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Dean Kirkland

EmptyEasel.com

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Located in Portland

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Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more

When we think of writing using computers, we typically imagine rows of fonts, smashing keys, and endless backspacing. Those actions go perfectly with the rigid nature of the digital world. Everything is precise and uniform, without the flair of personal expression. The delicate art of calligraphy is typically ignored when c

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When I first started dabbling with colored pencils, I’d already been oil painting for many years. I didn’t want a replacement medium, I just wanted a medium that was easier to travel with AND allowed me to create the kind of detailed work I was painting with oils. Colored pencils checked both those boxes. They [

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Monday we’ll be taking the day off for President’s Day here in the US. If you’re lucky enough to also get a three-day weekend, have a safe and happy holiday! Tuesday in Art Opinion – Drop in for a few great suggestions for colored pencil artists from Carrie Lewis (which also apply to aspiring colored

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Now that you’ve decided gallery representation is for you and have found a few galleries that are a good fit for your art, the serious work begins. It’s time to present your work to the gallery manager or director. Speaking as both an artist and a former gallery director, the single most important advice I [...]

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As an artist and teacher, Fred Bell knows the power of daily painting. He started doing a painting a day last summer, mostly around 6″ x 6″ in size, and has since completed hundreds of small still lifes, landscapes, florals, and figure studies. Take a look at a few of his gorgeous oil and acrylic [...]

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Do you see your unfinished artwork as something with unlimited potential? You should! Because that’s what it is. Remember, having unfinished art is a NATURAL, REGULAR, NORMAL part of creative process. After a while, though, that pile of work can start feeling like growing evidence of everything you haven’t done. Whe

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Monday in Motivation – Need an extra dose of practical inspiration this week? Drop in tomorrow and read 50 things to do with your unfinished artwork, by Carrie Brummer. Tuesday in Featured Artists – Oil and acrylic painter Fred Bell started making a painting a day last June. See a few of his pieces right [...]

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Throughout each of the previous lessons in this series, I’ve showed the classical way of starting a portrait drawing, from building the shape of the head, to adding simple shadows, ears, eye sockets, etc. Today, let’s continue where we left off, and add eyes and a nose to our portrait: 26. Shading the area above

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In a time where “mixed-media” can mean just about anything, it’s always nice to see an artist really take that concept and push it to the next level. Lorette C. Luzajic is that artist—her work combines not only a variety of artistic media (acrylic, pastels, crayons, and spray paint just to name a few) bu

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Monday in Painting Tutorials – Carrie Lewis will share the next steps in prepping a previously painted-on panel for a new work of art. (See her article on scraping paint from a used panel here.) Tuesday in Featured Artists – Come by for a look at Lorette C. Luzajic’s standout mixed-media masterpieces this

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If you’re like me, you have at least a couple paintings lying around somewhere that will never be finished. They started out with a grand and glorious idea, but went astray somewhere. Or maybe you started them over on a different panel, and are left with the old, used panel. You hate to throw the [...]

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Looking for a delicious visual experience? If so, then Jennifer Kahn Barlow’s gorgeous oil paintings of sumptuous desserts, decadent donuts, and dazzling chocalates are the perfect treat! Let’s jump right in with a look at an incredibly stylish (and so tasty looking) selection of macaroons, in all the colors of

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How’s winter in your world, fellow artists? This is often a slower time of year and a good time to inspect supplies—think of it as a day of new discoveries. (To resolve my own studio chaos years ago, I made a goal and set aside every January to first test, and then reorder, toss or [...]

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Monday in General Art Advice – If you’re like me, all your art markers are jumbled together in a tupperware or tote. :) But there’s a better way! Drop by tomorrow for Phawnda Moore’s simple and effective marker organization system. It’s a new year—time to get organized! Tuesday in Featured Ar

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Stains on your good drawing paper? Never fear! Stains don’t have to be the end of the world, even if they’re old and dried into the paper. Some time ago I wrote about what to do if you accidentally spill something on your drawing surface. I came up with some techniques for removing fresh stains [...]

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Like every good story-teller, Michael Vincent Manalo is incredibly skilled at bringing you into his universe of dreams, nostalgia, and surreal fantasy. His ability to combine photographs, photo-editing, and digital painting (not to mention a rich palette of textures and colors) results in an ongoing visual narrative that ma

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Do you ever feel stuck for ways to blog, post, tweet, and share about your art? If so, keep reading, because today I’m going to break down 50 different ways to talk about your art and connect with potential (and current) collectors: 1. Ask your audience for feedback—Is it finished? 2. Ask your audience to [...]

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For the next several days I’ll be busy working on some very exciting updates for our artists at Foliotwist (more details on that, coming soon!) so we’ll be taking a short break from publishing any new articles until next Sunday. In the meantime, enjoy the articles from last week—we’ll be back to our norm

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Calligraphy students often ask if taking my class will improve their handwriting. Equally popular is the lament of parents or teachers, especially if they home school or their child is no longer learning handwriting in school. Less than half of U.S. elementary schools now require handwriting instruction. Interestingly enoug

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After studying at the Art Students League of New York as a young man, Howard Ziff spent most of his life in the world of business—but he never forgot his roots. Now, he’s returned to painting, channeling his life experiences to create new pieces in a timeless, modern style. Into It 1 is the first [...]

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Some time ago, I shared 5 blogs that I recommended for every serious artist.That left hundreds, maybe thousands, of other artist blogs to explore—more than enough for another first-of-the-year-article. But this year, I thought I’d do something different and share my favorite podcasts and video channels instead. Spec

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Want to get a jump on improving your drawing skills in 2017? Then drop by tomorrow and start exploring Carrie Lewis’s favorite podcasts and video channels for colored pencil artists—it’s months of instruction, all in one place! Tuesday in Featured Artists – “Bold, big

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Think back to the last time you were in an elementary school classroom—what stands out in your memory? The desks, arranged neatly in rows, perhaps. . . a chalkboard or whiteboard at the front. And (probably!) bright, colorful posters lining the walls. Nearly every classroom is decorated with educational, informational, an

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In today’s portrait drawing tutorial, I will continue to build upon my previous lessons from the past few months (I recommend reading through part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 if you haven’t already). Now, let’s get started: 21. Defining the cheekbones curve The cheekbones curve is an important contour of

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Don’t miss part five of Vladimir London’s step-by-step tutorial showing how to draw a portrait in 3/4 view. Need a quick refresher before tomorrow? Catch up on parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 right now! Tuesday in Artist Interviews – Carrie Lewis will be sharing her Q&A session with the

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! We’re on hiatus 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 of us here [...]

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Here in the US, the last three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) snuggle up on the calendar. I know I speak for many when I say that by early December I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. My “to do” list includes cards and envelopes to design and mail, packages to wrap, home decorating. . . snowshoeing [...]

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Diane Griffiths’ paintings are a blend of fantastical colors and real-life scenery, inspired in part by the impressionists, yet always based on true-to-life drawings taken from the gorgeous British countryside. As a child, Diane was encouraged to draw “inside the lines,” and currently her day job is in fin

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So you’ve determined you’d like to have gallery representation and you’ve looked around and found some galleries that are a good fit for your art. Now what? Do you just drop in and hope for the best, or is there another way? Some people advocate drop-in presentations and there are good arguments for that.

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Monday in General Art Avice – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will share 6 questions you may want to ask the gallery manager (or gallery staff) before you set up an appointment present your work. Don’t miss it! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop by for a look at several gorgeous landscape paintings absolutely burst

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