Blog

April 16, 2018

Pro Tips for Painting with Water-Mixable Oils

For nearly 20 years, I have been painting with water-mixable oils. Before that, I primarily painted with acrylics as a wildlife artist. Although I loved acrylic paint, I was ready to loosen up oil paint, but I didn’t want to use solvents. Once I discovered water-mixable oils, and I have never looked back… @2018 Lori McNee “Evergreen Mist” 24×48, Oil on canvas Since then, I have tried almost every brand of water-mixable oils (WMO) on the market. There are definitely some similarities and some differences between the different solvent-free brands. Here are my pro tips and other helpful information for painting with water-mixable oils: Without getting too technical, WMO are just like traditional oil paints except they use an emulsifier which enables water and oil to mix. This emulsifier is a modifier which eliminates the necessity for turpentine or other dangerous solvents to thin paint and clean brushes and other supplies. Some popular WMO brands use a detergent as the emulsifier which, in my opinion, causes them to feel a bit sticky. It might take traditional oil painters a little bit to get used to this feeling. This is why I prefer painting with WMO by Cobra of Royal Talens. […]
March 15, 2018

From Duck Stamps to Monet’s Garden – Interview with Lori McNee

“Lori McNee – From Duck Stamps to Monet’s Garden” is an excerpt from a recent interview by Eye on Sun Valley, an online Idaho news channel. Lori McNee in her Idaho studio. From Duck Stamps to Monet’s Garden – Interview with Lori McNee STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK Lori McNee’s mother once told her that she could hold a bird in her hands if she sprinkled salt on its tail. The 5-year-old took her mother’s words to heart, running around the back yard of her Scottsdale, Ariz., home trying to sprinkle salt on birds’ tails so they couldn’t fly. She never did become the great bird catcher she imagined. But Lori did get to see birds up close and personal thanks, thanks to a neighbor lady who rehabilitated injured birds, keeping them in cages in her living room. “Evergreen Mist,” 24-by-48-inch oil on canvas, is part of the 2018 winter exhibition at Kneeland Gallery. And today birds dominate many of McNee’s oil paintings. McNee has included paintings of Bohemian waxwings, hummingbirds, ravens and a snowy owl in her exhibition currently on display at Kneeland Gallery in Ketchum. And she will be wearing her art during the Valentine’s Gallery Walk from […]
March 6, 2018

Helpful Negative Drawing Tips Revealed by Pencil Artist

A pencil artist reveals helpful negative drawing tips to produce vibrant highlights, textures, grasses, hair, feathers, fur and more! Negative drawing is a drawing technique in which the artist uses the white of the drawing paper (negative space) and surrounds it with positive marks (positive space) to build up the darkest values with layers of graphite. While browsing Instagram one day, I was immediately captivated by the beautiful animal drawings of pencil artist, Kathryn Hansen. It’s wonderful to have Kathryn share her drawing tips with us. ***** Heron My Own Again, aka Edgar was inspired by my many trips to beautiful Balboa Lake in Van Nuys, CA. What I love about Edgar is not only his simple beauty but that he has a full range of values in his portrait. Values are so critical in creating dynamic graphite drawings. Values help produce the illusion of 3D on a 2-dimensional surface. It’s one of the most important negative drawing skills to learn as a realistic pencil artist to bring your drawings to life. “Value does all the work and color gets all the glory,” author unknown. Value is the degree of lightness and darkness in your drawing. Proper value will give your […]
February 25, 2018

Paint Tuscany with Lori McNee

Back by popular demand, “Paint Tuscany with Lori McNee.”  Join me (Lori) for an exclusive workshop adventure into the beautiful Tuscan countryside of Lucca, Italy! Now is your chance to go plein air landscape painting under the Tuscan sun…in October 7-13 or 14-20 2018! Last October 2017, I led an amazing Italian painting adventure at Casa Berti in Tuscany. The weather was warm and perfect for outdoor painting. My 2017 “Plein Air Painting Under the Tuscan Sun” workshop filled very quickly and it even had a waiting list. So, for 2018 we are offering TWO amazing sessions. When? First session: October 7 – October 13, 2018  or Second session: October 14 – 20, 2018 Sign up for one session, or sign up for two! (Please refer to our Terms & Conditions agreement before booking. Sign up for two sessions and receive a 15% discount!). BOOK NOW below. Spend 6 nights, and 5 days plein air painting under the autumn Tuscan sun! Each day you will be surrounded by olive orchards, vineyards, villas and picturesque buildings. A smiling student painting her value study. Plein Air Painting Under the Tuscan Sun workshop student entering Casa Berti’s studio. Where You Will Stay: You will be […]
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 […]