Painting Tips

Dan Scott, Elora and White Roses, 2023, 700W, Negative Space

7 Tests to Check the Accuracy of Your Paintings

By Dan Scott / March 6, 2023 / 42 Comments

In this post, I’ll share some of the tests you can use to check the accuracy of your paintings or to diagnose mistakes. I’ll use my recent painting, Elora and White Roses (shown below), to demonstrate my points. Why These Tests Are Important and When to Use Them Of course, the key benefit of these … Read more

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Heywood Hardy, A Lions Head, 1878

How to Paint Hair and Fur

By Dan Scott / November 28, 2022 / 28 Comments

This is a detailed guide on painting hair and fur—whether that be human hair, artificial hair, animal fur, whiskers, etc. I’ll broadly refer to all this as “hair” from hereon. Big, Simple Shapes One of the most common mistakes beginner artists make when painting hair is getting caught up in the tiny details. They paint … Read more

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Dan Scott, New Zealand, Foggy Mountains, 2020, Terms

Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background: A Detailed Guide

By Dan Scott / November 9, 2022 / 41 Comments

This is a detailed guide on the concepts of foreground, middle ground, and background. You’ll learn what they mean and how to paint them effectively. What Do They Mean? The foreground, middle ground, and background refer to areas in space. The foreground refers to the nearest area. The background refers to the area of space … Read more

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Staining the Canvas (Underpainting)

By Dan Scott / October 7, 2022 / 28 Comments

This is a detailed guide on staining the canvas (or what is more formally known as underpainting). I remember when I first started using this technique. It had a profound effect on my work and my ability to judge colors. I’ll cover: What it Means and Key Benefits Staining the canvas refers to an initial … Read more

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Primary Colors in Art (1)

Primary Colors in Art – What They Are and How to Use Them Effectively

By Dan Scott / September 27, 2022 / 28 Comments

Let’s discuss the primary colors as they relate to art, or more specifically, painting. These are the first colors you’ll learn about in art. Even my 1-year-old daughter, Elora, has been introduced to the primary colors through her children’s shows and at daycare. Perhaps it’s because we’re introduced to the primary colors so early in … Read more

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Claude Monet, Garden at Giverny, 1895

Garden at Giverny by Claude Monet

By Dan Scott / August 29, 2022 / 25 Comments

I stumbled across this painting by Claude Monet, Garden at Giverny. What a shimmering display of color! (Click here to download a high-resolution photo of the painting.) Some key observations: Feel free to share your thoughts about the painting in the comment section below. If you want to learn more, you should check out my Painting … Read more

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Dan Scott, Tree Series, High Contrast, 2022, Detail, Arrow

How to Paint Reflected Light

By Dan Scott / August 23, 2022 / 44 Comments

Reflected light is one of those small but powerful details that can make or break your painting. This post will help you paint it more accurately. I’ll cover: What Is Reflected Light? Reflected light is light that bounces or reflects off objects. For example, the light bouncing off and around the walls of your room—that’s … Read more

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Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Sailboats at Sunset

The Ultimate Guide to Painting the Sky

By Dan Scott / July 4, 2022 / 66 Comments

The sky is a challenging and dynamic subject. This guide will provide you with guidance on how to paint it. I’ll cover: Shape and Form The sky is transient and fleeting by nature, but that doesn’t mean you should depart from all ideas of structure, shape, and form when painting it. If anything, these concepts … Read more

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Winslow Homer, Boys in a Dory, 1873

Gouache – The Ultimate Guide

By Dan Scott / May 11, 2022 / Comments Off on Gouache – The Ultimate Guide

This is a detailed guide on gouache painting. I’ll cover: What is Gouache?  Gouache (pronounced ‘gwash’) is water-soluble paint that has a matte finish. It is similar to watercolor but is opaque instead of translucent. Gouache paint consists of color pigments bound in gum arabic or dextrin. White pigment or chalk-like material is added to … Read more

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Dan Scott, Noosa, Rocky Shore, 2022

How to Name Your Artwork

By Dan Scott / January 28, 2022 / 64 Comments

Let’s cover a simple but important question: “How should I name my artwork?”  I’ll cover: Simple and Descriptive For most artworks, a simple and descriptive title is sufficient. In a few words, describe what the artwork is about. Who is depicted? Where is it? What is it? This is how I title most of my … Read more

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