Sold Out – Flower Pepper Gallery Pasadena – Los Angeles Artist K.L. Britton

Hey guys!

I’ve been continuing on the portrait lately, as well as some colour studies, so instead of posting updates on it, I wanted to let you guys know about the show at Flower Pepper Gallery that ended on Saturday.

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It was Flower Pepper Gallery’s Sixth Anniversary, so I submitted 6 paintings, and they all sold out before the weekend.  Surprisingly, I had also had a dream that they had all sold, but I wasn’t sure since they didn’t sell until after the opening.  I’m very proud to be a part of Flower Pepper Gallery in Pasadena, among other phenomenal artists who’s creativity is off the charts.  The gallery owner is one of the most generous, kind people I’ve ever met, and I’m lucky to have participated in this wonderful event.

Thank you for reading!


Painting Plein Air with Edge Pro Gear’s Sketchbook Easel – Los Angeles K.L. Britton


Sunday was a beautiful, warm day in Arcadia at the Peck Road Park.  A group of us learning from SaiPing Lok (Simon Lok) went our to watch him demonstrate and give it a go.

People always ask about my easel because it takes approx. 4 minutes to set up.  It’s so portable and easy, and the magnetic canvases also delight.  But let’s get to the details.  After I set up, I put on my canvas, which I had already coated in a wash of ultramarine and sienna and was dried.  My canvas here is 6″x6″, a size that allows me to get really creative with composition without having to decide whether “portrait” or “landscape” mode would be better.


Here is my finished painting, an outcropping in the lake with moutnains, reflections, and a tree.  “Local III – Arcadia” Oil on panel, 6″x6″

It was great fun to go out and paint with everyone, I feel always that I learn so much each time I actually pick up the brush outside.  But I am still not “there” (where I want to be) with my landscapes.  In my head, I go through the ideas of atmosphere:

  1. The objects farther away from you will have less contrast and less value changes than the ones closer
  2. The objects farther away from you will be desaturated compared to those in front.
  3. The local colour is important, but the colour of the light/shadows are just as important or more, and since the light is more or less consistent in your subject, make sure you are adding the light colour to each light mixture.

However, this still looks like a rock with some trees, and I’m not at all certain my water really reads as water.  It just takes more and more practice until I understand where I went wrong here, or what is just ever so slightly off!  I actually think my painting has a beautiful mood, a lot like what I was trying to capture with the soft mountains of Arcadia and the peaceful feeling of the lake compared to the city around it.

I did run into a slightly bigger problem with my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Easel today, though.  It was a warm day, and when I opened the easel to paint, the paint had slid around quite a bit, despite the fact I had even used a palette knife to keep in on.  Of course, the glass has no tooth for the paint to hang on to, but just a heads up that particularly on warm days, your paint can be moving around.  It was a pain to clean but it was still worth the little added effort compared to my other easels that take longer to set up.


Check out Peck Road Park




On the way out, in the twilight, the moon 🙂


Thank you for reading!!


The Portrait Part II – Portrait Painting Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

How to Paint Skin Tones by K.L. Britton Art Los Angeles Oil Painter

This is still what I’ve been working on in the last week.  You can see here if you go back a couple posts, the problems I encountered are still giving me issues, however you can see here I’ve started to go into the details.  Go back one post to see my method: Large, abstract shapes in generally the right places, followed by getting more and more detailed.

Another thing you might notice is my limited palette.  I have a deep and resounding love for colour.  If you take a look at my paintings, there are hidden punches of out-of-the-tube colour everywhere.  Color is such a deep passion that I end up wanting to put all the colours in my painting.  This means that even if a colour doesn’t necessarily go with the others, it would still show up, completely negating any colour harmony I might have been trying for.

In this case, and for almost all portraits, I use a really simple palette for skin tones in oil paint.  Here I’ll lay it out with simple descriptions of each colour and how I use it on my paintings:

Titanium White – This goes with everything for anything midtone or lighter, and sometimes even darker.  A reminder: It will cool down any colour you mix it with!

Burnt Sienna- My favorite warm shadow tone.  I use it straight out of the bottle where the shadow starts, and I mix it with Ultramarine Blue to get a rich, beautiful black.  I also mix it with Ultramarine Blue for the wash under my painting.

Ultramarine Blue – I use the Williamsburg tube, which is extremely dense in pigment.  I use much, much less of it because it is so vivid.  Keep in mind this will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.  This tube from Williamsburg has lasted triple as long as the old Lukas one I used to use.

Ivory Black – I use this as little as possible, as I prefer to mix my own black, however, it is good for cool, local colour blacks.  Add burnt sienna for shadows, you may not be able to perceive the difference on your palette but people will notice on your painting.

Alizarin Crimson – a non-opaque paint I use to add reds to colours that are in “cool” zones.  I.E. Cool lit cheeks, or cool shadow cheeks.  It is a cool red, very beautiful.  Also great for ears and inner eyes.

Cad Yellow – Hardly ever gets used actually.  Great for outdoors and still life, though.

Cad Orange – I also use this more in outdoor and still life, however I will put a “shot” of it in those rich areas where the core shadow is.

Vridian – a cool, lovely green that really goes well in skin tones.  You could use just white, burnt sienna, and a bit of green and you would have a lovely base tone.

Burnt Umber – This one I also use sparingly, it tends to go in the shadows, but I normally paint my models under very cool lighting and so I need warmer shadows.  It’s great for underpaintings and for underpaintings of still lives in particular, as it’s very neutral but can be driven into quite a dark value, unlike the lighter burnt sienna.  Also great for shadows on warmer lit subjects.

That’s an overview of my skin tones in oil paint.  Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!


Process Part One – Painting the Portrait by K.L. Britton Los Angeles Artist

These past two days I’ve been working on a more detailed portrait, so I thought it would be fun to document the process to some extent.  I know I’ve previously written about the drawing I did to prepare for this, and watch as all of my predictions come true (the same problems I had with the drawing, I have with the painting!)

How to Paint Skintones by K.L. Britton Los Angeles artist and teacher

I do an under-drawing first.  You can find several examples of under-drawings farther back in my blog. Then in this case, I wanted to start with huge areas of wet paint to work into.  In this picture, I’ve blocked in only my light areas.

How to Paint Skintones by K.L. Britton Los Angeles artist and teacher

With the shadows blocked in.  Notice that in the first picture, my model looks like he has quite a warm skin tone, but as I add the warm shadows, you can see that the skin is actually on the gray side.

How to Paint Skintones by K.L. Britton Los Angeles artist and teacher

Adding more depth here.  One trouble I run into is that when I do the cool lighting, the shadows should be generally “warm.”  However, often my warmer tones don’t get quite dark enough to really show my form.  Here I’ve utilized mixing my favorite warm shadow colour, burnt sienna, with ivory black, which is a cool black often used to mix blues.  The burnt sienna disappears into the black, however the eye can tell that it’s there and it’s correct.

How to Paint Skintones by K.L. Britton Los Angeles artist and teacher

Last night I started working more closely on the features, starting in with a smaller paintbrush than one I used for my large block ins.  Buy some large paintbrushes for your big areas and use them as long as you can – this helps you get that initial paint on the canvas that you can then paint the details into, and it also helps you break each shape down into the largest, most simple form you can.  Take a look at the eyes I blocked in at the top – those are most definitely not detailed!  However, as I work on this tonight and tomorrow, you will see the progress quite easily and you will see where I add details later.

In this final picture you can see that I moved the neck in a bit too far – this was a problem I also had with the drawing!  Most of the other parts of this painting are correct more or less, because the width of the face was addressed in my drawing and I went out of my way to make sure it was correct on my canvas before putting it down – but apparently I got carried away around the neck.  Take the time to put in your shapes correctly – it’s worth it!

Part two coming soon!


Open Studio at Situ Art Academy – AllaPrima Portrait by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

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On Sunday I began taking a class at Situ Art Academy in Covina.  It’s only a 30 minute drive to and from DTLA / Koreatown where I live, and it’s well worth it.  Before the class is an open studio, every Sunday from 2pm-5pm with a costumed model.  I brought my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook, however it was a bit small for my efforts.  I painted on a 9x 12 panel, and couldn’t get my paint piles large enough to do enough mixing, so it came out quite dry.  This would be solved with a larger palette.  That’s a great excuse to get the larger setup for myself for Christmas 😉

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In all of my paintings, I like to block in an idea of where the final product will end up, so I can understand the composition.  This one is not what I’m used to, I like lower left to upper right compositions, but with the lighting and hair, I had to do the opposite.

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You can see the struggle here!  I’m trying to paint the face, then the hair, then the collar, and I’m trying to keep them to compare them, but it’s not possible to get much bigger piles on this little baby.  Still the best for anything under 8″ though!  I will try a smaller panel next time (or plop my larger palette on top :D) The open studio was great, there are a ton of master artists painting there, and I always enjoy seeing each person with their own view and depiction of a similar subject.  There was such variety and I was lucky enough to sit behind two extremely creative guys who painted beautiful and exotic depictions of our gorgeous model.  Looking forward to next week at Situ Art Academy!

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Thanks for reading!

The Lake – Daily Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles Artist

This weekend was a busy one.  I wanted to get some good outdoor painting in, that’s somewhere you can really learn about the properties of light.  When the sun is rising and setting, it gives a warm, yellow glow.  When this happens, the shadows become much, much cooler.  Think of the way the sunset is – you can see the clouds closest to the setting sun are still lit by it, a bright yellow, and that contrast with the greys, purples, and blues of the shadows of the cloud (as well as any pink turns and highlights) are what give that striking feeling to the sun.

As the day goes on, the sun gets a little less bright yellow/orange.  It’s still a warm light, all sunlight is, but it changes hue during the day.  This is a very great time to work outdoors, during the day when the light is more steady, to get practice painting cool shadows.  Objects and items are almost perfectly their local colour at these times.  All you have to do is cool down the shadows by adding some ultramarine. 😀

If you’ve ever tried to capture a photo of the sunset, you know it’s not the same.  It’s always too light, too dark, too over or undersaturated.  Only when you’re painting outdoors can you really capture those light patterns and the patterns of other natural lighting.

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You can see here how warm the sun is in the beautiful gardens.

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But here you can see, the local colour of the fixture was “grey.”  Instead of making a “warm” grey, I made a cool shadow colour, giving the indication of a warm light by being a relatively cool shadow colour.

In painting relativity is everything.  It’s ok to use a cool colour in a warm light, but make sure your shadow areas are even cooler than that, so the eye will perceive the light areas as “warmer.”  If you think about this in the case of mixing skin tones – you can start with almost any tone that’s the same value as your subject – because your relative and surrounding colours can make it loook relatively cooler, warmer, brighter, etc.  I have done skin tones with white and a touch of cadmium red or alizarin crimson.  I’ve also done just white with orange – as long as the shadows were warmer or cooler based on the light, it came out like skin.

Thank you for reading!

What I do in my Spare Time – Daily Portrait Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

Every now and then I get an idea that I want to do a painting that challenges me.  Sometimes it’s a still life, sometimes a figure, sometimes a portrait, and I know it’s going to take a bit longer to get everything in the right place than usual.  One such is this portrait.

When we paint someone or something we know, we tend to fill in the blanks or make guesses based on what we “know” about that person or thing.  For example, I could say I know that this portrait’s eyebrows go at an upward angle with little curve, however when we’re painting or drawing, it’s really essential to let go of all of those pre-conceived notions.  While you may think oranges are round, they’re a series of angles that form a not-perfectly-circular form.

For these kinds of challenges, where I know in advance I will be possibly messing up – I do a sketch.  This isn’t really a “drawing” drawing, it’s more of a quick idea with only as much detail as I need to figure out what challenges I will face when I actually paint.  In this case, I had started the face too wide, the shadows too far from the center of the face.  It’s these kinds of mistakes I would run into when painting, but at that time I may not be able to put my finger on what’s wrong.  Since drawing is the foundation of painting, it’s always best to start with a sketch to check your idea.  Figure out what bothers you before you’ve invested a day into an under-sketch.  Then fix it, and remember to keep an eye on it when painting.  It makes the process much faster!

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here you can see my lay in.  I already corrected the eye on the left that went out too far.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

You can see some of the issues have been corrected here – the right (our right, his left!) part of the face has been moved in, the eyes have been corrected, even the nose’s bottom has moved up quite a bit.  All of these are things I’ll look for when I paint.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here I’ve made several more adjustments.  I’ll probably keep working on this sketch just for fun, but for now, it’s shown me what I need to look out for in the future.

Thank you for reading!

Decay – Daily Painting on Sketchbook Easel Edge Pro Gear – K.L. Britton Fine Art Los Angeles

Yesterday was Sunday, so I found myself with a slightly longer period of time in which to paint.  Getting errands done before noon has it’s advantages, guys.  I’m really in the zone for Halloween now, looking to sew or get some costumes to be used in a couple paintings as well.  Larger ones that will take several days to complete.  In the mean time, I saw this beautiful photo on instagram’s @meidakeet feed, and she graciously let me interpret her photo in oils.

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Decay, 6″x6″ oil on panel by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

Here is a sneak peek behind the scenes.  At the point this was taken, I assumed I was halfway through.  Boy, was I wrong!  I didn’t finish painting til nearly 8pm.  Such a small, but interesting painting just kept me going.  The sweet potato filled pizza crust at Koko (formerly Love Letter Pizza) in Ktown also helped.

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Here is a photo of the setup on my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook easel.  I love this thing.  I am using the sample metal plate they sent me for this one attached to a 6×6 panel.  I believe these are simply thin sheets of metal that attach to the magnets within the body of the easel.  Click if you’d like to see a larger version of my lay in!  With the sketchbook easel, the portability can’t be beat, and my only complaint is that I can’t fit more colour varieties on the palette while painting.  For me, this is pretty minor, but I likely will buy the standard Edgebook Pro easel for myself for Christmas, in order to have an “at home” easel that still has the tripod for ease of use.

I also have attached to my easel, as you can see in earlier posts, a hanging thing for paper towels, as well as two clips to hold each side of a trash bag.  This is the perfect setup, and I bring them with me wherever I go to paint.  Makes it so much easier to move around, with everything in one place.

Thank you for reading my mini-review.  Have a great Monday!