It Is So Simple

R-Happiness 13-004

The History: This is my story and I’m sticking to it… for now.

Pure joy to create… I mostly used a pallet knife… I can still feel the fluidity of the lines as I painted them… it flows in many directions, from the center of the canvas, I loved the challenge of using only black and white paint to express the vibrancy and life I found in the orange & red, Happiness paintings. I did this one shortly after reading the second Abarat book by Clive Barker and I feel his influence on it. You want to see this one up close, to see the waves of paint and how they flow like a rain drenched window.

The Technique: How I did this awesomeness!

The outlines were drawn on the gessoed in charcoal then I began to play. Filling in the large areas of the figure with color and leaving it thin enough to dry faster, but not too fast, so I can mix the oils with highlights and shadows as desired. The background was next and I did a big no-no on it… I used my fingers. I don’t recommend this, especially if you are using paints with lead or cadmium in them. I finished using a liner brush (not my favorite kind of brush, for it requires a steadier hand than mine) to outline the figure in black.

The Influence: Confessions of a Plagiarist, sort of

The strongest influences here are the paintings of Clive Barker, done for his Abarat series and my deep love of African art. The purity of expression is all emotion for me. What do you see in it?

The Parliament Funkadelic Smiles On You When you buy The Artist’s Stuff: Prints, Mugs, T-Shirts, Pillow, Shower Curtains, and other awesome stuff.

What inspires an artist?

“All they see” is the first and most literal answer.

For me, that is literally hundreds of gallery & museum exhibits, thousands of books, and tens of thousands of images online. 

When asked where to start a book collection, I almost always recommend these art bibles: Janson’s “History of ArtOR Phaidon’s “The Art BookBoth give a nice overview with good pictures. Once you’ve discovered what you are attracted to there most, you can then dig deeper into that area.

If I had to pick only a few of my major influences, which is a very difficult task, it would be Modigliani, Picasso, Van Gogh, & Andrew Wyeth. Here are a few of the best books I recommend from them.


Modigliani: Drawings 102 Colour Plates

Picasso:Man & His Work Part 1

Picasso: The Man and His Work – Part 2

The Mystery of Picasso

Picasso Line Drawings and Prints 

Picasso Portraits

Picasso Sculpture

Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook:   

Van Gogh: Complete Works

Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In

Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic

Here are a few others from my personal library, I return to over and over again.

Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis

SHAG: The Collected Works:

Original Sin: The Visionary Art Of Joe Coleman



Vilallonga : les lieux du rêve =: Vilallonga : cloister of dreams



Diego Rivera: Complete Murals 

If you have the time, you are free to visit my GoodReads library to see a fraction of the books I’ve read. The ones I remember, that is. Or you can visit the ever growing collection of images on my Pinterest account.

The Materials: Quick! Order this stuff right now, AND You too can make masterpieces!

Oil Paint Supplies:

Stretched Canvas: The Review: Sargent brand offers a double primed surface, which allows you to use less paint on the painting and to take advantage of the pure white for building up layers and depth. As you get more comfortable with your materials, you may find something that suits you better. I get a private label brand at my local Omer Des Serres

nb: I put a sample of a different size as a link to buy some and you can get these in almost any size!

Oil Paints: Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Color is the brand I’ve used most commonly for the basic colors. Like many painters, you will need a large tub of Liquid white and a big tube of black too. As you develop your mixing skills, you may choose others in large quantities. Paints with higher quantities of Cadmium, Sink, or Lead tend to have more vibrant colors but are much more toxic to use. Warning: if using these, never sharpen your brush with your mouth or fingers… actually, this is a good rule for all paints.

Brushes: The Review: It’s best to have natural fibres, like Hog hairs – 100% Pure Hog Hairs = No Shedding. Make sure to have some paint thinner nearby while working to help keep the brushes clean. Don’t let them get gummed up. With care quality brushes will last many years. It’s handy to have a large selection of brushes like the one in this kit: Fan: Size 4, 8 Flat: Size 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 30 Round: Size 2, 6, 8, 12, 14, 20, Flat Brush: Size 5.

Pallet Knives: A basic set is more than enough to work with, but there are a many marking effects that can be accomplished with the stranger looking ones… so go ahead and have some fun. Here are two sets I recommend for their variety, flexibility, and quality: 1- 5 Pcs Artist Painting Palette Oil Paint Knives Spatula Set, 2- Raih 9 Stainless Steel Special Effect Painting Knife Set Pallet Artist’s Spatula

Paint Thinner: You can go all out and get the Speedball Art Products Mona Lisa 1-Gallon Odorless Paint Thinner. The lack of door helps work in smaller studios and it keeps well for a long time, if well capped. If you are working in a well ventilated area, you can grab some paint thinner from the local hardware store. Keep it in a mason jar and use it as you paint to help keep the brushes clean.

Note: You should be able to clean the brushes with dish soap, after you’ve been soaking them in  thinner. Just wear thick rubber gloves so as not to get the paint and chemicals on your skin. It will irritate it and get absorbed into your system.

Paint Mixing Pallet: Get a wood one, it is easier to maintain with oils. Any local art supply store will have inexpensive ones in various sizes. If it feels comfortable to hold, get that one!

Photoshop for Mac:  The Review: You could use the free “ MAC Photos” program or Picassa and get similar results, but Photoshop offers you the flexibility of presenting yourself as a pro photographer, like no other program. There’s a reason it’s considered the best of the best, after all. So, this allows you the possibility of selling this service to others and funding more of your creativity.

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ Laptop: The Review: You may choose to get an iMac for the bigger screen, and I couldn’t disagree with the beauty of working with the 24” screen. I picked the laptop, because of the need to be mobile and the flexibility of multi-purposing it to use for client demos. As an alternative to the weight of this model, I would suggest the MacBook Air 13”. Most of us have become accustomed to mobile device size screens and it is much easier to carry around.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR: The Review: My first DSLR camera was the EOS Rebel T3. This one is vastly superior to the old model. Canon has a well deserved reputation of having top rated cameras. It requires a little play time to master it, and that time will be lessened by defining a clear idea of what you want to do with it, then jumping on YouTube for the multitude of How To videos. If you want a smaller camera to carry around, try Canon EOS M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera OR go small & powerful with the Canon PowerShot Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD & built in wifi.

Canon PIXMA MX492 Inkjet Printer:The Review: For me this has been the easiest to use for cleaning and cartridge replacement. It works reasonably well with recycled inks and the wireless is easy to set-up. The Canon has worked best for me on ink usage. When purchasing printers, always consider the cost of ink replacement… for the most part, this is the big difference right now in printers. For big reproduction lines it is better to outsource. For scanning, they are as good as the camera in them… this is one reason I’m a fan of Canon products. It does do a nice job on printing photos on good photo paper, and the black print is crisp and clean, provided you do regular cleanings and keep it dust free.

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