Tuesday, July 19, 2016

295: Acrylic Landscape/Abstract fusion

–IN this video I demonstrate how I fuse my experimentations with abstraction with conventional landscape. I use the underpainting not only as a map to indicate features but as a foil against which to play the final colors. The underpainting provides additional field effects, as I leave patches and scrape down in places. The underpainting also provides the necessary texture for a broken color effect.

In the final step I add pointillistic dashes and dots using my newly acquired acrylic markers. The markers give an extremely spontaneous stroke although they don’t have any texture–they go on extremely flat. But this thin, flat layer can be sanded as soon as the paint is dry to reveal the rough textures beneath.

It’s a very flexible technique that promises lots of opportunity to explore. I won't get bored any time soon.

Brad Teare –July 2016



Thursday, July 7, 2016

294: The Art Paradox


IS ART the most important aspect of human culture? Or is it of no importance at all? Many might deem such extreme perspectives unnecessary claiming the importance of art lies somewhere in between. But author Elizabeth Gilbert, in her latest book Big Magic, states that art is both absolutely essential and completely meaningless.

Her willingness to wrestle with such paradox evolved from an interview she conducted with singer/songwriter Tom Waits. He told her his extreme views of creativity, embracing the classic titanic struggle of the tormented artist, gave way to a more reasonable and healthier attitude as he saw his children effortlessly enjoy the creative process. His kids didn’t go through convolutions of loathing and self-doubt as they created–they simply enjoyed the process. After adopting his children’s approach Waits described his songs as intracranial jewelry, a term indicating a more philosophical, and humble, approach to his creations. The term allowed him to distance himself from his songs by acknowledging that they are, after all, just songs. 

I found this attitude refreshing and it allowed me to accept the next concept in the book–that artist’s have no right or entitlement to anything. Surprisingly, this was a new concept to me. After all, aren’t artists responsible for all the bright and beautiful things in the world? Wouldn’t earth be a dreary place in the absence of our work? Yes, but if we didn’t do it someone else would. Artists are no more special than anyone else on the planet.

This is perhaps obvious to most. But artists have strange backgrounds and are often acculturated by an educational process that deems them worthy of special consideration. In my case such entitlement was entirely subconscious. Like most people I felt a duty to embrace the tenets of humility and egalitarianism. Yet there smoldered within me an ember of entitlement placed there by an equally entitled art establishment–which I unquestioningly accepted.

So what has changed with my new attitude? I now no longer feel belittled when I’m not accepted into a show, or am rebuffed by galleries, or ignored by collectors. I’m now fully conscious that I’m entitled to nothing and subject to the same vicissitudes of life as anyone else in any other profession. Fate will smile on me, or storm, depending on factors that are largely out of my control. Such an attitude is liberating and frees me to relax into my work. It allows me to treat both my successes and failures as expressions of the same chaotic force. I can simultaneously be in awe of a well painted passage yet realize it is, after all, just a smudge of paint.

I often work late at night when I’m completely exhausted and regret I’m unable do my best work. So what? I often make great effort to finish a painting only to have it rejected from a juried show for which it was specifically painted. So what? These are problems of little importance.

So what is important? The work, the actual process of creating, the finished paintings, the minor breakthrough after a long season of frustration, the small miracles that, for reasons unknown, allow me to paint beyond my ability. Those things are important.

But as important as those things are they can never overshadow the importance of good relationships, good friends, and a good heart. Fostering those traits are the most essential of all. And paradoxically, as I free myself from entitlement, I enjoy more fully those simple pleasures.


Brad Teare –July 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

293: Adjusting a Painting

Spring Road, 12" x 16"
–I PAINTED this painting at last week's workshop. I did 90% of it with palette knives and the last 10% with brushes. When I got home it was late so I placed the painting in the bottom rack of the freezer. The cold will keep a painting wet for months if necessary. [Note: you should not place a painting or paints used with mineral spirits because they are toxic and will contaminate anything else you store in your freezer. I didn't use any solvents in this piece since I cleaned the brushes with facial tissues throughout the painting process. I use solvents only for cleaning my brushes after my painting is finished.]

The following video explains some of my thinking as I adjust edges, shapes, values, and add minor details. I didn't mix up any new paint–I just picked up bits of similar hued paint from excessive dollops on the canvas. I especially look for mechanical strokes to modify as I add texture when I am redistributing the paint.

I hope this is helpful to all those who attended the workshop.

Brad Teare –July 2016


Thursday, June 30, 2016

292: Painting with Markers


–AFTER my abstract painting reception (tonight at 8pm) I will be starting a new project. A few weeks ago I went on a plein air trip and experimented with painting with acrylic markers. Although I lacked a full palette of colors I had good results and decided to combine daily painting with plein air painting using markers–a combination that employs drawing skills with the discipline of daily painting.

I use the term daily loosely as I intend to paint an average of four small paintings a week. Most daily painters are not dogmatic about numbers–the idea is to create good paintings on a regular basis. It is the kind of discipline I need to push my plein air work forward.

Below is a video showing how I prepared empty acrylic markers for work in the field using Golden High Flow Acrylics. Let me know what you think.



Brad Teare –June 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

291: Thursday Artist Reception

—AFTER several incorrect posts I finally conferred with the gallery director and confirmed that the artist reception for my abstract show is this Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 8pm at the Maralade Hill Library on 280 West, 500 North (a few blocks northwest of the Capitol). So if you are in the Salt Lake City area Thursday night I hope you'll drop by and take a look at the paintings. 

As always I appreciate your support.

Brad Teare —June 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

290: Embedded Book Preview

–AS many of you know I love exploring digital possibilities for artists. I've explored making books for the Kindle as a way to access paintings in a variety of locales. I can show my paintings from my Kindle ebook, 53 Paintings, anywhere using a smartphone, tablet, or computer (any device that has the Kindle reader which is a free download).

Amazon announced a new embed feature and I thought I would try it out with this blog entry. I'm working on a Kindle ebook outlining my acrylic texturing process but it is still in production. So until it's available here is the embed of my oil painting collection:



Ideally this will be a good way to easily preview Kindle books even though the pages previewed are somewhat limited. This book only previews 12 pages. There were several links in the twelve previewed pages and they worked well which might present opportunities to link to important aspects of your artistic project. Let me know if it works for you and how you might envision using this technology.

Brad Teare –June 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

289: Daily Painting

–I RECENTLY received an advanced copy of Daily Painting by Carol Marine. As I opened the packaging I read the title on the back page–Do you want to bring the joy back to your art?  I answered inwardly with a resounding YES!

Since taking a plein air trip two weeks ago, I'd been ruminating on how to get my plein air mojo back. I lost aforementioned mojo in the summer of 2014 at a prestigious plein air event where due to a variety of factors like large prizes and famous participants I performed far beneath my ability. Since then, try as I might, I couldn’t return to the previous joy I experienced painting out-of-doors.

I experimented with James Gurney’s methods outlined in Gouache in the Wild. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. If you are experiencing a plein air funk there is surely something in Gurney’s video to help you evolve your own plein air process. From the novel ideas I learned about gouache I began experimenting with acrylic markers in plein air. I had some success on my last trip and ordered 12 more empty acrylic markers to expand my previous collection of 6 pigments.

Although Daily Painting is not specifically about plein air painting it provided me with the last component to what I hope will be new found joy of painting in the field. Not only was the book good inspiration–I found Marine’s paintings fresh and energetic–but she also included some great tips (like using Murphy Oil Soap to clean brushes). There are also a variety of paintings by other artists along with their experiences with daily painting (which appears to have evolved into a cottage industry for many artists).

My interest in daily painting is to find an entry point where my plein air work is authentic and easy–that is, to use daily painting as a way to improve faster. With my full schedule of gallery shows and projects I need something to carry me forward with as little friction as possible–and something that will lead me to a more successful plein air experience. I feel at some point I will transition back to oils but will lean on acrylic markers and my drawing ability to get to a more confident state.

At this stage I’m still formulating my theory and assembling a plein air kit but here are my specific needs:

Keep the equipment light and easy to transport (my former approach with oils was too complex).
Keep the process easy (focus on my strengths like basic drawing skills).
Make the process challenging enough that I routinely employ essential plein air skills.
Keep the process less time consuming than previous plein air sessions (the entire experience, finding a motif and painting, should take less than two hours).
Get the joy factor up so you want to paint every day.

The last item is the most important for me and I think I can do it by changing mediums and painting small–two factors that will help keep my ego out of the way and allow me to relax and enjoy the process.

If you’ve had success with daily painting I hope you will share your experience below.


Brad Teare –June 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

288: Workshop Preparation

–FOR those attending my workshop at Weber State University this Friday, June 24, 2016 I thought it would be beneficial to review some basic principles we will be using during the class. Don't worry if you don't understand all the following ideas. We will review everything covered below in greater detail. The two images shown will be used in class to transfer the motif to a tinted canvas. You are welcome to bring your own reference but please make sure it is proportional to a 12” x 18” canvas and that you have a gray version that is divided into thirds with a color version the same size and proportions.

I will be providing grayscales for everyone to use. To review the basic theory of the grayscale watch
this video:


It would also be beneficial to review zone theory which can be reviewed here:


Mixing greens is always a challenge. Learn the best practices here:


Additional color information can be gleaned here:


We will be blocking color in with palette knives (which will be provided) so you might want to review this video:



Paints, canvases and all necessary supplies will be provided. I’m looking forward to the workshop. See you soon.

Brad Teare –June 2016



Thursday, June 9, 2016

287: Elements of Abstraction

Subterranean Heat, 48" x 36"
–IN this short video I discuss how and why I paint abstracts. Concurrently I also experiment with a new filming setup I may use in future abstract painting tutorials. Let me know what you think of the process as I attempt to revise my methods. This series features a new splash screen and theme song (which I did in Garageband). Hope you enjoy it and thanks for your feedback.

Brad Teare –June 2016




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

286: Upcoming Abstract Show

On view starting June 28, Dream of Blue, 36" x36", acrylic
–IF you are in Northern Utah from June 28 to August 3, 2016 be sure to drop by the Marmalade Library in Salt Lake City and visit the gallery on the second floor. The show features 10 large abstracts painted expressly for this show. There is a reception June 30, at 8pm. I would love to see you there.

I also fine tuned my artist statement and the staff gave the tweaked prose poem top billing. I'm slowly boiling it down to its essence–a similar process I'm adopting with my abstracts.

Also if you haven't' had a chance to see the woodcut show it will be open until June 10, 2016 at Alpine Art.

Brad Teare –May 2016


Opening night at Alpine Art

Friday, May 20, 2016

285: Promote Your Work

Cover to new abstract collection
–IN my continuing quest to secure quality promotional material I assembled a new collection of abstracts using Blurb, the online, on-demand publisher. I've used them before and found their magazine option the most useful (their books are prohibitively expensive for leave-behind material).

I created the magazine using InDesign and exported it as a PDF–by far the most convenient method if you use InDesign. Preview the entire magazine by clicking the cover below (or this link). Note that I moved the title on this edition so the preview bar on the Blurb site would not obscure the title.

An interesting option with Blurb is the ability to simultaneously post a PDF version. Check out the downloadable option here

As soon as the magazines are delivered I intend to travel the short distance from my studio to Park City and connect with a quality abstract gallery. After I select a gallery my hope is the magazine will be a useful sales tool to persuade the gallery director to sell my work. Of all possible approaches I feel most comfortable with this more personable one. I will let you know how it goes.

Brad Teare –May 2016

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