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Dean Kirkland

EmptyEasel.com

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Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more

It may seem unnecessary to write an entire article about the tools of the colored pencil artist. I mean, they’re so basic. Pencils, paper, sharpener, eraser. What else do you need? The plain and simple truth is that you really don’t need anything else. That’s what makes colored pencils so appealing to a non-artist who

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I’ve always been a bit of an oddball. I’ve created art in one form or another since I was a kid: directing my little sisters in plays I wrote (and starred in, of course); singing at the top of my lungs, perched in the highest branches of a sprawling ficus tree. They were brutal, larger-than-life [...]

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Monday in Other Tutorials – Tomorrow, calligraphy expert Phawnda Moore will share some fantastic tips for designing fun, holiday-themed envelopes to go with your Christmas cards this year. (Plus, her Christmas card tutorial is coming just next week, so stay tuned for that as well!) Tuesday in Featured Artists –

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Avant-garde photographer Tommy Hawk Appleby lives a thoughtful, art-centric life, creating beautifully layered artwork referencing his past artwork, the cities where he’s lived (including Paris, for several years) and the rich world of visual detail and artistic possibilities that exists around all of us. When you div

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Welcome to part 4 of my ongoing series on drawing a portrait in three quarter view. If you’re just now joining us, I suggest reading part 1, part 2, and part 3 where we discussed how to build a general wire-frame of the head, and ended with some simple shading in the last lesson. Now [...]

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As some of you already know, I work in both oils and colored pencils. My preferred method with oils is a personal adaptation of the Flemish technique, a seven-step process starting with a detailed drawing and going through color glazes and a detailed finishing layer. It’s a classical method that is slow and careful, produ

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Monday in Other Tutorials – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will go through the Flemish Method of painting and explain how she’s adapted it for colored pencils. If you love classical oil painting techniques but work in colored pencils, this is the article for you! Tuesday in Drawing Tips – Drop in for part four of

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We’re taking the entire week off to celebrate Thanksgiving, so from all of us here at EmptyEasel, have a blessed holiday with family and friends—we’ll see you back here next Sunday! Last week’s articles on EmptyEasel: Looking for Beautiful, Transparent Earth-tone Oil Paints? These are my Favorite Gail Bu

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The seasons are changing—which makes it a magnificent time to take a walk and see what your neighbor’s trees are up to. Their fallen leaves are like small paintings. As I surveyed the sights on my street, I wished it was Thanksgiving, but that was yet a month away. A few thousand leaves later, still [...]

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We all wish we had more time to paint, draw, sculpt, or whatever we do. At the very least, we often wish we could make better use of the time we do have. Especially if we happen to also be working a full-time job. Well, from one artist to another, take heart! My own experience [...]

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There will be no new articles published on EE until next week (I’m taking a few days off to celebrate my anniversary) but don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the lurch! :) With all your extra free time, I recommend heading over to A Singular Creation’s free art contests—they always offer great prizes

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It’s a rare artist who hasn’t used castoff and worn-out clothing as rags to clean paintbrushes or hands. But what about using them as painting tools? Here’s a short list of clothing items that I’ve found have a second life as useful studio tools. For good measure, I’ve also included a few bonus

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Art is a communication form, yet most of us don’t know what we are trying to communicate and need to try lots of different things before finding out. Personally, it took me until I was 54 before I found out what the hell I was trying to communicate. In the end, it turned out to [...]

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Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z. In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the letter “W” for Writing. Writing is a huge part of art marketing. Professional marketers call it “content marketing” because despite all the images online,

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A short while back I wrote an article for EmptyEasel about art school, and how to decide if it’s right for you. I wrote that article because most young people—and many who are no longer quite so young—believe they must attend art school if they’re going to be a successful artist. And yet, if you [...]

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When you put color onto paper with colored pencil, the color stays exactly where you put it. No easy washing. No easy blending. Creating detail requires time AND patience. Of course, there are certain methods for putting color onto paper in more productive ways. That begins with the basic pencil strokes, but it doesn’

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How many of you use Pinterest? Probably most of us, right? After all, for creatives, it’s an easy way to find massive amounts of inspiration—and then quickly save that inspiration for later. But more and more, Pinterest is becoming a place for shoppers, too. And that makes it especially helpful to artists who are tr

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Most of us reading EmptyEasel would probably identify ourselves as either hobby artists or professional artists. Hobby artists create art for the sheer joy of creation. Sales are great, if they happen, but they’re really not THAT important. Professional artists enjoy creating art just as much, but they also have the a

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As a watercolorist, I’ve been painting since the mid ’80′s. New techniques come and go but here’s one I’ve been perfecting for a while. I call it “black outline art” and use it to create a kind of stained glass appearance in watercolor paintings. I actually stumbled on this techniqu

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I am an artist who has been supporting myself and my children selling my paintings online for 10 years. Over that time, I’ve sold more than 2000 paintings to patrons all over the world. But I kept running into the same problem. . . how do you ship large paintings without paying an arm and [...]

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Show of hands. . . how many of us have grabbed a snack or a drink while working on our art? Most of us, right? But what do you do when ketchup accidentally drips on your drawing? Or tea, or coffee? Come by tomorrow and learn a few helpful techniques [...]

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We’re taking Labor Day (actually, almost the entire week) off, but we’ll be back on Saturday with a review of Craftsy’s “Drawing with Colored Pencils” class AND a special link to save 50% on that class as well. Until then, enjoy the long holiday weekend and feel free to check out these 7 “

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The spirit of the Atlantic Ocean is ever-present in Holly Hansen’s wonderfully dynamic seascapes—no doubt reminiscent of her time spent growing up on Cape Cod. Now working in Boston, Holly’s love of both dreamy landscapes and hectic cityscapes has melded together to transform her work into a powerful tool for self-exp

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There will be no new articles published at EmptyEasel this week since my wife and I are currently in the midst of packing our belongings and making a long cross-country trek to our new home in the Midwest. (So long Oregon!) We do plan to be back on schedule with another round of articles by [...]

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Monday in Drawing Tips – No matter how skilled you are with colored pencils, eventually you’re going to need to “lift” some of that color off your paper. Luckily, Carrie Lewis has two very effective methods to do just that—drop in tomorrow and see how! Tuesday in Motivation – Set aside so

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Today I’m going to demonstrate the “color wheel method” of painting for watercolor artists. I will be using the light and dark values inherent to the colors in my palette to create value and form in a simple still life painting of an orange. While other painting mediums (like oil and acrylic) use black and [...]

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When I teach my Introduction to Oil Painting classes, I always begin by having my students paint a grayscale. If you haven’t been using a gray scale to check your values when painting, I strongly suggest painting your own. Pre-made ones are fine too, but painting your own is better, simply because it will help [...]

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If you asked several landscape artists what you absolutely MUST get right when you’re drawing a landscape, it’s possible you’d get a few different answers. But in my opinion, the most important thing is pictorial depth. Pictorial depth is the illusion of three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface

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Art impacts us all as individuals, but it can also reach into a community to impact the masses. This is the goal of Chicago Kids Create, a program initiated by Chicago public school parent Catherine Marchese and artist Jeff Semmerling. “Chicago Kids Create is a unique, hands-on, visual arts training program designed for C

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When you think of local art shows, a few things might come to mind. Perhaps you think of your local art association, a popular local events for the arts, or an annual show organized around a particular theme. I’ve participated in a local themed show in my community for the past several years, and every [...]

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