I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday 19 November 2012

My First Daily Paint Works Art Byte Tutorial

I was very pleased to be asked to participate in the Daily Paint Works ArtByte tutorial program. ArtBytes  are  low cost/ free quickie tutorials on a variety of subjects presented by Daily Paint Works artists. They are a recent addition to DPW and have already become quite popular.

My first  Art Byte describes my acrylic studio and my set up. It is free for viewing. I will follow that up with my set up for working acrylic plein air, for studio and plein air water-mixable oils. These will all be free to view. I will see how these go and if I think there is enough interest I will get into my approach to working with these mediums.

If you are interested please hit the ArtByte logo on the sidebar.

As for what else I am doing - still working away at improving my comfort with portraiture and figurative work. Will up date shortly.

Sunday 4 November 2012


I enjoy life drawing sessions. I am not a great fan of long poses but I love the quickies - from 2 minutes to 15 or so. Capturing those fast poses I find really helps me in drawing in general - simplification, triangulation, quick value studies etc. The benefits for me I think are best seen when working plein air . Plein air is "shooting from the hip " painting and requires quick observation and recording. 

Examples of quick line drawings on news paper  using pencil or markers - one to ten minutes. 

I have little patience for long poses so when poses over 30 minutes are held I generally make multiple interpretations of the same position using different tools and trying to simplify more with each statement

I said in an earlier post that my learning for the next few months would focus on oils and on figurative and portraiture - a follow up to my workshop at the Watts Atelier. I was pleased that I was able to attend another life drawing series in conjunction with that learning. 

What interests me this time and the reason for this post  is not line drawing but to take my water mixable oils and to do fast sketches using a variety of brushes to increase my confidence in drawing with oils - direct painting. I did a few of these quick studies a year ago and found them helpful. 

 This week I tried it again and again found it very helpful, particularly working with the different brushes,  that I have decided to continue to use the oils at future life drawing classes. The one thing I found in common with all of  these was that I felt most confident when working on a dark ground. In most cases on black gesso. The two above were done on linen - 8x10 and 6x10 . Two below were done on Terraskin ( I mentioned earlier my love for working on this product with oils)  treated with black gesso the other on clear gesso primed linen - all 8x10. All quick studies. 

I worked with a limited palette - yellow ochre, vermillion, ultramarine blue and ivory black - basically the Zorn palette - and simply tried to block in and play a bit with values and colour temperature. It was trying  the suggestive brushwork and a variety of brushes that seems to be most helpful for my learning.  

Nice thing about the WM oils is that I am not bothering anyone else in the room. 


I paint a lot - normally over 300 pieces a year. I am represented by half a dozen galleries, enter shows regularly and display art in a number of locations. I hate working with records and numbers and resent the time they take. But as my works pile up and I grow commercially I know that I need organization - so I struggle along and try to stay on top of things. 

For the past few years I have been working with an Australian product  called Flick. It is quite good and I recommend it. I have placed my database (file holding my records) in Dropbox ( a cloud storage system) that lets me access my records from my desktop, from my laptop while traveling and from my tablet  as needed. System works well as long as I stay on top of it. But I often let it slip and it piles up to the point that I can't face it. 

I subscribe to the blog of Lori McNee. In  a recent post she recommended a new software program for artists that she was instrumental in testing called Artwork Archive .  This is a cloud based program that you access on line. I took advantage of their free trial period and liked it - a lot. It is much simpler and more intuitive than Flick - but not as complete. But complete enough for me. All I want is a record of each piece, including image, where it is located, its price, when sold etc. I need to be able to keep track of my gallery holdings and be able to print out gallery records etc. This one works well. You can also export to Excel and print out records that way.  Price is good as well. I have taken the Masters - which gives me unlimited number of images. If you order via the Lori McNee blog there is 20% off for the first year - cost about $60 which I think is reasonable if it helps me to get control of my life.

Take a look.