What’s AGE Got To Do With It? by Joseph Orr

NOAPS Orr Beyond the Sandbar 11x14

“Beyond The Sandbar”, 11×14, Acrylic, by Joseph Orr.  This painting has been juried into the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibit, Richland Fine Art Gallery, Nashville, TN.

At some point in an artist’s career he/she looks forward to fame and fortune as a possibility, but for most the cold truth begins to be revealed as age comes upon them.  At some point fame fades as a goal and the simple privilege of being able to create becomes more valuable.  That is when the true artist emerges.  Recently I read an article which stated the peak age-to-death, in terms of an artist’s price and reputation peak, is about 70 years.  That is the golden age when one is ‘old’ enough to have garnered critical acclaim, but not so ‘old’ that he/she has been forgotten.

If that magic age truly is 70, then I should be nearing the summit of my career.  For myself, reaching that milestone is only a state of mind.  Consider though, that maybe the study mentioned in the article didn’t review enough facts about the artist, or only studied artists who had “The Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome, so to speak.  The point was made, however, that if an artist is ‘lucky’ enough to reach the age of 90, and beyond, then the age-to-death factor was not a factor.

NOAPS Orr Diamond in the Marsh 12x16 Red Piano Gallery  “Diamond In The Marsh”, 12×16, Acrylic, Private  Collection.  This painting was sold through the Red Piano Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC.

Of course prices are usually determined by the interactions between demand, quantity and quality.  In the part of the art world I’m familiar with, quality is, as beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  In the REAL art world, demand for an artist’s work seems to be influenced by many factors such as critical or popular acceptance, gallery and art museum exhibitions, which collectors or institutions own works by the artist, and, most importantly, what art movement, organizations or colonies the particular artist has started or been a part of.

Everyone knows that an artist who is ‘hot’ today can be cold as ice tomorrow.  I offer a study of the venerable Albert Bierstadt’s (1830-1902) life as an example.  A giant in the art world, in his time, whose talent and output was as monumental as his subject matter.  Bierstadt was one of those rare artists who witnessed sales of his work in the six figure range while he was alive and then experienced its plummet.  Sadly, in the end, he was left destitute and bewildered at the specter his life had become.

NOAPS Orr Fishing the Delaware 9x12 Highlands art gallery Lambertville NJ  “Fishing The Delaware”, 9×12, Acrylic, Private Collection.  This painting was sold through the Highlands Art Gallery, Lambertville, NJ.

In the halls of the School of Thought there are those who believe that restricting supply of an artist’s work during his/her lifetime, gains merit above over-producing the same image or subject again and again.  An artist can be especially tempted if that image is commercially popular, but changing one’s style, subject or approach to painting serves to limit the amount of work in any one period of the artist’s life.  Adjustments result, quite naturally, as an artist grows or passes through the process of his/her career.  Additionally, and testifying to my own creative desires, artists paint different subjects, and sometimes in different styles because, that is what artists do!

So the bottom line I think, is, if an artist wants to gain the maximum from a career, enjoy the ride and paint the best you can because, in the end, nothing insures against destitution, quality trumps quantity and it is a superb life nonetheless.  Keep the mediocre in the closet and let the market have only your very best.

Joseph Orr is one of the Founders of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society.  He is represented by the Castle Gallery, Ft. Wayne, IN; Eisele Fine Art, Cincinnati, OH; the Highlands Art Gallery, Lanbertville, NJ; Kodner Gallery, St. Louis, MO; the Red Piano Gallery, Bluffton, SC; and Joseph Orr’s Studio, Osage Beach, MO.  To view more of Joseph’s work, visit his website at www.josephorr.com, and sign up for his newsletter.

This article first appeared in the Orr’s Free Newsletter, April 17, 2018.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On the Edge

NOAPS D'Amico the yellow farmhouse 10x8  “The Yellow Farmhouse”, 10×8, Tony D’Amico.  This painting has bee juried into the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition in Nashville, TN

When faced with the blank canvas, perhaps edges are not foremost in the artist’s mind.  We focus on the composition, the values, the drawing, the colors, but the power of the edge is just as important.

Observe the soft edges in Tony D’Amico’s painting.  These edges tell the viewer that the background has a great distance from the house; the uppermost branches of the trees are thin and hard to see; and the snow on the rooftops is bouncing light back into the atmosphere.  The hard edges tell you the tracks in the snow are close by, newly made.  The edges in Tony’s painting take you through the scene, to inform, to give you rest, and make you feel part of the landscape.

NOAPS Raikhline Harmless Landing 21x 14.5  “Harmless Landing”, 21×14.5 by Igor Raikhline, from the 1st Spring SMALL PAINTING Exhibit

The edges in Igor Raikhline’s painting have a different purpose.  Here the edges give the sense of softness, delicate beauty, and the gentle nature of the subject.  He has used the edges to complete the description of the subject matter.  Notice the edges are slightly crisper exactly where the artist wants the viewer to look: at the butterfly on the child’s shoulder, hence the title.

NOAPS La Rock Still Life with Lemon 9x16  “Still Life with Lemon”, 9×16 by Tom LaRock from the 1st Spring SMALL PAINTING Exhibition

The painting by Tom LaRock gives us a different take on edges.  The painter has used hard edges again to enhance the focal area, but the soft edges created on the dish have a different purpose.  The soft edges are formed not only by their vague outline, but also with values that are very similar.  The effect of these edges is to create a mystery; to make the viewer look more deeply into the painting, and perhaps finish the edges with their own eyes. This use of edges helps make a viewer linger in a painting with greater interest perhaps, than if all the edges are clearly defined.  The artist also used the edge of the lemon to bounce light back into the atmosphere, to make the object truly live within the space.

The edges in a painting can have a powerful impact.  The way that the artist uses edges can help to identify distance relationships, identify the focal area, create a mood or feeling, and enhance mystery and interest in a painting.

To view more paintings in the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition, click here

To see the Exhibition in person, visit the Richland Fine Art Gallery, 4009 Hillsboro Pike #203A, Nashville, TN 37215. Phone 615-292-2781.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ann Kraft Walker: Quiet Beauty

NOAPS Walker_White on White_20x24

“White on White”, 20×24, Oil, Private Collection

The quiet calm and muted colors of paintings by Ann Kraft Walker emanate a sense of peace and well-being.  These carefully painted scenes of everyday objects are soothing to the eye, with just the right amount of detail.  The composition leads the viewer around the painting easily, and the closer one looks, the more interesting the painting becomes.  A sense of atmosphere contains the objects giving the scene a unified presence.  Her inspiration comes, as she states, “without conscience thought.  Is inspiration something intuitive? Are artist born with eyes and heart inherently sensitive to beauty?” A question to ponder; perhaps the only answer is in the art.

NOAPS Walker_Pieces of Autumn  “Pieces of Autumn”, 24×20, Oil, Private Collection

Ann Kraft Walker began her interest in art at an early age, and studied art throughout her schooling, majoring in art history in college.  After years of nurturing her family, her art became her primary focus after becoming an ’empty nester’ and the passing of her mother in 2009.  A workshop with artist Casey Baugh was a turning point for Ann, as she states, it was “a paradigm shift”.  Since then she has taken other workshops, all adding to the wealth of knowledge that is obviously imparted in her work.

NOAPS Walker Mo and Spidey  “Mo and Spidey”, 12×24, Oil,  Collection of the Artist

Today Ann paints mostly in oil, and also in graphite and charcoal.  She focuses on still life, but is also proficient in portraiture, and is working on landscape painting as well.  She currently uses ArtFix linen, Rosemary brushes and the Silver sable cats tongue brushes.  Her palette consists of Flake White, Lead Tin Yellow, Yellow Ochre Pale, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Orange, Vermilion, Tuscan Red, Permanent Alizarin, Transparent Oxide Red, Transparent Oxide Brown, Raw Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Sap Green, Viridian, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Violet and ivory Black. After coffee and a prayer, Ann begins painting her still life from the scene she has set up.  She starts with “a rough drawing on paper, and then does an oil transfer to the panel or canvas.  After the color block in, (she) usually makes about three passes and then finishes with some tweeks and glazes.”  Portraits are also painted from life, and photos when necessary.

NOAPS Walker In Progress_20160722_090211   Still life work in progress

NOAPS Walker_The Hidden Person of the Heart  “The Hidden Person of the Heart”, 20×16, Oil, Private Collection

Ann’s tranquil paintings are in contrast to the often intense and tumultuous art world.  As she states: “It’s a loud, busy, clamoring art world.  The sources to view others’ work, and opportunities to learn are overwhelmingly abundant.  I think it’s important to find a balance between learning all you can from the sources available and shutting out that loud world to quietly paint from your heart.”

NOAPS Walker_Of Sand and Sea  “Of Sand and Sea”, 12×24, Oil, to be exhibited at the Oil Painters Of America Show, Steamboat Springs, CO in June, 2018

Among Ann’s many awards and distinctions, she is a Signature Member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America, and a Signature Member of the American Women Artists.

Walker’s artwork is represented at Haynes Galleries in Nashville, TN, and Insight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX.  To view more of Ann’s work, visit her website at www.annkraftwalker.com.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment