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Blog Posts (5)
- How to Paint Effortlessly
Ever wonder what goes into making a masterpiece?! It all starts here... Planning my painting. This is perhaps the most important part of watercolor painting. Without it, I'm betting on happy mistakes. And that means a lot of wasted paper. Part One: Motivation. I paint what I connect with—spiritually and emotionally. For the last decade, it's been animals and birds. It shifts periodically, of course, but I've always found my way back to the animal spirit. Part Two: Composition. I’ve always believed that composition is more important than technique. Have a great drawing, and painting is really easy. So, the first step is drawing out my subject. It is essential. I was lucky that I spent years drawing before I took up painting, so I have a solid foundation. But I think even more important than technical drawing capability is how to put together a winning composition. I could have a really elementary drawing with a masterful composition, and it is game over, I have a winner. Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts is a great book that takes a deep dive into this very topic. You can pick it up here if you're interested. I’ll take my own dive into this in a future post. Moving on… Part Three: Visualization. The third part of planning my painting is all about visualization. Watercolor is unforgiving. Make a big mistake and it’s hard to rebound. Of course, appropriate and solid technique will also drastically reduce your mistakes. But both are important! After I have my drawing prepared, I take some time to visualize the end result. When I have a picture in my mind of what I want, my process is less turbulent, and I have a much greater chance of capturing that image successfully. I imagine the details. Closely! What colors are used and where? Are my brushstrokes big or small? Is the painting loose and impressionistic or controlled and realistic? Or both, but in different areas. Is it detailed and complex or succinct and simple. These are just a few of the questions I ask myself before beginning. Part Four: Stop Thinking and Paint. With any luck something like this kingfisher comes to life. Enjoy! And that’s how it’s done! Until next time…
- The Truth About the Dragonfly
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to make sense of my dragonfly friend. I don’t have a strong feeling about a specific visitor. I do have some feelings that it was a message. It goes something like this… I’ve never liked abstract art. Truth bomb; I’ve always hated it. It actually made me sick! Almost literally. Then, three or four years ago something hap pened. I lost three of my best friends, two animals and one human, in a short amount of time. I was grieving. It was rough. But I also started having an urge. An unusual urge to express myself differently. I wasn’t really sure what that was but I knew it had to be through my art. So, it happened—I created some abstract paintings. And, I’ll admit; it felt pretty good. I was proud. I was proud that I went out of my comfort zone and did something I never thought I would do. I spent a few months creating several different works, all similar in style and technique. And then it was over. Just like that. I’m not sure why I stopped. But I haven’t stopped thinking about those paintings (which I just released this summer) or abstract art in general. (This very second, I turned to look out the window…a red dragonfly flutters! WHAT?!?) A new urge is stewing. I’m bursting with inspiration but have excuse after excuse not to paint. When it comes down to it, though, it’s all about you! I’m terrified that you won’t like my new work. This guy who has painted animals for ten years suddenly stops to paint other things…gross! I mean, I might not even like it. But the urge is too strong. And, I know I have to do this. The dragonfly told me so.
- Visit From the Other Side?
I had such a cool little experience with this red dragonfly the other day. So, I’m outside, minding my business, and this little guy was flying around. Before I knew it, he landed a foot or so away from me. I slowly turned and started talking. I asked how they were doing and just the basics...you know, small talk. I then slowly moved towards him, reached out, and to my surprise, he didn’t fly away. I thought, hmm, that’s new. So, I got closer. Until I was literally stoking his wings! He looked up at me, turned his little head back and forth, and was completely present with me. After a few minutes, yes, a few minutes, I placed a finger in front of him and he literally hugged it with his two front feet! I swayed back and forth as we had this incredible moment. I kept asking who he/she was, as if he was going to answer me. :) I can’t say for sure, but it sure felt like someone was visiting me. After a few more minutes, he looked up, and flew off. I had to paint him! Two days later, I'm waiting outside as I'm picking up my daughter, and ANOTHER red dragonfly lands right next to me. He looks up to me and I slowly move towards him. Just like that, I'm softly stroking his beautiful wings! What is happening? Is someone visiting me from the other side? And if so, who?!?! Or is it some sort or spiritual sign? I think I need a Shaman!
Other Pages (6)
- Artist Eric Sweet | Original Oil & Watercolor Nightscapes, Wildlife, and Bird Paintings
NEW WORKS ORIGINALS NIGHTSCAPES OIL PAINTINGS LIMITED EDITIONS WATERCOLOR BIRDS WATERCOLOR ANIMALS BLACK & WHITES CAROLINA TIGER RESCUE ABSTRACTS W elcome to the official website and gallery of artist Eric Sweet, working out of East Lansing, Michigan. I work in both watercolor and oils, expressing myself through different painting styles. I paint primarily birds and animals, though also explore painting abstracts and nightscapes. My watercolor pieces are painted loosely and quickly with layered washes, exaggerated colo r, and splatter. I like to describe them as dreamy star-dusted animals! My oils are either painted traditionally or looser and more expressive . I regularly take on commissioned work, painting a wide variety of subjects.
- Custom Pet Portraits
CUSTOM PET PORTRAITS Thank you for your interest in a custom pet portrait . Custom portraits are priced from $499 and are painted in watercolor or oil paint. You can expect smaller works to be completed in two to three weeks once started. Larger or more complex pieces may take up to two months. ORDER NOW WATERCOLOR My watercolor portrait paintings are loose and spontaneous, painted with large washes and splatter, exaggerated color, and smooth gradations. Choose this option if you're looking for a lighter more spirited depiction of your animal. OIL PAINT My oil paintings are created with quick but precise brushwork, focusing on shape, value, and color. This realistic approach allows me to focus on the feeling of the animal and scene rather than getting lost in the details. Up close, the brushstrokes come alive to tell the story of the creation of the painting. Choose this option if you prefer a more traditional approach to portraiture. ORDER NOW Need more info? Contact me and I'll get back to you asap.
- Watercolor Artist Eric Sweet | About the Artist
ERIC SWEET Hello! I'm Eric. I paint primarily birds and animals and have recently started painting abstracts and nightscapes. I enjoy working in both watercolor and oil paint. I love the nature of watercolor, the translucency it provides, and the light-hearted nature of the medium. But I also love oil paint, its rich colors, and undeniably beautiful textures. My current obsession is painting nightscapes. I've always favorited Van Gogh's "Starry Night" but my real passion for astronomy began in college when I took an astronomy course. We would spend hours in the frigid cold, gazing at the night sky, learning about the vastness of space, and the life of stars. It's one of my favorite memories from college. Now, years later, I feel a force that's pushing me into turning this affection into art. I've always contemplated the meaning of life but when you throw in a breathtaking night sky, all bets are off! Whether created with oil paint or watercolor, these works come from a place of marvel and wonder that's been inside me for a very long time. My watercolor animal and bird paintings are loose and spontaneous, painted with large washes and splatter, exaggerated color, and smooth gradations. With quiet brushstrokes, I can momentarily escape the madness into the wild and connect with nature. Animals for me have always been a safe haven—gentle souls that are in touch with a peaceful spiritual world. My relationship to the animal spirit is the driving force behind my work and my sole motivation. My approach is purely interpretive in nature. Put differently, these paintings take into consideration my interpretation of the animals’ spirit, not necessarily their true appearance. I like to describe them as dreamy star-dusted animals! In the end, these paintings capture the animal spirit in a unique blend of realism and impressionism. I’ll also paint wildlife in oils using a variety of approaches. Most traditionally, I’ll paint with quick but precise brushwork, focusing on shape, value, and color. This realistic approach allows me to focus on the feeling of the animal and scene rather than getting lost in the details. Up close, the brushstrokes come alive to tell the story of the creation of the painting. Less frequently, using black oil paint in a dry brush manner, I’ll focus on small details, resulting in a more realistic painting. My abstracts are ocean inspired. Flying above I envision myself peering down into the varying depths of the unknown. These works are purely expressionistic and are titled based on what I was feeling or thinking about during their creation. Their construction is unique, as they are mounted on stainless steel, coated with epoxy resin, and hung one inch off the wall. If you’re interested in a painting or commissioned piece, but want more information, please email me here . When I'm not painting, I enjoy spending time with my two daughters, golfing, working in the yard, and relaxing with my family.