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Bedford, NH

Art supply subscription box stuffed full of awesome by artists for artists, kids and adults. Available to help you get back into art or to give as a creative gift.


Filtering by Tag: painting

Mixing your paints to discover exciting new colors

Tony Luongo


These are some of the awesome supplies that our subscribers received in their November 2017 box. If you are new to painting or have some new colors it might be a good idea to do some mixing in order to see what color combinations are possible. Here I used a scrap piece of cardboard with my Gamblin 1980 oil paints and Royal and Langnickel Zen brush.

I started with colors straight from the tubes in the three corners. I then took some of the Titanium White and Transparent Red Oxide and mixed a color in the middle of the two. I repeated this with Titanium White and Torrit Grey and then again with the Transparent Red Oxide and Torrit Grey.

I continued mixing colors until the triangle was complete. My goal for this exercise was to get an idea of what colors were possible not to make a smooth even gradient. When I mixed the color midway between the Transparent Red Oxide and Torrit Grey I add two levels of white to learn what values that warm grey would make.

This is a fun little exercise that gets you pushing around paint without much planning. I was surprised how orange the middle color between the Transparent Red Oxide and Titanium White was. Which was not planned but worked out well for my alla prima painting demo of the pumpkin. (You can watch that full length demo on our YouTube channel.) I frequently do this when creating color combinations for the monthly boxes and when we do a three color challenge. Like I did in the gouache painting demo of an avocado.

What tricks do you have for learning about your new colors?

A Father’s Day Gift

Tony Luongo

“What do you want to do Dad?” cheered our three little kiddos as I was still lying in bed sleeping, “It’s Father’s day.”

“Sllllleeeeeeep.” I tiredly bellowed as the wake up crew jumped on me with a big group hug. “How about we just hang out and play in the yard while I paint a little?”

“Yeah”, they cheered as the sound of six pitter-pattering little feet ran off to start to get dressed.

“You know it’s only 5:30 right?” my wife said with a smirk, as she looked over at me.

Much later, we got ready to finally go outside. I had my portable easel and art supplies ready to go. I always struggle with painting en plein air (a French expression which means ‘in the open air”). First it’s difficult. Secondly it’s sometimes hard to find a spot. One of the challenges I have with finding a scene to paint it finding what I’m looking for. Duh. I’ll explain. What I mean is, in my head I want a scene that has depth and a great distance, so a foreground, a few layers of middle ground and then a distant background and sky. I want to try to capture the space and atmospheric perspective in my painting. (How when things get farther away from you they get cooler, lighter and have less contrast, for example.) Third, bugs. I love being outside but usually I’m running or biking. Just moving around constantly. Bugs, bug me.

"Father's Day 2012" Oil on panel 6" x 6" by Tony Luongo

"Father's Day 2012" Oil on panel 6" x 6" by Tony Luongo

But on this beautiful sunny morning in mid-June three years ago, I was outside painting while my wife and kids played in the yard. I remember sitting under our grove of 17 white birch trees as a gentle summer breeze kept blowing my painting panel right off my easel. It didn’t really but thankfully it did kept the bugs away.

As I painted I really appreciated what a wonderful Father’s Day gift I was blessed with. I get to paint. In my own yard. With my wonderful family. I’m not sure if I loved the painting as much as my kiddos did. But I know I loved it when they came over to me, each one at different times, looked at what I was doing and told me great job Daddy. I love it.

I’m an artist so I’m excited about new art supplies but what I love more and what I think all dads out there do to, is spending quality time with their kiddos, young or old, and I know if you spend some quiet time together  under your own grove of trees, you’ll be amazed at what you create. Memories that you’ll never forget!

Off the Easel-Latest Painting

Tony Luongo

“Near or Far” 48”x36” Acrylic on canvas

“Near or Far” 48”x36” Acrylic on canvas

I had been looking at the work of artist-illustrator Gerard DuBois. His illustrations are amazing. Besides the obvious awesomeness of his problem solving and ideas, and I really enjoy the texture in his work.

I had this large canvas I had just bought and was going to try to incorporate elements of his  style especially the texture. I’ve done a few painting of stylized trees and they’ve sold. So I decided to start with that in mind and go from there. If, as I went on this journey the tree no longer worked then it would be abandoned and I would go with what came to me.

I wanted subtle color, flat texture, which I achieved initially, but then I needed this painting to say something. What should I say? What should it say? I’ve been working on a series of paintings featuring stylized trees, with an object painted more realistically (ie: “Cardinal” 40”x30” oil and acrylic on canvas).

“Cardinal” 40”x30” oil and acrylic on canvas

“Cardinal” 40”x30” oil and acrylic on canvas

My kiddos built little wooden birdhouses and we had them hanging on a branch in the yard over the winter. When we came out to see them in the spring the snow and wind had taken its toll. One of the houses had crash down to the earth below and cracked it’s painted Crayola blue roof. This was on my mind as I was working so I added a realistic depiction of that birdhouse. With it contrasting rendering with the flat, textured, graphic, tree, sky and ground I feel it adds an interesting narrative.

The visual tension created by the birdhouse “resting” on the horizon is to make the viewer ask themselves, is the birdhouse attached to the tree or is it off in the distance resting on the horizon nowhere near the tree? If it is attached to the tree, is it hanging from the strong branch or the tiny twig just waiting to break?

Maybe this tree represents a family tree, or a family. Maybe the house symbolizes a home or someone’s heart. How close is their home to their immediate family in relationship to their extended family. Are they close? Is their home and family connected or are separated by miles of bitterness, resentment or just distance.

A Portrait of a Portrait

Tony Luongo

Each are 12"x16" Acrylic on Illustration board

Each are 12"x16" Acrylic on Illustration board

Portraits that I create are not photos that I then take into Photoshop and apply a filter, then color it in with paint on a canvas. In order to create these works of art, that you will smile at every time you walk by, I have spent decades practicing and hours and hours working in my studio. Sometimes fighting with demons of doubt. "I can’t do this." "Why do I think I can?" Then all of a sudden, through perseverance, faith and hard work, I make a mark and shivers run through my body. I’ve done it.

11"x14" Charcoal on paper

11"x14" Charcoal on paper

This reminds me of a great little story I heard about Pablo Picasso. I'm not sure if it true or just a fun little tale.

A woman came up to him at a park while he was sitting on a bench sketching. She was so excited.

“You’re him. You're Pablo Picasso.”

He humbly nodded.

           “Would you draw a portrait of me,” she asked him. “I’m such a huge fan and would be so honored.”

He said OK and she sat down. He then got his charcoal and paper and just looked at her. For 20 minutes he just stared at her without touching his supplies. Then as if snapping out of a trance he grabbed his charcoal made one careful gesture on his paper and proclaimed he had finished. The lady looked at it and was amazed. She was so amazed.

“It looks just like me. You captured my very soul. I love it. How much do I owe you?”

“That will be $5000.”

“What?”, she exclaimed in astonishment. “It only took you 20 minutes.”

“No ma'am, It’s taken years of practicing to be able to make that mark.”