Paintings Paint Themselves by Valerie (Valry) Drake

At least in my dreams they do. Vibrant slashes of brilliant hues dance across the canvas. Big wide paintbrushes dip into soft, buttery mounds of paint on huge pallets and then lift and float to add to the beauty. Sometimes I can actually see the paintings in progress. Other times I only see paintbrushes and paints. Bright peacock blue on the brush, the brush meets the canvas and gently bends, the bristles curve, the brush moves along the canvas leaving a bold trail behind. And I can smell the paint, the rich aroma of oil paint and mediums, cleaners and varnishes. Then there is the feel of the soft cotton rag in my left hand, open to receive t... [More]

Humble Beginnings by WIlson Bickford

  Whenever someone finds out that you're an "artist," the first assumption is that you were "born with talent" and "came by it naturally." (and a hundred other comments which allude to the same idea). When it came to painting, I can assure you that I had no "gift" bestowed upon me.Shown here is my first "serious" attempt at Oils more than 20 years ago.At the time, I didn't think it was too bad, but I knew I had a very, very long way to go.Art is a cumulative process. You'll learn the desired skills through study and practice. The more you invest, the greater the return (and the quicker that return will be).At the time that I painted t... [More]

Left in the Dark by Wilson Bickford

  I recently conducted an oil painting class which focused on a night-time seascape theme. Rendering night scenes is always challenging, as colors diminish and things take on a more monochromatic feel. The issue is to get the scene dark enough to convey that particular time of the day, but not so dark that it literally becomes lost. In reality, some nights are pitch black and some are still quite light. It takes a lot of "judging" of the values to pull it off convincingly.I find it easier to establish my mid-tone first and I use that value to "tone" my whole canvas. This sets the stage for the lights and darks I will apply which will ... [More]

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