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
(To inquire, email Contact@AdamClague.com)

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" • Sold

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!

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

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

My online video course, "Learn to Paint Dynamic Portraits & Figures in Oil" has 45 written lessons plus 13 hours of video demonstration. In the course, I 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 create a free account at ClagueFineArt.com, you will receive free access to Unit 1 of the course and a 20-minute video from the course. In addition, I’ll share announcements of other educational opportunities such as workshops.

Please enjoy this free gift from me to you!
(To learn more about the online course, please click here.)

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 Contact@AdamClague.com—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.

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.

Step 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!

Preparing the perfect surface is one thing. Creating a compelling painting is another! In my online video course, I'll show you how I communicate the beauty of portraits and figures from start to finish:

This online video course will launch in Fall 2018, but you can start the course today for free! For more info, please click the button below.

Learn More About Online Video Course