Isn’t All Art Impressionistic?

Be True to Your Own Style

There is an exhibition coming up locally that is calling for impressionistic art as an entry requirement. I’ve known about the exhibition for a couple of months now but have yet to come up with a piece of art that fits the “impressionistic” style.

This morning, I read Brian Sherwin’s article “Don’t Create This! (Create it!)”. In the article Brian contends that artists should stop chasing art trends and do whatever it is your inner voice demands. I think he is right. You can read his article here.

It has been a frustrating few months trying to deter away from painting in a way that comes naturally to me. This morning it occurred to me — isn’t all art someone’s impression?   If most of my works looks realistic, then that’s how I tend to see things. I am a realist to a certain extend but also a dreamer – hence the folksy style of my art.

I’m going to enter a piece or two just to see, it doesn’t hurt, but as of this morning I’m going to go about my art in the most natural way it tends to flow from me.  Be true to own style!

My impression of a flower bed full of tulips

My impression of a flower bed full of tulips


My impression of Rose



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How Good Are Art Tips

Results From Last Week’s Art Tips

Here are the results of last week’s Art Tips:

1.   The first one wasn’t anything to get excited about. I soaked a mixed media paper in coffee for hours even adding a few grounds. I

coloring paper

beige soaked in coffee; blue in food coloring

soaked a piece of copy paper in food color getting better results. Notice the dark line around the edges. Food coloring comes in the primary colors so you can make all other colors. This showed a bit of promise, not so much for painting backgrounds but for other art projects like card making.

2.    I had a pizza cutter but can’t seem to find it; however, thinking about this I wonder how consistent the line will be using a pizza cutter.  I did a blog some time ago called “How to Make Your Own Mahlstick”. Youtube has a video on how to use this mahlstick.  I think this method will get better results.  There is nothing wrong with using a ruler and a pastel pencil.  This is how I got straight lines in this painting.

End of a Perfect Day

End of a Perfect Day

3.    The stain remover I use is KISS OFF but if anyone has tried denatured alcohol I’d be interested in hearing how that worked.

4.    I continue to  store my brushes upright in a glass to save space but try not to crowd them so as not to damage the bristles.  I think laying them flat is good but not necessarily do-able with limited space.

5.    I tried the conditioner on the brushes and the bristles are softer and more manageable but I think the brushes I used were beyond repair.  This is something that could be tried with newer brushes to keep them in good condition.  Another method I use to bring the bristles together again is to tape them overnight.

taped brush bristles

So how good are art tips?  I guess that depends on how well they work for you and that may depend on how well you execute the instructions.  Feel free to share your art tips in the comment section and I will post them in a next blog.

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Interesting Art Tips

Useful Tips To Try

Browsing a site full of tips from various artists on a variety of topics, I found the following most interesting to me:

1.   One of the tips that sparked an interest was how to soak card stock or even copy paper on a cheap cookie sheet in coffee adding grounds (removed later) that leave speckles of color behind. I use mixed media paper as a paint medium so this might be a great background for a piece of art.

2.  Another tip I enjoyed reading and must try was using a pizza cutter to make straight lines. If you make your paint an ink-like consistency you can roll the cutter through it and then roll a straight line on your canvas!

3.  To remove dried paint from clothing or the floor use a product called denatured alcohol with a Q-tip. Then wash with regular soap. I used something called KISS-OFF stain remover to do the same job.

4.  I store my brushes in old water glasses. I did not realize that water may stay in the ferrule storing them that way. The suggestion to store them on a cheap cookie sheet by first laying the brushes on a paper towel is a great way to store brushes as well as helping to keep them in good condition. I’ve had brushes where the bristles have been bent down when one brush is pushed into the glass against another so storing them flat is a good solution.

5.   I also have brushes that are getting scruffy so I may try the hair conditioner idea to put back some spring to the bristles. Also to reshape brushes put some hair gel on them between sessions.

Visit Jerry’s Art-arama to see more tips

This week I plan to try these tips and I will post next week what success I had.

Here are my successes for this week:

poppies growing wild A Fall Day The Sky is Darkening

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The First Mistake of the Year

Success is Built on Failure

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.  (

Recently I read on someone’s blog that to be interesting to your blog readers try posting your failures once in a while. Well, here is mine…

Street MusicianLearning to mix skin tones takes some practise. The smallness of the painting 6×7 inches makes it trickier to get in all the tone nuances necessary to make the face appear realistic. In this effort, I feel I “failed”. His face shape is wrong (he looks like he has the mumps!) and the colors too dark in places and just not the correct tone. This man’s skin was dark in the shadows but where the sun lit his cheeks and nose it was a lovely cinnamon-color.
I was pleased with his body shape and clothes as well as the background color that adds depth to the painting.

Most of my work to-date has been landscape but I loved doing a street musician and plan to attempt it again maybe in a larger version but maybe not. Painting small means that I often have results in one session and should the piece not work out then there isn’t a lot at stake as far as time and materials.

At least it was a study in painting a street musician.  It was an enjoyable afternoon’s project and it has great possibilities for a future painting.  Failures are not something to be swept under the carpet, we all have them from time to time.  What do you do with your failures?

Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.(


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Drawing As a Meditation

Drawing is not a self-indulgence exercise but an awareness of the subject and seeing it as extraordinary instead of ordinary. Drawing is a discipline of awareness to the details of the object in view. It’s not simply a “happy” exercise; although, it does have that element.

When I draw I am completely absorbed in the object in that I’m not just seeing but experiencing it. Take something as simple as

A simple tree

A simple tree

a tree as an example. The stick tree is adequate in that it depicts a trunk and branches so that we can recognize that it represents a tree.

a realistic tree

a realistic tree


The realistic tree has character that distinguishes it from every other tree. This tree has distinctive bark similar to a finger print in that no other tree has exactly the same bark.  This tree has lots of roots above ground and a big knot hole.  As I drew this tree I noticed the bark was like fur on a dog in that it had markings in various directions.


Until you’ve drawn an object you have probably not appreciated it fully or really “seen” it.
That’s where the artist has the advantage because we can see intricacies and interest in the darndest things.

When I draw, I’m fully engaged in the work at hand. No troubles or worries can intrude; it takes very little concentration to get into the meditative state and when I come out I feel refreshed.

You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy this meditation; it’s a good way to improve your ability to really see and appreciate creation in all its majesty.

Here are a few of my other meditations:  All done in charcoal.
Peggy's cove the cabin Trillium The Grist Mill back yard

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How to Create Shadows

This is a quick little introduction to creating shadows in drawings and paintings.

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My Twitter Art 2015 Contribution

Twitter Art Exhibit 2015 – Home-Start Moss, Norway

This year’s twitter art exhibit (@twittartexhibit) is to help Home-Start Moss a nonprofit organization helping families in need in Norway.  Even if the art does not sell, people in Norway will know that all around the world there are others who care about them.  Homelessness and food insecurity is becoming a huge problem everywhere.  Twitter Art Exhibit can be found at:

Right in my home city of Hamilton, Ontario, there is an increasing need.  Here is a link to the Spectator’s article on food insecurity in Hamilton:


This is my post card art for twitter art exhibition 2015:

twitter art home-start Moss

Twitter Art Exhibit 2015

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Can’t Afford the Art – Get the Pillow!

Fine Art America is now offering to print our paintings on throw pillows!  Here are just a sampling of my paintings printed on a pillow.  I think they look fantastic and would make very nice Christmas gifts.

In years past when needle point and crewel stitching was all the rage.  Remember those?  Instead of having these stitcheries framed many made throw pillows out of them.  They looked awesome and so will these paintings.  Go to and get yours now.

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How To Find Errors As You Paint

Jack White, in his Blog on the site, writes about using a mirror placed behind the artist but facing the painting so that you can see your work in reverse. This moves the image from the inventive side of your brain to the analytical and mistakes are easily seen. Recently, I put this idea into action and to my surprise it really works.

I’ve long known that taking a digital image of the painting will show all kinds of mistakes (if they exist of course :)) but then it’s often too late to correct. Using a mirror you can check often as you apply paint correcting as you go.  Give it a try!

A bow bridge in winter

Red Door old Quebec City

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Art in the Workplace – exhibition 16

MIP Art in the workplace

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