SF BLOG

October 9, 2017

Exclusive Monet’s Garden Landscape Painting Workshop 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the French Impressionists. Back by popular demand, join artist Lori McNee for an exclusive week of landscape painting in Monet’s Garden! You will have the unique opportunity to paint and photograph in the magical garden of Claude Monet – without the general public, September 5 – 12, 2018. In 2018, space is limited to only 8 workshop participants (all painting levels are welcome and photographers are too) in this new, exclusive workshop format. Get your spot now because you deserve this trip of a lifetime! In May 2017, my class had 12 workshop students from beginners to advanced painters. You can read about our extraordinary trip here. > https://www.finearttips.com/2017/05/memories-giverny-painting-monets-garden/  Imagine painting and photographing the famous water lily pond that inspired Claude Monet’s masterworks, the Nymphéas! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO OR SIGN UP!   Lori McNee and the Nymphéas at the Orangerie Musee Stroll over, photograph, or paint from Claude Monet’s Japanese footbridge! This bridge was featured in many Monet’s masterful paintings!   During this quality artists’ retreat you will be one of the few to visit Monet’s personal sanctuary during after-hours. A favorite memory of mine was watching the master gardeners busy at work before Monet’s Garden […]
October 3, 2017

An Easy Art Studio Lighting System for Better Paintings

Proper art studio lighting is one of the most important factors to a successful painting. Over the years, I have used many types of art studio lighting from North Light (great, but NL is limited to working during daytime hours) to artificial lighting.  I have tried many alternatives that have been both expensive and disappointing. Lori replaced one track light on her studio ceiling with the ML-Direct lighting system. A while ago, I installed an overhead shop light, and color corrective bulbs which were supposed to emulate North Light. My finished paintings looked great while on the easel in my studio but to my dismay, some of the paintings looked darker when framed and hung in the gallery. At times, I even had to repaint areas on my paintings to raise the values! I was very frustrated until last spring when I discovered a fantastic new type of art studio lighting ! ©2017 Lori McNee “Icy Evening” 20×24, oil on linen. Method Lights helped me create the array of beautiful colors within this painting. It was accepted into the American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition. I was at the Plein Air Convention and Expo in San Diego when I heard the buzz about […]
September 28, 2017

Easy Tips for Packing and Shipping Encaustic Art Safely

Painting with encaustic wax is a joy. I love the organic, translucent qualities of the finished piece. But, shipping encaustic art can be a bit tricky, and even mysterious. I have been a serious encaustic painter for nearly 5 years. My work is exhibited around the West, but I have avoided shipping my encaustic art for fear of damage, special crating, and huge shipping costs. Encaustic art is prone to chipping and damage in extreme temperatures. It can crack or shatter in cold conditions, and melt in heat. Encaustic art should be treated like you would an living creature. For example, you wouldn’t leave your pet in an overheated car in the middle of summer, nor freezing temperatures during the winter. Because of this, I have always hand-delivered my paintings! ©2016 Lori McNee “Spring Moment” 12×9 However, this past summer my painting, “Spring Moment” was featured in a special juried exhibition at the Encaustic Art Institute in New Mexico. The exhibition showcased artists and myself from the book, “Encaustic Art in the Twenty-First Century” by Schiffer Publishing. My piece was selected for the Encaustic Art Institute’s permanent collection!  Great, but I had to get my fragile encaustic painting all the […]
September 27, 2017

Ways to Protect Your Health in the Art Studio

After nearly 30 years of being a professional artist, I’ve discovered it is important to enjoy your creative side while taking steps to protect your health in the art studio. In an effort to be eco-friendly and to keep the air quality in my home-studio healthy, I have always painted with solvent-free, water-mixable oil paints (by Cobra) to create the majority of my artwork. I’ve also educated myself on the health standards of my art materials. Nevertheless over recent years, I have also added encaustic wax and cold wax mediums to my artistic repertoire. These mediums are fun and lovely to work with. I am able to achieve unique textures, depth and luster in my paintings when using them. However, encaustic and cold wax mediums are not solvent-free, so I have had to modify my studio and work habits. A few years back, I created my little encaustic work station as seen in the picture below. A simple kitchen range hood is vented to the outside and creates a great little encaustic workstation. I also used an auto drip-pan to keep my table flame retardant. Since then, I’ve been working on larger formats so I expanded my workstation and added a powerful VentAFume.com system. You can […]
September 24, 2017

3 Art Website Upgrades Serious Artists Need to Know

Keeping an art website operating well is mandatory for the serious artist. Art website upgrades are important to understand due to technological changes, website security issues and changes in search engine optimization (SEO). Artists need to have not only a well-designed website, but one that can be easily found by search engines and is secure to anyone who visits the website. At a minimum, an artist’s website should provide the viewer with a sample of the artist’s art, an overview of their experience, an opportunity for a viewer to purchase their art, and their contact information. Though an art website is the beginning of the selling process, a poorly designed or ineffective website can prevent a prospect from investigating that artist’s work further. Here are 3 Art Website Upgrades to help an artist “adjust” and maintain a professional looking website: 1. Install an SSL Certificate: An SSL Certificate installed on an art website is essential for any viewer’s security and also for the owner of the website’s overall page ranking. Just what is an SSL Certificate? An SSL Certificate automatically encrypts files of an organization’s details. When an SSL Certificate is installed on a web server, it activates a padlock […]
September 17, 2017

Discover How To Turn Imagination into Art

We all have an imagination. But, it takes a special skill to hold an image in thought and turn that imagination into art. ©2016 Lori McNee, Summertime, 20×20, encaustic on cradled birch panel Art-making can be a natural gift, a learned skill, or a combination of both. Making art is difficult and it takes perseverance, imagination, and a lot of hard work. Throughout the ages, even the most talented artists have had to work for years to perfect their art. I often get asked how I continue to find fresh ideas and inspiration for my paintings. Most often I am inspired by nature, color, light and shadow, patterns, and design. Sometimes I am inspired by another artist, or an abstract painting. Or, it might be an old Japanese screen or unique vessel that triggers my imagination. I thought you might enjoy discovering how I turn my imagination into art. The paintings in this post are my recent series of works which are on display at Kneeland Gallery in Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho. Please contact them for more information. (208) 725-5512 or email me, lori@lorimcnee.com  Discover How To Turn Imagination into Art The Trailing of the Sheep Festival is a popular Americana […]
September 14, 2017

Plein Air Painting Under the Tuscan Sun in Lucca, Italy

Join me and Art Escape Italy this October in for Plein Air Painting Under the Tuscan Sun in Lucca, Italy! Immerse yourself in the beautiful Italian countryside for a week of plein air landscape painting. October 15 – October 21, 2017. My workshop will be based out of beautiful, Casa Berti, a 17th Century Tuscan estate 14km from the beautiful Renaissance city of Lucca. Over 5 days and 6 nights, participants will discover how to observe, study, and interpret the light, color, texture and rhythm of the rich Tuscan landscape. Traditional oil painters, watermixable oil painters, and open acrylic painters of all skill levels are welcome. I am a trained master artist in watermixable, solvent-free oils, so this would be a great opportunity to learn to use them. Click the button below to learn more about Art Escape Italy and this workshop! You will find the workshop itinerary, materials list, accommodation information, what to bring and much more. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE I will guide you through simplified steps to paint a believable landscape. Each day you will focus on the fundamentals of design, value, edges, color mixing and harmony, as well as brushwork. With plenty of one-on-one attention, I will help you discover how to cultivate familiar and […]
September 7, 2017

Using Japanese Notan Design Principles For Plein Air Painting

Recently, I’ve been reviewing the Japanese design term known as Notan. This ancient Japanese word literally means “light-dark balance.” The Notan is an ideal type of study for finding the shapes and patterns that serve as the foundation of every composition. In one of my favorite art books, Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow, Notan is covered in depth. In plein air, landscape painting, Notan is more than merely depicting light and shadow. Instead, the artist uses every line, light and dark to create a deliberate design. This week, I am taking my workshop students to Giverny, France to plein air paint in Monet’s Garden! Monet’s Garden is a feast for the eyes! However, with all the beautiful bramble of color, textures and patterns, it will be complex for the novice (and advanced!) landscape painter. I plan to introduce my workshop students to the principles of Notan. We will use Notan as a tool to simplify their plein air compositions using thumbnail sketches beginning with only two values. Once they feel comfortable, we will add a tone of gray, midway between the two extremes of black and white. I found a few simple online tools to help me illustrate the use of Two […]
September 4, 2017

Visiting Van Gogh and The Church at Auvers

After a long day of travel from Idaho, I’m finally here in Giverny, France. This week, I’ll be teaching my special painting workshop in Monet’s Garden.  On our way to Giverny, the driver took us on an unexpected detour to visit the grave of Vincent Van Gogh and the Church at Auvers. Auvers is the quant little town which has been made famous because this is where Van Gogh chose to paint and live the final years of his life.  This is also where in 1890, Van Gogh painted the famous oil painting, The Church at Auvers which now hangs in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France. I felt humble to stand in the same exact location where Van Gogh painted!  Lori McNee pictured on the left with fellow artist, Shanna Kunz on the right After I posted the above picture to Facebook, my friend James Coulter made an insightful remark saying, “It amazes me how he elevated everything he painted to a higher realm, instead of just trying to “copy” it. To me, that is the measure of a true artist.” Ironically, Vincent and his faithful brother Theo are both buried in the church graveyard. I was actually surprised […]
September 2, 2017

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet’s Garden

(*Join me in Monet’s Garden for my “Spectacular Autumn” workshop in Giverny, France. September 5-12, 2018. I’m taking applications here > ART COLONY GIVERNY .) Teaching a workshop and painting in Monet’s Garden at his home in Giverny, France was a dream come true! It all started when I was invited by Art Colony Giverny to teach a special workshop with the highlight of plein air painting in Monet’s Garden without the general public! Caroline of Art Colony Giverny enthusiastically welcomes us with open arms into Monet’s Garden! Upon announcing my workshop, I was honored it quickly filled up with 10 eager students. (please email me lori@lorimcnee.com to be added to my 2018 Giverny workshop waitlist). I was happy to add my good friend and fellow painter Shanna Kunz, as my teaching assistant. Each day, my students and I had the unique experience of painting in Monet’s Garden before opening and after closing hours. Eagerly awaiting our first morning inside Monet’s Garden. Each morning we entered through his big green garage doors. Every morning we were up early to capture the first morning light, and then back each evening to witness the changing skies, and colors of the magical garden. Our special time […]
Central Fine Arts A blog about learning the techniques of classical and contemporary artists and the community of SF.