Sunday, December 22, 2013

January workshop

 We are beginning a new and event filled year and I am excited to be doing painting workshops again. The classes will be held at my studio overlooking the bay here in downtown Port Townsend. My studio will comfortably accommodate from ten to twelve students. These smaller classes allow for personal attention to each student and good visibility for the demonstrations.  New this year is a kit I put together providing the canvases and brushes we will be using which should make it easier for everyone to obtain more uniform results while learning the process. The kit will be included in the price for registration.  It consists of 2 black gesso primed canvases (one 14"x18" and  one 12"x16") and 3 quality Daniel Smith brushes (3/4, 1/2 and 1/4) also I will personally sign one of my coffee table books for the kit. The January class will be held on Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th from 10:00 a.m. to  4:00 p.m. The registration fee will be $250.00 for the 2 day class.  For more information or to sign up for the class please email me at or phone 360.379.5450.

These are the items included in the kit

Friday, November 29, 2013

Plant-a-thon commission

A little over a month ago I had a surprise visit to my downtown studio by Jude Rubin from the Northwest Watershed Institute.  She asked if I would be interested in creating a painting for the annual Plant-A-Thon where the image would be used on "tree cards" to be sold by students to raise money for their schools.   I quickly accepted the commission even though the deadline for completion was fast approaching.  The next day Jude took me hiking through the Tarboo Watershed where I was able to get a feel for the landscape and explore the salmon runs.  I went back to my studio and sketched out some ideas.  I decided to do the painting on a 30"x42" panel which would scale down perfectly to the 5x7 card size. After hours of editing ideas and drawings I settled on a final theme and sketched a full size drawing (shown below) which I submitted for their approval. 
It took me over three weeks to complete the painting and get it photographed and ready to be sent to the printer. We made the deadline and the cards are selling fast. Here are some excerpts from an article that   appeared in the November 27th issue of The Leader.

For each of the 3,000 trees to be planted by local students during the Plant-A-Thon in February, students sell a tree card for $10; the card entitles the buyer to “plant a tree in honor of someone special.”
Best known for his bright rural landscapes and his playful rendering of patterns of human land use, Tiller often works from his childhood memories of South Dakota farmland. But when he accepted the commission for the Plant-A-Thon card, he hiked through the Tarboo Watershed for firsthand inspiration.
Titled “Thriving Watershed,” Tiller’s painting reflects his fascination with the interdependency of salmon and forests.
The colors in the tree in the foreground represent the energy and nutrients from the salmon that trees take up after salmon spawn and decompose,” he said.
Tarboo–Dabob Bay is included in the image, as well as a barn on Dabob Road, a historic legacy of the Daniel Yarr farm that operated there during the early 1900s.
I tried to include the many elements that the Plant-A-Thon program brings together: the salmon, the trees, the history of farming and of course, the kids out there planting,” Tiller said. The tree planters in the painting are modeled after a photo of youth crew leaders Heather and Daphne Hamilton and Hannah Spitzbart.
Thriving Watershed” is now on display at Tiller’s studio on Water Street in Port Townsend, above the Public House restaurant.
Tree cards are available at participating schools: Port Townsend’s OCEAN Program, Chimacum Pi Program, Swan School, Jefferson Community School, and the PTHS Students for Sustainability Club. They are also available at Farm’s Reach Cafe, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, and at the Chimacum Crafts Fair on Dec. 14-15, the final Port Townsend Farmers Market on Dec. 21, and at the Food Co-op from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 23.
Here is a link to the actual article:
 Also, here is the link to the card site where you can purchase cards online:
"Thriving Watershed" 30"x42"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sketchy moments

Well, I have taken a little break from blogging but my wife and I have been doing our outdoor sketches on a fairly regular basis. Here are few highlights.

It was a nice sunny afternoon and we sat at a sidewalk bistro and sketched the Rose Theatre.  We love this little theatre and usually hit a matinee or an evening feature once or twice a month.  We watched "Gravity" in 3D and last week we saw "Captain Phillips".  Both are excellent movies.
I am thinking of doing a full size painting from this sketch.

We do a lot of hiking and this is a quick little sketch that I did while sitting in the Dosewallips State park next to the trail head.  We were having a lunch break after completing  a 4+ mile scenic hike through the forest.

This was a relaxing day at the beach.  It was sunny and windy at Point No Point so we found a spot to sit out of the wind and sketched the lighthouse. The beach was crowded with beachcombers, kite fliers and fishermen casting the surf for salmon.  Fun day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random Thought 5

Writers have admitted to "writer's block"  I think I have "blogger's block"

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wet paint / Dry paint

Ahhhh....Studio tour is over and I can get back to using it for the purpose of making art.  I use the Golden brand fluid acrylics in most of my art because they have very good permanence and stability and work well for my layering and glazing process.  One thing that I have had to adapt to since I started using acrylics is the fact that some of the colors which I mix and apply to the canvas appear much darker when they are completely dry.  The blues and greens are especially challenging.  here is an example of a green that I was painting with.  I applied a layer on the canvas and let it dry then I dipped in to the same mix and applied a brushstroke of wet paint over the dry color and you can see the difference. 

The challenge is to remember to mix the color I want to use at least one shade lighter than what I think I will need.  It sounds kind of unhandy but I have become accustomed to it now and hardly ever think twice about it.  I will post a picture of the finished painting soon!

Monday, August 19, 2013

New painting

This is the newest painting fresh from the easel for my Wet Paint series that is available for sale this week on my website.

This scene is painted on an 11"x14" canvas with Golden fluid acrylics. It will be available through this week while I work on the next one that will be posted on Monday

The Amazon venture

I along with many other people received the email from Amazon announcing the launch of their fine art store, Amazon Art, a marketplace that gives customers direct access to more than 40,000 works of fine art from over 150 galleries and dealers.  At launch, Amazon Art showcased artworks from more than 4,500 artists. The store is one of the largest online collections of original and limited edition artwork for purchase directly from galleries and dealers.   I feel very privileged to be a part of this venture!  Amazon selected galleries worldwide of all sizes, including the Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue which lucky for me is one that represents my art!  So.., if you venture to and look up Don Tiller or The Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery you will find my art for sale on the new Amazon art store!  here is an image of one of the paintings listed.

Open Gate 40"x60"
I like that Amazon lets you see the painting hanging next  to a chair so that you can visualize the actual size.  sometimes dimensions can be confusing and this certainly helps to see it in the proper perspective.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Series number three!

I have just finished the third painting that I am doing for my Wet Paint series that is available for sale this week on my website.
This tractor is painted on an 11"x14" canvas with Golden fluid acrylics. It will be available through this week while I work on the next one that will be posted on Monday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Next !

I have just completed the second in a series of tractor paintings I am doing for the "Wet Paint" series available on my website store page.
This 14"x11" acrylic on canvas will be available for seven days only! 

Tractors are one of my favorite subjects to paint.  I like giving them a little character and putting them to work in  imaginary fields.  Buy it now!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wet Paint! Buy it Now!

I am frequently asked about my recent work and where it can be appraised and purchased.  Most of my new paintings are committed to future shows or have other destinations.  So I came up with the idea of a "first chance" offer to buy one of my latest paintings through my website store. 

Every Monday a freshly painted original 11"x14" acrylic on canvas will be added to the store.  It will be available for only seven days and will either be sold or replaced with a new painting the following Monday!  Here is your chance to purchase my newest painting fresh off the easel.
Pictured below is the painting that will be offered for this week.  In July we celebrate our Independence and I believe that  John Deere and Coca Cola are the two most iconic brands in the United States.  This is my depiction of a little John Deere gamboling about the fields working to keep the world supplied with food.
Buy it now!  at   The "Wet Paint" store


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Time to Draw

Well, we managed to squeeze in a few more outdoor drawing sessions.  these two sketches are the most recent.  The Bishop Victorian Hotel was sketched while sitting across the street in a parking lot.  It was a beautiful evening and we were early for our Saturday date night  movie so we decided to get out the camp chairs and do a quick sketch while we waited.  Everything went well until someone parked right in front of where we were sitting cutting off our view completely.  Oh well, it was about time for the movie to start anyway and the sketches were near completion. 
The boatyard sketch was completed today, the fourth of July!  Earlier in the day we did an eight mile bike ride up the Larry Scott Trail, enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch on a sunny beach and ended up in the boatyard about 4:00 p.m.  We parked our chairs in the shade of  the traveling boat lift  and spent about an hour sketching the "Paul Johnson" one of many boats in the yard waiting for paint and repairs. A fun day..........!

I really do enjoy the outdoor drawing sessions and plan to keep the momentum going for the rest of the summer. The choices for cool locations to draw or paint are endless!  Just do it!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spend it to make it?

I have  owned my own business and been self employed for most of my working life.  We have all heard the old adage that you have to spend money to make money, right?  well, here is my story on how I  "spent" on my new sandwich board in order to "make" money in my studio.  My studio is up a flight of stairs in a commercial building on busy downtown Water Street so  in order to get anyone interested in trekking up the stairs to view my art it seemed like a good idea to have a sandwich board on the sidewalk to generate a little interest and direct them in that direction.  The first order of business was to purchase a legal size board ($$).  Then I  have a graphic designer come up with an attractive design ($$) and take it to the sign shop and have it printed on waterproof and mar resistant aluminum panels and attached to both sides of the sign ($$$).......whew, but we are just beginning to stack up dollars.  Next, I decided to attach a  removable pallet with a personal message and a QR code linked to a short video that I had professionally done.  A few extra  ($$$) but it really adds to the appeal of the sign.  Now......we have to go talk to the city and acquire a permit... routine, right? well,.....we live in a little seaport town listed on the historical registry and everything must be proper which amounts to a plethora of rules and detailed paperwork. Time consuming but doable.  Now I just write the check for the permit ($$) and put out the sign............No, not quite yet.  The city official informs me that I need to have a liability insurance policy worth $1,000,000 with them listed in it. Seems like CYA overkill to me but a trip to my insurer and more ($$$!) gets the permit in my hand.    Finally!  I was running out of patience and  ($$$)  but I can, now legally place my sign on the sidewalk and start making money!  Was it worth it all?  Yes, I have had the sign out for about a month which has resulted in meeting many new friends and acquiring some great customers.  Sales jumped remarkably for the month and I attribute it solely to the new sandwich board.  So......I guess in this case the adage is true.  The challenge will be figuring out the best places to "spend it" in order to maximize the "make it"...........Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A "real" painting

I like super realistic paintings although I do not try to paint them very often.  This orange was sitting on my studio table begging to be eaten or painted so I decided to see how realistic I could paint it with my fluid acrylics before I consumed it.  I had a little 6"x6" canvas handy that was primed with venetian red gesso so I drew it almost life size and filled the entire canvas with the subject.   I had so much fun that I went into the kitchen and borrowed a lemon and an avocado and painted them both in the same manner.   They turned out great and both sold before I got them photographed. 

It is great to paint outside of your comfort zone once in a while but now I look at this little 6x6 inch orange and think of how awesome it would look on a six foot by six foot or larger canvas!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The code of the Northwest

In order to maintain a lively business I feel that I must attempt to keep up and experiment a little with new technology.   So I decided to create a QR code for my sandwich board that I display at the entrance door to my upstairs studio here in Port Townsend.  These codes are nothing too new, you see them everywhere, but I rarely use them so I thought that I would try it and see if anyone would actually use one to retrieve information about my studio. You have to have a smart phone and an app (you can download one for free) to read the code.  Mine takes you to a short,  fun video that we put together.  So get your smartphone out and scan this code and give me your comments!

I have only had the board in place for a couple of days but I am pleasantly surprised by the response so far.  I think that this will be a successful endeavor and now I am kind of hooked on checking out other QR codes to see if  they have better ideas for using this "new" technology.
And......if you are ever in the neighborhood,  please do "come on up" and visit me in my studio!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Drawing what you see

My wife Jolene is also an artist and we have made a commitment to plein air paint or sketch together at least once a week during the spring and Summer months. We enjoy living in Port Townsend because there are endless subjects to fascinate us and no matter where you you look a vista craves to be painted.   These are pencil drawings of the sail loft at Point Hudson and the Pope Marine building as interpreted by Jolene.....

Here are my depictions of  the sail loft and the Pope Marine viewed from the same vantage point...  

It is fun to draw or paint together and see how novel each of us captures the same subject .

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Back in the studio

I have been able to put in some studio time recently and I have been finishing up a few canvases that I stared late in March.  I previously posted pictures of  three in the very beginning stages with just the first layer applied.  here are  two of that group that  I have finished.

I also finished a couple of others that I had started.  Here are the final results.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Plein Air Convention and Expo

Wow!  We just returned from the 2nd annual Plein Air Convention and Expo  held in Monterey, California.  We had a great time taking in all the marketing seminars and most of the artist demos.  We packed light and didn't take our painting supplies but we really enjoyed watching all the outdoor painting.  It was fun to watch the artists pick a location and a subject and then proceed to make a great painting within an hour or two. It was pretty windy and I felt very intimidated by all the talent but I managed to sit still long enough to do a quick sketch of Fisherman's Wharf.

Here are a few of  my convention highlights!

This is one of my favorite painters, Ken Auster doing one of his demonstrations onstage.  This picture was taken from the huge screens they had on either side of the stage.  Very easy to watch.

This is Ken's finished painting.  He paints large (love it) and completed this San Francisco trolley car scene in less than an hour.  Impressive to watch!

This is Russian painter Alexey Steele drawing a likeness of another great painter Scott Christensen.  Alexey is very animated and great fun to watch.  He will keep you fixated with his accented commentary.

John Crump, Another of my favorite painters is shown here painting on the windy beach.  He also paints larger than most of the others so naturally I am interested!

This is John's finished painting that he created for his demonstration the day before.  This 24"x48" painting was executed in about an hour. Amazing!  I missed his demo but sought him out on the beach and got to talk to him in person.  Great guy!

This is Don Demers doing a demo on the beach.  He is a great Maritime painter and always draws a huge crowd.
And there were plein air painters everywhere!  They came from all over the world to be here for this event.  Spectacular!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why is the sky blue?

As I am painting I find working with cloud colors and sky colors very intriguing so I went to the Internet for some information.  I found some very interesting reading and scientific explanations about scattered  light waves and spectrum analysis.  This was all very enlightening but as an artist I think the main thing I need to remember is that atmosphere has no color.   If I am trying to influence the mood of a painting with atmosphere I need to be aware that weather conditions and pollutants influence the color.  Water vapor and solid particles affect visibility and the amounts are a good indication of weather conditions and determine which colors we will see in the my head hurts.

Storm on the Horizon  36"x36" acrylic

Prairie Sky 40"x60" acrylic

Prairie Heat 20"x40" acrylic

Storm Chaser 20"x16" acrylic

Saturday, March 30, 2013

In the studio

In my stash of canvases I found three 16"x20"x1"  that I had primed with venetian red gesso.  There are times when I like to work on more than one canvas at a time and do a series of similar subject matter.  I can use the same colors on each one as I proceed through my layering and glazing process and it is fun to watch three paintings evolve at the same time.  On these three I have started with a simple composition of shapes and line.  I have blocked in the shapes with opaque color that I will glaze over with many transparent layers as the paintings progress.

I will post photos of the completed paintings when I finish them.  It will be interesting to compare these preliminary images with the finished product.  In my canvas stash I also found six 11"x14"x1" primed with black gesso and I will be doing a series of tractors as soon as the drawings are complete.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Random Thought 4

In my search for serenity, I have found that I  must be at ease with who I am, where I am and what I have today.  On the days that I am not comfortable with any one of these things I find it much harder to produce good art.

"Tree Line"  acrylic  12x12
Let's make good art today.......