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Spring Edition 2013

Paint My Photo


‘Snowdrops’ Photo by ChrissyM

PACKED WITH ARTICLES YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS... Congratulations to Roni Hennen, our winner of the January Monthly Challenge. Her winning painting, ‘Getting to Know You’, takes pride of place on our front cover.

Where Photographers and Artists Meet

Original reference photo provided by Gary Jones



Well, Here It Is... PaintMyPhoto’s Latest Newsletter A warm welcome to our latest PaintMyPhoto newsletter. There have been so many wonderful new reference photos and artworks created since our last edition! I would like to apologise to everyone for not being around on PaintMyPhoto as much as I'd like for the last few weeks. Unfortunately, work and personal commitments have been at the forefront, but I have still managed to find time to put together this 5th edition of our newsletter that I hope you will enjoy. Thank you everyone who has so kindly taken the time to contribute to the newsletter - it wouldn't exist without you! I never fail to be overwhelmed by the generosity and goodwill of PaintMyPhoto's members.

Dawn Sail to Hydra

I'm sure you will also join me in extending a hearty 'thank you' to PaintMyPhoto’s volunteer administrators who keep the site running. An extra-special mention must go to Robyn Lovelock and Suzanne Wallick who work tirelessly helping out members, new and old, and also invest a great deal of time in making the monthly challenges the pleasure they are to participate in. Last, but not least, none of this would be possible without PaintMyPhoto's very own Roy Simmons, who founded the site to enable photographers to provide copyright-free reference photos for artists to use as inspiration. He cannot have realised the extraordinary impact it would have on so many lives. Thank you, Roy! Ruth Archer

Father and Son

If you aren't a member of PaintMyPhoto, then please have a read of this newsletter and see what you are missing. Are you are a photographer who would like to contribute good quality, copyright-free reference photos for our artists to use for inspiration? Are you an artist (a complete beginner or a professional, it really doesn't matter) who would benefit from being able to use copyright-free photos? Perhaps, like me, you are a bit of both! Membership is free and you will find the site a very

Someone’s at the Door

welcoming and friendly community.




Franklin is a very talented artist and photographer who lives in Belgium. Visit Franklins’ gallery on PMP to see more of his wonderful photos and paintings. Visit his PMP profile to contact him.


The Cello Woman Show

Perfect Photos of Provence & Stunning Street Scenes to Name but a Few... First and foremost, on behalf of all members, may closely attached to Provence in France for sure. Each we thank you for your generosity in sharing your time I go south, my camera gets hot. I can shoot 1000 wonderful photos! Can you tell us how you first pictures a week. discovered Paint My Photo? What type of camera and equipment do you I first started with IDAP in September 2010, use for the photographs that you post on following some tutorials, painting some basic Paint My Photo? things and subscribed to the watercolor challenge. November 2010 a photo (Fig still I’m using a bridge camera: a Sony DSClife) from PMP by Teresa Houston was HX1 with a 20x lens (extends from 28mm chosen as the painting challenge of the to 560mm). It has also a HD video recorder, month. Bix, leading this group, suggested to a 3 inch tilting LCD screen, up to 10 frames/ me to post it on PMP to show it to Teresa. I second and panoramic view shots. The best spent some time finding my way on PMP but finally compromise for a good price in my opinion. went through all difficulties and started to post my photos Sometimes I also use a tripod. as well. Nowadays, I enjoy every minute I spent on PMP, looking for photos which can suit my feelings of the What, if any, photography/image software do you moment to express myself artistically. I like to have a look use to manage your photos? at others contribution too, artwork and photos. What is your favourite photography subject?

I never rework my photos. Sometimes I crop a part of it, frame my paintings with a French shareware called Photofiltre and Picassa.

I take so many ... it’s difficult to single out a specific subject. Flowers, people, animals, village views, landscapes, lavender fields, streets ... but my heart is [3]


If you had to choose just one photograph that you have posted on Paint My Photo, which one would it be and why? The ceramic shop in Roussillon is one of my first but also a very successful photo on PMP. I really like this village and I can spend hours just hanging around to find something I would have missed the visit before. The village view of Saignon, is a very paintable village, my Egyptian girl, my daughter, the Provence balcony, the rolled petals (flower), my abstract reflections, the poor fellow I’ve met in Prague. Finally, we’d love to know a little more about you, do you have a personal website (or other online presence) where we can see more of your work?

Provence Balcony

I’m still working part time (4 days a week) as an Application and Development Engineer in the aluminum business. Being a sportsman since my early youth, I’ve played football (soccer), basketball, volley-ball, swimming and karate. Martial art has been an important part of my lifestyle. I’m a 4th Dan Shotokan and I’m still practicing 4 times a week, teaching kids and adults. Artistically, I’m still posting on IDAP and PMP as Franklin (subscribe and be my friend) but also on Facebook:

Egyptian Girl Now you know why I’m using a nickname as FranKlin. It is the first 4 letters of my first name and name. I’ve started painting watercolor in September 2010 and couldn’t stop since. Lot of my painting is referenced from a PMP photo and if I’m still painting, it’s due to the encouraging comments from some good friends on PMP. I’m sure they will recognize themselves. Some of them joined my group of friends on Facebook as well and I enjoy this because it makes our discussions even more familiar.

Carlyn - 1

You can see more of Franklin’s many wonderful photos and paintings by visiting his PaintMyPhoto gallery:

Winter Scene

Quartier Des Usines


Old Barn


The Poor Fellow

Abstract Reflection 1

Small Street (2)

Franklin’s Choice ‘Rousillon Provence’

Martial Art

Bar in Antwerp

Rolled Petals


Enter the Light


Sunflowers - 13



Rodney Campbell Rodney is one of PMP’s very talented photographers and is based in the USA. To see more of his photos, visit his gallery on PaintMyPhoto. Rodney can be contacted on his PaintMyPhoto profile.

Rodney Campbell ‘Sparrow Preparing to Land’

Rodney’s Gallery is Packed with Amazing Bird & Insect Photos, Plus More! First and foremost, on behalf of all members, may we thank you for your generosity in sharing your wonderful photos! Can you tell us how you first discovered Paint My Photo? I spent a great deal of time on the internet looking for subjects to paint. Being concerned about copyright issues, I would email the photographer to get permission to use their photo as reference for my paintings. Most gladly gave me their permission but it was not always possible to locate an email address for a photographer. I saw references to PMP on ID&P as well as on a couple of other sites. I was delighted to find that Roy had setup a site that took care of my concerns about copyright and provided an opportunity for myself and others to share our photos. PMP also inspired me to shelf my little used point and shoot camera and to purchase one with more range and capabilities. I began in earnest to capture photographs that could serve as reference for myself and others. It's been great to meet so many interesting artists and photographers through this site.

It's also been quite exciting to see how this site has grown over a period of a couple of years. What is your favourite photography subject? My favorite subjects are wildlife and flowers. I particularly like butterflies because they frequently give me an opportunity to photograph both in one shot. When I was a youth I spent a great deal of time in the fields and forests. I took nature and my surroundings for granted. Now that I'm much older and have the time to revisit the outdoors, I find that many of the quail, pheasant, loons of my youth are no longer in this area. There is however an abundance of some species that were rare when I was young. We have nesting Osprey near my home as well as an abundance of Egrets and Herons. Photographing animals is particularly rewarding for me because it requires learning about their behaviors and habits in order to locate and photograph them.



What type of camera and equipment do you use for the photographs that you post on Paint My Photo? My camera is a Nikon D5000. My lenses are a Nikkor 18-55mm VR lens, a Tamron 90mm Macro Lens and my favorite a Nikkor 70-300mm VR telephoto lens. What, if any, photography/image software do you use to manage your photos? I use Photoshop Elements 8 to crop and edit my photos. I occasionally use Photomatix software to create an HDR or High Dynamic Range photo.


If you had to choose just one photograph that you have posted on Paint My Photo, which one would it be and why? Serendipity plays a large roll in photography. I would have to say that my favorite photo is of the Boy and the Girl holding hands. I saw them on the sidewalk while vacationing near Traverse City Michigan. I had no time to get a technically good photograph but I captured the essence of what I saw and I think their joy and happiness comes through. Finally, we’d love to know a little more about you, do you have a personal website (or other online presence) where we can see more of your work?

Lungwort Blooms

My website is More of Rodney’s wonderful photographs and paintings can be viewed in his gallery on PaintMyPhoto.

Swallowtail Butterfly

Greenhouse Keeper’s Door

Rock Glen


Wawatam Light St Ignace Michigan


Make a Wish

Blue Jay in Winter

Old Wooden Fence

Bald Eagle

Rodney’s Choice Boy and Girl

Niagara Top of Horseshoe Falls

Cherry Blossoms

Red Fox


Widow Skimmer (Female)


Freda Austin Nichols Freda is an extremely talented photographer and artist based in the USA. You can contact Freda by visiting her profile page on PaintMyPhoto. To see more of her wonderful work visit her PaintMyPhoto gallery.

Freda Austin Nichols


If You are a Portrait or Figure Painter, Make Sure You Visit Freda’s Gallery! Can you tell us how you first found out about Paint My Photo? I had been a member of another site where I could share my photos. Other members were very creative and I became fascinated with the techniques, but it was strictly a gardening site so they didn't allow me to share all of my photography. So I started looking for another site that would better suit my needs.

What type of camera and equipment do you use for the photographs that you post on Paint My Photo? I use a Canon 60D with the standard lens that came on the camera and a Canon 70-300 zoom lens. Before I got the 60D I used the Canon EOS 20IS.

I found a site called Picture Social at I loved that site but it was here that one of my friends there told me about Paint My Photo, because she knew that I loved painting in watercolor. I have enjoyed the site and it seems to be perfect for me. I hope to be here a very long time. What is your favourite photography subject? My favorite subject is my daughter, because this is something we love doing together. However, life itself inspires me. I love capturing images in my camera lens

that has the potential to be framed as is and appreciated as art. I love creating the perfect compositions and seeing the results. Digital cameras are awesome for this purpose.

What, if any, photography/image software do you use to manage your photos? I would love to own Photoshop, but for now I do very little editing. There is a site that I go to sometimes called Pic Monkey that allows me to edit my photos somewhat. I also have software that came with my camera called "Digital Photo Professional".



If you had to choose just one photograph that you have posted on Paint My Photo, which one would it be and why? The photo titled "Remember" is the one I would choose, because it reminds me of a painting done by a famous painter, Andrew Wythe. This photo is of an old house that sits on a hill in the horizon with a girl in a white dress at the bottom walking towards the house.

Finally, we'd love to know a little more about you, do you have a personal website (or other online presence) where we can see more of your work? Blonde Curls

I was born in Orange County, New York, but moved south when I was very young. I now reside in a small town in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with my husband, two children and one precious grandson. I graduated from Ferrum College in 1998 with a Bachelor of Art, a minor in history and a second minor in education. I am now a certified k-12 art teacher at the Benjamin Franklin Middle School where I have taught for fourteen years.

A Boy and His Dog

I have exhibited my work at numerous Piedmont area shows winning awards such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the watercolor division as well as honorable mentions and people's choice awards. Although I experiment with many mediums in the art world my preference is watercolor. I am a member of a site called I am on Facebook and I have recently completed a website for my galleries at where people can purchase my artwork and photography: PMP Members can also see more of Freda’s fabulous photos and artwork by Strawberry Ice Cream

visiting her PaintMyPhoto Gallery.

Still Life Time Is No Joke




General Lee


Bright Side

Freda’s Choice‘Remember’


Lady Grey and Friend

My Lady

A Fiddle

Water Lily Lunch


Ferrum Horses


Ruth Archer I am a web developer by day and an artist & photographer whenever possible. I am based in Cambridgeshire, UK. I also help Roy as an administrator & Newsletter editor on PaintMyPhoto. You can visit my gallery and contact me via PaintMyPhoto.

Creative Inspiration ‘The Downfall of Icarus’

An Artist's-Eye View of Creative Inspiration There are so many things that can inspire a painting, it could be poetry/literature, a significant life event, a special place, colours, photographs (of course!) and above all, for me, music, which is my primary source. Every painting that I produce will almost certainly be derived from music that I have listened to. If not, then I will still have been listening to music while I’m working. Music is highly subjective and we all have our particular favourites. I enjoy a wide spectrum of music, but I am a dedicated fan of progressive rock and find my inspiration from the music of bands like Pink Floyd/David Gilmour, The Moody Blues and Canadian composer/singer/songwriter, Rick Miller. I painted a large acrylic painting recently that was inspired by Rick Miller’s amazing song, ‘Return to Uqbar’. It was a very challenging painting and tested my level of skill to its maximum and beyond, but nonetheless I felt a great connection to it and enjoyed the process immensely. What made this painting particularly rewarding is that the song was itself inspired by a short story written by the 20th century Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges, called "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius". So, from the written word came a wonderful song and, in turn, I was inspired to paint an image from my imagination.

Isn’t creativity a joyous thing? [12]

‘Return to Uqbar’ - acrylic painting based on a song of the same name.

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF ART, PLAY ON... An Artist's-Eye View of Creative Inspiration PaintMyPhoto also has a key role to play in how I develop my ideas. I am just in the process of starting another large painting called ‘Angels in the Forest’, which has been inspired by another of Rick’s songs of the same name. It is a haunting piece and I have been thinking about how I could create a painting that will convey the emotions that it evokes in me for some time. I’m not an experienced figure painter and I don’t have access to live models, so when Freda Austin Nichols posted her superb photo ‘Waiting’, it was like Manna from Heaven! I immediately saw a composition that I thought would work for me. Steve Lyddon has posted so many enchanting and atmospheric woodland photos and these are helping me to form the background. So at this point in time I am busy using photos provided by Freda and Steve to define the composition, Rick’s song is continuing to enchant me, and a recent visit to the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate Britain has inspired me further. All these elements are collectively helping me in my creative process.

The start of my latest painting ‘Angels in the Forest’

I find that for me that sometimes an idea needs to evolve in its own time, as is the case with my latest painting. The more I try to ‘force’ an idea, the more I tend to struggle with it. Until recently I’ve also lacked the confidence to tackle many of my ideas and then a friend said the following to me:

“Never feel you can't do something artistically because you're not talented enough. I've always believed that creating art has to be done for your own self fulfilment. So if it gives you some sort of pleasure, then do it without regard to what anyone else may think.”

What poignant and sage words these are and I wanted to share them with you. Creating art, in whatever form, is a pleasure that is available to everyone and should be embraced accordingly. No one should ever feel that they aren’t ‘good enough’, or didn’t have formal training and therefore cannot produce interesting and creative artwork. Just enjoy being creative!

Here at PaintMyPhoto, not only do we want to provide wonderful reference material for our members, we also strive to actively encourage and inspire everyone who would like to express themselves creatively.



Rick Miller Rick is a multi-talented composer/singer/songwriter/ musician and producer based in Canada. All Rick’s music can be found on his website:

A Musician’s Perspective


An Interview with Rick Miller, Composer, Singer, Songwriter and Musician It is fascinating how the different artistic avenues seem to create an ‘inspirational circle’ that, whatever our particular creative outlet is, we join at some point. I thought it would be interesting to hear from a musician where they find their inspiration and contacted Rick Miller, my all-time favourite musician, to ask if he would be prepared to do an interview with us – imagine my star-struck surprise when he agreed!

1) First and foremost, Rick, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Music is known to be a great source of inspiration for painting. As a musician, what do you find inspires your songs and music?

Rick has painted the artwork for most of his albums.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to take part. Looking back at the music I have created over that last 5 years or so, I have to say that personal experiences are the driving force behind my artistic inspiration. Some of the experiences I’ve had over the last 5 years have affected me deeply, and when someone of an artistic temperament is emotionally affected, the result is usually an artistic expression of some kind. For me, the most powerful form of expression is music, so when I feel the need to express myself artistically, music is usually the result.



If Music Be The Food Of Art, Play On...

An Interview With Rick Miller

An Interview with Rick Miller, Composer, Singer, Songwriter & Musician Cont... 2) Your music often includes classical instruments, such as the flute, cello and violin, played by very talented musicians who join you. How do you decide on which instruments to include in a piece? When writing music, I tend to hear it in my head first. Sometimes you hear what instruments you feel should be playing, and sometimes not. So what it really gets down to is trial and error. Because music to me is more of a hobby rather than a profession, I can afford to take plenty of time and try different things, and with this time, I will try different sounds with different backgrounds over and over until I find the right sound. Sometimes this is easier said than done. 3) When developing a new piece, do you leave the guest musicians to interpret the song and play freely, or is it a more controlled process? Depends on the musician and the music. My flute player (Sarah Young) and my cello player (Mateusz Swoboda) are both classically trained musicians who are much more comfortable with a sheet of music in front of them. I may make suggestions as to the playing style, but the music itself has to be written down ahead of time. Another factor is that they both have day jobs, so they can’t afford to take lots of time working with me to figure out the best approach to a piece. Barry Haggarty on the other hand, who plays lead guitar for me is a rock musician at heart. I tend to just give him the outline of what I need done and let him go at it. I always get him to play several different versions of something, which I will pick apart later in my own studio, then put back together the way I want it. 4) Not only are you a multi-talented musician, you also paint as well and have painted most of the artwork for your CDs. Where does your inspiration for your paintings come from? My answer to this question is more or less the same as I gave for your first question. Painting like music is a form of artistic expression and when artistic people feel the need to express themselves, some form



If Music Be The Food Of Art, Play On...

An Interview With Rick Miller

An Interview with Rick Miller, Composer, Singer, Songwriter & Musician Cont... of art is usually produced. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it isn’t, but the important thing is that the work of art is an expression of something from inside. I haven’t painted for a while, as I’ve spent most of my “hobby” time lately with music, but I’m hoping to get back into it in the next few years. 5) What, if any, is your favourite genre of art? That is a difficult question to answer. As an artist, I would have to say that expressing myself musically has always given me the most satisfaction, however appreciation of art for me comes in many forms. I enjoy reading, listening to music, looking at old paintings and wondering what the artist was thinking at the time. How many forgotten worlds and lives were being expressed into that canvas or book? Who or what the composer was obsessing over when he wrote his concerto?

LINK Image taken from Rick’s video ‘The Fortunate One’, which can viewed on YouTube.

Art is always an expression of the artist’s inner self, so there is always a story to tell.

Rick Miller is a multi-talented musician/composer/singer/songwriter/producer and painter based in Canada. His style of music is Progressive Rock and is soft, dark and melancholy. You can listen to all his music on his website The good news for Rick’s fans is that he is working on a new CD, which will be released later this year, so watch this space… Rick has kindly made one of his new tracks available for us listen to ‘Ode to an Angel’ on his website now. [16]


Ode to an Angel


Roy Simmons Roy is the founder/owner of PaintMyPhoto. Without his generosity none of this would be possible - heartfelt thanks Roy! Contact Roy on his profile at PMP. View Roy’s paintings in his PMP Gallery.

Roy Simmons ‘Paignton Sunset’

Roy Needs Our Help! It is surprising sometimes how ideas develop. Ruth had already begun her article on the inspiration she and others find from music when I approached her regarding a project that I was contemplating which involves a musician friend, David Stanley ( David is a musician who now works full time with Mencap students with learning disabilities. My Daughter is one of his students, so of course I have a great interest in his work! Rather than me explaining in detail about all that is being done, and how this really (and I mean REALLY!) benefits people. Please see if you can find time to sit down and watch this professionally produced 1 hour documentary about the Mencap music school, and the music man project. I think you’ll agree what a worthy cause this is and understand my passion to support it.


PMP & Charity Roy Simmons


You may also like to know that the British Prime Minister has seen the documentary and sent a letter to David endorsing and encouraging his work:

"I wish you every success in your efforts to extend the success of the Southend Mencap Music School... I hope that the example of Southend will encourage duplication of the model across the country"

Rt Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister

So with such high level support you would be forgiven for thinking that the project is well funded and does not need help from anyone. However this is not true, like many charities in these difficult times, raising funds and obtaining grants is a challenge. I am also of the opinion that the best way to raise both awareness and a little money is by giving people a fair value exchange. This is what David does with his many fund raising concerts and events. So as the saying goes... ’ and now for something completely different...’.

The Project: Performance, Show or Event... I need your help, and... I need your Art. I am taking a leap and hoping to create an event which probably needs a new title. I hope to build this idea in full view, warts and all, in a discussion on PMP. If successful (and success has yet to be defined!) it can become a blueprint for similar ‘events’ in your part of the world, and for many other good causes. Please checkout the most up to date information on this discussion on PMP. So, what on earth is Roy on about? You may well ask.

‘Lyddon’s Woods’

Well, for this event I envision a performance involving Art and Music. A dialogue between a Musician (David) and a Painter (Me- and/or you!) There would be a discussion of terms shared by music and painting. Colour, texture, harmony, counterchange (counterpoint), tempo, etc. With, perhaps, musical examples and example paintings. I would hope to be able (with permission of course!) to use PMP members paintings to illustrate the points. I will also produce a couple of my fast loose watercolours, or gouache paintings ‘to music’. I hope to be broadcasting live on youtube via a hangout, as well as video recording being made at the event. [18]

PMP & Charity Roy Simmons


Although this is still early days I have had encouraging feedback already and Paul Carpenter Films may be involved if planning goes well. I am hoping that Hangouts give the opportunity to engage with online audience, however, this all needs to be tested out. I hope you find the possibilities that our connected world offers as exciting as I do. So, enough for now, please join in the discussions and let me have your ideas! Since writing the above I have been further inspired by a couple of threads on PMP that have developed around the idea of paintings being ‘gifted’ to another member, who then gave to charity as ‘payment’ for the Artwork! What an amazing idea! Could this be expanded? Do members want to fund raise in that way? We will need to discuss this, and see what develops. Roy, January 2013

‘Return to Uqbar’ may appear as part of the event. Rick Miller has generously given permission for the music to be used.

Note from the Editor What a worthy cause! Any ideas from our members, however small or ‘off-the-wall’, will be gratefully received. We know what a wonderfully creative group of people you are and we’re sure you’ll have some fantastic ideas!



Roni Hennen Roni recently joined us on PaintMyPhoto and is a very talented artist. She is based in America. You can view Roni’s gallery, or contact Roni on her profile page on PaintMyPhoto.

Roni Hennen OurWinner! ‘Snowy Egret’

An Interview with Roni Hennen, Winner of the January Challenge 1) You are relatively new to PMP, did you find us, and what is your overall impression of our little community so far? This site is a Godsend for those of us, which is probably most of us, who don't have the time or resources to travel the globe taking our own photos to paint from. Not to mention having the photographic skills to get shots worthy of painting....( my personal photographic equipment consists of an iPhone and a 5mg pocket model SLR, not going to far with that! ). An artist friend of mine got tired of listening to me bemoaning the fact that when I did find an image I'd like to paint, it was rarely "legally" accessible, and pointed me to PMP. The site is chocked full of information, yet I found it easy to navigate, and if I needed help, someone was always willing to point me in the right direction. Obviously, there are people devoting a great deal of time and talent to making this work, and all I can say is a heartfelt THANK YOU! 2) Tell us a little about yourself and your art. (how long have you been in the art field, are you a professional or casual painter, and what is your favorite kind of painting, and in what media? What do you envision for your future in art?) I've been involved in creative endeavours of one kind or another for as long as I can remember, but as a single mom, I could only justify taking time creating if it also served a practical purpose, usually saving me money. So for years my creative outlets were sewing, quilting, knitting and jewellery making. It was my interest in beading that led me to invent and patent a product called Thread Heaven Thread Conditioner.



An Interview with Winner Roni Hennen

An Interview with Roni Hennen, Winner of the January Challenge Cont. Time may have been a limited commodity before, but that was nothing compared bringing a product from conception through development, production, and into the market place, and unfortunately the first thing left off of my to-do list was creating stuff. Then about six or seven years ago, I realized I not only had the time, but perhaps for the first time in my life, the resources, to just make art for the heck of it, and painting went to the very top of my to-do list! Except for a couple of drawing courses in college, I'm selftaught, well, self-taught with the help of at least 100 art instruction books, almost every instructional

Gary Jones’ Original Photo ‘Elephants’

magazine printed in the last six years, and more hours on YouTube than I really want to think about! I started working with colored pencils and moved to watercolor, which has become my favorite medium. Although I've painted many watercolors, I feel I'm just beginning to know this beautiful, but temperamental "partner" in art. I hope to be painting for as long as I am breathing, but I don't ever want to be a "professional". I have a job, and have had many others, so painting for the sheer joy and wonder of it is more than enough for me! Roni’s Winning Entry - ‘Getting To Know You’ 3) You entered our January painting challenge, "New Beginnings" and it was your first ever on PMP....were you surprised to find out that you had won, and what was your first thoughts? Well, it was kind of funny really. You see, I had posted a note to the discussion on the last day of the month saying that working with the limited, three pigment palette had been such an eye opening experience that whatever the outcome, I felt like I had already "won". So, the next morning when I got an email congratulating me on winning, I thought it was a reference to that post. Then I got another, and another, but it wasn't until quite late in the day that I actually checked to see if the results had been posted and if the judges had picked the ones I had. I almost fell of my chair when I read my name..actually I had to read it about five times before it sunk in!



An Interview with Winner Roni Hennen

An Interview with Roni Hennen, Winner of the January Challenge Cont. 4) Your entry for the challenge was based on one of Gary Jones beautiful wildlife photos...what drew you to it, and what were your thoughts about how you planned to paint from it? Did you enjoy painting in only 3 hues within the primary colors and black and white?? I paint mostly animals and birds, but I don't consider myself a "wildlife" painter in the traditional sense in that I really don't care about faithfully rendering all the details of the subject, or its habitat. Rather, I try to invest them with some idea of "personality" usually based on a specific characteristic of the breed. The elephant's sense of "family" is well documented and I thought I might be able to convey that working from this photo. The idea of working with only three pigments seemed a bit daunting, but because of the rather monochromatic look of this photo and decided it would lend itself to experimentation with this limited palette. Not only did I enjoy working this way, I plan to continue exploring this approach for quite some time. 5) Do you feel that you might learn from our monthly challenges? Will you enter more in the future, and are there any ideas that you would like to see included as a monthly painting challenge? I read somewhere that painting is really just a process of problem solving..what do I want to say?, what colors do I want to use? Would it be better if this was over here and that over there? ...on and on. But, sometimes in gaining experience solving these problems, I find myself falling back on solutions that I know work instead of searching for new ones. When this becomes too much of a habit, the work starts to stagnate. The monthly challenge forced me right out of my comfort zone like a big ole kick in the butt, and I will be looking forward to each and every new one that is coming. I may not always enter a piece for judging, but I know I will always give it a try. Being so new to PMP, I'm not really sure what ideas have already been put forth, but if I think of something, I'll be sure to let you know!

The Monthly Challenges are great fun and encourage members to try new ideas and subjects - if you haven’t participated in one yet, then why not take a look and see what you’re missing? View the Monthly Challenges Go on, you know it makes sense... Join in the fun and learn at the same time!


Judy Wright


Judy is a talented and versatile artist and art teacher based in America. View Judy’s gallery on PaintMyPhoto to see more of her amazing work. You can contact Judy on her PaintMyPhoto profile page.

Judy Wright ‘Sunny Ones’

Judy’s Amazing Adventure as an Artist and Teacher I would venture to state that everyone knows the story A Tale of Two Cities. In my case it’s a Tale of Two States. My art career really began in earnest after I retired and my husband wanted to try going to Arizona for a month to escape cold and snowy Montana for a few weeks. Upon arrival at the RV park where we’d reserved a space for a month, I ventured up to the Activity Center and asked the Activity Director if they had someone who taught watercolor classes, hoping to find someone who knew more than I did and could teach ME! The response was “NO! But would you like to???” They had a room at the center that had a sink and running water open and I said, “Why not! It might be fun.” I had spent my entire professional career of 32 years teaching special education and knew a few things about how people learn. I had had a few watercolor classes in Montana and had found that while you might have a wonderful artist who did all kinds of great things, they often had a terrible time trying to convey to others just what they were doing that worked. I also knew from years of teaching when I taught others, I learned a lot more myself. I decided that I could take what I knew, structure the information in a way that would be easy for others to learn and off I went on a new adventure! That was nearly 10 years ago. My classes have grown, as has my knowledge base and my awareness of watercolor techniques and styles. Last year, I had so many new students I had to add a class at the RV park and also had a class in Old Town Yuma at the Village Art Gallery where I show my paintings during the winter months. In addition, between the first year in Yuma and now, I became a member of two very fine artist organizations here: Desert Artists of Yuma and Mountain Shadows Artists Association. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for an artist to belong to an art group. When artists work together, they build a following for not only the organization, but also for their members.



Judy Wright - Artist & Teacher

Between the two organizations, there is sponsorship of The Village Art Gallery, a co-operative of artists who wish to display their work, two very fine art shows and an “art walk” in March of each year that attracts buyers from as far away as Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California. For the Mountain Shadows Artists Association, I am the webmaster for our website: . I find Yuma to be a very rich environment for artists with many wonderful opportunities to learn, grow as an artist and get your work recognized! A bit about my development as an artist. When I was a college student in the mid 1960s, I began painting with acrylics. The very small school district where I had attended school had no art department, but my mother, who recently passed away at the age of nearly 94, did have a background in commercial art and also in elementary education. She did more interesting things with 3rd graders art wise than any teacher I have ever seen. Those 8 year olds were doing art activities that some high school students would have difficulty with and doing it well. I learned some basics from her during my years before college.

‘Coral World’

I did paintings in acrylic for a number of years until my children came along. Of course a two year old is into everything so my art went away for many years while I was raising a family and did not come back to life until my daughter had graduated from high school and was off to do her own thing. At that point I picked up my acrylics again and started to paint, but soon discovered that watercolor required a great deal less space and fuss than acrylics did. However, the switch from a medium like acrylic to watercolor required a mental shift and techniques shift as well. At that point I began looking for watercolor instructors and had great difficulty finding them. When I did find a couple, I quickly discovered they were awful teachers! I struggled on my own learning from books, DVDs and finally in 2007, discovered an artist named Sterling Edwards who had helped to start a website called Art Academy Live that could be accessed for a small fee per year and had all kinds of “mini” art lessons online. A year later, I was fortunate enough to get into a workshop with Sterling in Salt Lake City, Utah, and really got my start with intense color which has become a hallmark of my watercolor art. I learned from him that a watercolorist cannot get strong, clear color from low intensity pigment that resides on the inner ring of the ‘Lewis and Clarke Trail’ colorwheel. Bright colors like the phthalos and the benzamides [24]


Judy Wright - Artist & Teacher and the pyrrols can be muted by their compliments on the color wheel, but earth tones cannot be made no matter what is done with them. A year later, color expert, Nita Leland, was hired as the jurist for the Montana Watercolor Society national Watermedia Show and I learned a great deal more about good color from her books, Exploring Color and Confident Color. Two other artists from which I have learned a great deal are Lian Quan Zhen and Judy Greenberg. Lian Zhen is both a watercolorist and a Chinese Brush Painter. My fourth workshop with him will be held in Yuma in February and he has greatly influenced my use of color and design.

‘Escalante Vista’

Chinese Brush Paintings are signed in two ways: your signature in Chinese script as well as your chop stamp. My chop stamp was specially made for me and says “hummingbird” which is the name I often go by online.

Some of my favorite watercolors are those which have the brightest colors. Among them are paintings of the Desert Southwest, which I love. From the first time I came to Arizona, it has felt like home to me. The glow and intensity of the colors match my inner being and inspire what I create. A few of them follow: These paintings are entitled: Escalante Vista, The Garden Gate, Mission Bells, and September Melody (on a following page). Another recent influence on my artwork is watercolorist, Judy Greenberg with whom I had a workshop in September, 2012. Judy is using some interesting texture techniques with gel medium which I have included in one of my more recent paintings, “From Los Algodones, with Love.” Los Algodones is a sleepy little Mexican town which lies about 1 ½ miles as the crow flies southwest of where I live in the winter. There are a number of artists there and the texture and color with which they make pottery is quite interesting and varied. The design of the pottery changes from year to year and what they have to offer is never repeated.


‘The Garden Gate’

‘Mission Bells’


Judy Wright - Artist & Teacher

For Judy’s workshop, I put together a number of these interesting pots from photos I took a number of years back and combined them in that painting: This painting has been stamped with various textures using gel medium, including one which I carved out of Speedball soft texture medium, an old piece of burlap and the non skid material used to keep kitchen items from sliding around while you are in the process of moving your fifth wheel from place to place.

‘From Los Algodones with Love’

One of my more recent acrylics, “The Lion’s Den” won best professional painting in a Yuma Art Show a couple of years ago. It includes some texturing of the coral using molding paste and has a 3-D effect. ‘The lion’s Den’

This is Moonlight Dance and is also a mixed medium painting using a variety of collage approaches including saran wrap on acrylic wash background, tar gel on rice paper for the moon and trees, molding paste in the background for the trees and painted crinkled ventilation tape for the foreground grasses.  This is a new thing for me and I'm still learning! 

‘Moonlight Dance’



Judy Wright - Artist & Teacher

One other thing I might mention is my webpage address, which is part of the website I run for Mountain Shadows Artists Association: and my blog:  

Finally, before I end here, I must give a tribute to Roy Simmons, who created Paint My Photo and really is responsible for gathering us all together from the far corners of the earth to share and communicate and add to the richness of our collective being. Being a member here has greatly enriched my life and given me friends I would never have had otherwise. Roy, THANK YOU!!!!!

‘September Melody’

‘Favorite of Mine’

‘Three Clowns’


Robyn Lovelock


Robyn (Ro) is a very talented artist and photographer based in Australia. She is also one of PMP’s superstars, helping to keep PMP running smoothly and looking after members. You can view Ro’s gallery or contact her though PMP.

Robyn Lovelock ‘Simon’s Lavender Fields 7’

Robyn’s Been Busy Finding us a Fabulous Collection of Spring Photos - Enjoy!





link link link Spring has Sprung!

A Vase of Daffodils




Spring Special


link Bluebell Woods


link link link Bright



Window Dressing


Bluebells Growing Under The Poplars

A Host of Gold Daffodils



Spring Special



Spring Flowers

Cherry Blossoms 1

link link link Orange Tulips


Lotus Tree

link Magnolia View

Orange Tulips 5


link Colors of Spring

Golden Jewels


Pink Poppy

Mary Van Arsdel


Mary is a talented artist who is based in the United States. You can contact Mary by visiting her PMP profile View Mary’s gallery on PMP to see more of her wonderful work.

Mary Van Arsdel ‘Treasures From The Sea’

Join Us in Congratulating Mary on Her Success! In December, on a whim, I decided to enter three of my watercolor paintings at the Florida State Fair held on Feb 7 – 18. It only cost $2.00 per entry, so I thought it would be a fun way to show my paintings.  Two of the paintings were from Ruth Archer’s wonderful photographs.  I also entered a hand-woven shawl that I made on my floor loom. My heart went pitter patter on Sunday when my best friend and I saw the ribbons on my paintings.  The Gondolier won third place and an honorable mention for the Sea Shell painting.  I also entered another painting and it won 3rd place (that one is on the I draw and paint website if you would like to see it).  It is a portrait of a lovely girl with a hat.  The last bit of news is that my Spring Flowers hand woven shawl won 1st place in the weaving category.  I would just like to thank you all for inspiring me with your paintings and beautiful photographs.  Your lovely comments on my paintings just warm my heart.  I am so grateful that I discovered the PMP community because you all have really made a difference in my life! 


Mary’s watercolor painting ‘Gondolier’


Sharon & Gary Talent abound! They provide wonderful photographs and produce superb artwork - they are based in North Wales, UK. View Sharon’s gallery or contact her on PaintMyPhoto. View Gary’s gallery or contact him on PaintMyPhoto.

Sharon Whitely and Gary Jones ‘Puffin in the Grass’

Two of Our Very Gifted Members Share Their Creative Inspiration... I have been asked by Robyn and Ruth to write a little article about the hiking Gary and I do each week (or as often as we can) and how it inspires our art ... i.e. Gary’s photography and my painting. We are both lucky enough to be able to have a day in the week off work which is normally a Friday and we always use this day to go walking either in Snowdonia in Wales or sometimes we travel further afield to the Lake District in England. We absolutely love our time in the mountains, as does Holly my gorgeous black Labrador! She gets so excited when I put my walking clothes on and knows we’re going out for the day. Her tail never stops wagging all day - even when the weather is not so kind to us. You may not realise it from the photos Gary has posted over the year but it feels like we spent most of last year walking in the rain and wind and the views were few and far between! This year so far is looking good weather wise and we’ve already had 4 rain free walks in 2013! Hopefully our luck has changed! One of the first walks of this year was in Snowdonia, the Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe a walk neither of us had done in full before. Starting in a remote and little visited area of Snowdonia, this grand circuit of Cwm Eigiau ranks as one of the classic walks of Wales, boasting soaring ridges, narrow aretes, high mountains and stunning landscapes.....that is what the guidebook said .... and it wasn't wrong. This is one of the finest walks that we have both been on, the landscape is stunning, rugged and remote, and add to that the fantastic weather we had, made it one we will remember for a long time.



Sharon Whitely and Gary Jones

As well as being a fantastic walk I can think of no other walk that includes two summits with such unusual names - Pen yr Helgi Du (Hill of the Black Hound) and Pen Llithrig y Wrach (Hill of the Slippery Witch)! Fantastic names don't you think but no idea why they are called that!!   We left home at around 7am in the morning, in the dark as our destination was over an hour away. We arrived at first light and headed up onto the ridge which would lead us into the mountains. This particular area of Snowdonia is known as the Carneddau and is vast and rugged and home to hundreds of wild Welsh mountain ponies. We both love coming across them and Gary always stops to take plenty of photos, many of which he has posted here on PMP and some of them have been beautifully painted by some of the members here. Other wildlife we often come across on our walks are mountain goats, sheep and upland birds such as ravens, buzzards, stonechats, the odd skylark and snow bunting. It was not long before we came across the ponies on this walk on a remote hillside overlooking a beautiful valley, we came across a mare with a young foal, the wildest looking ponies we’ve seen to date! There was cloud all around us for most of this walk, yet the summits remained clear for us, the views were spectacular and we made sure we took time to admire the scenes before us, taking it all in – as wonderful as Gary’s photography is, nothing can convey the sense of just being there.. This particular walk took us around 7 hours from start to finish and we walked 11 miles, climbing 3465 ft. Mountain walking is a great passion of ours and it fits in so well with our other passions of photography (for Gary) and art (for me). Gary’s landscape photography is very much influenced by a long standing love of the mountains. He has been a keen mountaineer since his teens. His passion for photography has grown over the years, mainly due to his love of wildlife. He says there is more meaning and purpose to his photography now that he knows they are inspiring me and members of PMP to paint from them, he thinks more about the composition and whether it will make a good painting. My walking bug started a lot later in life, as did the painting. I’ve only been hill walking for just over 5 years and painting for 2 years. It was the walking which inspired me to paint, I just decided to paint a landscape one day and then that was it – I never looked back.



Sharon Whitely and Gary Jones

Although I don’t paint landscapes that often now, mainly animals but I would really like to start painting more landscapes, I’m just not as confident with them. I usually come home from a walk with a painting or two in mind, whether it be of a Carneddau pony, a mountain goat or a lake or ridge that we’ve seen. This painting of a Carneddau pony was inspired by a walk in the same area a few months ago and has also been painted by other members of PMP. It was also through walking that Gary and I met and I feel so lucky to be able to share such a passion. We’re planning on doing a big walking challenge this year, the Welsh 3000 Challenge which is to climb all 15 mountains in Wales which are over 3000ft within 24 hours – not sure if I’m up to it but going to give it a try! Gary has done it before and assures me that I’ll do it, so we need to do lots of training and lots of big walks to get fit enough, which means lots more photos to post to PMP and lots more paintings to paint! To see  more  photos  from  this  walk  and  others,  pop  over  to  our  walking  blog  called  Two  Pairs  of  Boots:  

h"p:// Gary also  has  a  wildlife  photography  blog:

h"p:// And  I  have  a  blog  for  my  artwork  which  you  can  find  here:  



Peter Williams


Peter is a an artist of extraordinary talent and is based in Suffolk, UK. Visit Peter’s gallery on PMP to see more of his amazing work. You can contact Peter by visiting his profile on PaintMyPhoto.

Peter Williams ‘As Time Goes By’

Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey To Becoming A Professional Artist Growing up in Hertfordshire in the 1950s and 60s I didn't have much art education, in fact I think the only useful thing I learned at school was how to sleep sitting bolt upright on a hard chair. I do remember though, being quite good at painting pictures from an early age. So at primary school, being a very shy boy this gave me a feeling of great confidence. Painting pictures seemed to be the most important of skills and I was actually good at something! Great pots of powdery poster paints which you could splash about to your hearts content over massive sheets of sugar paper. I didn't have anything like that at home so always got really stuck in at school. Crimson being my favourite colour at the time, I remember coming home sometimes looking like I'd been mauled by a savage dog, paint everywhere. Often this led to a good clout around the ear and no tea, but it never stopped me. One time when I was about 9 years old, we were asked to paint something to do with the birth of Jesus.....(I know, who would have thought how I would turn out) and I came up with a picture ‘Outlawed’ of three men riding camels across a desert under a starlit sky. Unknown to me it was submitted by my teacher, Mrs White, into the annual Horniman's Tea painting competition and blow me down I only won a prize didn't I! So I went home beaming and told my mum who, having four unruly sons all aged within five years, didn't spend a lot of time listening. I was to go to a big 'do' on Saturday and receive my prize.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

Unfortunately I don't think this part of the conversation made any impact on my Mum as she was out in the back yard poking a steaming hot 'copper' with big wooden tongs in one hand and winding the mangle at the same time with the other. (People born after the 1950's will need to Google that) I had learned not to press home my point too hard with my stressed out Mum, especially when she was holding something like the big wooden tongs as it invariably led to something painful, so I let it slide. When Mrs. White gave me a letter the following day with the details of the forthcoming 'do', I told her my Mum couldn't take me so I wouldn't be able to go. No problem she said, she would take me herself. So Saturday came. In those days we boys would normally disappear off out to the wastelands for a day's bird nesting or play football in the park until it got dark, so when I got up early and dashed off to school nobody really noticed. Mrs White ‘In the Swim’ spent a bit of time spitting on the corner of her handkerchief and robustly cleaning the corners of my mouth and nose (I still hate it when people do that to me) before bundling me into her car and setting off to St. Albans. I'd rarely been in a car so this was turning in to quite an adventure. Upon arrival we went into this posh building where lo and behold I spotted my painting all nicely framed up and displayed in the foyer along with all the other prize winners. I proudly went up onto a stage and collected my prize, it was a book token for twenty five shillings! (people born after the 1960's will need to Google that), and everyone clapped as I skipped down the steps to rejoin Mrs White who I noticed was a bit tearful. I don't know what I'd done to upset her, so kept quiet on the way back.

‘Rusty & Bracken’

Twenty five shillings! I knew exactly what book I was going to get. It was in the book department at the 'Main Stores' over in the town and I'd had my eye on it for ages. So as soon as the car pulled up back at school I was out and sprinting across the dell, over the railway lines and into town. I made a beeline for the 'Main Stores' and left clutching my book....'A Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom'. You can see where this is leading now can't you.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

I treasured that book and I've still got it although it's a bit battered and dog eared now. Particularly from being vandalised in about 1965 by my younger brother after we'd had a fight and it was his way of getting back at me. But actually those torn pages, repaired with sticky-tape add extra memories to it, so I'll forgive you Malc. Anyway, over the following years I probably copied and drew nearly every photograph from that book. When I was about 14 years old I had a bit of a crush on one of the girls in my class (a certain Jennifer Rowland) and I remember proudly presenting her with a pencil portrait of a wild horse.....she was speechless and I'm sure impressed but her large, ginger, bully of a boyfriend at the time, Dave Ponting, wasn't going to let me capitalise on my success. Time went by and at the age of sixteen I left school and went to work in Fine Fare (People born after the 1960's will need to Google that) as the butcher's assistant. The following year, fed up with stinking of dried blood and having to scrape bits of entrails off ‘Stag’ my desert boots before I could go out on a Friday night, I left home and joined the British Army aged 17 as an armoured vehicle mechanic in the REME. I continued my artistic endeavours throughout my service albeit mostly drawing caricatures of our superiors. It got me in a lot of trouble at the time, but helped make me popular with the other lads. Always shy and lacking confidence it was a great boost for me. This was the early 1970's, I do remember once painting a load of psychedelic designs on some wooden panels for a married friend to decorate his house in Germany. I wonder whatever happened to them. They'll be worth a fortune when I'm dead.

‘Calico Kitten’

Now fast forward to the mid 80s. This was during my time of having a passion for powerful motorcycles. I was in a hospital bed in Stevenage with a shattered femur, broken pelvis, broken elbow and various other injuries (I never said I was a good motorcyclist). Some of my colleagues from work at British Aerospace had a bit of a whipround and came to visit me. Knowing about my hobby of cartooning and drawing, and knowing I was going to be laid up for a long time, they had chosen to buy me a nice little set of watercolour paints.....good quality ones they were. I'd never tried watercolours before and didn't have a clue so I found a book by Alwyn Crawshaw and it set me on my way.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

Thinking about my first efforts they were quite laughable really, but it was only for fun and with practice I slowly began to improve. I stuck to watercolours for a long time. Once I begin something I never give up until I reach my goal and I was determined to reach at least an acceptable standard. I think this turned out to be a good idea because I was able to build a foundation which I could always fall back on as I later tried to master other media. Fast forward again to 1996, I heard about a school reunion via one of my work colleagues who's wife it turned out worked with one of my old school mates. My name had cropped up. Having nothing much better to do I decided to go along. I hadn't seen or been in touch with anybody from school since I'd left in 1968 and to be honest, I hadn't missed anyone although I was wondering how a certain Jenny Rowland had turned out..... The reunion was held at the football club just up the road from ‘The Carnival is Over’ the old school. I rolled up on my CBR600 in my best Honda 'T' shirt, parked up and made my way to the bar. The barman was wearing an old 'Free Mandela' T shirt. I couldn't resist asking for a pint of Mandela seeing as it was free. He didn't even crack a smile. I didn't recognise anyone and I don't think anyone knew who I was. It had been 28 years after all. I was scrutinising the name badges people were wearing and the first one I read was Ponting. Well, I couldn't help feeling a bit smug as the big fat, ruddy faced bloke I was looking at with the greasy grey hair hadn't aged at all well. I soon got talking to one of my closer school friends who had gone into the merchant navy at the same time I had joined the army. He was now the captain of a big ship, pretty successful, still single and a really dirty rascal. We were having quite a laugh when the door opened and a face I recognised straight away walked in, it was Jenny Rowland! Holding in my stomach as best I could I went right over. She didn't know who the hell I was at first but after I introduced myself we got on like a house on fire. Guess what! She had kept the wild horse pencil portrait I'd given her all those years ago. I don't much ‘Cat’s Eyes’ remember talking to anyone else after that. Late afternoon, after a buffet and a few speeches, we left the football club. On my way through the door a large hand clamped my shoulder.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

I turned to see it was the barman... “I get you Mandela ...ha ha....I'll have to remember that one”. I quickened my pace as the now well lubricated reunion moved to the old school up the road where we were allowed to explore the class rooms and corridors and meet some of the surviving teachers. It was nice to chat to my old geography teacher who was brilliant. I wouldn't have swapped him for all the tea in Denmark. I remember needing to pee and in the 'boys' toilets bumping into a tall guy in an expensive three piece suit. You know we all went to school with a smelly kid. (If you didn't, you were the smelly kid) Well this was ours and he was now a successful solicitor. He was enjoying a roll-up in the cubicle.... “Fags have never tasted as good as the ones we shared in the school bogs have they Williams” he said...I got out of there quick. I met up with Jenny again for a meal the following week and not long after that I moved in to her ‘The Stripper’ house.....Oh yes, the shyness was under control by 1996. Jenny had a council house where she was living with her two daughters who she had brought up on her own. After a while we decided to buy the house from the council with a view to fixing it up a bit before selling and moving on. So that's what we did. After various improvements and decorating it needed some pictures before putting it on the market so I set about painting some. They were pretty naff but she liked them and encouraged me to do more. Once we had moved to a nice house in Benington I started putting some of my paintings into local village exhibitions. I remember the first time I hadn't a clue how much to ask for them so just took a punt. It turned out to be much more than all the others in the show but one out of the three I submitted did sell so it was encouraging. While traipsing around all these village shows I started to recognise some of the more talented artists work and spent a lot of time studying their techniques and chatting to the artists. That's how I learned really, I'd find someone who painted wonderful skies, tap their brains a bit then I'd go home and practice until I could do something similar. Somebody else could paint horses so I did likewise and so it went on. I won one or two prizes and gradually I improved until I found I was selling my own work quite regularly. ‘Glastonbury Man’



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

I might sell two or three paintings at each of these shows and sometimes I'd do two or three shows in one week. The trouble was, I didn't have the time to paint enough pictures. This was when I took the biggest step of all. Aged fifty now, I'd already experienced three separate redundancies and was no longer enjoying the work I was doing. So after a long talk with Jenny about it and a bit of soul searching I jacked it in and took on a part-time lorry driving job, three days a week. The army experience was paying off at last. This gave me a couple of extra days a week to work on my art and I carried on like that for a while. But it was still frustrating when in the middle of a painting I had to drop everything and go off and deliver some tractors to Yorkshire or golf carts to Colwyn Bay. I was kind of stuck between two worlds and couldn't give either my best shot. So, the driving job had to go too. I sent myself on a picture framing course and purchased a load of equipment from ‘Head in the Clouds’ eBay so that, if all else failed I could earn some money from picture framing. I still make my own frames. Luckily I haven't had to resort to framing for other people. Meanwhile Jenny was working hard as a school teacher so we always had a regular income. Then in 2002 Jenny began feeling the same way about her job as I had previously felt about mine. We decided to sell up in Hertfordshire, pay everything off, downsize and move to the coast here in Suffolk. I would do my best with my art and Jenny would do a bit of supply teaching. Plans were nearly scuppered before we moved though. I was riding my Triumph Daytona home one day when an idiot pulled out and drove his car straight into me. It was back to the same hospital in Stevenage I knew so well, this time with two broken wrists, a buggered knee and a mangled left hand. Lying there in my bed I calculated I'd spent almost as much time flying through the air as I had on two wheels so sadly I came to terms with the fact that my motorcycling adventures were over.

‘Fair-Weather Friends’

We went ahead with the move and I started looking around for outlets for my work. It's a lovely coastal area and I imagined a great market for atmospheric beach scenes, landscapes and boats. It soon became obvious to me that the area was stuffed full of artists, all doing the same thing, mostly far better than I could. I needed to try to find a gap in the market.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

I'd never lost my passion for animals and so began painting wildlife instead, along with a bit of figurative work. I was ticking along OK with online sales but none of the local galleries were interested in my work. They were (and still are) in general stuck on the coastal scenes and landscapes. It was a bit disheartening, I knew a lot of people liked my work but getting it out in front of them was proving very difficult. Then I was lucky enough to be put onto an opportunity by fellow artist and online friend Sue Warne who often exhibited her work at a pub/restaurant where she lived in Capel St. Mary. I drove over to talk to the proprietor who was a bit of an art buff and liked to do what he could for local artists. He liked my work and offered me a month's exhibition for no cost, other than to choose one painting for himself. Well, I sold really well and he let me stay on for a second month. I had to go over twice to restock and made enough money to keep me going for several months. Sadly he moved away to the West Country not long ‘The Pear and the Tortoise’ afterwards so it was a one off. But it encouraged me to keep going along the path I had chosen. Of course the monster that has become the internet has been the most exciting and powerful tool for people like me. No, I don't mean what you are thinking, I mean for self promotion and selling worldwide. Not long after moving here to Suffolk in 2005, another artist friend told me about an art form he was having great success with called ACEO (Art Cards Editions and Originals), miniature paintings all at 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size and which were a bit of a craze in America. I had a look and could not believe the prices some were fetching on eBay. I decided to have a go.


As I was aiming at American customers I began with some Western scenes, rodeo riders, Native Americans, that sort of thing. Well it was astonishing. Within a few weeks I had gained some faithful followers who bought my ACEOs as fast as I could list them. Some of these little paintings began fetching over a hundred pounds each at auction. I spent day after day painting four of them at a time, completing 200 of them in total. As my following grew I began to receive commissions to paint larger versions, mainly from Canada and the USA.



Peter Williams’ Fantastic Journey

So I started looking for reference material I could use and came across the work of Edward Sheriff Curtis, a photographer from the turn of the last century who had travelled the Americas documenting all of the old Native tribes. I found some of his photographs breathtakingly beautiful and poignant and studied more and more. I fell in love with black and white work at this stage. Of course I then came across a lot of Western artists, people such as Martin Grelle, Kirby Sattler, Lee Bogle and in particular JD Challenger to name a few. These people all had a major impact on my style and the ACEOs gave me plenty of practice at achieving fine details. Put these things together and you will see the basis of my current style right there. Big open spaces, loose backgrounds with a highly detailed central subject. The popularity of my ACEOs eventually fell away when eBay changed their policies for international traders. I was losing ‘Enduring Spirit’ interest in my 'production line' anyway so went back to concentrating on my normal sized work but still enjoyed painting the occasional Native American piece. I've even sold a few here around Leiston, mainly to the local Cowboys and other tradesmen. I haven't done one for a while now though as the wildlife work has gradually taken over my life, but I still like them and still have a few left which are hanging in the spare room. Writing this though, I'm feeling the urge to paint another Indian portrait.....we'll see.

Peter at the Mall Gallery, London

Nowadays I don't attempt to get into High street galleries. I'd rather hire an empty space and put on my own solo exhibitions several times a year. I also take part in fairs and local open exhibitions but by far my best outlet is with online galleries such as Affordable British Art and of course my own Mighty Fine Art website: More of Peter’s wonderful work can also be seen on PaintMyPhoto:

PaintMyPhoto - Peter William’s Gallery


James Swanson


James is a an artist of extraordinary talent and is based in the USA. Visit James’ gallery on PMP to see more of his amazing work. You can contact James by visiting his profile on PaintMyPhoto.

James Swanson ‘Cloud Reflections in Ece Saray Marina’ - Original Reference Photo

A Step-By-Step Demonstration in Oils Hello, fellow artists and friends, I’ve been asked by PMP to do a little step-by-step guide on how I go about making a painting. To start here’s a little background on me and my work. I’m an oil painter living just outside of Chicago. I’ve been a professional artist for 30 years and the last 10 I’ve been concentrating on oil painting and a painting project of mine to paint the world from one spot. It’s called “The Artist and The Traveler” and I’m the Artist for it, and it is my job to go out and find friends and people who have traveled to different spots in the world, get their story and do a painting inspired by them to mark the spot. My friends here at PMP have sure helped in my quest to see this big planet of ours through someone else’s eyes, but there is one friend here that I have not had the chance of working with even though her photos have really inspired me. So I’m taking this time to work on one here for you. Artist and photographer Ruth Archer and I have never met in ‘Sketch for Blue Water Harbor’ person, but I’ve admired here work from afar. She always finds something special and interesting to photograph, and here compositions are top notch. You can see the artist thinking in her shots which makes for very striking images. Her gift for taking exemplary photos is matched by her fabulous hand drawn images.



A Step-By-Step Demonstration By James Swanson

The Painting - “Blue Water Harbor” All my paintings start with a simple sketch (See previous page). These are really rough, but what I try to do is to start dissecting the image to see what the composition should be, and to get that information into my head. Then I transfer the info from the sketch to a canvas that I’ve rubbed a neutral field of color on. I’ll go in and tighten up the canvas sketch a bit using the photo to help me make more sense of what I am seeing, but I do try to stay with my initial sketch composition and placement of things. I like to work with the 2/3 rule in my paintings. It’s either 1/3 or 2/3’s never in the middle. I pretty much build my paintings around that idea. Time to start painting, well almost, I first mix up most of the colors that I see in the photo on my painting palette. The painting is pretty much all worked out on the palette, if it works here it will work on the canvas. I like to explode into my work, and to stop and mix colors all the time just takes the energy away from my brush. My paintings need to feel like they move and are alive. The way I do that is to paying attention to my painting and not to my palette. Now it’s time to paint. I start a painting by blocking in my darkest dark colors. In this painting, the darkest darks were in the mountain and its water refection. I start with my darks first, because they give the painting structure right off the bat and things fall into place easier that way for me. I’m kind of a lazy artist and easier always works for me.



A Step-By-Step Demonstration By James Swanson

The Painting â&#x20AC;&#x153;Blue Water Harborâ&#x20AC;? Cont. I then got real busy painting in all the paint colors from my palette where they were to go on the canvas. Working dark to light I blocked in the mountains, the water, the sky, and then the clouds. I love to work wet into wet. Thick paint mushed against thick paint makes for excitement in my eyes. This is where I start feel the strokes, and leave them alone. Now that the background is on its way I started to focus in on the boats and the energy of the harbor. I wanted to keep this painting loose and impressionistic. Everything is an indication or the accents of what is there. With the focus ending up on the only boat without a mast. Here I am getting the boats in the right positions. After the boats are put in place I took on the challenge of their masts and the reflections of them. I like to use my palette knife for this type if work. Little brushes tend to get me to tighten up, thus tightening up the painting too much.



A Step-By-Step Demonstration By James Swanson

The Painting “Blue Water Harbor” Cont. I mixed up two versions of each mast color. One for the mast in the sky and one for in the water. Reflections are always a little darker than what they are reflecting. With the masts done I thought I was almost there, but one thing kept jumping out at me. The big sailboat mast to the left keep drawing my eye in and up out of the picture. I tried a few little painting things to it but I couldn’t get it to work right for me. Finally though figured the cloud in the background could be bigger and I could use that to draw everything together. It pulled the sky, the mast, and the mountain together, bringing back the viewer’s eye to the boats and water. Here are some of the close up details from the painting.



James Swanson

The Painting “Blue Water Harbor” Cont.

“Blue Water Harbor” was a fun little painting to do. A big thanks goes out to Ruth for her photo inspiration. I will be signing her name along with mine on the back of it. Thanks PMP for letting me do my thing here and see you all back at the site. If you are interested in learning more about my painting project you can go to

If you are interested in learning more about my painting project you can go to

We thought you’d like to see some more of James’ wonderful work:


‘At the Watering Hole’

‘Yellow Sails’

‘Beach House’



LINK PaintMyPhotoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Annual Swap Art Event This annual event is splendid fun! PaintMyPhoto artists are able to enter a painting of their choice to swap and will be paired randomly with another PaintMyPhoto artist to swap their art with.

To find out more about how to join in the fun, visit the Swap Art website.* *Please note, this event is only available to PaintMyPhoto members.

Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s All Folks! The next edition will be published Summer 2013.


PaintMyPhoto Quarterly Newsletter - Issue 5  
PaintMyPhoto Quarterly Newsletter - Issue 5  

Spring 2013