Painting Tips

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, Drawing

What’s the Visual Path of Your Artwork?

By Dan Scott / July 31, 2023 / 16 Comments

This is a detailed guide on the idea of a visual path or journey that a viewer takes through your artwork. This is something I actively think about whenever I’m drawing or painting. I consider questions like: Where does the journey start? What direction is the viewer pulled? How do they work their way around … Read more

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Paul Cézanne, View of Auvers-sur-Oise—La Barrière, c.1873, 700W

A Closer Look at View of Auvers-sur-Oise—La Barrière by Paul Cézanne

By Dan Scott / June 2, 2023 / 39 Comments

Last week, I shared this gallery of some of my favorite paintings by Paul Cézanne. Let’s take a closer look at one of those paintings to see what exactly is happening behind the scenes. Here’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise—La Barrière. (Click here to see a high-resolution photo of the painting.) A Familiar Subject The painting conveys … Read more

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Dan Scott, Color Block-In

Determining the Right Strategy for Your Next Painting

By Dan Scott / May 26, 2023 / 8 Comments

Let’s cover a tricky topic: determining the right strategy for your next painting. Your strategy is the general plan or approach for how you will end up with a painting that’s faithful to the subject and conveys your ideas. It broadly covers questions like… What medium will you use? What brushes? What colors? What style? … Read more

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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 / 43 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 / 30 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 / 42 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 / 31 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 / 27 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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