Getting ready for a plein air event

The Creative Underground brings helpful advice to the painter. This week we interview a plein air painter coming back from a plein air event. We discuss very practicle ways to get ready for a plein air event. What to remember, what to review and what you may experience. I hope this helps further your carrier as a painter.

Other links to help your plein air painting:

Video: What is plein Air Painting?

Book: Plein Air Painting for Everyone 

What is Plein Air Painting? Think Tank live discussion on January 6, 2015

This was exciting! What a great perspective for new and experienced Plein Air Painters.

The Creative Underground brings you a live discussion with a panel of plein air painters that describe what plein air or outdoor painting is about. The benefits to your art and personal life. What to expect and how to participate in plein air groups along with perspectives on competition plein air painting.

We are planning future videos, so please stay tuned to the

Those wanting instruction on how to get started Plein Air Painting may want to read my book.

“Plein Air Painting for Everyone”, by Daryl Urig is a great book for any outdoor painter looking to get a simpler approach for capturing outdoor light on canvas. It outlines a plan and process for painting and provides tips from how to start a painting to keeping your supplies easily organized. Starting out in the comfort of your own back yard.

Purchase it here:

Broken Mirror, self-portrait with painting knife (Workshop Learnings)

In my recent self portrait workshop it was a joy to work with other painters. It is always hard for me when the class is over I miss the students and the bonding we experience together at the workshops. Self portraiture is an excellent way to get into or improve your portrait painting by gaining a deeper understanding of the Human Face. See workshops.

I wanted to mention a few leanings I have gained by giving workshops for many years.

Treat your painting as you would create some fine cooking. You would not just grab haphazardly any spices and ingredients and throw them into a bowl hoping for some great flavor to emerge. I believe you would carefully select the ingredients, proportions of ingredients, application and maybe even time of insertion into your final creation and then time them just right.

Savory flavors in cooking are about contrasting flavor ingredients. In painting, everything is about the proper selection and its contrast to what is next to it. Contrasting brush stroke ingredients ( example: color, value, shape, size, texture, flow, thickness) add flavor to your painting.

Icing a cake, is probably more like painting then drawing with a pencil. Though I find a lot of painters want to carefully render and draw in each item perfectly, I enjoy a more painterly approach, maybe like even Sargent would have enjoyed, where each stroke is carefully designed and then placed on the canvas. It starts on the canvas and ends on the canvas. And you need to go back for more icing with every placement or two of icing (paint).

broken mirror self portrait 07-03-2011, oil on canvas panel, created with knife painting

The above demonstration was completed in a few hours at my last workshop. Developed after prior initial studies of form and structure. It was using a limited palette to concentrate on values,  lighting and form. Using a painting knife kept me from niggling details and helped me go for the overall painting impression while adding a unique characteristic to the paint. I enjoy painting knives, but they are not for everyone. There are no limits though to personal expression in self portraiture as illustrated in the movie presentation we enjoyed viewing together.

The broken mirror happened in transport of the mirror (good thing I am not superstitious) and added some activity to the lower left corner by duplicating and enlarging a repeated section of the painting.

© 2011 Daryl Urig

Let’s tell the visual truth. Myths and other lies may be blocking you from your full creativity.

As in all parts of life, lies, myths or false truths can hinder us from reaching our goals. But the tricky part is recognizing the lies so you can tell yourself the truth so you are able to move forward, even leap over unseen obstacles.

What may myths look like? Each may have a little truth mixed in with a bigger lie.

If you can draw really well you will be a widely successful artist or painter. But the fact is if you can draw really well you have probably reached the height of Rembrandt, if you are very lucky and have not superseded him. I believe we need to learn from the past then create something even better based on what we have learned. Not just imitating.

If I can paint exactly like my teacher I will be successful. Duplicating someone else’s efforts just belittles the fact that you personally have something to offer. Painting from where you are, with your experiences and feelings and capabilities is always the best place to begin.

If I paint they will find me. Kind of like the movie, “Field of Dreams”, If you build the ball field, they will come. Unfortunately if you exist hidden away, not promoting yourself, not getting involved you may end up more like Van Gogh. A good painter, but you may not sell much or get noticed till after you die. We can learn a lot from the past.

If I paint like the old masters then everyone will like me. Some may like your work, but it is really just duplicating the past, not embracing the future. I believe there is so much to learn from the masters, but don’t stop there, keep moving forward, developing the new.

If I join lots of Juried shows I will get noticed. You have to be selective and enter shows that best fit you to realize benefits. Not all shows are a good fit.

I can rely on only galleries to sell my work. Not so. Things are changing very rapidly. The gallery owners know and feel this. Some have not been able to keep up with the speed of change of the Internet Marketing. You are always the best person to sell yourself and your work. You understand it best. Make sure the galleries are knowledgeable of all your accomplishments and are sharing them with potential purchasers.

If I pay for an expensive art school I will for sure be a great artist?
Belonging to something great is not as good as participating greatly in painting.

If I can put every detail into my painting it will be beautiful. Possibly, but there is a greater chance of success if you allow some sections of a painting to lack detail and other areas to have enhanced detail to show focus. Simplicity with detail seems like a good balance.

If a put every color I see in the painting it will be perfect. I have found simplifying a color pallet and even the colors or values in a painting adds more clarity verses the opposite.

If I tell the truth in what I see and represent it accurately it will be a wonderful painting. This I have struggled with for a while and have come to the conclusion that a painting is a lie. It is representing things abstractly or simply to represent the truth before us. Telling many visual lies to create or represent one visual truth seems more accurate. The paint colors we use can never come close to the real colors we see in life. Everything is in contrast to what is next to it. A color is brighter next to a gray. More mass and volume come from simplifying tones, even to as low as 3 or 4 tones in an entire painting. Soft and hard edges exaggerates the illusion of real form. We are more in the business of illusion or eye trickery of space and form. So create…

There are so many myths. The experience of painting will help us rid ourselves of many myths from our intellect. As a Painter, understanding truth from the beginning makes it a lot easier to develop our work verses dispelling myths handed to us on silver platters from well meaning instructors.

Maybe my readers can share some of the myths they have had to deal with in regards to their painting. Tell us all about your successes and struggles so we can all learn and benefit by telling the visual truth.

© 2011 Daryl Urig, All Rights Reserved

Visit New York City Art Museums & the Barnes Foundation This May 12 – May 16, 2011. A once in a lifetime opportunity!

Travel with other artist coinsures to New York City in the roomy comfort of a charter bus.

Stay in the prestigious Affinia Gardens Hotel just blocks away from the museums.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Barnes collection, the best Impressionist collection in the world. That will never again be available for the public to see as Barnes intended it to be appreciated.

Our charter will leave from Cincinnati on Thursday evening, May 12 at approximately 7 pm. Returning on Monday morning May 16 at about 8 am.

Individual plus Museums Visit: $825 per person

Museum plus Museums Visit, Couples: $765 per person

Individual no Museums Visit: $765
(Individuals not attending any of the museums may come along and enjoy the scenery and enjoy New York City.)

Sign-up on website before April 5, 2011 :

Please sign up early for this event is sure to sell out. Includes charter bus accommodations, 2 nights stay in New York City Affinia Gardens Motel and Museum fees. You just need to rest back and enjoy the journey. Costs include sharing a room with another individual though you may purchase an individual room for a $150 up charge per night. Food and beverage is not included.

30 Museum spots available
10 Non-Museum spots available

Contact: Daryl Urig for details. 513-708-7981 or

Times, details and pricing may change slightly as we get closer to the event so please check back for final details and departure times.

See final details as updated at

Nicolai Fechin, Russian-born American Painter – Original Oil Painting Blog by American Oil Painter Daryl Urig

One of my favorite painters, Nicolai Fechin, Russian-born American Painter that lived from 1881-1955 had some very great concepts in a letter he wrote:

He says, “It is impossible to limit art by any definition or requirements. Art, like the whole of our life, submits to the eternal law of change. To argue about art is just as useless as to speak about love. Everything always boils down to personal experiences and tastes. In the evolution of art, life itself selects that which furthers its own purpose, disregarding the superfluous.

We can not live by the past. The present is so transient that it does not almost exist. As a matter of fact, we live by the future; or more accurately, we are unceasingly preparing ourselves toward it, trying to anticipate it.

The appearance of a truly new idea in art is always valuable, but only when it aims at fulfilling itself in an accomplished piece of work.

It is better, in some cases, for an artist to be an amateur than a professional. I am using the word “amateur” in its original meaning as “one who loves.” The true amateur not only sincerely loves art but fills with it most of his spiritual life; whereas the dilettante is a person using art as a mere pastime.

No one can teach you how to paint and how to draw, except you, yourself. You cannot learn how to paint by watching a well-trained master painter painting, until you , yourself, have learned how to paint with some understanding first. Only by the path of much practice and experience can mature results be reached.

All creation is personal and belongs to you alone. “

There is not much I can add to this. If you would like to read the full letter you can download it here. I take my hat off to Nicolai Fechin, a true creative.

© 2010 Daryl Urig, All Rights Reserved

Visit the Paintings of Daryl Urig Online Gallery Store:

To view more paintings:

Enlist Urig for your next Historic Event Painting:

Price: Contact:

View Exhibits and Awards: click here

Subscribe to Urig’s Blog: “The Adventure of an American Oil Painter” Blog by Email

More on Daryl Urig:

Interview & Bio:

American Oil Painter Daryl Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has teaches at the University of Cincinnati for over 9 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.

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Wrapping up 31 days of continous painting – A Painting A Day

Starting in June I will continue to be A Daily Painter, but my new challenge is to paint larger paintings and complete A Painting a Week. These will be available for purchase on my website. Continuing with:  What I Learned from Doing “A Painting a Day”
Please check back the first week of June to see what is next.

A Painting a Day,
Wrapping up with 31 oil painting’s.
Bidding continues through June 15th on select pieces.

Auction is over for pricing contact:

American Oil Painter Daryl Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati for over 8 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.

View his Exhibit and Awards by clicking here.

Subscribe to Daryl Urig’s “The Adventure of an American Oil Painter” Blog by Email

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What I Learned from Doing “A Painting a Day”

It was a great opportunity as an American Artist to be apart of an evolving national movement started by Duane Kiser.  I wanted to learn something by participating in this event and promoting and selling my paintings online.  The idea was to paint a painting a day for the month of May and auction them on my website .

My 10 steps of implementation

1.    Painting should be your number one focus. Be committed. Some days you may find you are too busy, but you have made a commitment, so paint.  I believe purchasers want to see a high caliber piece of work and will accept a smaller format.

2.    Be prepared for painting content. I chose to work from photos. So I had 31 images prepared and printed out in advance, although I added and subtracted photos as I progressed.

3.    Be prepared online. Some may want to use eBay to sell their work.  I created an auction interface on my website I did not need to share my profits with eBay, but still used PayPal as a payment option. PayPal accounts need to be set up in advance. You will also need a blog, mine is

4.    Have Canvases or panels ready to go. I chose 6” w x 4” h 1/8” panels that I gessoed and sanded with 4 coats. I prepared 45 panels.

5.    Be prepared for scale change. That first painting was a little scary because I was setting the tone for the series. I wanted to make a good impression. I never worked this small before, so this was a big change. I eventually learned to simplify. I went bolder and stronger with color and favored the pallet knife. I just liked the knife.

6.    Have a good digital camera. Once each painting is accomplished you will need to post it to your website.  I found wet oil paint could not be scanned on a scanner bed, so photography was the only way to go.

7.    Give yourself time to post images and content. I had a website, a blog, an auction interface, and even did email blast to my subscriber list. This all takes time and energy. You will also need to be familiar with PhotoShop and Dreamweaver to edit images and prepare content for the website.

8.    Blogging & Blasting I chose to blog and email blast my subscribers every 7 days, not everyday as some do. Everyday seemed a little much. I would see my website & website blog statistics jump in user visits on these days.

9.    Tweeted on my Twitter account. I tweeted profusely. I tried to keep it to meaningful content. The kinds of things I would like to read. I even tweeted my blog posts.

10.    Visit other daily painter websites.

So what did I learn as a Painting a Day Oil Painting artist?

In the middle of the project I designed my own Paint Box Easel. It is compact and suitable for having everything at hand while doing smaller paintings. I also changed my physical pallet to have black under the glass that made mixing colors more accurate for me. Making them bolder and deeper. I simplified my marks; scale forced me to do this. I also favored the use of the pallet knife, a personal preference.

I had good days and better days. It was difficult to predict what would receive a bid and what would not. What people like is personal to them. Don’t feel bad if people do not bid like crazy, you are on learning and growing path.

What did I get out of it?

1.    A number of sales
2.    Growing interest amongst collectors
3.    Front page story in a local newspaper. This was a very nice surprise. I posted it to my website if you want to read the pdf here.
4.    Personal direction on types of images I like to paint.
5.    Simplified work
6.    Momentum to publicize work.
7.    An artist website wants to represent my artwork along with 10,000 of other artists for a small fee. Hmmm.
8.    I feel as an American Artist I have added to our economy. I am not sitting idly by waiting for someone else to turn on the switch.
9.    I feel more confident about my work.

Next Step

It is time to evolve a concept and keep the momentum going. I believe the notion of finishing a painting in a day is limiting. But working daily on painting is inspirational. So I will continue to paint daily but enlarge my work to larger paintings with the intention of completing one painting per week. My personal challenge. Starting in June, “A Daily Painter”, A Painting a Week. Let’s see if what I learned from doing the daily painting of simplifying my work can transform my larger new weekly paintings into astonishing works. Check here in June:

Still time to visit my daily paintings and bid on a painting here.

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A Painting A Day – Day 21

It was a nice surprise to have the local newspaper do a story on my “Painting a Day”.

Harrison artist accepts challenge. Daryl Urig, and accomplished Harrison artist whose work is displayed throughout country, has taken on the personal challenge of painting one painting each day during the month of May and selling his work online. Read Entire Story, Click Here

I feel that I am learning so much by painting these smaller paintings. It is teaching me to simplify and go bolder with my strokes of color. I have also experimented with different content imagery and am finding the ones I enjoy most. Wouldn’t this be funny if it changes the way I perceive and paint everything?  Isn’t that what the journey is about? Learning.

Visit auction here and place your bid.

American Oil Painter Daryl Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati for over 8 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.

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A Painting a Day – Day 14

American Artist Daryl Urig Painting a Day is continuing through the month. Each painting may be bid on for 15 days. When this time is up the piece is sold to the highest bidder. Auction runs through June 15th.

Collectors and painting enthusiasts have this rare opportunity to purchase one of Urig’s fine paintings. His national recognition is just one example of the importance and value of his paintings.

Below are the first 14 days of paintings. You may bid on them online at Opening bid is $70. Paintings are oil on 4″ x 6″ panel. Free delivery within the continental United States of America.

Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati for over 8 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.