Bill Farnsworth: Painting with Intent

NOAPS Farnsworth Pathway to Paradise

“Pathway to Paradise”, Oil, 48×36, winner of  ‘Best Landscape Award’ from the 2018 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition; Reinert Fine Art Gallery

When looking at Bill Farnsworth’s painting “Pathway to Paradise”, the first impression that comes to mind is ‘atmosphere’.  The artist has painted the color of the air.  Invisible to most, this artist has taken the scene with all the effects of light and shadow and created a unified painting that not only brings the viewer in, but makes you see and feel the hot muggy air.  The cohesive composition and carefully controlled color palette, along with loose but intentional brushwork all work to deliver a compelling painting.

NOAPS Farnsworth Cheers 14x18PC  “Cheers”, 14×18, Oil, 1st Prize Winner at the Cashiers Plein Air Festival, Cashiers, NC; Private Collection.

Bill Farnsworth was an artist from the start.  First drawing on walls, then Design paper as a boy, he never left his love of drawing and art.  He graduated from the Ringling School of Art with a certificate in illustration, but admits to being primarily self-taught.  His art career has spanned decades, and has supported his family with his illustrations and oil paintings.

NOAPS Farnsworth Brunch18x24 PC  “Brunch”, 18×24, Oil, Private Collection

Bill’s best inspiration is traveling and painting en plein air.  The effects of the light in different areas and the experience of painting outside bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and insight to his work.  As he states, “setting up an easel and painting direct from life gives you a great deal of inspiration during those two hours.” His work has been influenced early on by Bernie Fuchs, Norman Rockwell and NC Wyeth, and later by Richard Schmid, Sargent and Zorn, as evidenced by the loose brushwork and impressionistic nature of his current work.

NOAPS Farnsworth against the tide18x24PC  “Against the Tide”, 18×24, Oil, Private Collection

Painting in oil, he finds that his process varies from one painting to the next.  Although he prefers to paint en plein air, he may use photo reference.  From the photo he creates a small study to determine if the composition will work as a larger painting, or he may only work from his plein air field studies.  In order to keep his original concept in mind, he will often title his work before starting the painting.

NOAPS Farnsworth 14x18 AC Flowers for the table  “Flowers for the Table”, Oil, 14×18, Collection of the Artist, Juried into the American Impressionist Society 2018 National Exhibition.

His palette consists of Titanium white, Ultramarine blue, Cobalt blue, Sevre blue, Viridian, Italian pink, Alizarin crimson, Cadmium red deep, Cadmium red light, Alizarin orange, Yellow ochre, Cadmium yellow light and Ivory black.  His supports are handmade panels created from linen mounted on gatorboard, and his brushes are mainly Richeson Signature and Rosemary.

NOAPS Farnsworth Pondering.18x24 ACjpg  “Pondering”, Oil, 18×24, Juried into the 2018 Oil Painters of America Salon Show; Collection of the Artist.

Bill states that his greatest accomplishment is his “contribution to illustration and fine art with a sincere empathy toward (his) subject.”  His instruction and workshops have helped and encouraged many other artists during his career, and led these artists to greater breakthroughs in their work.

Bill’s words of wisdom are often repeated in these pages: “Paint for yourself”.  This is a recurring theme, that painting for a show, a market, or just to be ‘different’ doesn’t always give the artist the inner satisfaction nor success that painting with an “honest intent” provides.

Bill Farnsworth is represented by The Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, FL; Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota, FL; Tree’s Place, Orleans, MA; Reinert Fine Art, Blowing Rock, NC; Mountain Mist Gallery, Cashiers, NC; and the Patricia Hutton Gallery, Doylestown, PA.

To see more of Bill’s work, visit his website at

To see more of the 2018 NOAPS Spring On-line International Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director




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Charitable Giving

As artists, we are often approached to donate a piece of our work to a charitable cause.  If we pause for a moment before answering the call to donate, it is not a character flaw…a moment’s hesitation for thoughtful reflection is natural, and often to our benefit.

Giving of our art is giving of ourselves.  There is rarely a more personal type of giving than that which one has created by our own hand.  It is not only a way to help others, it is a way to spread the beauty and meaningfulness of what we have created.  In giving, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

Aside from the giving of ourselves, it makes sense to donate.  For the artist, it means a new or different audience for your work.  Giving to a local charity may help to increase local sales.  Your giving spirit may be rewarded with new collectors.

Now to the hesitation…we ask ourselves many questions before committing to a donation, and rightly so.  Here are some questions that should be worked out in our own minds before committing:

*What does the charity support, and is it relevant to me?

*How will the work be used or sold?

*How will it be displayed?

*What kind of artwork is being donated, and does my work fit?

*Will I be able to get a tax receipt?

*Will I be able to track the selling price?

*What kind of exposure will the artwork receive?

*Are there promotional materials that I can distribute as well?

Art is your work, and may be your livelihood, make sure that giving makes sense to you. 

Here are some hints once you have decided to donate:

*Make sure the piece you give is a good representation of your work.  It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but should be of good quality and framed well.

*Include your contact information, business cards if allowed, a biography to herald your success as an artist, and the full retail price.

*Capitalize on the promotion offered by the charity; ask the charity if you can use their promotions on your website, facebook page or other venues.

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society members and non-members have recently been invited to donate for an on-line auction to benefit the Lovis Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The 28th ‘Best of America’ National Juried Exhibition will be held at the Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, who is partnering with the Lovis Foundation in this endeavor.  To learn more about the Lovis Foundation, visit  For questions regarding donations for this event, please email


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How This Perfectionist Learned to Paint More Loosely by Adam Clague

NOAPS Clague Lincoln                          NOAPS Clague Micah

Left: An early student drawing of mine

Right: A more recent oil painting

I’ll be transparent – I’m a perfectionist.  I iron my jeans.  I have a have a hard time focusing in a cluttered studio.  I quintuple-check these lessons for typos (and kick myself when one gets past me).  For years, my perfectionism was a huge hindrance to my painting – by the time I got everything just right, it was way too tight!

Now, please don’t misunderstand me – there is nothing wrong with fully rendered or “tight” paintings.  Just look at the masterpieces of artists like William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Lord Frederic Leighton!  Tight painting is only an issue if you want your paintings to look loose.

And man, did I want to paint loosely like Sargent and Schmid! My paintings may never be on a par with those masters but my work finally developed the looseness I desired.

This perfectionist learned to paint more loosely by disciplining myself to adopt these 6 practices:

NOAPS Clague

1. Stand up.  Sitting will keep you from frequently backing away from your work – an essential habit, as problems are much more evident at a distance.  If you’re unable to stand while painting, sit in a chair with wheels.

2.  (Following from the last point) Adopt the 10-Foot Rule: If it reads well from 10 feet away, it’s good; don’t touch it!

NOAPS Clague 2

3.  Envision your subject made up of shapes like mosaic tiles.. As much as possible, try to paint these shapes with one stroke each.  If you need to adjust a shape, do so with a separate, deliberate stroke instead of continuing to dab at it.  Painting a shape with a single stroke often requires a generous amount of paint on your brush, which leads me to the next point…

4. Mix up large batches of paint on your palette with your palette knife.  One of the biggest culprits of tight painting is not using enough paint – when your brush is hungry for paint, multiple strokes are needed to cover an area and this can cause the surface to look overworked.

NOAPS Clague 3

5. Use a brush slightly too big for the job (I can’t remember what artist said this, but if you know, please remind me!) 

6.  Continuously ask yourself, “How do I want this to look?”  Having at least a semi-clear vision for your brushwork can keep you from falling into the trap of slavishly copying your subject.

I demonstrate my loose painting technique from start to finish in my online video course, “Learn to Paint Dynamic Portraits & Figures in Oil.”  For more information, please visit

NOTE: Adam Clague will be conducting a 2-1/2 day workshop during Opening Week at the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society 28th Best of America National Juried Exhibition in Cincinnati, Ohio.  For more information and to sign up for the workshop, click here.

About the Artist

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 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 Gods 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).

To see more of Adam’s paintings visit, to read his blog posts visit and Facebook at

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Lisa Fricker: A Path of Her Own

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  “Unbridled”, Oil on Linen, 18×18, Second Place Winner at the 1st Spring Best of America Small Painting Exhibition at the Richland Gallery, Nashville, TN.

Exuberance amidst chaos is what comes to mind in the playful portrait by Lisa Fricker.  The backlit portrait appears almost dreamlike, with a quality of solidity and energy, seen yet unseen.  Inspired by light and guided by scientific principles of geometry, the artist has abstracted realism to embrace the random beauty of color, shape, texture and line.

NOAPS Fricker Oil on Panel 12x12 In the Studio  “In the Studio”, 12×12, Oil on Panel, Collection of the Artist

Lisa Fricker began drawing and painting portraits publicly and the tender age of 16, when she was employed by a theme park to paint portraits from life.  She later went on to art school, first in Nashville and then at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut.  Her study continued at the Scottsdale Artist’ School, where she studied with Bettina Steinke.

Fricker’s work has always centered around portraits and figures, and she has compiled an amazing list of commissioned works to her credit, not the least of which is the 92 portraits of inductees to the Astronaut Hall of Heroes at Kennedy Space Center.  Many of her works hang in other esteemed locations, including health care centers and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The artist often works in series, each focusing on experiences, theories of compositional geometry, exploration of color, and the balance of “chaos and control”.  Children are among her favorite subject matters; “they are fresh, passionate and raw: unique yet incomplete, continually experimenting with self-creation.  I am drawn to capturing small moments and finding ways to expand them into more universal experiences.”

NOAPS Fricker progress 1 of This Changes Everything  NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything 1st drawing  NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything 2nd drawing    NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything  NOAPS Fricker This Changes Everything Oil on Linen 24x24  Step by step process of “This Changes Everything”, 24×24, Oil on Linen, Collection of the Artist.

Fricker’s paintings begin with thumbnails, which she then works into her ‘fractal diagram’, which is the division of space based on principles of geometry.  She then lays in a value pattern, and combines that with areas of emphasized color.  Working over an underpainting, she draws in her compositional diagram rather than transferring her drawing to the canvas.  She uses a palette knife to apply the paint in areas of value and color focusing on the large shapes and forms, saving details for late in the process.  Her palette consists of Titanium-Zinc White, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Light, Quinacridone Violet, Viridian, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Burnt Umber; occasionally adding Manganese Violet, Cadmium Yellow Light, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Magenta Cadmium Barium Yellow and Ultramarine.  Her supports are Galician Linen and smooth panels.  Fricker never seems to limit herself though, and now experiments with glazing and cold wax.

NOAPS Fricker Don't Be Scared oil on linen 16x20 Exempla St Joseph Hospital, Denver CO  “Don’t Be Scared”, 16×20, Oil on Linen, Collection of  Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, Denver, CO

Lisa Fricker has gained many accolades, and is a Signature Member not only of NOAPS, but also the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, the Pastel Society of America, just to mention a few.  This very recognized artist has gone her own path; she has been able to maintain her unique vision while working under others’ constraints.  She gives us this insightful quote to ponder: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” –Martha Graham.

To see more work by Lisa Fricker, visit her website at

To see more work from the 1st Spring Best of America Small Painting Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Don Reed: Finding Your Voice

NOAPS Reed Morning Along the River 8x24

“Morning Along the River”, 8×24, Oil on Canvas.  Winner of ‘Best Impressionism’ at the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition at the Richland Fine Art Gallery, Nashville, TN.

The style of Impressionism is easily, and at once, visible in Don Reed’s painting.  What the casual observer might not necessarily take note of, however, is the careful crafting of the image that has taken place.  The artist chose his colors to gradually shift complements; he placed the values at uneven intervals to guide the viewer along the scene and show spacial relationships.  The drawing is accurate and the composition well planned.  He has achieved his own style of impressionism, by placing notes of color side by side, layer upon layer, with a tactile sense that can only be produced with confidence.

NOAPS Reed 40x30 Ally with Green Windows sm  “Alley with Green Windows”, 40×30, Oil on Canvas.  Available through Reinert Fine Art, Charleston, SC.

The painter has arrived at his own style by searching his own aesthetic, and with easel time and risk he found his unique approach.  His first oil painting class began in Maine, when at the age of 12, his step-father Wilbur Bullock, a well-known cartoonist and advertising artist, enrolled him in a class with Edwin Booth.  As Don recalls, “The laughter of children happily painting and the distinctive smell of linseed oil remains one of my favorite childhood memories.”

NOAPS reed 24x24 Awakening sm  “Awakening”, 24×24, Oil on Canvas.  Available through the Blue Heron Fine Art Gallery, Wellfleet, MA.

Don attributes much of his success to his step-father, and also to Stan Moeller, one of New England’s acclaimed plein air artists.  Mr. Reed has taken art classes and workshops, but is primarily self-taught.  His initial attempts in a traditional type of painting were moderately successful, but after much experimentation, he found a style that both satisfied his creative desires and was met with commercial success.

NOAPS Reed 24x24 Lakeview Traffic sm  “Lakeview Traffic”, 24×24, Oil on Canvas.  Private Collection.

Dramatic lighting is an inspiration to the artist.  Much of his work is done from photos he has taken, which he adjusts and alters on his computer.  The image is then viewed upside down, and the painting is actually done upside down as well.  He starts out with an underpainting that mirrors the mood he wishes to create, and works the paint with only a palette knife.  He steps back often to check his progress, using a hand mirror above his head to view the painting right side up.

NOAPS Reed work in progress  Work in progress.

Working exclusively in oils, his paints are a variety of mineral and modern colors including Prussian blue, Phthalo blue (green shade), Ultramarine blue, Utrecht Brilliant blue, Quinacridone magenta, Dioxazine purple, Quinacridone red, Phthalo green, Cadmium green, Permanent green light, Indian yellow, Titanium white, Cadmium yellow, Cadmium orange, Cadmium red, Holbein bright red, and Alizarin crimson.  His surface is usually a 1-1/2 inch cotton canvas, or a cradled board and as mentioned, only palette knives for paint application.

NOAPS Reed 24x18 First Snow sm  “First Snow”, 24×18, Oil on Canvas.  Private Collection

Don’s quest for his unique style has led him to a universal truth of relevance to all artists: “Find your own voice, and don’t stop searching until you discover it….Certainly learn all the basics…but don’t be afraid to take a walk on the wild side once in a while.  Love what you do and others will love it too.”

Don Reed is represented by The Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, SC and the Blue Heron Gallery in Wellfleet, MA.  To view more of Don’s work, visit his website at

To view the 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Diane Reeves: Simple Joys

NOAPS Reeves, Diane Simple Joys 14x11 Oil on Canvas

“Simple Joys”, 14×11, Oil on Canvas was the winner of ‘Best Still Life” at the 2018 1st Spring Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition held at the Richland Gallery, Nashville, TN.

“Simple Joys” by Diane Reeves is anything but simple.  Painting flowers, with all their complexity and fragility, is a daunting task.  The colors must remain fresh, yet the shadows must be convincing.  The brushwork must be confident, yet the petals must appear delicate and translucent.  The abstract shape of the light and shadow on the flower, in all its various positions, is difficult to capture before it moves…it is a living thing after all.  But looking at Diane’s work, the viewer can feel the soft ethereal petals, and let the eyes dance through the subtle variations of light and shadow.

NOAPS Reeves_For the Asking 8 x10 oil  “For the Asking”, 10×8, Oil on Canvas, available through the artist.

Diane Reeves began drawing at a young age, and her passion for art was ignited as a teenager visiting various European art museums, including the Louvre.  Masters of the past, such as Sargent, Arkhipov, Latour, Thayer, Zorn and Sorolla, among others, fueled her desire to paint, and in 2007 she began attending workshops.  Learning from many of today’s most prominent artists, including Rose Frantzen, Daniel Gerhartz, Johanna Harmon, Casey Childs, Daniel Keys, Kathy Anderson, Mike Malm and Michelle Dunaway, she has been able to supplement her self-directed study.  Her fresh, yet defined style has been molded not only by these instructors, but also by many hours devoted to the easel.

NOAPS Reeves_Choosing Joy - Detail Image 18 x 36 oil  Detail of “Choosing Joy”, 18×36, Oil on Canvas.  See Artist’s website for full view.  Available through the Artist.

Diane’s focus in the last few years has been floral still life, however she also has an affinity for portraits and plein air.  Her day in the studio begins early, as she sets up her still life, looking for a subject that creates excitement.  She places the objects with a keen sense of composition, light and shadow, and begins with a thin layer of paint to place her objects on the canvas.  Then, working in the alla prima style from life, she works to capture the beauty that presents itself.  She looks for the lightest and darkest elements in her composition, where to place bright color and dull color, and where to lose an edge.  Working en plein air is the same sort of process, with the added challenge of chasing the light.

NOAPS Reeves_Joy in the Morning 12 x 24 oil  “Joy in the Morning”, 12×24, Oil on Canvas, currently on exhibit, available through the Artist.

Reeves’ materials include Rosemary Brushes, oil primed linen canvas and panels, and a variety of oil paint brands.  She most commonly works with transparent oxide brown, ultramarine blue deep, cobalt blue light, viridian, yellow ochre pale, terra rosa, transparent oxide red, cadmium red deep, cadmium red medium, cadmium red light, cadmium orange, permanent alizarin crimson, quinacridone violet, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium yellow pale or Winsor yellow, cadmium lemon, Naples yellow light, titanium white, and the Gambin line of radiant colors.

NOAPS Reeves_The Look 12 x 16 oil  “The Look”, 12×16, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist.

Through hard work and study, Diane has been able to achieve enough technical skill to now confidently experiment, to “take risks…not to play it safe, which in turn provides a boldness and sense of freedom.”  She also enjoys teaching others; helping other artists as she was so generously helped.

NOAPS Reeves_Reflections 16 x 20 oil  “Reflections”, 16×20, Oil on Canvas, available through the artist.

With an intense passion for her new career, Diane reminds us of the need for balance: “It is easy for me to become obsessed with working on a painting, so I have to remind myself the painting will always be there.  It’s important to be with family and friends, to relax…enjoy a full life”.

Diane Reeves is a Signature Member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, and is a member of numerous other national art organizations.  She has won awards at the national level, and has been featured in American Art Collector and Southwest Art.  To view more of Diane’s work, and to sign up for her newsletter or learn about her workshops, visit her website at

To view the entire SMALL PAINTING Exhibit, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Winners All

NOAPS 2018 Spring online Best of show Wang

“Yi Nationality Old Woman”, 18×24, by Kun Wang, winner of the Best of Show in the NOAPS 2018 Spring Online International Exhibit.

The energetic brushwork and inquisitive expression are just two of the factors that may have propelled this painting to the top of the judge’s choices.  The work is confident, clearly giving the viewer the sense of the model’s personality.

NOAPS 2018 spring online 2nd place D'Amico

“The Peninsula”, 16×20, by Tony D’Amico is the Second Place Winner in the NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.

Tony D’Amico’s rendition of a busy city street corner is a well-constructed painting with a variety of lines, edges and values.  The composition easily leads us around, from the dark lines near the top, to the light post, then around to the orange arrows, keeping the viewer locked into the painting.

NOAPS 2018 spring online 3rd place Thompson

“Brimming with Personality”, 20×30, by Carol Lee Thompson, winner of the Third Place Award in the NOAPS 2018 Spring Online International Exhibition.

Expression is the key element in this painting by Carol Lee Thompson.  Each carefully painted dog has its own unique countenance, with overlapping shapes and lost edges to pique the viewer’s interest.

Each painting entered into the Spring Online Exhibition, as with all NOAPS exhibitions, is carefully assessed by an anonymous  jury of selection.  The top scoring paintings, in this case 150 out of 891 , are then chosen to be part of the exhibit.  The paintings are then further reviewed by an impartial judge of awards, who chooses those that he/she feels are most deserving of special recognition.  The subjectivity in judging is impossible to eliminate, but our jurors use key fundamentals and their personal experience to make the most objective choices.

Objectivity and subjectivity aside, what does the artist gain by entering these competitions?  One of the tag lines of NOAPS is ‘Get Recognized’, and that is certainly one of the benefits of showing in an exhibition.  It is also a learning experience.  Just as Michelangelo stated at age 81, “I am learning yet”, we are all still learning.  It is helpful just to see our artwork next to other work, to see how and where we fit in, to see where we can improve, and where we want to go with our work.  When we get rejected, as we all do at times, we can take a step back, and assess what this painting in particular lacked, and where we might improve.  Another benefit is just to see all the creativity and remarkable talent, and enjoy one image after another.  And although we won’t all win awards, in the end it’s really not about the awards at all, but the joy and need to express ourselves in our art, and share it with others.

So Congratulations to the Award Winners, and to all who were accepted, and all who entered.  It takes courage to voluntarily expose ourselves to judgement, and we at NOAPS hope that in so doing, you have gained from the experience.

To view the entire exhibition, visit and click on the 2018 Spring Online International Award winners/accepted artists.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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