Thursday, December 16, 2010

Workshop at Landgrove Inn, Vermont - May, 2011

If you're interested in attending my VT workshop on May 13th - 15th, you can still save 10% off the package price , if you register by Dec. 31st. That's only $540 for 3 nights accommodations, ALL meals and class instruction. Registrations after that date are still welcome, but will be at the normal rate.
You'll find more info and project photos on the "Workshops" page of my website;
Great rooms, excellent meals ( prepared by certified chefs ) and fun class projects guarantee a memorable experience!
Give Tom Checcia a call at 1 (800) 669-8466.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Paintings

I've managed to temporarily break out of my "winter mode" and work on some other subjects.

These are all from the past few days. They are all familiar subjects to me, as I love painting birds and sunsets. I truly never tire of these themes because each and every one is unique. You'll never see the same exact sunset twice, so you never have to paint it twice. It can be rendered differently every time you sit at your easel.

The same with the birds. Different backgrounds and poses. So many compositions,.... so little time.......

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Mode

This one was created solely with painting knives.

Ol' Man Winter is sneaking into northern New York and although we've had a couple of very small flurries already, there's been nothing substantial. No ground cover yet!

However, it has gotten me into "Winter Mode" and I've been tackling snow scenes at the easel, as of late. Though I'm not really a big fan of snow, I DO love to paint it!

And I DO really enjoy hiking on my snowshoes behind my home, taking in all the sights of the snow-laden trees, the birds flitting about and the cool blue snow shadows draped across the land. It looks like it'll be a while yet though, before we have enough of an accumulation for that.

These are some paintings I've done over the past couple of weeks, in anticipation of Ol' Man Winter's impending arrival.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


As some of you are already aware, I am currently working on producing my own Signature Line of oil painting products. Several months ago, I was approached by a major art materials manufacturer, who expressed an interest in creating and promoting these products.
This company said they were inspired by viewing my DVD’s and YouTube video lessons and wanted to pursue my style further.
It was mentioned that nothing new has been introduced in the wet-on-wet style in a very long time and that NOW would be an opportune time to do so. I could not find a viable argument for this observation, as I do feel this genre has become stale.
So, my line of painting materials will be available in a few months, probably sometime during the first quarter of 2011.
We are currently testing, adjusting and finalizing the products and now starting to work on the labeling and packaging. It will be a full line; paints, brushes/knives, canvas, custom palette, mediums, etc. All products will have been tested and approved by me and will meet the specifications which suit my particular style.
I have chosen colors and made design changes which I feel are a definite upgrade and improvement. I use many differing approaches in my work, not just “wet” styles and my products will bridge the gap between all these methods, whether it’s using a tonal underpainting, or solely using painting knives.
It is without question that there will obviously be correlations drawn between myself and other well-known and much loved artists/teachers who have come before me.
I have been affiliated with Bill Alexander for nearly two decades and I am deeply grateful for the knowledge he passed on to me and the inspiration he instilled within me. Likewise, I further honed my techniques by watching Bob Ross, too.
But, the truth is that I have learned much from many artists ( as we all have, I’m sure ) and I have taken that knowledge and molded it into my own style.
I do not look at this endeavor as “turning my back” on Bill, or Bob, but rather a continuation of what they started. Bill’s dream was to “teach the world to paint” and essentially that’s what I plan to continue doing. I can only try to pick up where he left off.
I am not afraid to tip my cap to those who have influenced me so much and I owe many thanks to Bill (especially) and Bob.
But, I also feel it’s time to carry on and move forward.
I will be filming new Dvd lessons in the not-too-distant future, as well as more free lessons on YouTube, so keep watch for those.
My product line will be available through my website store at and at
and other art supply retailers across the country, which will be disclosed once the details are finalized.
I hope to see you in a future workshop, so we can become friends and have the opportunity to paint together!

Wilson Bickford

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Work for my Open House

Glenda and I are hosting an Open House at our studio near the end of October. I working daily to get some new paintings ready for it.

Here are 3 that I've done this week. ( within the past 2 or 3 days, actually )




Friday, September 24, 2010

Bald Eagle

What can I say? I'm in my "wildlife mode"!!

"EAGLE EYE" Oil 9" x 12"

New Wildlife Works

Here are a couple of paintings I've done in the past 2 days. I'm in one of my "wildlife moods", so that's what comes out when I sit down at the easel.

I'll hang on to these to display them at our Open House next month.

"BENGAL TIGER" 11" x 14" - Oils

"GREAT BLUE HERON" 9" x 12" - Oils

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Landgrove, VT Workshop-May, 2011

I'll be teaching in Vermont in a couple of weeks, so it was time I started thinking about my next session at the Landgrove Inn. If you're looking for a great getaway, you can't beat it. Great accomodations, fantastic food and 3 days of painting! And it's very reasonably priced.

You can call the Landgrove Inn at 1 (800) 669-8466 for availability and prices ( which vary by room )

This year's event is sold out with 20+ painters and several accompanying spouses. Glenda and I are very much looking forward to it, since we had such a wonderful time there last year!

I've been busy getting some new projects prepared for next May's workshop. ( May 13th, 14th & 15th, 2011 )

These are the 3 paintings that will be offered.



These are in Oils, but if Watercolor is more your style, check out some of the other instructors who'll be there, too. Visit

We'd love to see you there!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Unique Format

I recently ordered some "odd" sized canvases to try out. Not that they're necessarily odd, but just a different format than what I'm used to. Sometimes, it's nice to bust out of the "same-old, same-old" rut by trying something you haven't before.

Working on a different surface, whether it's long and panoramic such as this one, or oval, round, or with wrapped "paintable" edges, will make you see things with a new eye and allow you to explore a little.

This one made me think a lot more about the basic composition due to it's long, narrow design.

The trick was to make it full enough, so there were no empty gaps. In the end, I think it works.

Untitled - Oils -12" x 36" Gallery-Wrap Canvas

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mixed Media

I thought I'd share one my painting approaches, since people often ask HOW I do certain effects and techniques. I don't always use strictly Oils, but sometimes will underpaint with Acrylics and glaze and layer Oils onto that. The first photo shows my Acrylic base, which took about 40 minutes. The second photo shows the... house "blocked-out" with masking tape. ( trimmed around with an X-Acto knife ) This allows freedom to liberally paint the Oil background without having to paint "around" the house. Photo three shows the completed piece. Once the tape was removed, the house was glazed and further highlighted. This approach allows me to get a lot of detail in one session. It's my favorite way to work, as it gives me the benefits of both mediums and the best of both worlds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Sunset???

I know, I know,'re beginning to think that all I ever paint is sunsets. The truth is that I wouldn't really have a problem with that. I LOVE to paint them. There are so many different colors and moods you can put into them. I never get bored with them.

Sunsets are Mother Nature's artwork and I'm always observing and trying to at least get "in the ballpark" of capturing her handiwork on canvas. I'll never match her beauty and creativeness, but that doesn't stop me from attempting to and enjoying the journey.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Paintings

Here are three new works from the past few days. The sunset/water scene ( 8" x 10" ) is a very simple composition, but I liked the colors in the actual reference photo and had to re-create it. It's a scene from a friend's vacation in Greece. Wish I'd been there myself!

The windmill ( 12" x 12" ) was put together from various images and my imagination. I did all the background first, then had to let it dry before rendering the mill. However, I used Liquin with my Oils, so it was dry over-night.

The winter barn ( 10" x 20" ) was all done with my imagination. I haven't done a snow scene for several months, so I was hoping this would be some sort of "good luck charm" and it would help to turn the tide from our current heat wave. Hey, I can DREAM, can't I?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fresh Off The Easel

I'm not sure what brought it on, but I've been in a painting frenzy these past couple days. The weather here is extremely humid and in the 90's, so there's nothing else to do but paint, I guess.

All I know is that when inspiration does hit, I have a one-track mind. Nothing gets in my way until my vision is ( visions are ) realized on canvas.

I did these 3 paintings starting yesterday morning and finishing this afternoon. These all contain some Acrylic underpainting with Oils on top, so I guess they'd be considered "mixed media".

As I've stated on this site previously, this approach is my favorite way to work and speeds the whole process, yet allows me to get the degree of detail I'm looking for.

These are all on Gallery Wrap canvas.

"Monarch Butterfly" - 8"x10"

"Soaring High" - 12"x12"

"Yellow Roses" - 12"x12"

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I’m happy to announce that Jerry’s Artarama has just released my newest Oil Painting Dvd, entitled “SHALLOW FALLS”.
This project utilizes an Acrylic basecoat, over which Oils are applied. The key to this approach is in letting the dark background show through, which yields a great deal of depth to the rocks and water areas. Tips for rendering foliage are also highlighted.
Also, for you budding Watercolorists, be on the look-out for my next instructional Dvd , “NEW ENGLAND WINTER”, which will be available in the very near future.
This lesson will focus on many common Watercolor techniques, such as using “paper white”, masking fluid, wet washes and dry-brush texture.
Both videos are presented in a straightforward, step-by-step approach, which is suitable for all skill levels.
Visit or for more information.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Chickadee On Cattail" 10" x 20" Oil on panel

I've had this design in my head for a few days now, after seeing a photo of another bird on a cattail stalk. It wasn't a chickadee and this painting looks nothing like the photo, but it definitely planted the seed of the idea.

Also, I wanted to do something different with it, in terms of the format. Therefore, the "mat" is actually a border which I painted with Acrylics. By doing this, I was able to "extend" the bird's tail, leaf and stalk forward, giving it a very pronounced 3-dimensional feel.

I've done this type of theme many times over the years and there's no doubt that it is popular with my customers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recent Commission

This was painted from a client's photo, which was taken from the veranda of their Florida home.

It was an absolutely wonderful photo and when I was asked to recreate it on canvas, I could hardly wait to get started. The sway of the grasses actually made me feel the slight breeze on my face.

Sometimes a photo or painting can "send" the viewer there, right to the location of the scene and this photo did that for me.

This is Oils on a 24" x 30" Gallery Wrap canvas ( 1-1/2" thick ) with painted edges, so it's rather impressive in person, just due to the bigger size.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent on this!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Knife Paintings

Here are a couple of smaller paintings I did today, using only painting knives. Sometimes, I like to approach things with a looser style and forgo some of the finer details.

The knives always yield a more impressionistic result.

I also tend to use brighter colors when I paint this way, since I'm trying to achieve something not quite so "literal". It's fun to push the envelope a little.

If you're in a painting rut, or itching to do something different, give this knife approach a try.

Just have fun with it and see what develops!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adirondack Chair Donation

The local library recently asked me ( as well as other area artists, too ) to "decorate" some Adirondack chairs which they will raffle for their cause. The chairs were bare pine wood and we were given free reign as to how we chose to embellish them.
I looked at this one for a few weeks before deciding on the loon theme. I had some landscape ideas in mind, too, but eventually the loon won out.
I started with a coat of the blue-green base, which I had mixed at the hardware store, then used oils over that. I also added alkyd medium to the oils to speed the drying, so that I can seal the whole thing and not have to wait the recommended 6 months.
I hope their auction is a success!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pet Portrait Commission

This is a very recent commission for a good friend of mine, who lost a beloved pet friend not too long ago. I have done many of these paintings over the years and I currently have more of them scheduled, which will be fit into my schedule when time permits.
These commissions have to be handled with attention to detail, respect and sensitivity, as they are a record meant to immortalize a dear friend and companion. Those of us who are true animal lovers and pet owners can relate to the deep bond we share with our "furry friends".
They are affectionate and loyal to a fault and only desire the same from us in return.
"Man's best friend is his dog" ( or cat, ferret, bird, whatever ) is one of the truest statements ever written.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Along the Beach" 8" x 10"

I felt like doing a seascape this morning, so this is the result. Actually, I had recently seen a backlit image somewhat similar to this, either in a magazine or somewhere ( I can't really remember, for sure ) and just worked by my memory of it. I really liked the contrast of the dark water against the light sky and it was stuck in my head 'til I finally laid it down here.

It's funny how some subjects will haunt you! lol Landscape today, still life tomorrow, floral the next day. It's ALL good and it's what keeps art interesting. Don't let yourself get into rut of creating the same thing.

I underpainted the water area with Purple and Black Acrylic, before laying Oils over the top. The underpainting really aids in the illusion of the water's depth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First "Plein Air" of 2010

It has been "unseasonably" warm here in northern New York the past several days. Temperatures in the 60's, which is practically unheard of for March. The forecast says we can plan on this break not lasting and we'll be back to reality next week.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I hauled out my travel easel and paints and headed out for something scenic to paint.
Pictured here is the result of my little field trip. This is a spot located just a very few miles down the road from me. With the snow melting and all the run-off, this spot was "percolating". Just rushing water! This is the view from the bridge, which is where I set up shop. It's a secondary road, so traffic is minimal and I managed to squeeze into a safer perch behind a guard rail.
Though most of the "ground snow" is gone now, there is still a lot of snow and ice around the river and nearby banks. This particular view is hemmed in with lots of evergreens and cedars and the sunlight that was bathing them resulted in some vivid greens. It was eye-catching and I couldn't have found a nicer spot to try and capture.
I got most of this down and recorded on the spot and finished the closer bark trees when I returned home.
I've been waiting all Winter to get out and do some painting, so this was a great opportunity for it. I hope the good weather holds on a little longer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Newest Dvd Release

Jerry's Artarama has just released the second of several Oil Painting Dvd's, which I filmed for them last Spring.
"LAKESIDE BIRCHES" is now available through the Jerry's website ( ), as well as my own site,
More video lessons will be forthcoming, so check these sites for updates.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


One of the art instructor sites that I'm affiliated with has a monthly project, which is meant to be fun and to see the different interpretations that each of us submit. The theme for March is a tropical sunset scene.
It's no secret that sunsets are a favorite subject of mine, so I had to jump on this one!
This was done in about 3 hours on an 11"x14" panel. I used Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Cadmium Red Light Hue, Cobalt Violet, Ivory Black and Titanium White.
It'll be interesting to see the other unique variations of all the other participants.
That is the most wonderful aspect of art. Each and everyone of us is an individual and that fact will show through in our work, whether it's painting, music, writing, whatever.
Art literally knows no bounds. It can only be stifled by our lack of imagination, so it's important to keep those creative juices flowing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

"SUNLIT STREAM" ( 12" x 12" Gallery Wrap canvas )

I love to paint the deep woods. There is mystery in the dark depth of the shadows. And the way the light filters through the trees is absolutely majestic! ( at least to me ) What appeals to me above all, is the strong light and dark contrast, which is the entire basis of a good painting.
So many times, I see beginning painters who possess good intentions, but also ignorance of the importance of a strong light/dark balance in their work. It's been said that, "without the dark, there is no light". That is absolutely true!! The darks are what make the lights "pop" and without enough contrast, the end result will be bland.
This principle does not pertain only to wooded landscapes, but EVERY artistic theme and subject. Still life, florals, portraits, whatever the subject,.......all will benefit from a good balance of contrasts.
When thinking about the lights and darks in your next painting, also consider the color "temperatures". Although it's certainly not always the case, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to use cooler colors in the shadows, warmer tones in the highlight areas. This will add a huge "kick" to your painting and yield a more refined, professional result.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Moonlit Sea"

Since most landscapes tend to be "daytime" scenes, I like to throw in a "nightscape" once in a while. This is one I did in a class very recently. Because night scenes are rather monochromatic in the colors, the values are the important factor. The key is in getting the overall mid-tones established so that the lights and darks can be balanced with them. Although there are still strong light and dark contrasts in this piece, the majority of of it is mid-values and the subtle increments between those.
This was a simple color palette comprised of Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Ivory Black, Titanium White and just a touch of Cadmium Yellow Pale ( which yielded the green for the eye of the wave when mixed with the blue )
If you want to try something different and give yourself a challenge at the same time, try a night scene!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Recent Work

Here are a couple of paintings that I've done over the past couple of days. Both utilized some Acrylic underpainting, but are essentially "Oil paintings".

The sunflowers were started yesterday and finished today. I had added Alkyd medium to the Oils to speed the drying, so that it was virtually dry over-night. That made it easy to glaze and brighten the final highlights this morning.

The barn was tackled in the same way, Acrylics underneath with Oils over the top. The difference is that I was able to get the amount of detail I desired without having to wait for it to dry, so it was all done in one sitting.

I use this approach quite often, (more and more, it seems ) and it is one of my favorite ways to work. It eliminates a lot of the drying time associated with Oils and literally cuts the "working time" in half.

Acrylics, Alkyds and Oils,....................... is that mixed-media? And does that matter? Not to me. It's still predominantly 90+% Oils, so I still call it an Oil painting.

All I know is that it works great for my style and work pace.