Artist Spotlight - Brian Neher

Professional Portrait Painter Brian Neher

Brian Neher is a professional portrait painter whose work has been featured in American Artist Magazine as well as their Portrait and Figure Painting Highlights edition and on National Public Television. His paintings can be seen in both private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

Born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1972, Brian began drawing at the age of three and through the encouragement and example of his grandmother, a commercial artist herself, knew at an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in art. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida and it was there that he had the opportunity to study under Brian Jekel, an accomplished painter who would greatly impact his life. "By introducing me to the Old Masters of the late nineteenth century, Brian Jekel set into motion a series of events and study that would forever direct my course as an artist," says Neher.

Brian has had the unique and rare opportunity to study under one of America's modern day masters, renowned portrait painter Joe Bowler. "Through critiques, demonstrations, encouragement, and the constant study of the Old Masters, Joe gave me an early start on what true painting is all about. Much of the progress that I have made as a painter has been a direct result of being under his guidance. I hope to someday be able to give back to others what Joe has given to me."

In addition to painting commissioned portraits, Brian enjoys sharing his passion for art with others and has produced a series of instructional art videos which focus on teaching the foundational principles of representational art by demonstrating how to apply each one to the art of painting. By understanding these principles, the artist is then given the freedom to better communicate his message to the viewer.


Why does professional portrait artist Brian Neher use LUKAS 1862 Oils?


For more information about Brian or to see examples of his work, visit www.BrianNeher.com.


Artist Spotlight - Stephen Jesic

Wildlife Artist Stephen Jesic

featuring Matisse Structure Acrylic Paints

by Robert Simon, New York

Stephen A. Jesic was born in 1951 in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. Although showing artistic talent from his youth, Stephen was thwarted in his ambitions to be a painter as his traditional European parents felt it inappropriate as a serious career. He first undertook an apprenticeship in Instrument Making and Repairing from 1969 to 1974, followed by further training from 1974 to 1983, eventually becoming an Electronic Service Engineer and a Product Specialist. As an Engineer he worked in the fields of Industrial, Bio-Research, and Bio-Medical Instrumentation.

In those years Stephen began private study in painting, working successively with three professional artists between the years 1970 and 1982, while refining his interest in the observation of landscape, fauna, and flora. 1983 was a major turning point in his life as he was then able to devote himself full-time to painting. Now, more than twenty-five years later, he has exhibited his work extensively in his native Australia and become celebrated not only for his extraordinary depictions of wildlife, but for his phenomenal technique in bringing animals to life.

While his early work was in oils, beginning around 1984 Stephen began experimenting with acrylic media. His scientific background enabled him to develop innovative techniques in their use, allowing him to render the finest detail, while at the same time suggesting an atmospheric setting for his subjects. He has lectured and written about his acrylic painting techniques, which have been featured in such prominent magazines as Australian Artist Magazine and The Artist's Palette.


A second turning point in his career occurred in 1990 when he entered his first major acrylic conservation-based painting, Rosella's Revenge, in the $50,000 "Wildlife Art Prize" competition sponsored by James Hardie Industries. The painting was selected as a finalist and included in the national tour of the exhibition. The focus of Stephen's painting soon became the link between conservation and the preservation of endangered species and since that time he has concentrated solely on the depiction of wildlife. Like the great naturalist-artists of the past, Stephen studies his subjects intensely, and his paintings are as much individual portraits as they are scientific representations of the species seen in their ever-decreasing native habitats.

His extraordinary acrylic painting technique and recent depictions of parrots and macaws has drawn the attention of the Australian fine art materials company Matisse Derivan, the producer of the acrylic paints that Stephen exclusively uses. They now feature his techniques on their bi-monthly internet newsletter and are using his images of exotic macaws in the packaging of their Primary Colour Set of Structure Formula Acrylics and Mediums, newly available in the United States.

Recently, Stephen Jesic's painting "The Matriarch" was selected for the 51st annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists. Stephen used Matisse acrylic colors for this award-winning piece; his personal favorite acrylic paint.

"If you're passionate about your art, then be passionate about your acrylic paint. Matisse Acrylics and Mediums provide me with an extensive range of vibrant, highly pigmented, lightfast ASTM-rated colours with a long open time, giving me a huge range of techniques from thin transparent washes to thick opaques. Everything that I needed to complete 'The Matriarch.' "


A Jerry's Online Street Team Art Project with Sandy Nelson

I wanted the painting to have interesting textures for a feeling of sand and waves, so a medium texture canvas and LUKAS oil paints were the perfect combo. LUKAS has such great paint body, they can be either smooth or chunky and I find the versatility a great thing to work with..... Read More in our Blog

Sandy Nelson has been a professional artist for many years. She studied Fine Art and painting at the University of KY and the Scottsdale Art School. Her portraits and landscapes have been accepted to national juried competitions from Maine to California, many winning national awards. Her work is included in over 60 corporate and museum collections and is also included in two 2011 books, Best of America: Oil Artists and 100 Southern Artists. Check out Sandy's Artist Spotlight blog post on the JerrysArtarama.com blog to learn more about her work and her new gallery opening this summer in Wilmington, NC!

"Sunday Morning" — Jerry's Summer Sale Catalog cover

Featuring LUKAS 1862 Artists' Oil Colors

By Sandy Nelson, professional artist, art instructor and gallery owner

For years before moving to the coast, I would dream all winter about walking the beach. While on vacation at the beach, my favorite time was Sunday mornings when there were fewer people and strolling along the wave edge was a zen experience. That feeling is what I attempted to show in my painting, "Sunday Morning." I chose a vertical (36x24") format for the composition so that I could concentrate on the figure without the painting becoming a "seascape." The small dog was added to give life and playfulness to the scene.

I wanted the painting to have interesting textures for a feeling of sand and waves, so a medium texture canvas and LUKAS oil paints were the perfect combo. LUKAS has such great paint body, they can be either smooth or chunky and I find the versatility a great thing to work with. Their spectral range is sumptuous and while there's not a lot of bright color in the painting, it still feels warm and sunny.

My LUKAS 1862 oil palette for "Sunday Morning" was:

  • Cerulean Blue
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Ivory Black
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Cold Grey
  • Cobalt Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cobalt Violet Hue
  • Emerald Green
  • Naples Yellow Reddish

In addition, I use Permalba White, which I find is the most versatile white for the way I work.

After loosely mapping out the figures, I painted the background in, keeping it tonal to make the figure shine. Lastly, the foreground was laid in with the reflections.

I was pleased with the way the painting came together and decided to enter it in the Jerry's Artarama LUKAS painting competition. A few days later when I was checking my email, I found a message from Michael Marchetta, Director of Marketing for Jerry's asking if the image might be used in their summer catalog. What a pleasant surprise that was! There was zero hesitation on my part! I replied to the email that I'd be delighted! It's a great compliment to have others enjoy our work... Thank you Jerry's for the opportunity to share "Sunday Morning."

This is brought to you by the Jerry's Artarama Online Art Team - Promoting Art and Artists in our communities - For possible inclusion or to learn more about this program, please email us at webmarketing@jerrysartarama.com

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