Friday, May 7, 2010

Dennis Sheehan Painting Demo

Dennis Sheehan. If you even mention tonalist landscapes, especially in regards to current painters, this guy is the man. I absolutely love Dennis' work and the influence definitely shows, maybe a little to much at times, in my work. I feel I was able to learn an awful lot by watching this video and wanted to share it with you. There's a few more of them floating around on YouTube, just type his name in the search box. Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stephen Brown's Landscape

I posted a long story of my relationship to with Stephen on my main Blog which I won't get into here. Here are some landscapes by Stephen Brown. Stephen loved color and his paintings are LOADED with colors. Stephen was able to sneak all kinds of colors into his paintings because of two things:

1. His values are spot on.

2. He "worked" the paint into the surface.
(I can show this in class better than I can explain it here.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Works by John Francis Murphy

John Francis Murphy studied with George Inness. He's far lesser known but I think his paintings are just fantastic. I know that the museum in New Britain has one or two that I think are on permanent display, but it has been a nearly a year since I've been there. (It's so close to, I might just go today....anyway.) What I enjoy about the pieces of his that I have seen up close is the quality of paint, and his surfaces.

I saw one fairly small panel of Muphy's, shame on me for not remembering the title, that was dated over a three year time period. I'm assuming this was something that was lying around in his studio that he would work on, then abandon, and return to from time to time. There was no dramatic sunset, there was no "ooohhh aahhh" hook to catch your eye. I didn't even really care to much for the image. What I went "gaga" over was the layers upon layers of paint, the scratching, the removal and addition, the push and pull. The surface contained so much tension I was absolutely captivated.
I think my point here is that paintings speak on different levels. I'm well aware I'm guilty of making a pretty painting or two but I believe as artists we need to strive toward a certain sincerity in our work. I'm not there yet, but I'm trying.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Plein Air Trip to the Florence Griswold Museum

We are going to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme on Saturday, March 20th. I'm going to be there no later than 9:00 am to start painting. Bring everything you'll need to paint but don't pack your studio, let's keep it light. I want you to bring at least two canvasses that are toned and ready to be painted. The museum opens at 10:00am and the cost of admission is $9.oo.

I'm packing my own lunch and I suggest you do the same, I'll have a bottle or two of a Cabernet to share but if you need more or if you don't like red wine... BYOB. :) I want to keep this on the informal side but I would like to do a tour of the museum together at 10:00, followed by a little demo for painting outdoors and then we'll have the rest of the day to paint. This should be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

For directions on how to get to the museum you can click HERE or send me an email.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

George Inness

We can't talk about this movement without talking about George Inness. His works, especially his late works, are a poetic response to the landscape. These paintings are not about the land being depicted, these are not plein air works. In many of his late works Inness was working solely in the studio. The landscapes became completely imaginary. Inness is using the landscape as a vehicle to depict man and his relationship to the natural world.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Glazing- transparent layer of bright color spread over the top of a lighter, opaque underpainting that is dry to the touch. Light travels through the glaze and is reflected back off of the underpainting. This causes a glowing effect similar to looking at a brightly lit white wall behind a film of colored cellophane. The thin oily layers of a glaze are easy to manipulate, facilitating the rendering of detail.

(Wiki again ;)

I want to add that glazing is also incredibly important for deepening shadows. While most people turn to glazing to achieve a “glowing” effect it is equally important in deepening shadows. Developing our shadow areas is really going to allow our brighter areas and highlights to “sing.” Viridian, Sap Green, Prussian Blue and Magenta are just a few of my favorite colors to use when I need to darken an area.

A glaze can be applied and then left “as is” to dry. Some artist even have “glaze days” where all they do is apply a few glazes and leave the piece to dry and be worked on at a later date.

Glazes can also be applied and then worked into while still wet. Experimentation and trial and error are so important as to finding what works for you. (I’ll demonstrate in class on how to “leave a glaze” and how to work into a wet glaze this Thursday.)

Working with oil glazes requires some planning ahead. Any glaze, regardless of how “bright” the color being glazed is, will bring your painting down in value. Keep this in mind while making your underpainting. Going to dark in your shadows early on will limit your use of glazes and may force you to opaquely paint over an area to brighten it up. (There’s nothing wrong with this, I do it all the time...just be conscious of this while working. Oil’s are wonderful and we can abuse them to our hearts content. Just be prepared to go back and forth adjusting values until you’ve reached your desired effect.) Paintings can be completed in two minutes or two decades, (some longer) so don’t try to rush things, and make sure you have more than one painting to work on at a time.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to add your opinion. This is a place to share and learn from each other.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is Tonalism?

I know this is not very original of me but it's a place to start. This is Wikipedia's definition of Tonalism.

Tonalism (1880 to 1915) is an artistic style that emerged in the 1880s when American artists began to paintlandscape forms with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. Dark, neutral hues, such as gray, brown or blue, would usually dominate such compositions. During the late 1890s American art critics began to use the term "tonal" to describe these works. Two of the leading painters associated with this style are George Inness and James McNeill Whistler.

Tonalism is also sometimes used to describe American landscapes derived from the French Barbizonstyle,[1] which employs an emphasis on mood and shadow.[2] Tonalism, in both its forms, was eclipsed by the popularity of Impressionism and European modernism.

Paintings by John Francis Murphy

Landscapes by Charles Warren Eaton

Supply List

This is the basic supply list for our class.

A canvas or panel primed and "toned" 11x14- 16x20ish (we will be going over toning your canvasses tmw)
A reference to work from- this could be a photo, sketch or picture of a landscape that you would like to paint

A palette- I recommend Richeson Grey Matters Paper Palette (they have this at Blick's and maybe Jerry's)

Palette knives- a couple of sizes will be helpful as we will be painting with these

Brushes- You can never have to many brushes, I use all kinds, get a bunch of different sizes and make sure you have one that's at least an inch wide


Titanium White
Flake White (or similar substitute)
Naples Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Burnt Sienna
Burnt Umber
Raw Umber
Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium Orange
Tere Verte
Sap Green
Ultramarine Blue

If you have the above colors you'll be in great shape. More colors are always welcomed but we can get a lot of mileage out of the colors listed here.

Medium- Liquin (Some people hate this stuff but I absolutely love it, if you want to stick to a more traditional medium such as linseed oil that is fine I'm just a Liquin addict.)

Your also going to need some rags, you can't paint without rags.