SF BLOG

February 13, 2018

Two Easy Ways to Develop the Focal Point of Your Painting

There are a number of different ways to develop the focal point of your painting. In this post, I am sharing two easy techniques for developing a focal point, plus a helpful list of other ideas. A focal point is a specific place of visual emphasis in your painting. It creates the center of attention. The focal point is the area that draws the eye of the viewer to the most important part of the painting.  Generally speaking, the focal point is most pleasing when it is placed off-center and away from the middle of the composition. However, many successful paintings have broken this ‘rule’ in art. Nearly 30 years ago, Robert Bateman taught me a simple technique to find the focal point on a canvas. Robert, a world renowned wildlife painter, often uses this system when compositing his elegant paintings.  Here’s how: Using a straight edge, first draw a diagonal line from the corner to corner on a canvas or panel. Next, find the center point of the canvas. Draw a line across the middle of the canvas, dividing the canvas into two equal rectangles. Now, draw a diagonal line from the lower right-hand corner across to the top corner […]
January 10, 2018

My New Painting Inspired by Japanese Kakejiku Scroll Art

Asian art has always inspired me. I love the simplicity, brilliant design and color harmonies these talented artists are able to achieve. My newest body of work has been loosely inspired by Japanese kakejiku scroll art. According to Wikipedia, a kakemono (掛物, “hanging thing”), more commonly referred to as a kakejiku (掛軸, “hung scroll”), is a Japanese scroll painting or calligraphy mounted usually with silk fabric edges on a flexible backing, so that it can be rolled for storage. To the right is an example of the beautiful balance, and pleasing composition the skilled kakejiku master can achieve. I have always been intrigued by the long shapes the Japanese scroll artists have used for their compositions. For the concept of my new oil painting, I sought out to create a 36″ x 12″ vertical winter scene with two lively chickadee birds as the subject matter. Although this is not the first time I have looked to the Japanese for inspiration, my latest series of bird paintings are a nod to them. On a hike, I found some dried foliage, or weeds that were the perfect backdrop for my little birds. Inspired by the burnt sienna coloration of the dried weeds, I decided to tone the canvas with a light coat […]
January 4, 2018

Beautiful Animation of Falling Snowflakes in a Snowy Owl Oil Painting

What a cool animation of my snowy owl oil painting! Much to my surprise, my daughter-in-law made this beautiful animation of my snowy oil painting as a gift for me on Christmas!! It reminds me of something out of Harry Potter and I only wish my painting could actually do this in real life. Well maybe someday. Below you can see my animated painting by Taylor Pelto McNee. I’m really proud of Taylor! She is a gifted 3D artist, a voice actress (the voice of Penny in the popular RWBY cartoon series) an art book author, and a Betta Fish breeder on Youtube AND the mother of my granddaughter – I’m lucky! Happy Holidays!! My snowy #owl painting, “Winter Watch” is now animated thanks to the talents of my daughter-in-law @100chihuahuas … Wouldn’t it be cool if my painting could do this in real life for my upcoming art exhibition at @kneelandgallery ??? #winterwonderland #snowyowl #snowyowl #gray #whiteout #white #snowday #contemoraryart #3danimation #westernartist #lorimcnee A post shared by LORI MCNEE ARTIST (@lorimcneeartist) on Dec 27, 2017 at 10:46am PST Anyway, I’ve been busy finishing up paintings for my upcoming winter exhibition at Kneeland Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho. I thought you would […]
November 20, 2017

Simple Steps to Outdoor Figurative Painting in Color

Colorist Camille Przewodek is acclaimed for her vibrant outdoor landscapes and figurative paintings. In this guest post, Camille reveals her unique approach to seeing and painting color and the effects of light in which the subject is seen. Simple Steps to Figurative Painting in Color.  The outdoor model Notan is a Japanese term for simplifying a visual design into light and dark. Everything in light is white and everything in shadow is black.  The Notan shown below was made on the computer from the photo of the model above. It was done by outlining the light areas and filling them in with white, and filling in the shadow areas with greenish grey. The Notan I did this to clearly point out what parts of my subject were in light and shadow, because when I paint I’m always careful to keep these areas well separated in terms of value. Also, the Notan shows that my composition is mostly shadow areas. For more dynamic visual interest, you usually want to avoid having equal areas of light and dark. To begin this outdoor figurative painting, I started out by sketching in the design with a light blue pastel pencil (CarbOthello #430) since the pastel […]
November 5, 2017

15 Books to Spark Your Creative Inspiration

Most all artistic people have experienced the dreaded feeling of looking at a blank canvas or computer screen while waiting for creative inspiration to spark. At times, creativity can be elusive. Nevertheless, contrary to popular opinion, creativity can be honed with effort and consistency. It’s helpful to set aside time for yourself to focus on honing your creativity, add it to your schedule. You should also know when to take a step back. Explore new mediums. Step away from your workspace and get some fresh air. If you have exhausted all of the popular tips for rejuvenation, try reading about someone else’s motivational story. Hearing how someone achieved success or happiness can inspire your own creative journey. The list of Best Books For Creatives featured in the infographic below was compiled by my friends at Invaluable. They have even included a short description and added an inspiring pinnacle quote. I’ve read quite a few of the books listed below, and I’m looking forward to adding some new titles to my own creative reading list. There’s a 16th book to add to this list! My book, Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee: Lessons of a lifetime. 24 modern-day masters share secrets to their success (and it is […]
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 […]
Central Fine Arts A blog about learning the techniques of classical and contemporary artists and the community of SF.