Western Art

Pencil Sketch
Agonizing Spirit Over Trail of Tears: Richard D.Burton (pencil sketch for painting)

I have always been a fan of Western and Southwestern art. Having been raised in New Mexico, cowboys and Indians were a tradition.  If I recall correctly, they didn’t take the hitching rails out of downtown Carlsbad until I was five or six years old. As a wee small child, I would stand on the steps of the church I attended on Sunday mornings and watch the cowboys ride down the foothills on horseback on their way to church. They rode along side an old flatbed truck transporting their wives and children who sat on seat benches screwed to the truck’s bed.

Arlen Burton: "Signal Peak" (Oil on Canvas)
Arlen Burton: “Signal Peak” (Oil on Canvas)

My father, Arlen Burton, painted one of my favorite Southwestern landscape scenes showing the Indian chief, Sitting Bull’s, favorite mountain to send smoke signals to his warriors. There is a water fall in the mountains called Sitting Bull Falls.

The Scouts: C.M. Russell
The Scouts: C.M. Russell


As a teenager, I discovered two Western artists that I became enamored with by their works. One was Charles Marion Russell (also known as C. M. Russell, Charlie Russell, and “Kid Russell”).  The other was Frederic Sackrider Remington.

The Blanket Signal: Frederic Remington

Both of these men were born in the 1860s and lived into the first quarter of the 20th century. Their art specifically concentrated on the last quarter of the 19-century American West. What a marvelous time to be an artist, sculptor, and writer in the old West!

C. M. Russell was a very prolific artist, creating more than 2000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in Western United States and Alberta, Canada. His painting Piegans sold for 5.6 million dollars at an auction in 2005, and his mural titled Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flathead Indians hangs in the state capitol building in Helena Montana.

Doodle Sketches
Doodle Sketches

I woke up the other morning around three o’clock from a nagging dream. I lay awake for over two hours concentrating on the dream. It was about a painting of Indians during a period of great travail. A painting I will attempt to paint. I fell back asleep and slept for a couple of more hours, but when I awakened I grabbed a couple of pencils and began to doodle, ultimately sketching the drawing at the top of this page. This is just a small part of the painting I saw in my dream.

Unnamed: Lynn Burton
Unnamed: Lynn Burton

Probably, I had this compelling dream because my brother, Lynn Burton, sent me several pieces of his Western Art. Lynn is one of my favorite artist (okay, I confess to being prejudice). Lynn’s art is represented on a the Fine Art America website, and you can shop or purchase prints and original art. All you need to do if you are interested is click on the painting to the right. It will take you to the Fine Art America web sight. When you are in the sights, type Lynn Burton into the search at the top of the page, and it will take you to his paintings. Shop and enjoy.

Be sure to join our newsletter. The winner of the drawing for the beautiful art book will be given away on March 1st, 2016. The winner’s initials (for privacy purposes) will be announced in March’s Newsletter.

Please visit our galleries at the top of the page.

Indian Falls: Oil on Canvas; Lynn Burton
Indian Falls: Oil on Canvas; Lynn Burton










Posted in Arlen Burton, C.M. Russell, Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, Indians, Landscapes, Old West, Richard D. Burton, Southwes art, Western art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using a Monochromatic Technique to Assist in Painting


Under painting

Texas artist, Lynn Burton, often uses a monochromatic painting as an under painting when painting a picture. He prefers the earth pigments using only white, black, and one color. “It helps work out the contrast, the darks and lights,” he says. “I can always add the color later,” he continues, as if he thinks everyone is an artist, and understands exactly what he means. They don’t, but somehow gets the gist.

"Momma and her babies": Lynn Burton: Oil
“Momma and her babies”: Lynn Burton: Oil






The technique has been used by many artists from the beginning of time. Every artist has their own technique, but any method of study that helps define the contrast and value before applying the various pigments to a painting is helpful.

Lynn’s brother, Ohio artist, Richard Burton , uses a different technique. He goes to the painstaking effort of drawing with pencil (actual size – and in great detail) the picture he intends to paint. He claims that while he draws he sees in his mind’s eye every color and stroke of the brush as he does this. “It helps work out the mistakes I would make,” he says. Richard mostly paints with water color on paper and doesn’t have the benefit of using a monochromatic under painting.

Painting on Arches 300-lb 22"X30" watercolor paper
Painting on Arches 300-lb 22″X30″ watercolor paper

“Every artist knows there’s not a lot of room for error when dealing with water colors,” he continues.  One of his more recent paintings was a 24″X36″ painting, and sure enough, he drew it full size.100_2556

He feels that in its own way the black and white of the pencil and the paper, and the many light and dark shades in between will works out the value and contrast of the painting. “Mostly,” he says nonchalantly, “any way you can do a study of the work before applying the final touches to it is a benefit.”

"King of the Hill" : Oil on Canvass - Lynn Burton
“King of the Hill” : Oil on Canvass – Lynn Burton

Hey, Everybody! Be sure to join our newsletter (upper right).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting The Best Out of Color Scemes

Painting on Arches 300-lb 22"X30" watercolor paper
Painting on Arches 300-lb 22″X30″ watercolor paper

The master artists understood color, hue, temperature, chroma, and value, and knew how to place the pigments onto their canvas (board, or whatever substrate) with meticulous care. Many of them also made and mixed their own colors, and painted with a very few of these. For example, many of Rembrandt’s palettes only consisted of shades of umber, ochre, white, black, and red. How simple is that?
Of course, it’s unfair to try to relate to the great artist of old as if they painted the only way an artist should paint. The playing field is not equal. They didn’t have the many choices of tubed colors we have today. When you realize it wasn’t until the early 1800s that a variety of different colors became available, then you understand artists before this time had to work with what they had. Because of this, it was the limitation of the palette that created such harmonious paintings.

Artist, Lynn Burton: Oil on Canvass
Artist, Lynn Burton: Oil on Canvass




Lynn Burton just sent a new series of paintings to us, and we wanted to feature some of them. I especially like what I consider to be a more vibrant and active style of paintings than what we have seen before.






"King of the Hill" : Oil on Canvass - Lynn Burton
“King of the Hill” : Oil on Canvass – Lynn Burton


Who doesn’t love a “Stag in the woods” painting?




A buffalo standing atop a hill, showing all his might and strength, dominates this painting. However, it’s not just the composition that reigns supreme here. What really makes the painting is  the subtle use of the secondary color scheme.

The color scheme using green, orange, and violet are especially good in landscape paintings, creating harmony, giving you that inviting feeling of being able to walk right into the picture.


Lynn Burton: Oil on Canvas
Lynn Burton: Oil on Canvas




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Painting Hair – The Unique Challenge

Lynn Burton: oil on canvas
Lynn Burton: oil on canvas

Everything has its own challenge when painting, but there is no challenge quite as unique as when painting hair. When painting hair, an artist has to consider avoiding the stringy look. They should keep the masses simple. They need to master softening the edges; and, above all, they must know how to control highlights.

Keep in mind, when edges are too hard (especially where hair meets the forehead), it will give the impression of wearing a helmet. Two areas to pay particular attention to are the hairline near the temple, and where the hair meets the neck.

When considering highlighting, it helps to remember the full mass of hair gets darker as it turns away from the highlight region. If you visualize masses of hair as ribbons, the highlight goes across, not along, the curving shape.

Segment of watercolor For demonstration purposes only
Richard D. Burton: Segment of watercolor
For demonstration purposes only

A good suggestion for water color artists is to use a dry-brush technique that can utilize the white paper (or lighter color of paint) beneath it to assist in the impression of highlighting. This can suggest a texture of the model’s hair in light. To use this technique, hold the brush handle low to the paper and gently scrumble or drag damp paint over the surface of the painting. This allows portions of white or lighter colors to show beneath the affect. Warning: Do not use to much water in your wash when using the dry-brush technique.

Lynn Burton: "Love That Dog" oil on canvas
Lynn Burton: “Love That Dog” oil on canvas

When it comes to painting hair, remember it has so many textures and colors that there are no recipes. An artist must practice and use their own experiences and studies to satisfy themselves. Hair might be frizzy, curly, wavy, long or short. The only advise this artist can suggest it to use the largest brush possible for the job, and keep the forms simple.

However, here is one suggestion: One way to give hair a more natural look in your painting is to lightly scrape small, squiggly, strokes when the background around the head is almost dry. If this is done with care (not overdone), it can give the impression of a few random wisps of hair along the edge of the head. When painting with watercolors, I usually use a pin for this. I know one watercolor artists that uses her long fingernail on her little finger for this. What a master she  is. She does it so quick and natural…stroke, stroke.

Be sure to visit our art galleries at the top of the page.

Sign up to receive our free newsletter~it will enter your name to possibly win a free art coffee table book (only where permitted).

Check out and “like” our FaceBook Art Page (click at right side)

Posted in art, Artist, painting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Select Your Watercolor Paper Wisely

Painting on Arches 300-lb 22"X30" watercolor paper
Painting on Arches 300-lb 22″X30″ watercolor paper

When selecting the paper you paint your watercolors upon, select wisely. The success or failure of your painting often depends upon the paper. Because there are many differences among papers, you should experiment with many of them rather than settle early on just one or two in which you feel comfortable.

This article discusses paper sheets, but there are many papers sold in tablets and pads; most of these are light weight and of less quality. However, they are great to carry around to make watercolor sketches.

Some watercolor papers are soft (blotter like), and others are slow to absorb. Some dries quickly, and some will allow a good deal of abuse; such as, scrubbing and erasure techniques. When you experiment with different paper types, you will learn to use different ones for different kinds of paintings.

Paper Weights~refers to paper weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of that paper.

Richard D.Burton: "Winter Farm" (watercolor on paper)
Richard D.Burton: “Winter Farm” (Arches: 140lb rough)

The nature of the surface of the paper is highly important. It deserves more attention than it generally receives. Most artists habitually uses a very small number of the recognized makes and limit the scope of their work.

From the coarsest to the smoothest surface, almost any surface can be used with good effect. Each can be induced to display special charms by adopting suitable subjects, techniques, and methods. For example, a wash on a coarse paper will appear darker than if painted on a smooth paper; as if thousands of dots of color, slightly darker than the wash, had been added

To summarize, Watercolor papers come in three surfaces: rough, cold pressed, and smooth (hot pressed). For the use of bold technique, the rough is best. For general purposes, the cold pressed is best. The smooth (hot pressed) takes skill and is rarely used except by experienced professionals. For any serious person wishing to become good at painting with watercolor, it is best to practice with all the types of watercolor paper. It really does come down to personal taste.

R. D. Burton: Fishing the Everglades~Watercolor (16"X28")
R. D. Burton: Fishing the Everglades~Watercolor (16″X28″) Arches 300-lb

See R.D. Burton’s paintings in the Burton Family gallery.

You can check some of Lynn Burton’s paintings out at the top of the page in his Gallery.

Be sure to join the ART CENTER INFORMATION newsletter. You might win a beautiful art coffee table book, Splash 14. Upper page at right.

Check out the Great Opportunities page at the top.

Be sure to like us on our Facebook Page at the right.


Posted in painting, watercolor, Watercolor Paper | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Vincent van Gogh’s Drawings

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Portrait of Vincent van Gogh
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:
Portrait of Vincent van Gogh

What is drawing? It is working oneself through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do~Vincent van Gogh

As with all his art, Vincent van Gogh brought to his drawings a mastery of style and an extraordinary  technical facility. Because of this, much of his graphic works are as strong as his best oils. Over all, his works sprang from his overpowering, energetic, creative impulses.

Van Gogh had the ability to give his drawings depth, resolution, and a certain feeling of color, even though they were black and white. He did this with the way he used line and dot strokes. As with his paintings, any person studying his drawings can not fail to see the energy expended.

Other artists acquainted with Van Gogh often became influenced by the power and intensity. One such artist was Toulouse-Lautrec who painted Van Gogh sitting at a cafe table, using much of Van Gogh’s technique using bold colors and closely knit,hatched strokes

Vincent van Gogh: Cypresses, Saint-Remy (1889) - Drawing
Vincent van Gogh: Cypresses, Saint-Remy (1889) – Drawing

Vincent sketched cypress trees while he was at the asylum at Saint-Remy, finding them a “turbulent vitality in their graceful shape and mass. His drawings of the trees show the dynamic spirals, curlicues and undulating lines that characterize his later style.

Most all students studying art history know of the compelling work Van Gogh did in color. How he began to make an arbitrary use of color, seeking the exact harmonies that would (in his words)”express the love of two lovers by a wedding of two complimentary colors, their mingling and their opposition, the mysterious vibrations of kindred tones.” Without a doubt, he was obsessed with color. If one studies carefully his drawings (such as the one to the right), they almost feel while graphite touched the paper, the artist was considering how to mix the colors to use in the painting. This author feels Van Gogh painted this drawing over and over in his mind, seeing it clearly in his mind’s eye, imagining every thick brush stroke as it hit canvas.

Vincent van Gogh: Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (1888)
Vincent van Gogh: Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (1888)

The above depiction of art of Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec are simply photographs of photographs. They were used as information only. They are not to depict any value or worth.
You can check some of the Lynn Buton paintings at the top of the page in his Gallery.
Also, check out the Burton Family gallery.
Be sure to join our NEWSLETTER. By joining, you have a chance to win a beautiful art coffee table book, Splash 14. (Void where not permitted.)
Don’t forget, there are some recommended helpful art books in the Great Opportunities page at the top.
Be sure to like us by visiting our Facebook Page (at the right).

To visit a complete gallery of Lynn Burton’s Art, click on picture below and type in the name Lynn Burton in the search engine.

Artist Lynn Burton: Whas…it?



Posted in Artist, Drawing, Vincent Van Gogh | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

James Frederick…the Great Artist

Artist: James Frederick: "The List" (Graphite on paper)
James Frederick “The List” (Graphite on paper)

As when a tree’s cut down, the secret root live underground, and  thence new branches shoot~John Dryden.

I’ll never forget the summer a few years ago, when I visited my daughter, my grandchildren, and my son-in-law in Texas. I especially wanted to spend the much needed time that I’d set aside for the too many things happening in my life that was tying me up, making me stressful. The stress was mostly coming from my fear of retiring at the time. I was in the process of deciding to spend the rest of my life with my art, and helping other artists promote and market their work. I wasn’t certain I wanted to do this, or simply retire, and fish, travel, and etc. The fishing and traveling part sounded very tempting. However, oft, we do not fearlessly step into the unknown. It was at this time that I had an opportunity to reacquaint myself with my son-in-law’s father, James Frederick…the great artist. I say great, not because he was a world-wide famous artist, but because after studying his works, I felt he should have been. Even at that time, I knew enough about art, and artists, to know what is good art, and what is not. I could tell at instant glance that James Frederick’s meticulous art work was superior. The works were decorating the walls all around his home. This was why I said the great artist…James Frederick.

I spent a good deal of time taking photos of his pictures (which are often posted on this blog sight). A few month’s before, I’d began my blog post, and I wanted to introduce the world to his works.

James Frederick: "Original American" Graphite on Paper
James Frederick: “Original American” Graphite on Paper

However, it wasn’t the artwork that was the only thing that inspired me, it was the conversations we had in the afternoons, sitting in rocking chairs, casually discussing some of his attempts to promote his works at fairs, and other public events. Promoting art was not easy for him, but it did often have a sense of satisfaction. We laughed when he discussed having won an art contest at the Smithsonian Institute for man’s air flight. He’d sent drawings of a group of four airplanes, matted together and framed. However, only one of the drawings won the contest. He refused to separate the drawings because he’d entered the contest with the four planes as one framed set. If they had to have the one, he would have to refuse the honor. He chuckled, and said: “They decided to keep them as a set, and I won the contest.”


James Frederick: Stearman (graphite on paper) Smithsonian
James Frederick: Stearman (graphite on paper) Smithsonian
Art of James Frederick on the wall of the great house on the Frederick estate
Art of James Frederick

The photo on the wall does not give much detail of the drawings; however, the drawing on the right is one of the four. You can see why James would have  won a contest with this drawing.

With great regret, less than a year after my visit that so inspired me to be more passionate about art, James passed. He was eighty years old. However, his art remains.

Below are a few other works of James Frederick…The Great Artist.

James Frederick :The Empty Chair (Oil on Board)
James Frederick :The Empty Chair (Oil on Board)
James Fredrick: Plate, Fruit, and Coffee Pot
James Fredrick: Plate, Fruit, and Coffee Pot





James Frederick: "Poppin' Johny" Graphite on paper
James Frederick: “Poppin’ Johnny” Graphite on paper


James Frederick: "The Squirrel Hunter"
James Frederick: “The Squirrel Hunter”











James Frederick: Still Life Pastel
James Frederick: Still Life Pastel
James Frederick: Still Life Pastel
James Frederick: Still Life Pastel

Just as Dryden’s poem at the beginning of this post mentions, when the tree falls, the roots live on. His grand-daughter, as well as mine, Olivia, has shown that the art of the Frederick and Burton family will live.

Olivia: Kingly Beast (Graphite on Paper)
Olivia: Kingly Beast (Graphite on Paper)
Olivia: Untitled (graphite pencil)
Olivia: Untitled











For some more of Olivia’s works, check out the Burton Family gallery.

Be sure to join our newsletter. You might win a beautiful art coffee table book, Splash 14.

Visit the Great Opportunities page at the top.

Like us on our Facebook page at the right.

Feel free to make comments at the bottom of the page…no profanity or spam. Please.

Posted in art contest, Artist, drawing, James Frederick, OLIVIA, Smithsonian Institute | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to Find Art Jobs to Help Get You Started

Lynn Burton: Study for Mural (oil on board)
Lynn Burton: Study for Mural (oil on board)

“What are some of the ways I can earn money from my art?” This question is asked by many artists, not just students of art. Many talented artists would prefer to make a little money on the side with their art talent rather than having to get a full or part-time regular job to support them, freeing up the time to chase their dream of doing art their own way. Below are suggestions of where to find art jobs to help get you started.

These are simply some of the ways of getting art work. They are suggestions only, but I hope they are ideas that will stimulate you. Keep in mind, every art job is different and you need to make your own rules as you look for available jobs.

Pricing will have to be your decision. You will have to use your bargaining ability to get as much as you can. However, remember that there is another talented person trying to get the same job; but don’t let that intimidate you. Sell yourself, as well as your talent and ability. Just be smart enough not to price yourself out of business. Time and effort will have to be considered to build your part-time art business. However, every community  has some art needs which you can furnish. If you give good service to your customers, you will find it will bring yourself pleasure, as well as the much needed added income.

Lynn Burton Air brushing in his stueio
Lynn Burton Air brushing in his studio
  • Small local newspapers: This is a good source, because these papers are community oriented. They can help in their own purchases, or (more importantly) indirectly through their many connections with people who occasionally call on them for help or advice in buying art. Get acquainted with the advertising manager of these companies. They may be so small that one person (may be the owner) is handling everything. Show that you can be a pleasant relief by assisting.
  • Churches and Service organizations: Many organizations today use the internet programs to design their newsletters; however, local art often can be much more attention getting. Out of all the organizations ,and churches, and even local businesses that have newsletters are a potential market.
  • Menu covers: This is an opportunity for lettering, humor, and illustration. How about art that calls attention to their specials? Also, when dealing with restaurants, they may wish to have you customize place mats for them. If they can’t afford to pay you, take pay by letting them feed you. You might just make a better bargain than cash. It’s called bartering. My brother, artist Lynn Burton, barters all the time. My father, artist Arlen Burton, practically bartered everything in his sign business – mechanical work, gasoline, food, I even recall once that he bartered for a car. He was a master at it.
Lynn Burton: Pin-striping car
Lynn Burton: Pin-striping car


  • Pin-striping, painting, and decorating cars: Is there a Hot-Rod club in your community? They can use all kind of art, especially, decorating their cars. Once your “in”, they will be a constant source of money as new members join. Don’t forget to mention T-shirt, and leather jacket art. Lynn Burton has had a constant stream of income from a local hot-rod club in Lubbock, Texas.


  • Have you considered going to local college fraternities and organizations? If you have silk screening skills, you can have good results that can lead to a consistent part-time art business. The more personalized you present your work, the easier it will be to make a sell. Your competing with a lot of big computerized companies, but if your idea for them remains small and personalized, it can be lucrative.
  • Small shops, boutiques, and beauty salons are an excellent opportunity for artists: Not only do they offer the possibility of window painting advertising specialties (if inside the window, be sure to be able to paint in reverse), but if you have the talent to paint on material, you can paint handkerchiefs, neckties, scarfs, and etcetera. This offers the owner the opportunity of selling before purchasing on custom items.
  • Portraits
  • Place cards
  • Personalized Christmas cards.
  • Painted picture plates.
  • Painted personalized glassware of all types.
  • "Music, Politics, and History"
    Lynn Burton’s Mural: “Music, Politics, and History”

    Do not forget some of the most fun (and hard work) of all is mural painting. Again, you will be competing with other local artists when selling the project. But look at the opportunities available. Many businesses wish to have a painted history of their business; such as, restaurants; hotels; stores; clubs; pubs; manufacturing companies; and almost any business existing that has space for a mural. It can be large or small. It can be a mural on the outside of the business, or one (or several) on the inside of the business. Is it lucrative? Ask the artist that painted wall art for the Face Book company. He accepted stock instead of money (barter?). If the news reports that I heard about this are true, he made an exceptionally lucrative thing. Of course, we can’t all expect something like this to happen, but bargain carefully.

The above are some ideas of the possibilities. They’re mere suggestions. If you are creative enough with your marketing, you should be able to do work that corresponds with your desire to be a fine art artist. Remember, the more you do, the more your name and art is out there among the public. That start up restaurant in your community today may become the restaurant of the future with locations all over the country. The owner may remember you for their muralist, table mat artist, or may even someday afford that expensive piece of art that you’re selling in one of the fine art galleries in America.

  • You can check some of Lynn’s paintings out at the top of the page in his Gallery.
  • Also, check out the Burton Family gallery.
  • Be sure to join our newsletter. You might win a beautiful art coffee table book, Splash 14.
  • Don’t forget, there are some recommended helpful art books and etcetera in the Great Opportunities page at the top.
  • Be sure to “like” us on our Facebook Page at the right.


Posted in art, art jobs, Artist, Lynn Burton | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Visually Defining Form

James Frederick: "Poppin' Johny" Graphite on paper
James Frederick: “Poppin’ Johnny” Graphite on paper

When visually attempting to define form, value plays the greater part in its representation and perception. The illusion of three-dimensionality is created by the contrast of lighter values next to the darker ones. This is necessary to portray believable forms.

Graphite sketch
Portion of graphite sketch for painting demonstrating value in scene

If there were but one single light source to help define form, the interpretation of value would be simplified; however, nature presents the artist with more light sources than needed. This is conflicting light that distorts, alters, or destroys the illusion of form. When light is confusing, artists have the right to take some artistic liberties; especially, when random spots of conflicting light breaks up shapes and forms making them hard to define. This is particularly true when painting from nature.

Tip: If more than one light source is illuminating your subject. Select only one for your painting.

Representational portion of larger painting
Portion of watercolor painting, representing color as compared to value sketch

Many artists feel that detail is the secret for getting viewer’s attention, but it it’s not. What do you think it is? This artists thinks contrast, either in value patterns or layers captures the viewer. In his book, Tom Lynch’s  Watercolor Secrets, Tom Lynch said it so well: I want my paintings to stand up and be noticed, to visually entertain my viewer’s and hold their attention. I’ve found that contrasting values, along with a variety of shapes and colors, are the three things that most entertain a viewer. When I want to make a painting more interesting, I put in attention getting value changes…the more the merrier.

Graphite value sketch
Value sketch for “Fishing the Everglades”

Value at its simplest is black and white. Black being the darkest value, white being the lightest value, and a mixture of black and white creating various grays in between to complete the pattern. However, if one wishes not to draw with graphite or charcoal or paint with black and white, then color and all its values, hues, chroma, and directional light become involved. Therein lies the practice of a lifetime for an artist to truly master. Admittedly, it’s all encompassing…all exciting.

R. D. Burton: Fishing the Everglades~Watercolor (16"X28")
R. D. Burton: Fishing the Everglades~Watercolor (16″X28″)

Be sure to check out the galleries at the top of the page. Also, check out the opportunities page for artists. We welcome your comments at the bottom of the page, please no profanity or spam. We also want to invite you to our Face Book page (right). If you visit the page, please “like” it if you do. Oh, yeah, don’t forget to join our newsletter at the top right side of page.

Posted in art, Artist, color, painting, Value and Form, values | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Artist’s Motto: When in Doubt, Leave it Out


Artist Lynn Burton
Artist Lynn Burton

Art Center Information’s Golden Member, Texas artist Lynn Burton, sent us a letter. We felt it was helpful and informative enough to pass it on to our members.

Lynn: I once had a Poloroid camera that I used in the black and white mode to photo my stuff; that is, artwork or murals or signs. This was especially true when I was having trouble bringing the message or focal point out as it should be. Color was not always the answer…value was. The black/white contrast helps simplify the problem. Cameras weren’t around at the time, but we now know why all the great painters of yesteryear used the technique of drawing black and white charcoal or graphite before painting their pictures in color. It was getting the value right. Sometimes, it’s not what you put in…it’s what you leave out. In the words of one of my favorite art instructors, Paul Milosevich, “When in doubt…leave it out!” As great of an artist as Paul is, if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me. When I create a composition, I live by the words of the great instructor. They’re my motto.

Lynn Burton: Dancing in the Moonlight (oil on canvas)
Lynn Burton: Dancing in the Moonlight (oil on canvas)

I try not to throw any of my photographs away because you never know when a new idea comes along and you find just what you’re looking for in your files. Take for example my paintings of horses running and prancing around.

I was in Dickens, Texas (a town about eighty miles northeast of Lubbock) around ten years ago. That’s how long the photographs I took that day lay dormant in the files. Anyway, I was painting a big road sign outside the city limits. The sign asked: Where in the Dickens is Dickens…and it had a great big ? -mark (question mark) at the end. Across the field past where I was painting was a bunch of horses. The exciting part was that at the end of the day the horses began dancing and prancing and playing against a red sunset like only this flat Texas prairie land can have. BAM! This was magnificent!…beautiful! I had to have a piece of this!

Some time ago, I read Art Center Information’s article on back lighting, and it reminded me of the dancing and playing horses from years before, and how the back lighting of the sun affected their image. I’d wanted to paint a picture of them, but had put it off, neglecting to do so. I dug out the photographs and began painting the picture of the red sunset and the horses dancing and prancing, as if they were doing it just for me. That…BAM!…feeling came back as if it were that day ten years before. Later, I liked the subject so much that I painted the horses dancing in the moonlight (seen above). I hardly think there is anything more beautiful as a subject as horses; especially, if they are showing action.

Lynn Burton, "The Red Sunset" Oil on canvass (24x48)
Lynn Burton, “The Red Sunset” Oil on canvass (24×48)

We thank Lynn for his letter, noticing the emotion in his description. We feel certain that concentration and emotion goes a long way to a masterful painting as these two on this page show. We’ve had the photographs of the two paintings for awhile, and we certainly apologize to Lynn for not sharing the letter that came with them with our audience before now. In the future we will be more responsible. Thanks again, Lynn.

You can check some of Lynn’s paintings out at the top of the page in his Gallery.

Also, check out the Burton Family gallery.

Be sure to join our newsletter. You might win a beautiful art coffee table book, Splash 14.

Don’t forget, there are some recommended helpful art books and etcetera in the Great Opportunities page at the top.

Be sure to like us on our Facebook  at the right.



Posted in art information, Artist, Lynn Burton, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment