Tag Archives: Style and Technique

Eilee’s Favorite Supplies & How They Earned the Distinction

When you have been creating art for *mmgfrgm* decades – ahem…you have sampled a LOT of different products, and found that some really perform well consistently, while others fall far short of that distinction. When you’re new to it, you kind of wish you had someone to guide you when looking at shelves of products; someone who is not compromised by the prospect of a sales commission. Here I am.

There are brands of sketchbooks I wouldn’t touch now because of the texture of the paper and the way it makes erasures smear rather than erase. There are colored pencils so waxy that the color saturation is all pastel, preventing any depth or contrast. There are paints that are of the consistency of tar and sand. If you’ve been burned by bad art supplies, your self-preservation takes over and catalogues what to avoid and what to seek. I thought I’d share my catalogue with you today.

In this post, I will mention brand names only of my favorites – not to suggest that there are no other good ones in each category that I will still use from time to time – and I will not name the ones that I dislike at all – indeed, a few of them have already gone out of business, since I’m sure many other artists felt about them the way that I did, or people just retired or got bought out. Nobody is paying me to say nice things about their product or company. If that ever changes, I will update the post to inform you of that development.

I guess I’ll go by medium.


Colorussia 3 Detail SmallI’ve used a lot of brands of acrylic paint, but Golden acrylic paints go on smooth “like buttah”. Where some brands are grainy and textured, Golden brand never lets me down, with a creamy consistency that makes mixing and painting a joy. For my purposes, I use heavy body paints, but they also offer fluid, open (for longer drying times, which I achieve instead with a combination of medium and a very small amount of retarding liquid), and high flow, which is for airbrushing now (use a respirator and ventilation please). I have not used every other brand out there, but now that I’ve tried Golden I don’t need to – I’m so impressed with its products that I won’t buy anything else now. They cost a little more, but you totally get what you paid for; it’s worth it. No more fighting grainy goo!

Golden Soft Gel is awesome for wet-in-wet and texture or isolation layers. You can get it in gloss, semi-gloss, or matte. The matte is a little harder to work, as it dries very quickly and leaves a bit more of an atmospheric fog behind – which is great if that’s the look you’re aiming for. I prefer semi-gloss myself. Gels also come in regular, heavy, extra heavy, and high solid textures; I haven’t tried all of these yet, and will update this section when I do. It takes a little getting used to doing a wet-in-wet with gel, because it goes on reasonably opaque (but dries clear), so you have to both envision what you’re doing without really seeing it at the time, and be open to serendipitous surprises. You can brush layers of it over a base layer of paint to make things look atmospheric. You can whip it up like frosting and then put paint into it while it’s still wet. You can do a dry-brush technique over it once it’s dry. It’s fabulous for creating an eerie sense of depth in 2-D.

Digital image of the acrylic painting entitled "Catreedral" by L. "Eilee" S. George, 48"x60", acrylic on canvas, painted in 2012, of a dreamy stand of trees filtering powerful light spilling down from above

“Catreedral” © 2012 L. Eileen S. George a.k.a. “Eilee” George, 48″x60″, acrylic on canvas. Original and some prints available by custom order.

Likewise, Golden Glazing Liquid is great for atmosphere in a much more consistent, delicate application. I’ve done some really nice lighting effects by applying multiple, slightly-tinted-with-paint layers over a painting to create a glowing light, blending around the edges; it’s also great for subtle transparent overlays of color to soften an area. Either way the results are magical. This is yet another product I can use to extend my drying time to facilitate much finer blending than I would be able to achieve with straight paint and water (too much water inhibits the polymers in the paint adhering to your work anyway). Yes, I’m a Golden fan.

Good old Prang watercolors are what I came through grade school with, and they’ve always been adequate for me. There are far fancier-looking ones out there named after great master artists, but I can’t say that watercolor has been a major focus for me personally. The one thing that irked me was painting around white areas, and that was remedied when I was introduced to (1) frisket (an example can be seen here but I haven’t tried this brand; my old one is no more), and (2) gouache, or opaque watercolors, which can come in tubes rather than trays – including white! Opaque watercolors sit on top of the paper and on each other, rather than soaking into the substrate. Winsor & Newton gouache has been perfect for my needs whether applied by brush or airbrush; I’ve never had a problem with it. I also like watercolor pencils, and have been experimenting with ones by Artist’s Loft of late. As far as the old-fashioned Prang paint tin is concerned, my all-time favorite is the one my brother custom decorated for me as a gift when I was in grade school; I refill the trays whenever I can.

Brushes are a matter of taste, and in my case, abuse. I don’t like to buy high-end brushes because I’m quite rough on them and it’s cost-prohibitive to always get the best if that’s your modus operandi. I’ve gotten adequate use out of the cheapest of brushes, but I aim for the middle ground as far as cost. I’m not loyal to any brand here: I use natural-hair brushes for watercolor and gouache, and synthetic ones for acrylic, except for fine blending applications. I keep a wide variety of styles and sizes for different uses. You’ll just have to experiment and find what works for you and your art.


Digital image of colored pencil drawing “Up Close and Poppy” by L. Eilee S. George © 2009 L. Eilee S. George

Remember the cheap colored pencils you used in grade school? You could never get really dark, true colors out of them no matter how hard you colored. In some cases, sub-standard art supplies can only produce sub-standard art. Prismacolor pencils have the intensity of paint pigment, unlike those waxy, washed-out box-retail specials. The first time I used them it was like seeing for the first time after a veil had been lifted from before my eyes. I use them on white, black, and different colored papers as a base. They blend very well; they’re able to be quite opaque; they’re sturdy and bold. The only other good pencils out there are the ones that are copying them.

Vine charcoal is very versatile for unique styles and techniques. It’s put out by a lot of companies, and the one I used for some twenty years has long gone out of business, so I’ve switched to Art Alternatives, which is sold at many retailers and does the job. Some people seem to hate this stuff because it’s a little messy, but they haven’t learned to appreciate their potential. These little charred sticks allow you to wear them into the shape you need with a few strokes, and you can use their end or their side, or you can angle them to get a broad, velvety stroke. You can use them softly for light tones; they blend well with blending stumps (tortillons) or cotton balls, and they can mark down to a dark-medium value even though they’re still what I would call delicate. Add compressed or brick charcoal for deep darks to blend in with them; they work very well together (especially love General’s #15 Charcoal Kit). Combine them with kneaded erasers and you can do some real magic….

Digital image of charcoal drawing “Be Still Life” (Peekaboo) by L. Eilee S. George © 2008 L. Eilee S. George

Kneaded erasers are the ultimate in control and technique for erasers. Not only can you mold and point them to erase in the tiniest corner of a drawing, you can turn them into a drawing and blending tool under the right conditions. They don’t leave crumbs, so you won’t need a brush or risk smearing your work with your hand swiping them away, and any little squiggles that do occur from aggressive erasing are easily picked up by the rest of the eraser and easily worked back in. They also don’t go “bad” (rock-hard, greasy, or otherwise useless) like many rubber erasers do with time. There are many great brands of kneaded erasers, but I trust Prismacolor ones most. I’ve also had good luck with General’s and Prang Design ones, and there are many more. Above I mentioned that these work well with vine charcoal. What I used to do a lot was to turn the vine charcoal on its side to make a nice all-over gray tone. Some drawings I would do that to the entire page before drawing anything. Then I’d lightly sketch some outlines of things with the tip of the vine charcoal. I’d figure out my light source and where highlights and such would be – and I’d take my kneaded eraser and erase out the highlights from the colored-gray background; you can also dab or roll them on surfaces for various degrees and textures of erasure. Then I’d darken shadows with a firmer pressure on the vine charcoal by using the tip, and for dark darks, I would move to a compressed charcoal pencil or brick charcoal and blend that in where appropriate. This works similar in concept to chalk and charcoal on gray paper, but you’ve made the paper gray, and it has a very cloudy, dreamy look. Another thing you can do, and this takes a bit of practice, is use a very charcoal-dirty and smooth area of the eraser to blend with (it doesn’t remove as much charcoal as a tortillon). Then when you need a fresh clean area for a starker, white erasure, you just stretch it, knead it, pull it inside-out and fold and mold it like Silly Putty to find and shape one tailor-fit to the area. This rejuvenating capacity renders this type of eraser good for use for many, many years. Brilliant!

Digital image of graphite drawing of a dirt road and bridge over a stream in rural Kansas © 2014 L. Eilee S. George

Good old #2 pencils are fine for everyday drawing. I grew up using the ones with my dad’s job’s logo; never been without one. I still use them today, even though he’s gone and he had retired some twenty years ago. It’s kind of a comfort thing to hold onto them. In my artistic history, such commonplace implements pre-date my more official art tools. It forced me to do more with less: I can get all the light and dark I need from just a plain old #2 pencil. To be specific, I mean 2B…B leads are soft and can get pretty dark, and I never had a lot of use for H leads because I can use a B with a steady, soft touch (but H’s smear less, so there’s that). Sure, I have the fancy drawing pencils, but these are like an old loyal friend, and despite the existence of fantastic pencils out there and even in my studio (my old Venus pencils, and Pentalic brand), I always gravitate to one of Dad’s old pencils for old time’s sake, as I did several works for him with those, and continue to in spirit. So I guess you can choose supplies for sentimental cause.

Ballpoint pen rendering of Rocky Mountain Waterfall in Idaho Springs CO done by L. Eilee S. George onto a pizza box in which we brought home leftovers from Beau Jo's Pizza

“Fall to Your Knees” – ball-point pen on a pizza box, L. Eilee S. George

I loves me some Bic ball-point pens for drawing! When I’m on the go and just must draw something now I will grab anything to draw with and on. These were a nice surprise; I love how adaptable they are, especially when you control the pressure you’re using (there’s more than one darkness, folks). I don’t even use their fancy ones; I use the discount writing ones, but this brand is better than lesser-known brands that can skip and blob and ruin your doodle. Bic pens are ubiquitous and affordable choice you can get anywhere. If people can spray-paint abandoned buildings, then I can pen-draw on used pizza boxes!

Strathmore produces sketch paper with just enough tooth that it is smear-resistant. Time was that I would buy any cheap sketchpad out there, but I learned my lesson. Cheap papers smear irreparably if you try to erase; they lack tooth and can ruin some otherwise good drawings. Yes, occasionally artists do have to erase – especially if you block in some wire-frame type structure lines that later need to be removed. Not all sketch papers are made the same. Some of them just are not good, and when I find something I like, I stick to it. Strathmore isn’t quite as high-end as Canson (which is truly excellent), but it is affordable in bulk and perfectly fine for any drawing needs, and comes in a vast array of types for different media uses.

Digital image of pastel drawing “Painted Trail” © 2009 L. Eilee S. George

I have to say I haven’t worked much with pastels (do not confuse with colored chalk) and oil pastels (I’ve used Grumbacher a little), but they seem pretty consistent from brand to brand. I’ve used Faber Castel Design no, now they’re called Prismacolor Nupastels and the more compressed Prang Pastello pastels; the former is firmer and seems a little easier to blend for me. I definitely recommend using them with a pastel-specific paper with a very coarse tooth for better blending capacity and durability; Canson has a great selection of pastel papers. Some of you artists out there may argue that pastels should be under the paint category instead of the drawing category, but you will not win that argument with me. It’s still a dry medium.


Occasionally I still construct models or sculptures using acrylic sheet and super glue. Sometimes working with it, it gets scratched. Novus plastic polish is fantastic for buffing small scratches out of acrylic. It comes in different viscosities for different depths of scars, and it requires some elbow grease and a little patience, but it can save your project outright.

Epoxy works best for joints needing a tiny bit of flexibility. I’ve used various super glues, because I like the wicking properties to get them into tiny cracks, as well as accelerators to get glue curing quickly, but these can become very brittle on non-porous surfaces. If your project needs to shift a little or is going to be under strain, an epoxy is often a stronger, more flexible bond. I don’t really have a brand preference on this because I’ve never run into a bad one; JB Weld, Loctite, and Gorilla all make good versions as well as others. You want the two-part type that you mix together. Don’t be intimidated; it’s really easy.

When you want to mount something to a board, spray mount is the way to go. For years people used rubber cement, and I hated it going through university. It was what all our professors used when they were going to school, so it’s what they had us use. But rubber cement is terribly messy and lingeringly fumy; the built-in brush always gets messed up; it’s hard to keep the can clean enough to close and not partially dry up; it doesn’t age well; it gets stringy and goes on in blobs and is hard to apply smoothly so that it doesn’t show through with bumps. On top of that, after twenty years, the project fails completely and the rubber cement doesn’t stick any longer. Then the parts are stained with some nasty brown smearing that won’t take other adhesives to put it back together. But one professor introduced spray mount to us, and it was like a godsend. 3M Super 77 spray mount renders the old-school rubber cement “boogers” obsolete. Yes, you should have a spray booth, or point it downwind, outside, with a large disposable drop cloth or liberally spread newspapers for overspray – but it goes on smoothly, and none of my projects with this have failed. You can even carefully lift, shift and re-position the work you’re mounting at first, in case you didn’t get it aligned quite right, so that short initial flexibility in curing time is another super perk.

X-Acto is X-actly what’s needed, but Olfa kicks butt too. I’ve used X-Acto for years and love all the different blade attachments that come with them, not to mention the custom carrying case. Sometimes I do paper cutting and it’s so much more accurate than using scissors. While I was a modelmaker I had chance to use a retractable Olfa blade – the kind with the scored blade where you can use pliers to break a dull region off the end, to have a fresh new blade where you broke it off – and I loved the idea. Since it’s retractable it’s easily transportable, and since sometimes I’m doing little set-design jobs off-site, that’s important. It’s also easy and safe to store when not in use.

More modern media also reside in my portfolio. Photography is a supplement art to my stickier medias, as I do a lot of my own photography of my work as well as art photography for its own sake. I use a Canon Rebel T3i for the really good stuff, and a Canon A630 for quick pix. I miss my old manual Minolta X-700; it was damaged by someone I once lent it to. But that forced me to learn that digital photography is far cheaper than film and developing. Adobe Photoshop is a vital tool with my digital photos, as I use it for color correction in the case of color correction (say, a green tint from an old fluorescent fixture), for cropping, for stitching things together, and for artful editing of all sorts when I’m feeling really experimental. I use Adobe Illustrator for vector graphics like logos I design in my branding business. I use Adobe InDesign for a lot of my graphics jobs, and of course I design all of my web sites on a WordPress platform (if you’re not a web DIY’er and don’t want to self-host, visit here instead).


I certainly haven’t shopped everywhere, or anywhere online for that matter, but from my artist friends I’ve heard good things about JerrysArtarama.com, CheapJoes.com and DickBlick.com. There are other online venues that are, I assume, also good, and others who certainly too big to need my humble promotion. Brick-and-mortar stores I’ve gone to of course include Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, as well as the Denver giant, Meininger. Some supplies can be gotten (perhaps more cheaply) at hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ace, or at office supply stores like OfficeDepot or Staples, or even big box discount stores, supposedly. I’ve found that framing and hanging hardware is much cheaper at hardware stores, but I’ve heard it’s even cheaper online, and you can get it discounted in bulk. Cameras I’ve picked up both at specialty shops and big-box retailers, and software I get from the developers.

Part of Eilee’s art studio

Please email me via my CONTACT page if you have questions about other media; I haven’t mentioned every category that I work in on this post. I have experience in various types and media of sculpture, ceramics, and I’ve recently procured two kilns and a lot of china-painting supplies from my mother, who has retired from the practice after creating a beautiful legacy of work (I’ll be teaching myself and my mother in-law this art after I finish a few commissions and we both find the time). In more traditional painting, I also have worked in oils, but acrylics are my preference, since they can be manipulated to resemble various other types of painting, and are far less toxic than oils and don’t require the ventilation that oils would demand to be truly safe (turpentine, anyone?). I understand that there are turpentine replacements out there, but they are still stinky, and I just plain like to work faster than oils do. The only time acrylics are toxic is when basically atomized through an airbrush (don’t just do that unless you want something like black lung disease! Use gouache instead, and always use a respirator!) So, yeah, I’m kind of prejudiced against oils, although I did some lovely ones back in the day. If you’re willing to deal with their challenges, more power to you; it’s just not me. It’s probably best to consult someone besides me on oils.

The links in this article are, as much as I could manage it, to the original manufacturer rather than a retail destination, which I only provided when I couldn’t find the maker. I cannot guarantee the quality of any products I have reviewed here, as companies sometimes change their processes or even go out of business, without consulting little old me – nor do I guarantee forever function of any of the links here, as some webmasters seem to like to move stuff around arbitrarily, and I can’t police all these links every week. My apologies in advance for any links that may become outdated in the future. I would like to point out again that there are no ads on my site and none of these companies have compensated me in any way for these recommendations (they likely don’t know I exist); these are the same recommendations I would make to any friend, and I don’t get paid for that either. 🙂

Truth be told, to help fund my work, I am very interested in learning how to monetize the site eventually, and should any of these links become income in the future, I will let you know in a short legal disclaimer statement in close proximity to the relevant reference. Until then, I hope you have found something helpful here. 😉


– Eilee






All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

The Mind’s Artistic Eye

StylesVery recently, the question was posed to me: “Is it harder to paint realistically, or in that style you do?” and I went a little bit into auto-pilot and didn’t really consider all the points to tackle that I should have in answering. In this post I will address the subtler differences between the two terms realism and abstraction, and clarify the sometimes interchangeably used pair representational and non-representational – terms that are often incorrectly used in their place. The conversation had lingered in my mind and I slept on it, and on waking I knew it deserved a better response, so…here I am.

My answer to the question was incomplete. Mostly it was one-sided – how I went about my stylized abstraction, but I did not compare and contrast it to depicting things with more realism. I didn’t really acknowledge anything about realism, and I have to guess that it’s because I still take realism so for granted.

The fact that artists can see in a nearly infinite number of ways can be overwhelming; I understand all too well – I’m in the thick of it. But I can see how it also would be daunting for a non-creative who is observing from the other side of the looking glass. People who have known me for many years have seen me create in a number of styles because I push and change my own way of seeing as I develop as an artist. This diversity of creativity, which happens on the individual as well as the mass scale within the creative community, is what creates a breathing, dynamic culture – so there’s something for everyone.

Something that few people already know about me is that, at an early age, I worked and worked myself into being a photorealist. I learned about linear and atmospheric perspective, and observed properties of light and shadow and their effects on colors and textures; I studied in depth anatomy, construction, and the mathematical basis beneath it; I poured over color theory, as well as learning a variety of different media before I concentrated on my favorites. All of this and more gave me a solid foundation for later experimentation: you cannot effectively break the rules without knowing them first. Without that structure, you can’t employ restraint or focus, and without those, all that comes out is meaningless chaos.

That isn’t to suggest that abstracted and non-representational art, those misunderstood stepchildren of the art world, are wantonly chaotic. Frankly, it’s absurd that they are still viewed by a few as far too controversial, in this day and age. But folks often reject what they don’t understand, and many go on the offense by making harsh judgments out of self-defense of a (this is the key word:) curable lack of art knowledge. Learning the difference is really not that painful, and it will enrich your enjoyment of art and design overall.

Simply put, representational art looks something like what it’s depicting (to one extent or another), while non-representational art isn’t even meant to particularly look like anything comparable that you can sit and observe. Representational art can be realistic, or abstracted to any number of degrees. Even my abstracted trees are representational, because in my stylized way, I’m still representing something recognizable: trees, sky, ground, mountains – making up landscapes. (Incidentally my paintings are a fusion of realism and abstraction, as I often make the trunks and branches more realistic to give context to those square leaves and backgrounds.) Picasso, who also evolved through many styles, pushed it even further with his Cubist works – Three Musicians, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Guernica most certainly are representational of very specific subject matter – although the exact style he chose in that period included play in pattern, time, space, symbolism and refraction as well as other cerebral expressions – but no one would deem it realistic, because people and events don’t actually look the way he painted them. Using the technique he used – essentially warping the subjects in a particular way – created tension, symbolic movement and emotional impact within the viewer that wouldn’t have happened so effectively in a more realistic style.


Jean-François Millet, “The Gleaners”, 1857

“Realistic” describes a style that adheres as closely to how an object actually appears as is possible or practical for the artist to draw or paint or sculpt. Realism is, in one technical use, a term attached to a specific Western art movement at a certain time, in this case it began in France in around the mid 1800’s and spread from there; it was also sometimes called Naturalism, and portrayed scenes of common everyday life. Another example would be Magic Realism, begun after the WWI era (it includes works by Andrew Wyeth and Henri Rousseau), or Surrealism (that includes works by Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.)

Whistler, Symphony in White

James Abbot McNeill Whistler, “Symphony in White”

These last two movements mentioned used very realistic depiction of what at first seems like everyday scenes, but upon closer inspection, they include increasingly fantastical elements in them. Other types of Realism, like Contemporary Realism, followed. Realism also is used as a more general term used to describe this accurate vision applied in art in many different art periods through history (such as the incredibly realistic way that the human form and its environment were represented in ancient Greece and Rome).

Rousseau Self Portrait

Henri Rousseau, “Self-Portrait”, 1890

The term that gets most people confused is the word “abstract”. Most people who haven’t devoted studies to art automatically default to thinking that abstract art doesn’t look like anything. But it does, in a way, after running through the filter of an artist’s eye, or concept. You see, when you paint abstract art, the subject is abstracted from something. It’s an abstracted version of a tree, or of a person, or of a landscape, or a still life – it’s still representing something; therefore, it’s representational. People mistakenly brand non-representational art as abstract, and it just ain’t so. It is also worthy to note that there are infinite degrees of abstraction possible, from slight to extreme.

Braque Woman with Guitar

Georges Braque, “Woman with a Guitar”, 1913

So what is “non-representational” art then? On this there is debate, even within the art world. Some insist that it can represent emotions, symbolizing things with colors and textures of the brushwork, or it can represent cognitive concepts, like when it demonstrates manipulations of chosen elements and principles of design. Hardliners, however, will tell you that it can’t represent anything at all – it’s just art for art’s sake. Well, many artists choose to not draw what they see, but instead what they think and feel, which is interpreting something. When I did my Grief series, I called it hard-core abstraction, but did so rather emotionally. Some would say that since you couldn’t sit down and see an emotion itself (as opposed to how it surfaces in the words and expressions of a human being), that these are nonrepresentational works. But I say in a sense they are representational, in that they evoke a definite feeling and, in essence, represent these stages of grief. Even if you can’t see them in normal life, many people see the feelings when they look at my works. Every time I’ve shown them they elicit passionate reactions. So it must represent something to the viewers, too – and people bring their own life experiences with them when they look at art, and that colors their perception. I can generally tell right away if it’s someone who has lost someone very close to them; they know that feeling – and they recognize it in my work. And, they may bring something different to that painting when viewing it, than I did in making it. Together, we create a complete experience.

L. Eilee George, Grief: Anger

L. Eilee George, “Grief: Anger”, 2008

What those Grief paintings are, regardless of the non/representational question, is abstract. I have worked in several degrees of abstraction, that series being the far reaches and most abstract – the abstraction of the very intense feelings that I had to either get out or burst. What I had been through recently in real life preceding those five paintings was incredibly difficult, and I suspect I was on the verge of a breakdown, but the art helped me to get the feelings out and process them, and it was better than any therapist would have been (my apologies to therapists, but I’m lucky to have no need of you personally – between faith, a supportive family, and art – really, the bases are covered). Those paintings, which you can view here, are both abstract and, to me and several others, representational – although to others they are also nonrepresentational since you can’t recognize an object or scene. See? There’s gray area even for artists, so if you’re confused have comfort that you’re not alone! (Not to confuse you further, but what these five paintings really are is Expressionistic, but that’s another blog post.)

L. Eilee George, Colorussia IV

L. Eilee George, “Colorussia IV”, 2011

And my various tree series are also abstract. They are a style that I developed when trying to find my own voice and my own unique eye; I applied a philosophy and related a technique to it. And that brings me back to the question at the beginning of this post:

Is it harder to paint realistically or in that style you do?

The fact of the matter is, after you learn how to draw and paint realistically, it is way easier to work in realism than to stylize and to abstract it. Don’t get me wrong: it was no easy task to learn, for years, the myriad skills demanded in order to depict people, places and things the way they really look – and I have respect for artists who can do that, of course. But that is, quite simply, a skill; I believe just about anyone could learn it given enough time – and there isn’t a lot of individuality to simply regurgitating what’s already laid out in front of you. And these days we have cameras for that…so what can the artist bring to the table, to improve upon that? There are countless answers, and combinations of them. One can assert one’s uniqueness by depicting rather unrealistic things realistically (flying elephants anyone?), which wanders into Magic Realism or Surrealism and is a fat lot of fun. Another way to go is to filter your subject matter through a style. Or, you can make it about the message (which some do brilliantly, but my personal preference is not to get very political in my own art; it’s not in my nature – and knowing yourself is important as an artist). Or an artist may develop a radical technique in his or her medium that rather steals the show from the subject matter. The Impressionists did it with their little brush strokes or with dots of primary and secondary color that only “blend” into tertiary, quaternary and further-blended colors as the viewer steps back from the painting, letting their eyes do the work. My Neo-Pixelism (or Neo-Pointillism as it is sometimes called) is similar to that, except that instead of colors that the viewer’s eye is putting together at a distance, I lead the eye to do that with patterns, shapes and lines.

Essentially, in my Neo-Pixelist paintings, I’m painting two paintings at the same time: the one you see from a distance, with all the blobs and strokes falling together into a recognizable landscape (thanks to the brilliant anatomy of your wonderful eyes), and the second one you see up close, where you fall into an abstract forest of square dibs and dabs and patterns. That isn’t easy. It takes a lot of incessantly oscillating thought and careful planning. It takes concentrated decision making the entire time I execute it. I’m constantly trying to balance out the density of strokes to have a certain desired effect far away, and the desired effects change in different areas of each work. I have taught myself ways to simplify the process, but it remains complex. None of it is there in front of me when I see the landscape it’s based on. It has to be generated by my imagination, and continually controlled and shaped by my will, with no other roadmap. My artistic alchemy pays off by producing a unique, beautiful object with my own personal stamp. It’s something that anyone who calls oneself an artist should strive to achieve: individuality.

Some may say that the technique I apply is “formulaic”, as if it were an insult. The thing is, an artist has a narrow line to walk with style. We are expected to be consistent in style by collectors, gallery owners, art dealers, consultants, critics, auctioneers, and even other artists, although few of us like to be pigeonholed. Stability in style shows maturity as an artist and confidence in one’s abilities; it also makes the art a better risk for investors (if you want to get into the dirty subject of “business” – that’s another way to be “realistic”.) Despite the fact that we owe it to ourselves and the craft to experiment and take chances in many directions, you have to be discriminating and not just show every single thing you do. One could throw the same word, formulaic, at any artist (including the Masters) who developed a consistent style for a time, but there’s a difference between mere gimmick and a well-developed method, and only a discerning eye and questioning mind will learn the difference. Of course, it’s also career suicide to find something that works, and then to never grow beyond it, just to keep making sales (which would eventually fail anyway). A good artist evolves. The art should show a progression. Experimentation may seem a little scary, but it’s not life threatening. You must try new things – and even make mistakes (sometimes lots of them) – in order to grow and to find new exciting successes – plus, you’ll never be bored. And that’s as true for life as it is for art.

So…it’s definitely harder to think for yourself…but the reward is more than worth it.








Master painting images courtesy of the old Ookaboo.com

All other content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

PROSE: Blog Intro

I’m Eilee George, and I like to write anecdotal and how-to blog posts in several creative areas. A lot of my art lesson posts are collected under the Art menu heading above, but you can find them here, too, along with a lot of other topics. I am a strong believer that ANYONE can draw if they want to learn – it’s a set of skills and principles like anything else. As a prolific writer (although not always online), I prefer to use an unstructured, informal sort of prose as my writing style; thus I chose “prose” over the word “blog” in the menu tab title…but it is essentially a blog. On my own time, I write short stories, essays and lots of poetry and songs. Here, I try to categorize topics by media. The following table of contents will, for now, serve only as a teaser as to what you may be able to look forward to reading later on, if you’re continuing in your creative quest and if I find more time to write; some things may change. If you see a link I’ve already posted it. I’ll throw other unplanned entries in as special events occur. If the presentation gets confusing, shoot me an email here and let me know; I’ll try to fix it. For now, check the sidebar for what I’ve actually posted. I’m still figuring out my preferred blog organization and categories etc. So…let’s learn together!

Elements and Principles of Design – Introduction
Elements of Design: Line
Elements of Design: Shape in Simple Space
Elements of Design: Form, Texture and Pattern
Elements of Design: Hue, Value, and Intensity
Elements of Design: More on Space, Proportion and Scale
Principles of Design: Balance
Principles of Design: Create Drama with Contrast
Principles of Design: Variety versus Unity and Harmony
Principles of Design: Movement, Rhythm and Repetition
Principles of Design: Emphasis and Dominance
How to Create a Pleasing Two-Dimensional Composition
The Color Wheel: Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Colors
The Color Wheel: Value: Tints and Shades
The Color Wheel: Intensity, Compliments and Tones
The Color Wheel: Triads, Tetrads and Other Combinations
Color Psychology
Linear Perspective Atmospheric Perspective
Dissecting the Human Body: Finding Proportion in Figure Drawing
How to Break Down Proportion in a Face
Media Techniques: Working with Graphite
Media Techniques: Working with Charcoal
Media Techniques: Working with Pastels
Media Techniques: Working with Colored Pencil
Media Techniques: Working in the Acrylic Paint Medium
Media Techniques: Working in Other Paint Mediums
Style: A Wealth of History to Inspire the Future
Style: Interpretation and Finding your Unique Viewpoint
Style: Some Tips on Methods of Abstraction
Inspiration and Influences: You Don’t Live in a Vacuum
My Favorite Supplies and How They Earned the Distinction

How to Organize Your Inventory
Getting Up Close and Personal: Using the Macro Lens
Digital Photography: Framing Your Shot
Filters Aren’t Everything
Practical Uses For Digital Photography

Closer Look: 3 Trees Triptych
New Church Art Dedicated!
Eilee’s Favorite Art Supplies & How They Earned the Distinction
Evolution in Faith & Art
The Mind’s Artistic Eye
An Ounce of Prevention…
How to Safely Remove Various Paint Stains/Adhesive Residues

New Videos Page!
New Music Page!
Studio Days

How to Affix Weird Things to Each Other
How to Make a Working Lamp
Going the Extra Mile in Costume Concept and Construction
Making a Faerie or Angel Costume For Someone? Make Your Own Wings, Too
Doing Simple Sewing Repairs the Right Way (Or the Fast Way in a Jam)
How to Make Homemade Gifts They’ll Love

The Beauty of Contrast and Clarity
How to Make a Legible Garage Sale Sign
Design a Simple Logo
Prioritizing information

How & Where to Protect Your Work (Intellectual Property)
Artist Pitfalls in Business
Build a Brand and Be Consistent
How to Retain Clients, Vendors, Assistants, and Associates

Your Passion is Not an Island to Itself
ARTithmetic: Geometry Ordered My Artistic World

How to Make a Beautifully Presented Rice Side Dish
Cooking Easy, Healthier Orange Chicken
Gluten-Free Beef Stroganoff
Mini Pizza hors d’oevres
Embellished Croissants
Russian Potato Salad
Medicinal Properties of Herbs and Spices
Cooking for Kids and Other Picky Eaters
Little Kitchen Tips and Tricks

Failure Redefined
How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re Laid Up for Months
The Best Selfish Things You’ll Ever Do
How to Keep Your Perspective When You Lose a Loved One
Facing Your Own Mortality and the Big C
Training a Kitten to Walk on a Leash
Dealing with Multiple Food Intolerances
What Faith Has Done for Me
Stuff I Learned By 40
Our Keys to a Fantastic Marriage
How to Keep Your Identity in a World of Conformity
Create if You Feel Like It (Doggone It)!

(These just might end up on a new web site.)
Independence Day
New Music Page!
Upgrading Imagery
A Sampler of Colorado Beauty
A Priceless Gift
A Little Poetry
When Appetites Attack




And Who Knows What Else…


AND, not part of the blog, but visit my MUSIC and VIDEOS pages!







All content on this site © 2013-2020/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.