The Language of Objects Opening and Live Demos!

Collage 1

First of all, we wanted to send a big THANK YOU to everyone, both artists and art lovers, who came out to join us for the opening of our still life invitational, “The Language of Objects” this past Friday evening! We love the variety of folks that this kind of group show brings together, and a still life show in particular can spark some wonderful conversations! From an electric mixer to a pile of sponges, from Twinkies to pears, from flowers to vegetables, we certainly had an intriguing mix of subject matter present as well as a wide array of painting styles to enjoy. To check out the whole show online, visit our website here!

Collage 2

And we’d like to extend another thank you to all those who joined us the following afternoon for the live painting demonstrations, as well as Elizabeth Floyd, Gavin Glakas, and Jorge Alberto for being amazing enough to paint live for all of us! It was such a treat to get to watch three different painting styles bring a variety of subject matter to life.

If you’re interested in attending our opening receptions and other events like live painting demonstrations, make sure you follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletters to receive reminders of all of these fantastic events! Just send us a message at and we’ll add you to the list!


Technique Tuesday: Broken Color

TT Broken ColorWhat is it?

The technique we’ll be looking at today is a fun one: broken color. This term refers to a technique where an artist will apply colors to a painting in small strokes, but does not blend them, so that they blend optically rather than literally. The effect of this technique a life and vibrancy, and a strong sensation of the sparkle of natural light. The idea of blending colors optically is one you may remember from our post on pointillism, though broken color is not a technique limited to small dots of brushstrokes and can be done with a lot of types of mark making.

Examples from art history:

As you’ve probably noticed, a majority of these techniques we’ve been discussing became a big “thing” during one of two times: the Italian Renaissance, and the Impressionist movement of the 19th century. Broken color comes to us from the latter. The Impressionists, especially the French Impressionists, were primarily concerned with emphasizing the effects of light and color, and less about making their paintings appear very neat, tight, and realistic. A huge part of the way they acheived this loose, sparkling effect of light was the use of broken color. By allowing the viewer’s eye to blend colors together, these painters were able to capture the real sensation of light and imbue the painting with a lot of energy. Though it really began with the Impressionists, broken color is a technique that was used by many differet types of artists in many different movements that followed.

Broken Color Collage

(left to right) Claude Monet, “Haystacks”; Edgar Degas, “Woman In the Bath”; Vincent Van Gogh, “Still Life with Lemons”

Examples from Principle Gallery:

This week, the gallery is preparing for the opening on Friday of Colin Fraser’s solo exhibiton, “Inner Light.” Colin Fraser’s work is a remarkable example of the magical effects of broken color. As Colin’s preferred medium is egg tempera, he ends up doing a lot of thin, small brush strokes and careful layering. The way that he handles the blending of colors using this method is truly extraordinary, and the overall sparkle and life of the light in his work is just gorgeous, particularly in person. If you’re able to come to the gallery to view the exhibition, be sure to get up close to these paintings–it’s a whole adventure in color up close!

If you’re able, please do join us for the opening reception for the exhibition, Friday October 16th, from 6:30 to 9 PM. And DON’T FORGET! Saturday, the 17th, from 1-4 PM, Colin will be doing a live egg tempera painting at the gallery, which we’ll be broadcasting live on our YouTube channel!

Celestial Sun HR

Colin Fraser, “Celestial Sun”

Genuflection, HR

Colin Fraser, “Genuflection”

Pastoral Suite Viridian HR

Colin Fraser, “Pastoral Suite Virdian”

Technique Tuesday: Egg Tempera

Technique Tuesday egg tempera

What is it?

Last week, we took a look at oil paints and acrylic paints, but this week’s topic is a painting medium that predates both of them–egg tempera. Egg tempera is an ancient type of paint that is made by mixing powdered dry pigments with egg yolk as a binder, and typically with another ingredient like water, vinegar, or wine added to prevent cracking of the applied paint.

Examples from art history:

Examples of egg tempera painting can be found as far back as ancient Egyptian sarcophagi decorations and ancient cave paintings in India. Egg tempera was occasionally used alongside another method of painting known as encaustic (paint made from pigment and hot beeswax) and eventually took the place of encaustic painting as the preferred medium for panel paintings and illuminated manuscripts. By the beginning of the Renaissance, it was the primary painting medium for nearly all fine art painters. It was at the height of the Renaissance when oil paints began to take over as the preferred painting medium, for many reasons. Oil paint is slow drying, which means that it allows the artist a lot more control in blending colors and creating a three-dimensional appearance to forms. Oil paint also often has a thicker, more glowing color to it than egg tempera, and is more flexible as well. Egg tempera has its own charms, however–it is non toxic, water soluble, permanent, and will not yellow over time– and it made a comeback in popularity in the 20th century with great artists like Andrew Wyeth and Thomas Hart Benton dabbling in the medium again.

Egg Tempera collage

(top left) “Judgment of Osiris,” tempera on papyrus, 1285 BC ; (top right) Michelangelo, “The Holy Family,” tempera on panel, 1507; (bottom left) Sandro Botticelli, “The Birth of Venus,” tempera on panel, 1480s; (bottom right) Andrew Wyeth, “Christina’s World”, tempera on panel, 1948

Examples from Principle Gallery:

The vast majority of our artists here at Principle Gallery choose to work with oil paints, but we do have one artist who prefers and regularly paints with egg tempera. Scottish-born artist Colin Fraser mastered many mediums, including oil paint, before deciding that egg tempera suited him best. Colin paints delicate, exquisitely beautiful still lifes, as well as some landscape and figurative works, and he uses the unique qualities of egg tempera paint to help him achieve the incredible brilliant luminosity of the colors in these paintings. Egg tempera is a type of paint that must be applied in thin, small brushstrokes and the layers and colors built up very carefully, so it is astonishing to see what Colin has achieved with this medium. We are thrilled that Colin himself will be joining us for the opening of his solo exhibition here on Friday, October 16th as well as Saturday, October 17th for a live egg tempera painting demonstration! Here’s a sneak peek at some of the incredible egg tempera works from Colin’s show. If you’d like to receive a digital preview of Colin’s exhibition, just send us an email at!

Halo 15x19 inches

Colin Fraser, “Halo,” egg tempera on panel

West Coast 72

Colin Fraser, “West Coast,” egg tempera on panel

Whitespace 72

Colin Fraser, “Whitespace,” egg tempera on panel

IGOR 10th Annual Juried Exhibition Award Winners

Principle Gallery wishes a huge CONGRATULATIONS to each of the IGOR 10th Annual Juried Exhibition award winners, as well as all the brilliant and talented artists whose work made it into this exhibition! And also, thank you so much to everyone who came out to join us last night and made the reception such a success!

American Art Collector Editor’s Choice Award

Claudia Seymour - Out of the Blue - 21__x20__- oil72

Claudia Seymour, “Out of the Blue”-21×20, oil on linen on panel

Bill & Susan Rowett Collector’s Choice Award

Trish Coonrod - Still Life with Blue Plate and Blue Egg - 24x48 - oil72

Trish Coonrod, “Still Life with Blue Plate and Blue Egg”- 24×48 , oil on canvas

Robert Kirkpatrick Best of Still Life Award

Alex Zonis - Adagio for three strings - 12x9 - 72

Alex Zonis, “Adagio for Three Strings”- 12×9, oil on gessoboard

Best of Figurative Award

Pamela Carroll - Manal - One Green and One Brown Eye - 14x12 - Oil72

Pamela Carroll, “Manal- One Green and One Brown Eye” -13.5×12, oil on panel

Best of Landscape Award

rob macintosh -Prescott-30x40 -oil on canvas72

Rob MacIntosh, “Prescott”- 30×40, oil on canvas

Director’s Choice Award

Michael DeVore - The Weathered Vase - 24 x 24 - Oil on Linen72

Michael DeVore, “The Weathered Vase”- 24×24, oil on linen

Pioneer in Realism Award

Ed Copley Victorian Fantasy 72

Ed Copley, “Victorian Fantasy” – 30×20, oil on linen

Creative Achievement Award


Beth Sistrunk, “Time Lapse”- 21×28, oil on three acrylic panels

Artist’s Choice Award


Tatiana McWethy, “Old Trunk”- 24×24, oil on linen

Best Floral Award

Grace_Kim_ Butterfly Magnolia and Watermellon_24x30_Oil on Linen_72

Grace Kim, “Baby Melon and Magnolia” – 28×40, oil on linen

Best Wildlife Award

Brian LaSaga BARREL AND SPARROW Acrylic 18x24 72

Brian LaSaga, “Barrel and Sparrow” – 18×24, acrylic on panel

Best Drawing Award


Arlene Steinberg, “Salsa” – 28×18, colored pencil and soluble wax crayon

And the winner of Best in Show and Best Trompe L’oeil Award:

Best in Show, Best Trompe L’Oeil 

Jorge Alberto The Swan 22x19 oil on panel 72

Jorge Alberto, “The Swan”- 22×19, oil on panel

To see all of the works in this exquisite show, check out our website here or visit us at the gallery! The show will be hanging through September 18th.

Technique Tuesdays: Painting from Life

Technique Tuesday from life

Welcome back to Technique Tuesday! Here’s the last part of that series looking at what artists use for reference (we’ve already looked at painting from photographs and from the imagination). Today’s post will be a bit different, as it’s a guest post written by Principle Gallery still life artist Elizabeth Floyd. As a still life painter who frequently paints flowers from her very own garden, Elizabeth was kind enough to give us a glimpse at the process of painting directly from life, and why she enjoys it so much.

Painting from Life: Irises
by Elizabeth Floyd

12 x 9 inches - oil on linen

Irises by Elizabeth Floyd

My preferred method of painting floral still-lifes is to work from life in the natural light that filters through my studio’s north-facing window. I enjoy this method of painting because the experience is all about what is happening right here and right now.

When painting flowers, I feel like I am capturing my thoughts and feelings of that particular flower, and of that particular moment in time. It is a moment in time that is fleeting. In the hustle and bustle of our lives, such a moment is so easily forgotten. I seek to stop to capture the moment before the loss, even if it just one little snapshot of what was going on.

By focusing on what is in bloom, and on what the quality of light was at that specific time of year, I feel as if I am also recording the moments for prosperity, something to share and savor with others now and in the future. And often time goes by so quickly that flowers come into bloom and fade before I have the pleasure of exploring their unique qualities. During the month of May, I felt lucky to have had the opportunity to paint this painting of purple irises because the irises in my garden only bloomed for less than two weeks this year, a very short time to my thinking.

I took pictures during the painting process, and thought to share with you here a portion of my process.

There is a special level of energy that fills me when painting from life. I feel more attuned and connected as an artist when I am standing in front of a still-life setup. The emotions I am trying to share through art are also easier to connect with.   Often I know the flower will only last a short time in the studio, making the time special. Irises, in particular, last only one, maybe two days as cut flowers, especially if the weather has been hot, which was the case during the first weeks of the recent month of May.

WIP-01 20150508-008 purple irises 12x9When I begin a painting I often begin with a detailed drawing in burnt umber. This step helps me place the subject on the canvas and helps me imagine what the final painting will look like.

WIP-02 20150508-008 purple irises 12x9By placing the first strong color notes of paint down at the beginning, I try to capture the large shapes, knowing that the nuanced shifts in value and color temperature will occur later. With the large masses of color, if I begin to obliterate my drawn-in lines, that is fine because the drawing was only to verify that the composition I had in mind would fit on the canvas. By the time I have begun laying down paint, my mind has shifted to think more about color and mass.

WIP-03 20150508-008 purple irises 12x9With limited time to capture these irises, I focused on the areas that were most likely to significantly change during the night before I could return to the painting. I painted the two flowers in full bloom and the bud to the lower right. In the actual flower, I chose to ignore the faded bloom next to the bud. By the next morning, the topmost iris had wilted on me. But because I had captured this flower the previous day, I was able to focus on other aspects of the painting that needed to be refined and developed in the subsequent painting sessions.

WIP-04 20150508-008 purple irises 12x9

a close up photograph of the subject

Another reason I prefer to paint from life in natural light, is that I am better able to observe the more nuanced shifts of color and value in the subject. For me, this ability to really see and discern the subtle shifts in color is so rewarding. I get lost in the moment. With this painting of the irises, I became enthralled by the shifts of purple that moved towards either warmer or cooler color temperatures, capturing the way that the afternoon light sparkled and played along the delicate petals.

12 x 9 inches, oil on linen

12 x 9 inches, oil on linen

It is always an honor to me that I get to spend my days contemplating and discerning the details that make up our world, painting delicate objects that grow in my garden and sharing some of the fascination I feel when observing their details.

It is especially great timing to have a post featuring Elizabeth Floyd, as her work will be part of the next exciting event we have coming up at the gallery!

This August, Principle Gallery is honored to host the 10th Annual Juried Exhibition for IGOR, the International Guild of Realism! This fantastic show will feature 81 artists and 90 paintings and drawings, including two gorgeous still life paintings from Elizabeth Floyd. We are thrilled to be hosting this exhibition, and we look forward to sharing more information about it as the event gets closer!

To stay up to date on all of our blog posts, make sure you subscribe to receive new posts by email, by putting your address in the bar at the top right of the page!

Technique Tuesdays: Tenebrism

Technique Tuesday Tenebrism

Remember the Technique Tuesday post where we took a look at chiaroscuro? Today’s post is going to take a look at a very cool technique, closely related to chiaroscuro: tenebrism.

What is it?

Tenebrism, like chiaroscuro, is all about the use of lights and darks. Where chiaroscuro is used to create a sense of depth, three-dimensionality, and realistic texture, tenebrism involves using the stark contrast of light and dark for dramatic effect in a composition. It’s sometimes called the “spotlight effect”, and almost always features a stark, black background with the foreground, or at least some parts of it, dramatically illuminated.

Examples from art history:

The quintessential master of tenebrism in art history is the Baroque era Italian painter Caravaggio. Caravaggio’s work always bore a characteristic sense of drama, partially from the emotionally charged subject matter he would choose, but mostly thanks to the intense tenebrism. The concept of dramatic illumination became a popular one during the Baroque period following the Renaissance, and is seen frequently in both Italian and Dutch works from that time. Tenebrism has an exquisite way of creating a dramatic and powerful feel in a painting, but it also has a way of making the illuminated forms and colors absolutely glow.

caravaggio collage

Works by Caravaggio: “The Conversion of Saint Paul”, “The Taking of Christ,” and “The Calling of Saint Matthew”

You can get an idea from just these three works how Caravaggio manipulated contrast and areas of light and dark to not only set the mood, but also to draw the eye of the viewer to the most important focuses of the composition. Here are a couple of examples of the way tenebrism was used by painters further north, in the Dutch “Golden Age.”

tenebrism collage 2

(left) Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Night Watch”; (right) Abraham Mignon, “Still Life with Fruit”

Examples from Principle Gallery:

As art has evolved over time, popular trends have come and gone, but tenebrism is an effect that can still be seen used frequently by today’s artists, each in a way that complements his or her unique painting style. Here are a few examples of dramatic tenebrism on works here at Principle Gallery: (click the artist’s name to see more works by Jeremy Mann, Richard Murdock, and Brian Martin)

pg tenebrism collage

(left) Jeremy Mann, “The Melancholy Passerine”; (middle) Richard Murdock, “Wrapped Lilacs”; (right) Brian Martin, “Departure”

And last but not least, here’s a truly gorgeous example of a still life featuring tenebrism. This work by Greg Gandy is titled “Flowers with Insects,” and is a part of the current two-person exhibition, “Tempo and Pause” featuring works by Greg Gandy and Valerio D’Ospina. (Click here to view all the works in the show on our website!) Click the image to get a closer look, and check out how beautifully the contrast between the dark background and the illuminated flowers and vase makes the colors really glow!

Flowers with Insects 36x24 HR

Greg Gandy, “Flowers with Insects”



Yin and Yang in a Crustacean World

Remember last November, when Cindy Procious and Mia Bergeron had that fantastic two person exhibition with us? One of Cindy’s largest paintings in that show was “Yin and Yang in a Crustacean World”. Check out these in-progress photos Cindy took to see the awesome journey these two lobsters went on!









And the finished product….

Yin and Yang in a Crustacean World HR

Cindy Procious, “Yin and Yang in a Crustacean World”

For more awesome artworks by Cindy, click here to check out her page on our website!