Every workshop, every teacher, and even every practice piece brings new techniques and tools to help an artist grow and create better works of art. I've learned watercolor, oil, acrylic textured backgrounds, imprimatura, and palette knife skills having attended numerous workshops and classes.
In my latest oil painting I have used many of these tools and techniques to create "Afternoon on the Lake".
This piece used a palette knife to create the water as well as the lake shoreline. Studies in value helped me create a believable cloud formation. Classes in color mixing were valuable in helping me mix the correct colors for the kayaks. Watercolor instruction gave me insight into the creation of depth and color for the landscape trees and water. But the most surprising tool which I will continually use is one which Joel Popadics manufactured which I affectionately name my Magic Sticks! Not being adept at perspective drawing, my magic sticks are so valuable in painting, not only building eaves, rooflines, and stairs as well as other complicated structures, but helped as well with a seemingly simple kayak.
With the Magic Sticks shown below (just two paint stirrers attached with a wing nut), I can easily determine the correct angle for any object. Now I no longer have boats floating in the air.
What a marvelous invention, Joel!