Setting better goals for the 2016 fine arts painter

  1. If you thought about painting, now is the time to begin
  2. Keep painting fun
  3. Paint with purpose
  4. Have a clear message
  5. Engage the viewer
  6. Paint your own idea
  7. Find answers to gaps in your learning
  8. Allow your personality to show through in each new painting
  9. Believe in yourself
  10. Get rid of any self-doubt
  11. Stop worrying
  12. Focus on what new things you want to achieve
  13. Find something you like about 10% of each painting
  14. Look for an instructor different than yourself
  15. Work ridiculously hard
  16. Be practical
  17. Take chances
  18. Reach out to a wider audience of collectors
  19. Paint what you enjoy
  20. Master the art of selling paintings

What would consider adding to this list?

I have filled my gallery at the Creative Underground with many of my painting experiences. I would enjoy having you stop in for a visit. Please call or text before you come.

You may enjoy starting a painting class with me on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 8pm. please contact me below:

Call/Text: 513-708-7981

My New Online Gallery

My new Online Gallery is available for viewing

Please text/call to receive up to date pricing: 513-708-7981

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We are privileged

Reflecting over the life we all are privileged to live. Each of us unknowingly enjoying the creative benefits of those who came before us that contributed to our “life”. Who fought for our freedom, made the journey to America’s, invented electricity, a Christmas song, thought of a Nutcracker, painted the painting “Starry Night”. So many creative inventions to make our life better, safer, more enjoyable, warmer in winter, we have so much to appreciate each day of our life. Donald Deskey invented plywood, who invented the 2 x 4” to build our homes with? Disney gave us Mickey Mouse. The list goes on and on.

Makes you think, what will I be able to contribute to this great thing we call life.

What do you appreciate? What do you want to do?

How to carry a large wet painting

I am just returning from South Carolina. A thank you to all my friends I was able to catch up with and new acquaintances I met during my stay. It is fun and engaging to meet new people and see what new ideas are brewing not only in the creative world but also in day-to-day living.

It seems many people are open to new ideas. Looking for answers in our quickly changing world. I hope we all find the answers we are looking for.

Now back home in Ohio getting ready for my Holiday Opening next week at the Creative Underground Gallery, December 8 through the 10th from 10 am till 4 pm, and wanting to share an idea I discovered.

How to carry a large wet painting. The car was packed so I had to be inventive to make space for a large wet painting. Laying it flat on the back seat was not an option, and I had no pizza box large enough to house the painting.

It is a 24 inches wide by 18 inches tall painting painted on primed Masonite. My solution, “nail on furniture glides”. The types that you may see on the bottom of wood kitchen chair leg that help protect a wood floor from scuffing.

I had another panel the same size as my wet painting and sandwich the panels together separating them with “nail on furniture glides”. You can see by the pictures posted here that I was able to secure the furniture glides using duck tape to hold it against a non-painted panel. I did this for times. You could use more for larger panels. Then lay this on top of the painted panel. Like a sandwich. Duck Tape both panels together on the side edges and across the backs of both panel with short pieces of tape to keep both from moving or sliding in travel.

When you arrive at your final destination you can carefully separate the two panels. If there is any touch up, you may fix it then. It should only be very small pin marks. I didn’t notice any on my painting.

This worked for me. Hope it helps you out of a tight jam.


Norman Schnepf, Art Teacher, Avon Lake High School

If you graduated with me from Avon Lake High School, in Avon Lake, Ohio, you may not remember this gentleman. Even if you went to the school you probably would not see him unless you took an art class. Then be lucky enough to draw him as your instructor. If you played basketball you probably did not notice him behind the table keeping score, year after year.

His name was Norman Schnepf, my art teacher. Probably my most influential art instructor. He was quiet. He would offer up suggestions only if you asked him for his guidance. I asked, and he provided my aching art heart creative food for thought. If it was not for his direction back then I would no doubt be as far along as I am today.


Cloud Formation, 34 w x 12 inches H, Oil on Panel, 2015

In his class he taught me about design. He loved abstraction and was eager to share his insights to an open mind. We could explore many tools, and this is where I first came in contact with the painting knife, my primary painting tool today. I am just beginning to turn the corner and returning to some abstract painting.

After I went to my first year of art school I returned to his class to share what I learned. One student did follow me to my college. Years later I thought of him. When I Googled his name I was sorry to learn that he had past. I had wanted to thank him again for the foundation he had helped me lay in painting.

An update to my faithful blog followers

To my faithful followers that have signed up on my website blog “the Adventures of an American Oil Painter”. Thank you, it has been a very busy and challenging time.

I have so many thoughts going on in my head. Not having time to express them in a painting is very frustrating for me. Today I was able to get outside in the warm sun and finally paint a landscape viewed from my studio. Painting and tennis are very important emotional outlets for me.

This may be a little jumbled and informative so just hang in with me for a minute or two.

I’ve been finished constructing my studio. Many you have followed and seen the progress. I recently finished my desk and my “Wall of Paintings”. I have too many paintings to count and not enough frames or wall space to hang them. I designed a compact display system; this seems to be working out well. Still working on the lighting for these beautiful paintings. All of my paintings are part of my Holiday Celebration Exhibition, December 7, 8 and 9, 2015, from 10 am till 4 pm. Stop in and enjoy a glass of wine with me and peruse 100’s of paintings at friendly holiday pricing.

I never understood how having space for a gallery would affect me. It’s fun when all the paintings are displayed together. You can begin to see distinct character that is developing in your painting style. We are always learning and growing, as painters, otherwise it would not be any fun. What kinds of notions, ideas or subject matter you are drawn to. You see them popping up consistently in various paintings. It can be very encouraging and enlightening to the painter.

Over the last two or three months I have been developing two paintings, as I mentioned earlier. An abstract landscape of sky and clouds, much of this was the accomplished primarily in my head. The second is a figurative painting of a female practicing Yoga. Working with sketches, photos and painting color studies while carefully describing shapes to make an interesting representation. I cannot wait to get fully immersed in both of these developing paintings.

I am leaving in a few days for South Carolina and will be there for three weeks.

Forgot, remodeled our kitchen.

Did I mention Dan McCaw? He is a fabulous oil painter. I love his work. We have been working on a video together discussing his painting. This hopefully will be completed shortly and will be available for viewing at Daryl Urig’s Creative Underground; you also may freely view many other painter interviews at

I just love what I am doing and have so much passion for it. I want to share my enthusiasm with you. In January, on the 12, 13 and 14th, 2016, I will be hosting a workshop for beginning to intermediate painters called “Get Back into Art – Finding a Creative Outlet” at my Creative Underground Studio. Please see details on my website.

Hope to see you soon.

Our Journey – Getting to Know T. C. Steele

My journey this past weekend with my wife Robyn took us to these three locations where we learned more about T. C. Steele. Without any doubt T. C. Steele is one of Indiana’s best-known painters. We enjoyed learning about a talented and adventurous man with a strong will to grow his painting. Our first stop was in Waveland, Indiana. I want to thank the Tim and Meg Shelly for their vision of renovating T. C. Steele Boyhood Home and opening it up for painter retreats.

We took time to get to know the character of the home and its surrounding landscape. We saw the intense fall tree colors. One of our favorite excursions was to Turkey Run State Park about 10 miles away. There we enjoyed a unique hiking experience, walking and climbing through creek bed paths and straddling between rocks, stairs and steep ladders that would drop down to lower narrow plateaus.

Steele has a lot to tell us about living the artist life. Though I will keep it short. He sought education in painting and then taught others. He made a living by primarily painting portraits, this to support his love for outdoor painting of Indiana landscapes.

To help Steele further his art training, his friends and art patrons provide financial support for him and his family to go to Munich, Germany. There he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. From what I have seen from other painters who attended the Munich school was a similar love for greys in a painting. This movement in painting influenced Steele. Carrying it not only in his portraits but also landscape paintings.

Later Steele was called a Hoosier Impressionist painter.  Though his work had a totally different direction from the Impressionists painter Claude Monet in Paris, who created Impressionism.

T. C. Steele Boy Hood Home, Daryl and Robyn Urig

T. C. Steele's Chair painted by Daryl Urig

For our second stop we traveled to Indiana University and saw many paintings in their art gallery. My favorite figurative oil painting titled “The Boatman” was by T. C. Steele. Painted in 1884. It was painted in mostly smoky greys.

The Boatman, 1884 by T. C. Steele

To finish our weekend journey we traveled to Nashville, Indiana to see one of his many studios. This one called the House of the Singing Woods is a beautiful studio in a very primitive and remote spot high on top of a hill.  Not a practical choice for a studio where one chooses to live. There was no available water, suitable land for planting or available food for someone who does not hunt. His wife was totally unprepared. She did not know how to cook on a potbelly stove or even cook for that matter.

Steele’s choice was based solely on the artistic view. It was a beautiful, majestic home in simple remote surroundings. An environment to paint and entertain many visitors who would like to drop in and see what was going on with this unusual couple.

He was capable of teaching and supported his family with his portrait commissions. His wife later planting gardens so they would have food and flowers to include as subject matter for paintings.

It so surprised me that though they did not have all of the technology we have today he had many avenues for success. The world must not have look too big to him so he moved many times. Living in many places from Indiana to Michigan, Chicago and Germany. Possibly more.

There is so much to say about this man and his wife. To enjoy it fully you will want to visit his historic sites and take the tour in Nashville to get a glimpse of his life.

Singing Woods in Nashville Indiana, Home/Studio of T. C. Steele

Watch video of Daryl Urig and his Interview with Rachel Perry published author of “Paint and Canvas: A Life of T.C. Steele” 

Appreciate each God given day we are privileged to live

A few weeks ago coming back from a paint out in Elkhart, Indiana I had a seizure while driving home to Ohio. I remember my sight going black and saying to myself “I am driving and cannot see”. The rest was told to me by a police officer that was at the accident. I drove my car across oncoming traffic and perfectly put my car between two 4-inch trees. The air bag did not employ and no one was hurt, though my car was totaled. My Honda Accord was so tight between two trees that the tow truck driver had a very difficult time backing it out. Somehow I climbed out my drivers’ window and was wondering around. A gentleman stopped and kept me from wandering into traffic. I was told that it took five police officers to wrestle me to the ground. Evidently seizures give you superhuman strength. I became conscious later in the emergency vehicle hand cuffed to the stretcher screaming at the top of my lungs, finding it hard to breath and disorientated. So obviously I am not driving until we understand better what is going on.

The last time I had a seizure was 25 years ago when I was at work. An emergency vehicle took me to the hospital. After testing they discovered I had an AVM, a malformation of arteries into veins in the brain that I was born with. They were ready to rupture at any time. It was very good it was detected otherwise it could have killed me. The seizure at that time was a blessing because it brought attention to my serious condition.

This recent seizure reminded me of my seizure of 25 years ago. I thought to myself, “Is this another sign bringing attention to something new going wrong in my body?”

My heart doctor thought it might be my heart since I had tightening in my jaw before the black out, but a day in the hospital and a few other tests proved my heart is strong.

Later tests on the arteries in the brain showed everything to be normal. I had a definite sense of relief that took a few days to sink in, but now what? I will meet with a Neurologist in the beginning of December; they seem to be in no rush or concern to get me in sooner. Thankfully my original brain surgeon Dr. Tew, who is out of my current medical plan, has valiantly volunteered to review new test results.

I feel good, even strong. Possibly the seizure rebooted my system. I for sure see things differently. I appreciate everything a little more. Feel more sympathy for those close to death. We won’t live forever and it is very hard to come to grips with these thoughts.

I will continue to paint and hope I live till 105 or 110 years of age. I hope God will welcome me into His domain when it is the proper time, but not before. I feel at peace with my mortality. I do not fear what is to come but will no doubt grasp for life with each and every closing breath.



Back to painting and building at the Creative Underground Studio.

Gave myself time to complete my desk. Enjoy the metal theme used throughout the gallery. Had fun building the desk as I did building the gallery. Hope you will give me a call and drop in for a visit, now that it is finally completed.

Played with the Happy Grandpa painting I showed earlier in a previous post. It seemed to lack some of the emotion and spark I originally intended for the painting. I wanted the yellow flower she was reaching for to be more apparent but not so polarizing being close to the center of the canvas.

Still concentrating on softening some edges and sharpening other edges in the painting. The colors seemed a little dark, so I lightened them up with blues, blue-greens and blue-purples hues to compliment the yellow. Yellow paintings seem to be a draw for me. Yellow I find to be the most complicated color to paint with. It really needs to be managed well. This revision seemed to match my original intent for the painting.



I loved my Grandpa – The Paint Brush vs. the Painting Knife

I have such fond memories of my grandpa. He died young when I was either 7 or 8 years old. He was what I wanted to be when I grew up. He loved children. As a child that felt wonderful. Though my father embodied this statement as well, he did not spend time with me as Grandpa did. I remember “Pa”, that is what we called him. He taught me to play my toy xylophone. We built a model of two black bears. We glued the pieces together and then carefully painted them. We also built a wooden stagecoach model. I valued and treasured each experience like a gift that I kept for years. He instructed me in the value of “The Nurseryman” which he was, by germinating orange seeds in our refrigerator. Seeing them sprout we nurtured the seedlings into trees. We had so many small trees. Year’s later in the tenth grade metal shop class I built a large sheet metal pot to house one final selected tree. I kept this tree for probably 25 more years when it died. Pa seemed to have no limits. He was engaged with his grandchildren and I loved him for it.

When I got my chance with my granddaughter this past year I knew what to do. I cannot tell you how fulfilling this is for me. Passing on what I learned from a great man.

Happy Grandpa, 18 x 24 inches, oil on panel

The Paint Brush vs. the Painting Knife

I have been working on this painting “Happy Grandpa” this last week using a paintbrush. I know that using a brush may not be surprising since that is what most painters use. Though for the past 9 years I have been painting solely with a painting knife. Some like to call it a pallet knife others a trowel since it is so large and resembles a cement trowel. I used a Robert Simons No. 8 Signet, 3/4 inch Rosemary & Co. Series 303 and No. 6 Ivory Rigger brushes.

One of the reasons I hated using a paintbrush in the past and began to favor the Painting Knife was because of the nuisance and time wasting effort needed in washing them out with turpentine.  As many of you know I paint with M. Graham Oil Paints that are made with Walnut Oil for the last 9 years.  No more smelly turpentine’s, I don’t care if they call them odorless or not, I can still smell them, and they give me a headache.

With this brush painting I made use of my paper towels to pull the unwanted paint from my brush. I learned this from years of painting with a Painting Knife. If I need a cleaner brush, I lay it in some Walnut Oil and then pull out the unwanted pigment with a paper towel or rag. This is definitely an added benefit and convenience of brush painting with M. Graham Walnut Oil. Then wash it in Murphy Oil Soap when I am ready to stop painting for the day. I form the bristles of the brush to keep its shape and air-dry it.

Still, when it comes to being expedient a knife is the way to go. If you want softer edges and a little more hassle we always have artist paint brushes.