Everyone loves a good story. Are your paintings communicating clearly and purposefully with a unique voice that speaks to your viewer? As visual artists, we are storytellers. We have a desire to express ourselves through our work. We do this by communicating with pictures to engage the viewer's imagination. This video will give you four tips to telling a compelling story through your art.
It's travel season here, with a number of art workshops in different areas throughout the country and abroad. Many of you have asked me what to bring and how to pack for a travel art workshop, especially when going abroad. In this video, I'll show you how to pack your carry-on luggage with all the pastel painting supplies needed for an efficient, portable painting setup.
Simply click here for the Travel Supply List with a lot of products that I recommend.
Would you like to join me in an upcoming workshop? Are there obstacles to your creative growth that you'd love to overcome in an inspiring and encouraging environment? There are some amazing opportunities just around the corner. We even have a couple of spots left next week in my Capturing Light: California workshop! Check out my workshop schedule, and find a workshop near you. I'd love to encourage your creative development.
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As promised, the followup video to last week's lesson, "5 Tips To Better Color" is here! I did my color exercise, and I hope you tried one as well. In this video, you'll see the results of my color study and the painting that emerged from this unique color approach. Enjoy!
So...did you take a crack at a color exercise? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to find out how you did, and whether you got a color breakthrough!
Want to learn more in an inspiring and encouraging environment? There are some amazing opportunities just around the corner to join me in a workshop, all the way from California to Croatia! Check out my workshop schedule, and find a workshop near you.
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Are you wondering how to get better color in your work?
I have been asked by many of you for help with color. I certainly want my paintings to sparkle with fresh color, and I bet you do as well! This new video shares five tips that you can use right now to improve the color in your work! I'm confident that if you do these five simple things, the brilliance of your paintings will shine through with newfound freshness.
Once you finish watching this short video, clear a pathway to your easel and start practicing these five tips to better color! Then, look out for part two of this video, as I share the results of my own color exercise with you.
In addition to the video, we've created a worksheet that you can print out and tack up next to your easel. This way you can put these five tips to work for you right away! Click the link below to download the worksheet.
Looking for even more inspiration and creative support? Check out my workshop schedule to find a workshop near you! Now have some fun with color.
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"Is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar?" - Chinese proverb
This December, I have been reflecting on the extraordinary opportunities of recent months. With first time workshops in locations as diverse as New Jersey, Texas, and China, it was an exciting time to say the least. Most notable in my journeys was my invitation to exhibit and teach at the 2nd Biennial International Pastel Art Exhibition in Suzhou China. It was as if Christmas came early this year with the exchange of creative gifts across many cultures.
This highly anticipated pastel event exhibited 60 international artists from 14 different countries alongside 40 Chinese artists to showcase 100 beautiful paintings at the stunning Ming Gallery of Art in Suzhou. It was a grand event celebrating a wide diversity of beauty, creativity, and style accomplished in the medium of pastel, attracting thousands of visitors from home and abroad made up of both artists and fans alike.
I had the privilege of sharing my gifts by teaching three portrait workshops at the Ming Jia Art Education Center, taking part in public lectures and painting demonstrations, plain air outings and visits to schools and universities around Suzhou to spread our passion for pastel.
As if this wasn't exciting enough, I was honored to share the stage with pastel luminaries such as Master Pastellists Isabelle Lim (HK), Tony Allain (UK), Liz Haywood-Sullivan (USA), Stan Sperlak (USA), Desmond O'Hagan (USA), and Editor-in-Chief of the Pastel Journal, Anne Hevener (USA). It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget.
I wanted to share some pictures of my experiences with you that provide a glimpse into this magical time of cultural exchange and creative sharing. The Ming Gallery of Art created a beautiful video commemorating the 2016 Biennial Exhibition. Click on the image below to watch, and enjoy it even more if you speak Mandarin!
This December, during the holiday season of exchanging gifts and connecting with friends, I hope you realize what a special gift it is to share the beauty of your creative talents with others. Your unique creative expression not only nourishes your own soul, but enriches the lives of everyone around you, both near and far.
Drawing is the foundation of all painting, thus great care should be taken to sow the seeds of good working habits. Doing so is a tremendous investment in your artistic development; you'll reap rewards for the remainder of your artistic journey. I've certainly found this to be true in my own creative development, and I want to encourage you to establish deliberate working habits in your day-to-day and week-to-week drawing routine that foster artistic growth.
In my new book, Beginning Drawing, and the corresponding series of "Learning to Draw with Alain Picard" videos produced with ArtistsNetworkTV, I reveal and expound on the visual, drawing and routine habits that are necessary to communicate effectively with the language of drawing. Visual habits have to do with learning to "see" as artists, while drawing habits deal with how we transcribe what we see through a variety of mark-making techniques. Finally, routine habits embed these repeatable practices into your drawing approach and develop the discipline of regular working habits. The outcome of this disciplined approach is artistic confidence and repeatable success.
While it's important to establish a consistent drawing routine, it's equally important to develop what I call "routine habits" that will serve to encourage your working routine. I want to share some ideas with you from my book, "Beginning Drawing," that will help you develop your own working routine. I believe that if you implement them into your regular work rhythms, then your drawing ability is sure to grow in leaps and bounds, and your creative voice will begin to speak volumes in no time!
4 Drawing Habits to Develop
1. Practice, practice, practice! You've got to prioritize the goal of learning to draw. Get out your calendar and schedule regular time to draw. Make it a priority, and build it into your routine, just like exercise or daily meals. Skill develops through consistent practice! Carve out the time to draw regularly every week. Start early rather than late, and try doing one sketch a day--every day--for a month.
2. Draw from life regularly. Drawing from direct observation of nature is one of the very best ways to improve. Carry a sketchbook and a pencil pouch with you so you can sketch anywhere you go.
3. Get feedback & encouragement. Why not connect with other artists in your area? Consider joining a local weekly life-drawing sketch group to develop a consistent habit of working from life. Your connection with other working artists will provide accountability and encouragement in the development of your work.
4. Copy the masters. One of the best ways to learn technique is to study the great drawings and paintings of art history. Choose a drawing that you absolutely love and try to copy it, stroke for stroke, tone for tone. This process of imitation will impart volumes of drawing wisdom to you as you seek to understand how the artist accomplished such a beautiful study.
I hope these four habits will encourage you in your artistic development. For more insight and instruction, pick up my book, "Beginning Drawing." I know it'll help you grow in your drawing ability.
Be inspired ~Alain
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I am so honored to be one of several prominent artists associated with the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) who has been invited to the 2nd Biennial International Pastel Exhibition in Suzhou, China as a special guest and workshop instructor. I am really looking forward to this exciting cultural exchange and pastel celebration.
I hope to share more of my experiences in Suzhou with you in the coming weeks!
We just wrapped up our historic first kids art camp at Picard Studio, which culminated in an "Emerging Artists Art Reception" complete with Awards Ceremony. Children from 1st to 6th Grade created some outstanding works of art! Here are some pictures of the masterpieces. Teaching these kids was such a fulfilling experience for my wife and I. Look out art world, here they come!
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I recently hosted a painterly landscape workshop over the weekend in Newtown, CT. This experience was a powerful reminder to me of why I love to teach. Let's face it, I really love painting, but there is something incredible about empowering others in their artistic journey. In one room full of workshop participants, I encountered so many stories of creative breakthrough and fulfillment.
One participant painted his very first landscape in pastel with bold, vibrant strokes, and at once a lifelong desire to paint had become a reality. Another participant was newly experimenting with the medium of pastel, and painted her fist lush sunset. She now confesses to be a pastel convert. For another participant, this was her first personal workshop experience of any kind after an injury had limited her mobility and creative activity. She broke through and painted an absolutely stunning landscape. Yet another participant had just recently picked up a brush after 35 years away from the easel, and her joy at painting again was palpable.
These are just a few of the stories I encountered during the weekend, and they fill me with fresh passion to encourage others in their pursuit of artistic development. .
I just returned from a refreshing and inspiring family vacation to Europe. We visited family in Germany, and managed to make lasting memories there as well as in Holland, Belgium, and France. I also hosted my first European art workshop in Duesseldorf, Germany. This is the city where my wife was born, attended University and my father-in-law worked his entire professional life. It was a very meaningful experience for us!
This is it...the final installment in our seven part UART underpainting series is here with Part Two of the mineral spirit wash. As the sun sets over Cisco Beach in this final painting, our series has come to a close. Thanks for all the amazing feedback and encouragement you've given regarding the relevance of these instructional videos. They clearly struck a chord with you all. Please leave a post on the blog to let me know what you think about this last video.
I'd love to know what you really want to learn from me in upcoming instructional videos. As I dream and plan for the next series, your feedback would be so incredibly helpful. Portraits, still life, landscape, specific techniques, materials questions, or anything else on your mind? Just leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Be as specific as you can about where you would like guidance. Thank you so much in advance!
Enjoy the beautiful June weather, and be inspired!
Our underpainting series continues with Part One of the final underpainting technique in the series, the mineral spirit wash. This collaboration with UART to demonstrate a variety of underpainting methods has been such fun. Please let me know what you think about this "local color" method of underpainting by leaving a comment on the blog!
My wife and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June 2. This video pays homage to one of our favorite places to vacation, and the site of our first honeymoon visit. I hope you enjoy watching a glorious sunset over Cisco Beach, Nantucket, develop in the medium of pastel. It’s a reminder to me of a treasured memory, and more importantly of how fortunate I have been to share the last 15 years with my lovely wife Mirjam.
Our underpainting series with UART Sanded Paper continues with Part Three of our complementary alcohol wash demonstration. In this video, I'll show you how to refine the painting using a variety of blending techniques and adding details without covering up your underpainting or losing the freshness of your bold marks. I hope you enjoy the final result! Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
There really are so many ways to apply an underpainting. Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I'll teach you how to use odorless mineral spirits to apply a local color wash. It’s going to be bold, loose and exciting!
Our underpainting series with UART continues as we mass in bold marks using soft pastel over a complementary underpainting in Part Two of this video demonstration. You'll be excited to see the impact that placing red underneath the rice field full of greens and violets will create.
There is one final stage in this painting to go, so look forward to Part Three in my next blog post, as we refine the painting together. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think, and then try your own painterly landscape using an exciting underpainting technique.