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Dean Kirkland

EmptyEasel.com

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Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! We’ll be taking a short break here at EmptyEasel through the end of December, so there’ll be no new posts for the next 2 weeks. . . BUT after that we’ll be back bright and early on January 1st with our regular schedule of articles. :) From all [...]

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I once had a kitchen window with an awful view: Dirt. That was all, just plain ol’ dirt. Nothing even growing in it. The little bay window made no sense to me at all. It was the backwoods equivalent of having a window that opened onto a brick wall. It turned out to be the [...]

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Eric Roberts creates large, mixed-media paintings using a combination of repeatable screenprinting techniques and traditional painting materials. As he puts it, they’re “more than abstract paintings—and more than prints.” And I think you’ll agree! Take a look at a few of his pieces below, and enjoy

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Scaling a drawing up from it’s original size to the size of the final artwork isn’t always easy. A lot depends on the size of the drawing you want to scale up and the size you need to make it. No method I know of works with every combination, scale ratio, or convenience level. And [...]

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will share several ways to scale up a drawing. Whether you need to go from your sketchpad to a canvas, or something much larger (think wall-sized murals!) Carrie’s got 4 methods that will work for you! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop in on Tuesday for a [.

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Like the elephant in the middle of the room, expectations are rarely the topic of conversation at art events. We could save a lot of time and trouble if we explored and explained more of what we expect from our art. Here are 3 things I hear quite often: 1. The response to my new [...]

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Making art may be “just a hobby” for a lot of people, but not for artists—even part-time artists. Sure, making art is different than the daily grind of, say, office work, but it’s still a job. It can still wear us down, be tiring, stressful, or boring. If you ever catch yourself feeling that way [...]

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For more than 25 years portrait painting was my daily activity. In all those years, I would often hear that portrait models should not smile as they are painted. I never understood that. What’s wrong with a smiling portrait, I wondered? Commissioned portrait, done from photography One possible drawback is that it coul

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Monday in Painting Tutorials – If you look at portrait paintings throughout history, you probably won’t see very many smiles. But what about today? Should all portraits still be serious? Tomorrow, Ben Lustenhouwer will share his perspective! Tuesday in Art Opinion – Vicky Rubin will point out a few excelle

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Many artists are trying to find their inspiration, their “muse,” their creative influence, or their USP (unique selling point, in marketing terms). No matter what you call it, it will be distinctly different from person to person. I was brought up in the London suburb of Bexleyheath and I hated it. I wanted the

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Humanitarian and artist Jan Raats travels the world collecting and sharing stories of people from Afghanistan, Botswana, Italy, and France, to name a few. His paintings are an emotional, color-filled response to the environments and individuals he meets. Got a few minutes? Then scroll down and take a journey of ten thousand

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Plein air painting is an exciting way to sharpen your observation skills and grow as an artist. However, it can also be a nerve-wracking experience your first few times out. Here are a few tips I wanted share for a smoother plein air adventure: 1. Paint only what moves you Take time to observe the [...]

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Monday in Painting Tutorials – Tomorrow, Plein air painter Timothy M. Joe will share some of his favorite outdoor painting tips for beginner and intermediate painters—don’t miss it! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop in for a look at Jan Raat’s paintings from around the world. As always, if you

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We’re all used to painting on stretched, primed canvas, right? It’s the default surface for painters everywhere. And yet, before I share a few of the more bizarre surfaces that some (rather famous) artists have used, let’s put things into a bit of context: Canvas was not the standard go-to choice all the t

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There are so many ways to add texture to your paintings beside paint! In the short demonstration video below, I’ll show you four different ways to add texture to your paintings by using various acrylic products that can be mixed with just about anything to enhance your acrylic or mixed-media paintings. We’ll explore

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One of my favorite parts of being a high school teacher was teaching IB Art, a two year art program. There was a moment every year when a frustrated student, who felt their art was boring or too similar to everyone else’s, discovered the common thread that connected all the artwork they’d been making. Being [...]

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Monday in General Art Advice – Tomorrow, Carrie Brummer will share several roadblocks you might face as you try to develop your own artistic style, along with some excellent ways to overcome them! Tuesday in Video Tutorials – Mixed-media artist Kellie Day returns to EE with a brand new video tutorial demonstrati

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Editor’s note: Recently I caught up with Dianne Panarelli Miller, a Boston-based plein air painter who also happens to do live event paintings! Dianne paints primarily at weddings, but she’s also available for pretty much any other social event where people want to see an artist working live, and have two origin

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Known for his serene yet saturated landscapes, as well as paintings of empty rooms and solitary figures absorbed in viewing vast distances, Louis Blondiau’s latest monochromatic landscape series is yet another step forward in his exploration of space, silence, and contemplation. I typically crave more color in paintin

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I am a Canadian watercolourist and have been painting landscapes, florals, and buildings with lots of character for over 30 years. I especially enjoy scenes that are sunshiny days with dancing shadows across the landscape or buildings. While watercolour is my preferred medium, I do enjoy trying my hand at various other medi

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Monday in Painting Tutorials – Tomorrow, Alice Sawicki will share how she created a painterly, sun-filled landscape with watercolour crayons on stretched canvas. You’ll also want to see how she used handmade paper for texture in the foreground. :) Don’t miss it! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop by

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Every week we receive questions from new artists on what it takes to become a successful artist. The truth is, there is nothing easy or quick about it—instead, it is a series of positive traits and habits, done consistently, over time, that will lead you to becoming a successful, professional, artist. Most successful arti

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Seattle-based artist Brett Polonsky paints bright, geometric abstracts as well as large, dynamic portraits, often by combining acrylic paint, oil, colored pencil, pastel, and more onto a single canvas. There’s a lot to take in, and I’ve only featured a few of his vibrant portraits below, so I’ll mention th

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I paint at home, so an open studio event has always been something of a pipe dream for me. But when our local school of the arts offered instructors the opportunity to participate in a weekend-long open studio event, I jumped at the chance to (and not just because it meant a weekend away from [...]

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Monday in Art Marketing Tips – Are you thinking about participating in an open studio event? Niki Hilsabeck just finished hers, and will share 5 ways to get the most out of the experience! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Brett Polonsky’s large scale mixed-media portraits are intense, expressive, and incredib

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Creating movement in your painting sounds great—but what does that actually mean, and how do you do it? We all know you can’t really create movement in your paintings—everything you brush onto your canvas is physically stable and will not move once it’s dried. However, with the clever use of some composi

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London-born painter Louise Chatfield channels her love of England’s coastline to create gorgeous semi-abstract paintings that celebrate the stunning play of light across land and water. Take, for example, Looking Across the Water. This painting is a perfect example of how the atmospheric conditions of a place can grea

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will share several excellent tips for correcting muddy, overworked sections in your colored pencil drawings. Tuesday in Featured Artists – Come by for a look at Louise Chatfield’s gorgeous, semi-abstract seascape paintings. As always, if you’d like your

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If you’re new to hand-lettering, you’ve probably collected a few bullet-tipped markers. As shown in the first photo below, they have round tips—they’re not chisel tipped (which make thick or thin letters depending on their angle) or pointed (which make thick or thin letters according to how much pressure you app

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Oil painter John Holdway has a unique take on the process and purpose of landscape painting. He doesn’t just paint landscapes in order to capture the likeness of a particular place. . . he’s also trying to convey his own personal experiences of being in nature. And I believe he’s quite successful at that.

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