Sep 7, 2017

New Still Life, Two Upcoming Shows

Hello, Andrea here!

My vegetable garden this year was a flop... again. I've yet to learn the knack for growing produce in this region! Thankfully I was able to grow a few zinnias this year—one tiny triumph that will hopefully provide enough encouragement for me to try again next year. :) To preserve the joy of my small success as long as possible, I decided to capture a few of the blooms in paint:

"Zinnias" by Andrea Orr Clague
Oil • 8" x 5.5" • $300

A New Painting Every Day for 30 Days

On September 1, I am starting another month-long daily painting challenge. Stay tuned to our Facebook page here to enjoy a brand new painting every day for 30 days!

Meanwhile, Adam has been hard at work building the online course, but has still been entering exhibits. Here are two upcoming shows that will include his work:

OPA Eastern Regional

We just learned that Adam's painting, "The Student" was accepted into the Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional. This show will be at the Anderson Fine Art Gallery in Saint Simons Island, GA and runs from November 17 to December 16, 2017. This is going to be a great show, and we are excited his piece will be a part of it!

"The Student" by Adam Clague
Oil • 12" x 9" • $750 (Available Nov 17
through Anderson Fine Art Gallery)

NOAPS Best of America

Adam's painting "Becca" also has travels ahead. This piece was juried into the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Best of America Show. The show will be hosted by the Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, IN and will be displayed October 16 to November 11.

"Becca"• by Adam Clague
Oil • 12" x 11" • $1,100
(Available 10/16 through Castle Gallery)

See you next time for more of our Art and Adventures!

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Aug 24, 2017

2 New Paintings from the Great Outdoors

Hello, Andrea here!

Today Adam and I want to invite you out into the field and forest with us—and you won't even need bug spray!  Both of us enjoy going outside to paint on location. These plein air excursions are valuable for information-gathering, inspiration, practice and experimentation. We are grateful to have a group of friends we can paint with regularly. Below are two recent paintings from our plein air adventures.

"Parkville Falls" by Adam Clague
Oil • 8" x 10" • $600
(Email for Availability)

This is Adam's plein air depiction of a waterfall hidden in the woods of a local nature sanctuary. There's  something awe-inspiring about painting while listening to the roar of the water as it pours over the falls. Though the light changed quickly, Adam did an amazing job capturing its fleeting beauty. I love how he used the fallen logs to direct the viewer's eye around the composition. We both painted here, but we'll just call mine a "practice" piece—waterfalls are difficult to paint! I learned a lot more from studying Adam's piece afterwards.

"Sheep" by Andrea Orr Clague
Oil • 5.5" x 12"
(Email for Availability)

This is a studio piece I created after a plein air trip to a nearby sheep farm. Though the day was hot and muggy, everyone in our group had a blast painting at this great spot. I created two small studies on location as well as several sketches in order to capture the colors and gestures of the ever-moving sheep. Back in the studio, I used these studies and sketches as well as photos to complete this painting.

If you would be interested in displaying one of these pieces on your own wall, just reply to this email and let us know. We would be honored to have our artwork in your home!

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Aug 17, 2017

Start Online Course Today for Free!

I've decided to do something a little unique. In fact, it might even be a bit crazy!

This Fall, I'm launching my online course, "Learn to Paint Dynamic Portraits & Figures in Oil." Through dozens of lessons and hours of HD video demos, I'll share the best information I know about painting people, so you can take your paintings to the next level. But I don't want you to just take my word for it. That's why I've decided to do something a little crazy…

I'm giving away an entire unit of the course for free!

When you sign up for our free "Art Lessons" newsletter, you will start receiving exclusive access to Unit 1: Laying a Solid Foundation. This unit consists of nine written lessons. I'm emailing these lessons to subscribers one at a time, every other week. When you sign up below, you'll receive immediate access to all Unit 1 lessons I've emailed so far. The rest of the lessons will be on their way!

Even if you don't take the online course this Fall, you can still receive Unit 1 completely for free when you sign up below. Please enjoy this free gift from me to you!

Sign Up for "Art Lessons" Newsletter &
Receive Unit 1 from Online Course for Free

You'll also receive updates & exclusive
sneak peeks from the online course!

Note: If you have already subscribed to "Art Lessons" newsletter,
you are already receiving the free lessons from Unit 1.
You do not need to subscribe again!

Aug 8, 2017

Why is that Girl So Full of Joy?

"Jenna's Joy"
Oil • 28" x 22"
Today, I'd like to share with you the beautiful story behind "Jenna's Joy," a painting I was commissioned to create by Jenna's parents, Jim and Cyndi.

When Jim and Cyndi took this painting to the framer, one lady commented on the joy on Jenna's face. After Cyndi shared the story behind the piece, the lady urged her to have the story printed and placed on the back of the painting. I'm excited that Cyndi and Jim have given me permission to share that story with you today.

Before I do, I'm happy to announce that "Jenna's Joy" has received two wonderful honors:
  • 10th Place in The Portrait Society of America's
    2016 Members Only Competition.
  • Inclusion in the "Artists to Watch" feature in the
    Jan '17 issue of Southwest Art magazine (below)

I praise God for these blessings, but to me, the highest honor was the privilege of capturing this beautiful story in paint. Here is the story behind "Jenna's Joy," told from the perspective of her mother, Cyndi:

  The Story Behind "Jenna's Joy"

Jenna and I had a really rough day yesterday. Just before school and immediately after, she was very angry with me about not getting her way. The resulting behavior was repeated disobedience, disrespect and hitting.

I sent her to her room to calm down and then I wrote a list of her multiple infractions and the typical consequences. As I looked at the list I thought, “there is no way this little child can bear all of this punishment.” It just seemed like such a long, overwhelming list. Then God brought to mind something I heard at Bible study a few weeks ago. The chasm between us and God is so big (because of our sin) we can’t possibly cross it to get to him, much like Jenna couldn’t possibly bear all of the consequences of her behavior. Knowing that we couldn’t cross the chasm on our own, God provided someone to do it for us... Jesus. I wanted to be an example for Jenna of what Jesus did for us.

I showed Jenna the list of mistakes and consequences and asked her how she felt about them. She said, “sad.” I told her that the consequences were too big for her to bear; she couldn’t do them on her own.

I told her that the consequences of my sins are also too big for me to bear, so Jesus took them for me. “Why would he do that?” I asked her. “Because he loves you,” she said. “And I love you. So I am going to take all of your consequences and you will have all of your privileges... you are free,” I said.

What followed was an example of how we should all celebrate our freedom. She lived life with abundant joy. She took off out the back door, leaped off the deck, ran to her playset and jumped onto her swing. The smile, relief and joy on her face was unlike anything I had ever seen. On some level (perhaps better than I do) she seemed to understand the gift of freedom that she had been given, and she enjoyed every minute of it!

I never want to forget the joy on her face at that moment. So when Jim said he wanted to have Jenna’s portrait painted, I knew just what scene I wanted to capture.

My Own Story of Joy

It was a daunting challenge—how on earth was I going to capture the joy on Jenna's face? I hadn't been there that day. I could paint a smile, but how could I hope to depict joy? It would have been impossible if I hadn't experienced the joy of being forgiven too.

The list of Jenna's infractions was long. So was mine. Reading God's Word, I learned there were many things I had done that God says are wrong. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," and I realized that "all" included me.

Like Jenna, who faced difficult consequences, I was overwhelmed by God's punishment for my sin—"For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)." How could I possibly bear that penalty? How could I ever pay that price? I simply couldn't

"For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast."
(Ephesians 2:8–9)

I couldn't pay the price for my sin, but I also didn't have to.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

(Romans 6:23)

This gift of life came at an unimaginable price, yet it cost me nothing. Instead of giving me the punishment of death I deserved for my sin, God provided a way out. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin by dying in my place.

Why would God do that? The question is answered in one word—love.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16)

As a 14-year-old boy, I chose to accept God’s gift of life. With a repentant heart, I asked for forgiveness for my sin and placed my faith in Jesus as my Savior. Just as He promised, God saved me—
“For whosoever shall call upon
the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(Romans 10:13)

If you see any joy coming through my paintings, it didn't originate from me. Many things inspire me to paint, but none inspires me more than my joy over receiving forgiveness and salvation through Jesus. This painting is a celebration of that joy.

If you haven't received the gift of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus, I want you to know that this free gift is available to you. Jenna's mother mercifully waived the penalty for her wrongdoings. Similarly, a loving Heavenly Father extends His mercy and grace toward you. Would you receive God's gift of forgiveness by placing your faith in Jesus as your Savior?

Thank you for taking the time to read this long email. If you'd like to chat about this topic, please feel free to email me at—I'd love to hear from you! Thanks again, and have a wonderful day.


Note: All Scripture was taken from the
King James Bible. Bold and italic styles were added.

Aug 4, 2017

Simple Solution for Professional Corners

Stretching your own linen offers the freedom to choose your favorite type of linen and to work in any size you wish (learn which types of linen we use here). However, stretching your own material also poses a couple of challenges.

Last time, I shared my method for preventing ripples (read lesson here). Unfortunately, there is another nuisance to avoid--excess linen at the corners can be so bulky that the artwork is prevented from fitting comfortably inside the picture frame! Today, I'll show you my method for making the corners of your linen slim and professional-looking.

Step 1: Trim

Using scissors, trim the excess linen so it looks like this:

Top View

Side View

Step 2: Fold

Fold each part as shown.

3. Staple

Once the last part of linen is folded over, staple the material to keep it in place.

Repeat steps 1–3 for the remaining corners.

Now, your stretched linen can fit comfortably within your picture frame while also looking neat and professional. The only thing left to do is put some paint on that beautiful, blank linen!


Learn to Paint Dynamic

Portraits and Figures in Oil

Online Video Course

You'll learn to…*

  • Create paintings that stand out from the crowd

  • Draw your viewers from across the room with
    the 3 Principles for Powerful Picture-Making

  • Lead your viewer on an exciting journey through your piece

  • Create that eye-catching "pop" with a dynamic value pattern

  • Avoid an "off-balance" picture

  • Compose with intention as I dissect and analyze
    some of my most successful paintings

  • And much more!
*All available with
Course Options 2 or 3

Learn More About This Course

That's all for now, but I'll look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, happy painting!


Jul 27, 2017

Three Pieces Inspired by Friends

Hello, Andrea here!

Adam and I are excited to share three newer pieces with you. All of these pictures were inspired by friends—a napping cowboy, the beautiful line of a friend's pose and the enjoyment of painting a model with artist friends.

I love it when I am able to paint alongside Adam's workshop attendees. I always learn a lot and have a great time painting with everyone. Drew is a friend of ours from church and an extremely talented country singer. During one of Adam's figurative workshops, Drew posed with his cowboy hat. He was happy to have such a relaxing pose!

"Relaxin' " by Andrea Orr Clague
Oil • 6" x 4" • $249
(Price includes framing and
shipping within the U.S.)

Sara is the daughter of an artist friend of ours. While all of us were on a painting trip in Colorado, Sara graciously posed for several painting and photo sessions. She is a wonderful model and a joy to capture!
"Sara" by Andrea Orr Clague
Colored Pencil • 12" x 8.5" • $550
(Price includes framing and
shipping within the U.S.)

Each week we try to attend our friend Cathy Kline's group painting sessions to practice and spend time with friends. Adam created this painting in about two hours at one of these sessions.
"Doug" by Adam Clague
Oil • 10" x 8" • $590
(Price includes framing and
shipping within the U.S.)

If you would be interested in displaying one of these pieces on your own wall, just email and let us know. We would be honored to have our artwork in your home!

Learn to Paint Dynamic
Portraits & Figures in Oil

Online Video Course
with Adam Clague

Here is just a taste of what
you'll learn in this course:

  • Making your people come to life in 3-D form
  • Understanding the 6 Value Zones
  • Avoiding the "flat" look
  • Overcoming the #1 struggle of my workshop attendees
  • Avoiding edges that look cut out
  • Turning the form with cools and warms
  • And much more!

Learn More About this Course


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Jul 19, 2017

SIx Steps to Stretch Linen Successfully

Ah, the feeling of painting on stretched linen! Artists' linen is nice and smooth but still has just the right amount of "tooth" to accept paint from your brush (Learn which types of linen we use in "Our Favorite Painting Surfaces").

When you stretch linen, the material reacts to each brushstroke with a nice "spring." Furthermore, stretching your own linen allows you to work in any size you wish.

Today, I'll share how I stretch linen evenly and without ripples—nearly every time.

Step 1: Gather Materials


Here's what you'll need:

  • Linen
  • Stretcher bars (also called stretcher strips)
  • Long square ruler
  • Pencil
  • Strong scissors
  • Canvas pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Heavy duty staples (I use 5/16" T50 staples)

Step 2: Secure Stretcher Bars

After fitting your stretcher bars together to form a frame, ensure the frame is square by using a square ruler or by comparing the diagonal measurements of the frame (if both diagonals are equal in length, your frame is square).

Now, secure the frame by sinking a couple of staples in each corner.

Note: If your artwork is larger than 18" x 24" or so,
I recommend using thicker, heavy duty stretcher bars
like these from Blick. Otherwise, the tension of the
stretched linen can cause the frame to twist. On very
large frames, I add a cross brace for added support.



Step 3: Cut Linen


Cut a piece of linen generously larger than the size of your artwork. For standard-duty stretcher bars (about 3/4" thick), I add 3" to each length of my artwork (1.5" extra all the way around). For heavy-duty stretcher bars (about 1.5" thick), I add about 7" to each length of my artwork (3.5" extra all the way around). Obviously, if you use even thicker stretcher bars, such as the ones intended for gallery wrapping, you will need an even larger border of extra linen.

As in the photo above, place the linen face down with the frame face down on top. Make sure the frame is centered and straight.

Quick Tips
  • Don't step or kneel on your linen, as this can create bulges or dimples. Clean your work area, as even a small piece of debris can emboss a divot into your linen.
  • Ensure you cut a piece of linen that is square. First, draw pencil lines on the linen where you intend to cut. Before cutting, make sure the pencil lines are square by checking them with a square ruler or by comparing the diagonal measurements.
  • I find using scissors the easiest way to cut linen.
  • To ensure even tension when the linen is stretched, make your cuts parallel and perpendicular to the weave of the linen.

Step 4: Find a Diamond

Wrap the linen over one side of the frame and secure the linen with a staple. Place the staple directly in the middle of the stretcher bar (below).
Note: I place my staples along the side of the stretcher bar
rather than along the back, because this allows a better angle
for the canvas pliers to stretch the linen tighter. However,
with a gallery wrap, you have to staple along the back
of the stretcher bar to keep the staples unseen.

Using canvas pliers, firmly stretch the opposite edge of the linen over the opposite side of the frame. Staple directly across from the first staple (below).

Now, stretch and staple in the middle of the third side. Do the same on the fourth side. Once you have a staple in the middle of each side of the frame, the linen should have creases in the shape of a diamond, like this:

Step 5: Continue
Stretching and Stapling

Next, add two staples to each side of the frame—one staple on either side of the middle staple. Place these staples about 2 inches apart. Each time you add two staples to one side of the frame, add another two directly across from them on the opposite side of the frame.

Continue adding two staples at a time to each side, working from the middle outward, toward the corners.

Helpful Tips
  • As you stretch the linen, pull at a slight angle away from the middle staple. This will help prevent ripples.
  • The goal is to create even tension over the whole surface of the linen, so try to use the same amount of force with each pull of the canvas pliers.
  • I pull the linen with quite a bit of force, but nowhere near enough to rip the linen.

Step 6: Fix any Ripples

Normally, I don't encounter those pesky ripples along the edges of the frame when I use this method. However, they do still happen occasionally. Hold your canvas at different angles to the light, and any ripples will become evident.

To eliminate ripples along the frame edge, use a screwdriver to pry up the staples that span the length of the ripples. Then re-stretch the linen, pulling at an outward angle to flatten the ripples, and re-staple.

Once your linen is stretched evenly and without ripples, gently hammer in any staples that may be raised.

Helpful Tips
  • If your linen slackens over time, you can tap stretcher strip keys
    into the corners of your frame to re-tighten the linen.
  • Lightly wetting the back of your linen can flatten ripples once dry.
    However, water can be harmful if your linen contains a
    water-soluble substance such as rabbit-skin glue.


Unfortunately, rippling is not the only nuisance when stretching linen. The excess linen at the corners can be so bulky that the artwork is prevented from fitting nicely inside the picture frame! Next time, I'll show you my method for making the corners of your linen slim and professional-looking.

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See you next time!

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