Author Archives: Richard McKinley

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Warming Up to Painting in Winter

As we approach the start of the official winter season in the northern hemisphere, it's time to embrace what the season has to offer the landscape painter. Different regions provide variety, but the farther north you are, the more pronounced the personality of winter becomes. The leaves have fallen from the trees, exposing the...

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Best of Pastel Pointers | Value is Key to Effective Color

Most of us love color. We're drawn to it hoping to accomplish something expressive in our paintings. If the value structure (the relative lightness and darkness) in a painting is wrong, however, all the pretty colors housed in our pastel cases won't work, and the painting will fall short. If you're one of the...

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Best of Pastel Pointers | Handling Edges in a Landscape Painting

The handling of the edges within a painting can be subconsciously intimidating to an artist, which can have a subsequent effect on how product is applied. When the elements that make up the subject matter of a scene are visually recognized, we intellectually understand that they are separated from one another—that there is space...

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The Secret to Painting a Masterpiece

With the release of the new April 2016 issue of Pastel Journal, which celebrates the winners of the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition, it seemed a perfect opportunity to revisit a Pastel Pointers post by Richard McKinley in which he discusses the secret to painting a masterpiece—and your next award-winner: Know your purpose.

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From the Archive | Paint Like Leonardo

During the Italian Renaissance there was a contentious debate as to which was a nobler art form: painting or sculpting. Painters claimed that they had the harder task because they had to invent the illusion of everything within the scene, including the light. Sculptors claimed it was they who had the greater challenge, because...

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From the Archives: The Power of Art

Since prehistoric times, humans have manifested the desire to express emotion and thought through artistic forms. Often this is done solely for personal enjoyment, but frequently it serves a bigger purpose by communicating personal feelings to other human beings. This desire to be heard, and hopefully understood, has led to the formation of language,...

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Practicing Intuition | 9 Underpainting Exercises

Whenever I'm demonstrating an underpainting technique, someone—at some point—will ask: Why did you put that color/value in that area? It's a tough question to answer since so much of what I'm doing is responding to the current painting situation with an anticipation of what will be done with the over-layers of pastel to come.

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What Is Impasto Painting?

One of the great advantages of oil paint, beyond its inherent richness of value and color depth due the pigment's suspension in oil, is the ability to apply it thickly--to create an impasto surface effect. The term impasto originates from the Italian word pasta, which means "paste." When associated to painting, it signifies a...