Items 6 to 10 of 14 total

Madeleine Finley: Colorful Chaos

May 12, 2016 1:35:08 PM

Madeleine Finley - Oil Painting

Madeleine Finley is a painter from the Washington, DC area. She creates colorful abstract oil paintings, each containing a beautiful chaos of letters, lines and fragmented figures. Sometimes emerging artists will incorporate words into their work and the integration seems trite, but Madeleine’s use of lettering is abstract and intriguing. Along with her acute awareness of color and unusual compositions, her paintings are fun to explore.

Madeleine had her first solo show in Puerto Rico, as a part of the Trailer Park Proyects. Trailer Park Proyects is a traveling gallery in the trailer of a box truck. TPP gives both emerging and established artists the opportunity to show work in various locations across the city of San Juan. The project also sets a maximum price of $500 on all exhibiting works to make the artwork more accessible for younger and modest art collectors.

In the following interview, Madeleine illustrates the importance of exploring different opportunities and venues for practicing your craft as an artist.  One opportunity that Madeleine has particularly enjoyed in the DC area is being a member of DC Arts Studios. DCAS, an organization located in Takoma Park, Maryland, is a...

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Comments | Posted in: Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott

Kate Plourde - Pool - 2016

Being an artist means being open to discovery; being an abstract artist also means being constantly open to uncertainty. How do you paint a feeling rather than an object? How do you guide your mediums when you can’t see what you’re painting in front of you?

Kate Plourde is an abstract artist living in Washington, DC. She creates ethereal large-scale abstract paintings on paper; exploring memory, experiences and emotions in her delicate, smoky forms and landscape-like contours. “I’m always looking for ways to play with what the medium wants to do and what I want the medium to do,” says Kate.

Though she typically creates her paintings using mediums like Liquitex and Golden acrylics on high quality Rives BFK or Stonehenge paper, Kate does not limit herself to one mode of creating. She occasionally practices the esoteric art of bookbinding, as well as creating ultra-modern digital art. For part of her thesis at the Corcoran, she used Adobe After Effects and Photoshop to create the digital animation installation, “Tidal” (2015), which is pictured further below.

It is always interesting to see how abstract artists title their pieces and what role the title plays in the viewer’s perception o...

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Comments | Posted in: Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott

"Sactuary" by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

What is Encaustic?

Encaustic is the art of painting with molten wax. This style of painting has been around for centuries and was first used to create portraits. In the 20th Century, encaustic painting regained popularity because of its vibrant colors, transparent qualities and durability. Today, encaustic artists use the medium to achieve an incredible range of mixed media effects. Encaustic is generally applied with a brush. It can be scored, molded with tools as it cools, dripped on, or fused with a blowtorch. Artists can also hide objects within the medium by using different melting and layering techniques. It is especially common to embed photos, drawings and writing between layers of encaustic.

In “Sanctuary,” the encaustic painting above, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, a Towson, Maryland artist, has fused several layers of encaustic on the left, creating a beautiful texture. On the right, she has embedded an image of birds within the layers of the wax paint. Another piece of hers, "Landscape Triptych," is pictured below. You may find more of her work at

What is the History of Encaustic Painting?

Encaustic painting first appeared in ancient Greece and the oldest s...

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Comments | Posted in: Product Guide By K. McDermott

How to create a snowscape

The east coast is in for some nasty weather this weekend. It’s time to bundle up and stay inside—or, if you’re a painter, a great time to experiment with wintertime landscapes. Painting snow is tricky because light acts differently in snowscapes than in other landscapes. We think of snow as being white, but because it is refractive, it is actually whiter than white, and not white at the same time. There are many values and hue present in a snowy landscape. Realistically rendering snow is tricky. Here are some tips for achieving realistic snow—these pointers are geared towards oil and acrylic landscape painting, but many of the same concepts apply to other forms of painting and dry media as well! (Pictured above: "Sea of Mud," Alexei Savrasov, oil painting, 1894.)

(1.) Find Your View and Stay Warm

Most people prefer to paint a snowy landscape from a window, or reference photos. You can also paint outside, but winter plein air is not for the faint of heart! Always check the forecast before you go out to paint. If it’s below freezing, it might be impossible to paint quickly enough, especially with paints like watercolors. Wear real gloves or latex gloves if you can, and take breaks to w...

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Comments | Posted in: How To By K. McDermott


Water mixable, water miscible or water soluble? Whatever you want to call this unique oil paint, it is worth experimenting with. First developed in the 1980s, it is interchangeably called “water mixable,” “water miscible,” and “water soluble.” For the sake of consistency, we will refer to this special oil paint as “water mixable” throughout the following post, but you can call it what you want!

Oil Painting and Solvent Use

Oil painting has been around for centuries. Traditional oil paints first appeared in Europe in the 12th century and became very popular in the early 15th century. Oil paint is traditionally made with only linseed oil and pigment, and can be thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits, which are solvents. Unlike watercolors, acrylics and other water-based paints, which can be thinned with water, traditional oil paint must be thinned with solvents. The oil molecules in the paint can only be broken down by solvent chemicals; mixing traditional oils with water does not work because water and oil do not mix. Turpentine or odorless mineral spirits (also called white spirits) are the two solvents typical­­ly used to thin oil paint.

Turpentine is plant-based and typically de...

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Comments | Posted in: Product Guide By K. McDermott
Items 6 to 10 of 14 total