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Painting with Panels or Canvas?

The Secrets of Priming and Preparing Panels for Painting Part One: Selecting the Panel For an artist, nothing beats the feeling of working on a flawless painting surface that has been carefully prepared by skilled craftsmen educated in the Renaissance tradition with recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. These recipes included various exotic ingredients such as resin extracted from trees farmed in the Amazon rainforests in Brazil, which was then hand pressed by Monks, and aged in cellars for 30 years as the main ingredient. Also, marble pumas mined from the same…

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Choosing Your Own Color Palette

            Choosing Your Own Color Palette In the next few posts I will be answering frequently asked questions from students and professional artists about painting on location with oil paints and discussing how to use colors, values and how to create a personal palette by using 4 colors plus white. I will explore how easy choosing your own color palette can be as you develop your style of painting. This is aspect of painting included as an essay in my book that I am writing titled, “Everything You Need to Know about Plein Air Painting.”…

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Sketchbooks, Valuable Artist’s Tool

                                                                                “Curious Bear” by Stefan Baumann   At our camp near Coulter Bay, on the boundary of the Teton National Park, there was a curious bear whose name is Number 399. When I captured my first glimpse of Number 399, I grabbed my sketchbook to make a quick sketch on paper knowing that I could later transfer it to canvas. The bear stood for a few moments among several fallen tree trunks before lofting away to another campsite. While he stood there, a burst of wind made his fur ripple like waves on water, back-blowing his thick winter coat. The…

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Great Compositions ~ Part 2

                                                              Part 2 ~ Using the Golden Mean in Compositions The post, “Composition, Part 1,” was about the importance of creating a strong composition using the Golden Mean and how to  place and draw the lines of the Mean on the canvas before beginning to sketch.  In “Composition, Part 2,” placing the primary and secondary focal points and directional lines using the Golden Mean is explored.  Artists who know about and use the lines of the Golden Mean to place focal points and create dynamic movement in their paintings are able to subtly excite the viewer’s interest and entice them…

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Painting A Geyser in Yellowstone Park, Part 2

“Yellowstone Geyser Primary Sketch” by Stefan Baumann

“Yellowstone Geyser, Primary Sketch” by Stefan Baumann Three Keys to Plein Air Success, Inspiration, Composition & Application, Part 2   Inspiration As demonstrated by painting a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, an artist must first be inspired by an idea, feeling or vision of what he wants to communicate with the viewer about the scene or location before applying any paint to the canvas. The source of inspiration may be the effect of light in the scene, or a feeling created by the lighting or the time of day, or it might come from several objects in a location that…

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Painting a Geyser in Yosemite National Park, Part 1

“Yellowstone Geyser, Opus 1″ by Stefan Baumann

“Yellowstone Geyser, Opus 1” by  Stefan Baumann Three Keys to Plein Air Success ~ Inspiration, Composition & Color Application, Part 1 When I begin a painting on location, my main objective is to capture the subject in as little time as possible, and when painting a geyser, the pressure to paint fast is even greater. Painting a geyser like one in Yellowstone Park depicted in “Yellowstone Geyser, Opus 1” is quite a challenge, as it only erupts every 12 hours and the burst of water and steam lasts only 2-3 minutes. Capturing the essence of the geyser blowing upwards into…

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Create Appealing Compositions ~ As Easy as Phi 1.638

Golden Mean, The Divine Proportion, Golden Ratio, PHI = 1.618 The ability to create appealing compositions is at the heart of painting original pieces of art.  Though there is very little written about the Golden Ratio, artists who can powerfully work with  the Golden Mean in their compositions are able to create pleasing original paintings.  The Golden Section or Ratio is found everywhere  ~ in the design and beauty of nature and human beings, and it is also found in paintings that are composed with an essence of proportion that allows viewers to feel a sense of harmony. The Divine Proportion was…

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Golden Mean Composition

Plein Air Artist Stefan Baumann, host of the popular PBS oil painting show The Grand View: America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist, lectures about artists’ use of the Golden Mean based on the number 1.618, Phi. Also known as the Divine Proportion, Golden Proportion and Golden Section, Phi is is the secret to creating good composition. Stefan Baumann teaches classes in Medford, Oregon, Redding, California and San Jose, California and offers Plein Air workshops in Mt Shasta, California. Stefan Baumann is a master of painting outdoors and studio painting alla prima.

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Creating Movement in Your Paintings Using Composition

Spring Blossoms at the Grand View Ranch, by Stefan Baumann

 ”Mount Shasta Dogwood Blossoms” by Stefan Baumann Let’s talk about methods for creating movement in your paintings. I painted this composition of “Mount Shasta Dogwood Blossoms” outdoors from my deck. When I composed this painting, I wanted to create a circular movement with the effect of light on the blossoms as the central focal point. When composing a painting, we are concerned with abstract shape as well as “eye magnets.” Eye magnets are subliminal lines that lead the viewer into the painting and to the focal point. In this painting, you can see that the abstract shape looks like a wreath…

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