Featured Artist – Ethan Diehl


We recently interviewed artist Ethan Diehl after meeting him at the 2019 Portrait Society of America show in Atlanta, Georgia. Ethan has an astounding talent for photo-realistic oil paintings. In fact, his paintings are so realistic that he even has a disclaimer at the top of his website that says, “Yes, these are paintings.” See for yourself!

SBL:  When did you start painting and what inspired you to pick up a paintbrush?
Ethan: I started painting almost before I could walk. Granted, it wasn’t in oil (closer to Gerber’s baby food), but it was the starting point.  My mother babysat a bunch of kids, and she converted our basement into an art room.  A half dozen young artists, mastering our watercolor craft.  I didn’t start painting in acrylics until junior high, and oils didn’t come on the scene until college. I don’t know why I picked up a paintbrush. I’ve always liked the visual world. The stars at night.  Storms on the horizon.  Movies.  Paintings. All of it.  Being able to capture images that lived in my head, and in front of me, always seemed special to me.   Like my superhero power.

“Train of Thought”

SBL: Do you have any formal training or instruction?
Ethan: I went to Stanford to study rocket science. Literally.  However, after a year of not enjoying my classes, I started to take studio art classes.  One of them, a drawing class, was taught by Nathan Olivera.  Nate was an incredible person.  We hit it off in his class, I completely changed the direction of my studies, and he became my art mentor.  More than simply learning the technical side of making art, Nate taught me how to pay much closer attention to what was right in front of me in the visual world.

SBL: Before you became a full-time artist, what did you do?
Ethan: The concept of full-time artist makes me chuckle. I knew very early on that it would be nearly impossible to make a living by just selling art.  So, I got a job, which I still have, as a software developer. I’ve been doing that for 21 years. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t put in a fulltime amount of work each week in the studio.  I do.  I’ve been doing 40+ hour “work” weeks + 40+ hour “art work” weeks for almost 15 years.

“Tenacity”

SBL: What is your favorite subject to paint and why?
Ethan: People are my favorite subject.  Primarily women.  This isn’t exactly an original concept in the art world.  Haha.  I like spending my time focusing on the beauty that only women bring to the world. Within the subject of women, I only paint women I know.  It’s important for me to have a personal connection to my subjects, because it takes SO long for me to complete my paintings.  I really don’t want to spend months on end staring at a strange face in my studio.

SBL: How long have you been using Silver Brushes and why do you like using them?
Ethan: I have been using Silver Brushes, and only Silver Brushes, since 2004.  That was the year that I started my professional art career.  I only use 1 particular brush: the Silver Bristlon® Flat size 0. My paintings are made of tens of thousands of squares of oil paint.  Each square is 1/6 in by 1/6 inch.  The Flat 0 is the perfect width for that size square.  The way that the bristles are constructed works well for me, too.  I like the flex of the bristles as I’m working on the squares.  Once I found this one brush, I was hooked.

“Constellation” painting process

SBL: Can you explain your painting process further?
Ethan: I use a pencil and ruler to turn my canvas into the equivalent of a super-sized piece of graph paper.  Then, I spend months looking back and forth between my computer monitor (which has a pixelated image), and the canvas, and painting tiny squares.  My Silver Brushes are never the same afterwards.  I normally use 1 single brush per painting, and then the brush is “retired”.  This process is not recommended for anyone else.  It works for me, but it’s painful.

SBL: Have any artists influenced or inspired your work?
Ethan: Chuck Close specifically influenced the way that I paint, from a technical aspect. I’m inspired by living artists like Jenny Saville, Mark Tansey and Banksy.

SBL: Is your artwork on display anywhere?
Ethan: My art is shown at three galleries:
 Julie Zener Gallery in Mill Valley, CA
 Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC
•  Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

SBL: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Ethan: Work hard. Be nice. Enjoy the process. Fight envy with all of your strength.

For more information about Ethan and his artwork, please visit these links:
www.ethandiehl.com
Facebook
Instagram

“Effervescent”

Ginger Cook – April 2019 Featured Artist of the Month

Ginger Cook has been an artist since she was a small child. Originally working with crayons and watercolors, Ginger gravitated to acrylics in the 1960s when it was a new medium. During this time, oil paints were revered as the only paint for “real” artists and Ginger strived to be taken seriously as an artist.

Determined to prove critics wrong, Ginger mastered a variety of acrylic techniques in such a style that made oil purists take notice. Her eye for color caught the attention of publishers and art galleries and before long, her acrylic pieces were being showcased and sold worldwide.

In her retirement, Ginger teaches acrylic painting techniques to beginners and advanced students alike through her YouTube tutorials and in her online Art Academy. Ginger’s YouTube videos are like an introduction to the online academy. On her YouTube channel, she teaches mostly florals and still-life paintings in the style of the old masters like Van Gogh but the Academy classes go much more in-depth, making artists delve even deeper into their artistic talents.

Ginger insists that you don’t have to have a natural inclination toward art in order to enjoy creating a painting. “I have always felt that painting was a learned skill… For me, good art starts with having the correct materials. I have been using Silver Brushes since they came out—initially the Ruby Satin® brights and smaller rounds for details. When I found the Ruby Satin® short handle angle brushes, they were so fantastic to use that they are my brush of choice in 99% of the videos I teach. They suit my natural impressionistic style and are perfect for changing from a broad brushstroke to fine detail, just by tipping or twisting the brush slightly.”

In addition to Ruby Satin®, Ginger enjoys using our Ultimate Varnish Brush™ (it is “indeed the ultimate varnish brush!”) and her daughter’s series of The Art Sherpa™ brushes, also manufactured by Silver Brush Limited for heavy bodied acrylic painting techniques.

When asked what Ginger’s greatest accomplishment has been as an artist, she says, “I have felt incredibly rewarded for seeing the skills I have passed on to others…I am passing down the knowledge of art to the next group of artists who will then pass it down to other aspiring artists…this to me is my greatest accomplishment.”

Ginger’s Links:
Website
Youtube Channel
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter


 

March 2019 Artist of the Month

You’ve heard the adage, “It’s never too late to follow your dream.” Melanie Morris, an accomplished acrylic artist from Alabama, is living proof of that statement.

Melanie graduated from college with a Master’s Degree in Communications and spent years working in the pharmaceutical advertising industry. After encouragement from her husband, Melanie decided to take an oil painting class, immediately fell in love with the medium and set off in pursuit of a new career in art.

As with many things in life, we make plans but sometimes a curve ball is thrown our way. Upon taking up oil painting, Melanie discovered the paint agitated an asthma condition she wasn’t aware she had. Heartbroken but determined to continue creating art, Melanie switched to acrylics. Initially she found acrylic paint to be too thin but after a wise teacher advised her to add gel medium to make it behave more like oil, she went full steam ahead!

Melanie’s favorite subjects to paint are landscapes or floral arrangements. She takes pride in hand selecting flowers from local farmer’s markets in the summer (or Trader Joe’s in the winter). “My painting really starts when I’m arranging the flowers back at my studio. I’m thinking about how to move the viewer through the painting with color or shapes then I select a background color. I keep all sorts of colored paper to use as backdrops for my still lifes. I experiment with the colors and the arrangement of the flowers and then I add a strong spotlight. I set a timer for 45 minutes and paint a 6” x 6” panel to work out my composition and color palette. Even though I time my small paintings to keep them fresh, I really get lost in the painting. After I finish the small panel, I paint the arrangement again but this time on a larger panel. I prefer to paint on gallery wrapped panels and love the architectural look.” Melanie says her favorite flowers to paint are zinnias and ranunculus.

When asked what her greatest accomplishment has been as an artist, Melanie said, “There are several things I’m happy about such as being commissioned by Hilton Hotels last summer to complete my biggest painting to date, being featured in Cottage Living several years ago and having an online shop. However, I’d have to say that I consider my greatest accomplishment to be that I make a living as an artist. At one time that seemed like an unrealistic goal.”

For the past 5 years, Melanie has been using Silver Brush Limited’s Bristlon® series of brushes for her artwork. “I love the Bristlon® bright shape brushes. I used to be a palette knife painter so I like a stiff brush. Bristlon® offered me the stiffness I like without being so stiff that the brush lifts paint off of my panel. I am also confident that the brushes won’t shed in my painting and they hold their shape well.”

If you’d like to see Melanie’s work on display, you can visit Bennett Galleries in Nashville, The Grand Bohemian Gallery in Birmingham in her studio in Homewood, Alabama or online at www.melaniemorrisart.com

Follow Melanie on social media!
Facebook
Instagram

February 2019 Artist of the Month

Artist_Jeannie_Dickson
Artist Jeannie Dickson

Jeannie Dickson has only been using watercolors for about 3 years and already she has established a large following on social media, created lettering practice worksheets that she sells through her Etsy store, and has workshops planned for 2019 in her home state of Texas. This is going to be a busy year for the rising artist!

Although Jeannie will be teaching classes on watercolor technique and lettering, she doesn’t have any formal art school training. Instead of taking classes, Jeannie dedicated many hours to getting to know her paints, brushes and paper while finding her own unique style and technique, a process she says was “intense” but brought her great joy.

Jeannie’s practice has developed into a style that is bold, expressive, and colorful. “I like to paint elements that have a lot of visual texture,” she says, “and I am fascinated by the transparent quality of watercolor.” More recently, gouache and water-based inks have found their way into her expanding repertoire.

Floral Piece by Jeannie Dickson

When getting artistic, Jeannie uses a variety of   tools including markers, metallic pens, brush pens and calligraphy pens for her lettering but one of her absolute favorite things to use for creating vibrant bouquets of flowers is Silver Brush Black Velvet® watercolor brushes.

“In the Spring of 2017, I bought my first Silver Black Velvet brush and soon after trying it, I knew I needed it in all the different sizes available,” she gushes. “I love the quality of the brush. The hairs are a fantastic blend that hold the perfect amount of water and they release the pigment beautifully. You can use the fine, pointy tip to create fine, delicate lines of use the full belly of the brush to create broader strokes. When painting expressive, loose watercolor, this comes in handy and helps you stay in the creative flow.”

To aspiring artists, Jeannie says this: “Don’t give up your creative dreams. If it’s in your heart, you should listen. Creativity is a God-given gift that brings a sense of fulfillment. It requires being patient with oneself, and knowing that our mistakes are also part of the process of being creative and finding our own unique style.”

Head of Kale by Jeannie Dickson

Jeannie was born and raised in Guatemala City and her family moved to Mexico City in 2000 where she studied Graphic Design. In 2005, she married her husband and moved to the US. They have two daughters together. Jeannie enjoys “a good cup of coffee” and she loves rainy days. She also enjoys baking and decorating cookies and spending time with family.

To see more of Jeannie’s work, please visit her on Instagram!

 

 

Check out Jeannie’s process video on creating leaves with a Silver Golden Natural® Angle brush!


Written by Kira Leilich, Communications Manager at SBL


 

December 2018 Artist of the Month

Dan Thompson is quite accomplished when it comes to his
accolades. Not only is he a co-founder of the Grand Central Academy of Art and the Janus Collaborative School of Art in New York, he was also appointed Dean at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia this summer,
which according to Dan, is an “extraordinary honor.”

“A school of this caliber must not be underestimated as a place simply to take painting lessons—it is a guild of evolving artistic tactics and a conservatory of timeless figurative practice. As the new artistic leader, I am gratified to be at the vanguard of the conversation.”

In addition to his new position, Dan taught a controlled palette life painting class over the summer at the Art Students League of New York and a class entitled Musculoskeletal Gross Anatomy for the Figurative Artist at Weill Cornell College of Medicine.

There’s no question that Dan has his plate (or should we say palette?) full but he still manages to find time to paint his favorite subject:  the human figure. “There is no rival to the human figure. It is a doorway into every metaphor, the embodiment of seeing itself. The figure is us. The human body, layered with rules and systems, structures and sciences, is endlessly rich and ceaselessly expressive. There is no other art which could replace its importance nor hold my fascination as immutably, so long as I inhabit a figure.”

For the last 10 years, Dan has been using Silver Brush LTD® Grand Prix® long and extra long filberts and Silverstone® filberts to create his art because “they are simply the best brushes available,” he says. “I started painting when I was 11 years old. My dad bought me a simple acrylic set and told me that I could work with his oils—but only after I had mastered the ‘preparatory’ acrylic media, using only water as medium.” 

One of Dan’s favorite techniques to use in his artwork is the “color spot” technique used by
Edwin Dickinson, who learned it from Charles W. Hawthorne and William Merritt Chase. The
general idea is that the artist puts one stroke of color next to another, next to another and so
on to create an image. This technique is seen clearly in much of Dan’s art.

Currently, Dan is working on a “composition of a full skeleton, arranged within a drapery mass and adorned with metallic pieces. Its kind of Birth of Venus—maybe a Death of Venus! Or a transcendence, which is how it feels. The cathartic aspect of painting is one of its most rejuvenating attractions.”

To the aspiring artist, Dan says this:  “Genuine aesthetics are self-derived; Create works that you can look back upon with contentment for having echoed your heart and not contorting your authentic vision to suit someone else’s style.”

To learn more about Dan, visit his website: www.danthompsonart.com

You can also follow Dan on facebook  and instagram


Written by Kira Leilich, Communications Manager at SBL


 

July 2018 Featured Artist of the Month

Ana Sofía Castañón is a multi-talented artist hailing from Cancun, Mexico. Her Instagram is filled with brilliantly colored paintings of dreamy looking turtle grass with manta rays gliding along the ocean floor. It had us mesmerized and we just had to share her artwork.

After connecting with her, we learned that Ana Sofía is so much more than just a talented watercolor artist. Before dedicating her career to her artwork, Ana Sofía was a fashion designer making bridal gowns and purses. As a young child, Ana went to art classes where she was introduced to pencils, acrylics, pastel and oil. In addition, she grew up in a family of designers, artists, architects, and writers who encouraged her to develop her skills.

Today, Ana Sofía’preferred mediums are watercolor, gouache and inks, which she chooses to paint with using Silver Black Velvet® brushes. I have been using Silver Brushes for 3 years. When I discovered them, I had an instant crush. I use the Black Velvet® collection, which hold the exact amount of water needed. I love that they are very easy to use and very durable. The mix of natural squirrel hair and the synthetic filaments works perfectly.”             

Ana Sofía’s art is influenced heavily by nature and the wonders around her. Growing up on her family ranch in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, she was free to discover while surrounded by animals, crops, and trails. My childhood made me connect with nature and until this day, everytime I need to recharge, I go to the sea to free-dive, or the jungle and explore.After one particular free diving session, Ana Sofía started her Ocean Dreamsseries where she represents the ocean and reefs in a very colorful and peaceful way.

To aspiring artists, Ana Sofía says this: Many times we are afraid to take action or just become overwhelmed by the idea of what is needed in order to do whatever we dream of doing or becoming. When I decided I really wanted to make a living with my art, I had a job. I knew I had to paint everyday, so at first I started with 15 minutes until it became more than 8 hours daily. To me, it is all about facing my fears. I always put myself into very uncomfortable situations. This is where all the great things have happened. So I encourage you to get out of the comfort zone as much as possible. If it makes you anxious, its probably good. The best is when Im on the other side watching what made me scared.

Currently, Ana Sofía is working on a series for exhibition next year and mural projects in her local community.

To learn more about Ana Sofía, please visit these links:
Instagram @anasofiacastanon
Facebook: @anasofiacastanonart
www.anasofiacastanon.com


Traducido por Ana Sofía

Una tarde navegando por Instagram nos encontramos con la obra de Ana Sofía Castañón una artista multidisciplinaria basada en Cancún, México. Sus coloridas y brillantes pinturas de manta rayas deslizándose entre algas marinas por el fondo del océano nos hipnotizaron, simplemente tuvimos que compartirlas.

Después de contactarla supimos que Ana Sofía es mucho mas que una talentosa acuarelista. Antes de dedicarse a su obra Ana Sofía era diseñadora de modas, hacía vestidos de novia y bolsas. De niña, Ana asistió a clases de pintura donde fue introducida diferentes técnicas como el carboncillo, acrílicos, pasteles y oleo. Sumado a su preparación y amor por el arte, Ana Sofía creció en una familia conformada por diseñadores, escritores, arquitectos y artistas que la impulsaron a desarrollar sus habilidades.

Hoy, los medios que Ana Sofía prefiere son las acuarelas, el gouache y las tintas, los cuales  usa pintando con la línea de los pinceles Silver Black Velvet®. “He usado los pinceles Silver Brush por 3 años. Cuando los descubrí tuve un crush inmediato. Uso la serieBlack Velvet® que guarda
la cantidad exacta de agua. Me encantan por que son muy fáciles de usar y muy duraderos, la combinación de pelo sintético y natural de ardilla funciona a la perfección.”

El arte de Ana Sofía está influenciado de gran forma por la naturaleza. Crecer en un rancho en San Luis Potosí, México le dio la libertad de descubrir el mundo rodeada de animales, vegetación desértica, riegos por aspersión, siembra y lodo. “Mi niñez me conectó con la naturaleza y todavía al día de hoy cuando necesito recargar o re conectar, busco salir, explorar, ir a la selva, cenotes o hago algo de buceo libre.” Después de una sesión de Freedive o buceo libre, es como la serie de “Sueños de Mar” comenzó, donde ella representa los coloridos arrecifes y la sensación de paz que fondo del mar le da.

A los que desean ser artistas, Ana Sofía les dice: “Muchas veces tenemos miedo de tomar acción, o simplemente nos abruma la idea de todo lo que se necesita hacer para lograr lo que deseamos o soñamos. Cuando decidí que quería llevar mi arte un paso más allá y que fuera mi forma de vivir, sabía que debía de pintar diario, así que comencé por 15 minutos al día hasta que lo convertí poco a poco en 8 horas diarias. Para mi, se trata de enfrentar los miedos. Siempre termino poniéndome en situaciones incomodas. Ahí es donde las cosas buenas han sucedido para mi. Así que les recomiendo y empujo a salir de su zona de confort lo mas que puedan, si te de ansiedad seguro que es bueno. Lo mejor es estar del otro lado viendo aquello que te en algún momento te dio miedo.

Actualmente, Ana Sofía está trabajando en una serie para exhibir el siguiente año y en proyectos de gran formato para mural.

Instagram @anasofiacastanon
Facebook: @anasofiacastanonart
www.anasofiacastanon.com

 


Written by Kira Leilich, Communications Manager at SBL
Translations done by Ana Sofía Castañón


 

May 2018 Featured Artist of the Month

James Tennison, Whidbey Island, WA.
While scrolling through Instagram    one day, we stumbled upon James Tennison’s oil and watercolor artwork. His account is filled with breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, still-lifes and portraits, each of which evoke a sense of awe. James’ eye for the way light and shadow interact and the colors they create is astounding, no matter the subject or media.

James’ work is inspired by a myriad of artists such as Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorrolla, Johannes Vermeer, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Frank Benson, Alfred Munnings, and Abbott Thayer. “Just to name a few,” he jokes.

Every artist has a story about how they became interested in painting and James is no exception. “Like many children,” he says, “I always liked to draw and was fortunate to have parents that encouraged this passion. We would visit museums on occasion and we also had a few original oil paintings around our house. I can remember being fascinated by these painting and wondering how the artists made them. I remember getting my first oil paint set when I was around 10 years old and can still recall the pleasure I had in painting my first still-life.”

James has come along way from that first painting. He has participated in numerous competitions and showcases with plenty of awards for both his oil and watercolor paintings. His artwork hangs in prestigious corporate, private and public collections throughout the United States and he has been published in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, and International Artist Magazine, just to name a few.

According to James, he does not have a favorite piece that he has created. “I always hope that my current painting will be my best and favorite…I have several portrait commissions I am working on at the moment, as well as paintings of local subjects. I like to have several paintings going on at the same time.”

For the past 20 years, James has been using Silver Brush natural hog bristle Grand Prix® filbert brushes and stiff white synthetic Bristlon® filbert brushes. “I was first introduced to Silver brushes at a Portrait Society of America conference about 20 years ago. I have been using them ever since.”

When asked if he has any advice for aspiring artists, James said, “Get the best art education you can find. Learn the fundamentals of drawing, design, composition and color. Study nature and great art of the past and present. Work hard. Follow your heart and enjoy the privilege and pleasure of creating art.”

To see more of James’ work, please visit:

Website

Instagram

Facebook:

 

 

April 2018 Featured Artist of the Month

Lea Colie Wight is an award-winning oil painter and teacher with a unique perspective. As a former student of the prestigious atelier, Studio Incamminati. Lea now teaches about 20 students each year at the very same school. While she was a student, Lea studied under and alongside some of the founding members of the atelier including world renowned portrait artist Nelson Shanks.

 

Part of Lea’s process when painting is to “identify with a subject, whether still life or figurative.” She explains, “When I was a child, I would feel sympathy for inanimate objects or imbue them with emotional characteristics. I think when I’m painting, I tap into that type of connection again. A room or still life is a portrait of the absent person or a state of being. I often go into a painting with a new model having a concept firmly in place only to have it blown apart once I begin to know my model. I can’t seem to disregard the core person I’m painting and the painting becomes about them.”

Currently, Lea is working on publishing a book about painting that is tentatively titled,           “The Fundamentals of Oil Painting.” Of her book, she says, “It has been a huge project, bigger than I’d anticipated when I signed on! It covers the building of a painting from the very beginning sketches on to a finish, materials, studio layouts and a lot more. The book focuses on painting from life and includes many demos including four finished paintings: Figure, Portrait, Still Life and Landscape. This undertaking has consumed my time for the year, but it was a labor of love and I hope it will provide solid information for artists.”

Lea’s favorite brushes to paint with for the past 15 years have been Silver Brush Grand Prix® Filberts. They are the brushes she reaches for every time she paints and recommends to all of her students. “I use them from the block in of a painting all through to the finishes,” she says. “The filberts give me the ability to cover a broad area with the flat of the brush and to achieve a thin line using the side. They hold their cup beautifully and after washing they don’t have stray bristles splaying to the sides.”

When asked what advice she would give to artists who want to make a career out of their passion, she responded, “Paint with authenticity and don’t chase a trend. Keep working to reach the next level of excellence. Work every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes of sketching.”

To see more images of Lea’s work just google Lea Colie Wight painter

 

February 2018 Featured Artist of the Month

Paolo Rivera is not your average watercolor artist. Before he even graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, he was already working as an artist for Marvel Comics®. When he started his career with them in 2002, he was just doing comic book covers and sometimes illustrating entire issues. Now, he says he tends to “save the painted work for movie posters or limited-edition prints.” He considers himself lucky because he “didn’t have to ponder” what he wanted to do with his art education since Marvel hired him before he completed his senior year in college. However, he did briefly consider becoming a concept artist or industrial designer.

When asked if he was a fan of Marvel before he started working for them, Paolo said, “Definitely. I don’t think you can work for them without being a fan first. It just takes too much time and dedication for someone who isn’t in love with the material.”

Part of Paolo’s creative process when sketching or painting super heroes (and villains) is to find a point of reference. Sometimes the reference comes from a clay mold with light shone from above to emphasize how shadows might fall on a sunny day or from photographs he takes of himself or other people in action. “On a purely conceptual level,” he says, “a reference of any kind is all about knowledge; it informs us so that we, as comic book artists (illustrators, cartoonists, whatever), can inform our readers. Ideally, this is done so smoothly, so unobtrusively, that the richness of detail in subject and setting enters the reader’s mind without conscious consideration, submitting focus to the narrative while simultaneously supporting it…. Viewers can often tell when you aren’t familiar with your subject matter, even if they aren’t either.”

Although Paolo worked exclusively with Marvel for “over a decade,” he has since “worked for every major publisher creating covers, posters and comics.” Currently, he is working on a poster for a movie called Mute and completing some Planet of the Apes covers. In addition, he has an issue of the comic Hellboy and the B.P.R.D (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) coming out in March, 2018.

Over the years, Paolo has used different brushes for both his work at Marvel and for his own original artwork, but some of his favorites are Silver Brush Black Velvet®, Golden Natural® and Renaissance® brush series.

http://www.PaoloRivera.com

https://www.twitter.com/PaoloMRivera

https://www.instagram.com/paolomrivera/

https://www.facebook.com/Paolo.Rivera.Art

January 2018 Featured Artist of the Month

 

Mark Kohler is a talented watercolor artist from Texas whose work is inspired by the nomadic animal handlers of Gaucho culture in South America, cowboys of the American Southwest and rodeos in Mexico known as the “Charreada.” Many of Mark’s best friends are cowboys and he “had a natural subject available” whose stories he is excited to tell through art.

Although, Mark is fortunate to have his subject close at hand, he is no stranger to traveling in order to capture a moment. His favorite places that he has gone to study cowboys are the Chino Valley of northern Arizona and Battle Mountain, Nevada. Internationally, his favorite destination has been Argentina where Gaucho culture reigns supreme.

Working from photographs he has taken on location, Mark effortlessly translates the strength, energy and regality of men and women on horseback. He is drawn to cowboy culture because it, “still represents a story that I want to tell: Cowboy and horse, both fighting for that last bit of freedom; ranch dogs and ranch horses who have none of the pedigree and all of the heart and the solid friendships of the people I’ve come to know and respect.”

When it comes to the artist brush he’s using, Mark says he has been painting with Silver Brush Black Velvet® for “around 15 years” because they remain pointed whereas other brand’s watercolor brushes become floppy and rounded at the tip. He uses multiple sizes of the rounds for both miniature and life size paintings.

Mark teaches one annual workshop in different locations around the U.S. and provides private, one-on-one lessons in his studio. He advises that any artists who wants to follow their passion should “out-work the competition” because “repetition is the mother of skill.”

Learn more about Mark on his website:http://www.markkohlerstudio.com