Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction: Sunday, Sept. 2

"In the early 90’s the internationally known artist and author, Richard Schmid, rode into town [Rist Canyon, CO] brimming with energy, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas.  When Richard realized that the only organization immediately available to protect his family and property from wildfire still relied on second hand, often out of date equipment, he thought it the perfect time to experiment with a long held philosophy that art could be used to do more than just beautify a community."1

By Adam Clague
Train to Grand Central • Oil • 16" x 12"
"The Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction has been the primary fundraiser for the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department for the past 16 years. This year the High Park wildfire scorched over 87,000 acres and destroyed 259 homes. The power of art to do good has never been greater."2

I am so pleased to have two of my pieces in the Silent Auction. Both the Live and Silent Auction take place this Labor Day Sunday under the Big Top west of Fort Collins, CO. Don't worry if you don't live nearby; participants may bid by phone (see below). Please take this opportunity to obtain a beautiful work of art and to contribute to this group of dedicated firefighters.

To view art online and pre-register to bid, please visit To arrange live phone bidding, call 970-482-6912.

By Richard Schmid
Begonia Melange • Oil • 16" x 20"

By Adam Clague
Sunday Afternoon • Oil on linen • 9" x 12"

2 17th Annual Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction newsletter. Southwest Art ( August 29, 2012.

Southwest Art Magazine's "21 Under 31" Feature

Each year since 2000, Southwest Art Magazine has published an article spotlighting 21 emerging artists under the age of 31. I am honored to be a part of this year's feature! My recent piece Tea and Inspiration is pictured in the article.

I also want to congratulate my good friends Jonathan Stasko, Angela Burns and Sarah Keller, all phenomenal artists, who are also included in the article. Look for the magazine on stands this month!

Southwest Art Magazine
September 2012
Cover painting by Sarah Keller
Tea and Inspiration
Oil on linen • 24" x 24"
Available. To inquire,
contact the Clague Studio

Satisfied Inside

Satisfied Inside
Oil on linen • 7" x 13" • Sold
Window light will sometimes take on a greenish hue if there is sunlit foliage directly outside. The effect can be beautiful and provides an interesting variation from the typical bluish window light. The color of a light source can be identified most easily on white surfaces (eg. the white dresses in this piece) but will affect all surfaces the light hits.

It can be difficult to make all the elements in a scene look like they are illuminated by the same light source. One might think that all that is necessary is to simply identify the color of the light source (in this case "green") and then add a little bit of that color to all the other mixtures. However, this kind of mechanical color mixing rarely looks true-to-life. Yes, the color of each surface in a scene will be affected by the light source, but the degree to which each color is affected can only be determined through careful observation of the subject from life.

Master Artist Richard Schmid shares much practical guidance regarding color harmony in his book Alla Prima. Here are a few of my favorite quotes on the topic:

• "Harmony then is not 'what goes with what?' It is more like 'What color doesn't belong?'—What isn't possible under this light? Certain colors simply cannot occur under given light conditions."

• "To create the illusion of nature's light-generated harmony in a painting, it is usually only necessary to recognize which color is predominating in the light on your subject, and then restrain its complement… By 'restrain' a color I do not mean eliminate it; I mean subdue it by not showing it in its purest form."

[A color's complement is the color directly opposite it on the color wheel. Red is the complement to green. In the scene I painted, it would be impossible for a bright red to be visible under the greenish light. A bright red object would appear muted.]

• I think this quote helps sum up this post nicely: "Your perception and judgment are also a part of the harmony, and there is no formula for that. However, knowing that certain colors will probably have to be moderated to achieve a harmony will help your decision making."

Once again, I am reminded to just be faithful to paint what I see! And speaking of painting, I should get to that. So, until next time… happy painting to you all!

Braving the Cold

Braving the Cold
Pastel on paper • 22" x 17"
Currently unavailable
This is a pastel drawing I finished recently of my beautiful girlfriend, Miss Andrea Orr. It was refreshing to simply focus on drawing, values and edges without being concerned with color.

I wanted to make this drawing a study in textures. There are three contrasting textures in the piece: The hat, the skin and the scarf. I tried to apply the pastel in ways that would best represent each unique surface quality. I used a paper blending stump to render the smooth skin, applied the pastel roughly for the knitted scarf and crosshatched for the herringbone hat.

I tightly rendered the face and hands, then sharply transitioned to looser rendering for the peripheral elements. I originally planned that the jacket would add a fourth texture variation, but ultimately decided the strongest way to communicate the beautiful rhythm of her pose was to reduce the jacket to a few simple lines.

I was inspired by Susan Lyon's beautiful conté and pastel drawings and used some of the supplies she recommends (Prismacolor Nupastels and Canson Rives printmaking paper). The Nupastels adhere well to the Rives paper, but can be lifted easily (and fairly completely) with a kneaded eraser, providing maximum workability.

Last chance to vote!

Hi everyone! This is just a reminder that tonight is the last night to vote for a painting in the final round of the "You Be the Judge" art contest. Please consider voting for my piece, "The Red Hood," by following the link below and scrolling down to the voting form. Thanks so much for your vote!

Thank you for your votes! "Red Hood" in final round of contest

Because of your votes, my painting "The Red Hood" is in the final round of the online "You Be the Judge" art contest! Thank you so much! And now, may I trouble you to vote for my piece just one last time in this final round? Just follow the link below and scroll down until you see the voting form. Thanks for your vote!

Please vote for my painting!

The Red Hood
I am honored to be a finalist in the online "You Be the Judge" art competition. Please visit the link below and vote for my piece, "The Red Hood." Thank you so much!

Deserted Yet Stoic

Deserted Yet Stoic
Oil on linen on art board • 8" x 10"
Available. To inquire,
contact the Clague Studio
Often on a chilly winter day, I'll be working in the comfort of my warm studio, with a giant mug of freshly-brewed Starbucks® within reach, enjoying soothing music and painting a still life under light that will stay consistent all day, when I'll think of artists like Richard Schmid, Clyde Aspevig, Scott Christensen, Michael Godfrey and Daniel Gerhartz.* I'll wonder if any of them are outside at that moment, braving the cold in the noble pursuit of capturing something beautiful from life at the expense of their own comfort. And I'll think, "Wow, I am such a wimp!" This winter, I strove to be a less wimpy painter and managed to embark on several plein air excursions.

My final plein air this winter was Deserted Yet Stoic, shown above. About five to six inches of snow had accumulated the evening before, and it was still snowing intermittently the next day. My girlfriend, Andrea Orr, joined me in painting this abandoned barn, which stood open like a cavern to the elements. The temperature was below 30º, and snow was blowing nearly horizontally, creating mini snowdrifts against each pile of paint on my palette! While in the field, I focused on painting the values and temperatures I knew my camera wouldn't be able to capture, but worked from photographs later to finish up.

Deserted Yet Stoic (Detail)
While studying Gerhartz's book Not Far From Home,
Andrea noticed he had splattered paint in one piece to
create the illusion of falling snow. I decided to give it a try.
I thinned my paint with linseed oil until it would spray in
tiny droplets when I used my finger to gently pull back and
release the hairs of my brush. I used a Rosemary & Co.
mongoose hair brush, which has the "spring" I needed. The key
is, don't overdo techniques like this or they can look "gimmicky."
The act of painting, even when done indoors in a comfortable environment, can be highly frustrating. The pressure of getting accurate drawing, values, edges, temperatures and color while maintaining loose brushwork, while worrying whether people will like the piece, while wondering if it will sell, can sometimes be overwhelming. Add to the mix frigid digits; frozen, clumpy paint; constantly changing sunlight and any other hindrance that plein airing can bring, and you'll end up with a remarkably unbearable experience… but only if you let it be so. An attitude of discouragement is devastating to the painting process, but a good attitude and strong fortitude are greatly beneficial. Also, there is no reason to invite additional frustrations into the painting process. Analyze what things annoy you and develop systems to prevent those annoyances. Below are several tips (many of which Andrea has discovered) that help make cold-weather painting bearable:

• Dress appropriately (too obvious?). Wear long underwear, wool socks (two pairs if necessary), good waterproof boots and protection over the ears, nose and mouth. Wear gloves that allow sufficient dexterity to set up your easel, squeeze out paint, etc. Try fingerless gloves that have mitten "hoods."

• When you start painting, remove your glove from your painting hand and quickly place your hand inside a wool sock. Then poke the handle of your brush through the wool sock. Now you can have the precise control over your brush that is only possible with bare fingers, while still keeping your hand nice and warm.

• Use chemical hand warmers. They are relatively cheap and easy-to-find and can be placed inside your gloves, boots, hat, painting sock, etc. to keep warm. Activate the warmers before you feel like you need them, since they can take 15 minutes or so to heat up.

• Use linseed oil to keep your paints from becoming too stiff in the cold.

• Invest in a plein air umbrella to shield you, your canvas and your palette from sun and precipitation.

• Every few minutes, take a short break to jog around your easel to increase blood flow.

• Paint with an artist friend that keeps your spirits high. I usually plein air with Andrea, and she always does just that!

• Visit Starbucks® afterward to warm up and to reward yourself for sticking it out.

• The most important factor: God desires to help His children accomplish what He calls them to do. Don't forget that He is just a prayer away!

*These are all artists who paint stunning winter landscapes (among other subjects)… from life!

Buttons and Bananas

Buttons and Bananas
Oil on linen on art board • 8" x 10" Sold
On display 5/3/13–6/25/13 in the
2nd Annual MVIS Competition
 at SouthWind Art Gallery
I am currently obsessed with green. While my artistic eye was still quite immature, I found green rather "boring." But later, my eyes were opened to the beautiful array of greens that occur in nature. Right now, I am especially fascinated with painting green color harmonies, particularly those occurring under cool light. You may notice this trend in a lot of my current paintings (eg. the last piece I posted, Emerald Musings). My green obsession influenced the still life on the right, although the setup was the group effort of my girlfriend Andrea Orr, our good friend Jonathan Stasko and me. The only thing better than painting is doing it with those you hold dear!

Making a green harmony our primary goal, we gathered the still life objects according to their color while purposely ignoring how the items related to each other in any other way. The result was an eclectic and unconventional grouping of objects that I found most refreshing.

This still life taught me a few good lessons I think we can all benefit from. First, decide from the very start what you want to "say" with your painting. It could be a story, a lighting situation, a color harmony (as in this case), or whatever. Then, fix your mind singly on that goal, refusing to be distracted by other ideas, and pursue it until you find the best way to communicate it. Second, don't worry if your solution is unconventional. If you're excited about it, go for it! When you're able to approach your canvas with excitement, your excitement will often (1) show through in the end product and (2) be contagious, causing your viewers to share in your excitement over something they might not have otherwise even noticed.

Emerald Musings

Emerald Musings
Oil on linen • 9" x 12" • Sold
Here is a recently-finished painting of mine, Emerald Musings. This lady is a coordinator at Starkweather Arts Center in Romeo, MI., but also frequently serves there as a model for their live painting sessions.

From the bottle to the iridescent peacock feathers, to the jeweled necklace, to the subtle hues of the seat-back pattern, I greatly enjoyed painting all of the various greens!

Gently squint at the piece. You'll notice that the areas containing the highest value contrast and the sharpest edges are at the inside of the wrist and at the lady's jaw. These attention-grabbers help nudge the viewer's eyes toward the picture's most important elements, the face and hand.

I strove to keep my flesh tone mixtures simple, but introduced a color I hadn't used much for skin—cadmium lemon, a very cool yellow. Mixing it with varying proportions of alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue and white can produce beautiful skin tones.

"You Be the Judge" Art Contest

The Contest

I am excited to spread the word about a very special online art contest open to all representational painters using wet media. Portrait artist Brian Neher has worked together with some acclaimed artists and several art equipment suppliers to put together a prize package that is well worth competing for. Best of all, entering the contest is completely free!

The Prizes

The grand prize winner will receive Richard Schmid's books Alla Prima and The Landscapes, Daniel Gerhartz's book Not Far From Home, Yale University Press's John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes book and DVD collections by Joe Bowler and Brian Neher. Also included are several sizable gift cards from well-respected art supply companies. This is truly a prize package designed to equip the serious, aspiring artist!

To learn the guidelines and enter this free competition, visit Brian Neher's website here.

Lasting Impressions: Just 11 Days Left!

Pumpkin and Lanterns by Daniel Keys
36 x 30 • Oil on linen • Unframed
As a team member of the Lasting Impressions Online Charity Art Sale, I would like to say that it has been quite an exciting ride these past two months since the sale's opening! In case you missed my previous posts, the event has been spearheaded by my friend and fellow artist Jonathan Stasko, who felt led to conduct the sale to help his hurting communities in Schoharie Valley, New York, which were devastated in August by flooding from Hurricane Irene. Since much of the damage occurred outside the flood plain, most property owners did not have flood insurance coverage. Proceeds from the sale will go to Schoharie Recovery, Inc., a local charity dedicated to aiding the property owners. Please take a moment to watch the video below, which gives a glimpse of the great destruction caused by Irene.

The Star of the East by Brian Jekel
36 x 24 • Oil on panel • Unframed
The response from our participating artists was staggering. C.W. Mundy. Brian Jekel. Kathy Anderson. Mark Gingerich. Michelle Dunaway. Marci Oleszkiewicz. Daniel Keys. Twenty-nine artists in all, some emerging and others widely-recognized as leaders in today's art scene. All individuals who jumped at the chance to help by contributing over 115 works of art. As emerging painters, we at Lasting Impressions could not have dreamed that we would be able to host such a stellar group of artists and works. In addition, Southwest Art Magazine announced the sale at its blog (here) and American Artist Magazine published it in their February issue, which is on stands now. The Bennington Center for the Arts is graciously handling our transactions. Fellow team member Ryan Mellody created our beautiful website, and Andrea Orr and Taaron Parsons designed our printed ads and logo. To all who have lent a hand to this endeavor, I would like to say a hearty "thank you!" I am humbled by the Lord's goodness in blessing this sale and I praise Him for it!

Girl with Bonnet by Michelle Dunaway
16 x 12 • Oil on linen • Framed
There now remain only 11 days to purchase art from the Lasting Impressions Sale and take this opportunity to help the people of Schoharie Valley. With paintings as low as $135, there is artwork for every budget. Please visit the Lasting Impressions website to view and purchase works from the online gallery. I want to thank you for considering the purchase of artwork that will help bring relief to these people.

Morning Light at the Canal by Mark Gingerich
10 x 12 • Oil on panel • Framed

Cow by Andrea Orr
5 x 7 • Oil on linen • Gallery-wrapped