Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Grateful Notices: All the Reds In, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

All the Reds In, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

I just love working with red paint. Red on red. Red on orange, Red on blue...on and on. With this work the reds dictated the show. Here is a line of trees bounded by yellow at the bottom and sky at the top, but it is all about how the reds will flow through the scene in a believable way.

The trees went through a lot of changes - it looks simple now, but the trees and light required considerable rearranging and tuning. Once those blues and pinks were added, the composition came together gracefully and powerfully.

My grateful thanks to the private collector that purchased this for her home.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Grateful Notices: Sunset over the Hilltop oil on canvas, 36 x 72 inches

Sunset over the Hilltop  oil on canvas, 36  72 inches  sold, private collection

Large canvases allow you a lot of room to work and explore. This canvas was all about that sun and how the light and color changes across this 6 foot space.

Some of the original sketch work is visible in the sky. Since there was a lot of area to cover, I used a number of arbitrary colors for the sky just to keep it interesting. Then I left it alone and kept working on the rest of the oil, purposely avoiding the impulse to add something to the sky in the early stages.

Once the rest of the painting evolved, the sky just got better all by itself. Last, I concentrated on creating more light and glow over the entire surface.

Monday, October 9, 2017

New Work: Red Progression, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

Red Progression, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches  $13250 framed
Saks Galleries, Denver, CO

3 minute video of this work with Ken narrating

My first desire when beginning this oil was to create a forest scene that didn't have a high finish. That is, the brushstrokes and even the physical surface of the oil would be rough. Forests are not even, polished places and I wanted this large oil to convey a bit of that experience.

In the first session when I applied all the variations of reds and oranges, it wasn't satisfactory to me. The plan was to put in a lot of complexity right away, creating variables in color but sticking to the idea of a single sweep of red trees and make it believable. I did that, and I was underwhelmed.

Peeking above the trees was an outline of far blue hills and it was lacking as well. I was too predictable. Everyday is not a happy one in the studio, but I did step up and block in a 4 x 6 foot oil, a worthy accomplishment, so I left it at that.

Looking back, what did I expect? That I would have created a really nice oil in one session?

In the second session I came back fresh and simply thought about what the painting needed: Contrast.

Once the dark tree trunks went in, the painting came to life. The background colors began to sing and suddenly the painting was calling out for improvements in a number of places. I drastically cut back the amount of the blue hill that was visible and in turn, it gave the trees more prominence.

Over the next few sessions, it was a pleasure to attend to those needs and take the oil to new places. A number of 'mistakes' were made - attempts that hit a dead end, but those moves opened up new opportunities for other, better solutions.

It all came down to making a good start and continuing forward in a way that would not diminish the power and spontaneity that existed at the beginning. I was committed to this single line of trees without gaps or interruptions. This idea created a series of  difficult problems across a 6 foot surface, so a lot of small strategies came into play.

A considerable number of changes were made along the way but always with the idea of creating a large and compelling forest presence that is interesting across the entire canvas.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

To benefit the Breast Cancer Research Research Foundation

Corals Emerging
From an original pastel: Limited edition giclee in three sizes and prices:
17 x 12 5/8 inches $300. 23 x 17 $575. 27 1/2 x 20 1/2, $790.
Total edition of 195, plus 15 artist proofs.

The Artful Home online gallery is offering a large number of pink-themed artworks with 15% of proceeds going to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Research Foundation.

This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase artwords from a large number of artists and support breast cancer research. Thank you, Artful Home for making this possible.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Making it Fine Art Workshop: September 2017, Denver, CO

We had a fabulous Making it Fine Art Workshop where we launched new directions, had artistic thrills, great conversations and new friends were made! Thank you all for coming and I’m very appreciative that you took these photos, Maureen.
Some of the canvases begun during the Workshop

Art critique
Art critique

Art demo on a work in progress, Red Progression, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

To benefit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Houston

Ken Elliott  Afterglow
Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, $4400 framed
Donated to the Relief Fund website      Contact Arden's Gallery, Houston

Recently I noticed a trend in almost every cloudscape I paint. Rather than paint the perfect, puffy-white clouds, I opt for the darker ones. The darker clouds have more color and variation, giving more opportunities for a colorist painter.

I spent half of my life in Houston and now live in a Colorado landscape that is depicted here. Everyday I see the long lines of foothills with the cloud patterns in constant movement above the landscape.

The dark clouds in my work always have a counterpoint, a source of light. I realized that I am painting hope in these scenes. Although the cloud form is overpowering, it is a necessary part of the scene. Without that added drama, the soft glow in the landscape would look ordinary and uninteresting.

In the end, is the light, the hope that illuminates the scene and brings it beauty.

Thanks to the Relief Fund for the opportunity to give something back to my dear home town.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grateful Notices: Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48

Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48 private collection

Occasionally there is a canvas that never makes it to competition. Soft Sunset was one of those pieces, continually evolving, presenting more problems and demanding a good finish.

I have a few of these problem works currently stacked in the studio, patiently waiting for the last brushstrokes to pull it all together. 

This canvas was started at least three years ago and for whatever reason, I found the solution last week. The painting was too bright with a number of colors competing for attention, keeping it out of balance.

I made a big move by adding grays to almost every part of the canvas, allowing just a bit of the original, brighter colors to gleam through. After that, it was a matter of some color and contrast adjustments, a pleasant task.

Perhaps this same strategy will work on some of the other old canvases.....

My sincere thanks to the collector that purchased this for her home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grateful Notices: Saccades I and VI, oils on panels, 24 x 24 inches

Saccades I   24 x 24 inches    Sold by Saks Galleries, Denver  private collection

Saccades VI   24 x 24 inches    Sold by Saks Galleries, Denver  private collection
It is always a thrill for your gallery to call and let you know that a painting has sold... even more when you find out that the client has inquired about a second work as a possible pair.

When your artworks are selling around the country, artists don't always have the pleasure of meeting with their collectors. Happily, I delivered the second oil to the clients home and we spent the evening getting to know each other with laughs and insights.

After looking at different locations for the oils, their original idea of the dining room was the best. It's always tricky to hang two works side by side perfectly so I was happy to have the husbands help. I should take him along next time.

What a delightful evening! Many thanks to the fascinating couple that purchased these works and again to Saks Galleries for their wonderful support.

More information about the Saccades Series of oils

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Work: Bright Patterns, oil on canvas, 48 x 60

Bright Patterns, oil on canvas, 48 x 60  $10959 framed

At it's essence, this oil is a simple composition but with a lot of complexity. There are layers of leaves  in essentially two colors: variations of red-orange and green. The dark band helps to intensify the foliage and the sky coming though creates a delicate counterpoint.

To further accentuate the diaphanous foliage, the foreground complexity is kept to a minimum, even substituting what would usually be dark shadows for light lavender passages in the middle left

There is a gentle rhythm and flow as the short grasses move across the bottom of the canvas. They set up the tree and leaf patterns as they move upward and burst out a bit like fireworks.

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Work: Contrasts on the Lake, oil on canvas, 36 x 48

Contrasts on the Lake oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches  Framed $8450.

I had this very basic idea of light moving from right to left across two lines of trees along a lake. Once that was painted in I felt pretty good about it. Later that evening I was showing it to another artist online and it hit me that I didn't fully pull it off.

In the course of working on these canvases that is often the case when viewing them later. Improvements can often be made and I was a bit excited about figuring out how. My plan was to make the front line of trees more distinctive than the back row and to add more contrast in the sky in order to heighten the effect of the brightest trees on the right.

First things first - more contrast, so I loaded up some dark purple and quickly brushed it in along the top of the trees. It immediately changed everything! Suddenly the painting had a lot more power and drama.

The second move was a subtle but important one, adding the vertical trees along the front tree line. Now the painting gained complexity but not at the expense of the original idea of simply moving light across the picture plane.

There is only a glancing reference of trees reflecting in the water, just enough to anchor them. Now I felt free to use the rest of the water below for whatever I felt was best for the composition. I wanted more light in the painting overall, so the addition of the modulated yellow band made that happen. I felt it was also important to run that yellow ribbon across the entire canvas. Because the yellow design is wider at the left, it gives the impression of a left to right movement and creates a counter point to the bright yellow trees at the far right. There is a nice complexity in this work but it is understated almost to the point of abstraction.

The trees hold their position as the light moves over them and they are further enhanced by the contrasting color and movements of the sky and water. What was once a wisp of an idea became a real place were the effects of nature can be observed and enjoyed.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Video: How to Make a Gunpowder Painting with the artist Cai Guo-Qiang

Video from the NY Times by Jason Schmidt

From sketch to explosion, a close look at the artist Cai Guo-Qiang's process.
Since 1984 he has created over 1,000 works with gunpowder.

New Work: Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches  $6950 framed

I began this oil as a demo for the workshop that Casey Klahn and I put on earlier this year. The dark trees in the upper left are just as they were painted in that day. For the demonstration, I wanted to offer the example of a very direct and strong start.

The background was also laid in with strong colors but as the painting progressed over the last few months, what remained was the strong lighting at the top as the the strong colors in the background were toned down, causing them to recede.

All of these moves were done to improve the painting rather than create a more realistic scene. This is what makes painting enjoyable for me - trying to get more out of the artwork with a variety of strategies.

During the last painting session today the lighter areas began to take the lead. I made the sky brighter and insured that the glow travelled down into the background. Once more light and shadow variations were added to the grasses below, the entire painting fell into place. After a lot of patient trials, this forest came to life with color, atmosphere and in a somewhat abstract way.

I really like those original dark trees with their high contrast and the motion they give to this work.

More information about my Workshops

Monday, August 14, 2017

Video: Actor Jim Carrey: I Needed Color

In this 6 minute video, Jim Carrey he discusses much and his works are very revealing. It's always interesting to hear artist's motivations.

From the video:
"What you do in life chooses you. You can choose not to do it. You can choose to do something safer.'"

For additional information regarding Jim's art please visit:
For all other inquiries email

Monday, August 7, 2017

Newsletter: August 2017

Ken Elliott's Art Newsletter, August 2017
View this email in your browser

August News:

For whatever the reason, color has been a focus of expresson this month. Here is a studio photo of some of the oils currently in progress. I discussed the goings on in this blog entry.

Perhaps it's the new, red striped rug that is having an influence, or the bright August skies. All inspirations are welcome and I'll happily pass them on to you.

Note my next "
Making it Fine Art / Advanced Strategies" workshop coming up Sept 22-23 in my Castle Rock home. Details follow below.

New Works:

Red and Orange Merging
Oil on canvas, 48 x 48   $8950 framed
More about this work on my blog, For the Color

Green Dream II
Oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches   $8950 framed
More about this work on my blog, For the Color

Glittering Forest
Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches   $6750 framed
More about this work on my blog, For the Color

Currently Exhibiting:

Sunset in Orange and Pink, study
Oil on panel, 16 x 16    $1850. unframed
Arden's Gallery, Houston

Grateful Notices:

Corals Emerging
Pastel on sanded paper, 22 3/4 X 17
Collection, Mercy Hospital, Gurnee, IL
Also available as a limited edition giclee print

Workshops / Private Sessions:
Take your work to new heights. These workshops and private sessions will focus on strategies for making better paintings, going to new places in your work and making fine art.

Ken doing a demo at the Making it Fine Art Workshop in Kansas City
Denver, CO, 2017
Fri-Sat, Sept 22-23

Making it Fine Art / Advanced Strategies
2 1/2-Day Workshop with Ken Elliott
Complete info and register online
Workshop / flyer

Sat-Sun, 9am-4 pm
Sat evening after break, 4:30-6, Photoshop Tools
Open to artists in all media
$390 per person
Workshop Flyer  Contact Ken

This is a new, advanced version of Ken's Making it Fine Art Workshop. We will be going deeper into making better and more appealing artworks with a variety of strategies and with Photoshop insights made easy.

Art Workshop with Casey Klahn and Ken in Castle Rock, CO

A dual Workshop with Ken and Casey Klahn is tanatively scheduled for October 2017.

Contact Ken to learn more or to schedule a workshop in your area.  all workshop info

Great things happen in these Fine Art Classes with information that will last a lifetime.

Ken's work at the Denver International Airport

Should you find yourself at the Denver Airport, take the time to view my work and those of my gifted Expand artists / colleagues reproduced in the Main Terminal. You will see the images between the baggage claim areas and behind the car rental counters. This “Here to There” themed display was curated by the DIA Art and Culture Program. The airport desired more color in the main terminal spaces and happily, we were allowed to use it as our playground. Many thanks to my fellow artists and everyone that made this possible!
Our EXPAND artist group is comprised of five artists from the Denver metro area: Victoria EubanksJanice McDonaldCarol Ann WaughMary Williams and myself.


A Survey of Paintings and Prints at the PACE Center
with works in oils, pastels and monotypes. This exhibition catalog can be purchased online here.
30 color pages and text by the artist. $10 plus $4 postage.

Ken Elliott American Landscapescoffee table book:

Ken Elliott book, American Landscapes
This large coffee table book reprises 25 years of my works in oil, pastel, monotype, etching and collage.Large, coffee table hardback version, 11 x 13 inches, 94 color pages with essays. Book and a signed giclee print of the cover image: $150 or just order the book for $115.

Also available as an iBook / download on Apple devices for $9.99. You can preview the complete book and how to order your electronic or hardback versions from my website.
My Blog, For the Color

Want to follow along in my studio?
Come across some interesting art bits and intriguing posts from elsewhere? Check out my artist's blog: For the Color and on the right of the blog under Followers, click Join this Site. Right now you can view vintage videos of Renoir, Degas, a Piet Mondrian video montage, comments about my works and observations about museum artworks from some recent trips.

View my newest artworks:
This monthly newsletter is the best way to stay up to date with my new works and events. You can also follow me on Facebook and go more in depth with my blog, For the Color. To view the total of my works in all media and in all my galleries, go to

Thank you,

Contact Ken


Art Blog: For the Color

Sign up for this monthly

Image top:
Red and Orange Merging
Oil on canvas, 48 x 48
(cropped here)
American Art Collector Magazine:
"Elliott's canvases display the strikingly vivid modern hues in which he chooses to render his contemporary landscapes." 

Southwest Art Magazine:
Although his paintings loosely reference photographs and plein-air sketches, they refuse to exist within the confines of already-prescribed images.

Rather, they stand independent of any specific place or time, the fulfilled pursuits of the artist’s visual and intellectual explorations.

Elliott wields color boldly, creating sizzling, vibrant shapes that are at once kinetic and placid, grounded in unifying illumination, and focused compositions.

He has a fascination with line structure as well, believing that “edges empower colors.” 

Private Lessons:
I have really enjoyed giving private lessons over the years. It is casual, focused and fun.

There will be a big result in your approach to making fine art and clarity on your career strategies. Give me a call and we'll discuss what works best for you.

Lodging and transportation can be provided for the Castle Rock Workshops.

What they are Saying:

"Thank you so much for the wonderful, thought compelling workshop. You rekindled my love for making art. Your enthusiasm is contagious and felt throughout the room. You set up a stimulating environment that provided continuous visual images and your generosity in sharing those photos was much appreciated. I found you to be humorous, supportive and kind. I would recommend you as an instructor to anyone who would like to take their art to the next level."

"I can't thank you enough for coming to Boulder! Thank you for your clear eye, your hard work, your beautiful color and your careful feedback. I'm now a different Painter...maybe a different person?

I loved the weekend. And I can't wait until we get to soak up your love for the work, for Wolf Kahn, for COLOR -- yet again (note that I'm greedy). You are an amazing addition to our lives."

"Thank you so much for lighting up our lives and our paintings at this past weekend’s workshop! I loved hearing about your time with Wolf Kahn, your thoughts on painting, the beautiful demo, and of course the great feedback you provided us on our own paintings.

You really reignited my desire to paint freely. Thanks also for your generosity in sharing the numerous links.

I hope to spend another weekend painting with you sometime soon."

"Thank you for the workshop! It was a great two days. You are an amazing host and instructor, (two things that don’t always work together).

You pulled something from each of us and it was wonderful to be a part of it. Thanks to the moon and back,"

"Thank you Ken. It was a wonderment! I learned so much."

"I so enjoyed meeting you and being part of the workshop. You got me on fire!!!!!"
"Wow! My weekend of private lessons was fabulous! While I was there I stepped into a whole new world that my soul was calling for.

Wonderful conversations, a beautiful time with great art everywhere and artistic success!"

"It was a fabulous workshop! I know we all had a lot of fun and really enjoyed having you here. We would love to have you come back again next year!"

"Just wanted to thank you again for a very inspiring, informative, and fun workshop. I worked LARGE today!"
"Thank you for all your inspiration!"

"Thanks SO VERY MUCH, Ken, for such a fun, informative, and energetic workshop. Your enthusiasm is contagious. What a wonderful weekend!!"

"When I signed up for a painting workshop, who knew that it would be so much more.Thank you Ken. For your kindness, generosity of spirit, and sharing your knowledge and skill of painting with us.

Thank you to everyone for making our time together a magical weekend which will be cherished. Fortunately the universe provided me with what I needed, whether I knew it or not."

"Love the class, you are a great teacher!"
"I feel so enriched and on fire to paint big and glowing colors. If you ever get a chance to study with Ken Elliott, I highly recommend him. If you need help getting to his workshops just read his book Manifesting 123"
Francine "