Loren DiBenedetto: Contemporary Realist

NOAPS DoBenedetto_acorns and green glass14x18

“Acorns and Green Glass” 14×18, Oil on Linen.  This painting has bee juried into the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition in Nashville, TN.

The exquisite detail in paintings by Loren DiBenedetto are a hallmark of her work.  Her sensitive handling of her subject matter, the harmonious color palette, and the graceful compositions create a sensation of quiet beauty.  She often sets her subjects against a neutral background to bring forward their importance, and carefully directs the light and shadow.

NOAPS DiBenedetto_first pf spring 18x24  “First of Spring”, 18×24, Oil on Linen, Tree’s Place Gallery, Orleans, MA

Loren DiBenedetto grew up in a creative household, where both parents were amateur artists, and encouraged her creativity.  She holds a degree from the DuCret School of the Arts in New Jersey, and her art instruction continued at the prestigious National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School) and the Art Students League in New York City.

NOAPS DiBenedetto_dance of the daffodils 24x36  “Dance of the Daffodils”, 24×36, Oil on Linen,The Art Cellar, Banner Elk, NC

Inspired by Master Artists such as DaVinci and Sargent, contemporary artists Daniel Sprick, Daniel Keys and Kathy Anderson, DiBenedetto has skillfully created her own brand of realism.  Using nature as her muse, she most often works in the still life genre.  Inspiration comes easily from the simple effect of light hitting an object, or the display of fruit at the local grocer.  Her depictions of natural objects focuses on their form and color, and she arranges them in compositions that include elements of texture, line and often a bit of unpredictability.

NOAPS DiBenedetto_bag of cherries 16x20  “Bag of Cherries”, 16×20, Oil on Linen, Private Collection.

Her process begins by setting up the still life in natural light, often in morning or late afternoon to get the best shadows.  She takes many photos, and after sorting through the photos, she chooses her best options, often working from multiple shots.  Working on a neutral-toned canvas, she chooses whether to do an underpainting.  Her palette consists of titanium white, cadmium yellow light and medium, cadmium orange, cadmium red light and dark, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, sap green, ultramarine blue, cobalt turquoise, and ivory black.

NOAPS DiBenedetto_gourds and bittersweet 12x24  “Gourds and Bittersweet”, 12×25, Oil on Linen, The Art Cellar, Banner Elk, NC

Though DiBenedetto has won numerous awards, she states that her greatest accomplishment is the ability to paint every day.  The common thread of advice running through all successful artists is the importance of practice.  As Loren states: “Paint, paint, paint.  Being successful in any endeavor takes time and practice, painting is no exception.  Make a commitment to what you would like to accomplish and go for it!”

Loren DiBenedetto is represented by Tree’s Place Gallery, Orleans, MA; Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simon Island, GA; Art Cellar Gallery, Banner Elk, NC; Warm Springs Gallery, Warm Springs, VA; and Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, FL.

To view more work by Loren DiBenedetto, visit her website at www.lorendibenedetto.com

To view more work from the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition, visit www.noaps.org/events.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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1st Spring SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition


“Decommissioned”, 12×16, Oil on Linen by Crystal Brown

The 1st Spring SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition promises to be one of the best presented by the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society.  With 893 entries for the jury of selection to choose from, 156 paintings will be on exhibit at the Richland Gallery of Fine Art in Nashville Tennessee.  The work that was submitted was exceptional, and we are excited to see the show on display in person.


“Forgotten” 12×16, Oil on Wood Panel by Beth Marchant

It is indeed an honor to be included in such an exhibit, but the real thrill is to see the paintings in person.  It has long been my belief that paintings have a life of their own, that they exist certainly not as mere decoration, but as living things.  The paintings speak to us, but not as in a cliché, but in a deeply personal and thoughtful way.   The paintings present us with their own set of feelings, and depending on the person and the painting, we may be genuinely moved by them.

NOAPS Cantavella Looking Forward 18x14 Oil on Canvas Board

“Looking Forward”, 18×14, Oil on Canvas by Juan Cantavella.

The experience of seeing the art in person to some extent has been diminished by the availability of the art seen virtually via the computer.  While the online presence of art exposes us to an abundance of outstanding work, what it does lack is the personal experience.  In the April 2018 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur, Peter Trippi in his editor’s note wrote about making museum art meaningful to viewers; that there must be a connection, or an angle that draws viewers in….”the next generation will not bother to visit a museum or buy an original artwork because it’s much easier to enjoy, and afford, virtually….unless we make looking at original artworks so meaningful that younger people want to be there in person, too.”

NOAPS Zhang Sidney 12x16 Oil on Canvas

“Boats on Potomac River” 12×16, Oil on Canvas by Sidney Zhang

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society has as it’s mission to promote the artwork of living artists through exhibitions, education, marketing and special events.  It is our hope that art lovers of all kinds will come to Nashville this Spring to experience the work of living artists, to let the art come alive for them, and see just how meaningful viewing art in person really is.

The 1st Spring SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition will be held at the Richland Gallery of Fine Art, 4009 Hillsboro Pike #203A, Nashville, TN.  To preview the art selected for the exhibit, visit www.noaps.org/events.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Adam Clague: The 4 Actions for Accurate Proportions

NOAPS Clauge A1  “More Whipped Cream”, 24×14, Oil on Linen, Private Collection

One of the most valuable lessons I learned at art school was the 4 Actions for Accurate Proportions.  With just 4 actions, you can draw absolutely anything under the sun…with the correct proportions!

These 4 Actions for Accurate Proportions can enable you to correctly draw absolutely anything (yes, even the human figure)…

  1. Compare distances
  2. Copy angles
  3. Check alignments
  4. Consider negative shapes

Now I’ll demonstrate each one…

Note: In the following illustrations, I measure the proportions of a painting.  However, in real life, I would measure the proportions of my subject first, and then measure my painting to ensure the proportions of my painting matched the proportions of my subject.

1. Compare Distances

A.  Hold out your brush handle (or pencil, etc.) against your subject.  Close 1 eye so you don’t see double.

NOAPS Clauge A2

Choose any 2 points on your subject.  Mark off the distance between these two points using the tip of your brush handle and the tip of your thumb.  In example “A,” I’ve marked off the distance between the top of the girl’s hair and the bottom of her chin.

B.  Now, see if this distance compares to any other distance in your subject.  In example “B,” I’ve discovered that the distance between the top of the girl’s head and the bottom of her chin equals the distance between the bottom of her chin and the bottom of the bowl.

NOAPS Clague_A3

Why this is awesome

Now that I’ve found where the bottom of the bowl goes, I will be much less likely to make her arms too long or too short as I draw them between the head and the bowl.  Continuously comparing distances like this will help you achieve correct proportions, no matter your subject’s shape or size.

2. Copy Angles

Compare a horizontal or vertical brush handle to an angle in your subject to determine how much the angle is tilted.  In this example, a horizontal brush handle makes it much easier to tell how much the girl’s eyes are tilted.

NOAPS Clague A4

3. Check Alignments

Use your brush handle like a plumb line to find 2 points that align to each other.  In this example, I’ve discovered that the corner of the girl’s mouth (A) is directly below the edge of her eye socket (B).  Finding this unexpected alignment greatly helped me to draw the tilt of her head correctly!

NOAPS Clague_A5

4. Consider Negative Shapes

Let’s say I’ve been drawing and re-drawing the arm, and it still doesn’t look right.  But then, I shift my focus and look at the negative shape-that triangular shape of air between the crook of her arm and her side.  I focus on drawing that shape correctly, and suddenly-viola!  Her arm looks accurate too.  Often, correctly drawing a negative shape will automatically improve a positive shape.

NOAPS Clague A6

I’ll demonstrate the 4 Actions in detail in my upcoming online video course, “Learn to Paint Dynamic Portraits & Figures in Oil.”  For more information, please visit http://ClagueFineArt.com.

About the Artist

NOAPS Adam Clague

Adam Clague’s work has received international awards and press.  The artist lives near Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and fellow artist Andrea Orr Clague and their newborn son, Gideon.  Adam paints in an impressionistic manner and works from life as much as possible to produce the most life-like results.  The artist seeks to faithfully capture the beauty of God’s creation and to share that beauty with his viewers.

Adam’s work is represented by Ward & Ward Fine Art (Kansas City, Missouri), Hudson Fine Art (Hudson, Ohio), and Gallery Augusta (Augusta, Missouri).

Written by Adam Clague



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Rick J. Delanty: ‘What’s Important Now’

NOAPS Delanty_uprising, acrylic, 18x24

“Uprising”, 18×24, Acrylic, Collection of the Artist, San Clemente, CA

“As a man thinks, so is he.” -Proverbs 23:7

After having been painting professionally now for over thirty years, it appears to me that there are two major facets to the career of a fine artist: the professional and the personal.

The ‘professional’ is about how the paintings get done.  The personal involves how the artist represents them afterward.  Those that view the artwork publicly will wonder about who the artist is personally.  Why did he create this?  What would he say about it?  What are his attitudes and philosophies behind it?  The answer lies in the priorities that the artist chooses for himself or herself, what he or she decides is important in life.  Artists create for a variety of reasons, and for every artist there is a list of priorities that causes the work to look like it does, and causes himself to behave personally as he does.  At some point, everyone need to choose how to select those priorities, because it is a natural fact that we all only have so much time.  Time is running out, whether or not we choose.  But we could prioritize those choices most clearly if we can W.I.N., by deciding ‘What’s Important Now’.

NOAPS Delanty_SNOW CANYON WASH, 12x16, oil on board, 12 17 RR

“Snow Canyon Wash”, 12×16, Oil.  Mission Gallery of Fine Art, St. George, UT

Yesterday there was a memorial service at a local church for a surfboard shaper that was attended by over a thousand people.  But in the testimonials from the pulpit from those who knew him, it was not his shaping, or the fact that he has created more hand-shaped boards than anyone else, or even the quality of his art that was the subject: it was the quality of his life.  That kindly gentleman was interested in everyone, in the goodness that he knew exists within us all somewhere-and he was able to listen.  He put people first.  That’s how he won the Race of Life.  I am sure he is in heaven now.

A pastor in our area so concisely defined the precious opportunity and limited time that we all have to make a difference: “Yesterday is a cancelled check; Tomorrow is a promissory note; Today is ready cash.”  I can live my life.  And i can make my art.  What I need to know is “what’s important now.”  May I create quality artworks by living a life of quality and appreciation for every moment I have.

Written by Rick J. Delanty

Rick Delanty is a California artist painting primarily landscapes and seascapes.  He has been a professional artist for over three decades.  He is represented by Casa Romantica Cultural Center, San Clemente, CA; Coutts Art Museum, El Dorado, KS; OC Contemporary, San Clemente, CA; Mission Gallery of Fine Art, St. George, UT; and Delanty Studio and Gallery, San Clemente, CA. To view more of his work visit www.delantyfineart.com.

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Jerry Smith: NOAPS Master

NOAPS smith thumbnail_Harbor Dusk

“Harbor Dusk”, 20×30, Acrylic on Paper, Private Collection

At first glance, the viewer gets the sense that the landscape has been abstracted, and to a degree it has.  But upon closer observation, the shapes the artist has constructed become more representational.  This investigation into the shapes, colors and values is what makes the viewer linger, and when we translate the shapes into our own meaning, we are infatuated with searching for more.  The painting releases its secrets, and satisfies the viewer with its revelations.

NOAPS smith thumbnail_Early Morning Ripples  “Early Morning Ripples”, 36×24, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist.

Jerry Smith is a Master Artist with the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society.  Though not exposed to art as a young person, the natural gift of drawing and interest in art was ever-present.  He started a career in business, but after a gift of paint and canvas from his wife, he began to seriously study art.  He read, practiced, studied, and took workshops.  And his art career was born.

NOAPS SMith thumbnail_Green Street January  “Green Street January”, 16×20, Oil, Private Collection

His main genre is landscape painting, and artists such as Don Stone, Omer Seamon and Louise Hansen helped influence his art initially.  Other influences were the Impressionists, particularly Monet and Pissaro.  And though he started out as a realist painter, he moved to impressionism and abstraction.  The rolling hills and farmland are his muse, as well as the rocky coast of Maine.

NOAPS thumbnail_JSmithBlueHaven13x30  “Blue Haven”, 13×30, Acrylic on Paper, Collection of the Artist

Most of Smith’s paintings start out as thumbnails, and these are often done in watercolor.  He may find a subject that he finds inspiring, and from his sketches and photos emerge a series of paintings.  At times the series may alternate between mediums of oil, acrylic and watercolor.  For his more abstracted pieces, he finds he plans out the painting less thoroughly, focusing more on an under-painting, and developing the textures.

Smith uses a basic palette of warm and cool primaries plus some earth tones, usually burnt sienna and raw sienna.  He uses a variety of brushes, mostly long flats in bristle and synthetic bristle.  In his watercolor he uses flats as well, either sable or synthetic sable.  His working surface is gesso-primed masonite, (particularly useful on location) or stretched canvas or his oils, and for his acrylics he uses the masonite or 300lb. watercolor paper.

NOAPS Smith thumbnail_RussetAcres  “Russet Acres”, 21×29, Acrylic Collage on Paper, Private Collection

Jerry Smith holds Signature memberships in numerous national art organizations, a proud accomplishment, along with a family and a forty-year full-time career as an artist.

Jerry has some very good advice for all artists: “We all like to sell paintings, but don’t focus on doing paintings for the purpose of sales, it will lead to stagnation.  Concentrate on where your passion resides and your best paintings will follow.”

Jerry Smith is represented by Gallery Two, Indianapolis, IN; Brown County Art Guild, Nashville, IN; Proud Fox Gallery, Geneva, IL; Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN; and the Walls Gallery at the Greenbrier, White Sulfur Springs, WV.

To see more work by Jerry Smith, visit his website at www.jsmithstudio.com.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Ober-Rae Starr Livingstone

NOAPS ORSL thumbnail_FeelingYourTouchB-24x48oc-6-17

“Feeling Your Touch”, 24×48, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection.  This painting was juried into the 2017 Best of America Exhibition, and was given an Award of Excellence.

The dreamlike quality of softened light draws the eye toward the setting sun; the warm colors invite us in to a comfortable space where we can relax.  The idealized scene begins in the clouds, and the warm red-golds lead us to the sunset, where we seek to discover what lies in the landscape.  Such is the theme of the paintings by Ober-Rae Starr Livingstone: “I find inspiration in the light and color of sunrises and sunsets and in observing light playing on water, or the changing dynamics of light and shadow as the sun moves across a landscape.”

NOAPS ORSL thumbnail_Every-MomentReduxfinaacl36x48-15  “Every Moment”, 36×48, Acrylic, Miller Gallery.  This painting was a winner of the Artist Magazine 2015 Over 60 Competition and appeared on the cover of the March 2016 issue.

Livingstone has learned his craft through careful study.  He began by painting signs and posters for his father’s lectures, and continued to be encouraged in his pursuit of painting by both his parents.  His path has been mostly self-taught, with only a few painting workshops to guide him.  He observed the quality of light and color found in paintings by such artists as Mark Rothko, Jules Olitski, and Albert Bierstadt.  He found that he needed technical expertise such as that found in work by Salvador Dali.  Then, artist Larry Rivers encouraged him to seek his own personal vision, which has led him to the unique and expressive paintings that are his work today.

NOAPS ORSL ThatMomentB8x10o-p11-17  “That Moment”, 8×10, Oil, Castle Gallery

Ober-Rae currently paints in both oil and acrylic.  His paintings are done on canvas or linen, usually stretched, or unstretched, when the painting must be shipped.  In acrylics, he works mainly with Golden products, utilizing the Golden Open which allows a longer working time.  When painting in oils he uses a range of brands including Winsor and Newton, Gamblin and Williamsburg.  A day in the studio, which is most often his choice for painting, begins with an assessment of work, and choices on what to work on.  He occasionally works en plein air, but his work is more suited for the studio setting.  He begins with reference photos, but by the time he has finished his painting, it may offer no resemblance to the photo.  He begins with a simplified drawing in pencil or charcoal, followed by loose brush work to fill in the shapes and values.  From there he lets his expressive nature flourish, to find the end result that was emerging in his mind.

NOAPS OBSL thumbnail_Getting-There-in-progressA  NOAPS ORSL thumbnail_Geting-There in progress C-30x30-5-16  NOAPS ORSL thumbnail_Getting-ThereMiller-30x30-15

Progress of “Getting There”, 30×30, Acrylic, Miller Gallery

NOAPS ORSL thumbnail_Speaking-Softly-30x40ISAP--10  “Speaking Softly”, 30×40, Acrylic, Collection of the Artist.

Livingstone is grateful for having the opportunity to paint, to have an audience for his work, and for having been published and recognized for his vision.  As he states: “What I know for sure is that it is essential to paint and then paint some more.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.  What we often view as a mistake often turns out to be an opportunity to make a change and discover something unexpected, exciting, and uplifting.”

In the words of Marc Chagall: “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”

In addition to his artistic success, Ober-Rae is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society.

Ober-Rae Starr Livingstone is represented by the Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; the Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN; and the Liz Beth Gallery, Knoxville, TN.  To see more of his work, visit www.ober-rae.com.

To see more of the 2017 Best of America Exhibition, visit www.noaps.org/events

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Ann Hardy: NOAPS Master Artist

NOAPS Hardy Texas, My Texas, Oil, 25 x 25, private collection

“Texas, My Texas”, Oil, 25×25, Private Collection

The rhythmic pattern and bright but soothing colors in “Texas, My Texas” exude a feeling of love for the land.  As the flowers come forward, we are invited to stand in the landscape, and just for a moment understand the artist’s attachment to the scene, and the earth’s ability to produce beauty in any condition.

NOAPS Hardy Blue Butterfly and Geraniums , Oil, 16 x 12, Holder Dane Gallery  “Blue Butterfly and Geraniums”, 16×12, Oil, Holder Dane Gallery, Grapevine, TX.

Ann Hardy has been a creator most of her life, though admits coming to painting later.  In her mid-thirties, a desire for an Arabian horse led her to begin her painting career, selling the paintings at art shows.  She was successful from the beginning, and by 1973 was able to settle on 20 acres of Texas land with a home, a barn, and her Arabian horse.

NOAPS Hardy Honeycrisp Harvest  “Honeycrisp Harvest”, 18×24, Oil, Private Collection

Ann’s college degree in Christian Education didn’t offer many art classes, but she more than made up for it by attending many, many workshops with artists whom she admired.  Even now, she attends college taking graduate art classes, with the purpose of continued growth and contact with fellow artists.

Ann’s style of painting reflects her favorite Master Artists: Fechin, Sargent and Sorolla.  Just as these masters were able to catch a glimpse of light or a fleeting moment, so too has Ann done in her work.  She admits to a “propensity to try everything, (and) have had to focus and refocus and refocus.”  But it is with the oils that she has achieved her greatest success.

NOAPS Hardy Samovar and Reflective Cup , Oil, 16 x 20, private collection  “Samovar and Reflective Cup”, 16×20, Oil, Private Collection

Her work in oils is done on smooth Belgian canvas, using Rosemary brushes, and a palette that consists of Cadmium yellow light, Cadmium yellow dark, Cadmium orange, Medium red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue dark, Sky Blue, Viridian, Transparent Oxide Red, and yellow ochre.  When working, she looks for interesting shapes with a good value range.  She does a sketch on her support, then starts the painting with a block in of the darks in the correct value.  She then works from the center of interest out.  Ann works en plein air, with photo reference, and from a still life set-up with a single light source.

Ann has some very good advice to beginning painters: “do your research on the workshop teacher, as a good painter may not be the best teacher, and the opposite can also be true”.  She also advises to “determine what they want to achieve (hobby, compete in exhibitions, earn a living, etc.) …that there is no perfect time to get started, just do it!”

NOAPS Hardy Italian Gentleman., Oil, 12 X 16, Private Collectionjpg  “Italian Gentleman”, 12×16, Oil, Private Collection

Ann Hardy has won numerous awards, most notably earning 2nd and 3rd awards in the Oil Painters of America National Exhibitions, and 1st place painting in the National American Women Artists Show.  She is also a Master and Signature member in six art organizations: Oil Painters of America, the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, American Impressionist Society, American Women Artists, the Outdoor Painters Society, and Tex and Neighbors.  NOAPS is proud to count Ann among our Master Artists.

Ann’s artwork is represented by Davis and Blevins (the Main Street Gallery) in Saint Jo, TX; Holder Dane Gallery in Grapevine, TX; Southwest Gallery in Dallas, TX; and Weiler House Fine Art Gallery in Ft. Worth, TX.

To view more of Ann Hardy’s work, visit her website at www.AnnHardy.com.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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