Wyland's Art Studio

In Wyland's Art Studio, internationally renowned artist and conservation advocate Wyland showcases techniques for painting nature and outdoor scenes. Best known for his marine life murals, Wyland renders his years of travel and adventure — from scuba diving below the Antarctic ice to journeys down the Mississippi River — into works of art.

Wyland's subjects range from stunning ocean scenes and majestic rural mountains to bottlenose dolphins, bald eagles, mahi mahi, pandas, polar bears. In each episode, he shares his insights on perspective, color theory, color mixing, texture, scale and form, and provides tips on selecting paints, canvas and subject matter.

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Full Moon Seascape

Episode #402H · Wyland demonstrates linear perspective.

Elephant

Episode #403H · In this episode, Wyland uses the interplay of shading to establish the power and size of an elephant against a deep, dark green forest.

Moonlight Lighthouse

Episode #404H · Wyland creates a sense of motion or still life by adjusting the arrangement of the objects.

Octopus

Episode #405H · Wyland employs the classic Impressionist brush technique of broken color to create a shimmering effect.

Bald Eagle

Episode #406H · Wyland's depiction of a bald eagle proves an ideal way to practice paint application and brushwork.

Mahi Mahi

Episode #407H · In his depiction of a mahi mahi, Wyland incorporates many elements and principles of art to create a harmonious painting.

Reef Fish Coral

Episode #408H · Wyland uses complementary colors and the technique of glazing to create the vibrant deep colors of this tropical underwater scene.

Tropical Island

Episode #409H · Wyland creates the illusion of three-dimensional imagery in this painting of a tropical island.

Sailfish

Episode #410H · Blending techniques - gradual transition from one color to another - help Wyland create a flowing underwater scene.

Sting Ray

Episode #411H · Wyland explores the natural gray shades of a stingray in this illuminating lesson on light, shade, and tone.

Panda

Episode #412H · Negative space, a key element of artistic composition, proves an ideal technique for representing animals in the wild.

Polar Bear

Episode #413H · Color contrast adds drama to Wyland's vivid painting of a polar bear.

Bengal Tiger

Episode #501H · The dramatic markings of wild animals offer a perfect study of contrast. Arranging different colors, shades and textures against each other appeals to our natural love of contrast and adds a heightened element of drama. Artists may use contrast of hue, which is simply a color that has not been diluted. Contrast of value is the range of lightness versus darkness of certain colors. Occasionally, in oil painting, artists will paint entirely in shades of grey. This is the oil equivalent of a tonal drawing. A strong tonal drawing almost always leads to a strong painting. Artists such as Degas understood the effectiveness of color contrast. Wyland explores contrasting shades in this painting of a Bengal Tiger.

Mt. Hood

Episode #502H · Oregon's Mount Hood rises sharply in the distance, as a sprawling lake fills the foreground in this iconic painting of the Pacific Northwest. The artist uses the scene as a study of vanishing points, horizon lines, and linear perspective. Artists use linear perspective -- the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface -- first by picturing the canvas surface as an "open window" through which to see the painted world. Straight lines are then drawn on the canvas to represent the horizon and "visual rays" connecting the viewer's eye to a point in the distance. The horizon line runs across the canvas at the eye level of the viewer. The horizon line is where the sky appears to meet the ground. The vanishing point should be located near the center of the horizon line. The vanishing point is where all parallel lines (orthogonals) that run towards the horizon line appear to come together like train tracks in the distance. Orthogonal lines are "visual rays" helping the viewer's eye to connect points around the edges of the canvas to the vanishing point.

Lion

Episode #503H · For centuries, artists have employed light and shadow for a theatrical effect. The technique, known traditionally as chiaroscuro, refers to a strong juxtaposition of light and shade to enhance the dramatic aspects of a painting. The technique was pioneered and used to heightened effect by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. In this portrait of a regal lion, Wyland uses the interplay of shading to establish dramatic and dominant nature of these beautiful apex hunters. First, Wyland pays singular attention to his light sources and creates the painting from there, establishing lines, mid tones, then adding strong shadows. The light source is the single most important aspect of chiaroscuro painting. Highlights that have a bit of color from the light source may be added. If the light source is cool, highlights may include a variety of blue colors. If the source is warm, yellows, oranges or reds may be added.

Sunset Landscape

Episode #504H · Unity, balance and movement are the basis of a carefully composed painting. A range of artistic decisions proceeds first from the identification of a focal point. Then, the artist may employ a range of contrasts between light and dark to find a rhythm that supplies a unique energy to the artwork. Used effectively, elements of composition provide a structure that leads the viewer's eye in a particular way for a variety of different effects. "Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh is an excellent example of extraordinary composition. The parts of the composition may feel as if they belong together. Or they may be purposely disjointed. A symmetrical arrangement may add a sense of calm. Whereas an asymmetrical arrangement may create a sense of unease. By adjusting the arrangement of the objects, the artist can create a sense of motion or still life. Patterns establish an underlying structure of basic lines and shapes. Proportion is the way in which things fit together, big and small, nearby and distant. Each of these components may be used in varying degrees to create the intended effect.

Koalas

Episode #505H · In broken color painting one or more shades of paints are applied in distinct layers to impart an interesting look to a surface. Impressionists used the technique to great effect. By using broken color, artists bring a sense of light and energy to the painting. The effect of keeping colors separate can create a sense of colors vibrating against each other for a shimmering effect. Animal portraits provide a wonderful opportunity to incorporate techniques of broken color as Wyland so aptly demonstrates in his portrait of a mother and baby Koala basking in the afternoon sun. Artists tip: To achieve the broken color effect, Wyland creates distinctive brushstrokes of varying length

Paradise

Episode #506H · Brushes are the artist's main tools for applying paint. The artist's choice of brush depends on the techniques and effects he or she wishes to achieve in a work of art. Generally, however, three or four can handle most requirements. Stiff bristles are effective for establishing the initial stages of composition and laying in large amounts of color, particularly if the painting is large. Soft brushes are useful for smooth finishes and softer lines. Wyland demonstrates a variety of brush techniques to create an abstract tropical sunset painting. Throughout this episode, he explains the benefits of thick and thin applications of color and a variety of brush strokes. Skills acquired here may be refined for further practice.

Na Pali Coast

Episode #507H · Landscapes offer artists excellent opportunities to refine and hone their ability to create a visual sense of depth through brushstrokes, colors, and composition. Mastering this skill, however, takes extensive practice and patience. Wyland showcases this technique by painting Hawaii's famed Na Pali Coast. Depth can be established by overlapping elements to force some elements forward or backward in the science. Other techniques include using fewer details, texture and definition when painting objects in the mid-ground and background of the landscape. As elements recede in the distance, artists may paint them at a much smaller scale than objects in the foreground. Another hint is to use warmer, darker colors to bring elements forward in the foreground, with cooler colors farther into the background. Artist's tip: It should be noted that a full range of colors might be unneeded. Using three or even only two colors can make a coherent image with an exceptional sense of depth.

Rocky Mountain River

Episode #508H · Color may be the foundation of all art, but it is light, shade, and tone that bring a painting to life. Tone may have a variety of interpretations in art. How we perceive the tone of an object depends on its actual surface lightness or darkness, color and texture, the background and lighting. Generally, however, artists consider tone as the way a light source varies through shades of gray to the deepest black shadows. Wyland uses tone for dramatic effect as he follows the subtle changes of light along a pristine river hidden within the Rocky Mountains.

Whale Tail

Episode #509H · Many artists spend their lives working to understand the nature, structure, or essence of a thing. In Episode 9, Wyland's depiction of a fluking whale tail almost appears to be a separate object in and of itself. Wyland uses negative space -- the space around and between the subject -- to enhance this effect. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, is used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. Often, in a two-tone, black-and-white image, a subject is normally depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white), thereby forming a silhouette of the subject. However, artists apply a multitude of techniques to achieve their intended effect. In this painting, Wyland applies his interest in form and negative space to give the viewer a unique perspective on this iconic image of the sea.

Mermaid

Episode #510H · Many artists focus heavily on color combinations early in their careers. However, an important aspect of color theory is contrast -- or using the difference between colors for a heightened effect. Color can contrast in hue, value, and saturation. For example, contrast of hue is what relates most directly to color wheel combinations. The further away two colors are from each other, the higher the contrast. A special case of contrast of hue is the contrast between warm and cold colors. Contrast of value is the range of lightness versus darkness of certain colors. Occasionally, in oil painting, artists will paint entirely in shades of grey. This is the oil equivalent of a tonal drawing. A strong tonal drawing almost always leads to a strong painting. Artists such as Degas understood the effectiveness of color contrast. Wyland explores contrasting shades to create a vivid painting of a mermaid.

Sea Turtle

Episode #511H · In visual experiences, harmony is something is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and creates a sense of order and balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it may be considered either boring or chaotic. This follows in the way people perceive things. For example, the human brain tends to reject what it cannot organize, therefore a logical structure is often called for. Harmony delivers a visual interest and sense of order. Interestingly, Wyland uses the seemingly discordant image of a sea turtle to create an image of harmony. Using proportion, composition, color, patterns, and movement, the artist achieves a pleasing harmonious visual work of art.

Waterfall

Episode #512H · Texture generally refers to both the feel and appearance of a surface. It can be employed to make a fine art painting seem more believable and by establishing a sensorial connection with the viewer. Blending is the ability to graduate from one color to another without obvious transitions and boundaries. By using appropriate blending techniques the colors pass imperceptibly from one shade or degree of intensity to another. In this episode, Wyland demonstrates how mixing and blending techniques can work together to create a textured look.

Coral Reef

Episode #513H · Effective composition -- or the effective placement or arrangement of visual elements -- is critical to the success of a painting. Used effectively, these elements provide a structure that leads the viewer's eye in a particular way for a variety of different effects. All compositions begin by identifying a focal point. A range of artistic decisions proceeds from there, ranging from contrasts between light and dark to finding a rhythm that paces the eye of the viewer. The parts of the composition may feel as if they belong together. Or they may be purposely disjointed. A symmetrical arrangement may add a sense of calm. Whereas an asymmetrical arrangement may create a sense of unease. By adjusting the arrangement of the objects, the artist can create a sense of motion or still life. Patterns establish an underlying structure of basic lines and shapes. Proportion is the way in which things fit together, big and small, nearby and distant. Each of these components may be used in varying degrees to create the intended effect.

Florida Keys Sunset

Episode #601H · Art Lesson: Broken Color Painting. Learn about the classic technique of broken color. Refined by impressionists such as Monet, this technique has been used for years to capture the actual sensation of the light. The painter does not blend any of these brushstrokes. Instead, the viewer is allowed to "visually mix" these brushstrokes to view a whole image. Each brushstroke is allowed to remain separate. The length of the brushstrokes may vary. Brushes are frequently cleaned to allow a clean color with thick paint. The effect of keeping colors separate can create a sense of colors vibrating against each other for a shimmering effect.

Orca Breaching

Episode #602H · Art Lesson: Composition. Elements of composition are used to organize the components of an artwork in a pleasing manner. Used effectively, these elements provide a structure that leads the viewer's eye in a particular way for a variety of different effects. Examples of extraordinary composition may include the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci or "Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh. Important components of good composition Include: unity, balance and movement. All compositions begin by identifying a focal point. A range of artistic decisions proceeds from there, ranging from contrasts between light and dark to finding a rhythm that paces the eye of the viewer. The parts of the composition may feel as if they belong together or they may be purposely disjointed. A symmetrical arrangement may add a sense of calm; whereas an asymmetrical arrangement may create a sense of unease. By adjusting the arrangement of the objects, the artist can create a sense of motion or still life. Patterns establish an underlying structure of basic lines and shapes. Proportion is the way in which things fit together, big and small, nearby and distant. Each of these components may be used in varying degrees to create the intended effect.

Pipeline Wave

Episode #603H · Art Lesson: Brush technique. Learn the feel of the paint on the brush: to know how much paint is needed for a thick or thin application of color. The thicker the paint, the richer the darks, and the lighter the lights. Like any skill, learning brush strokes happens through patience and practice. Wyland's depiction of a wave at the famous pipeline, off the north shore of Oahu, creates a perfect testing ground for brushwork. Discover how to hold a brush loaded with paint and still make a sensitive stroke so almost no paint comes off. Skills acquired here may be refined for further practice.

Baby Seal Pup

Episode #604H · Art Lesson: Negative Space. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition. Negative space is the space around and between the subject of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, is used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. In a two-tone, black-and-white image, a subject is normally depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white), thereby forming a silhouette of the subject. However, reversing the tones so that the space around the subject is printed black and the subject itself is left blank causes the negative space to be apparent as it forms shapes around the subject, called figure-ground reversal. Wyland will demonstrate how utilizing negative space can be an ideal technique for representing animals in the wild.

Sea Otter

Episode #605H · Art Lesson: Blending Techniques. Many artists are defined by their blending techniques. A blend is the gradual transition from one color to another. Oil paint, because it takes time to dry, allows you to move the wet paint around on the canvas. This makes it easy to do the thing most difficult to do with other types of paint, the blend. All brushes will blend oil paint. Flat brushes are best. Colors are mixed on a palette and applied on the canvas. The brush is dragged back and forth in a crosshatch stroke between two values until a satisfactory transition is made. Value is the lightness or darkness of a hue by adding black or white to a color. Parallel strokes are used to refine the transition of values. A clean brush is used for the dark to middle and another clean brush for the light to middle. Wyland demonstrates how his blending techniques can create a flowing underwater scene.

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