Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Jessica Henry & Daniel Hill Riedel | Colour In Your Life

Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Jessica Henry & Daniel Hill Riedel | Colour In Your Life

Hello, my name is Richard Stergulz, along with my camera man Allen Freeman, we would like to invite you on a journey through the United States filled with creativity learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There is an artist in every family throughout the world. All of us are artists deep down inside. So grab your kids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mums and dads, come see how the best artists in the world do what they do. (Music Plays) (Richard) Hello viewers, we are here today at the Green Art House, with two very special, talented artists. They came out to see us, and it’s going to be an awesome episode. So here we are with Jessica Henry, and Daniel Riedel. Jessica, (Jessica) Yes. (Richard) tell us a little bit about yourself? (Jessica) Alright, well I grew up in Minnesota. I’ve been painting for nearly thirty years, and I’m teaching for about twenty-five years. I teach in a style and paint in a style called classical impressionism, and it just basically combines the old master techniques of traditional art was a little bit more of that impressionistic approach, or more painterly. (Richard) Fantastic. Fantastic, (Jessica) Thank you. (Richard) so everybody has that basic fundamentals of the traditional classical style with their own personality thrown into it. (Jessica) Yes, yes, exactly. (Richard) Fantastic. Daniel, how about you? (Daniel) Well I’ve been doing artwork in a variety of forms and styles for over forty years. I studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. and studied drawing, printmaking, painting. And I’ve developed my own styles over the years, so I’ve done everything from drawing children book illustrations, trompe L’oeil murals, portraiture, and now I’m getting into even a another style which I think is more free. A little more abstracted realism so to speak. I started off as a graphic designer, then went into full marketing communications – online marketing and that’s a lot of my role with Art Renaissance Creative Arts company, and the Renaissance Academy of Fine Arts. (Richard) So you two are perfect pair to run this school then. (Daniel) Yes. (Richard) Viewers stay tuned, we’re going to have some more interviews, more talk. I’m going to talk to Jessica for a little bit and get to know them all and the school and the projects they’re working on. It’s phenomenal what they have in store. Jessica, thanks so much for coming again. (Jessica) Thanks for having me. (Richard) So we have a whole bunch of things to talk about today. But first of all share with the viewers your inspiration to be an artist. What made you be an artist? (Jessica) Well that’s a great question. I started drawing when I was very little. We had a chalk board in the kitchen, and I drew horses from my earliest memory. And just growing up through the years I just started drawing, and I spent a lot of time alone in the woods with the horses, and I would go up there with my backpack and just draw and tie the horse up to a tree. And then as I started growing and about fifteen I started taking classes under a man named Harvey Schroeder, and he has been my source of inspiration through he was almost like a second dad to me. (Richard) Awesome. (Jessica) And yeah, he really took me under his wing. For six years I studied with Harvey, and he taught me the foundations of being a more of an impressionistic painter. With him I was introduced to David Leffel, and then I studied under David Leffel, and you know. (Richard) Yeah, a fantastic guy to study under. (Jessica) Right, right. No kidding, then I went to Atelier LeSueur Studio School of Classical Art in Minnesota. And it was there that I got a little bit more of that solid foundation of classical painting. I started teaching in 1994, and I think that when you start teaching your mind just kind of opens up to oh my gosh, anyone can do this. My foundation for studying was more of an impressionistic style and then I started learning classical, so these two backgrounds came together to introduce a concept called to me, called classical impressionism. And so that is what I have been from that time been building this idea of a school in my mind of what would be solid concrete education. And my plan is to do two or three years of what we just finished up our first year, and so the year goes out with I teach five weeks of just solid, classical drawing. Then we move into Victorian watercolour, and so what I have here with every lesson that we do throughout the thirty- three weeks of the school year, is with each lesson I get a workbook. I write out a workbook for them, and then I have it printed out a years worth of workbook lessons. (Richard) Just a small little workbook.(Jessica) Yeah, it’s four hundred and sixty pages. Actually I tell the students if you can write your name you can draw. Seriously, anyone can do it. I will be teaching in Ireland doing a plein~air workshop next July. I have many more plein-air workshops in England. Then in the middle of July I will be doing Victoria watercolour, very excited as well a plein-air workshop in the south coast of England. (Richard) And those were the watercolours that you had shown us earlier? (Jessica) Victorian watercolour, yes. (Richard) Beautiful. (Jessica) Yes, and it’s such a simple method too, it’s just laying down simple washes layering, nothing confusing about the watercolour. And then later in the year, end of October I’ll be at the Amalti Coast in Italy, very excited to paint some tropical waters plein-air. (Richard) Okay, we all have to sign up for that one. (Jessica) Yeah, that one is all inclusive you don’t have to worry about a thing, everything’s taken care of. We also have Australia coming up really excited about that. (Richard) Yes. (Jessica) November tenth to the twenty-third. (Richard) I know that you are going to do a demo for us today.(Jessica) Yes. (Richard) Tell us a a bit about the demo? (Jessica) Yeah, I’m just going to set up outdoors. I can’t believe how beautiful the landscape is here, the rolling mountains and the palm trees. (Richard) This is actually what you teach in your academy. (Jessica) Yes, you will see exactly what I teach in the academy as well as the workshops. (Richard) So thank you so much. (Jessica) Yes, thank you. (Richard) So, thanks for coming back (Daniel) It’s great to be here. (Richard) and talking with us here. Tell us a little about you’re inspiration of being an artist? (Daniel) Well I think a lot of it goes back to when I was a boy. It just, I don’t know exactly what started it, but I remember in school projects always adding drawing into my projects. I can remember the first thing I did in forth grade, didn’t have my formal training till after I graduated from college, but a lot of it… (Richard) Where did you go to college? (Daniel) Cedarville University in Ohio. (Richard) Tell me a little bit about the structure of the academy itself? (Daniel) Well it’s interesting how this has all developed over the past year. When I actually signed up for a workshop with Jessica in Tuscany, and then we went to Ireland. And we’ve connected over our art, over our personal stories, and then decided I’d join the workshops in Italy and Ireland. And I was looking at everything she had done to build this incredibly following on YouTube, and all of her fantastic teaching and I said this could become a business, so we’ve got to film what we’re doing when we go over there. And this was kind of a Genesis in the beginning of Renaissance Creative Arts. The first program is called from Tuscany to Tipperary. Our last program which we introduced in October is called from Mesas to Mountaintops. So we went to south west Colorado, my son has a farm there. And we spent a week or so in there just going to the canyons of the ancients, Mesa Verde, the million dollar highway from Durango up through Ouray. (Richard) Talk about the website a little bit? (Daniel) The mission was to make an online school and it’s been successful. We have students in New Zealand, in Malta, Ireland, England, Canada, all over the U.S. (Richard) So wonderful, so I noticed you have a project that you’re working on yourself with this book, and it’s called And God Said. (Daniel) Oh, yeah. (Richard) Show us a little bit about that? (Daniel) Okay. (Richard) Talk about that? (Daniel) Well, this is a project that I did, well a legacy project for me and this is one of the things for my inspiration too is things, projects of meaning. And this was a project that we did, my Ex and I did back in 1989. We spent quiet a bit of time on it. It’s a book going through the seven days of creation, and it’s twenty-four different illustration’s, so it’s really a pictorial journey through the days of creation. And next year will be the thirtieth anniversary of the publishing of the book, so I’m in the process of redesigning it, getting it ready to be printed. (Richard) Put it back on the market again. (Daniel) Yes, exactly. (Richard) So Daniel, I see that you have this TV show called Paint Your Adventure, tell us a little about that? (Daniel) That’s one of the things we have coming up. Actually this a project that Jessica had conceived of, and actually has a whole pilot program put together which is available for viewing on our site. (Richard) And what will be in those episodes? What’s the subject matter? (Daniel) It’s going to have like a workshop flavour where Jessica’s going to be showing workshop techniques and plein-air painting. (Richard) So thank you, Daniel for talking and sharing with us a little bit about you, and more about the website which is incredibly easy to manoeuvre, very friendly, so thank you for that. And we’re going to go out and watch Jessica paint for a little while. Hello viewers, and welcome back. We are standing here with Jessica Henry. She is going to do a fantastic – I know – demo of the scene behind us. And we’re here at Pala Masa Golf Resort in Fallbrook, California, and she’s going to do some magic. She’s going to teach a little bit, she’s going to do an incredible demo I know for sure. So Jessica, take over, (Jessica) Alright. (Richard) let us have the magic. (Jessica) Okay, I will. What I really liked about this particular place where I chose, is the way that the road just sort of created a tunnel, and the darker values around this area created that effect. And for the trees are just gorgeous, they’re kind of canopying over the road. And I also liked how the colours bounced and work together. There is this terracotta rust surrounded by green which is a nice compliment. And then this huge tree here has this lovey golden colour, so I’m going to play with some of those colours a little bit too. So I what I do is when I determine that is what I’m going to do, I do a few thumbnail sketches. And I came up with a couple trying at different formats, vertical, horizontal, and I’ve selected this one that I’m going to be using as my templet. And doing the thumbnail is so important when you get to your location, because it makes you really boil down on all of these big decisions, and you just isolate those few things that are essential. Only spend a couple of minutes drawing the little sketch, nothing detailed, just to give you the premise of this foundation. So you’ve got black, medium and white as your balance. So I have an eleven by fourteen canvas here, and I work with a very limited palette. The colours that I’ll be using today are Titanium White, Cad Yellow Medium, Yellow Ocher, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, and Alizarine Crimson. Over here I have a little bucket; inside the bucket is some Gamsol odourless mineral spirits. And there is a little basket inside that I can rub my brush on and let all the sediments fall to the bottom. So I’m going to hang that up right here. On the side over here I just have a little palette cup with a little bit of linseed oil. I may or not use it, but I I have it there just in case, and I’ll explain why I use that a little bit later. For brushes I like to just use two, four, six, eight, just some very simple stiff bristled brush. Here I have my paper towels clipped to my tripod on a bungee cord, and then my garbage bag to put all my used paper towels in, and that is it for my set up. I quickly like to start out with a toned canvas, and I like to tone my canvas to begin with, because it gives me a medium value tone already in place. And again, using my thumbnail sketch as my premise, everything I can do, every decision that I make at this point is all geared to painting a little bit more efficiently, because with plein-air painting you have a very limited amount of time to work while your lighting stays the same. So I really do try to keep each painting that I do plein-air in under an hour. Two is okay, but if you can keep it under an hours that’s even better. And this is just a mixture of Burnt Sienna a little bit of Yellow ocher, Ultramarine Blue, just enough to put a medium tone down, and I go a little bit darker than I need, because I’m going to wipe some of it off. I don’t want to leave it all glistening wet on the surface. Then I just take a paper towel, and I don’t rub too hard, but just a gentle sort of wiping off that wet surface. It gives it a little bit of interest and texture and just sort of breaks it up. And then I just make a slightly thinner mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. With this mixture I’m going to just lay out my plan as I have it in my thumbnail sketch. Always thinking about the direction where I want the eye to flow in my canvas too. So I’m thinking that tunnel I talked about, the road comes this way and there’s this main area of focus. So I like this area too, where it just kind of points the viewer this way. Even the roof of this house, the terracotta, they’re all going to be directional for this. And there’s some trees over here that will all be helping that focus. Okay, so… (Richard) Do you always start with a line drawing? (Jessica) A thumbnail? (Richard) No, the line drawing on the canvas. (Jessica) I do, yeah just to figure out where things are going to go, and then I mass in some darker values to match on my thumbnail sketch. I like to do it this way instead of using pencil, because it is so much easier to just move things around with a little bit of thinner and your brush, and you can just wipe things off if you make a mistake. And going about it like that to me makes just a lot more sense. Again, it’s always about creating your time as efficiently as possible. And I have these trees, it’s sort of, when I was over on that side over there, I saw a little bit more of a hill side as it came down. I don’t see it quite as much from my perspective, so I’m just going to work out a little bit more of that into it. You can always rearrange your landscape a little bit as you’re going, and make sure that this has an artistic sense. It’s not so much about being literal to your subject matter, as it is about creating a beautiful painting. And there’s sort of this vineyard quality that comes around this way that I’m going encourage some of that to just really again, focus the viewer this way. Really strong shadows today. Beautiful lighting in some of that. And most of this is just in the darker value, so right now I have kind of everything sort of in place where I want it. I’ve got this nice expanse of lawn in here that is going to help just create a restful area. (Richard) So are you feeling that the shadows are a little bit cooler at this point? (Jessica) The shadows yes, the shadows are cooler and the sun makes the light very warm, so you always have one or the other. And so usually in this daylight bright noonday sun the light’s going to be very warm, and then your shadows will be cool. Alright, so we’re going to let that be, and that is it for my foundational lay in. Now I’m going to jump in to colour, and I’d like to start with colour with the background, so I’m just going to work from the sky, and it is not a cloud in the sky day. So this is going to be a really easy sky. So I’m taking Ultramarine Blue and white and a nice big pile. Again, to make your timing a little bit more efficient out in the field, mix up enough paint, put enough paint out so that you don’t have to keep going back for more, because of course your lighting’s going to change, and you’ve got to be fast. So I’m just getting it on. The top here is going to be a little bit more of the cooler violet colour, which is in this case is pretty much just all Ultramarine Blue. Everything in the background is going to be much cooler because you have more sky in between us and the background, so you have more atmosphere. And I’m seeing back there that’s very much what I see right in there. And lay a piece of paint down, check it out. Add more if you need more; put a little more in. And you can take some Cadmium Yellow and a little bit of Ultramarine Blue, and paint those colours together on your palette, and you end up with a little bit more cooler green. Unless you go this way and you add a little bit more yellow, and it’s a little more springy green. So I like to mix just a few piles up here. Now I’m ready to jump in and really go at this. So laying in some clean pieces of greens as I see them. And I’m taking a little bit of sienna and Ultramarine Blue, coming up in here, I’m just going to mix in a little bit more of these stronger values as I see them, as I saw them at the beginning, just to bring that in and really draw the eye down this way. A few little spots of jewel like colours. Not worried about the trees at this moment. Keeping my brushstroke horizontal back here a bit more. I’m going to leave some of this original ground showing through, because I like to have some of that feeling of some thin paint, some thick paint on the canvas. And then I see one over here that is a little bit more red than the others, so just a touch more of Alizarine and that is straight across. I love this little bit of red that is showing up in this landscape too. It really adds a lot to the whole. So I just have a little bit darker shadow colour here, and this is Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and some of that colour that was on my brush from the rough colour. So I’m just getting in these stronger, angular shadow pieces or planes and so forth. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail of this architecture, so I’m just going to suggest some of it in here. For plein-air study, it’s important to keep in mind this is not about creating a finished painting. This is about capturing the value and colour, not the specific location. It is not, it’s not going to be polished. And that gives you the sense of architecture just a little bit in there. Get this a little bit of a roof here, and we’ll do that over here too. In your area, just when you get there and you get settled in, and you decide on your view, take a picture with your phone. That way as you’re painting and the light really does change, you can have that as a reference to go back to. (Richard) Okay, viewers, we have finished up and Jessica did a fantastic demo. It was gorgeous. (Jessica) Thank you. It was a blast; I really enjoyed it. (Richard) Just beautiful and the way you put on the colour notes was effortless. (Jessica) Thanks. (Richard) Beautiful, beautiful. Daniel, I understand that you do some commission murals, (Daniel) Yes. (Richard) tell us a little bit about that? (Daniel) Before when we were talking, I was mentioning I do decorative finishing and a lot of that is mural work. And it can be large scale trompe L’oeil, very hyperrealistic and other types of styles. But those can be done for anybody all around the world. And then all of our work (Richard) Fantastic. (Daniel) is commissionable, so often times we get commissions for portraits, and other types of custom paintings for people for their homes, (Jessica) Yes. (Daniel) their offices, things of that nature. (Richard) And where can all these students and colleges and patrons and commissioners get a hold of you? (Richard) Renaissance Creative Arts dot com. (Richard) Fantastic. And everybody remember – subscribe to colour in your life dot com au, and spread the word about Colour In Your Life. And also, when you check out colour in your life dot com, Renaissance Academy, check them out as well. They’re going to have some tutorials on there that you can check out and get involved with the academy. So everybody remember: put some colour in your life.


  • Lori Kendrick says:

    I'm so happy this program is in the U.S.

  • C. Taylor says:

    Will be following,

  • Mark ok says:

    She is a chunky Amy Adams…

  • Claire Ryan says:

    It was awesome!! You’re going to reach so many more folks who love what you teach!! Congratulations!

  • John Mahoney says:

    Great job Graeme for introducing this wonderful show to us in the US. Richard did a great job of Hosting, and these are very talented and well known Artist. Your intimate knowledge of whats going on here (USA) really shows through, thanks.

  • Graeme Stevenson (Colour in Your Life) says:

    Great show guys and so many positive comments coming in. Look forward to your Ozzy adventure, Graeme

  • Ken Neth says:

    Nice to see Richard Schmid's Alla Prima book on the shelf.

  • Anthony Aquilina says:

    Wonderful art you making both of you. WRITING FROM VALLETTA MALTA

  • James Holder says:

    Awesome painting!

  • Kathleen Carrillo says:

    Hi Jessica and Daniel. I did the show a couple months ago. I look forward to meeting you when I get back to California! I live half the year in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and half in Carlsbad. It is nice that the show is being filmed in the North County area as I believe it will bring artist together here and create an awareness of the wealth of talent in the area.

  • Orly Wachtel says:

    Jessica Henry is a wonderful lady artist. I follow her videos on you tube. She's a great teacher too. I started painting in oil after a few times I watched her painting. Thank you.

  • Anthea Blackmore says:

    Brilliant demonstration as always Jessica, love what you both stand for to in the art world ,you have been so generous and enthusiastic with all your free you Tube videos, you are amongst the best out there for sure ❤️🎨
    And my god I LOVE the colour of Richards car 🚙 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Deb MacDonald says:

    Great show Jessica & Daniel! Looking forward to more in this series of Put More Colour in Your Life, filmed in the U.S. However…are they aware that CANADA is home to many awesome artists too?
    Thank you Jessica & Daniel for all you do for artists everywhere! Wishing you two , much success in your endeavors.

  • Michael Parry says:

    Richard, I am so pleased that Graeme from Colour in Your Life has let you meet Jessica and Daniel and share their story. Jessica and Daniel, great work on all you do and with your future endeavors. It is so great to see this all come together. Great Demo Jessica.

  • Paula Decker Haynes says:

    I have followed Jessica for some years now on YouTube. It was exciting seeing her here on Put Some Color in Your Life.

  • James McCormack says:

    Richard, Jessica and Daniel, excellent!! Thank you.

  • James Tierney says:

    Great Job Big fan of Jessica and Daniel.
    The Renaissance Creative Art Academy is the way to go if your want to live your dream of becoming an Artist!

  • Create Something New Every Day says:

    Inspiring video!

  • kurt _hectic says:

    What happened with bald Australian guy?

  • organicpaul says:

    Love this American series ….well done Richard, Jessica and Daniel ! Superb work!

  • eduardo godoy says:

    Great work.

  • 4PAWS says:

    Thank you Jessica and Richard, what a fascinating episode. Great to see some more plain air painting after watching Jessica I feel more confidant to give it a go. Looking forward to more episodes from America.

  • Gabriele Baber says:

    Cool Rich…proud…and happy for you.

  • anıl erden says:

    very great I think. I loved this painting so much.

  • warpng zoo says:

    woah! oils!!

  • Arnold Becerra says:

    Whats the ratio between oil and thinner pls thank you

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