Top Art Techniques & Tips

Bring new life to your work with our wide selection of art demonstrations, techniques and tips. A new painting pointer, drawing trick or art tool might make the difference in your next still life or portrait. Now you can paint with knives or learn how to scumble. Art techniques can stretch across media, so whether you work with watercolor, oil, colored pencil or pastel you’ll find something to advance your art.

031014-mckinley-pastel-pointers

Edge Intimidation | Two Tools to Overcome the Fear of Painting Edges

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...

Smoke Signals (oil, 48x60) by Kevin Muente

Painting Hair with Kevin Muente

I use a similar technique to paint hair and grass, but this demonstration is for hair. After I’ve decided on the shape of the head and have examined the overall dimensions (the width and the length), I feel ready to paint the area. Notice the line across the back of the head and the...

020314-mckinley-pastel-pointers

Pastel Underpainting Freedom

Most pastelists utilize some form of an underpainting technique to mass in the large areas of a composition. This under-layer acts as a stage for the over-layer performance of pastel. For some artists, the underpainting serves a very utilitarian purpose by representing the average value and color tones of the scene. It’s merely a...

tam_feb14_rubenstein09

Painting in Layers for a Complex Scene

For Abandoned Row Houses, Richmond, Virginia, I started in the top corner of the central roof, with the green “trash” trees and vines, the delicate Prussian blue sky, and the rich brick-red of the buildings. This trio established the whole key of the painting. The tops of the buildings have an ornamental entablature that...

011314-mckinley-pastel-pointers

Pastel Pointers | How to Deal with Unfinished Paintings

One of the New Year resolutions on my artistic list is to resolve more of the unfinished paintings residing in my studio. Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” In my studio, there are a lot of forsaken works wistfully awaiting completion.