms carefully delineated in a way that betrays some effort at simplification. The paint, layered in an opaque manner, tends to sit in flat areas with only the occasional blended transition. The effect is to suggest three-dimensional form without going through the long business of rendering every last turn and twist. Leaving much of the color in fairly flat areas enables the artist to organize his compositions as a set of clear shapes locked together in almost classical formations. These are paintings that promise quiet enjoyment and pleasurable reflections, something that Tim Kennedy is well aware of.

The Allurement of Life

“There’s a famous statement by Matisse that compares a modernist painting to a comfortable armchair,” says Kennedy. “The idea is that when a person comes home

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Jamie’s Critique Corner Nature’s Ballerina

Art Critique: Focus on the Details to Convey the Big Picture

Though we reviewed several of her paintings, this critique focuses on Nature’s Ballerina (above; oil on canvas, 20×24). Teresa wanted to capture the grace and movement of the central tree’s branches that appeared to her to be the arms of a ballerina in motion. During our discussion, we concentrated on overarching strategies to add impact to her work.

The painting evokes a solid sense of depth—the values decrease and the colors become less intense as they recede into the background. This is a common approach to landscape painting and creates a realistic effect. We talked about the importance, however, of not losing detail in the process.

  1. Here are the suggestions I gave Teresa:
    1. Adding minor details throughout the scene will make each element unique. Adding detail not only creates a more believable scene, but also creates interest in the painting. Details hold our attention and make us want to look longer. For example, the tops of the mountains would be more impactful if the edges had more variety. Additional details on the mountainsides would add subtle variations and move our eye through the composition.
    2. Varying brushstrokes will help to define the
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How to Blend Oil Pastels or Markers in a Zen Doodle Drawing

Oil Pastel Tips: To color with oil pastels, choose two different shades of the same color. Take the darker shade and make a mark of color. Next take the lighter shade and make a mark near the darker color. Take a blending stump and move it in a circular motion to blend the colors together over the entire area. Your hands will quickly get dirty with pastel residue when you blend. Keep some baby wipes nearby to wipe your hands when you switch colors. Avoid using your hand to wipe away residue because this will smear the color. Instead, shake the paper over a garbage can, and the residue should come off.

Marker Techniques: To blend Sharpie markers, use new or almost new markers because these have the most ink. Choose two shades of the same color. Draw a line of the darker color. While the ink is still wet, take the lighter shade and, using a circular motion, color over the darker color and right next to the darker color. This will allow the marker to pick up the darker color and blend beyond that line with the lighter shade. Next, still using the lighter color and a circular motion,

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How to Develop a Professional Series of Artwork | Art Business Advice

Art Business: Working a Series to Help Sell Your Art

The first step is to decide upon a theme. For example: A still life artist might choose an Asian inspired theme for a series of paintings. Or a landscape painter’s theme could be inspired by a regional location, or a season. You may choose to focus on abstraction, the application of paint or even color as a theme. The possibilities are endless.

Next, it’s important to plan the format of your supports, in other words, the shape and sizes of your paintings. There is actually a sub-conscience connotation related to the different formats. Knowledge of this can help you strike an emotional response within the viewer of your art.

• Horizontal = peaceful
• Vertical = majestic, active
• Square = risky, contemporary
• Standard = traditional

Subject Matter
Sometimes subject matter will help dictate what shape or format you select for your painting. The theme of your show will also help you decide upon the subject for each individual piece of artwork.

A series of work can range from subjects such as rivers, birds on vases, brightly colored umbrellas, still lifes, or inner emotions. Whatever you choose, it’s best to have continuity so

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Drawing Art Moved by War

Ever been jealous of those artists who always walk away with all the blue ribbons and lucrative commissions? What formulas would take your work from blah to brilliant?

Just three words: Methods, Materials and Muse.

We all have creative ideas, but getting them on paper is another story. Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar, November 10, at 1:00 EST, where I’ll reveal Masters’ Methods and Materials from numerous Home Study Courses for drawing that have transformed absolute amateurs into amazing artists. (Can’t attend live? Sign up for a link to the replay.) Bonus: All of my online drawing courses are included in a Black Friday SALE during the webinar.

My History in Africa and How I Connected With Rescued Animals in Afghanistan

A vulnerable 12-year-old, at a remote boarding school in the deep jungles of Africa, my life was in eminent danger. Rebel Congolese soldiers had slaughtered my neighbor in front of his horrified 18-year-old son, and nearby missionary villages had been ransacked in murderous rampages. Word came over the shortwave radio. We were next.

In the dead of night, the US dispatched UN mercenary soldiers to sneak us through inky black jungles, to the safety of Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya. That

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Sketching Inspiration for Inktober

I hope you had a chance to prepare for #InkTober because today marks the start of 31 days of drawing and sketching. Share your work on social media with the hashtag #InkTober, for all to see. Started by Jake Parker in 2009, the trend is meant to motivate artists of all skill levels around the world–including you–to practice art every day. We hope you’ll join us!

And if you’re new to sketching, you’ll appreciate the sketching lessons within Grant Fuller’s Start Drawing and Sketching Now. I’ve included a little snippet here in today’s newsletter to get you inspired and ready to draw. (Need the perfect sketchbook and pen for InkTober? Click here for a special offer!)

“Practice is important in developing good drawing skills, but professional instruction can save many hours of trial and error,” Grant says. “Think of drawing as a pleasant pastime, a process of searching and exploring. If you view the drawing process as some sort of test, you will only increase the pressure and decrease the pleasure. Learn instead to think of the drawing process as a form of freedom. Grab a sketchbook, and don’t be afraid to scribble and play.”

Beginner Sketching Tips by Grant Fuller

Many different design applications

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Drawing Basics 6 Art Terms to Know

There’s a romantic side to art that is what lures so many to create: the idea of expressing yourself with drawing ideas, of recreating a meaningful image or scene, or of tapping into “the zone” and peacefully drawing or painting to your heart’s content. And then there’s the academic side. It’s point A in your journey, as this is where you learn the drawing techniques that others before you have mastered.

Drawing: The Complete Course is there to help propel you from point A to your chosen destination. In this special magazine that’s laser-focused to help you learn how to draw, you’ll find articles from professional artists who want you to learn the basics, the ins, the outs, and the possibilities that lay before you. You’ll learn common drawing terms (which I’ve included below from the magazine), and more.

Drawing Basics: 6 Art Terms to Know from Drawing: The Complete Course

académie – a nude figure drawing completed as part of a process of study. Also called an academy drawing or academy figure.

contrapposto – from the Italian term “counterpose,” this is a pose in which a figure stands with most of its weight on one foot so that hips and shoulders rest at

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Practicing Intuition

Practicing Intuition | 9 Underpainting Exercises

Whenever I’m demonstrating an underpainting technique, someone—at some point—will ask: Why did you put that color/value in that area? It’s a tough question to answer since so much of what I’m doing is responding to the current painting situation with an anticipation of what will be done with the over-layers of pastel to come.

Laying the Foundation: Underpainting for a pastel painting serves as the setup for the pastel. It can be as utilitarian or as creative as the artist desires. Whether done with pastel (spread with water, rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits or dry-rubbed) or with watercolor, gouache, liquid pure pigments or thinned oil paint, the underpainting is not meant to be a finished painting but the foundation for a painting. Deciding what value, color, tone and shape for the foundation can be a confusing proposition; there are so many possibilities. It’s good to experiment to gain insight into how each affects the pastel over-layer. Most pastelists who employ an underpainting technique have spent years testing various undertones and methods of application, and have as a result developed good intuitions. They don’t over analyze what to do; they just do it.

When I tell students that it

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