Monday, November 28, 2005

Wildlife painting by Martin Ridley

Here's a step-by-step tutoral that takes you through the process of culling photos, field sketches, and other resources into a cohesive landscape with geese.

Ridley's main site

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A New Approach To Painting Startlingly Realistic Paintings

This demo is done in an attempt to sell a specific product -- a spray medium -- intended to aid in applying paint. The product may be worth buying, but I haven't tried it, and don't know anyone who has.

The approach makes sense. The painting is executed by establishing a basic value/color scheme, and developing it from there. Details are saved until the very end, as they should be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Debra Jones

Debra is a regular on, and I have admired her work for some time.

Yesterday she posted this very nice sequence of images of a portrait she had painted from life. It's not a demonstration in that she added no instructive commentary, but the images speak volumes about her process.

Here's her website.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

David Leopoldo Benavidez

David Leopoldo Benavidez demonstrates how he paints a portrait in a loose painterly style.

Often beginners believe that loosley painted pictures are done quickly, and with abandon. This is not true, despite what you see in the movies. It's a careful process.

NOTE: For some reason, the direct link doesn't work. Click the "Gallery" link, then scroll to the "Portrait Demonstration" link.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rebecca Alzofon Teaches Prud'hon's Technique

This is an advanced tutorial, spanning many pages. Alzofon discusses Prud'on's works, then dissects his technique, and proceeds with a step-by-step demonstration. The results are stunning.

Also see Rebecca's three-value drawing tutorial.

Cyrille Jubert Teaches Watercolor

This French artist specializes in dog portraits. Here's a watercolor dog portrait demo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This site doesn't have demonstrations in the truest sense. It's a company that sells hand-painted copies of master paintings. They do, however, show photos of the paintings in progress. There's no instructional text.

The finished works look just like the masters (at least online they do), so you may gain some insight into how to paint better.

The site offers many examples of their works, going back to 1999.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jimmie Arroyo's "Hacel"

Jimmie Arroyo is beginning to make a splash in the art world. Seems every time I turn around, he's winning another award.

Here's a demo he posted of a portrait of Hacel. I liked this portrait so much, I bought the original!

See Jimmie's website here.

Igor Babailov

Igor Babailov makes his living as a commission portrait painter, and has received due notoriety for his work. Go to his demo page, and scroll down for three demos -- Drawing, Oil and Pastel.

Heidi Miers' Portrait Sculpture

I've been following Heidi's work for a while now, and I find her sculptures captivating. People are always asking her to teach a class. She doesn't have time for that, but she does have these demos on her website.

The demos just scratch the surface of information she has to offer. She also has online lessons you can buy.

Two Pastel Demonstrations

Brigitte Botnick Pet Portrait

This artist offers a colored pencil demonstration of a dog portrait.

If you haven't tried colored pencils, give them a shot. You'll be surprized what you can do.

William Whitaker

William Whitaker is a classical artist whose works are unsurpassed for beauty and technical skill. On his website he offers five oil painting demonstrations. I like the way his demos don't always take the same approach. One starts with a loose suggestion of the figure, while another starts with a more tightly rendered drawing. Don't get in a rut. Try different approaches, even after you get good at painting.

Also see his technical notes.

Marvin Mattelson

Marvin Mattelson is one of those artists I followed since I was in graphic design classes in college. He was an accomplished illustrator back then, and he has since left the high-stress illustration world and is now doing fine art in the form of portraiture.

Marvin is a stickler for traditional techniques. He's a modern Ingres.

On this page, he duplicates a few of the demos he's done for his workshop students. All are in oil on canvas, I believe. He has an interesting way of starting a painting.

Tony Ryder Painting Demos

Tony Ryder is known for his highly realistic works painted (or drawn) from life.

Here is a collection of demos with descriptions. The finished pieces on the demos aren't as refined as his actual studio work, because they were probably created during a live workshop with students. Still, he seems to put a LOT of meticulous work into them.

Oil Sketch on Watercolor Paper

You almost have to chuckle when you see what Scott Bartner calls a "sketch". Don't you wish your finished pieces looked as great as his sketches?

Online Video Demonstrations

Here's a link to Duane Keiser's collection of video demonstrations,

Each video shows a small painting being painted in quick time, and in Quicktime :)

A demo by me

This is a re-post of my thoughts on drawing, and my approach. I originally posted this on

One of the most important things I’ve learned about drawing is that all of the design and proportion decisions need to be made at the beginning. How do you do this? Simple. DON’T DRAW!!!

By that, I don’t mean to say that you should give up on art. I mean that you should not start a drawing by drawing. You should start by placing marks on the page, indicating where the various elements will be. These should be faint marks. No one needs to see them except you, so do them lightly.

Different instructors will tell you to start in different manners, but they usually agree with what I’m telling you. Daniel Greene would tell you to start by placing the facial features first. Tony Ryder would tell you to begin with the outer shape of the figure. But they both say the same thing about NOT drawing until placement decisions have been made.

So take a good long look at your model. Decide the general placement of the figure on the page, and make marks indicating where she’ll be. Right now, I’m using Ryder’s techniques. I block in a very general indication of where the figure will be placed. I make sure that the width and length are close to the proportions of the figure. I also check to see that the angle is correct (that’s one of my biggest failings. I tend to draw faces straight up and down, and lose the tilt of the head). These first marks will be gone long before the picture is finished. Don’t worry about exact proportions. These marks are intended to just get you started moving in the right direction.

Now mark the general divisions of the figure. In your case, you’re dividing only the head and shoulders. Make marks that indicate where the eyes, nose, mouth, jaw line, ears, etc. will go. You’re not drawing yet. You’re just indicating where all this stuff will be. Now is not the time to draw. Now is when you evaluate the placement of all those marks and correct them until they match the placement, length, angle, etc. of your subject.

Once you’ve made all these marks, and corrected them over and over until they’re all in the correct place, it will start to look like your subject... and you haven’t even started drawing! You still have no eyes, nose, etc. You’ll be amazed at how these simple marks can start to look like the person you’re not drawing.

Before moving on, look at every single mark. Is it the correct distance from the other marks? This can best be judged by looking at the negative space between them. There’s a space between the nose and corner of the mouth that is roughly triangle shaped. Is the triangle correct on your page? If not, correct it. Do the same with all of the other relationships between facial features. This will greatly improve your finished drawing. It’s critical that you put everything in the right place. No matter how well you draw the features, your drawing will fail if they’re not placed correctly. No matter how long it takes. Get those marks placed. This becomes easier with time.

I remember years ago, looking at a how-to book, and seeing that step one of the portrait is to “block-in” the marks just as I have described. I laughed and said that if I could get all those marks in the right place, I wouldn’t need the book. Instructional books tend to de-emphasize the advance work that goes into drawing. They like to get straight to the fun stuff. Tony Ryder’s book makes a point of teaching you to get everything placed before you even think about drawing anything.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Stop drawing and fill up your sketchbook!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Scott Burdick and Susan Lyons

This husband and wife team have made a splash among internet wannabe artists. It seems every artists' messageboard has several mentions of them, and their demo pages alone must eat up a ton of bandwidth.

Susan offers only one demo, and her technique (or what we know of it from the sole demo), is different from her husband's, yet her finished work looks similar to his.

Scott has eleven demos online. He seems to be very generous with his knowledge, and I've spent many hours poring over every one of them.

Scott and Susan, If you read this... PLEASE post a drawing demo. Your drawings are as interesting as your paintings, and I'd love to see how you do them. I know. I know. You've given so much already. I'll shut up now.

Here's the link to their demo page.

Rent Scott Burdick's DVDs here

Morgan Weistling

This is my first post on this blog, because Morgan inspired me to get back into painting.

His website features three step-by-step painting demos. All are figurative works. All are oil on canvas.

To be honest, the demos are intimidating, because accurate portraits seem to blossom onto the canvas with little preparation. If you really want to see how he works, do what I did -- buy his video. I bought the four DVD set, in which he paints an entire gallery painting on camera. Hardly a stroke is left out of the video. It's extremely informative, and will definitely inspire you to dust off those old brushes.

Weistling spent many years as an illustrator. That's a very demanding field, and anyone who was successful as an illustrator comes away with kick-ass skills.

Here's the link to his website. Click the DEMOS link on the menu on the left hand side of the page.

Rent "In the Studio with Morgan Weistling" here. How-To DVD Rental