Plein Air Holiday Show

Holiday Small Works Show in Plein Air

These little gems are either 10″ x 8″ and 12″ x 9″ they are all original plein air and or studio paintings. The paintings are done in oil on canvas and I am offering them for 200.00 a piece. If you have any questions about these paintings please contact me at


If you would like to see more of my paintings visit

Small works holiday show Plein Air Impressionist painting of Wood River by Evening Light Hailey Idaho by Fine artist Kevin McCain

Small works holiday show Plein Air Impressionist painting of Mountains in Pines Trees with Small Creek in Sun Valley Idaho by Fine artist Kevin McCain

Small works holiday show Plein Air Impressionist painting of Four Peak Mountains at sunset in Mesa Arizona by Fine artist Kevin McCain

Small Painting “Colorful Sublime”

Painting by Art K.R. McCain

 Title “Colorful Sublime”

Oil on Canvas

Size: 12″ x 4″

Price $200.00

Shipping and Handling 15.00


This painting was inspired by many of the sunsets I have painted on throughout the years. Set in Fall when the colors are warm and inviting.  I enjoyed the explosion of colors. This painting will make a wonderful addition to your collection. Oil on canvas stretched on wooden stretcher bars. The painting is original and one of a kind. This is painting is frameless (extra deep 1 1/2″ stretcher bars)  so painting ships unframed and is ready to hang. Your painting will be safely packaged shipped allow time for shipping.

**I only ship with the continental United States at this time.**

If you have any questions please contact me:

Small Painting “Lone Vigil

Lonesome Vigil

 Title “Lonesome Vigil”

Oil on Canvas

Size: 6″ x 6″

Price $130.00

Shipping and Handling 15.00


This painting was inspired by many of the mountain foothills I have painted on throughout the years. Set in Fall when the colors are warm and inviting.  I enjoyed the explosion of colors. This painting will make a wonderful addition to your collection. Oil on canvas stretched on wooden stretcher bars. The painting is original and one of a kind. This comes with the frame as shown and is ready to hang.Your painting will be safely packaged shipped allow time for shipping.

**I only ship with the continental United States at this time.**

If you have any questions please contact me:

How to Draw the Head – The Basics

The Fundamentals of a Head
Starting with the Classic method of Developing a
Portrait from the Egg shape.

Step 1 – We start with an oval or egg shape.

Generally the oval is about a 1/3 taller than it is wide. If you are having trouble with drawing ovals grab an egg from the refrigerator and quickly making some ovals. 20 to 40 will go a long way in helping you get more comfortable drawing the shape

Step 2 – Once we have drawn our oval we will cut the oval in half with a horizontal line.

This is the “eye line”. From the “eye line” to the bottom of the oval we will divide this space in half to mark where the “nose line” is located. From the “nose line” to the bottom of the oval we will divide this space in half once again to establish the “mouth line”. One very import note the mouth line is where the bottom lip will touch or close to it. View the illustration below to make this more clear.

Step 3 Head width

The width of the head is measured in “eye spaces”. The head width is generally 5 eye spaces wide along the “eye line” which should be the widest part of our oval. Let’s divide that into five eye spaces as seen below. Now using a center line will make things easier. For those who follow my newsletter I had an art tip on dividing a line of any length into five equal sections which you can use, but for the most part when I was a student we where taught to just eye ball it. Then using a ruler and or your thumb and pointed end of the pencil to measure and check each section to make sure the spaces were equal.

Step 4 – 3 Eye Spaces

If you remember one things please remember this. Eye spaces 2, 3, and 4 are always the same width. This is the two eyes and the space between your eyes sometimes referred to as the “third eye”. Eye spaces 1, 5 can vary depending on the person’s face how round or how thin they are and so forth.

Step 5 – The Eye Line Measurements are Key.

The five spaces help us locate all other measurement of the face.
Nose– drop straight lines from the side of eye space “3” to give you the width of the nose.
Corners of the Mouth. Drop line from approximately the middle of eye spaces “2” and “4” for the width of the mouth. Look at the illustration below. Remember the “Bottom of the Lip” touches the “Mouth Line”
Other Features
Ears – The Ears are in the space between the “nose line” and the “eye line”
Hair – Your hair grows off and from you skull so the illustration show the original oval or egg shape as a checked line and the hair line out and off the skull.
Neck – Use a cylinder for the neck. Now the neck can be dropped straight down from the ears if the person is a line backer or something. If it’s in too far from the jar it looks like a cartoon neck so somewhere between those extremes are where the neck will be.

Step 6 – Putting it all together.

This shows a very simple generic and simplified portrait using the proportions I talked about. Look where the simple nose falls or where the lips, ears and so forth are located. Next month will go through the steps of creating a portrait using these proportions we have discussed today.

December Savings Art Show

How-To: Collect Art

creamsicle butte final

What to Look for When Buying Art


When buying art as an investment, there are a few things to keep in mind.

We’ve all heard stories about people who collect art and have it appreciate significantly over the years. Like the two married postal workers who collected art over a lifetime, whose collection is now valued at tens of millions of dollars. This couple basically collected what they liked and in the end it paid off. Their buying wasn’t random this couple took a smart approach to buying original art. They collected from artists early in their career, who were professional artists. Therefore, they paid lower prices. These young artists ended up becoming serious names in the art world. So this couple bought artwork they liked from professionals and their artwork increased significantly in value.
Disclaimer *Always Collect what you Like*

The first thing about collecting artwork is collect what you love and what you want in your home. Never try to collect artwork with plans of is being purely an investment. It’s always a gamble. Also this is not an article for high end art investment. That involves art experts, ten of thousands of dollars(many times much more) and a lot of nerve. This article is for those people who want original artwork on their walls that also might grow in it’s value.  That begin said there are common traits among artworks that appreciate with time. Below are some things to look for when buying.

What to look for in Artwork

Here are just a few of the questions to ask yourself when buying artwork.

  • Is the Artwork Original?
  • Where do I go to buy?
  • What am I looking for?
  • What do I want to collect?
  • What will appreciate?
  • Edition size is that a factor?

Let’s discuss a strategy to use when buying artwork that will increase in value.

Collect from Professional Artists

Discovered artists are those with a professional career, then for whatever reason, their work becomes highlighted and the prices for their artwork takes off. Understand that artists who are “discovered” aren’t hobbyists selling their art for pennies on the dollar at the local craft fair. Collect from professional artists, not hobbyists, if you hope to have a return on your investment. With reputable artists you will be able to search on the internet. Establish that they have a career and have been working. Bottom line always buy artwork from professionals.

The Collectibility Factor

A good example of collectibility and artwork appreciating with time is the artist Maynard Dixon. Dixon was never an unknown artist. He was always a known, working professional recognized in circles on both the east and west coast. He passed away and his painting had appreciated though his lifetime modestly. However in the last 35 years, the prices for his paintings have gone through the roof and he has more recognition among general art collectors.

Quality equals Collectibility

Professional artists are your best bet to guarantee their work has quality that can be recognized in the future.The opportunity to buy art is everywhere over the last few decades: art fairs, on the Internet, etc. With so many opportunities to buy art, how do we know if an artist is a professional?

Tips for verifying if an artist is a professional:

  • Do an internet search. (Use your smart phone if you’re at a fair.) If it’s a professional artist, they should be mentioned in several places on the internet.
  • Ask if the artist has a website. If not, that could be a red flag.
  • Ask the artist about their career and what they’ve done. Many artists like to exaggerate their accomplishments. Try to verify online.
  • Ask the artist about gallery representation. Who carries his or her work?
  • Did the artist receive professional training to be an artist?

These questions can quickly establish a working career artist from a hobbyist.

Buy Originals Art or High-Value Prints

We hear from several sources we should buy original art, whether as a potential future investment or as part of a determination to live life fully. Original art is art that is one-of- a- kind or part of an edition of hand pulled fine art prints(woodcuts, linotypes, etchings and engravings).

Paintings are easier they are normally one of a kind. Sculptures and fine art hand pulled prints come in editions of varying numbers. When looking at artwork that is part of an edition to, the size of the print run does matter. You want limited, numbered print runs. Scarcity creates value. You see this on Antiques Roadshow or other auctions. You see schoolbooks from the 17th century brought in to be appraised. To the dismay of the owners, the books aren’t worth very much because there are so many of them available.

Age does not equal value. These are over 100 year old books that aren’t worth anything. Age doesn’t automatically increase an object’s value.

On the flip side, in auction you might see an early 20th century child’s toy in mint condition where there’s only two or three left and they’re worth thousands of dollars.

Scarcity creates value

When buying art that’s in an edition, you always want low numbered editions.  Print sizes of about 200. The lower the number of images in an edition, the more likely that image will hold value. An edition with 1 to 10 prints is more likely to hold value than 1 to 250. 1 to 20,000 has no value.  Remember the scarcity creates value principle: the less there are in existence, the more it is worth.

Remember it’s okay to buy prints with larger editions, but buy it because you like it, not because you expect it will have value.

Be aware of Giclées prints. These type of prints can be original artwork, limited edition runs of some value, worthless knockoffs, or mass produced posters. So buy these with the expectation of them being art you like not art that will appreciate with time.

Buy what you like

Always buy what you like. As with the stock market, you never know what’s going to happen to the value of your painting. There’s no guarantee of huge returns.

If you buy from a hobbyist because you love the artwork, that’s fine. Always buy because you like it. Just understand it likely won’t have any resell value. It’s just like buying travertine tiles and installing them in your house: you’re doing it because you like it but you won’t be able to pull it up and resell it.

It’s worth repeating: always buy what you like.

You get what you pay for.

When you’re dealing with a professional working artist, there is a minimum price point to look for. To run a business takes money; for operating expenses, materials cost, travel expenses, and all the other costs that go into creating custom work. A price of say $800 for an 18×24 is lowest you can expect to pay for a professional artist. . Less than that price range is most likely a hobbyist. You will have to spend more money if you want art that’s going to appreciate in value.

Art doesn’t appreciate over night

Remember it takes time for artwork to build in value. It won’t happen overnight. Like investments it is a long term venture. So use these tips we have discussed and you will be likely to have artwork that will appreciate in value and bring you lots of enjoyment.

Oil Painting: How to Buy the Right Colors

Why is Buying Oil Paints So Confusing

paints and pallette small

If you have ever had a to buy oil paints, gone to the art store and found yourself  staring at the paints wondering why so few have the same names for their paint colors. It’s a problem that has plagued the art world since they began manufacturing oil paint over 150 years ago. Companies are more interested in great sounding color names than accurate color descriptions. So let’s demystify some of the ambiguity.

Here are some ways of buying the correct colors

1. Every paint color  lists the pigment or pigments used to make that tube color(it’s required by law). Not only the pigment name is listed but also the color index number. So for instance I need to find a paint color Phalo Blue,  the problem is the manufacturer paint names for this color varies. Here are some of the common names across manufacturers : Thalo blue, Monestial Blue, Winsor Blue, Monastral Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phalo Blue,  Heliogen Blue, Intense Blue, Old Holland Blue, Rembrandt Blue. I however know the color  pigment name is Copper Thalocyanine  and that color index number is PB15 or PB16(either works but one is greener and the other slightly bluer). By looking at the pigment name or the color index number listed on the paint tubes you can be sure you have the right color no matter what.

Below I list some of the paint colors whose names vary the most between manufacturers

The paints that vary the most in terms of paint names are the following:

Thalo Blue – copper phthalocyanine – PB 15 or PB 16

Hansa Yellow Light – arylide yellow – PY 3

Hansa Yellow Medium – arylide yellow PY 74

Hansa Yellow Deep – arylide yellow PY 75

Thalo Green – copper phthalocyanine -PG7 or PG36

Thio Voilet – quinacridone  – PR122

Thalo Rose- quinacridone  – PV19

Dioxizine Purple- carbazole dioxazine – PV23

Be Aware of Color Hues

“Color Hues”- Cadmium, cobalts and Chromes are all paints made with metals. Many companies make paints that look similar to these colors they are less expensive but don’t mix the same as the real paints. These are named “hues” such as Cadmium Red Light Hue. These paints don’t actually contain any cadmiums, cobalts or chromes. Don’t buy the “hues” if you can avoid it. They are harder to control as a beginning or intermediate painter.

Metal Paints are Always named Accurately

The good news is the Classic metals paints are always named by their pigments names. So for example it will says it’s Cadmium Red Light or Cadmium Red Light Medium, Cobalt Blue or Chrome Yellow and so forth, you will know you are buying the actual metals based paints

Painting Techniques and Tips: It’s all About the Angle

Direct Painting and All Prima Painting Insights

When painting no matter how long you have done it it’s always best to remember the basics. Sometimes this doesn’t happen either because you are just learning and still figuring out exactly what to do or you have experience painting and aren’t giving it much thought. It’s the most basic of concepts and yet it has one of the greatest impacts on the look of your painting, it’s the angle you hold your brush in relation to the canvas. Using a paint brush at an angle close to 90 degrees to the canvas will cause the paint you apply to  mix with whatever paint is on the canvas or if there is already thick paint on the canvas then applying paint this way will carve into the layers of paint on the canvas. However when painting with a brush at an angle that is almost parallel to the canvas it will lay the paint onto the surface differently, spreading it on almost like butter on toast, when using this stroke on an area with thick paint layers this will lay down paint onto of the earlier layers of paint beneath. Varying the angle of your stroke somewhere between these two extremes will give you slightly different effects, somewhere between carving through the paint and spreading it over the paint beneath. Experiment with the possibilities and your control over your painting will increase dramatically.

Oil Painting, Extended Color Palette

Extended Color Palette

Sometimes More Is More

Painting with a Larger Palette

  As many of you who have read my blog or taken my classes know I normally encourage students to use a limited palette of colors. As you become a more advanced painter it’s good to learn to use a more extensive collection of colors. Here I have over 32 colors. I use more primary and secondary colors to fill the spaces between the primary and secondary colors.  I also use colors that have been lightened with white such as light yellow, light red or pink, light violet, light blues, light greens, and lightened orange. These colors will lean warmer or cooler versions of each primary and secondary color.  I lay the colors out chromatically or the the way they progress around the color wheel. I then layout a collection of earth tones followed by a collection of neutrals and white and black. By using a combination of more variations of hues(example yellower orange red, orange red, primary red, red violet, blue red violet I have five different variations of red), Tints(colors mixed with white), shades(darker colors mixed with either black or burnt umber example Paynes Gray is a dark grayed blue made from mixing Phalo blue with Burnt umber), grayed colors(colors with lowered intensity I use grays that lean red,blue,yellow,orange, green and violet and are very neutral. Mixing these with colors can be a quick way of lowering intensity), Browns( darkened yellows, reds and oranges these are great colors to warm dark color mixtures) these give me chances to use more sophisticated color mixing methods and create a wider range of colors.

  A wider range of colors is a good thing to help achieve those nuances of hue and chroma. The downside is you have more opportunities to put the wrong colors together which will destroy your color structure. A limited palette of colors helps to control the color structure. The reason is because most all of your mixed colors have combinations of all of the primary colors in their mixtures. Because each mixed color has a combination of the primary colors the is an immediate color harmony. You are also limiting your ability to mix many color that are artificial and will never be seen in nature like neon colors or colors and others. You want the added benefits of an unlimited color palette but not the downside of making too many color mistakes that will destroy your painting.   So how do you control your color structure and your color mixtures?

Answer: Use a “color unifying method” there are three common methods of controlling color mixtures. Use on of the three listed below.

A. Use a unifying color such as brown. The classic artists used this method all the time and still do today. With this method every mixture has a little brown in it. Say Burnt Umber, you would add this color to everyone of your color mixtures.

B. Use three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) in every color mixture.

C. Always mix two complimentary colors in every mixture (example primary color mixed with complimentary secondary color, or two complimentary tertiary colors.

Using these methods will help you from having your color mixtures from becoming a complete mess. You will need to pay special attention to you color relationships to keep them clear another words if your warm colors are in the shadows than make sure all your light families of colors are leaning to the cool side of the color wheel. This approaches will help you control your color mixtures and paintings.

Example of My Unlimited Color Palette

I use Pretested-Grumbacher, Gamblin, M Graham or Winsor Newton Paints. Here are my colors. I don’t always use all these colors but this is an example of my unlimited oil colors.


Naples Yellow(mixed, Cad yellow deep + white)

Cadmium Yellow Lemon

Cadmium Yellow Medium

Cadmium Yellow Deep

Indian Yellow

Yellow Ochre

Raw Sienna


Cadmium Orange

Orange Light( mixed, Cadmium Orange + White)

Burnt Umber


Light Pink(mixed Cad Red Light + White)

Cadmium Red Lt.

Cadmium Red Medium

Cadmium Red Deep

Alizarin Crimson

Thalo Rose

Burnt Sienna


Thalo Violet

Dioxine Purple

Light Purple(mixed, Dioxine Purple + White)


Cobalt Blue

Thalo Blue

French Ultramarine Blue

Light Blue Warm (mixed, Thalo Blue + White)

Light Blue Cool (mixed, Ultramarine Blue + White)

Paynes Gray


Green Light Cool(mixed, Phalo Green + white)

Green Light Warm (mixed, Sap Green + Cadmium Yellow Medium+ White)


Olive Green (mixed, Sap Green + Cadmium Orange)

Sap Green

Thalo Green


Mixed grays(whatever suits me at the time)

Other Colors

Titanium White

Ivory Black