How to Build a Drawing Horse for around $20

A drawing horse is very easy to build and is a useful tool for any artist wishing to take his or her study to the next level.  It allows you to draw or paint at home in the same manner as you do in a life drawing/painting class. In general horses are used for those who like to sit while they draw or paint. The people who stand can use an easel.


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Here is what I used.

15 drywall screws  1- 5/8″
Drill bit
Countersink drill bit
Phillips head drill bit
Tape measure
Four Pieces of wood 3/4 x 9″or 3/4 x 12″
(I went to Home Depot and had them cut one 8 foot 3/4 x 9 inch piece of white birch into (2) 32″ pieces and (1) 16″ piece. You can use any type of wood you like. It was $12. I had a 2×4″ at home that I used for the bottom support.)

FIRST step was to attach the 16″ piece to the 32″ piece

I pre-drilled the center hole first and put the screw in. Then I did the other two. On each of the holes I drilled I also used a countersink drill bit so the screws are flush with the wood.

NEXT was to attach the front 32″ piece. I first measured 16 1/2 inches up made a mark, then found the center, drilled a hole and inserted the screw just enough so I could line it up with the other seat piece. Once the two pieces were lined up I screwed the screw all the way in and then inserted two other screws each side.

The next step was to insert the bottom support. I measured, cut, then screwed the 2×4″ to the underside of the horse.


AND that’s pretty much it! I spent much longer writing this post then building the horse, it only took about a 20 minutes.  I added a little piece of wood to act as a stopper for a drawing board or canvas holder and I will sand the horse down to remove any rough areas or possible splinter issues. You can stain or paint the horse and even put a coat of polyurethane on it just to make it nice and last longer.

There are many ways to make a horse this is just one, the key are the dimensions it has to be 32″ long and tall. If you get the proportions wrong the horse can flip up if you sit too far towards the back.  I used screws and no glue so I can take it apart if I need to travel with one or more.

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I decided to Stain and polyurethane the horse.


Zorn Palette (Repost)

I am an Ambassador for Rembrandt Oil Colors now so I thought I would try out the Zorn Palette using Rembrandt Talens brand paint colors.  Most manufacturers colors are similar but there are exceptions. Yellow Ochre is a big one, so I really didn’t know if I would be able to get the mixes I like.  Thankfully the Yellow Ochre performed great and actually has a little more tinting strength than the Yellow Ochre I was using prior.  The Red I used is Cadmium Red Deep.  The regular Cad Red and the Cad Red Medium were a bit too light for me. And lastly Ivory Black.

Rembrandt Zorn Palette

Rembrandt : Ivory Black, Cadmium Red Deep (CRD), and Yellow Ochre.

The first thing I did was to make a chart to “open up” and see the colors and how they related to each other.  I took each color and mixed it with white then separately mixed it with the other colors on the palette. So for example the first column is Ivory Black opened up white. The column next to that is Ivory Black with CRD, the column next to that is Ivory Black with Yellow Ochre, etc. The top row of colors contain no white, all the others do. This is just a fraction of what these three colors can do.

rembrandt mixes

This is a picture of some mixes I use a lot with this palette. The top mix is just Ivory Black and White.  There are two little mixes in the middle where I added a little red to get a nice muted purple. The green mix is Ivory Black and Yellow Ochre.  Below that are all three colors mixed in different percentages to obtain different general flesh mixtures or browns.  You can mix almost any type of brown you may need. Which makes it a nice palette for indoor portrait or figure work.

rembrandt paint

Rembrandt : Ivory Black, Cadmium Red Deep (CRD), and Yellow Ochre.

For me the Zorn Palette has been a great introduction to the vast number of colors that are out there today and I highly recommend it to anyone starting the journey into oil painting, especially if you are doing Portrait or Figurative work.

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) One of my all time favorite painters and one of Sweden’s foremost artists. He wasn’t the only one to use this palette but he made it famous. Below are some of his works.



Oil Painting Whites

Titanium White is currently by far the most popular of the oil painting Whites and has approximately twice the covering power of Lead White. By 1945 it accounted for more then 80% of the market.

Most paint manufacture’s Titanium white also contain Zinc White.  Zinc White is more inexpensive than Titanium and adding Zinc white to Titanium makes it more viscous, which can allow for more viscosity, and lessens the tinting strength.

Titianuim White (titanium dioxide,PW6) is probably the most well-known and widely used white oil paint today.  Titanium is a very opaque and stiff white.  It also is very powerful in its tinting strength, which can wash out colors it is mixed with.  Titanium white is somewhat cool in color but not as cool as Zinc White.

Zinc White (zinc oxide,PW4) and was developed in the late 18th century. It is translucent, about 5 times less then Titanium white, and has a low tinting strength.  Zinc is much cooler then titanium.

Lead White (basic lead carbonate PW1 ) (Cremnitz White and Flake are also lead whites) the oldest of the three types of white, around 400 B.C.  Almost all Oil painters used Lead White before 1916 when Titanium white was developed and when Lead Whites poisonous content restricted its manufacture and sale. Lead white dries the fastest of all whites, which makes it valuable for painters who need a relatively fast drying time for underpainting or Allla Prima techniques. Lead white is very dense and has a warm reddish-yellow undertone.  It is structurally the strongest white and is almost always mixed with zinc white.

Lead white is very dangerous and should not be eaten or come in contact with your skin or eyes just like most of the oil colors we use to paint with. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) actually became sick from lead poisoning after prolonged work on his painting “Symphony in White” in his Paris Studio. (Whistler a Biography, Weintraub)

Unbleached Titanium or Titanium Buff (PW6) is Titanium dioxide just processed differently then Titanium white. Buff titanium is made from titanium pigment  heated to high temperatures with a larger pigment particle size; this shifts the color toward a grayed, pale coffee brown. I like to use this white to lighten a color just a little bit, it doesn’t overdo it the way adding straight Titanium White can. Some Artists only use Titanium Buff to lighten their pigments.
Not all paint manufactures produce Unbleached Titanium this way. For example Utrecht adds Zinc White (PW4) and Raw Umber (pbr7) to Titanium white to create their Unbleached Titanium.


Oil Painting Blacks (Repost)

Ivory Black (Bone Black, PBk9)  The Romans created this black as an all purpose black by  either charring ivory or bones of animals. It is semi transparent and bluish in color but has a brownish tint to it when used thin.  Ivory black has a slow drying time and is moderate in its tinting strength.  Rembrandt used Ivory black.


Lamp Black  ( Carbon Black, PBk6) Lamp Black was originally produced by burning vegetable oils, but these days by burning tar, creosote, naphthalene, or other petroleum products. It is one of the oldest blacks and can be traced back to  prehistoric times. Also a slow drying and bluish in color but has a bluish undertone when used thin.  It is an opaque color and is stronger in tinting strength then ivory black.


Mars Black (PBk11) Mars Black was developed early in the 20th century. It is an iron pigment in the same family as synthetic iron oxide pigments and has the strongest tinting strength. Mars Black is the warmest of the three blacks when used thick or thin.  It has a fast drying time so it’s the best to use as an underpainting color. Mars black also dries very matte.


Payne’s grey is not a black but is a dark color invented in the late 18th century and named after William Payne a 18th a watercolorist. It has a bluish tint and is weaker then any of the blacks above in terms of tinting strength.  Payne’s Grey is actually a mixture of a blue and black, usually ultramarine blue and ivory black but every brand is a little different.


Perylene Black (PBk31) invented in 1948 is a black pigment with a strong green undertone. It is a synthetic organic pigment, not carbon or iron oxide based like all the other black pigments.  Perylene black has a slow drying time and is  transparent.


Below is a small color chart where I mixed each of these dark pigments , the exception being the first square, with white.


Figurative I Gallery 1261 Group Show

Opening March 27th Denver Colorado I am proud to be a part of a great lineup of figurative artists the Gallery 1261 has amassed. I will have three paintings in the show including “Distance” 36 x 41 oil on panel



Of Patronage and Paris

I am really excited to announce a new project I have been fortunate to be included in, spearheaded by Artist Vanessa Rothe and Sean Forester. Simply put we are Twelve Artists looking for a Patron to fund a trip to study in Paris in exchange for a painting from each of us.  Please click the link below to read the article in the February Issue of Fine Art Connoisseur

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A website has been created to complement the project

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Belgian Court Finds Tuymans’ work Plagiarized

Very Interesting case, maybe setting a precedent?…

The painter Luc Tuymans has been found guilty of plagiarism over a portrait of the Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker. A civil court in the artist’s hometown of Antwerp deemed the piece, “A Belgian Politician” (2011), to be a reproduction of a photo taken by photojournalist Katrijn Van Giel in 2010 and therefore in violation of her copyright, De Morgen reported. Tuymans will be fined €500,000 (~$577,000) if he creates any more “reproductions” of Van Giel’s work or shows the original painting, which now belongs to collector Eric Lefkofsky. The photographer, who works for the Flemish newspaper De Standaard, had been seeking €50,000 (~$57,700) in damages…..

~Click here for the full article~

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Zhiwei Tu Museum in China

How many Artists do you know who have a museum built for them while they are still Alive ! Well… Zhiwei Tu is one and Wow!! what a beautiful Museum ! Congratulations to Zhiwei Tu.  The Museum was built by the Chinese Government in October 2013. Tu has had more than 25 one-man shows and 50 group shows. He has shown extensively in China, Tokyo, Algeria, Singapore, Canada, England, France, the United States and was the Oil Painters of America President from 2004-2006 Here is a link to his site


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Screen shot 2015-01-25 at 2.53.24 PMZhiwei Tu accepting a lifetime achievement award from current OPA president Niel Patterson

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Fine Art Connoisseur Newletter Article

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Fine Art Connoisseur’s Jeffery Carlson did a write up on me for their newsletter check it out.  Thank you Jeff !  (Click the banner to read the article)


Featuered @ Alexey Steele’s Classical Underground

I was recently Honored  to be the featured Artist at Alexey Steele’s Classical Underground. It was a Grand Night with performances by Mary Au and Peter Myers, Teresita Gomez, Georgi Slavchev and Delaram Kamareh Wow !!!

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It was a chilly and rainy night but we were warm with inspiration and booze !

10872930_758244060890916_4543047337714576633_oEven the always Awesome Emily Dietrich of Raymar Linen Panels was there !