Paint Less, Practice More

January 27, 2014
White objects, value study in watercolor, about 11x14 in.

White objects, value study in watercolor, about 11×14 in.

It occurred to me as I was teaching a workshop this weekend that new artists often take on the task of painting a “real” painting without doing any practice first. In fact, many don’t practice at all, but regard every painting as a formal painting that should turn out ready to be framed. It simply doesn’t work that way! In order to build a consistent quality of work, you need to practice more and not put pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece every time you pick up a brush. That should not even be your intent when you are practicing, you should instead be focused on learning and being aware of your strengths and the areas you need to address.

For example, in the study above, I was focused on:

– creating a sense of volume and form through the use of values

– comparing object placement and size to get the correct proportional relationships

– allowing the paint to form lost and found edges based on the way the shadows and light interplay with foreground and background

– paint flow and control without sacrificing fluidity

Did I get a masterpiece out of doing this? NO! of course not, but I did get a study that has an interesting composition, properly drawn forms, correct value relationships and a pleasant color harmony–so, all in all, a decent painting. Again, not a masterpiece, but a good painting.  The point is, the more frequently you paint in practice mode, the more consistent you become in building the skills that will make even your practice paintings good, viable studies that show that you have a firm understanding of the principles of painting. From there, you can continuously build and develop your skills and as you do, many of these principles will become second nature. That is when you will truly start to see improvement in your confidence and what will allow you to become more creative.

Every painting you paint will never be a masterpiece, but the more practice you do, the more consistent and confident you will become. That will allow you to produce your best work and get the most satisfaction from the process of creating.


My Classes for Jan. 21 at VACNJ are CANCELLED due to the Approaching Storm

January 21, 2014

Attention VAC NJ students. ALL of my classes for today, Tuesday, January 21, are CANCELLED. The art center is open as of now but I will not be there. We will have a MAKE UP at the end of the semester. Stay safe!

Online Course vs. DVD: Interaction Makes the Difference!

January 13, 2014
Bridge in 2-point perspective, watercolor & ink

Bridge in 2-point perspective, watercolor & ink – Learn one, two and three point perspective in my online course, as well as atmospheric perspective, details below.

Over and over I have been asked “When are you going to make some DVDs of your drawing and painting courses?” After much consideration, I have decided that instead of DVD, I am going to begin offering some courses online. I have always felt that DVD was too one-sided, lacking the interaction needed to understand the concepts of drawing and painting. I don’t talk “at” my students in class, I would be very uncomfortable with the idea of presenting to an audience that could not ask me questions or let me know whether the concepts are clear or not. Hence, I think online long-distance learning is the right path for me to take in offering my courses to a broader audience.

1, 2, 3 Perspective is now Available Online

I decided to start my venture into online course offerings with a mini version of a course I teach at the Visual Arts Center of NJ, “1, 2, 3 Perspective”. Many artists struggle with the concepts of perspective or are afraid of it. Anyone who wishes to paint effective representational paintings, particularly landscapes, needs to have a thorough grasp on all forms of perspective. I teach the course from an artist’s point of view rather than an engineering approach, focusing on understanding the gestural properties of each type of perspective and how they can be used to create accurate, bold compositions that draw the viewer into the painting.

The course consists of 4 lessons that contain an introduction to each concept: one-, two-, three-point perspective, and atmospheric perspective. After reading the text, the student completes 2 exercises designed to reinforce the concepts presented. Once completed, the student takes a photo of the work done in the exercises and emails it to me for personalized critique. I actually make a print out of their images and mark the corrections right on the copy so they can see EXACTLY where their drawings are off and how to fix them! No DVD will do that. Additionally, I provide feedback to them on how to make their drawings  more confident and graceful.

The materials used in the course are minimal: vine charcoal, compressed charcoal and a stick of white pastel on newsprint (or any other paper suitable for charcoal that you happen to have on hand). The photos taken can be iPhone photos, as long as I can see the drawing, I can critique it. Students are encouraged to email any questions they have along the way as they are doing the exercises. I reply to all emails within 24 hours of receipt.

Privacy and Convenience

One of the best aspects of online learning is the fact that you do it in your own home/studio and at your convenience. There’s no driving to class or carting supplies, plus, if you feel intimidated working in front of other artists, working independently may help to build your confidence. This is especially true for beginners!

You also are free to learn at your own pace. We work on one concept at a time, so when you finish the first lesson and have an understanding of the concepts taught in it, you then move on to Lesson 2. Some students take longer than others due to busy schedule or they just like to take their time, that’s totally fine. Take as long as you need, I provide the critiques within 24 hours of submission and then forward the next Lesson which is completed in your own time frame.

How to Sign Up

This course is affordably priced and there are several payment options, if you are interested in finding out more details, or have questions about the content, please email me at