Featured Artists: Nicole Thomsen, Black Smoke Station

My friend Nicole Thomsen is an amazing artist. She recently moved to Texas where she works as an instructor at a beer and wine painting place. On the side, she also has her own budding business. Called Black Smoke Station, Nicole paints canvas, windows, furniture and other items. She takes commissions and also provides original art that she sells at craft fairs. Continue reading

My Experience with Beer and Painting

For my friend’s birthday (which was this past weekend – Happy Birthday!) last year I drove up to Milwaukee and we went to a beer and painting place in the middle of the day. Beer was not included in the price for the festivities, which was a bit of a downer, but the class was very fun.

It was my friend’s idea to go because she thought it would be helpful for her to get a little painting instruction. And what’s wrong with drinking beer at 11 AM? Nothing. So my friend, her sister, and I went for the three hour session and had a great time.

We were supposed to paint a giant goldfish, but I wasn’t feeling it. Neither was my friend’s sister. We both wanted to use the three hour session to create something of our own. At first I was nervous about going off the beaten path. We had paid for this “course” and there was an instructor to teach it. It was like school. And in school, I always worked very hard to do exactly as I was told.

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The Color I Paint with The Most

Color is perhaps the most important part of any painting. While the brush strokes, canvas, and overall composition of the painting are important, the color stands out the most and in my opinion is the part the speaks most to viewers.

No matter what color scheme is chosen for a painting – whether cool colors, complimentary colors, or even black and white – the right colors will make the painting perfect, will make it speak to those who see it.

Different colors will evoke different responses, especially depending on the colors you put near each other. There is one color that I use in almost every painting because it is very vibrant and because it works well with just about everything.

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Why I Love Oil Paint (And You Should Too)

Until my senior year of college I never painted with oil paint. I didn’t like the idea of it because it took so long to dry and required fancy things like turpentine. One of my art teachers decided that before I graduated I had to try it out, so we created an independent study course for me so I would get the credits I needed while trying something new.

At first I was extremely unsure, but after one painting session (where I painted with too many dark colors) I was hooked. Oil paint was smoother than acrylic, it smelled better (weird, but I now love the smell of oil paint) and although it took forever to dry, it was worth it. The slow drying time allowed me to take more time with my paintings. With acrylic, I was rushing even if I didn’t think I was because in the back of my mind there was always a voice saying, “This spot will dry soon so finish it now.”

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Painting on Canvas Paper

So as it turns out, one of my great grandmothers got pretty into painting at some point in her life. My grandpa ended up with a bunch of her leftover supplies and he gave them to me. Some of the supplies weren’t super useful because they were so old, but some were pretty awesome.

Like the canvas paper he gave me. Canvas. Paper.

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The Minutiae of Painting

Often, a painting will just come to me and blast out through my fingers with a brush in hand. When I’m finished with the product, it will be a no brainer as to how it should be hung.

Sometimes, though, this isn’t as easy. While the painting process itself can be simple (or really difficult) sometimes the hardest part is deciding which way a painting should be turned. What corner should be on top versus at the bottom. How should the viewer’s eye be moved around the canvas. Where should the focal point lie?

As I said, sometimes these questions don’t phase me at all, but sometimes they haunt me in my sleep.

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