NYLO Hotel in Texas: March’s Destination for Artists

NYLO Hotel in Texas

This month’s Destination for Artists is a mix of sensibilities that most artists can appreciate. Visitors to the NYLO Hotel in Plano, Texas are immediately struck with the fantastic artwork combined with ecological hotel design.

First Impressions

In the lobby, behind the check-in desk, is a photographic collage created by local photographer Jason Janik. From far away the piece looks like an abstract. As you get closer you realize that the collage is made of small photos that Janik took of the local area. Not wanting to take pictures of just the glamorous side of Plano (a suburb of Dallas), Janik incorporated closely cropped shots of things that most people would over look to include in their art, such as a Wal-Mart sign.

As you move towards the elevators you notice the glass antler chandeliers and then your eye is drawn to the fantastic, larger than life artwork on the hallway wall. These three pieces become almost abstract as you approach them, the opposite of the art first piece of art in the lobby. Simple black strokes on white draw you in and almost makes you forget to get on the elevator.

The New-York style rooms carry on the style and artistry that was found in the lobby, though the feel of the art becomes more local feeling, with Texas sunsets and black and white photos of bull riders.

The art for the NYLO was chosen through a local art contest created by the hotel. Over 500 participants entered. “(Art) is the core of our brand,” says Patrick O’Neil, the general manager of NYLO Plano and director of the art contest. O’Neil says that it was hard to organize the art that they received and make it into a cohesive collection for the hotel, because it was luck of the draw. But he says that, “It came together organically.” Some of the NYLO contest winners were Jason Janik, Darrell Moseley, Lorraine Haan-Stewart, LRPS, Greg Piazza, Caryl Gordon, and Amanda Smith. (See picture, below.)

On Deeper Inspection

Contrasting and blending with the art is the ecological awareness of the hotel. The walls are bare, raw concrete, which CEO John Russell says is easier to heat and cool, saving electricity. Guests are encouraged to reuse towels to save on electricity, 50% of which is from wind power. The trendy packages for personal items are biodegradable. “It’s a big push to save our planet,” says CEO John Russell, “and to conserve resources.”

Together, the art, design, and ecological consciousness comes together in a place that savvy artists will appreciate and enjoy.

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Landscape Painting

landscape painting

Landscape painting is among the most popular of all genres for artists and viewers alike. It’s a very broad term, which includes everything from the delicate frescoes on the walls of ancient Roman villas to the abstract Impressionist Waterfall by Arshile Gorky. It seems that as long as there has been art, there has been landscape painting.

You can find an incredibly wide range of landscape paintings in every age, school or artistic movement. From Romantic forest scenes to surrealist deserts that never existed, landscapes offer nearly infinite variety. Lush as Vermeer or cryptic as de Chirico, landscape paintings are almost always easy to live with.

Original Landscape Paintings

It is perhaps for this reason that original landscape paintings by lesser known artists are viable in the art marketplace. Even a clumsy or naïve landscape can have a certain charm, and one done competently can be a wonderful addition to a home or office. Browsing the online galleries can show you the amazing selection available.

A good landscape painting is never boring. Like any work of fine art, it should repay repeated viewings with new rewards. A masterpiece of landscape painting, by Constable or Turner perhaps, contains as much mystery and subtlety as the finest of portraits or the most conceptual of abstractions. That, combined with their undeniable decorative assets, makes it small wonder that they are among the most popular of all works of art.

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Still Life Painting


Still life painting is a genre that has timeless appeal. Though subjects may range from a slab of meat to Vincent Van Gogh’s old shoes and Cezanne’s fruit paintings, most people think of still life paintings in terms of fruit bowls and flowers. Highly decorative and very adaptable to different environments, still life paintings may be the easiest of all great art to live with.

Cezanne’s still life paintings of fruit are an excellent example, combining as they do a traditional, representational subject with a glowing, luminous palette and vigorous brush and knife work. Cezanne’s Still Life with Oranges looks as much at one with its environment in a glass and steel loft as it does in a dark-paneled study. The power and energy of this painting almost belies the phrase “still life.”

Redon’s flower paintings are also gems of this genre. Though more frankly decorative, they still offer mystery and vitality through gorgeous juxtaposition of colors. In his Anemones and Lilacs in a Blue Vase, for instance, the flowers seem to shimmer in mid-air, the vase fading insubstantially into shadow and the table barely hinted at.

A Wide Range of Styles in Still Life Paintings

Traditionalists might find the still life they love in the works of Henri Fatin-Latour, with their muted colors and meticulous attention to detail. Braque’s cubist Still Life: Le Jour, with its sharp angles and acid greens, will suit a more abstract sensibility, while still remaining eminently livable. Within the broad confines of the still life genre, there is an image to suit every taste.

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How to Paint a Landscape

paint a landscape

Painting in general isn’t exactly everybody’s ballpark. Some people do it professionally, some as a hobby, some not at all. However, painting has been proven to provide beneficial stress-relief affects for anyone, regardless of their full-time profession, their skill, or their intent for painting in the first place. Actually, if painting is practiced without the pressure involved in a professional art career, it is of much more benefit as there is nothing involved but the sheer enjoyment of the experience of say, to paint a landscape just outside your own front door. The best part about painting and art in general is that you’re the boss of your own creation, there are no rules (or no rigid rules) except that the more you experiment the more fun you’ll have and the better the result will be.

How to Paint a Landscape with Watercolors or Acrylic Paints:

Step 1 (Optional):

– Map out your composition or design and/or decide on a general color theme.

Step 2:

– Choose a large size brush, any kind or make, then choose any color you like and water it down with a little bit of water. Strain your brush.

– With large free brush strokes, start applying the watered paint across your paint surface, paper or canvas; start filling in the largest areas first, most importantly, the background.

Step 3:

– Choose another color, one in contrast with your first color would be best. Then start filling in the foreground or the area on the bottom of your paint surface.

Step 4:

– Observe which painted areas appear too thin or transparent, if you like it that way then move on to the next step. If you feel it needs more work, then start applying more layers, either of the same color mixed with other colors, or just that one color without so much water.

Step 5:

– Fill in any areas which you don’t want to leave empty, then consider adding texture through applying dots with your brush, or use a tissue, or your fingers. Apply several layers of colors with different affects to get the final mood you’re striving for.

Step 6:

– Step away from the painting. Think about what else it needs. If you feel like adding splotches of green, blue, yellow, etc. then just go ahead. Do what you feel till the image appears relaxing to your own eye.

Step 7:

– Congratulate yourself on your first attempt to paint a landscape!


Mixing colors can be a bit tricky, here’s a quick guide;

Red + Blue = Purple

Red + Yellow = Orange

Yellow + Blue = Green

Any color (eg. Green) + white = a lighter color (eg. Light green)

Mix all the colors together, you’ll get a brown-black

The secret is to play around with it and simply enjoy the process. Art is about experimentation and expressing whatever you feel through colors and brushstrokes. The landscape is YOUR landscape, it can be any color you wish, and can have any horizon you desire. If you’re observing a landscape, try to capture the contrast in colors, whichever colors you choose, it doesn’t matter, as long as you try to get the feeling of what you see.

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Tips for Perfect Painting Techniques

painting techniques

Learning how to paint is not rocket science, and with the right painting techniques it is something that is possible for anyone to learn. All it takes is a bit of practice and some patience and you are sure to be painting like a professional in no time. However, before you just jump right in, these tips can help you ensure that you are off to the right foot and stand a chance of having a better success than tragedy with a paintbrush.

Your first step in learning different painting techniques, should always be gathering all of your supplies before you start. Even the most skilled painters are going to lose their train of thought if they much run around searching for all of their supplies while they are attempting to paint. Putting the supplies in the middle of the room you are going to paint is usually a good idea, this keeps them close enough to easily access, while keeping them out of your way in the wall area.

If you are trying to use a roller, you want to make sure you use the appropriate roller. For smooth surfaces choose a short nap and for rough surfaces choose a longer nap. Once you have this settled out it is time to start rolling your roller into the paint. Starting with a slightly damp roller will allow you to evenly coat the roller and provide the best results possible. Once you start applying the roller onto the wall, it is important to roll in a diagonal direction. This will provide the best coverage possible, once the entire wall is covered you can then take the roller and run in vertical lines to smooth out the coverage.

To paint with a brush and cut in the trim work you need to put a bit more time into the process. A good-sized brush to use for those cut in jobs is approximately 3″, this gives you plenty of room to seamlessly blend in the two sides with the corner to ensure that the paint is even and seamless. Using a smaller brush will mean many more brush strokes and much more opportunity to create a line in the paint. This can cause a normally beautiful paint job to have a few flaws.

You will also need to ensure that you stop every so often and clean your brush. This will need to be done once the brush starts to dry because then you are creating skips in the paint because the bristles are hard and not working properly. Stop and clean your brush thoroughly and let it dry before going back to painting. If you have two brushes, the same size you can work with one brush while the other is drying to speed the process along. In order to do the best job possible in cutting in, use a good quality brush. When selecting a paintbrush this is not the time to start thinking about a tiny budget, good quality supplies will ensure a good quality paint job every time.

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Simple and Quick Instructions for Painting Stripes on a Wall

painting stripes on a wall

Learning how painting stripes on a wall is not that difficult. Painting wall stripes can give your room a completely different look – – horizontal stripes will make a room look wider while vertical stripes will make a room look taller. Below are simple instructions for how to paint stripes on a wall.

1. Choose the shades of paint that you will be using for the base coat and for the stripes. Paint the entire wall with a coat of the base color, allow to dry completely and apply second coat of base color to wall.

** Use painters tape to tape around windows and doors

**Using a roller will give you a good, smooth base coat

**Use the lighter color as the base coat – it is easier to paint the stripes with a darker color over a lighter color

2. Measure the room and determine the width of the stripes.

**Stripes are best if they are between 4 and 12 inches apart

**Measure the width of the wall and divide by the width of the stripes – adjust the width of the stripes if necessary to fit the width of the wall

**Beginning at one corner, measure from the corner of the room marking each stripe according to the width you determined for the stripes. For example, if your stripes are 10 inches wide, place your first mark at 10 inches, then 20 inches, 30 inches and so forth until you reach the end of the first wall.

**Work one wall at a time beginning from the corner and working toward the other end of the wall.

3. Draw lines at each mark for tape placement.

**Using a laser level to draw the lines for the painters tape will give you the best results – use a pencil to draw a straight line following the laser along the width of the wall

**Use painters tape to create the boarders for your stripes (you will be painting between the tape to make stripes) tape along each pencil line placing the painters tape on the same side of the line each time to maintain the same width for each stripe

**Using a sponge roller, paint the area between the painters tape skipping every other section to create alternating stripes

4. Allow paint to dry and then slowly remove painters tape. Touch up any spots that need touch-ups.



Paint rollers and/or paintbrushes

Drop cloth

Painters Tape

Laser Level

Tape Measure


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French Wash Painting Instructions

french wash painting

How to master the french wash painting technique by following these simple steps.

Antique old furniture, shelves, plaques and other wood items using the French Wash Technique. This particular technique is one I use to refurbish wooden items I have found at local thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.

The French Wash Painting Technique uses three colors of paint, sandpaper and sealer. I prefer spray paint due to the ease of application. Choose three colors for the project. I suggest using a dark, medium and light color such as brown, light rust and ivory.

Old wood items normally have a stain and sealer or a painted surface. Prepare the surface by sanding the entire piece with 120-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper creates small grooves in the finish to hold the application of the new paint. If the painted surface is not a color you desire, remove the paint with a paint stripper. A step within the French Wash Technique sands through the layers of paint.

Wipe the sanded wood item down with a damp cloth or with a tack cloth to remove sanding dust. My preference is a tack cloth. A tack cloth is a special cloth that is sticky on both sides. It is available in the paint or woodworking department at home improvement centers. Allow the wood to dry completely if a damp cloth is used to remove the sanding dust.

Apply the darkest color of spray paint to the sanded surface. Hold the can approximately 12-inches from the surface. Apply the paint using a side-to-side motion. Allow the paint to dry 15 minutes. Apply the medium colored spray paint next. Allow the paint to dry 15 minutes. Apply the lightest color last. Allow the spray paint to dry two to three hours before continuing. The longer length of time is needed to allow the spray paint to cure.

Sand the edges and raised decorative adornments on the surface of the wood item to reveal the darkest paint. Sand the flat surfaces of the item following the grain of the wood to scratch the top coat of paint to reveal the medium color. Stop the sanding process when the project looks good to you. There is no right or wrong amount of paint to remove. When the object becomes visually appealing to you, stop sanding.

Wipe the entire project down with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust. Apply three to four layers of spray acrylic sealer to protect the painted surface.

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How to Get Oil Paintings into Art Galleries

getting your art into galleries

Are you an artist who has ever struggled getting your art into galleries? Well read on…

The most important thing to an artist is finding a public place to display and show off their work. There are tons of galleries out there and it is important to find a place who likes the work. The best ways to find the right gallery is by building a website, researching online, practicing ‘artist code’, and more.

Artists find it difficult to establish their names. Finding a way to display and sell work is important. The best method is by building a website. It is important to build a site that is optimized. This will guarantee traffic to the site with people who are interested in what the artist has to offer. It might be a good idea to hire a consultant who can build your site effectively and help with a good marketing campaign. Getting your name and your work out there is the best method because you can reach thousands of people quickly. The smart artists hire professionals because they know the importance of a good website.

Galleries do not like to be bothered by artists who are trying to sell their oil paintings. The most well known methods of ruining a chance with a gallery is when an artist knocks on the door in a ‘cold call’. They don’t like people knocking on their doors. An artist should never show up at a gallery without an invitation. All artists know they should never practice ‘cold calling’. This also includes calling galleries on the phone. Don’t waste their time. They immediately think it is rude and will make a point not work with the artist.

It is the artist’s responsibility to do their homework on art galleries. The best way to find galleries is through the use of the World Wide Web. Almost all galleries have websites. Searching through these sites gives an artist the type of work the gallery favors to display. They will also be specific if they are interested in oil paintings from new artists or seeing any new work. Most established galleries have favored artists and it is impossible to get into them. The site will say if they are interested or not.

New art galleries are usually open to talking to a new artist and showing their oil paintings. It is important to remember that most galleries don’t make it. A gallery can open and close the doors within as little as a year. If you do secure a gallery that is interested in displaying your work, be sure to get a check right then and there. It is important to have a written contract too. If the company shuts down you won’t be able to get your paintings back or any money.

When an artist wants to have their work displayed or showing in an art gallery there are many things they must consider. An online site to display your work and tell about who you are is the most important thing. The galleries will come to you if your site is developed properly. Also, remember not to harass the galleries. This will build a reputation that you are rude and people won’t ever consider you.

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Teaching Lesson Plan for Art Using Sgraffito With Paint

Sgraffito Art Technique

The Sgraffito technique is a great idea for an art lesson, for it is a novel way of enjoying paint. Not only does Sgraffito exploit the texture of the paint, it can also be used for decorative purposes, expressing patterns, movement and injecting energy into the painting. Traditionally, the Sgraffito technique was used to decorate pottery and ceramics, but it is also a great technique for painting.

Lesson Plan on Sgraffito

The art teacher may firstly explain to the class that Sgraffito is simply a painting method whereby the upper layer of paint is scratched off to reveal a different colour or texture beneath. Any scratching tool can be used for Sgraffito, including old toothbrushes, combs, toothpicks, palette knives or the other end of the brush.

Add Texture to Paint

Sgraffito can be used for several painting effects. The art teacher may show exemplars of different Sgraffito paintings and if necessary, conduct a painting demonstration in front of the class on how to use Sgraffito. The lesson will show that Sgraffito can be used to express:

  • Texture
  • Colour
  • Energy
  • Patterns

Demonstration Using Sgraffito

The texture of the Sgraffito can be enhanced when painting in impasto. Impasto means thick paint, the opposite of applying paint in thin washes. If using oil paint, impasto medium can be added to thicken the body of the paint. Alternatively, partially-dried acrylic paint can be used. Peaks and troughs can be etched into the paint in order to add texture and energy to the painting. If side-lit by a lamp, the texture of the painting will show up in sharp relief.

Experimental Art Activities for Adults

Sgraffito can also be used in a more decorative way by etching patterns such as swirls or crosshatches onto the upper layer of the paint in to reveal a different colour beneath. To use Sgraffito in this way, the painting surface must be prepared beforehand. This often means applying a contrasting colour onto the painting surface first.

If the painting is to be predominantly green, as in a landscape painting for example, a conflicting colour such as red or orange can be applied underneath. When the green paint is scratched off in strategic places, this contrasting colour will be revealed, adding energy and vibrancy to the painting. This under-layer of paint must be thoroughly dry before painting on top, or it may dirty the colour mixture of the final painting.

Art Materials Required for Sgraffito

In order to complete a painting in Sgraffito, the following resources are needed along with the usual painting materials:

  • Any scratching tool, such as combs, stiff brushes, palette knives or plastic cutlery
  • Acrylic paint
  • Impasto medium is useful for emphasising texture
  • Reference material such as an artistic influence, photographs or still life can be used. The composition must be kept simple.

Experimental Art Technique and Lesson on Painting with Sgraffito for Students

Students may find out for themselves how mark making will affect the painting. Using scratch marks to echo the outlines of the objects depicted, will add tension to the painting, as shown by the Expressionists. Munch’s The Scream is a good example. The French Fauves, such as Matisse’s paintings shows how mark-making to reveal a contrasting colour beneath can be used to add vibrancy to painting.

Art students may try out experimental art techniques in order to find inspiration for painting. Sgraffito is a great art activity for this purpose. Not only is it simple to do, but Sgraffito provides interesting painting effects. The only requirements are scratching tools, a paint thickener if texture is desired, and contrasting colours, if vibrancy is required. Experimenting with different techniques such as Sgraffito will inspire art students to explore other art techniques.

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Impressionist Art


Impressionist art is probably the single most popular genre of all purchased paintings for the home or office. It’s extremely easy art to live with, but not purely decorative. The technical brilliance of Impressionist art makes a piece like Vuillard’s Under the Trees more than just a pretty picture.

Impressionist Art, Now Mainstream, Began as Rebellion

The movement known as Impressionism was officially created in 1874, when a group of artists collectively exhibited art that shocked and appalled the academics. Rejecting the formality of the studio, these artists, which included Monet, Renoir, Morisot and Sisley, painted en plein air and concerned themselves with trying to capture the movement of light and shadow.

Monet is the grand master of Impressionist art, and his Woman with a Parasol perfectly exemplifies this aim. Everything is in movement: the grass, the woman’s dress, the clouds. It has the immediacy of a snapshot, combined with the technical precision of Monet’s use of pure color on a prepared background.

For Renoir, people were far more important than landscapes, and he particularly relished painting groups of people enjoying themselves outdoors. His work The Boating Party Lunch, for instance, captures a group of young, modern, middle-class people, each captured in their essence in one fleeting moment. For Renoir, even a relatively static portrait such as A Girl with a Watering Can has motion and change implied: she is not in the garden, really, but on the path out. He has captured that moment, that impression, for us, and she remains ever youthful and “about to be.”

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