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Dean Kirkland

EmptyEasel.com

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Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more

Gesture drawing is an incredibly useful exercise for improving one’s art. Not only does it help with understanding general anatomy when drawing from life, but the practice of drawing a figure quickly and repeatedly trains you to make the drawing fluid and alive. The online resources I have used most are Quickposes and Lin

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As a poet and painter, Juduth Skillman’s abstract, expressionist landscapes are more than just a representation of a specific place at a particular time. . . with each highly-textured brushstroke, she also places additional layers of emphasis and meaning. This first painting, entitled Ellensburg Canal, depicts deep bl

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Monday in Art Opinion – Looking for a fun new medium to dive into? Why not colored pencils? Carrie Lewis has come up with 8 reasons why every artist should try them—come by tomorrow to learn more! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop in for a look at Judith Skillman’s gorgeous abstract landscapes. And while [...]

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When I first started thinking about becoming a professional artist (and by “professional,” I mean an artist who creates art to earn a living) doing cloud portraits most certainly was NOT what I was considering. Horses were my passion and horse portraits were my goal. My big dream was making a good living from portrait [

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Russian-born artist Ekaterina Kashpir creates incredibly stylish, art deco illustrations and drawings with a touch of contemporary whimsy. As you’ll see in each of her pieces today, she always sets a gorgeous scene (with complementary color palettes and subtle shading) before telling a fascinating, visual story. Just

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A strong composition is an important part of any successful artwork. The word “composition” is simply an artistic term describing how an artist fills space in their artwork using elements and principles of art. Today I’d like to share seven steps to a stronger composition: 1. Use a grid (aka, the rule of t

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Monday in General Art Advice – Art teacher and mentor Carrie Brummer returns tomorrow with another excellent guest post for EmptyEasel entitled “7 Steps to a Stronger Composition.” Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop by for a look at Ekaterina Kashpir’s contemporary, art deco-inspired drawings and illus

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Every so often I like to do something a bit different, and share which posts on EmptyEasel are most popular on Pinterest. And this summer in particular, I couldn’t help but notice a few oldies-but-goodies that were getting clicked all the time. So in case you missed these when they were published originally, or if [..

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If you’ve thought of writing a book someday (or already have), you’re in good company. Statistically, 80% of the population believe they have a book inside them. The experts say it’s important to be a good storyteller, to be curious and determined, and to have a love of learning, among other things. So far, so [...]

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Mike Fullarton is an abstract painter originally from Scotland, now working in Krakow, Poland. His large, geometric compositions explore the ideas behind fractals—repeating, increasingly-complex patterns filled with color and light. While traditional fractals are typically computer-generated and “perfect,” Mik

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I recently performed a solo at church. It wasn’t the first time for a solo, but it was different this time. In times past, the bulletin has always read something like “Special Music by Carrie Lewis.” Yesterday, I opened up the bulletin and saw this. Carrie Lewis, Vocalist Vocalist. That’s not a huge difference, but

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Monday in Art Opinion – Carrie Lewis shares a poignant reminder that the words we use to refer to ourselves – like artist, professional, teacher – matter more than we might think. Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop by for a look at some hand-crafted fractal-style paintings by Mike Fullarton. As always, if yo

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Are you looking for ways to take your art career to the next level? Then today’s newsletter is for you! This week we’re highlighting three incredibly inspiring, educational, and helpful articles for artists on the rise: Monday – 10 Steps for Creating a Successful Business From Your Art by Padraig McCaul Tuesda

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As a follow-up to her original article on blending colored pencils, Carrie Lewis has filmed a quick video showing just how easy it is to create watercolor-style effects with colored pencil, using a few colors, a stiff-bristle brush, and rubbing alcohol. Take a look below, and enjoy!

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Inspired by street art, urban decay, and his own explorations into abandoned buildings, “Leftover Landscapes” is a brand new series by the very talented abstract artist Tom Glenndenning. Tom’s mixed-media artwork combines random textures, repeating patterns, and found images with his own hand-made marks (o

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So you’re finally done with that children’s book manuscript. You’ve worked hard on it. Maybe you’ve hired a professional to edit. You’ve researched your market and you have an unbeatable marketing plan (NOTE: if you have NOT done these things, go back and do them). You’ve committed to the maj

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Monday in General Art Advice – Author and illustrator Vicky Rubin will share how to find the perfect illustrator for your unpublished children’s book. Whether you’re an author searching for an artist, or an artist looking to illustrate books on the side, this is a fantastic resource to learn how it all works!

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Hey everybody—can you believe summer’s almost over? Time sure flies when you’re busy! :) Since Monday is Labor Day here in the US, and I’ve got several projects lined up that I really need to finish, we’ll be taking a short break from publishing any new articles on EE this week. Of course, we’ll be [...]

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The very talented Sureerat Niyomsinth describes herself as a “hungry Thai drawing in the Netherlands”. . . and for those of you who also dream of deliciously (drawn) food, her mouth-watering Instagram account is a great one to follow. And get this—Sureerat’s account is only a few months old, yet she̵

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Love bold, expressive brushstrokes that feel carved into the canvas? Dynamic compositions? Intense monochromatic contrast? Sean Patrick’s highly sought-after paintings are all that and more. Known for his expressive, abstract portraits (jump to the second painting down for a great example of that) Sean’s work is

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We’ve been getting TONS of great artwork submissions lately, so this week we’re not just featuring one artist—we’re featuring three! Drop by each day to explore a new artist’s work, and don’t forget to submit yours, too! Monday in Featured Artists – Come by tomorrow to see some gorgeous

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Our third word is INTEGRATE, which follows observe and ponder. “Everything on the page should talk to each other.” This wise advice came from my instructor many years ago. “Everything” speaks of integrating in design. Since then, other instructors have pointed to Mother Nature as a model resource. Let’s lo

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Swedish artist Johan P. Jonsson’s work is starkly vulnerable, and incredibly compelling. Known for his creative re-purposing of rusty metal, old wood, wire, leather, and other discarded objects into figurative sculptures, Johan’s art certainly transcends its humble beginnings. I’d even say that the process

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If you’re a parent, and you tell someone “My child practices soccer six days a week,” you’ll likely get a sympathetic nod from that person—sports are important, right? Kids need to get off their screens and be outside with other kids—and don’t forget those potential college scholarships for athletics! Now imag

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It’s portrait & figure-drawing week on EmptyEasel! Ready to brush up on your people-drawing skills? Then make sure to check out all of the following posts on EE! 9 Very Common Figure Drawing Mistakes, And How to Avoid Them Can’t Find a Live Model to Draw or Paint From? Here’s a Great Alternative! How to [.

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In a previous post, I shared three questions you should answer before you start shopping for artwork. (Read that article here.) But now that you’ve considered those questions and know what you’re looking for, it’s time to think about some of the specifics of your purchase. And let me assure you, buying original art do

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All of Jeff Bartels’ paintings are exquisitely crafted, and truly worthy of the hyperrealist designation—but his latest series is fascinating for an entirely new and different reason as well. Titled “Alternative Artifacts,” these mind-expanding paintings feature historical objects that never really exist

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Instagram is booming. Last month the burgeoning social media platform announced they had hit a billion monthly active users. A BILLION. That’s more than Twitter, more than Snapchat—and it’s actually growing faster than its older cousin, Facebook. In fact, much faster. With all these eyes and ears (Instagram isn’

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Monday in Art Marketing Tips – Drop by tomorrow for an excellent article from arthaus on how to promote your art (while building your brand and followers) only by using Instagram! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Titled “Alternative Artifacts,” Jeff Bartel’s hyperrealistic oil paintings depict strange ant

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This week we’re doing something completely different here at EmptyEasel—and it’s not even art-related. A few friends of mine started a non-profit several years ago which makes durable shoes that grow (yep, these shoes ACTUALLY GROW) for kids in poverty. So instead of getting used pairs, or pairs that only fit

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