HOW TO DRAW: March 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Nude Art

Scandalous! Shocking! Without modesty! Nudity has been portrayed without shame throughout history and has been met with varying criticism depending on the time and culture.

Early Nude Art

Ever since early cave paintings the natural human form has been portrayed in its full unclothed glory. This was just how the artists saw his fellow people, and depending on the region, people wore very little anyway. Since then societies have presented the nude form in paintings, drawing, photography, and any other media. This either demonstrates humanity's strong sexual nature, or just a propensity for making aesthetically pleasing artwork, or perhaps a combination of the two.

Perhaps no society was more naked in its art than Pompeii. This ancient Roman city would meet its doom at the wrath of Mount Vesuvius when the volcano erupted and wreaked havoc on the city below. The city would be covered and ruined by the lava flow but an 18th century find would uncover remnants of a forgotten world, including the remains of many of its inhabitants exactly how they met their fiery demise.

The society shows no sign of bashfulness in its many frescoes and surviving statues. In them you'll find depicted sexual acts, more sex, sex, and just plenty of nudity. Being an ancient Roman city, they often depicted gods and goddesses in their art. The most risque probably being Priapus, the god of fertility. Also of interest are the many statues from early Pompeii, which today may raise a few eyebrows. These are no Michelangelo's "David," if you know what I mean.


Further through art history, namely long after the invention of oil painting and when art drifted away from a dominant religious tone, nudity was a common thing. Retouching on the ancient themes, pederasty in Roman mythology in paintings and sculpture, carnal love, and in general sexuality (sometimes not so delicate) were painted time and again. This was perceived usually as good taste. Of course, that wasn't always the general consensus.

In Michelangelo's career, he painted the human form realistically and without apologies. The subtle homo-erotic tones of the Sistene's ceiling probably went straight over the head of the pope and any other religious leader for that matter. The musculature of the male form painted in detail and the poses of the many male figures probably would have been omitted from a religious painting. The olives resembling certain parts of anatomy were perhaps there as a joke or subtle reference.

In the case of Caravaggio, his pubescent cupid displayed in "Amor Vincet Omnia" or Love Conquers All , would in these days be met with hostility, and the artist considered a pedophile. But in those days, the nude form young and old was nothing to shy from, and the boy was simply another model paid to pose. Caravaggio's painting is characteristic of his work, steering clear of the idealized subjects, instead showing a common street boy, crooked teeth and all.

Much modern debate has come over Amor's primary owner keeping the painting behind a curtain. While some say that he was embarrassed of the supposed eroticism and kept it hidden, others say that covering a painting is meant to keep it as a piece de resistance, to be uncovered only after the rest of the artwork was shown, as the best of show.

Borderline Pornography

It probably wasn't until the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, particularly Victorian times of the 19th century when nudity in art started to seem inappropriate. In an age when even in the summer one must cover themselves with layer upon layer, and sexual matters altogether were strictly taboo, its no wonder the paintings were more G rated. This isn't to say that the subtle was absent. Take the Fragonard painting The Swing. It was also called "The Happy Accidents of the Swing." Humorously showing a glimpse up a dress, an unquestionable infidelity, and a cupid statue with a "hush" gesture all show this French painting's sexual symbolism.

Tame by today's standards, The Swing was quite sultry in its day. Going further into the beginning of the nineteenth century, Goya would make a breakthrough in erotic art and paint the first showing of pubic hair. Take "The Naked Maja" which was the complement to the Clothed Maja. Both paintings are wrapped in mystery, as to who the model is and who the intended recipient, but most people conjecture Fransisco was romantically involved with the sitter. Either way, it would get the artist into much trouble. It even got him fired from a lucrative court position, as a result of the Spanish Inquisition deeming the painting obscene.

Later we continue to have scandals resulting from a repressed mass of people. This John Singer Sargent painting called "Madame X" was originally painted with one shoulder strap off and on her arm. Mothers cover your children's eyes, they'll be scarred for life! Sargent later had to repaint the strap in it's correct position, to appease the prudish public.

In the nineteenth century, the "Father of American Painting" Thomas Eakins would be in hot water for removing the loincloth of a nude model in an art class. One of the girls promptly told her parents of such a horrible thing, which would lead to Eakins' removal from professorship at the Pennsylvania Academy. Eakins wasn't ashamed of the naked human body and frequently shot many nude photos, even posing nude himself on the other end of the camera as well. His paintings sometimes had nudity in them as well.

Subtle Undertones?

Modern photography is rife with naked forms ranging from the sexually charged to the artistic erotica. Modern advertisement also has subliminal sexual undertones for its psychological value, portraying people in borderline explicit poses and gestures in an effort to maximize effectiveness. Sex sells!

Speaking of sex selling, the paintings of Rembrandt van Rijn have been known to contain subliminal messages to reach the subconscious. The Dutch word for sex has been found in the underpaintings of several works written in large, barely visible letters. The painting of the Militia of Captain Cocq could possibly have a deep subconscious image. The shadow of a hand on the other man's crotch? Captain who? Interesting.

Modern and Contemporary Nudity

Painting in the modern day, especially at art schools involves the female nude for a variety of reasons. Besides its classical and/or romantic value, the female body is generally a good subject to paint for its curves and contours, giving the student valuable practice in form and shape. One may say that society has come a long way since Fragonard's Swing painting. But at the same time it is not that probable that a painting of a school teacher skinny dipping with his students would be generally accepted, at least not in modern America.

So times change, as well as views on sexuality, nudity, and the human body. Each society and culture has its own views, and inside each has subcultures with differing views and values, such as nudist camps. It also matters which part of the world you're from, as a nudist beach in France is more the norm than a nudist beach in New Jersey.

No matter what day and age, boys will be boys and seek the naked drawings in art books, erotically charged paintings will turn us on, subtle sexual undertones may touch our subconscious and we will always have nude paintings on our walls for whatever the perceived value.

Dan Kretschmer keeps a daily blog at

Madhubani Paintings

The history of ethnic paintings in India can be traced back to the Bhimbatka Caves, where some of the earliest paintings of India are found. But when it comes to ethnic 'tribal' paintings of India the names which top the list are Warli paintings and Madhubani paintings.

Madhubani paintings, also known as Godhna, Maithili and Chitra figure paintings, originated out of the humble domestic rituals in Madhubani district of Bihar. Chiefly prevailing in Madhubani district, it also diffused to the adjacent districts of Jetwarpur, Ranti, Rasidpur, Bacchi, Rajangarh, etc.

As per the belief of the people of Madhubani that Gods visit each house in the morning to bless them with luck and prosperity, Madhubani paintings started as a welcome painting on the walls, doors and floors for the Gods. Till the 1960s it was a purely a decorative art. But the Bihar famine of 1964-65 took its toil on the people of Madhubani and they had to shift from agriculture to other forms livelihood. And with that started the commercialization of the Maithili paintings; it shifted from walls and floors to paper, satin, sarees, dupattas, etc, without deviating from its original themes, the themes of religion and mythology. Most of the people of Madhubani now depend on these paintings for their daily necessities.

A paste of cow dung and mud is applied on the walls and floors to give a perfect black background on which pictures are drawn with white rice paste; bright vegetable colors are then applied on the figures making them more vibrant. A great number of Madhubani painters still apply a thin layer of cow dung and mud paste on their canvases to give a more authentic look and also because it helps in proper absorption of color.

Essentially practiced by the women folk, Madhubani is an exclusively feminine school of folk painting. As a respite from their daily home-engineering they portrayed their visions, beliefs, customs and creativity with abstract figures, mostly in linear patterns. This school, however, is not confined to the feminine genre now, as the number of male painters is increasing with each passing day.

Thematically, Madhubani paintings are mostly based on religion and mythology. The religious themes are branched into two types - little tradition and great tradition. In the paintings of little tradition, Gods like Raja Salesh, Buddheshwar, Jutki Malini, Reshma, and the likes occurs in abundance. Great tradition is a tribute to the Hindu Gods like Krishna-Radha, Shiva-Parvati, Ganesha, Maa Durga, and the likes. Nevertheless, natural scenes of villages, everyday life, flora and fauna which are so much a part of life of this school of painters, also entered the domain of Godhna paintings.

The attributes characterizing almost all Madhubani paintings are :-

? Use of bold natural and artificial colors.

? A double line border with simple geometric designs or with ornate floral patterns on it.

? Symbols, lines and patterns supporting the main theme.

? Abstract-like figures, of deities or human.

? The faces of the figures has large bulging eyes and a jolting nose emerging out of the forehead.

Madhubani painting is an emblematic expression of day-to-day experiences and beliefs. As such, symbolism, simplicity and beauty hold them together in a single school of traditional art. The symbols that these Maithili painters use have their specific meanings as, for instance, fish symbolize fertility, procreation and good luck, peacocks are associated with romantic love and religion, serpents are the divine protectors.

The treatment of colour in the Indian folk art form of Madhubani painting brings it somewhat close to the Impressionistic school and the Post-Impressionistic school of painting. To some extent their theme of trivial daily activities and nature are also shared by the Godhna painters.

Characterized by vibrant use of color, underlying symbolism and traditional geometric patterns supporting the main theme, the Indian folk art form of Madhubani succeeded in creating a place for itself in the international house of fame and is now recognized world wide. The Government of India is also paying its tribute by starting training programs educating people on Madhubani paintings.

Madhubani Paintings - An Indian folk art form ethnic to the core with International recognition.

Types of Graffiti Art

Modern day Graffiti art is closely associated with the Hip Hop Culture. It started out with names like TAKI 183 and JULIO 204 who wrote their tag names all over New York to more accomplished artists that have shown their work in respected art galleries. But, for those loyal to the art of graffiti, it is the pieces found on the streets and public walls that remain as the purest form of the art. Street Graffiti have various well known styles. The styles may be a result of time constraints or as a way of marking territory. The style of the artwork itself greatly affects the look and feel of the piece, these include styles like: Wildstyle, Blockbuster, Throw-ups and Fill-Ins and Pieces.

A "Piece" is a form of Graffiti art that has a very elaborate design. These pieces tend to take time, therefore there are fewer pieces created illegally in public places because the artist runs the risk of being caught in the act of making it. Most graffiti art "pieces" can now be found in dedicated galleries. Of course, there are always the brave few that still plaster their work on public and private walls. Graffiti tributes are also known as "pieces". Tributes pay homage to 'greats' who have passed away. In the past we have seen tributes to the Big L, Tupac, Mother Teresa and others all over New York when they died.

Throw-Ups and Fill- In are graffiti that are done quickly, sacrificing detailed style for time. This is the most common form of graffiti that can be found. It is often made in only one or three contrasting colors and the letterings are in bubble or block form. The letters are often outlined with the boldest color available to the artists. Compared to Wildstyle, throw-ups and fill-ins are often easier to read because the designs are less complex.

Wildstyle is a form of graffiti art that sports all sorts of arrows, interlocking letters and points. For the untrained graffiti eye, Wildstyle pieces are often hard to read because the letters tend to blend in into one another and result in what looks like a jumble and wordless mix. Wildstyle Graffiti art is often found in various places around bustling cities like New York, New Jersey and San Francisco.

"Blockbusters" are large graffiti pieces that have been created to cover entire walls with the intention of blocking other artists from using the same wall. The design is often simple and done quickly. Another form of Graffiti that is similar to Blockbuster is "Rollers". Rollers are Graffiti styles that involve blocking out an entire wall with a single color. This is considered to be lazy graffiti writing. "Stickers" are also used in creating graffiti and is one of the quickest ways to post graffiti on the wall. Like "rollers", "stickers" are also considered to be a form of laziness on the part of the artist. But, more and more artists are coming up with elaborately designed stickers that combat even the most detailed pieces designed. Stencils are also commonly used in graffiti art. They provide the artist with a way to create presentable pieces without compromising time.

Art Prints and Photos on Canvas are available to buy from Benedict is a freelance article writer for Dolphin Promotions SEO Company.

Outsider Art - Is It Really Art

What actually is art? Give me ten people and I'll give you ten different definitions of the word. What it means to you is as unique to you as your fingerprints. But who's to say what qualifies as art, or fine art? What distinguishes the art of Jean Michel Basquiat from Rembrandt van Rijn? Besides the time differences, each artist's art have been met with different types of criticism. Was one art, and the other just crummy art? Who's to say?

What we can say though is there is an unmistakable mainstream art circuit with art dealers and galleries, critics and fine artists with or without their MFA's. Sometimes this crowd can be quite pretentious and judges art in its own way, usually following the natural cycles of fads and trends. What's hip today may be tomorrow's old news. That's just how it is.

But true art and artistry can be found everywhere. Wherever there is creativity there is art. You don't need to hang around in posh upper class galleries and drink expensive wine to be a real artist.

Jean Dubuffet and Art Brut

"Art Brut" in French literally means "rough" or "raw" art. This was translated to "Outsider Art" in English. It was started by the painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet to describe art that is outside of the official art culture. He knew the value of art which normally doesn't hang on gallery walls but nonetheless should be recognized and not necessarily written off as lesser art.

Dubuffet mainly focused on the art of the mentally ill in insane asylums. One particularly noteworthy example was Adolf Wolfli. As a mental patient diagnosed with psychosis, he was an extremely prolific artist creating epic novels of 45 volumes with over 25,000 pages and 1600 illustrations. With minimal resources he would slowly create work after work with only one pencil and two sheets of paper a week at his disposal. This meant drawing on tiny bits of paper, using small stubs of pencils, and anything he could find or beg off of people to get his work done.

Wolfli's work was often characterized as "schizophrenic art" with obsessive symmetry, ornamental patterns, reduced depth. Every piece of the paper is covered, leaving no white or empty space. Another similar work is by the psychiatric patient Friederich Schroder, who drew the "Swan Doll's Dance of Death." With a perfect mirror symmetry down the middle, the drawing shows a monster with a grotesque smile wearing a crown and holding his arms curving downward with birds' heads for hands, combining animal with man.

Naive and Primitive Artists

Dubuffet was working with the mentally ill artists, while "Outsider Art" outside of France was known to be a much more general term. It included not just the psychotic art, but also naive, self-taught, and primitive art as well. On the American scene in the early to mid twentieth century we had Grandma Moses, the renowned folk artist painting such countryside favorites as "This Old Checkered House in Winter" which was the subject of many paintings, one of which was appraised on "Antiques Roadshow" in 2004 for $60,000. Several of her paintings have appeared on Hallmark holiday cards.

Earlier we have Horace Pippin, born in my local area in West Chester in 1888, who painted "Giving Thanks" and "Domino Players." Even earlier in France, there was Henri Rousseau, with his dream-like representations of jungles and jungle animals.

All of these artists could have been considered Naive painters because they were self-taught and their paintings possessed a child-like quality to them. This doesn't mean all Naive painters had no formal education, but as it relates to Outsider Art it generally does. In modern times there is no stigma attached to this genre of art.

Children's Art

I talked about how children learn art in my article Learning Art. The way we learn as we grow up and experiment with art starts out with an expression close to ancient societies' art. For example, in ancient Egyptian wall paintings you will find people in a row side by side with no overlap. Children would express the same type of thing when they draw people in a crowd next to each other in a row instead of showing any signs of overlap. The way they see it, if someone's arm looks as if it disappears into the back of another person, this makes no visual sense. You wouldn't really see a person's arm actually going inside someone else, so why would one draw it that way.

The same is true for people in buildings. When a child draws a person inside a building, they wouldn't show a face looking out from a window, because this would mean there is simply a floating head in a window sill. If anything their art was more true to reality, than to aesthetics and perspective.

One funny recent story which raises the question of the authority of art dealers is a woman selling her son's scribble paintings as priceless works of modern art. She didn't tell the dealers her son was 6 or 7 years old and the paintings were more or less doodles. Nonetheless the dealers saw the "genius" of them and bought them top dollar.

If anything is to be learned from children and from child-like naive paintings is that art can be appreciated for art's sake. It doesn't have to be perfect and it certainly does not need the approval of avant garde art experts. Art can be found in the small crafts of Christmas Kitsche statues, the scribbles of prisoners and psychiatric patients and even the finger paintings of gorillas. Art should be appreciated for what it is, and what's its attempting to be.

Whether it's good art, bad art, crummy art, children's art, "Outsider Art" is still art.

Dan Kretschmer keeps a daily blog at

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Making It in Oil When You Discover the Right Artists

What matters about the price of a painting is that you have the money and don't mind spending it on what may be a work of art. Liking the painting is reason enough to buy it - this says absolutely nothing about where you're going to put it in your home or office, where it fits in your collection if you've got one, or whether you hope it will appreciate in value. Looking at it pleases you and, as a person of some means, you don't mind indulging your whims or your serious intentions.

The reader will note that I have not resorted to rocket science to answer the questions about paying a high price for the painting or whether its worth what you're about to shell out. A gratuitous aside - look for super-talented American artists; in Europe, with the value of the dollar dropping like a stone - you'd really better be sure of the value of the piece because you're going to pay a great deal for liking it.

As for knowing whether your purchase is going to appreciate in coming years, I can only wish you luck. Somehow I doubt that those people who helped to turn early Thomas Kincaids into an art empire had any idea they were building up a fortune in oil paintings. Nor did those Russians who happened along a road in France while Van Gogh was painting a haystack or Gauguin was working alongside him during their brief time together. They paid a pittance for paintings that are now immortal and shared with visitors to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. They knew only they were buying into a new turn in art called Impressionism.

It's a bit harder to answer whether you will always like what you've bought. Generally speaking, I think the more universal the subject is the more likely it will retain your interest. If you liked a haystack in 1875 it is unlikely that you will change your mind about it twenty-five or more years later. On the other hand a picture of your girl or boy friend might not captivate you many years after the sitting. But it might because a rather nebulous factor called "artistry" enters into the equation.

The space available here does not permit an extensive study of the word or concept of artistry. Let me really cop out and say that artistry is why we look at a Titian, a Michelangelo, an El Greco, a Rembrandt, a Delacroix, a Manet, a Renoir, a Picasso and so many more artists decades to centuries after they painted and still see something timeless and glorious. Individual taste, of course, enters into one's estimation of an artist. I, for instance, freely admit that I cannot imagine myself seeking out a coffee-table collection of Kincaid paintings for inspiration. On the other hand any Van Gogh painting fills me with wonder no matter how many times I look at it.

Permit me another personal aside. The French used to display the Impressionists in the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris. You entered the museum in such a way as to be struck by the utter magnificence of the genius all around you. Everywhere you turned there was a painting so beautiful that it almost took the breath away. Was I influenced by having been told in advance that I was going to see a collection of some of the greatest oil paintings ever put on canvas? I cannot answer that question with any certainty. What I can say without fear of exaggeration is that seeing those famous paintings all about me was one of the most singularly beautiful moments of my life. I doubt that taste, artistry, or anything else influenced me. I believe that it was a purely emotional response to overwhelming beauty.

When I think about what some of the early purchasers of many of these masterpieces paid for them, I can only think how extraordinarily lucky they were. It is in sheer envy that one realizes how many of these great works are not in the world's great museums but are housed in private collections, hidden from a world of art lovers not fortunate enough to be ultra wealthy.

"Uniqueness" is another quality that I would mention as a factor in determining whether a painting might achieve greatness. Here again uniqueness might be in the eye of the beholder. Let me again give a simplistic definition of what I mean when I use the word "unique" - whether in a piece of music, a sculpture, a building, or a painting, it's like no other that has come before it. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Michelangelo's Pieta, Frank Lloyd Wright's houses, or Da Vinci's Mona Lisa are indisputably one of a kind, never emulated, never equalled.

This is not to say that we no longer encounter artistry, universality, and uniqueness. Since true greatness is rare, finding these qualities in a painter is most unusual - not impossible since genius is usually random, but you don't happen upon it every day. Early in 2007 my wife and I became exceptionally excited over the discovery of Laura Mostaghel, an American painter working out of her studio in Florida. Ms. Mostaghel was already becoming known in the circles of the rich and famous; many of her clients are household names. We are very pleased that Laura permits us to feature her entire catalog of works - oils, watercolors, vases, jewelry pins, tiles, and ceramic boxes.

We are flattered that our taste seems to be contagious. The discovery of the works of Laura Mostaghel has visibly grown since our introduction to them. Elsewhere in I have written extensively about Laura's work and why they will fill an art lover with joy and gladness. Look at her work - all of it - at

Robert D. Forst, Ph.D, is an avid art, opera, and classical music enthusiast who has lived all over the world always seeking to acquire a cultivated taste in art, crystal, and paintings that is reflected in our e-commerce store. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise as a contributing editor at - a site that offers information concerning original oil paintings and watercolors, Romanian Crystal, Limited Edition Romanian Vases, one-of-a-kind hand-painted ceramic vases and boxes, and a great deal more. He and co-owner and spouse, Nhora Lucia, research the Internet in a conscientous effort to offer the lowest prices available for the stock offered in their catalog. Our special connection with the world-famous painter, Laura Mostaghel, allows us to offer her entire catalog at the same prices as those found at her Florida studio.

How To Become A Successful Artist

Painting is something I have done all my life from the age of 4, when my parents handed me some crayons and some paper and encouraged me to draw. I remember how I loved it even then. Here are my tips for any aspiring artist.

Step 1 - Be Passionate!

This passion from such a young age meant I found that I was able to paint and draw from life and get my proportions and perspective very accurate.

Step 2 - Practice, Practice, Practice!

I would paint and draw anything and everything on a daily basis. I saw it as fun, but it meant that I was able to hone my skills as the months went by. As a result I won my first commission at 15, and went on to make a living from painting as soon as I left school.

Step 3 - Get to know your subject as much as possible

I like to really spend time understanding the temperament and individual nature of each person or animal that I paint. Once this is captured, the painting just flows. I intuit the psychology of my clients first, which then allows me to portray the inner beauty of their personality. I am inspired to capture the moments that allow them to re-live magic memories for years to come. I love receiving phone calls from my clients telling me how they are still moved by a commission, often many years after completion.

Step 4 - Dream Big

Be fascinated by the magic that life has to offer, especially regarding synchronicity. As Donald Trump once said 'If you are going to dream, you might as well dream big'. Thrive on proving that you can, when others cast doubt.

Step 5 - Model the Masters

Read books about the Masters. Study their work, Visit as many galleries as you can and get inspired. In your imagination ask for the great Masters advice, and await an answer. I told my parents that I was going to be a famous artist from the age of 5, and acted 'as if', and in my mind I continue to stretch the boundaries of my success.

Step 6 - Visualise

At the age of 15, I was an accomplished Event rider, and devoured many books on the subject. My 'bible' however was one book which taught visualisation techniques, how to win a desired outcome, and how to focus on the positive. Several of these techniques I subsequently used to massive success in many areas. In fact I was one of the few riders that never fell from her horse, due to a focusing technique taught in the book!

I once had the task of teaching a team of four eleven year olds on some distinctly untalented ponies. For seven whole days leading up to the event, I worked full time with my group of young charges. During the week the team changed theirs and their ponies' names to adopt the names of some of the world class riders and horses of the day. As they modeled these people they amazed themselves with their new found abilities, and shocked their parents when the team took first prize in the competition.

I have subsequently used visualisation techniques in my artistic life, regularly following the examples of painters such as Sargent, Velasquez, Munnings, Constable, and Michelangelo, when I paint. The results are incredible, but it does take practice, and an open mind.

Step 7 - Broaden Your Horizons

When I was 18, I remember constantly dreaming about what it meant to be a true artist, living in Italy, and being part of a group of amazing painters leading a bohemian and magical lifestyle, traveling the world painting. Within 18 months this had become a reality, even more than I had ever dreamed. I won the opportunity to paint at the Charles Cecil school in Florence. I soaked up everything I could possibly learn and within 6 months, ended up as one of the teachers. I would recommend anyone to do some travelling and spent time in Italy, France or India or for that matter anywhere that inspires you.

Step 8 - Welcome the opportunity to overcome challenges and problems.

Let's be straight here. Life isn't plain sailing, and no job or vocation isn't without its challenges (even if you're the most passionate person in the world). During my early 30's I painted the Philosopher. It was at a time that other parts of her life were experiencing challenges that I did not understand. I felt that I was losing my identity, and yet produced probably one of my best pieces, which at the time was called 'Me, Myself and I' I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and had to deal with all of the problems that came with depression. On the canvas seemed the only place where I knew who I was, and in fact often I used to say 'reality does not exist... except on the canvas'. It took several years to manage my condition, and eventually turned to anti-depressants, which I gave up after attending a Tony Robbins seminar.

Later in my life I discovered that the lead paints I had been using for years were poisoning me and that my health had been severely compromised. I had to go on a major detoxification regime, change my diet dramatically, and started focusing on my health. The turnaround took some time, but I am now healthier and happier than I have ever been, and this continues to this very day. I don't regret those days though as they have helped me grow and become the person that I am. One day you may have painters block (I get it regularly!), but this is just another opportunity to push through your comfort zone and break through to a whole new level. Sometimes you just have to take the day off and go do something else to inspire you.

Step 9 - Build Rapport with Your Clients

All my recent projects have brought home just how much I use psychology in my everyday life, especially my rapport skills in gaining not only a strong insight into the characters of my clients, but helping them to maintain a pose showing them at their higher self. Often, when they see the finished result it can be quite emotional as they connect with the reflection of themselves.

Step 10 - Enjoy the Process

Remember that what you strive for everyday, is never quite as much fun as the journey there. Each day take time out to reflect on what has been great that day and what you have learned. Cultivate a CANI attitude - Constant and Never -ending Improvement!

My Other Painting Tips:

# Paint from life as often as possible.
# Sketch as much as possible and build up a body of sketch books
# Trust your eye
# Use good quality paints
# Experiment with making your own canvases
# Look at paintings by the masters and artists who inspire you
# Stand up when you paint
# Use bold brush strokes where possible
# Be bold and adventurous and enjoy what you do.
# Make time to do all of the above!

Classically trained and multi skilled portrait artist & equestrian artist, Hazel Morgan's commissions take her all over the world.

With a client list that includes several Royal households across Europe and the Middle East, Hazel is firmly established as one of today's leading portrait and equestrian artists.

One recent overseas assignment took her to Kentucky, where she painted three large paintings for HRH Prince Khalid bin Abdullah depicting his favourite brood mares, including Banks Hill and Zenda. Her last equestrian commissions were painting both Sinndar and Dalakhani for HRH The Aga Khan.

While Equestrian art and Portraits are her primary focus, Hazel is equally well known as an exceptionally talented hound and dog specialist.

Hazel, not only has the ability to paint what she sees, but is able to reach into the soul of her subject, painting each horse as if it were her own, each person as if she had known them for years.

Her work captures precious moments in time creating a legacy for future generations.

As Hazel says "I am able to capture moments that allow people to relive magic memories for years to come. I love receiving phone calls from my clients telling me how they are still moved by a commission, often many years after it was completed."

American Impressionist Edward Henry Potthast

American impressionist Edward Henry Potthast was born on June 10th, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He first showed his artistic side when he was very young and would mix his watercolors to come up with some of the most beautiful, vibrant colors. At an early age his family sent him off to design school. It was there that he met Thomas Satterwhite Noble, a portrait painter who helped Potthast develop his passion for oil painting.

When Edward turned 16 he began an apprenticeship at a lithographic firm. Lithography was the perfect job to further nurture his passion for mixing paints and inks and he continued lithography until he was 39.

In his late twenties, Edward went off to Munich to study painting. Like many artist before him, it was his time in Europe that he was able to develop his own style and establish a name for himself. When he returned to the United States in 1895, he settled down in New York and opened a studio.

By this time, Edward Potthast had become a full-time artist and no longer needed the lithography job to survive. He was living comfortably in his New York studio and was able to paint all day, everyday. Because he lived in the city, many of his subjects were picnics in Central Park and sunny beach days on Long Island.

He especially enjoyed painting children being children, for he had never married or had children of his own. He would depict them swimming in the summer surf on a New England beach or rolling down a grassy hill. Paintings like this were what brought the impressionist era to life.

When Edward Potthast died on March 9th, 1927 he had an established career as an artist and had paintings hanging in museums all over the United States.

For more information, or if you have an Edward Potthast piece of artwork you would like to sell, please visit our web site

Parents and Teachers Love Free Coloring Pages

It doesn't matter if you're looking for an after school activity. Or you simply want to add a little extra fun to your child's birthday party - free coloring pages are what you are looking for. What kid doesn't like to color their favorite super hero, or she-ro to keep things politically correct.

Thanks to the Internet you can run to your computer and print out several free coloring pages in a matter of minutes. This will result in hours of fun and educational entertainment for your children. Coloring pages also encourages our child's artistic creativity. Wait there is still more to coloring than meets the eye. Teaching your child to enjoy coloring pages also encourages a multitude of development skills such as coordination, and decision-making as well as how to follow through and complete their coloring pages.

You would think that after your child has completed their masterpiece that would be the end. Well it's not over yet! Teaching your little one(s) to actually search for their own coloring pages introduces children to the Internet. By teaching them to do so your little one will develop hand eye coordination by using the keyboard and mouse. Their skills on how to search for the information that they are looking for will prove to be invaluable in latter years. Before long I'm sure your child will start to teach you a thing or two about the Internet that you didn't know.


Coloring pages are also a great party activity for your child's birthday party. You can use your free coloring pages to have a coloring contest where of course everyone wins a prize as another fun activity.

Keep in mind that these are coloring pages that you can keep in your kid's scrapbook forever. This simple activity will become something that can be passed down from generation to generation.


I normally print out free coloring pages for my nephew - no problem right? Then I was asked to baby sit a few other little ones one evening. I passed out a coloring page to each of them along with a huge bucket of crayons. I was then off to watch an episode of Monk.

After about three minutes the fight was on. I ran into the family room as if the house was on fire. The children were arguing over one particular coloring page. Normally this would have been another disaster. Imagine if I only had the traditional coloring book. This would have turned into a huge crying fest.

Thanks to the Internet I zipped into the computer room and simply printed out several more of the same coloring pages and saved the day. I even made it back in time to see Monk work his magic and solve the case once again.

Tim Beachum highly recommends one of the Internet's best

Sketch a Car Using Pencil

Have you ever wanted to sketch your dream car? Basically, there are two types of drawings that you can create. A two dimensional drawing of a car, or a three dimensional one.

Before we get started, I'm just going to assume here that you know the basic techniques of drawing as taught in the Home Study Course. The course is not free, but there are free drawing lessons available on the website.

Since some of the materials are readily available, I'm not going to go through them here. What I'm going to do, will be to have a brief discussion on the approach that we should adopt when we're trying to draw a car. Let's get started.

First, pick the car that you want to draw. Depending on your skill level, pick something that you're comfortable drawing. Generally speaking, shadows and reflections on the body of the car creates complicated shapes. And if you're not comfortable, or you don't have the time, you may want to avoid choosing something that's complicated to draw. You can choose a reference image from your favourite car website.

Once you've chosen your reference subject and image, it's now time to start working on your sketch. Remember the two types of sketch? A two-dimensional sketch is easier to draw. You don't have to worry about highlights, shadows, foreshortening and all those drawing techniques. But you do have to get your measurements right. Try drawing the car from the front, side, and back for practice. Once you feel more confident, you can try drawing a three dimensional car.

A three dimensional car gives you more room to express yourself. Also, it present new challenges that'll help you sharpen your skills as an artist. The most challenging part is to get the proportions of the car right. Once you're able to nail that, you're halfway there. The techniques for nailing proportions have also been discussed in the Home Study Course.

When you have the shape and form of the car on paper, start working on the details. Do not worry so much about shades and blending when you start. Give the car more form by darkening the lines and refining the details. Cars often have many small parts that need attention. This require time. So pay attention to these details.

In the final stages of the sketch, do your shading and blending and make sure you bring out the highlights (reflective areas of the car body). Finish off the sketch with a sharp pencil and remove all unwanted lines.

Darren Chow is the founder and developer of, an online website with free drawing lessons, home study courses, and other drawing related resources. For more free resources like the one you've just read, please visit for free online drawing lessons.

The Era of The Emerging Artist

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Assume for a moment that emerging artists are akin to value stocks. Like any true value stock, the work of emerging artists is often overlooked, and their worth and prospects underestimated. However, just as Warren Buffet will search out quality companies with distinctive attributes, art lovers can unearth emerging artists whose work is thoughtful, topical and passionately committed to a sense of relevance to modern life. And while the majority of investors fail to perceive value stocks' improving prospects until after the greatest gains have already been made, the opportunity to discover the value of emerging artists exists now.

The art market continues to expand at an unprecedented pace. 2007 marked the first time in history that total worldwide sales for Christie's and Sotheby's hit $10 billion. In November, Christie's posted its second highest total for sales of Post-war and Contemporary art at $325 million, second that is to the $385 million tallied in May. Notably, 93% of the works sold, and a dozen artists set records. Meanwhile, Sotheby's sold $316 million at its November sale of Contemporary Art, the highest auction total ever posted by the firm. Sotheby's sold 91% of its lots.


Art is attracting a new breed of buyer. At Sotheby's June sale of Contemporary Art, over 20% of buyers were participating for the first time. Around the world, young, urban and increasingly affluent professionals are choosing art as an accessible means by which to obtain a hallmark of their culture, while demonstrating their individuality and increasing their wealth.

The reasons for art's broadening appeal are varied, but beyond the worldwide expansion of wealth, what's taking place is a fundamental shift in the understanding that creativity engenders change. Whether it be municipal or county governments, educators, or art lovers, there is a new respect for the way that art and music inculcate culture, define generations, and influence the lexicon. When asked to characterize a decade, our responses most often include references to art and music. Art can and often does provide society with forward momentum.


Despite their unquestioned quality and finite inventory, sales results of the Old Masters haven't kept pace with those of the Contemporary and Modern art markets. Even Contemporary furniture outsells older fare at sales and auctions. Growth in the value of Modern Art has outstripped every other category of art at auction. According to Art Market Research, prices for Contemporary Art have quadrupled since 1995 while results for Old Masters have significantly underperformed. For the period between June 2006 and June 2007, Old Masters posted gains of 7.6% vs. 44.3% for Modern Art and 55.3% for Contemporary Art, according to the Hiscox Art Market Research Index. And Sotheby's sale of 304 lots during its sale of Old Masters in December, while yielding strong year-over-year results, nonetheless pale in comparison to Contemporary Art results.

Two economists at NYU's Stern School of Business, Jiangping Mei and Michael Moses, have developed one of the most respected art indices. Their work centers around an examination of the auction results of over 11,000 sales transactions. Interestingly, in research reported in the magazine Registered Rep, they found that in over 4,500 cases it was not the most expensive paintings which provided the most return for investors, but those at the lower end of the pricing scale.


As society grows more comfortable with the idea of art as a legitimate investment vehicle, the necessity of appropriately guaging the potential posed by emerging artists versus the few known, hot commodities increases. Emerging artists lack the price premium, and therefore the risk, of the more established, "growth" artists. Notwithstanding his works' aesthetic appeal, the time to have bought Damien Hirst was when he was relatively unrecognized, or in investment parlance, when there was actually alpha relative to the art market.

Like any other inefficient market, the opportunity exists in the art market to realize outsized gains via active management of a portfolio. When it comes to value investments, the greatest gain is always realized by buying the stock whose price is the furthest below its intrinsic value. As a group, emerging artists fit squarely in the value camp, with equally strong prospects. Why assume that a tiny minority of artists, blessed with the impremateur of a small pool of art dealers, would produce the only art worthy of collectors attention and investment?


A healthy byproduct of the clamor for art has been a movement toward a more direct-to-consumer experience among artists. In the past, an artist would often spend many years selling their work through galleries before gaining entry into the auction world. However, the current market allows many to bypass the high-cost (50% commission) gallery experience altogether as demand for their work pulls them directly to auction. There's less of a need for a dealer or gallery owner to telegraph an artists' worth, as intrinsic value virtually sells itself. As a result, lower commission rates paid by artists, and the ability to view work in an objective context both earlier and less expensively via the auction setting, creates a win-win for the artist and the art lover.

Capucine Price is a former investment manager with a specialization in small capitalization value stocks, most recently with the Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Co., LLC. She is the co-owner of the online art auction gallery Inspired by Monet's 'Boulevard des Capucines', the gallery is the best way to shop thousands of pieces of original artwork from talented artists worldwide through their art galleries online.

Capucine Price

How To Draw A Good Portrait

Drawing portraits can be exceedingly challenging for many art students. But why are portraits so hard to draw? After all, portraits are essentially the same as all other drawings, and are made up of basic shapes and forms. The key lies being able to execute proportions with exact precision.

When you take a closer look at a portrait, you'll observe that there are thousands of combinations possible for portraits. For example, there are noses with many different shapes and sizes. There are eyes with different shapes and colors. There are lips with different thickness and there are all sorts of little details (like eyebags etc.) that are different. This makes it difficult for the artist to apply a fixed formula when drawing portraits.

The same technique for drawing a fixed object, or for drawing still life, can be used again and again. The basic shapes and forms of a table or a chair is easy to duplicate.

But when you put together a combination of all kinds of different features on a face, it's a whole different set of challenge. The nose is too small, the lips are too thick, the eyes look all funny, etc. You get into all sorts of funny problems that you can don't get whether drawing other stuff. That's why drawing portraits can be such a challenge to many art students.

The way around this is to strengthen the drawing foundation. That means drawing by applying sound drawing principles instead of just following rigid formulas. If the artist can get the proportions right, the likeness of the person will emerge. There's no need for other complicated techniques. The artist just have to focus on getting the proportions right.

The other area of concern is that many art students do not have the maturity to make sound decisions about the portraits they are drawing. Note that drawing is not the same as photographing. The drawing need not be exactly the same as the subject. There is room for the artist to make decisions on how the drawing will eventually turn out.

Therefore, a good portraitist will always bear in mind the background and the essence of the subject that he or she is drawing. For instance, if the artist is drawing a business person, he may want to capture the shrewd look on the face. Or if he's drawing a model, he may want the drawing to look Hollywood style.

These are simple decisions, yet they have such a profound impact on the portraits. So good artists must use their judgment to make such decisions.

Darren Chow is the founder and developer of, an online website that offers free drawing lessons, home study courses, and other drawing related resources. For more free resources like the one you've just read, please visit for free online drawing lessons.

Fantasy Art Warrior Women-Pictures of Cats-Drawings of Scorpions-Paint Them With Oils

As far as oil painting goes it's not as scary as some people think. If you want to create the visions that are in your head, be it fantasy art warrior women, pictures of cats, drawings of scorpions, or if you hope to one day obtain landscapes still life portrait commissions, whimsical angel drawings, you might want to consider oil painting as your goal. It is to me, the most respected medium.

It's true! Painting with oils may seem way scary, but it isn't at all really!

Lots of people get stuck into doing acrylics, watercolors or feel content to just draw. That is fine of course, those mediums are great, but oil painting need not be excluded because you think it is too hard.

I confess! When I first started painting with oils? I felt it was just so overwhelming to begin.

One thing I would do to get over fear of painting, and this is not exclusive to oils, is be a Jackson Pollack for the day. You can still slather on the paint to create pictures of cats, drawings of scorpions or fantasy fairies, just be loose about it. No pressure for realism.

Turn on your favorite music, pump up the volume and get ready for an art dance, or should we call it a dance of learning to play with art?

First find a piece of plywood lying around, or anything really. Search out some old house paint or go to the hardware store and buy some of their sale stuff.. just a few colors is fine. It does not have to be a major expense, in fact, that is the point, in order to free yourself up, it needs to be as little expense as possible. Find some old junk.. old jewelry, even Christmas wrapping paper or weird things you come across. Next take it all outside and PLAY! Just PLAY.. no pressure for anything to turn out. Dump stuff on the plywood and be a Pollack for the day. Let it dry and then go back and play again over the same piece, building up a patina effect. Metallic paints are great for this too!

OK, so after that you should feel a certain sense of freedom about painting. Now lets try some oils on canvas! How fun! (Yup no grumbling, this is gonna be fun.)

When oils are thinned down with turpentine they have a lot more ease. You can make it all really sloshiy (my word for messy) and PLAYFUL! That doesn't mean you only use thinned down oils but just think about that and use it as you will. Start out thin and end with thick.

First paint a background on as large a canvas as you can. The larger the better. I find that if you paint a small work it is actually more scary. You tend to tighten up and fret more. When the canvas is big you KNOW you have to really get in there and paint or it will take you forever. There is freedom to it.

Try 'sketching' with your sloshy colors and oil paints. Starting with your darkest colors 'slather' on your base, be it fantasy art warrior women, images taken from female photography, or lords of the middle ages PLAY. Then let it sit for a day or two. Go back after some drying time and add your medium toned colors, then let that sit.. give yourself a rest for a fresh look at your progress as well as some drying time. Lastly add your lights and highlights.

Cover it up and be a touchy artist! Don't let anyone see your work and/or let them lend comment. Others might sway your confidence because they cannot possibly see what is inside your heart and the end result. You may not either but the FEELING is there.. only worry about the feeling. Matisse said to feel the colors. Play with the colors as you create to one day produce fantasy art warrior women, pictures of lambs or landscapes still life portrait commissions is that is your goal. Learn to Play! This is what will set you free to paint by instinct rather than rules.



ABOUT Kathy Ostman-Magnusen

I paint and sculpt female fantasy art and map fairy tale adventures. I dream of beautiful women on canvas and art of exotic women.

I have illustrated for Hay House Inc.,"Women Who Do Too Much" CARDS, taken from Anne Wilson Schaef's book. I also illustrated for Neil Davidson, who was considered for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing, and several other publications. My paintings are collected worldwide.

Giclee canvas art work, greeting cards and posters are available for sale on my website:

Saturday, March 1, 2008


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