Saturday, November 22, 2014

Video Interview in the Studios of Artists Network TV

In case you missed it, here is a short video interview with me that was shot while I was at the studios of Artists Network TV recently.  (The link is a playlist that will also play the previews of my three new videos, so keep watching!)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Paintings for Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon National Park

I've just delivered ten paintings to the gallery at the historic Kolb Studio at Grand Canyon National Park.  As you may recall, the exhibition from the September "Celebration of Art" (the Grand Canyon Plein Air Festival) will run until mid-February.  The artists who were invited are asked to supplement work as it sells.  Since a lot of my paintings from the event have sold, I painted a short series of small paintings on a dusk/dawn theme.

If you're interested in any of the paintings, please contact Robb Seftar, Gallery Manager, at 928-638-2771 or  As a reminder, the exhibition is a fund raiser to support a new art museum at the Park's South Rim.  And yes! They will ship.

Here is the dusk/dawn series:

Dawn's First Light 6"x8" oil - $200 framed

Journey's Start 6"x8" oil - $200 framed

Last Light 6"x8" oil - $200 framed

Mysterious Canyon  6"x8" oil - $200 framed

Shadowed River  6"x8" oil - $200 framed

The Hinterlands  6"x8" oil - $200 framed

And here are some more pieces that went up with the little ones:

Moran Point 12"x24" oil - $1200 framed
This painting was featured in The Artist's Magazine September 2013 issue

Last Night's Storm 9"x12" oil - $600 framed

Cool Day 6"x6" oil - $200 framed
Temple 6"x8" oil - $200 framed
(I based this studio piece on the larger 9x12 plein air piece above, "Last Night's Storm")

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chauvinism among Painters

Coffee Pot Ridge 9x12 oil - Available

Painters in one medium can learn a lot from painters in a different medium. For example, in my workshops, where I demonstrate in both pastel and oil, I encourage pastel painters to watch the oil demo, and the oil painters to watch the pastel demo. Why? Because pastelists can learn about color mixing from oil painters, and oil painters can learn how to control value from pastelists.

Unfortunately, painters who work exclusively in one medium sometimes are chauvinistic when it comes to other media. I know oil painters who turn up their noses at pastels, and I also know pastel painters who scoff at oils. The problem seems to be worse with pastel painters, probably because pastel was, for many years, considered a lesser medium than oil. The underdog thinks he can't respect himself unless he feels that he's better than the top dog.  (Forgive me, fellow pastelists, but I've seen this time and again.)

All media are created equal. No medium is better than any other medium. It doesn't matter whether it's oil, pastel, gouache, clay, marble or digital bits. What really matters is what you do with it.

If you're a painter who works in just one medium, I encourage you to pick up a second. Not only does one medium inform another, but you will find yourself humbled when you first struggle with it. Humility is a virtue among artists.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Paintings from Albert Handell Mentoring Workshop

Although Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) has ended, you can still find
a few artifacts here and there in Sedona.  I'm especially amused by the fellow on the right.
This has little to do with the workshop, other than I found them in the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts
Village while looking for a painting spot.

I promised I'd post some of the paintings I made during Albert Handell's mentoring workshop last week.  I averaged one or two a day, depending on time and energy level.  I made a special attempt to put into practice some of the things he suggested and demonstrated to me during the week.  As he made his rounds to students, he always took the time to make personal suggestions, which I found very helpful.  In all but one of my paintings, Albert added a stroke or two - a darker accent, a lighter accent, richer paint, or thicker paint.

Without further ado, here they are.

City of Red Rocks 9x12 oil

Location shot for above.

This one didn't make the cut, but I'm surprised at how accurate
the drawing of the mountains is.

Coming Storm 9x12 oil

Evening Light, 11x14 oil

My Secret Spot, 12x18 pastel

Twisted Cottonwood, 16x12 oil

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Albert Handell Mentoring Workshop - Wrap-Up

Sunset Over Sedona

I just finished up an intensely wonderful painting workshop with master painter Albert Handell.  Normally when in a workshop, I faithfully blog each day so you can have an idea of what the day is like.  This week, however, it was all I could do to keep up with Albert.

Painting at Airport Mesa

Here's how each day generally went.  I'd roll out of bed at 4 a.m. to take care of necessities like e-mail, showering, breakfast and packing up.  By 8:30, I was at the studio or on-location for a demonstration or individual painting.  At noon, I'd have a short break before heading to the next location where Albert would give help at the easel.  Around sundown, we'd have another break, and then it was off to the studio by 6:30 for critiques.  I wouldn't get home again until about 8:30, at which time I'd immediately drop into bed for a few hours' sleep.  It was twelve intense hours - but those hours were filled with many good things.

This was Albert's mentoring (or paint-along) workshop for more advanced painters.  Prerequisites include having taken a workshop previously with either Albert or a similar instructor.  Albert knew exactly what we needed this week.  Because we were more experienced, Albert drove us a little harder than he would most.

Scoping Out Locations

On Saturday, as program coordinator, I met with Albert and his wife, Jeanine, to scope out possible painting locations.  We went as far as Page Springs and Cornville and found many that met with Albert's approval.  Of course, we couldn't use them all, but they are good to know about for future workshops.  Afterward, we had a nice lunch at Harry's Hideway, which also met with Albert's approval.

Dinner at REDS
Sunday evening, all the participants met at Sky Ranch Lodge, atop Airport Mesa, for orientation.  The sun was setting, and plenty of clouds created some truly grand effects on the mountains.   In fact, it was hard to round up all the painters, because they were all off snapping photos. Afterward, we made a "dry run" to the studio location so everyone could get to know where it was, followed by dinner at REDS.

Albert Demonstrates at Airport Mesa

Monday morning, we met at the scenic overlook on Airport Mesa.  Albert demonstrated how to paint the Sedona landscape in dry pastel by painting a view of shadows on the Coffee Pot formation.  We painted in the same spot until lunchtime, where we went to Reds again.  Afterward, we headed over to the Cultural Park to paint the view there, followed by separate dinners and critiques at the studio.  By the way, in addition to critiques, some time each evening was given to career-building topics:  how to deal with galleries, what are the best advertising venues, record-keeping for artists, and other useful advice from someone who has been a professional artist for nearly 60 years.

Albert Works Magic on my Painting

Tuesday, we met in the studio for a demonstration.  Albert showed his technique for painting dry pastel over a watercolor underpainting and how to paint trees.  Later that afternoon, we painted at the Jordan Historical Park in town, where we had some beautiful light on Mitten Ridge.  Critiques followed again after sundown.

Evening Critiques and Career-Building

Wednesday, we met in the studio again.  This time, Albert demonstrated in oil and showed us his technique for painting water pouring over rocks.   Later that day, we painted the gorgeous and very old cottonwood trees along a quiet bend of Oak Creek.

Albert's Oil Palette

Thursday was another studio start.  Albert worked in pastel again with a watercolor underpainting and demonstrated rocks.  (Always a helpful demonstration in Red Rock Country!)   In the afternoon, we painted along Spring Creek at a spot where there are some quiet waterfalls.  Critiques and career-building followed again.

Painting Spring Creek

For Friday, we had permission to paint the Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village in town.  This is a beautiful faux Mexican village with adobe walls, red tile roofs and sycamore trees.  Albert painted on-location and featured a sycamore tree and adobe wall in morning light.  Afterward, I enjoyed a nice lunch with Albert and Jeanine at El Rincon.  That afternoon, we all went to a secret spot along Oak Creek with more beautiful sycamores and cottonwoods.  Evening, of course, was devoted to critiques and questions about making a living as an artist.

Lucy - Our Studio Companion for the Week

Saturday was our farewell day.  We met in the studio to critique a larger body of work.  In addition to the work we created during the week, Albert wanted to see several more paintings that had been made in the last year or so.  His eye is sharp, and he can see in an instant where a painter might improve.  It was instructive listening to all the critiques, and I personally found many things that I could use to improve my own work.

Albert's Pastel Box

Like all the other participants, I was tired by the week's end - but it was, as they say, a "good" tired.  Now it's time to paint many more paintings with Albert's tips in mind.  I do think he's set me on a new and better path.  I highly recommend this mentoring workshop to artists who feel they have hit a plateau or who have questions about the art business.  As Albert says, "Try it - you may find you like it."

In my next post, I will include the paintings I made during the week.  But first, I offer below images of Albert's demonstrations.

Dry Pastel Demo - en plein air

Pastel with Watercolor Underpainting Demo - studio - SOLD!

Oil Demo - studio - SOLD!

Pastel with Watercolor Underpainting Demo - studio - SOLD!

Dry Pastel Demo - en plein air - SOLD!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Albert Handell Mentoring Workshop: Mid-Term Report

The Saturday before the workshop began, we scoped out painting locations.

As I write, I'm in the middle of a mentoring program for painters with Albert Handell.  He's in Sedona this week, and I'm serving as workshop coordinator.  Albert has us reporting at 8:30 each morning either to the studio or on-location, where we work until noon.  After a lunch break, we work until nearly sundown.  Then, each night at 6:30 we report back to the studio for a critique and career-building session.  Including breaks, it's an intense, 12-hour day - but filled with many good things.

Albert Handell working magic on my painting

Career-building in the evening

After the workshop ends Saturday afternoon, I'll write up a more detailed report, but this is all the time I can afford right now.  I've got to eat a quick breakfast and then head over to the studio to open it up for everyone.

But first, I'd like to remind you about my own Sedona plein air painting workshops, which run from now until April.  I'll share with you some of the things I learn from Albert!  For details, please visit

Moonrise over Munds Mountain

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Video News: Videos Now Available as DVDs, Downloads

Whenever I finish with a plein air event, I come home to find my desk piled high.  Some things have to wait, like bills, inventory updates and flu shot appointments.  One piece of news I didn't get until today is that my three new videos are available not only as DVDs but also as downloads.  So, for those of you who got rid of their DVD player at the last yard sale, this is good news!

Here are links to the product pages so you can order either the DVD or the download.  (Each page also features an 8-minute preview of these two-hour videos.)

The Secret to Oil Painting with Light & Color

The Secret to Oil Painting Wet-into-Wet

The Secret to Pastel Painting En Plein Air

This week, I am back to teaching my Paint Sedona plein air painting workshops in the Sedona area.  These will continue throughout the fall and winter.  (A perfect winter getaway!)  Also, don't forget I am offering my new "Paint Sedona Intensive" where you can get lodging, meals and one-on-one guidance.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sedona Plein Air Festival: Merit Award and Endgame

Award of Merit:  Canyon Light
11x18, pastel

Friday was the last day of painting, followed by a rehanging of walls before that evening's reception.  I wanted to get one little painting in before heading over to the galleries, so I took my gear down to Spring Creek, where the early morning sun was creating some beautiful, warm reflections in the otherwise shadowed creek.

Fluid Fall, 6x8 oil

After a break, I drove into town to rehang my walls.  For judging, we were permitted only two paintings in the main gallery.  In the second gallery, we were allowed to hang as many as we wanted, but the work had to be from our week.  Other pieces, painted elsewhere at other times, had to be removed.

I drove home, showered, ate lunch, picked up Trina and then drove back into town in time to vote for the Artists' Choice award.  At 4, the invited patrons began to filter in, and at 5, the doors opened to the general public.  Awards were announced at 6.

I was very pleased to win one of four Awards of Merit given out by artist Jim McVicker.  This was for my pastel, Canyon Light.  (The only other award he gave was Best of Show; there was no First, Second or Third Place award.)  After seeing his presentation the other night and learning about his 40-year journey as a painter, I came to respect and admire him a great deal, and so this award means a lot to me.

I spoke to him afterward, and he said, "I just kept coming back to this painting again and again.  When looking at it, I really felt like I was there."

Today, Saturday, artists will again be at the Sedona Arts Center from 10-3.  If you haven't bought an award-winning painting yet, this is your chance!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sedona Plein Air Festival: Day 6

Afternoon at Alcantara Vineyards

Thursday morning came, and went.  So did the painting I made.  It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but now and then a painting just doesn't work out.  One of the hallmarks of the mature artist is knowing when to scrape a painting in the field.

Trina was meeting her hiking group in Uptown around dawn, so after dropping her off, I headed up to Midgely Bridge where I'd painted earlier in the week.  I knew there was some standing water in the side canyon and thought that it, along with some backlit hills, would make a winner.  I took my biggest panel, a 14x18, and my cumbersome French easel, and walked back to the spot I picked out.

The canyon was all in deep shade when I began, but I felt confident enough in my skills to anticipate what the scene would look like when the sun got high enough to throw some light into it. I couldn't have been more wrong! Instead, the sun just turned the scene into a boxful of meaningless puzzle pieces.  To make matters worse, it cast a strong light on the hill directly behind me, throwing an orange glare on my panel. Value and color in my paint choices became unreadable.

I scraped off the panel.  I didn't feel my morning had been wasted, though.  I'd seen a beautiful sunrise.  But I'd also learned that the sun is a powerful agent of change and must be respected.  It can make - or break - a scene.

The Wall of Oil

On my way home, I stopped by the Sedona Arts Center and rehung my "Wall of Oil," adding my painting from the Page Springs Cellars afternoon.

After lunch, I drove down to Cottonwood for the "Confluence of the Senses" event.  This was at Alcantara Vineyards, right along the confluence of Oak Creek and the Verde River.  This magnificent estate has many beautiful buildings, lots and lots of vine rows and a fantastic location.    I didn't have a lot of time, though - paintings had to be framed and on display by 4 pm - so I settled in by the Chapel and got started.

At 4, the festivities began.  Music, wine and fine art provided a fun evening for both artists and collectors.  I am pleased to say that my piece, "Alcantara," sold to a couple from Dallas who were planning to put it in their newly redesigned kitchen.

Alcantara, 14x18 oil (sold)

By the way, the painting that sold was painted on that same 14x18 panel that I'd scraped down earlier.  I wonder:  If I'd painted a successful piece in the morning, would I have painted the one that sold that evening?

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