Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Palm Springs 2013 Workshop

The Alla Prima
& Gardenscape

March 11-14

Palm Springs California

T his four-day workshop (or three if you opt out of the garden-scape portion) will include teachings by Daniel relating to all of the key elements necessary for creating successful paintings, no matter the subject. Essentials such as drawing, values, color temperature, edges, and composition will be thoroughly discussed, as well as advice about set-ups, lighting, supplies, and equipment.
 The setting, an Italian-style villa nestled away on beautifully landscaped private-grounds, is within walking distance of nearby hotels, resorts, and restaurants, and is an ideal environment for creating art, as well as immersing yourself in all that the desert has to offer. Along with the four amazing days of teaching and painting, the villa's owners, Neil and Rose Tanner, are hosting an informal welcoming reception with light refreshment on Sunday evening before the workshop, and a special artist's dinner on Wednesday evening.

Workshop fee:

 $500 (four days total, 3 still-life and 1 garden-scape)

 $400 For those interested in the still-life portion only (3 days total) 

Limited space is available, so it's recommended that you register early.

To register or request more info, please email danieljkeys@danielkeysfineart.com 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trip Journal Part I

Hello Friends!

I recently had the pleasure of participating in quite the painting adventure with a friend in California. You can now read about it here on the Artists-on-Art website...

Trip Journal Part I, Yosemite

Along with a concise retelling of our story, there are photos from the trip, including images of some of the artwork created along the way. Enjoy!

"River Rocks"
11" x 14" oil on linen

Part II Coming Soon!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


"Connecticut Flower Farm"
 Like most 21st century artists, I find myself so often perusing the internet as a means of keeping up with the happenings of the art world today. Between social networks like Facebook (my socializing tool of choice), and the personal sites of most modern working-artists, I can conveniently see what everyone is up to with just a few clicks of my trusty "mouse". I really do love it.

 And why not? It's inspiring, educational, and yes even entertaining, all at the same time. In fact, I credit much of my “art-education” to the sites of artists that have made their work available for viewing over the years via the internet.

 I'm labeled as "self-taught" -which is certainly what seems to be the most befitting term for it- and, while first beginning to explore painting techniques, my main sources of information were the sites I visited just about every day. I spent untold hours each and every week just staring at the images of masterful works that literally glowed on the screen before me. Not being able to afford the more expensive teaching tools available at the time -books, DVDs, workshops, etc.- I made the most of these moments by going over every inch of each painting... despite the pixelated images, poor color reproduction, or the eye discomfort that comes from sitting in front of a monitor for extended periods of time.

 While exploring the virtual-art-universe in the only way that I could at the time, I found just one thing to be inadequate: Very few, if any, detailed *close-ups* of the artworks were ever posted for public viewing. (This isn't a criticism of course - how were the artists to know that a young kid in a small town was desperately searching for the information necessary to grow as quickly and efficiently as possible [albeit by whatever means were the least expensive]?) I could fairly clearly discern the drawing, color temperature, edges, and composition, of each piece in their respective photographs, but the actual brushwork escaped me. I had no way of knowing how the "look" of the painting that was on screen before me was actually achieved.

 So, I struggled along, having some successes, and even more failures, until I was ultimately able to see in person the works that I had admired so much. Things truly became clear to me after this point. Seeing paintings by the likes of my now friends, Mr. Richard (Schmid) and Miss Nancy (Guzik), and others, for the first time, was undoubtedly one of the most inspiring experiences of my artistic life, and I felt as though I had read an entire library of books shortly afterward. And the best part: Being able to get as close as possible! I could literally see each brush-stroke, and each one told me how the piece was painted! 

 Here is a selection of "close-ups" of some recent works that I'd like to share with whoever takes the time to read this. I do hope you'll take the time in fact, not just to admire, but also study, dissect, and mentally absorb them. There's an unlimited number of ways to apply paint, onto whatever surface you chose (I prefer canvas), and I love to think that I can still learn with each stroke...

Creating Texture

I LOVE the scratchy surface that was created here, behind the teacup. The canvas itself is quite smooth, so I had to employ several techniques to achieve this impressionistic look.
 First of all, I applied my block-in colors -thinned with medium- and loosely wiped off the excess with a stiff paper-towel. This created a variety of tones, even with minimal color on the canvas (only two or three colors initially). Many of those scratches and striations created by the paper-towel were left in the finished product. 
 On top of that block-in -as I was delving into thicker paint and more detailed brushwork- I was able to maintain the original "looseness" by using a brush that was very well-worn and frayed. I like some of my brushes kept that way because they create texture when applying paint and force me to push the paint around in a way that doesn't look too "controlled". In some instances I even rolled the brush hairs up and down the canvas surface!

 Applying the Paint Thickly

Wow! There's so much going on in these detail-shots of a recent self-portrait. First, notice that even though most of the paint is applied thickly, I still manage to keep my shadows transparent-looking. I do this with a very stiff bristle brush that makes striations with each stroke, and therefore gives the appearance of transparency - even where the paint is opaque.
 Second, the lightest regions are also the thickest, and tend to draw the most attention. Even if most of the painting is going to be thickly painted, I usually save my thickest brushstrokes for those lighter areas, and complete those strokes last. I use a softer brush, typically a mongoose, because they'll hold and transfer larger amounts of paint at a time.
 Lastly, notice the edge-work. The softened edges are created by simply taking a brush and dragging one color into the next, in as few strokes as possible. I don't mess with what are often labeled "blending-brushes", because over-blending can cause the paint to become "over-worked" looking and I'll lose the effect I was reaching for in the first place.

Applying the Paint Thinly

In the example above (a detail shot of "Roses and Hydrangeas"), you can see areas of the painting -particularly in the leaves- where a single color is applied thinly. By thinning the paint and quickly applying it in a back-and-forth motion, I can achieve the look of several colors even though only one has actually been spread on. This is because the thinner the paint, the more transparent it will appear, and as I go back-and-forth with my brush (sort of like coloring with crayons - my favorite!) some areas are covered more than once and receive more paint, therefore appearing darker. Also the thinner paint tends to give the impression of being warmer, so I can get a variety of subtle temperature changes with a single color - depending on how much of the canvas is showing through.


 I love the dry-brush technique, and often wonder why I don't use it more often in my paintings- especially in fabric. It's done by taking a brush (usually something stiff, such as bristle) that's completely dry (there's a surprise) -void of any solvent or liquid of any kind- dipping it into the paint, and applying it by dragging the brush across the canvas, usually in just a few strokes (so as not to completely cover the canvas surface). This causes the paint to adhere to the highest points of the canvas-weave, leaving the deeper grooves untouched, and accentuating the natural texture. In the image above, you can clearly see an example of the dry-brush technique in the multicolored fabric beneath the yellow crayon.

Additional examples…

As I've said, there are so many more ways to apply paint -and I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to not knowing them all- but I hope this will give you a good foundation for your own endeavors. And please don't stop with just what you've read here... visit museums, attend gallery openings, and take time to see your favorite paintings in person whenever you can. Don't just admire from afar, get up close and personal if possible. Each brushstroke holds a key to understanding how every painting was painted, and we can learn something from them all!

 Stay inspired!

 Your friend,
-Dan Keys

 (Detail) "Silver & Orchids"

 (Detail) "Dolls, Books, & Crayons"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Carmel Workshops 2012

July 2012

Two Workshop Opportunities
 in Carmel Ca

Daniel J. Keys

Three-day Still-life
July 12 - 14

Three-day Plein-air
July 16 -18


"Connecticut Flower Farm"
12" x 10"oil on linen
There are two workshops to choose from - select one or both if you like!
Please note that each has a different registration process, so if you're registering for both courses, you'll need to take the steps following each course description below.
 These workshops fill on a first-come-first-serve basis, and usually do so very quickly, so it's important to register as soon as you can. Those who don't make it in initially will be wait-listed.

~Still-lifes: Telling a Story in Paint~

Course Meets: July 12, 13, & 14
Place: Carmel Art Institute
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day

Tuition: $385
Level: All levels
 Course Description: Each day, Keys will do a demonstration while discussing the skills necessary for creating beautiful still life paintings using the “Alla Prima” methods for which he is internationally recognized. Following each morning’s demo, students will set up still life compositions of their own, and paint them from life, while receiving one-on-one instruction from Mr. Keys.
  During this intensive three-day course, each student will receive insight into learning to see correctly, and develop adeptness in the following areas: Composition, drawing, color, value and edges. Class will be limited to 16 students.

To register for this course, please follow this link... HERE
~Painting the Carmel Coast in Oil~
A Plein-Air Worshop

Course Meets: July 16, 17, & 18
Place: Carmel, CA
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day

Tuition: $375
Level: All levels
Course Description: A three-day plein air workshop, exploring the vast beauty of local seascapes, landscapes, and architecture, and the ways with which to paint them accurately and artfully.
  During each of the three workshop days, students will set up out-of-doors, at locations pre-selected by Daniel, and paint alongside him as he describes how he approaches the ever changing light and atmosphere of beautiful Carmel.
 Topics covered in this workshop:
~The basics of painting: Drawing, values, color temperature, edges.
~Painting outdoor light: Dealing with constant change.
~Composition: The importance of selecting and omitting.
~Art philosophy.

To register for this course, please email danieljkeys@danielkeysfineart.com You'll receive a response giving you further instructions to complete your registration.

"I'm so excited to be teaching again in Carmel CA! This year, there are two workshop opportunities: The Three-day Still-life, and a full Three-day Plein-Air. I'm looking forward to a great time of painting and teaching!"
-Dan Keys

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Favorite Art Materials...

As an artist, I'm constantly being asked about my favorite art-brands and materials. There are so many wonderful products on the market today that it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming just to search through the many stores, catalogs, and websites, to find what I need. I've found however that doing personal research -and ultimately testing the materials for myself- is just about the most beneficial method of making choices that I can feel good about where my art supplies are concerned. 
Another great way of getting started though is to find out what products other artists are using, and give them a try. So, here I've compiled an updated list of what I use to make my art...

 Please note: I'm not the final authority on the subject of art-materials by any means (nor am I endorsed by any of the companies mentioned here), and my own list has certainly evolved over the years. But, I wanted to share with you a little of what I know, in the hopes that you'll take it -and perhaps adopt parts that you need from it- and expand from there.
Due to the number of emails I receive daily, I'm no longer able to answer them individually. Please read through the list below and contact your local art supply store, or the companies mentioned, with questions regarding the materials listed.



Windsor & Newton

~Alizerin Crimson
~Cadmium Red
~Cadmium Yellow Pale
~Permanent Rose
~Terra Rosa
~Yellow Ocher Pale


~Cadmium Lemon
~Cadmium Yellow Deep
~Cadmium Orange
~Cobalt Blue Light
~Transparent Oxide Red
~Transparent Oxide Brown
~Ultramarine Blue Deep


~Cadmium Green Light


~King's Blue

Lefranc & Bourgeois 

~Titanium White

Other recommended brands:
Holbein, Gamblin, Old Holland


 I use canvas made by New Traditions Art Panels www.newtraditionsartpanels.com 
 L600 primed linen is very smooth and is available on birch or gatorfoam boards. It's also available by the roll.


My favorite brushes come from Rosemary & Co! www.rosemaryandco.com 

 I use the following series' in all available sizes:

 2025 "Chunking" bristle, long flats

"Ivory" filberts and flats.

"Mongoose" series' 272 (rounds [smaller sizes]), 275 (angular), 278 (filberts), 279 (flats)


I make my own medium using three ingredients and a ratio of 5-1-1: Rectified Turpentine (five parts), Stand Oil (one part), and Damar Varnish (one part). 
Mix all three ingredients in a lidded jar (using the 5-1-1 ratio), and use as needed to thin paints while painting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Artists on Art - Digital Magazine

Be sure and visit Artists-on-Art.com to subscribe to what I feel is the most insightful and innovative digital art magazine available on the web today. It features timely and well written articles by some of the best known artists and collectors in the country, including Casey Baugh, Susan Lyon with Scott Burdick, Daniel Sprick, Libby Whipple, Carolyn Anderson, and more! Also look for my article "NO RULES".

 From the Artists-on-Art website...

Master Artists & connoisseurs share their ideas and techniques through in-depth, interactive articles.
No fluff. No Ads. Just great articles with video, high resolution images, step-by-steps, and other interactivity.

 A preview of my article...

About Artists on Art

Artists on Art magazine connects readers to master artists, their work, and the connoisseurs who embrace it. Readers enjoy a direct, thought-provoking, connection with today’s top artists; learning their techniques and hearing their ideas. Each issue contains at least ten robust articles richly illustrated with high-resolution photography, step-by-step guides, video, and interactivity. Our digital-only model combines the best of print with the power of the web, giving you constant access to your subscription from anywhere, on any internet-connected device.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

June 2012 Workshops Announced!

Two Workshops: Two Opportunities to Paint in Cape Cod
With Daniel J. Keys

JUNE 12 - 13 & 14 - 15

Location: The Beach Rose Inn
17 Chase Road
Falmouth, MA 02540

Participants will have the option to choose one of the two-day workshops described below or to combine the two for a four-day workshop experience. See registration, pricing and accommodation information to follow.

Workshop I

"Capturing the Light of the Cape”
June 12 & 13 
A two-day plein air workshop, exploring the vast beauty of local gardens, inns, homes, and seascapes, and the ways with which to paint them accurately and artfully.
During each of the two workshop days, students will set up out-of-doors, at locations pre-selected by Daniel, and paint alongside him as he describes how he approaches the ever changing light and atmosphere of the Cape.
Topics covered in this workshop:
The basics of painting: Drawing, values, color temperature, edges.
Painting outdoor light: Dealing with constant change.
Composition: The importance of selecting and omitting.
Art philosophy.
Workshop II
The Art of Still Life”
June 14 & 15 

This workshop will take place inside a local artist’s studio and also span two full days. Each day, Daniel will demo for the class, and then instruct students throughout the day offering one-on-one critiques as they paint their own still-lifes using the “Alla Prima” method.
Topics covered in this workshop:
The basics of painting: Drawing, values, color temperature, edges.
Composition: Composing the still-life like music.
Art philosophy.
Rates & Workshop Packages...
For a 2 day participant not staying at The Beach Rose Inn
$250 includes lunch
$49 additional for 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner
$299 total
For a 2 day participant staying at The Beach Rose Inn (includes room, breakfast, lunch, and one dinner)
Single Occupancy: $675 plus room tax $38.80
Double Occupancy: $475 plus room tax $19.40
For a 4 day participant not staying at the Inn
$448 includes lunch
$98 additional for 4 breakfasts and 2 dinners
$546 total
For a 4 day participant staying at the Inn (includes room, breakfast, lunch, and two dinners)
Single Occupancy: $1298 plus room tax $77.60
Double Occupancy: $898 plus room tax $38.80
Deposit amount: 30%, $100 nonrefundable. Nonrefundable full payment required 4 weeks prior to workshops.
The Beach Rose Inn is located on 1.4 garden-filled acres in West Falmouth, Cape Cod—just a mile from Buzzard Bay beaches, marshes, and cranberry bogs and 200 feet from the Shining Sea Bikeway. All Guest Rooms have private baths and feature upscale amenities.
For more information www.thebeachroseinn.com or 800-498-5706