Christine Drewyer: A Celebration of Beauty and Creation

“Golden Glimmer”, 14×18, Oil, 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhbition at the Principle Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina.

Serenity is the first feeling that comes to mind when viewing “Golden Glimmer” by artist Christine Drewyer. The scene is idyllic, with a path beckoning us to enter. The play of light coming through the trees, the placid water and evening sky create a sense of peaceful contemplation. To paint what one sees is the beginning, but to paint a feeling is masterful.

Christine Drewyer is a full time artist who is known on a national level for her sensitive landscape paintings. She has had a wide variety of experience in the field of art; ranging from attending the Maryland College of Art & Design for two years, to owning and running a successful art gallery in Annapolis, Maryland, to becoming the President of the American Women Artists. Her career has provided her with a vast knowledge base, not only in painting but also in the business of art.

“Peaceful Pastures”, 24×30, Oil, received 2nd Place in the Masters’ Category at the Women Artists of the West 51st: America the Beautiful Exhibition.

Presently, Drewyer works primarily in landscape, and also paints animals and the occasional still life. She prefers oil as her medium, and works from life as often as possible. For her landscapes, she finds inspiration in many places, in particular the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she has been known to paint plein air in the middle of a stream! The plein air paintings and sketches become part of her reference material, along with photos and a working memory of the place. When painting in the studio, she often uses an underpainting, then uses charcoal to sketch in the scene before moving into color.

“Lake Blooms”, 30×30, Oil, shown in progress and final painting

The artist’s palette consists of warm and cool colors of the primary triad, plus greens, violets and some earth colors. For each painting, she “create(s) a palette specific to each piece using a triad of a consistent blue, yellow and red tone. I stick to those three throughout the painting which keeps it cohesive and more luminous. I use a warm and cool temperature of each primary and add several earth tones to my palette.”

“Violet Interlude”, 18×18, Oil, winner of the America the Beautiful Masters Award at the Women Artists of the West 51st: America the Beautiful Exhibition.

Christine has had great success with her artwork; in 2018 she won the “Purchase Prize Award” at the American Women Artists National Juried Exhibition “Full Sun” at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA. She has served as the President of the Women Artists of the West from 2012 to 2020, and is currently President of the American Women Artists (2020). The two most recent awards have been at the 2021Women Artist of the West 51st America the Beautiful Exhibition.

In her own words, Christine feels that “the making of art is a celebration of beauty and creation…The muse can be a fleeting thing at best and I find it such an honor to be able to do what I absolutely love every day. Because of that, I never take it for granted and always paint what I am excited to paint.”

Christine Drewyer will be the Judge of Awards for the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society 2021 Spring Online International Exhibition.

Her work is represented by the Berkley Gallery, Warrenton, VA; The Main Street Gallery, Annapolis, MD; the Rich Timmons Gallery, Doylestown, PA; and the Seaside Gallery, Pismo Beach, CA.

To view more of Christine’s work, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President

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Paula Holtzclaw: Capturing the Atmosphere

“Sundown”, 13×20, Oil on Linen Panel, available at the 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition, the Principle Gallery, Charleston, SC.

The quiet warmth of the sunset is a scene that we always remember, but few capture convincingly. “Sundown” gives us not only the scenery, but the feeling of heavy air about to change to darkness, never the same sunset again. Atmosphere in a landscape painting is the one thing that can surely communicate feeling, and “Sunset” has that atmosphere.

“Moonlit Whispers”, 24×30, Oil, Highlands Art Gallery

Paula Holtzclaw has devoted her time and effort to painting with great success. As a self-taught artist, she has gained national recognition in numerous organizations. Her knowledge and skill, gained from workshops, self-study, and hours and hours of practice has developed into a signature style comprised of realism and impressionism.

“A Brand New Day”, 24×20, Oil Private Collection

Paula draws inspiration from the beautiful yet elusive coast of the eastern US, particularly the marshlands and inlets, uninhabited except for wildlife. She has been influenced by Tonalist painters such as Inness and Whistler, for their “ability to evoke emotion through creating atmosphere and moodiness”. Contemporary artists such as Nancy Boren, with her freshness and humor, and Elizabeth Robbins with florals and portraits.

“Blue Ridge Lights’, 12×16, Oil, Private Collection

Holtzclaw works mainly in oil currently, having switched from acrylics. Her paintings begin with a toned canvas upon which she then wipes out the rough design. She has long realized the importance of painting from life, from plein air to still life. Though she may work from photos, the plein air experience is evident in her moody landscapes.

In her studio, one could see more than one work in progress at a time; paintings in different stages await the final brushstrokes as the artist takes the time to “wait and see what needs to be done.”

“Orchids and Pears”, 16×20, Oil, Private Collection

Paula is currently at Master Signature Artist with the American Women Artists, Women Artists of the West, a Signature artist with the Oil Painters of America, the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, and many more. She has won numerous national awards, has been featured in prestigious art magazines, and participated in fine art exhibitions in museum settings.

As an assiduous artist, Holtzclaw knows the necessity of many hours of easel time; “just keep at it. Put in miles and miles of canvas. Not every painting works, but in every painting is a lesson”.

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society is proud to have Paula Holtzclaw on the Panel of Award Judges for the 2021 Best of America Small Works National Juried Competition.

“Shining Seas”, 24×30, Oil, Currently at the WAOW National Show at the Western Museum of Art, Kerrville, TX

Her work is represented at Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA; Cheryl Newby Gallery, Pawleys Island, SC; Highlands Art Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, FL; and Providence Gallery, Charlotte, NC.

To see more work by Paula Holtzclaw go to

To view the 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition, visit

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Lee Alban: Setting Yourself Apart

NOAPS Alban Stephanie-LadyOfSteam 24x36

“Stephanie-Lady of Steam”, Oil, 24×36

This highly detailed painting does more than just display an incredible skill, it tells a story. As the young lady looks into the light, we can see that she is probably hot, tired, but still paying attention to the job at hand. We can read her readiness, and we wait while we expect her to turn to us and push the knob. We can feel the hot steam in the background, smell the grease and hot metal, and hear the humming of the engine. A masterful work makes us feel.

NOAPS Alban Shelley at Strasburg Railroad 30x40

“Shelly at Strasburg Railroad”, Oil, 30×40

Lee Alban is a painter of stories. With his deft hand he creates a narrative that compels the viewer to look carefully into the painting, and work through the story. Lee devotes himself to his art full time, spending long hours in the studio creating his complicated compositions. He often works in a series, and the painting above is part of a collection called “Silk and Steel”, depicting “women who work on steam trains, but also includes women who build, maintain, and operate vintage steam tractors and other farm equipment.”

NOAPS Alban Avery Restoration 30x40

“Avery Restoration”, Oil, 30×40

After his career teaching high school science, Lee enrolled in the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, where he honed his realistic style of painting. He works exclusively in oil, though in the past also worked in watercolor and pen & ink. His mastery is not limited to figures; he also paints still life, landscapes and portraits. He is inspired by artists ranging from Bouguereau to Sargent, and comtemporary artists Richard Schmid and Harley Brown.

NOAPS Alban May The Warm Winds Of Heaven Blow Softly Upon Your House 24x30

“May the Warm Winds of Heaven Blow Softly Upon Your House”, Oil, 24×30

His process includes making his own paint and Maroger medium using black oil, and works on panels, hardboards, or stretched canvas. He derives his compositions from his photographs, using the computer to design the best image. He sometimes paints an underpainting in raw umber, particularly for complicated paintings.

NOAPS Alban To Touch The Earth Is To Have Harmony With Nature 18x24

“To Touch The Earth Is To Have Harmony With Nature”, Oil, 18×24

Alban has been a prolific painter, and his greatest achievement to date has been the Gold Medal of Honor from the Allied Artists of America 107th Annual Exhibition. In Lee’s words, “I learned a long time ago that when you enter the highest levels of competition ALL of the artists are unbelievably good. You need your best skills, best composition, and a lot of luck..”

Lee’s best advice to artists? “Learn from the artists you admire, take their workshops, study their videos, but find your own unique pathway.” That is what sets you apart.

Lee Alban’s work is represented by Reinert Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; Main Street Gallery, Annapolis, MD; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; and The Good Art Company, Fredericksburg, TX. To see more of Lee’s work visit

Lee Alban is a Signature Member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, and is on the Panel of Award Judges for the 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President

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Donna Nyzio: The Pull of the Subject

“4 Southern Belles”, Oil on Clayboard, 18×36, Winner of the Best Painting by a Signature or Master Artist in the 2020 NOAPS Best of America National Juried Exhibition at the Cutter & Cutter Gallery, St. Augustine, Florida.

The painting by Donna Nyzio brings together numerous aspects of an outstanding painting; repeated and interesting shapes, color cohesion, edge control, balanced composition, atmosphere and light. But there is something more than the artist’s technical skill; there is a story. The boats are positioned as if they are speaking to one another, that they are in some sort of collusion. The interest doesn’t stop at the focal point, we continue to investigate the myriad of lines and shapes to interpret more of the story. This masterful painting is both strong and soothing, a perfect balance.

“Summer with Betty M”, Oil on Claybord, 12×24, Collection of the Artist.

Donna Nyzio lives near the ocean; so painting her locale is a natural choice. In her words, “My studio is located on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina in a small town named Beaufort. Boats and fishing of all types and sizes can be found and painted with relative ease. I enjoy learning about different boats first hand from the guy who built them, worked on them, or retired from them. The passion for their boats, coast and fishing is infectious and motivating…As I meet these working watermen and boats, I become more interested in their history, current trade, and the future of fishing…so I end up becoming more entangled in their nets.”

“Local Catch”, Oil on Claybord, 12×24, Private Collection

Donna plans these paintings well before hitting the canvas; she often visits the seaside to capture in paint, in her sketchbook or her camera the various boats and their fishermen to find a composition that will create a captivating painting. She feels that it is important to spend the time observing her scene in person in order to not just capture the image, but capture the story as well. Her plein air paintings are not usually finished paintings, but will take back to the studio her plein air study, photos, and most importantly, her memory of the scene in order to create the finished work.

The materials that the artist uses consist of either Innerglo Panels or Amersand Claybord, Rosemary brushes, and Vasari and Holbein paints. Her palette changes frequently, consisting of opaque and transparent colors separated into warm and cool. Oil paint is her preferred medium, though she started with airbrush and has experimented with many other mediums.

“Autumn Sails”, Oil on Claybord, 24×24, Collection of the Artist

Donna currently is a self-supporting full time artist, enjoying a creative life having built a strong foundation for her art business. She encourages artists to make painting a habit; to find your vision, find ways to learn and improve, and just paint. “And every once in a while, paint with abandon and without rules or goals…and see where it takes you.”

Donna is a Signature member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, a Signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists, and a Signature member of the American Women Artists. She has won many awards for her paintings, both local and at the National level.

Donna is a member of the Panel of Judges for the 2021 National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society Best of America Small Works Exhibition at the Principle Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. She will also demonstrate her technique during the opening weekend events at the Principle on May 7, 20211. Go to for more information.

To view more work by Donna Nyzio go to She is also represented by Pinckney Simons Gallery, Beaufort, SC; Louisa Gould Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Elizabeth Robbins: Awards Judge

Many thanks to our 2020 Fall Online International Exhibition Awards Judge, Elizabeth Robbins. Elizabeth is a Master Artist with the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society. As the judge, Elizabeth took many hours to look at each painting in our exhibition, and took the extra time to write notes on the top award winners. Congratulations to all the award winners, and to the accepted artists. With over 1400 paintings submitted, and 200 accepted, the competition was at a very high level.

Here are the comments by Elizabeth:

As an award judge I look for these things in a painting

1.  My first gut reaction.   I have learned that my first reaction to a painting really tells me whether it deserves an award or not

2.  The emotional impact of the piece.  This goes along with my gut reaction.  My emotional response to a painting could be completely different than someone else.  Everybody’s voice matters.  As a judge I try to listen       to every voice but there are some that resonate more with me than others

3.  Harmony:  Does the painting have a pleasing color harmony.  Is there any color note that just feels out of place or do they all feel cohesive together

4.  Composition:  Does the painting have a composition that feels like a piece of music.  Do elements of the painting connect with one another or do they just feel as if they are all isolated.  

5.  Value relationships:  Of course this is a big one.  

6.  Line and edges:  I love a lyrical line in a painting.  I’m also looking for a variety of edges either more hard or soft as long as not everything is lost or everything is found.  

7. Drawing.  I really don’t mind a painting that the drawing is slightly off because nothing is perfect in life.  I’d rather view a painting that has a very strong emotional impact but some flaws than a painting that is perfect and lacks emotion.  True art comes from the heart not the head.  Someone else might disagree with me but I want to be moved by art.  

Best of Show “Capture” by Richard Johnson

Wow was my reaction when I saw this one. The movement in their bodies is incredible. I loved the drama. I loved the touch of red. The skin tones are remarkable. Edges excited me. I wanted to keep looking at this painting waiting for the next move.

Second Place “Boca Light Sunset” by Neal Hughes

 Beautiful Landscape.  Great composition.  I loved the large cloud shape in the sky in relationship to the smaller land mass. I loved the grays in this painting yet it feels very colorful

Third Place “Roses and Grapevines” by Katie Liddiard

As a Rose lover and painter I just loved this.  So quiet and yet so poetic.  The color palette is just so pleasing.  I loved the more abstract design in the lower leaves.  It’s a painting I would love to have in my collection.

Best Still Life “Spanish Memories” by Jeremy Goodding

Everything about this painting is beautiful.  They lovely grays. The form of the vase, the edges.  The fact the all the flowers are facing down with the exception of the one on the bottom right was intriguing.  It has a story to tell

Best use of Light and Color “Jacobs Ladder” by Jason Sacran

This has a lot of drama to it.  The light peaking from being that tree and the sun rays are lovely, the color temperatures in the shadows are wonderful.  I loved that touch of pinks and violets in the tree.  It has depth and emotion.  Another one I would love to own.

Best People “Conquer” by Pavel Sokov

With this painting I loved the darker shape behind him that followed his body down the canvas.  The look on his face has strong emotion.  The edges are wonderful. Great Harmony

Best Landscape “Light Dance” by Matt Cutter

My first reaction to seeing this painting was just WOW.  The line of rocks and light that lead me to that upper left crescendo is magnificent.  I loved the quietness of the palette yet you can feel the warmth of the sun hitting the water.  Bravo!

Most Innovative “Pursuit of Happiness” by Natalie Wiseman

I would have loved to have seen this one in person.  The complexity of the design is mind boggling.  I love the message it gives.  Very complicated piece and quite original.  The touch of the yellow smiley face is brilliant.  Well Done

Narrative Excellence “Helen” by Sandra Kuck

Beautiful painting, full of emotion.  Lovely skin tones.  The background detail tells a story. Great harmony.  Her outstretched hands with the full bouquet of roses on the left to lead you to the one rose on the right.  Great narrative.  

Check out my new online membership course

Elizabeth Robbins

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Linda Dunbar: The Search for Excellence

NOAPS Dunbarr Ricco of Black Wall Street 36x24 Oil RS Hanna  “Ricco of Black Wall Street”, 36×24, Oil, RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas.  Winner of ‘Best People’ in the 2020 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition

The very best portrait paintings always have a story to tell.  In Linda Dunbar’s painting of Ricco, the story of the model is evident in his facial expression and gesture.  The background adds to the story with not only the colors but the repeated angles of the sitter and the hard edges.  The active background and position of the model are uniquely contemporary, and add to the complexity of the painting.

NOAPS Dunbar the Young Artist 48x36 acrylic CA  “The Young Artist”, 48×36, Acrylic, Collection of the Artist.

Linda Dunbar always had a penchant for art, but it was not until later in life that resources allowed her to pursue it full time.  Her search for knowledge led her to many workshops, including local artist Ross Myers, and later well-known artists including Derek Penix, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Rose Frantzen, Jeff Legg, Kelli Folsom, Lori Putnam, Daniel Keyes and many others.  Her main goal is her search for excellence in her paintings, no matter the subject.  She is inspired by artists such Sorolla, Fechin, Zorn and Sargent, along with contemporary artists such as Richard Schmid and Quang Ho.

NOAPS Dunbar Smoke Em if You'be Got Em 36x36 Oil PC  “Smoke Em if You’ve Got Em”, 36×36, Oil, Private Collection

Dunbar works mainly in oils, but also acrylics and watercolors.  the portrait and figure are her main genre, but she will venture into other genres for a diversion, most recently in abstracts.

Linda is currently focusing on a double primary palette, consisting of different versions of warm and cool colors.  She prefers Rosemary brushes, and uses a variety of oil paint brands.  The support she most favors is Centurion Linen.

The painting process for Dunbar begins with careful planning, thinking through the goal of the painting and the process and skills required to express it.  Although she prefers to paint the models from life, this is not always feasible, and works most of the time from photos on a tablet.  The tablet allows her to hone in on details of the models, a useful tool for today’s artists.

NOAPS Dunbar In Progress 36x36 Oil  Unnamed Work in Progress, 36×36, Oil

Continuous learning is a constant for Linda; she takes time to study art through reading, visiting galleries and museums, and by just observing her environment.  Her advice to readers is to value that constant learning process, as she states, “there is no end to learning or improving and for that we all are grateful.”  Linda has also found great learning through teaching, and finds inspiration in helping others succeed.

For Dunbar, winning the NOAPS Award was a boon to her confidence; the validation for years of hard work and attained skill.  But her learning is not over; she encourages all artists to regard themselves as never beyond learning.  And once learned, to share with others that valuable insight and skill so hard-earned.

To view more of Linda’s work, go to

To view the 2020 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition, go to




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Cathy Pitts: Mixing Realism and the Abstract

NOAPS Pitts Light Tapestry, oil on belgian linen on board, 47x57 inches, private collection

“Light Tapestry”, 47×57, Oil on Belgian Linen on Board, Private Collection.  Winner of Most Innovative from the 2020 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.  Contact the artist at

The swirling shapes of light and dark dance throughout the painting and immediately send our eyes moving.  As we investigate, we see the repetition of the image, with the division of space that beats at a pace we can literally match to a heartbeat.  The artist has revealed her technical skill, but also the ability to create an interactive painting which engages us at an abstract level.  The result invites the mind to inquire, over and over.

NOAPS Pitts Magenta Sunset, oil on canvas, 48x72 inches, collection of the artist  “Magenta Sunset”, Oil on Canvas, 48×72, Collection of the Artist

Cathy Pitts would describe herself as a Contemporary Artist, mixing representational images with the abstract.  She was educated at UCLA, graduating with a BFA in theater and set design.  This training led her to the visual arts, with a unique vision for conceptual work.  She worked designing sets for the Palm Springs Dance Company, then began a dedicated study and career in fine art.  She attended classes and workshops, and found a mentor in Kwok Wai Lau, from whom she has gained much insight over the course of 20 years.

NOAPS Pitts Her Majesty, oil on canvas, 48x72 inches, private collection  “Her Majesty”, Oil on Canvas, 48×72, Private Collection

Pitts finds her inspiration from many sources ranging from random streams of visual thought to the real life objects around her.  “Light and movement are the central themes of my work, as it represent life and hope.”  In her painting “Light Tapestry” she challenged herself to take an image, remove the color, repeat the image, all in many layers of paint and patience, to create a “vibration, or dance of the shimmering light throughout the glass landscape.”

NOAPS Pitts East Meets West-Chi Fusion Series, oil on canvas, 48x72 inches, collection of the artist  “East Meets West: Chi Fusion Series”, Oil on Canvas, 48×72, Collection of the Artist

Her work is not limited to one genre or medium, revealing versatility in her choice of subject matter and materials.  She also works in photography and mixed media, incorporating metals, acrylic, wood and neon.

Cathy Pitts is a disciplined artist; she works at her passion 7 days a week in the studio for eight or more hours.  She works from both photos and life, while planning her compositions with much deliberation.  The paintings then take on their own life, as she departs from the photo or still life set-up, and becomes immersed in the painting.  Her palette consists of a variety of colors, chosen for their intensity of pigment.

NOAPS Pitts Brave the New World, oil on canvas, 60x50 inches, collection of the artist  “Brave the New World”, Oil on Canvas, 60×50, Collection of the Artist

This accomplished artist has shown her work internationally, having created paintings for three shows for Art Revolution Taipei.  Sponsored by the New York Contemporary Art Fund, she was selected to represent the US in Taiwan.  Cathy has exhibited in over 40 national and international juried exhibitions, has won numerous awards, and has been published in many publications.  Her work is widely collected in the United States and abroad.

Cathy Pitts is a self-represented artist; to see more of her work visit

To view the 2020 NOAPS Spring Online International, go to

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President and Blog Director

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Lori Putnam: In Pursuit of Light

NOAPS Putnam Sicilian Roots

“Sicilian Roots”, 20×24, Oil.  Winner of Best Use of Light and Color in the NOAPS 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition.

It has been said that what makes for a good painting is not what you see, but what it makes you feel.  Without a doubt, this scene by Lori Putnam makes us feel the warmth.  With the sun behind us, we can imagine strolling up to the villa, and pausing to catch a breath.  The artist has given us this sense of warmth by the play of warm and cool colors in various degrees,  carefully placed to give us a moment to rest in the shadows.

NOAPS Putnam Close to home

“Close to Home”, oil on linen panel, 18×24, Illume Gallery of Fine Art

Coming from a career in graphic design, Lori left her own freelance business in 2005 to pursue art full time.  Since then she has studied with many artists, among them Dawn Whitelaw and Quang Ho.  She has traveled extensively for her art, and in 2008 she spent 8 months living and painting in Italy, taking time to fully absorb the lessons of her mentors.   She continues to be inspired by both contemporary artists and artists from the past, such as Scott Christensen, Carolyn Anderson, John Singer-Sargent, Sorolla and Nicolai Fechin.

NOAPS Putnam Safe Harbor

“Safe Harbor”, 30×40, oil on linen panel, Meyer Vogl Gallery

The genre that Putnam paints is not necessarily the point of her work; she is painting light.  She explores the “medium itself, using shapes, rhythm, color, patterns and pieces that weave in and out to create a painting that is, to some degree, representational.”

NOAPS Putnam More Precious than Rubies

“More Precious than Rubies”, oil on mahogany panel, 8×10 LeQuire Gallery

Putnam’s work is mainly in oil, though she also enjoys using gouache for it’s versatility.  She usually works on a panel; either with linen or gesso.  Her brushes are by Rosemary and she mainly uses Gamblin oil paint.  In the studio she tends to work with a variety of colors including: Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Napthol Red, Brown Pink, Quinacridone Magienta, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Payne’s Grey, Cobalt Blue, Phthalo Green, Permanent Green Light, Cadmium Green, Warm White, Radiant Blue, Radiant Turquoise, and Titanium White.  En Plein Aire, her palette is minimized to only Cadmium Yellow Light, Napthol Red, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White.

NOAPS PUtnam New Dawn

“New Dawn”, 12×19, oil on stretched canvas, 1225 Gallery

Her working process varies, sometimes working out thumbnail sketches, color sketches, and preliminary studies for the final painting.  En Plein Aire her work begins with a thumbnail which denotes light and shadow, from which she stains the canvas.  From there she works from large shapes to small shapes, paying attention to retain the sense of value and color.   At other times, the painting is done more loosely, painting directly from the scene.  She prefers to paint from life, and if a painting does require use of a photo, Lori feels that her life painting experience enables her to do so successfully.

Lori is a well-known instructor, often taking her students as far as New Zealand for plein air painting.  When not teaching out of town, she enjoys her own spacious studio, replete with soaring ceilings and north light.

To work hard and enjoy the work, setting aside the ego, self doubt and fear in order to make room for honest criticism and growth… that is Lori’s best advice for success.

NOAPS Putnam Low Country Boil

“Lowcountry Boil”, oil on linen panel, 16×20, Meyer Vogl Gallery

Putnam’s work is represented by Illume Gallery of Fine Art, St. George, UT; LeQuire Gallery, Nashville, TN; Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX; Meyer Vogl Gallery, Charleston, SC; RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX; and 1225 Gallery in Charlotte, TN.  To view more of Lori’s work visit

To see the NOAPS 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President


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Linda Besse

NOAPS Besse Ice Bear

“Ice Bear”, 22×36, Oil, Winner of Best of Show from the NOAPS 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition.   Collection of the Artist.

This engaging scene presents us with a story for the viewer to create…the nearly monochromatic painting presents us with an image that impresses both with detail and weight.  We can feel the weight of the bear, the force of the impending growl, and the icy cool water.  Amid the mass of ice the bear is painted slightly warmer, giving us the impression of life.  The challenge of this painting is expertly met with the artist’s use of values and temperature, creating an immensely successful painting.

NOAPS Besse Shore Leave  “Shore Leave”, 30×24, Oil, Private Collection.

Linda Besse is best known for her renderings of animals in their natural habitats.  Though trained as a geologist with a Master of Science degree specializing in geochemistry, Linda became intrigued with painting while observing another artist paint.  Her dedication to the craft has spanned 20 years, with much self-study along the way.

NOAPS Besse Stealth - Amur Tiger[27730]  “Stealth”, 24×34, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Linda has found her subject matter traveling to all seven continents and 40 countries…though inspiration can come watching the birds and animals from her kitchen window.  For her winning painting, Besse states: “I’ll spend hours in a small willow blind scanning the horizons for polar bears.  Just when I know I’ve spotted one, a quick look through the binoculars will reveal a large shiny…..boulder.  But, when a polar bear comes into view, it is so obvious.  Their white hollow fur almost glows and there is nothing quite like it.  Then I wonder how I could have ever mistaken a glacial erratic for this magnificent creature.  It is that glow which the background is designed to enhance.”

NOAPS Besse Woven  “Woven”, Oil, 33×44, Collection of the Artist.

Besse works exclusively in oils for their luminosity and depth of color.  Her palate consists of titanium white, cadmium red deep, cadmium yellow deep, Naples yellow, yellow ochre, sap green, viridian green, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, Paynes gray, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, Van Dyke brown, and lately Crimson Lake and Phthalocyanine Blue Lake (Michael Harding brand).  Besse paints on gessoed boards, either commercially made or hand painted.

NOAPS Besse Painting in Progress  Painting in Progress, Oil, 13.5×20 (also see on artist’s blog:

Due to the nature of her subject matter, Besse works from photos, using up to 15 different shots to compose her painting.  Though the painting is done in the studio (along with her two cats), Besse always takes the time in the outdoors to take in the surroundings, memorizing the colors and feel of the place.  She draws directly on the gessoed board, and then paints alla prima, starting at the top of her painting and working downward, background to foreground.

Though she had won numerous awards for her paintings,  her greatest goal is striving for continuous improvement.  Growth for the artist is a lifetime study.

Linda encourages other artists to tell their own story, in their own way.  “Push yourself artistically.  Be bold and take chances and your work will continue to grow.”

The work of Linda Besse is represented by the Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (Martha’s Vineyard)

To view more of Besse’s work visist

To view the NOAPS 2020 Spring Online International, go to

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President

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2020 Best of America Small Painting Exhibition: Virtual Critique 2

It is said that the artist creates the art but once it is finished, the art belongs to the viewers. The viewers will respond, react, feel and see the art according to their own experiences, their background and their own life stories. They will come up with their own conclusions which might or might not match the original reasons or desires that led the artist to create the piece of art.


A Little R and R, 12×16 by John Caggiano

The beach grass shadows in this painting by John Caggiano immediately caught my eye. From a soft violet to a luminescence turquoise green, they are not only pleasing but they create a powerful statement in harmony and in unity with the colors of the ocean.  These shades also help to create a compositional line that starts at the lower right of the painting and takes us along a zig zag path to the ocean. The two chairs, while important in their meaning, are merely part of the zig zag line and their blue and yellow seem to be a pick of the surrounding colors. Adding to this feast of blue/green hues, the complementary color red towards the foreground creates energy and perspective. The white sand is actually a multitude of pastel colors. An impressionistic sky full of light and the bright colors in the ocean tell us the time of the day. It is probably a peaceful midday at the beach.
The brushstrokes are fast and loose adding to the vibrancy of this 12×16 soothing yet  dynamic painting.



Street Life, 10×8 by Donald Curran

Street Life is a 10 x 8 inches painting and it is amazing how much this small painting can tell us about contemporary life in the city. Imagine this painting being viewed 200 years in the future and gather all the information it would convey about our city life. Of course, the buildings, the traffic signs, and the cars are all there. Stores, light posts and even what looks like a garbage can or a fence are visible; however, the figure would give an entire narrative. Positioned at the center like in most classical portraiture, this figure and its background is very much from our times. A young man dressed in black with probably a t-shirt underneath and an open jacket with a hoodie. The beard is the style of many young men nowadays. The backpack over one shoulder hints a nonchalant approach. The cup in his left hand indicates he probably stopped to get some coffee, common practice of our days. On the right arm a skate board speaks of youth and of a carefree spirit “surfing” along city sidewalks. Even the face expression, captured in the eyes, would speak to each individual in a different way.
NOAPS Master Artist Donald Curran tells us much more in this painting. He makes us feel the cloudy weather of a snowy day. The edges are softened and broken with white speckles and even the skin has a tint of red from a cold day.
To top it all, Curran signed his painting in the top right corner but wait, is it his signature or a store sign?



Summer Afternoon, 14×18 by Barbara Nuss

In certain way, Summer Afternoon,  by NOAPS Signature Artist Barbara Nuss brings to mind the pastoral landscapes of the Dutch Golden Age. It was back in the 17th century when landscape became a genre of its own and it has been a favorite subject for both artists and collectors since that time. Barbara places the viewer on a hill providing a semi-aerial view of the meadow. The break of shadow and light further emphasizes our location as a viewer. It is like  viewing the scene through a lens.
The diagonal line of the hill creates interest and the trees on both sides frame the focal area. Dutch artists often placed cattle or horses at a distant and Barbara placed three horses leading the viewer’s eyes through an unmarked path from the first horse to the other two, then to the water, continuing to the distant forestation and finally to a cloudy sky. From our perch on the hill, we can easily deduct the time of the day given by the bright sunlight. Barbara even gives us an indication of an early Fall through the placement of colors around the canvas. Perspective is very well achieved with details and brighter colors in the foreground and a softening in the background.
This landscape makes me want to sit in the shade at the edge of the hill and from there be one with Nature and the pastoral life.



Yield, 14×6.50 by Blair Atherholt

Did you know that Still Life, while existing since ancient time, also became an important and distinct genre during the Dutch Golden Age? Artists create the Still Life paintings in their studio paying much attention to lines, shapes, color and of course light. In Yield, there are several interesting lines composed by NOAPS Signature Artist Blair Atherholt. While organic, there is no doubt that we see a vertical line in the small hanging branch. Its suspension in an apparent stopped fall adds mystery. Does it carry a symbolism? The title itself might Yield or imply a deeper meaning to this composition of course opened to the imagination of the viewer. Doesn’t the word Yield mean cease to argue, give right of way, relinquish possession as well as produce or provide? The apparent vertical line is stopped by the horizontal line of the ledge suggesting a feeling of stability and rest; however, not before the circle of the very well rendered plum is placed in between the vertical and horizontal lines.  We cannot miss the arch line at the bottom creating energy. The design carved in the stone also creates direction with a pointed leaf leading to the most illuminated part of the painting. All these different compositional lines make this painting. Imagine these same lines in different places and you will see that the entire feeling of the painting would totally change.
The chiaroscuro adds to the mystery and drama of Yield. The small details draw our attention and the light in each rounded fruit is treated with perfection taking into consideration the reflective light and the different changes in value to create a true three dimensionality for each shape in this painting.


Written by Hebe Brooks, NOAPS Master Artist and NOAPS Membership Director


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