Neal Hughes: En Plein Air

NOAPS Hughes Olsen House 20x20

“Olsen House”, 20×20, Oil, by Neal Hughes; Winner of Best Landscape in the 2019 NOAPS Fall Online International

The soft lighting in the “Olsen House” makes the viewer begin to imagine…we first wonder what is the time of day, and then if the house has inhabitants.  Then our minds begin to wander about the painting, creating it’s story for ourselves.  The artist has given us hints; the slightly unkempt foreground, yet a door through which we can enter.  Our eyes travel around stopping where we think we find a clue as the dance of warm and cool colors lead us through the painting.

NOAPS Hughes MimsCreek14x18  “Mims Creek”, 14×18, Oil.  Painted during the En Plein Air Texas Competition, San Angelo, Texas.  Private Collection.

Neal Hughes has been an artist for his entire life.  He started at a young age, and continued at the Philadelphia College of Art with a degree in illustration.  His illustration took center stage until he began his current focus on fine art.

NOAPS Hughes DreamBoatNocturne18x24  “Dream Boat Nocturne”, 18×24, Oil.  Winner of First Place at the Cape Ann Plein Air Competition, Gloucester, MA.  Neal Hughes Studio (Collection of the Artist).

Hughes has garnered his wealth of knowledge from different sources: museums such as the Brandywine Museum and the Philadelphia art museums; and the many books in his personal library.  Among his favorite artists are Sargent, William Merritt Chase, Thomas William Dewing and Childe Hassam.

NOAPS Hughes RiverPalm20x16  “River Palm”, 20×16, Oil.  Painted during the Lighthouse Plein Air Competition, Tequesta, FL.  Neal Hughes Studio (Collection of the Artist).

Working exclusively in oils, Hughes’ favorite genre is the landscape.  He can often be found at plein air competitions; his painting ‘Olsen House’ was awarded First Place at the Grand Traverse Plein Air Competition.  He often includes man made objects in his paintings; boats and architecture are favorite subjects.

NOAPS Hughes ChurchNocturne20x20  “Church Nocturne”, 20×20, Oil.  Painted during the Wayne Plain Air Competition, Manyunk, PA.  Neal Hughes Studio (Collection of the Artist).

Hughes paints with oil primed linen, which he stretches for large paintings, or mounts to Gatorboard for smaller paintings done en plein air.  Using bristle brushes, his palette consists of primary colors and a few earth colors: titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, Indian yellow, cadmium red, alizarin crison, utltramarine blue, pthalo blue, yellow ochre and terra rosa.  He begins by carefully planning his composition and value structure, then blocking in the large shapes.  For his block in he uses a mixture of ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson for the darkest areas, then adding terra rosa for a slightly lighter value, ending with cadmium yellow or red mixed with titanium white for the lightest values.  After the block in he continues by adding more color and making further adjustments.

NOAPS Hughes MorningMist30x40  “Morning Mist”, 30×40, Oil.  Studio painting based on plein air study, Rockland, ME.  Neal Hughes Studio (Collection of the Artist).

Neal encourages the artist to paint as often as possible…”the most important ingredient once you get past learning the basics is just hard work.  Experiment with techniques…..the more successful artists are constantly working and challenging themselves to make progress.”

To see more of Neal Hughes’ work go to

Neal Hughes is represented by the Sylvan Gallery, Wiscasset, ME; The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT; J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Stonington, CT; Susan Powell Fine Art, Madison, CT; the Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, FL; the Chestnut Hill Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Warm Springs Gallery, Warm Springs, VA; Design Domaine Gallery, Spring Lake, NJ.

To view the NOAPS 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition go to

Edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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R. Gregory Summers: For Love of the Scene


“To Run With the Puma”, 24×30, Oil, Winner of ‘Most Innovative’ from the NOAPS 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition by R. Gregory Summers.

The vast expanse of clay rooftops spreads before our eyes fading into the distant haze, giving us the impression that the city goes on forever.  The sameness of the structured buildings has the opposite effect of monotony; it forces us to look closer, to find the differences.  And in doing so, we see the lives of the people who live there; we imagine their courtyards, their gardens, their interior spaces.  We find ourselves creating the stories of their lives, and the painting has captivated our imagination.  As the artist states: “‘To Run with the Puma’ was inspired by the city of Cusco, Peru, where I was on a trip along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  High above the city was an amazing view stretching before me of this ancient world built by the Incas.  I was hoping to capture a little of the feel of the people, the history and the love of it’s culture.”

NOAPS Summers Exiting Gloucester  “Exiting Gloucester”, Oil, 18×14, Folger Gallery.

R. Gregory Summers began in earnest to study art after a tour of duty with the Air Force.  He had always done drawings at a young age, and painting as a teen, but classes at a local community college helped to develop his talent.  He began working at Hallmark Cards, where for 30 years he worked as a Master Engraver.  Along the way he has taken independent study courses, particularly with Jean Howard at the Johnson County Community College, Anne Garney with the Kansas City Art Institute and artist Rick Howell.

NOAPS Summers The Secret Rites of the Atchafalaya Swamp  “The Secret Rites of the Atchafalaya Swamp”, Oil, 12×16, Collection of the Artist.

Summers works mainly in oil today, and is inspired by the landscape.  He enjoys plein air painting, and loves to “just wander and look.  My inspiration to paint can come from anything…the way light catches a leaf or just the serenity of what is before me.  I look for peace and contentment as I wander, and I never know what it will be.  This is what makes my best work.”

NOAPS Summers West Side Coffee  “West Side Coffee”, Oil, 11×14, The Rice Gallery.

For the past 8 years Summers has painted with only 4 colors: ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light and cadmium yellow light.  His supports are gessoed panels or canvas panels, and uses mainly flat brushes.  His studio is the great outdoors from March to November, but does studio painting during the winter months.  When plein air painting, he starts by drawing a 2×3 inch Notan, then starts the painting by laying in a few important construction lines followed by a block in.  This is all done quickly, so that he can complete the painting based on his initial impression.

NOAPS Summers Dripping Springs  “Dripping Springs”, Oil, 50×30, The Rice Gallery.

Though the distinction of winning awards has certainly been a boon to his career as an artist, his most cherished experiences come from helping others: “what sticks in my mind was letting a little girl with Down Syndrome take over my painting during an event in Texas.  She put two colors together and began mixing.  The look in her eyes was to die for; it was magical.  Helping and inspiring others far outweighs any of the accolades I have received.”

Words to work by?  As his mentor, Rick Howell told him, “don’t be afraid to lose a good painting in trying for a great one.”

To view more artwork by R. Gregory Summers go to   Summers is represented by the Rice Gallery of Fine Art, Overland Park, Kansas; the Kathy Cline Gallery in Parkville, MO; Mr. Millers Art Emporium in Saugatuck, MI; the Papa Gallery in Boca Raton, FL and the Folger Gallery, Midland, Texas.

To view the 2019 Fall Online International go to

Edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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Introducing: Nancy Murty, NOAPS Newest Board Member

NOAPS Murty_SeasonsEnd-10x8-600px  “Season’s End”, Oil on Linen, 10×8, Collection of the Artist.

Nancy Murty’s delicate rendering of birds and other natural elements are the result of years of observation and careful study.  Her use of color, composition and edgework create graceful paintings that depict the honest nature of her subjects.  Nancy is a full time artist, and maintains a studio in Downtown Rochester, New York.  She has extensive experience in business, having run her own business and worked at advertising agencies for over 20 years.  She is also highly knowledgeable in social media communications, and we would like to introduce Nancy to you as our newest NOAPS Board Member.  As a part of our board, Nancy will work on publicity, bringing to you all the latest news and opportunities that NOAPS has to offer!

NOAPS Murty apple.1  “Apple.1”, Oil on Linen, 5×7.  Collection of the Artist.

Here is a bit about Nancy:

It all started on a cold winters day with an odd collection of accumulated colored pencils, scraps of paper and a bored little girl.

Sitting at her grandma’s kitchen table, Nancy Murty began sketching the birds as they visited the feeder outside the window or drawing inspiration form an old copy of Birds of America.  Little did she know that those days spent with her grandma would lead her down a path that she continues to this day.

Nancy didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an artist, but art has always been just under the surface in each step of her life – from working in the advertising industry to designing her own fabric lines for Andover Fabrics in New York.  Today, painting and sketching are central to her life.

Drawing her inspiration from life, her experiences visiting National, State and local parks, wildlife refuges, and her own backyard, Nancy captures the beauty and harmony of the outside world.  Each experience is essential to understanding the subject and translation of organic forms and colors into a cohesive painting structure.

During the spring and autumn bird migrations,, you’ll find Nancy volunteering with the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory’s (near Lake Ontario, New York) bird banding program.  Nancy believes direct observation is the key to her success…

NOAPS Murty_SeedBreaker-9x12-600px  “Seed Breaker”, Oil on Linen, 9×12.  Collection of the artist.

To view more of Nancy’s work, visit her website at or on Instagram.

Welcome, Nancy!

Edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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2019 Best of America National Juried Exhibition: Part Two

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA Thin Space 16x16Edwards_Joel_627075-1  “Thin Space”, 16×16, Oil by Joel Edwards was winner of “Best Landscape”.

Upon seeing the painting “Thin Space” by Joel Edwards at the Best of America Exhibition in Park City, there could be no doubt it was an award winning painting.  The harmonious colors, the composition and the value structure all read from across the room, and then upon seeing the painting closely there was such delicate brushwork and beautifully layered colors, the painting was truly captivating.  Here is what the artist had to say about his work:

““Thin Space” as an invitation to slow down and take notice of the beauty that is so abundant and yet moves by so quickly.  This can be seen very clearly at sunset, the time between what was and what is to come. The privilege of the painter is to see beyond the obvious physical attributes of a scene and search for the underlying meaning of a place, something outside of what our eyes can see; the time when the veil between the physical and the spiritual is especially thin.”  Joel Edwards.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA Eyes Closed 30x20Flack_McGarren_626042-1  “Eyes Closed”, Oil, 30×20, by McGarren Flack was winner of Best Use of Values.

When looking at values and how an artist uses this very important tool in a piece of art, one can consider it in two ways:  either the artist has employed a very wide range of values throughout, or the artist has used a very narrow range of values and expanded that narrow range almost infinitely.  The latter is the approach that our Judge of Awards, Jian Wu, found in McGarren’s work.  The viewer must look very closely to see the minute changes of value, temperature and color in this remarkable piece.  Here is what the artist had to say about the painting:

“I personally love painting skin tones in cool light and warm light. It is fun to explore the various changes in value, color, and saturation. I feel like this painting describes the subtlety of form with cool colors and keeping the value range low almost like she is stepping into the light from the darkness. It was awesome to see I got an award for values, since that was the main focus of the piece.”  McGarren Flack.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA Dawa, 14x21LIAN_CHENG_626700-1  “Dawa”, 14×21, Oil, by Cheng Lian, winner of Best Painting by a Signature or Master Member.

The expression on the face of the small boy in Cheng Lian’s painting asks the viewer to create the story; why does the young face appear anxious?  But the expression was only part of the reason for the prestigious award; our Judge of Awards was impressed by the artist’s handling of light.  The face, in partial shadow, is almost back-lit; an approach in which the artist must find just the right mix of warm and cool skin tones to achieve the desired outcome.  The artist focused the details near the face only, and left the less important areas to the viewer’s imagination.

Consider viewing all the award winning paintings to discover for yourself the characteristics of the painting that made it stand out at!

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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2019 Best of America National Juried Exhibition: Part One

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society’s 2019 Best of America National Juried Exhibition, now showing at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art Gallery in Park City, Utah, is a display of 124 truly outstanding paintings.  Chosen from nearly 900 entries, the final cut was chosen by a panel of seasoned artists to represent the best work from artists across the United States, Canada, and as far away as Selangor.  The Judge of Awards, Jian Wu, a Master Artist with NOAPS,  came well prepared to face the difficult task of choosing the award winners.  He had this to say about his choices:

“Key elements that I am looking for in a painting:

  1. Composition:
    Balanced composition that has a strong focal point
  2. Technique or skill in mastering the medium:
    Proportion accuracy, unique brushwork, tight and loose rendering, paint texture and edge manipulation
  3. Cohesive color scheme:
    Well-balanced color temperature

Above all, I am looking for unique artistic characteristics in a painting that stops a viewer from walking away; a quality that evokes emotion and touches viewers mind or heart.”

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA CUTTER_MATTHEW_Seasoned, 15x20 copy

“Seasoned”, 15×20, Acrylic on Crescent Board by Matthew Cutter, winner of the Best of Show.

Matthew Cutter’s work “Seasoned”, is a well executed example of the warm and cool colors of white.  He depicted his scene showing the strong light and shadow, at the same time telling a story.  Here is what Matt had to say about his work:

“The building is located in the Norris Lake region of Tennessee. I was there about a year ago with my wife’s family, to get together for our annual trip. As we drove in to the location we were staying I saw this white building, glistening with sunlight! I knew I was going to go back to that spot and paint it. I did two paintings plein air from different vantage points.
What struck me about the building, other than the dramatic sunlight and the ability to use warm and cool versions of white, was that it seemed to mark the passing of time. The building seemed like it was once very much alive and a part of the community, but it had fallen into disrepair. I actually find that type of thing quite beautiful.
I was attracted to the composition, using the staircase as a lead in to the rusted door. I do not normally sketch paintings out very accurately, I tend to just jump right in, but with the complexity of all of the design elements, I invested a bit of time on the front end to get the drawing right before I began painting.
I was quite happy with the end result, juxtaposing warms and cools, darks against lights, and hopefully pulling out an emotional connection for the viewer. Winning best of show at NOAPS is the highlight of my career! It was an absolute honor to find out the news and I’m very humbled to have been chosen from a list of many deserving artists.”


NOAPS 2019 Big BOA ROYSTON_SCOTT_Selfless Sacrifice 15x12-1  “Selfless Sacrifice”, 15×12, Oil on Panel by Scott Royston was the 2nd Place Winner.

A still life painting can often tell a complicated story; this is so in “Selfless Sacrifice” by Scott Royston.  The objects in the painting are accurately painted in vibrant hues, but the real mystery in the painting is to resolve the story behind the composition.  Every detail in the painting says to the viewer, “I have significance, figure me out”, and the viewer is left to ponder the meanings.


NOAPS 2019 Big BOA Lu_Hui_Pink 20x16-1 “Pink”, 20×16, Oil on Canvas by Hui Lu was the 3rd Place Winner.

The painting by Hui Lu combines qualities of edge control, temperature shifts and texture to create a memorable portrait.  The expressive eyes are painted with clarity telling the observer where to look.  We then travel to her hands to discover the reason for her tender gaze, and then wander throughout the painting for more discovery.  The artist has this to say about the work:

“For centuries, Asian and Byzantine artists have used gold leaf as a way to make their paintings and crafts sparkle.  In the Art Nouveau movement,  Austrian artist Gustav Klimt incorporated gold into his paintings as well.

Inspired by these shimmering artists, on my painting “Pink”, I glued a layer of gold leaf on the canvas before painting on it.  The subtle gold acts as the yellow ochre.  Metallic reflection goes through the upper layers of oil paint. It interacts with the environment of the painting, even reflecting the viewer’s dress colors.  I feel the gold leaf technique adds more interesting textures to my painting.

That’s how I was inspired and how I worked.”

NOAPS extends a warm thank you to Jian Wu for his contribution to the 2019 Best of America Exhibition, as well as a thank you to all the member artists who submitted their artwork to the competition.

Part Two will examine more of the Award Winners from the Best of America!

To view all the work accepted into the show, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, Blog Director



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29th Best of America Event Showcase

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA group artists

Here we are!  The 2019 NOAPS Best of America Group that attended the Events Week!

The 29th Best of America National Juried Competition at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art Gallery in Park City, Utah, was a huge success!  We started the week with a three day workshop with Master Artist and Awards Judge Jian Wu.  We continued the week with demonstrations, a group dinner, a reception and more demonstrations.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 7  Workshop with Jian Wu

noaps-2019-big-boa-demo-8.jpg  Underpainting for “Patrick” by Jian Wu

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 6  Shanna Kunz demonstrates her landscape technique.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 12  Finished demonstration painting by Shanna Kunz

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 5  Elizabeth Robbins demonstrates her Still Life techniques.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 2  Joshua Rose, Editor of American Art Collector, with NOAPS President Michelle Murray, as he speaks about the state of Art Collecting today.

NOAPS 2019 Big BOA demo 4  NOAPS President Michelle Murray posed for Master Artist Jian Wu during Saturday’s demonstration.

The photos speak for themselves…the events were enjoyed by all who attended…be sure to sign up to come to Annapolis and St. Augustine in 2020 with NOAPS!

Written by Patricia Tribastone, Blog Director


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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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