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

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

Version I / Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches  $5800 unramed
Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT
February 2018:
Reworking a painting by using a a couple of strategies to create improvements.
Here I took a perfectly good oil and reworked it to create a more subtle and elegant effect.

Written in August 2017:
I began this oil (Version I) as a demo for the workshop that Casey Klahn and I put on in 2017. 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.

Forward to Feb 2018:
After seeing in the studio for a time, I decided that I wanted the oil to have more simplicity and a softer light. Trees were eliminated and a softer light emanates throughout the painting. Some of the colors were grayed down a bit and it actually enhanced the effect of the glow. It was a surprising outcome but it was just the effect I was looking for. Greys are very important at times!

As the painting progressed, a path began to form. It is nice to have it there, pointing the way to more good things to come.

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   $5800 unframed
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 "



New Work: Glittering Forest, oil on canvas, 48 x 36

Glittering Forest, oil on canvas, 48 x 36  $5800 unframed
Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

I can assure you, it took a lot of sessions in the studio before any glittering appeared in this oil. The difficult part about painting is to keep it fresh (if that is the goal) and the more time spent on the canvas, the easier it is to loose the spontaneous look. It also increases the odds of any number of bad things happening.

This painting went through 5 or 6 big changes and once the composition came together, I declared it finished, photographed it and declared it a good day.

When I returned to the studio the next morning, it was apparent that something had been lost along the way. As it often happens, I think my just-finished oils are really good until the next day.

That's OK, because it's an opportunity to take the painting further, and I jumped right in with much brighter colors. Since I was painting over a slightly duller background, those brights began to sing! Additional colors were added to the mix and while I was putting on the last strokes, the title came to me, Glittering Forest!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Work: Green Dream II oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Green Dream II oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches  $8950 framed

Sometime you just want to push the color! This is a larger version of the 24 x 24 oil on panel that was created from a 'mistake.' I really liked the smaller version and it encouraged me to start a larger version and take the greens further.  More about the creation of the smaller oil here

Green Dream, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches  $2450 framed

The larger oil is a composition where the color comes first. The light and shadows are unnaturally placed to create more contrast and intensity. Some of the brights are too bright and the shade doesn't always follow the usual contours, given the so-called light source, but it is all part of the theatre.

The entire effect is a bit surreal and intense. As I was painting this it was a bit like throwing on more logs to make a brighter fire. Surprisingly, there is a balance in this but the solution came slowly, over a number of painting sessions. At first the greens and yellows were just too bright, but I didn't want to sacrifice their power. The stand of trees was a bit chaotic as well, so other colors and shapes were added for support: light blues, lavenders, cobalts and the orange foliage.

Finally, everything came together to create the right chord, not one you hear everyday, but it is made to be played loud!