Don’t go to art school

Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, likes to say that degrees from the nonprestigious schools are just expensive dunce caps. He means that today higher education is close to worthless, except that degrees from the top schools still get you interviews. I think he’s right. Don’t go to college unless you’re in the right STEM…

Photography

I’m a Nikon fanboy. My Nikon D750 is the best piece of gear that I’ve ever owned. Of course, good consumer that I am, I’m lusting after the Z 7 ii that Nikon announced last week. I’m not a pro photographer–far from it. Actually, I have a confession to make. When I was starting out,…

White siccative

I’ve written plenty of times about my medium. My medium is perfect for me but there are some corner cases. The medium is darkish and for the high-key colors, it can be too strong. White siccative is not found in the literature as much as the dark variety that I am used to, siccative Courtrai.…

My easel is not worthless

I wrote glowingly about the Utrecht easel that I purchased. I said that it was a great bargain–an under-$300 medium-duty easel. But soon a support broke and the mechanism to lower and raise the tray support was frustratingly difficult to use. My praise transformed to scorn. I repaired the broken support with glue and a…

Odd day

I was in the studio at 6:00 AM to prepare my palette. I had to scrape-down the entire surface. Most mornings I take a pause to gather my thoughts before starting to paint, but yesterday I plunged right in. I couldn’t wait to pick up the brush. Things were going great when I put down…

In the kitchen

For the most part, I’ve stopped showing the early stages of my paintings. One thing that I’ve learned after running this site for 8 years is that readers assume that I only post finished work–the opposite of what I actually do. But one of the reasons for this blog is pedagogical. I like sharing information…

Watercolors yes

I was a little rusty with watercolors when I started this painting. It’s good-quality paper but I forgot to dampen it before I started. Duh. I finally got it going and finished it quickly (for me–2 sessions). I plan a series of small (9″ x 12″) watercolors like this one. The goal is to keep…

Watercolor colors

My recently-started watercolor cycle represents the first watercolors that I’ve done for sometime. I still have a good supply of colors, papers, and brushes. Of course, I never use my watercolor brushes for oils. This photo shows my favorite watercolor palette. It has enough compartments to contain my normal color selection. My watercolor palette contains…

New ink drawings

Yesterday, I was preparing for some watercolor work by inventorying my watercolor supplies. I have an acceptable collection of colors and paper. Puttering with the watercolors led to playing with gauche, which led to painting with ink…which finally led to these unplanned drawings. The two ink drawings are on Arches’ artboards. The self-portrait is on…

Arguing with a painting

I’ve had a long argument with this as-yet-untitled painting. The argument started as soon as I completed the original design. I spent time taking things out of the design after it was supposed to be finished. I work hard on designs and only start painting with the drawing is finished. But it’s a large painting,…

Modestly-priced panels for oil

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) makes a good (and cheap!) support for painting and drawing. A 4′ x 8′ piece from a lumberyard is $20. That is 40 9″ x 12″ panels for less than .50$ per panel. If you don’t have a table saw, you can buy a pack of 12 pre-cut panels for 1$ –…

Ugly colors

There are no ugly colors. This is a bit of conventional studio wisdom that is actually true. When I was starting out, I used a limited palette out of necessity. My palette had a lot of ochres, browns, and earth colors–the cheap paints. Limited palette users quickly learn that you can paint almost anything with…