Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I thought I would try to save a little money on linen plein air panels this year and build my own. I checked with my local art store and ended up getting a great deal on a 52" x 6yd roll for around $24o.oo. Thats a 50% discount my friend ! He also sells the doubled tempered precut masonite panels so I bought enough of those as well. In the end I got 69 linen panels out of the roll at a cost of about .05 cents per square inch. Most of the investment went toward 11x14's and 9x12's since that's what I use mostly, but to get the most out of the roll I got some 6x6's and 12x16's as well. Actually I got 35-11x14's, 6-12x16's, 15-9x12's, 12-6x6's and 1 18x24 just to see if I could make one that big.

This is the materials needed: A roll of linen or canvas, masonite panels, a sponge trim roller (to roll the glue on), a small roller pan, 2-24 oz cans of acrylic medium (the glue), a piece of 150 grit sandpaper, wax paper, scissors, a linoleum roller, yard stick, a couple of wet rags, 2-2'x2'x3/4" pieces of birch plywood and two carpenter clamps.

This is the process: First I roll out the linen onto a table with the primed side up and tape it down to the table. Then I take the panels and lay them out on the canvas in a fashion that best utilizes the linen with the least amount of waste being sure to leave about 1/2" space between each panel. After I've done all this and marked all my lines, I'll now have the linen about 1/4" to the side larger than the panel. Now I'll just turn the TV on and sit there and cut out each piece by hand with either scissors or a razor knife.

The next steps are critical to making sure you have just the right amount of glue on your panels and linen. I'll pour the acrylic medium (the glue) in a small roller pan and then roll it onto the back side of the linen and then onto the panel. Be sure to sand the panel slightly with the 150 grit sandpaper for tooth. You'll just have to learn how to get the correct amount of glue on everything by trial and error. Too much glue will make your linen wrinkle. Next take your piece of linen and gently lay the wet side onto the wet side of the panel. Take your linoleum roller and gently roll it flat being sure that you see no air bubbles etc. The next step will be to lay down a piece of wax paper larger than the panel onto a piece of the plywood and then continue the process and stacking the panels face down on top of one another being sure to place a piece of wax paper between each one and stacking them nice and straight. After you've stacked all your panels gently place the other piece of plywood on top of the stack and clamp evenly, alternating from one clamp to the other until tight.

Final steps: After waiting about 24 hrs for drying, remove the clamps and your panels and trim the excess linen from them with a razor knife. You are now ready to paint on your homemade panels for about 1/3 the cost of linen panel of equal quality.

Some tips for you:
Be sure to cut your linen straight with the grain.
Be sure to place your linen straight on the panel.
Learn the appropriate amount of glue to put on your panel etc. You'll learn that you've done it correctly if your edges and corners are 100% glued up.
Clamping the glued up panels in the "press" will insure that they don't warp. They will warp if you don't clamp them.

My total cost plus about 10 hrs of work:
$451.30 for 69 panels !
11x14 panels................... $7.70 ea
12x16 panels.................. $9.60 ea
9x12 panels.................... $5.40 ea
6x6 panels...................... $1.80 ea
18x24 panel................... $21.60 ea

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the "FAR SIDE"

If you have ever reviewed my work you probably noticed that it is not all the same in style or medium. I guess I just paint what I feel or maybe by just the mood that I'm in on that particular day. One could definitely say that I'm not typecast as an artist, I guess I get bored with consistently doing the same type work over and over again.

You may also have read in my workshop manual the importance I place on getting into the "ZONE" when painting. I also stress the importance of learning all that you can as an artist but at the same time you must not loose your personal identity as an artist. All successful artist have their own niche and do not mimic another artist style et cetera. I do, however, from time to time enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone in my personal form of impressionism to explore new territories. I'll choose an artist whose style a like and dissect the work to try to understand his way of thinking and then apply what I've learned to my work. More often than not I discover our theories are much the same. We were both emerged into the zone and the work was more about design and delving within the boundaries of a new era of contemporary impressionism. I do this as an exercise in right brain development that helps me become more creative and painterly without being too deliberate. In other words when painting "in the zone" the knowledge just flows out, it is not a deliberate effort, I ultimately just do it my way.
I would highly suggest to any artist to step out of your comfort zone, study different styles and mediums and develop all the skills you can, but in the end do it your way

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How painting en plein air has improved my studio work.

         After many years of getting in and out of the art business I was finally able to look back and understand why I would quit the business to pursue other interest when I did. As a child and young man, my Dad and I spent many days in the outdoors either hunting whitetail deer, turkeys or fishing. I grew to love the outdoors and even when I reached  adulthood made hunting and fishing a priority. As you may also know my Dad was an artist and raised us kids to be artist as well. I spent many hours with him painting or going on art trips to take photographs or to paint on location. I never painted outdoors much after that and would contain my art work to the studio, always gazing out the window and wishing I were out hunting or fishing. As I grew more and more bored with the idea of being inside the studio would be the times that I would just quit the art business for a while. 

        I was re-introduced to painting en plein air about five years ago and soon found a way to combine being in the great outdoors with my art business. I have never been more happy and excited to be painting in my entire life. I have found that painting en plein air had also helped my studio painting tremendously. I have now learned to "SEE" as an impressionist sees and have learned to adapt so many plein air methods to my studio work. I would highly suggest any artist experience painting en plein air to further improve their knowledge and painting methods. 

       The painting "The Red Barnes of Mt View Valley" is a studio painting done from studies and photo's. The painting is 30x40 on re-painted canvas and is available fro Craig Reynolds Studio.......... $4500.00

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Shelby Lee Galllery of Charleston SC is sponsoring my plein air workshop again this year. We will be painting in one of the most beautiful and historic places in America. 

We will have a "meet and greet" reception at the gallery on May 12th from 6:00 'till 8:00 and meet at different locations for the next three days for painting and instruction, so bring your plein air gear and plenty of canvases. We'll provide a light lunch for you and have a safe place to paint in case of bad weather. Day one will be at Shem Creek, famous for it's fresh seafood and views of the shrimp fleet and docks with plenty of sea birds for entertainment. Day two will be at the James Island County Park with plenty of marsh views and landscape opportunities, teaming with widlife, the famous live oaks, and Spanish moss. Day three will be at the Waterfront Park with the beautiful "Pineapple Fountain" along with painting scenes of people in the park, the waterfront, bicyclers, walkers, and plenty of exposure with you painting right before the public. The gallery will be having a reception and wet paint sale that night from 6:00 'till 9:00 and before you leave don't forget to leave your one best painting for the gallery to sell for you. All of this for only $325.00

I'll be doing demo's and instruction on a new and exciting
painting method with a tinted canvas and block stroke method as well as the traditional value seeking undertone and layering method. I'll teach you my own personal quick tack medium mixture and teach you to see and paint in light form and color. Your paintings will come out fresh and colorful with no muddying from overwork like so many others do when painting wet on wet.

Did you know that you will also have the opportunity to leave your one best painting at the gallery for the them to sell for you. What an opportunity to have your work for sale in a Charleston gallery.

For more information and to sign up you can contact either me at 256-458-1881 or contact Shelby Parbel at 843-579-9725.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We have just completed our Dobbin Gallery (Church St) Plein Air workshop in Charleston SC. I want to thank the artists for a wonderful workshop. We started out with a get acquainted reception at the gallery, where I introduced them to a few techniques and discussed a little of the history and purpose of painting en plein air. The weather was beautiful and we put in three long days of painting in one of the most beautiful places in America. Each artist completed five to six paintings each in three days.

We spent the first half of the first day painting the marsh of the intercostals at Mt Pleasant. The expansive view to the east was lit by the early morning light and the view to the west looked to the city skyline of old historic Charleston. We moved to the Shem Creek area after a quick lunch and set up on the deck of The Wreck, a seafood restaurant at the shrimp fleet landing. The owner of the restaurant was very gracious to let us paint there and invited us to come back, which we did the next day. Once again the setting was very picturesque with the old docks and shacks and shrimp boats. We all painted a view of an old dock and shack with a couple of shrimp boats that afternoon.

We painted at The Battery on the morning of the second day focusing on a view of the #2 Meeting St house, which is one of the most painted sites in Charleston. We all had to stand in the cool shade that morning to capture the light playing through the leaves of the giant live oaks and then illuminating the house in the background. We left there at lunch for a warmer spot and went back to Shem Creek for the rest of the afternoon to catch the same light as we had from the day before to do another painting each of the shrimp docks. I think I could paint for an entire year in the same area and never paint the same picture twice.

The third day we painted at the waterfront park in Charleston. Our subject of the day was to do the interesting people in the park. Some were jogging, some were walking dogs, and some were sitting on benches reading the morning paper. We set up on the boundary path and would capture a person walking by from time to time and would just sketch them in quickly until we each had an interesting composition. We had a light lunch in the park and spent the rest of the day there touching up our paintings for the wet paint sale at the gallery.

I want to thank The Dobbin Gallery and the participants for a wonderful time. All the artists did a fantastic job and produced some beautiful work. We are planning another workshop in Charleston in the spring. I will keep everyone posted as to a final date and schedule.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I've been very busy lately with the house project. For those of you that haven't red the last blog, I'll update you on what I'm doing. Doing miles and miles (it seems) of faux burl walnut on the ballistrate as well as door arches and raised panel doors, doing Italian Plaster Veniziano, copper metalo, painting a 11x14' wall mural of Renoir's "The Luncheon of the Boating Party" , a 8' ceiling dome mural, and glazing and antiquing. I will also be doing gold highlights on much of the trim and chandeliers in the house as well. This is a very ambitious project for the homeowner, the house is 12000 sq ft and is probably the most decorative house I've had the opportunity to do. Very beautiful and well planned.

I'm also doing my paintings for the galleries and doing as much plein air painting as I can fit in, teaching a couple of art classes and preparing for my upcoming plein air workshop in Charleston. The participation for the workshop is picking up and I expect to have a good turnout. The Dobbin Gallery at Church St in Charleston is sponsoring the workshop which run Nov 5th, 6th,and 7th with a beginning reception on the 4th and a wet paint and sell along with a reception on the night of the 7th. The fee for the workshop is only $325.00 with the option for the artist to leave one work of art at the gallery to be sold. This is a good opportunity for an artist to have their work shown in a Charleston gallery. You can google up Shem Creek, the Battery, and historic downtown Charleston to review the beautiful painting locations we have in store for the painters. If you or anyone you know are interested in attending the workshop you can contact me on my e-mail at or the gallery at You can contact me by phone at 256-458-1881 or Shelby Parbel at 843-579-9725.

The gallery sales are beginning to pick up after a long slow period due to the economy. A lot of the galleries have closed and most of them are really struggling. Hopefully the economy is picking up. It is just as much the artist responsibility to help the galleries out as it is for the gallery owners themselves. My thoughts on that are for the artist to do whatever it takes to help generate sales for them as well as for ourselves by either dropping the price point slightly or maybe even painting smaller and less expensive paintings. The Dobbin Gallery of Charleston sold three paintings of mine last week and I have one under consideration at the Renaissance Gallery as well, all were negotiated sales.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I guess it's about time to update everyone on what I've been doing lately. The Dobbin Gallery at Church St in Charleston S.C. had a one man show and reception for me in September.  I took fifteen new pieces down for the show. I want to thank Shelby Parbel, the new owner for her gracious reception. The show went well and Estra and I had a wonderful time. Please stop by the gallery and check out the work there, she has some wonderful artist in the gallery which I'm sure you'll enjoy.

The Dobbin Gallery of Charleston is hosting a Plein Air workshop  on November 4th thru the 7th.  I'll be the featured artist offering a couple of my plein air painting techniques. Hopefully I can offer some enlightening techniques for the novice or the professional artist participating. We will have a "meet and greet" reception at the gallery at 6:00 pm on the 4th, paint on the 5th, 6th, and 7th followed by a wet paint sale and reception that night. Each artist can select their one best painting to leave at the gallery for the gallery to sell. This is a good opportunity for you to have your work in a Charleston gallery, who knows you may even become a successful represented artist.
You get three days of instruction, cocktail party, lunch and an opportunity to show your work in the gallery for just $325.00. For more information contact me (256) 458-1881 or Shelby Parbel at or call her at (763) 228-3661 or (843) 579-9725.

Other than getting prepared for the Dobbin Gallery Plein Air Workshop, I have taken on a tremendous mural and decorative painting job in one of the most beautiful homes in our area. I'm doing a dining room mural (11'x14') an eight foot dia. ceiling dome mural, Italian plaster, faux burl walnut and antiquing / glazing. This is a 12000 sq ft home so I'll be busy there for a while as well as teaching art classes at night and painting pictures for the galleries.