Sunday, January 9th was a beautiful day in Central Florida, and a great day for an online demo from Caryn Dahm!

Caryn loves to paint FOOD! She does a lot of commission work as well as teaching and “Live Painting.” See her website at and find out more about it. She prefers to paint from life but takes photos and also refers to stock photography for details. Sharing some tips she told us about: using porcelain pallets for splitting warms and cools; using a nail file or a magic eraser to scrub out highlights; using a Stadler Mars Plastic eraser for better control. She often uses Prismacolor pencils and Derwent pencils for metallics.

Her sketch of a fruit tart was very light and she had used masking fluid to mask out highlights. Her technique was loose and interpretive of her subject, leaving the white of the paper to full advantage. Caryn uses the natural drying time to take breaks and frequently has several projects going at the same time. She says “You can do that with watercolor.” She dabs in strong color and then comes back with water to move it around in the shape. “It’s much livelier if you let the water make it dance. Drop in other colors to make it more interesting.” She captures what she likes about her subject rather than going for photo-realism. Vary the color, value and texture within an object. Burnt Umber, Pthalo Blue and Paynes Grey are her go to for darks. Caryn uses a flashlight to show where the shadows lie and keep them interesting. “Keep that light source in mind for shape and continuity.” Turn the painting upside down to check the shapes, vary soft and crisp edges.

Caryn shared with us how she scans art into Photoshop, highlighting resolution, file name and file type. We discussed using .tiffs or .pdf files for print and .jpg or .png for online submissions and posting on your website. Scanning should be done at 300 dpi for print and 72 dpi for online use. This information is useful for preparing art for entry into shows and for use in printing. Some people use Picasso and other free applications to do their scanning because Photoshop is very expensive unless you are using it for commission work. Caryn showed us some of the types of images she does for clients and how it is a good revenue stream for her in her home studio. She showed us how you can do something you love and make a successful business out of it. Thank you Caryn, it was fun!

Join us next month when our demonstrating artist will be Ron Malone! He is back by popular demand!