Painting The Light: part 2

Beginning the sky

Beginning the sky

Stage 1

Sky step 2

What next? Right away I knew that the sky wasn’t working. Did I start all over again? or make it work?

So I began to “unpaint”. Now my students are wondering how I unpaint. I’ve never been fond of starting all over again so I’ve taught myself how to use what I already had done. After all it wasn’t a disaster, just needed correcting.

Continuing with the development of the Bass Harbor Light I realized that I was pulling the attention to the left of the painting with all the detailed clouds in that area. I began by neutralizing the left sky by slip slapping in dark values, bringing the darks across the sky toward the right, and lowering the blues toward the horizon. In this way I directed attention toward the sky near the light house.

I had already added the water, lighter toward the horizon and darker toward the bottom of the design.

I based the light house with white for placement and continued to develop the sky, adding light clouds near the light house. I also added darker cloud details in the sunset and adjusted the intensity of the oranges and yellows. Then darkened the lower water area.

Now the more detailed clouds and sunset helped pull attention to my center of interest.

The sky was really key to developing my center of attention and creating the drama of this design.

Bass Harbor Light: Step 3

Bass Harbor Light: Step 3

I’ll be back to show you about the buildings and greenery. Watch out rocks! Here we come.

My local classes are in the midst of painting this design but I have scheduled a Saturday class for those who can’t come during the week on April 7, 9a-5p. Register now to join us.




My Snowfall class is now on Creative Workshops! You can register for it now and the class goes active Feb 6th.

I really enjoyed learning how to create the misty snow effect and the depth in this painting and look forward to sharing with you.



The class includes 14 videos, 10-15″ in length where I talk you through the entire painting as I demonstrate. You receive photograph, written instructions, and pattern.  I will repeat any of the directions as many times as you would like to rewind me.

Classes on Creative Workshops are available on line 24/7, and do not have an end date.

Register now!

Join me for some painting fun.  Liz

I’ve Been Noticing….


The trees…  The spring trees, especially this year after so much rain, are so lush and such varied greens. This is a great time to take reference photos. Noticing the shapes, lights and darks, and how the trunk and branches peaking through the foliage help us to understand the structure and how to portray this in our artwork. See how the line of trees catch the light, how the shadows give shape, volume, and depth to the grouping of trees.

Down the street

Down the street


What greens are we seeing? What colors do we see in the lights and the darks? Could we use colors other than greens to create our trees?

I took photos outside my studio in Raleigh so you can find trees willing to pose for you most anywhere.

The forest and the lake view were from my recent trip to PA to teach for a wonderful group of painters. web-WVA-mtsWhat a terrific opportunity to see lots and lots of beautiful trees while traveling by car through WVa, Va, and NC.


Summersville Lake, W Va

Get your camera out and do some seeing.

Outside the Sawmill Studio

Outside the Sawmill Studio



Just off the Easel

In case you don’t already know, we love painting Dorothy Dent designs at Artful Endeavors.  This week we’ll start a new design, the Brook, which I just love. I enjoyed painting my sample and am looking forward to sharing this beautiful painting with my students.

I thought you might like to see my painting as I progressed.  Dorothy paints in oils but I use acrylics for our classes. Although I’ve enjoyed oils in the past, I have discovered that I’m allergic to some of the products.  And, there is very little we can’t paint in acrylics since they are so versatile.  I use the wonderful DecoArt Traditions and of course Americana, my first acrylic love.

Here’s the beginning of the sky and water area.  This is about 3 layers of adjusting.  DecoArt’s new Americana color Blue Haven is a wonderful color, medium light value, not too greyed, a happy blue.


Step 1: background sky and water.


Step 2: adding the background trees and foliage for the large foreground tree.


Step 3: Adding the tree and sunny grass.


Step 4: Adding rocks and beginning the water.


Step 5: Sunshine on rocks and working on the water.

I love the colors in this painting.  Such a pleasing combination.

web-Brook finished_edited-1

Finished! Complete with splashes and accent colors.

Seeing! A Little reference please.

old trucks
old trucks

old trucks

Seeing. It’s what we artist do.  It’s how we create. We’re especially good at observing and turning our observations into art.  Reference Photos is my next tutorial on really seeing rather than just looking.

As Referred To:  As I’m starting a new painting it’s important to me to have reference photos, especially when I can’t go out to see the real thing when I’m ready to work.  I keep reference files on my computer and print out the ones that I feel are pertinent to the design I’m creating.    Read more…

Special on On Line Classes For Dec

Mastering Decorative Painting Basics Part

During the month of Dec I’m gifting you with 15% off on all my on line classes. 

You can check out my classes on our on-line class page right here on my web site, or you can go directly to Creative Workshops to register and take advantage of my gift to you.

Drawing Faces

Drawing Faces

Sign up for Creative Workshops’ newsletter to get the details and latest on-line class news.

Watch for my new on-line classes coming up after the first of the year. Now I’ve told you about my new classes so I had better get busy taping them.

Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you back for our New Year of Painting Party on Jan 5th.

Check out the special offers at Creative Workshops going on right now!

A Halloween Treat!!

Spooky Owl Pin

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!

It’s a beautiful fall day with colorful trees and very pleasant weather here today.  It’s a perfect Halloween eve.

I have a Halloween treat for you. It’s directions for my spooky owl pen.

Spooky Owl Pin    A Liz Miller CDA design

You can use your favorite colors but here are some of the ones that I’ve used:

DecoArt Americana: Lamp Black, Raw Umber, Butterscotch, Warm White, Marigold, Irish Moss, Tangerine, and Burnt Sienna.

The blank is available at my studio or you can order from Viking Woodcrafts if you can’t drop by my studio.

Spooky Owl Pin

Spooky Owl Pin

Let’s Paint a Spooky Owl in a Tree:

I used a flat Bringle Blender to scuff in the tree using the chisel edge of the brush and RU.  Then use Butterscotch and a very little Butterscotch + WW to lighten the left side of the trunk and branches. I then added a little scuffed in Tangerine to accent the light side and middle of trunk.  Use a side loaded flat to darken the right side of trunk with Black. Of course the hole in the base of the tree is painted black.  The spider webs are also painted black.  Dry and then pattern your owl.

Using a #0 liner dab in the owl with RU to create fluffy feathers.  Begin to fluff in the lighter feathers by adding WW to your dirty brush. Notice the light feather on the face and details on the head and body. Don’t forget the tail feathers.  Lighten the face by adding more WW to your dirty brush.  Eyes are Marigold and shaded at the top with BS when dry. Outline them with RU.  Pupils are black with a WW glint.  Beak is RU with a WW glint.  I added a little dabbed in BS under the chin and at the base of the tail.  Add a few WW claws to hold onto the branch that you add with your tree colors.  Add any other owl like detail that you would like.

To finish up dry brush a little WW on the spider webs and touch in some Tangerine eyes inside the hollow of the tree with black pupils and WW glints.  I then flick up some grass at the base of the tree with Irish Moss, a nice spooky bright green color, using my flat blender.

Dry and spray with DecoArt Triple Thick spray several times allowing plenty of dry time between sprays. Remember not to touch the varnish to check dryness unless you would like to leave a nice finger print for later ID purposes.  When dry glue a pin back to your painted treasure and enjoy wearing.



Have a spooky time painting this project.  We still have some fall season to enjoy this little pen.

You are welcome to teach this design but be sure to give me credit for the design.

Watch for a winter version of this design coming up soon!


We’re Having a Blog Party for Our New Creative Workshops Site

Mastering Decorative Painting Basics Part

Have you every been to a blog party? Well this will be my first one. Our new, wonderful Creative Workshops site where I have my on line classes, along with many other terrific teachers, is have a grand opening blog party. If you participate you could be the fortunate winner or one or more free classes.

Mastering Decorative Painting Basics part 3

Mastering Decorative Painting Basics part 3

Each teacher is giving away one of their classes for free to a lucky commenter!

The way to win is to leave a comment on any teacher’s blog post with this message. You’ll will be entered for a random drawing for a free class from that teacher.

The idea of the list is that you can follow the party trail from blog to blog, leaving a comment on each blog you visit, therefore increasing your chances of winning a free class from one of the teachers you leave a comment for! Now how cool is that?!

Every class giveaway will be different because the teachers are generously each giving away one of their own classes. Gosh, maybe a really lucky commenter could win multiple free classes!! Now THAT

would be awesome for the winner wouldn’t it!  Stranger things have been known to happen. :)

My free is class is actually all three of my Mastering the Basics of Decorative Painting classes!  You get the whole series.

See my on line classes.

To win the opportunity for a free class from me you must leave a comment on this post and only this post. It helps me keep track of everyone. The party runs Sept. 23-Sept.29. I will use a random number generator to choose the lucky winner and announce the name Monday Sept 30.

Once you leave your comment on my post then from the list below choose the next blog you have not visited and leave a comment on their blog post. Each blog will have this list so you can move through the party leaving your trails of comments everywhere and increasing your chances of a FREE CLASS!

Go, go, go…tell your friends!!!!


This is a fabulous list!

Sara Naumann

Cat Kerr

Jodi Ohl 

Nancy Lefko

Cathy Bluteau

Mechelle Harrison

Elizabeth Johnson

Terri Heinz

Gaye Medbury

Dawn Meisch

Ann Butler

Gail Schmidt

Marilyn Harris-Mills

Nellie Wortman

Martha Lever