Larry DeGraff: A Unique Vision

NOAPS DeGraffEntangled

“Entangled”, 10×20, Oil, Winner of an Award of Excellence at the 2019 NOAPS ‘Best of America’ Small Painting Exhibit in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Collection of the Artist.

Nature is persistent in her quest to reclaim what was hers…the artist tells the story of that which is forgotten by man, but repossessed by nature.  The artist’s hand has created a solid composition from the chaos of growth within an harmonious color scheme.  He has left to us the mystery of what lies beneath, the element of discovery.

NOAPS DeGraffBridgeonSilverCreek  “Bridge on Silver Creek”, 12×24, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Larry DeGraff has been an active artist since childhood; his first renderings took on a look a realism even as a boy.  Urged on by his early instructor/ mentor, Darral Dishman, Dean of Art at Missouri Southern State University,  DeGraff kept up his training through classes at the Kansas City Art Institute, books and easel time.  His early work in illustration landed him a position at a design studio, then later a greeting card artist for Hallmark Cards.

NOAPS DeGraffJeweloftheNiangua  “Jewel of the Niangua”, 12×12, Oil, Private Collection

Inspired by Impressionist artists such as Monet, Cezanne, William Merritt Chase and others, DeGraff has pursued a range of genres; loose plein air landscapes to the more realistic figure work.  His painting, “The Potter”, was inspired by his desire to create paintings of people who are themselves in the act of creating.  The focused concentration, the play of light and shadow, and the strong composition create a compelling narrative.

NOAPS DeGraffThePotter  “The Potter”, 18×14, Oil, Juried into the 2019 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, Montgomery Lee Fine Art, Park City, Utah.

DeGraff is drawn mostly to scenes of nature; “dramatic scenery that ‘declares God’s handiwork’, and suggests something higher than everyday existence”.  Rural scenes of mountains, skies, clear streams and vanishing landscapes stimulate the soul of this artist to create visions for others to contemplate.

NOAPS DeGraffSummerShadows  “Summer Shadows”, 11×14, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

The artist starts the day with prayerful meditation, which helps to create a sense of peace and humility.  His palette consists of soft mixing white, cadmium lemon yellow, cadmium yellow medium, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, cadmium red medium, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, viridian green and ivory black.  His supports are gessoed canvas and linen, using synthetic hog bristle flats and filberts.  He enjoys plein air painting, and emphasizes the value of painting from life; “plein air painting has taught me how to see the light, color and values of the natural world in a way that photography can’t”.

His experience has taught him that his own unique style, his vision and the way he paints it is of value to the world; in his words, “there is a lot of pressure out there for artists to conform to whatever the latest trend is.  You can’t avoid all of this, but make sure that you are choosing the influences that you like…the world needs your uniqueness in making the best paintings you can. ”

Larry DeGraff is the Juror of Awards for the 2019 NOAPS Fall Online International Exhibit.  To view more of Larry’s work visit  His work is represented by: The Rice Gallery, Overland Park, KS; Studio 8369, Grand Lake, CO; Cherry’s Fine Art in Carthage, MO; Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Gallery Augusta, Augusta, MO.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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Derek Penix: A Vision of His Own


“Abundance”, 30×36, Oil, Winner of the Third Place Award in the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition, Private Collection.

Nature gives us unlimited sources of inspiration, and often with such a profusion of subject matter, that it can be a difficult task to make sense of it all, much less paint it.  Here the artist has taken the copious leaves and fruit, and made an energetic and fresh rendering, giving the viewer a sense of movement and light.  The fruit is ripe, waving in the sunlit breeze, with the leaves whispering to us that the season is about to conclude.  All the elements work together; the composition, color, values and brushwork to make sense of the chaotic beauty of nature.

NOAPS Penix-Into the Blue 36x36  “Into the Blue”, 36×36, Oil, Private Collection

Growing up among artists, Derek Penix only discovered his own talent and passion for painting shortly after high school. Once he began, his skill was quickly recognized; his paintings began to sell, and he was committed to his art.

NOAPS Penix Manhattan II 36x40 oil Derek Penix  “Manhattan II”, 36×40, Oil, Private Collection

Penix is largely a self-taught artist, though he has taken workshops with Quang Ho and C.W. Mundy, the latter being his most recent and helpful mentor and friend.  His work is impressionistic, being inspired by artists such as Sargent, Richard Diebenkorn and Dekooning.

NOAPS Penex Koi Large  “Koi”, Oil, Private Collection

Derek paints strictly in oil, and tends to work in series.  “Abundance”, pictured above, is one of 12 paintings in a series featuring peach trees.  He is not committed to one genre, though, and finds his inspiration in many places, including his travel while teaching workshops.

His palette consists of a range of brands including titanium white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, permanent rose, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, viridian green, yellow ochre and Vandyke brown.  Working from photos, Penix prefers studio work.

Penix is currently working on a large commission of 10 paintings, and has come to realize that inspiration, that fickle mistress, is not something to wait for, but to seek.  And that one of the best things for an artist is to have something waiting in the wings…for Derek it is his next series: abstract paintings, where he will explore the play of color.

NOAPS Penix Renewal 36x33 small  “Renewal”, 36×33, Oil, Private Collection.

Derek Penix teaches workshops around the country; to visit his website and learn more about the workshops, go to  His work is represented by Claggett Rey Gallery, Vail, CO; Gallery 1261, Denver, CO; and Elizabeth Pollie Fine Art, Harbor Springs, MI.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Frankie Johnson: Fresh Impressions

NOAPS Johnson A Pink Dance 10x8 oil  “A Pink Dance”, 10×8, Oil, Winner of Best Use of Light and Color from the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.

The fresh color draws our attention, and as we delve into the painting, we see more than at first glance.  The active brushwork adds energy to the dancers; the gestures create the narrative, and the undeveloped areas trigger our imagination.  The warm color palette is offset by neutrals that bring the dancers forward, but keep us looking into the background for more.

noaps-johnson-hot-steamy-summer-cooking-12-x-16-oil-private-collection.jpg  “Hot and Steamy Summer Cooking”, 12×16, Oil, Private Collection

Frankie Johnson is an artist on a path of discovery.  Painting on her own until her 20’s, she began taking classes that widened her scope of creativity, bringing to her intuitive painting a confident, practiced hand.  After taking workshops and working with her mentor, Bonnie Anderson, Johnson began teaching and cultivating that same creativity in others.

NOAPS Johnson The Waiter 8 x 10 Oil, Private Collection  “The Waiter”, 10×8, Oil, Private Collection

Working in an impressionistic style, Johnson finds inspiration just about everywhere.  She enjoys scenery, figures and still life, and is “constantly squinting and looking at scenes to see how much impact they might have in a painting”.  She is also inspired by many contemporary artists, namely Richard Schmid, Nancy Guzik, Mark Boedges, among others.

NOAPS Johnson Collage Maker 16 x 20 Oil, Private Collection  “Collage Maker”, 20×16, Oil, Private Collection

Johnson uses a variety of materials, including canvas, various types of boards, both gessoed and linen.  Her palette consists of warm and cool tones of each color: cadmium red light, alizarin crimson deep, ultramarine blue deep, cerulean blue, (sometimes cobalt blue), viridian, sap green, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow light, raw sienna, dioxazine purple, thalo red rose, burnt sienna, burnt umber and titanium white.  She begins by toning the canvas, using a variety of colors to assess the effect on subsequent layers.  She will then sketch in the composition, block in the darks, and indicate the lights. Next she paints the most intense colors, and working around those, makes sure to keep the importance of those first notes in the final painting.

noaps-johnson-pin-cushion-in-progress.jpg  NOAPS Johnson pin cushion in progress 2  NOAPS Johnson Pin Cushion & Thread 8 x 10 Oil, Private Collection  Progression of “Pin Cushion and Thread”, 8×10, Oil, Private Collection

Johnson currently runs her own Fine Art School in Lake Zurich, IL, which she has done for 25 years.  The school not only has a staff of artists teaching regularly, but also brings in artists from around the world to teach workshops.  Her goal is to continue the tradition of teaching and passing on the joy of creating in a positive environment, just as she was given when she began to take classes.

As a teacher and artist, Johnson encourages artists to continue to take classes and workshops from artists whose work they admire.  Building on “fundamentals of drawing and structured procedures”, painting regularly, making mistakes and problem solving helps to build our confidence as artists.

To view more work by Frankie Johnson, visit her website at  Her work is represented by Fine Line Design in Ephrain, WI, and the Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, IN.

To view more artwork from the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Nick Eisele: Subtle Beauty

NOAPS Eisele PersianGold_oil on panel_12x16_NickEisele

“Persian Gold”, 12×16, Oil on Panel, Winner of the Second Place Award from the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society 2019 Spring Online International Exhibition; Private Collection.

The beauty of a still life painting is to let the viewer into a private world…to reach in and touch the precious objects and feel a part of their place and time.  The delicate textures, the finely tuned values and colors create subtle nuances for the viewer to discover over and over.  This painting by Nick Eisele accomplishes all of that; with a fairly neutral palette the artist relies on values and understated color to create a sense of quietude, a timeless interlude for us to ponder.

NOAPS Eisele Personal Effects_oil on panel_10x8_NickEisele  “Personal Effects”, 10×8, Oil on Panel, Private Collection

Nick Eisele is a recent graduate from the Schuler School of Art.  This young artist had a love of drawing at a young age, and began his advanced study in earnest at age 19.  Though he had envisioned a career in digital illustration and concept art, the lure of the old masters was irresistible, and he turned his attention to fine art and oil painting.  His earlier mentors, Felice House and Sam Woodfin gave Eisele the strong foundation he needed to proceed successfully at the Schuler School.

NOAPS Eisele Busted_oil on panel_9x12_NickEisele  “Busted”, 9×12, Oil on Panel, Collection of the Artist.

Eisele’s love of the old masters is evident in his work; his careful rendering, attention to detail, thoughtful compositions and narrative are reminiscent of the 19th century still life painters.  Among Eisele’s favorite painters is Emil Carlsen, known in particular for his moody still life paintings.

NOAPS Eisele Bone Dry_oil on panel_16x20_NickEisele  “Bone Dry”, 16×20, Oil on Panel, Private Collection.

Most of Eisele’s work is still life done in oil and some portraiture, however he also enjoys sketching in graphite and digital painting.  His palette consists of titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, yellow ochre, transparent red oxide, burnt umber, Van Dyke brown, cadmium red medium, permanent alizarin, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue and ivory black.   Using a combination of bristle and soft brushes he works on clayboard panels.  He begins by blocking in clear shapes of shadows with an umber wash to establish the composition.  He then works in a direct manner with color.  During subsequent sittings he refines his details working outward from the focal area. Thick opaque paint is used in the light area, while keeping the shadows thin and transparent.

NOAPS Eisele Bobcat_oil on panel_5x7_NickEisele  “Bobcat”, 5×7, Oil on Panel, Collection of the Artist.

This young artist has achieved many accolades for his work; among his recent awards was a Purchase Award in the Art Renewal Center’s 14th International Salon.  He encourages his fellow artists not to be afraid to fail…and keep painting!

To view more work by Nick Eisele, visit his website at

To view more work from the NOAPS 2019 Spring Online International visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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John Pototschnik: Painter of the Sublime

NOAPS Pot Be Still My Soul - 30 x 40 - Oil - Highlands Art Gallery

“Be Still My Soul”, Oil, 30×40, Highlands Art Gallery.  Winner of ‘Best of Show’ in the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.

Let out your breath a little, and enjoy the view.  This painting by John Pototschnik allows us to be a part of this peaceful, serene landscape, and allows us to lull into thoughtfulness.  The artist has used every tool at his disposal to give us this sense of placidity; from the composition, the value structure, the neutral colors with bits of brights, soft and hard edges, the vacillation of warm and cool to the perfect rendering of every part of the painting.  This masterful painting is one of many by this artist.

NOAPS Pot Of the Land - 12 x 16 - Oil - Illume Gallery  “Of the Land”, 12×16, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT.

The pursuit of art began in earnest for John when, after some interest in art during his high school years, and an attempt at business studies in college, he switched his major to illustration.  During a post-graduate four-year stint in the Air Force, he was able to take evening classes at the Art Center College, Pasadena, California.  He continued his study of art through reading, and most importantly, application (easel time!). He spent ten years as a freelance illustrator in Dallas, Texas, after which he began his full time career as a fine artist.  In 1992 John was awarded with the John Steven Jones Fellowship which enabled him to study at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, CT, with a focus on human anatomy.

NOAPS Pot Land of Abundance - 35 x 65 - Oil - Illume Gallery  “Land of Abundance”, 35×65, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT

John has had only one important mentor in his life; Ed Pointer.  He has been a guide in life and spiritual matters as well as art for more than 50 years. Most recently John has studied with Joe Paquet, and is greatly inspired by his work. For inspiration, John looks to paintings from the 19th century, in particular, the work of Camille Corot, Francois Daubigny, and Jean Millet.

NOAPS Pot Rural Hideaway - 25 x 28 - Oil - Private Collection  “Rural Hideaway”, 25×28, Oil, Private Collection

Currently, John works in oil.  His favorite genre is the landscape, both American and European, as well as cityscapes, small towns and farms.  Initially, he uses gessoed paper to create plein air studies, and takes photos of the scenes he intends to work into paintings.  He further develops the idea for the painting on the same type of gessoed paper, using various compositions and colors schemes.  For the final painting, he begins with a drawing using thinned raw umber paint, using his plein air sketches and photos for reference.  This underpainting is a fully developed monochromatic painting where he “captures the desired value range, and therefore an accurate representation of the mood.  When that is dry, color is applied matching the values already established in the monochromatic underpainting.”  Working on canvas or gessoed board with a variety of brushes, his palette generally consists of one color from each of these primaries: Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue; Alizarin Crimson or Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Light; Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light or Cadmium Yellow Pale, plus Titanium White.  Other pigments that might be chosen to replace those above would include Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Terra Rosa, Indian Red or Ivory Black.

NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 1  NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 2

NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 3  NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - 24 x 30 - Oil - Illume Gallery[22959]

Step by Step Process for “At the Edge of Town”, 24×30, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT

John’s strong connection with nature is grounded in his search for peace from the noise of our contemporary lives.  The title for his winning painting, ‘Be Still My Soul’ was taken from a Christian hymn written over 260 years ago by Katharina von Schlegal.  While being quiet with nature, John finds the opportunity to be a part of the stillness, to contemplate the “big questions about God, creation, and our purpose and place in the world.  That’s the place I like most to be.”  To read more about the winning painting, in John’s own words, go to

Through his commitment, talent and hard work, John has been able to support his wife of 48 years and his family with his art.  He has some sage advice for readers: “1. Decide what type of art you want to do. 2. Find one or two artists that do that type of work and learn all you can from them and apply it.  3. Stop hopping around from workshop to workshop.  4. Be patient, work and and persevere, because there will be times of discouragement.  Only those that don’t give up succeed.”

NOAPS Pot Staying Home - 16 x 27 - Oil - Southwest Gallery  “Staying Home”, 16×27, Oil, Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX.

John Pototschnik is represented by Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Highlands Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Illume Gallery, St. George, UT; Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; and Wylie Fine Art Gallery, Wylie, TX.  To view more work by the artist, visit

To view the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibit, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Margaret Dyer: Painting the Impression of Light

NOAPS Dyer A Garden at La Bonne Etoile

“A Garden at La Bonne Etoile”, 16×20, Oil, by Margaret Dyer, Collection of the Artist.  Winner of “Best Impressionism” at the 2019 NOAPS SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition at the RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas.

A fleeting moment, described only with dashes of color and light, is revealed in Margaret Dyer’s winning painting.  There need be no details to interpret the scene, and one can feel that as the woman is bending over her garden, she may at any moment rise to view us.  The perfectly placed focal point attracts our attention, and we linger in the scene that carries our eyes with hints of orange.  The energetic brushwork looks effortless yet skillful, successfully meshing hard and soft edges.

NOAPS Dyer Jose at the Table 16x20  “Jose at the Table”, 16×20, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

The desire to be an artist was ever present for Margaret Dyer.  Her early studies encompassed abstract expressionism, and though this taught her the freedom of the brush, it left out the fundamentals of traditional art.  Her pursuit continued, and later she found mentor Kate Fetterolf, who taught her value structure, color and proportion.

NOAPS Dyer Jose in the Bedroom 11x14  “Jose in the Bedroom”, 11×14, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Margaret’s first medium was pastel, in which she has worked successfully for 30 years, earning the honor of Master Pastelist from the Pastel Society of America, and has been inducted into the Masters Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies.  Over the last five years she has been working almost exclusively with oils, after a year of studies in oil with Jim Richards, an Atlanta artist.

Many artists have contributed to Margaret’s inspiration, including such Masters as Degas, Cassatt, Sargent, Mucha and more.  Contemporary artists,such as Quang Ho and Tibor Nagy continue to inspire, although the number of highly accomplished artists today can seem at times daunting.  But there is always something that keeps the artist at the easel, and in Margaret’s words, “maybe it’s because it’s there that I feel most at peace”.

NOAPS Dyer Artists Model 8x10  “Artist’s Model”, 8×10, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Margaret enjoys figurative work most, and finds the “play of light falling on a  person doing ordinary tasks, (the) subtle drama that is so easily overlooked” her best source of inspiration.  She works at times from a live model or en plein air, but often finds a photo can successfully catch a moment she wishes to express.

Starting with an under-painting in transparent red oxide, with hints of burnt umber and white to enhance values, Margaret then works into color.  Her palette consists of cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium orange, quinacridone red, alizarin crimson, transparent red oxide, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, and viridian and white.  A painting is usually completed in one or two days.

NOAPS Dyer  “Untitled”, Oil, Collection of the Artist

Although relatively new at submitting oil paintings to competitions, Dyer was encouraged by her recent award with NOAPS.  She considers the vocation of art as being that of a perpetual student, and encourages other artists to do the same.  “Persistence, persistence, persistence.  Don’t give up.  Find a mentor and extract every bit of knowledge you can.  Then find another mentor.  Paint, paint, paint.”

Margaret Dyer’s work is represented by Allison Sprock Fine Art, Charlotte, NC; Cecil Byrne Gallery, Charleston, SC, and River Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.  To view more of Dyer’s work, visit  Margaret also teaches workshops, and to see blogs of her recent workshop trip in Florence, Italy, visit

To view the NOAPS 2019 SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Kim Lordier: Color and Light

NOAPS LORDIER Half Moon Bay Delights 12x12-1  “Half Moon Bay Delights”, Oil, 12×12, by Kim Lordier, winner of Best Use of Light and Color from the 2019 NOAPS SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition at the RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas.

The sun-filled burst of color is the winning element in this painting by Kim Lordier.  Filled with suggested shapes and shadows, the viewers wind our way through the painting discovering the dappled light until we are greeted at the door of the greenhouse.  The active brushwork enhances the feeling of energy created by the light and color, inviting us to linger among the fresh blossoms.


NOAPS Lordier Intrinsic Beauty, Monastery Beach 27x40  “Intrinsic Beauty, Monastery Beach”, 27×40, Pastel, Private Collection

Kim Lordier has been a serious artist since the age of 15, when she began selling her animal portraits in pastel.  After attending the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and a brief time working for an airline, Lordier began to actively pursue her art.  Her spark of determination was ignited by an exhibit of the Early California Impressionists at the Oakland Museum of Art, and her path was set.

NOAPS LordierTemblor Range Spring Patterns 18x24 Lordier  “Temblor Range, Spring Patterns”, 18×24, Pastel, Private Collection

Lordier has had many supporters along the way to help and encourage her; from museum directors, magazine editors and collectors, she has gained momentum and name recognition.  In particular, Skip Whitcomb, who works in pastel and oil, has shared his knowledge and friendship with Kim and become a true mentor.  Her impressionistic style has been inspired not only by the Early California Impressionists, but also by the Taos Artists and the Tonalists, all who share the common thread of strong tonal structure with beautiful color and mood.

NOAPS Lordier Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky 20x24 Lordier  “Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky”, 20×24, Pastel, Collection of the Artist.

Although her primary medium is pastel, Lordier has begun to successfully work in oil.  She prefers to paint from life en plein air whenever possible, and for larger paintings will do field studies and take photos for reference in the studio.  Her process for oil painting is the direct alla prima approach, resulting in fresh color and brushwork.

NOAPS Lordier Copa de Oro in Antelope Valley 11x14  “Copa de Oro in Antelope Valley”, Pastel, 11×14, Debra Huse Gallery.

Changing mediums, says Kim, “helps to bring one out of a rut, makes you think outside your comfort zone, and shakes up the process.  The foundational principles are the same, and each medium has wonderful idiosyncrasies that are fun to figure out!”

NOAPS Lordier at Half Moon Bay Nursery  Painting in process at the Half Moon Bay Nursery, CA.

Kim Lordier’s work is represented by James J. Rieser Fine Art, Carmel by the Sea, CA; Debra Huse Gallery, Balboa Island, CA; Holton Studio Frame Makers, Berkeley, CA, Illume Gallery of Fine Art, St. George, Utah; and Sekula’s Fine Art & Antiques, Sacramento, CA.  To view more of Lordier’s work, visit her website at

To view the 2019 NOAPS SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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