"Connecticut Flower Farm"
 Like most 21st century artists, I find myself so often perusing the internet as a means of keeping up with the happenings of the art world today. Between social networks like Facebook (my socializing tool of choice), and the personal sites of most modern working-artists, I can conveniently see what everyone is up to with just a few clicks of my trusty "mouse". I really do love it.

 And why not? It's inspiring, educational, and yes even entertaining, all at the same time. In fact, I credit much of my “art-education” to the sites of artists that have made their work available for viewing over the years via the internet.

 I'm labeled as "self-taught" -which is certainly what seems to be the most befitting term for it- and, while first beginning to explore painting techniques, my main sources of information were the sites I visited just about every day. I spent untold hours each and every week just staring at the images of masterful works that literally glowed on the screen before me. Not being able to afford the more expensive teaching tools available at the time -books, DVDs, workshops, etc.- I made the most of these moments by going over every inch of each painting... despite the pixelated images, poor color reproduction, or the eye discomfort that comes from sitting in front of a monitor for extended periods of time.

 While exploring the virtual-art-universe in the only way that I could at the time, I found just one thing to be inadequate: Very few, if any, detailed *close-ups* of the artworks were ever posted for public viewing. (This isn't a criticism of course - how were the artists to know that a young kid in a small town was desperately searching for the information necessary to grow as quickly and efficiently as possible [albeit by whatever means were the least expensive]?) I could fairly clearly discern the drawing, color temperature, edges, and composition, of each piece in their respective photographs, but the actual brushwork escaped me. I had no way of knowing how the "look" of the painting that was on screen before me was actually achieved.

 So, I struggled along, having some successes, and even more failures, until I was ultimately able to see in person the works that I had admired so much. Things truly became clear to me after this point. Seeing paintings by the likes of my now friends, Mr. Richard (Schmid) and Miss Nancy (Guzik), and others, for the first time, was undoubtedly one of the most inspiring experiences of my artistic life, and I felt as though I had read an entire library of books shortly afterward. And the best part: Being able to get as close as possible! I could literally see each brush-stroke, and each one told me how the piece was painted! 

 Here is a selection of "close-ups" of some recent works that I'd like to share with whoever takes the time to read this. I do hope you'll take the time in fact, not just to admire, but also study, dissect, and mentally absorb them. There's an unlimited number of ways to apply paint, onto whatever surface you chose (I prefer canvas), and I love to think that I can still learn with each stroke...

Creating Texture


I LOVE the scratchy surface that was created here, behind the teacup. The canvas itself is quite smooth, so I had to employ several techniques to achieve this impressionistic look.
 First of all, I applied my block-in colors -thinned with medium- and loosely wiped off the excess with a stiff paper-towel. This created a variety of tones, even with minimal color on the canvas (only two or three colors initially). Many of those scratches and striations created by the paper-towel were left in the finished product. 
 On top of that block-in -as I was delving into thicker paint and more detailed brushwork- I was able to maintain the original "looseness" by using a brush that was very well-worn and frayed. I like some of my brushes kept that way because they create texture when applying paint and force me to push the paint around in a way that doesn't look too "controlled". In some instances I even rolled the brush hairs up and down the canvas surface!

 Applying the Paint Thickly


Wow! There's so much going on in these detail-shots of a recent self-portrait. First, notice that even though most of the paint is applied thickly, I still manage to keep my shadows transparent-looking. I do this with a very stiff bristle brush that makes striations with each stroke, and therefore gives the appearance of transparency - even where the paint is opaque.
 Second, the lightest regions are also the thickest, and tend to draw the most attention. Even if most of the painting is going to be thickly painted, I usually save my thickest brushstrokes for those lighter areas, and complete those strokes last. I use a softer brush, typically a mongoose, because they'll hold and transfer larger amounts of paint at a time.
 Lastly, notice the edge-work. The softened edges are created by simply taking a brush and dragging one color into the next, in as few strokes as possible. I don't mess with what are often labeled "blending-brushes", because over-blending can cause the paint to become "over-worked" looking and I'll lose the effect I was reaching for in the first place.

Applying the Paint Thinly


In the example above (a detail shot of "Roses and Hydrangeas"), you can see areas of the painting -particularly in the leaves- where a single color is applied thinly. By thinning the paint and quickly applying it in a back-and-forth motion, I can achieve the look of several colors even though only one has actually been spread on. This is because the thinner the paint, the more transparent it will appear, and as I go back-and-forth with my brush (sort of like coloring with crayons - my favorite!) some areas are covered more than once and receive more paint, therefore appearing darker. Also the thinner paint tends to give the impression of being warmer, so I can get a variety of subtle temperature changes with a single color - depending on how much of the canvas is showing through.

Dry-Brush


 I love the dry-brush technique, and often wonder why I don't use it more often in my paintings- especially in fabric. It's done by taking a brush (usually something stiff, such as bristle) that's completely dry (there's a surprise) -void of any solvent or liquid of any kind- dipping it into the paint, and applying it by dragging the brush across the canvas, usually in just a few strokes (so as not to completely cover the canvas surface). This causes the paint to adhere to the highest points of the canvas-weave, leaving the deeper grooves untouched, and accentuating the natural texture. In the image above, you can clearly see an example of the dry-brush technique in the multicolored fabric beneath the yellow crayon.

Additional examples…

As I've said, there are so many more ways to apply paint -and I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to not knowing them all- but I hope this will give you a good foundation for your own endeavors. And please don't stop with just what you've read here... visit museums, attend gallery openings, and take time to see your favorite paintings in person whenever you can. Don't just admire from afar, get up close and personal if possible. Each brushstroke holds a key to understanding how every painting was painted, and we can learn something from them all!

 Stay inspired!

 Your friend,
-Dan Keys

 (Detail) "Silver & Orchids"

 (Detail) "Dolls, Books, & Crayons"
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Be sure and visit Artists-on-Art.com to subscribe to what I feel is the most insightful and innovative digital art magazine available on the web today. It features timely and well written articles by some of the best known artists and collectors in the country, including Casey Baugh, Susan Lyon with Scott Burdick, Daniel Sprick, Libby Whipple, Carolyn Anderson, and more! Also look for my article "NO RULES".

 From the Artists-on-Art website...

Master Artists & connoisseurs share their ideas and techniques through in-depth, interactive articles.
No fluff. No Ads. Just great articles with video, high resolution images, step-by-steps, and other interactivity.

 A preview of my article...

About Artists on Art

Artists on Art magazine connects readers to master artists, their work, and the connoisseurs who embrace it. Readers enjoy a direct, thought-provoking, connection with today’s top artists; learning their techniques and hearing their ideas. Each issue contains at least ten robust articles richly illustrated with high-resolution photography, step-by-step guides, video, and interactivity. Our digital-only model combines the best of print with the power of the web, giving you constant access to your subscription from anywhere, on any internet-connected device.
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Look for my work in the October 2011 issue of American Art Collector Magazine! The feature is a preview of my upcoming show with West Wind Fine Art, in Cape Cod, opening on October 29Th with a still-life demo on the 30Th.

American Art Collector, Oct. issue

Check out www.westwindfineart.com soon for more info, and visit your local Barnes & Noble to purchase your copy of the magazine today!

-Daniel
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"The Contemplative Still-life"

DANIEL J. KEYS
October 24Th through 27Th, 2011


Artist's Reception:
Sunday, October 23
7 - 9 p.m.

Artist Demonstration:
Tuesday, October 5Th
7 - 9 p.m.

REGISTRATION FEE:
$750 (Salmagundi Club Members)
$800 (Non-members)

For more info, contact:
Chris Ivers @ christine_ivers@yahoo.com
Or (203) 235-1417

Salmagundi Club . 47 Fifth Avenue, New York City . (212) 255-7740 . salmagundi.org

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Pick up a copy of American Artist's special publication issue of

Step-by-Step Painting Guide, Spring 2011

Featuring art lessons from me, and many of my artist friends including...
Nancy Guzik
Michelle Dunaway
Lori Woodward
Jeremy Lipking
And more!

From the AA site:

"Introducing the Very Best of Step by Step Paint Instruction. The most comprehensive collection of art lessons has just arrived!"

Available through www.artistdaily.com, Barnes and Noble, and wherever fine art magazines are sold.
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PRE-PUBLICATION ONLY $65*
Offer Expires Dec. 31, 2010

Release Price is $85*, for a total savings of $20.
*Price Listed does not include shipping & handling costs.

Click here to order your DVD today!



Preview the DVD on youtube!

Review by producer Ralph Liliedahl
"I recently had the good fortune to film artist Daniel Keys as he painted several alla-prima oil demonstrations in my studio. Daniel is young, enthusiastic, energetic and extraordinarily talented. For those of you who not familiar with him, he was recently featured on the front cover of Art of the West along with a lengthy, associated article, and an outstanding article in Southwest Art. I'm sure that most of you know that these "western" magazines specialize in Western Art, so for them to feature Daniel's still life painting is a great compliment to the quality of his composition and painting ability and most unusual and out of the ordinary.

While Daniel's oil painting ability is already outstanding, he has been invited to study with Master Artist Richard Schmid on a regular basis. At the age of 24, this is sure to improve his, already, masterful skills in the coming years, including not only the beauty of his paintings but his skillful and articulate verbal explanations of his painting process.

Don't miss the chance to see Daniel paint this beautiful still-life and to learn his approach and execution methods. Although young in age, his command and knowledge of oil painting is way beyond his years and will bring you not only the pleasure of seeing him work, but an unusual depth of knowledge that he so willingly provides."


For more information about Daniel, please visit his website at: www.danielkeysfineart.com


-Ralph Liliedahl
Review Copyright 2010 by Ralph Liliedahl, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be used or published without the written permission of the author


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I recently had the privilege of flying out to Denver Colorado, to be with fellow artists Quang Ho, Kate Sammons, and Tony Hochstetler, for our group show, "Four Objectives", at Gallery1261. The show was a tremendous success, with many artworks selling, and we a great turnout for Quang's and my duel-demo.

Some guests admiring my recent works during the show.

A couple closely inspecting a masterpiece by Quang Ho.

Quang and me, during our duel-demo the day after the show's opening.
(Photo courtesy of artist Ken Elliott)

Gallery1261 is located in the heart of Downtown Denver, near museums, the public library, and a great little restaurant called "Palettes". Public art installments are within sight from almost every corner of this particular area.

The show will hang through October 9Th. For more information, please visit www.gallery1261.com
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Learning to See: Steps to Painting the Alla Prima Still Life

Location: Scottsdale Artist School

Nov 15-19, 2010

Meets 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
on Mon Tue Wed Th Fri

Tuition: $585.00
Level: All Levels
Status: Registration opens 8/5/10 9:00 AM MST

Each day, Keys will do a demonstration while discussing the skills necessary for creating beautiful still life paintings using "Alla Prima" methods. Following each morning's demo, the students will set up still life compositions of their own, and paint them from life, while receiving one-on-one instruction. During this extensive course, the students will receive insight into learning to see correctly, and develop an adeptness in the following areas: Composition, drawing, color, value, and edges.

For more information please visit the school's site www.scottsdaleartschool.org
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Three-day Still-life Workshop
In Vermont This Autumn
~
October 20th - 22nd


"Antique Clock with Pumpkins"
2009
16" x 20" Oil on linen


~Autumn Inspiration: Still-lifes that reflect the season in oil~


Register for another three-day painting experience, in Putney Vermont this October!

For three full days this Autumn,
I'll once again be providing painting demonstrations each day (completed from start to finish), followed by sessions of instruction and critique as students are given opportunity to paint from life.

Participants in this workshop will again explore:
Composition: Prepositioning the subjects, to create interest in the still life
Drawing: The importance of a sound start
Color: Giving attention to temperature
Value: Making the most of limits
Edges: Creating movement in the still life

The Workshop will be held each day in the "Village Arts Barn": A large and conveniently located building in Putney Vermont, where the well known painting group, "The Putney Painters", meet.

Class is limited!

Cost is $350 per participant
A materials list, along with a list of recommended hotel accommodations, will be provided post signing up. (students are required to bring their own painting materials, and make hotel reservations.)

For more information, and to register, contact me directly at:
danieljkeys@danielkeysfineart.com

Don't miss your opportunity to personally paint with me this Autumn, and build the necessary skills for a better painting experience!
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Two books recently recommended to me by my artist friends, Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik:

The Artist's Guide to Selecting Colors

This is an excellent book about popular artists' paints on the market today: a guide to the selection of a suitable palette in all mediums - watercolors, oil paints, acrylics, gouache or alkyds. It will enable you to identify the good, the indifferent and the bad. It also outlines the characteristics and temperaments of each color and lists the suitable as well as the unsuitable pigments that you will come across.

Atlas of the Human Anatomy for the Artist

In an effort to improve my figure painting skills, I've decided to start with the practice of drawing and studying the human anatomy. This book - recommended by Nancy - is designed to aid the artist in the execution of correct proportional drawing of the human body, and also gives an in-depth look at bones, muscles, and basic human-body structure.
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This is a recent work to come out of my studio, and has just sold through Greenhouse Gallery.

"Teacup with Blossoms"
2010
16" x 12" Oil on linen
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Photos of my recent two-person show - and painting demo - at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio.

The show was a tremendous success, and I happily met many of my fans and art collectors.

(Note: all photos courtesy of Jason Smith, and Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art)

Beginning the demo while answering questions.

Fellow Artist - Cesar Santos.

Speaking with collectors during the evening reception.

Cesar, with collectors.

A great turn out for the afternoon demo.

Wrapping up.
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"Yellow Squash with Turnips"
2010
11" x 14" Oil on linen

"Wild Flowers"
2010
6" x 6" Oil on linen


"Pumpkins"
2009
24" x 36" Oil on linen


"White Azaleas with Pansies"
2010
8" x 8" Oil on linen


"Antique Chinese Jar"
2010
36" x 18" Oil on linen


These and additional works will be exhibited as part of my two-person show at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
March 2ND through 19Th
2010

www.greenhousegallery.com
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Look for the March/April issue of Art of the West magazine at your local Barnes and Noble, or Borders bookstores, with my painting "Summer Still Life on it's cover (originally supposed to feature "Hydrangeas and Peaches").

The author, Vicky Stavig, did a marvelous job with the article, and the spread features eight of my recent works.
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Three-day Still Life Workshop
In Vermont this Spring
~
May 12Th - 14Th

"White Pumpkin with Vines" 2009

~ Exploring the Still Life in Oil~

Sign up for this three-day painting experience, in Putney Vermont!

For each of the full three days,
I'll be providing painting demonstrations (completed from start to finish), followed by sessions of instruction and critique as students are given opportunity to paint from life.

Participants in this workshop will explore:

Composition: Prepositioning the subjects, to create interest in the still life
Drawing: The importance of a sound start
Color: Giving attention to temperature
Value: Making the most of limits
Edges: Creating movement in the still life

The Workshop will be held each day in the "Village Arts Barn": A large and conveniently located building in Putney Vermont, where the well known painting group, "The Putney Painters", meet.

Class is limited to only fourteen students!

Cost is $350 per participant
A materials list, along with a list of recommended hotel accommodations, will be provided post signing up. (students are required to bring their own painting materials, and make hotel reservations.)

For more information, and to register, contact me directly at:
danieljkeys@danielkeysfineart.com

Don't miss your opportunity to personally paint with me this year, and build the necessary skills for a better painting experience!
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Look for my work in - and on the cover of - the March/April 2010 issue of Art of the West Magazine!

"Hydrangeas and Peaches" 2009

The editors of Art of the West have selected eight of my painting's images to correspond with a feature article about me, and an additional work - "Hydrangeas and Peaches" - to grace the issue's cover.

Look for the magazine at your local bookstore soon!

-DK
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"Willow Teacup & Fruit"
2009
10" x 20" Oil on linen

"Azaleas"
2009
24" x 12" Oil on linen
"Harvest Still Life"
2009
24" x 24" Oil on linen

"Petunias"
2009
8" x 10" Oil on linen
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Highlights from my experience at American Artist's first annual "Weekend With the Masters" conference.









Quang Ho during a morning workshop










Frank Serrano, Nancy Guzik, and Myself goofing around

Portrait demo by Jeremy Lipking










Quang Ho demonstrating during a lecture

Richard Schmid and Me 2009

To view more photos: Visit my Facebook page and send a friend request... Daniel's Facebook
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