making art work for you

From The Studio of Ben Schneider

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Meet our new artist, Ben Schneider! He is truly showing the world that his art inspires hope. Ben was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.  Art has been a part of Ben’s life from a very early age, providing him with an essential outlet with which to calm and express himself. Art has become Ben’s passion, and continues to provide him opportunities to enjoy meaningful and fulfilling work. Ben loves using acrylic and mixed media to create his dynamic paintings.  He is always searching for new techniques to experiment with in his studio, and loves using bright colors and interesting combinations.

What do you do when you first get in the studio?

The first thing I do is set up supplies and canvases.  While I’m setting up my materials, I start thinking about the style of the painting and the colors I want to use.  I then pick out my paints and prepare them for the painting I will be completing.

How many paintings do you work on at a time?

I usually work on two paintings at a time, though that number can vary.  It takes close to a week for the paints to dry, and to add finishing coats to it.  Sometimes I will do multiple canvases that go together in a set, so that can be up to 4 canvases at once.

Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?

My dream project would be to combine patterns using painters tape, and the technique of pouring acrylics.  I think the combo of the materials would create a good painting. 

If you could paint with anyone, who would it be?

I enjoy painting with my mentor Nicole.  She helps me keep my materials organized and assists me when needed.  She also helps me keep notes on the paintings, like what colors I used, and any special equipment I choose.  

What is your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

The main way I generate ideas is in my head through visions and pictures I see.  That helps me decide what I want to try.  I also will research new ideas and techniques online.  I am very inspired by colors.  I love to combine unexpected colors and see the outcome.

How has your art evolved over time?

The main way I have evolved with my art is that my skills have improved.  I now understand the routine I need to do to be successful in the art studio.  I also think I have evolved the techniques I use.  I started with just pouring paint on canvases, and now I have many techniques and materials that I use in projects.  I also now have preferences on paint brands I use as well.  Each brand can be different, but I know which ones I like.

What do you like most about your work?

What I like most about my work is when I complete a painting. It makes me feel accomplished.  I like to look at the finished art and see the final project.  I also really like my use of colors.  I pair things together that may be unexpected sometimes, but it always looks good in the end.

What is one word that best describes your style?

I think one word that describes my art is “movement”.  Throughout all of my art pieces, you can see the unique movements of the paint, and the movement of the colors combining. As for my personal style, I would say I am precise and mellow.  I am very precise with measuring paint ratios and completing projects, yet manage to keep a mellow attitude while I’m in the art studio.  


I think one word that describes my art is “movement”.  Throughout all of my art pieces, you can see the unique movements of the paint, and the movement of the colors combining.


Is there an idea you would like to explore?

I really would like to explore the use of tape in my paintings.  I like that I can tape away parts of the canvas from the paint I am pouring, and when I remove the tape, a unique outcome of patterns and paint appear.  I am also looking into adding more texture to my artwork through the use of gels and other thickening materials.

What is your favorite time of day to paint?

My favorite time of day to paint is in the evenings.  I feel like I am most alert and focused in the evenings, and I tend to be most efficient then as well. 

Do you ever get “stuck” on a piece? If so, what do you do?

I don’t really ever get stuck on any art pieces.  I am very decisive when it comes to the colors I choose and the techniques I use.  I do, however, learn and gain knowledge with each piece I complete.  I am able to use that knowledge I gained to make adjustments as I move forward into new art pieces. 

What is up next on your easel?

When I think about what’s next, I think about trying new techniques and seeing how it goes.  I like to evolve as an artist and I’m pretty open to new ideas.  I do like to research new ideas, and I tend to plan out new projects to try in the future.

In 2012 Ben’s parents started a non-profit called Ben’s Fund to help children and young adults with autism reach their full potential through financial aid, awareness, and hope! Ben’s Fund has raised over $2,329,166, and portions of the sales of Ben’s artwork go to support the non-profit! Check out their website for more information.

What to read next…

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website, www.thirdandwall.com, please contact us at customerservice@thirdandwall.com.

Porch Blog Feature: Expert Advice to Design the perfect Art Gallery at Home

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We are excited to be featured in Porch’s blog post “Expert Advice to Design the Perfect Art Gallery at Home” and share our tip for choosing the right piece of art for your living room!  Here’s a little sneak peek and for more ideas, check out the full article on Porch’s blog.

Expert Advice to Design the Perfect Art Gallery at Home

Image from Porch.com

A gallery wall at home filled with beautiful artwork can make an empty room have warmth, color, and personality. There are many ways you can prepare your home art gallery to create a beautiful space you, your family, and guests will love. This guide from experts will show you some helpful tips on designing and preparing the best gallery at home. Read on to discover how to prepare your space and fill it with a range of artwork that is meaningful to you.

featuring “Life In Balance” by Dina D’Argo

How to choose the right piece of art for your living room?

“When choosing the right art piece for your living room, a few things to keep in mind are size, color scheme, and style.  What kind of wall space are you working with?  Whether it’s one statement piece or multiple pieces, making sure your art decor is the right size will help ensure it’s a perfect fit.  Incorporating artwork with tones that complement the color scheme of your space is also key to creating a cohesive and blended design.  Lastly, consider your design style and the style of wall art you want to hang to complete your living room, and of course, make sure it is a piece that you love!” -Third and Wall

Originally published on Porch.

From The Studio of Roberta Dyer

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Roberta Dyer

We are excited to welcome our newest artist Roberta Dyer to Third & Wall! Roberta grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Spending time at the High Museum of Art and going to the fledgling Piedmont Park Art Festival, she imagined her paintings would one day hang among the artists she so admired.

She attended Vanderbilt University, earned her BA in Art History and returned to Atlanta after graduation where she continued pursuing her passion for art, taking classes at the High Museum and Georgia State University. Moving to San Diego in 1971, Roberta took art classes as time would allow and has since enjoyed many forms of expression from sculpture to copper enameling, oil painting to mural assignments. Today, she focuses on non-representational paintings and figurative subjects.

Roberta’s art is best described as expressive, whether figurative or abstract. She uses a combination of bold color and mixed media techniques to present her subjects in unusual ways.

“I am constantly pulled by two loves–painting figures and painting abstracts. It makes me happy to work with the push and pull of these two disciplines. I want to explore how design and pattern interact to make a realistic subject more abstract and enhance the theme of the painting. For me, the process of painting involves adding and removing and editing as I go along. If something doesn’t work, I simply paint it out and go in a different direction. I don’t try to paint likeness, that is a task for portrait artists. I use figures and animals as shapes in a painting and my intent in these paintings is to portray animals and humans as survivors–vulnerable but strong. I also love pure abstraction using mixed media along with acrylic paint.”

What do you first do when you get to the studio?

Whether I am beginning to paint or just visiting my studio before going back to it later, I take this time to look at my works in progress and try to decide what my next creative steps should be. Then I might clean up a bit and organize my supplies.

How many paintings do you work on at a time?

I work quickly at the start of a painting so I like to work on two or three paintings at a time. While one is having some “drying time” I work on the others. I also find that working on several pieces at once keeps me from over-focusing on one and getting lost in the minutiae too early.

If you could paint with anyone, who would it be?

This is a hard one because there are so many masterful painters I would choose. I admire the work of Turner, Picasso, Lautrec, Diebenkorn, Manet, Modigliani, not to mention the wonderful men and women of the Abstract Expressionists. But if I had to pick one, it would be Matisse. His influence on modern art has been profound with his flattening and simplifying of his subject matter, his bright colors, his use of patterns and lines and his brilliant compositions. There is something that can be learned by every artist working today.

“There is something that can be learned by every artist working today.”

What is your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

Two ways work best for me when I am casting about for ideas. Working toward a particular theme is one way, particularly when there is a deadline for a show, and the other is to decide on a project or subject or theme and then do a series based around that idea. Or I might find a new material that I like and experiment with that for several paintings. I am currently in love with ArtGraf water-soluble pastels.

How has your art evolved over time?

I’ve been painting for years and understand looking back that the best way to improve or evolve is to work really hard. I’ve taken many workshops and classes- some valuable and some not so much- and have learned from some brilliant artists and teachers. Taking that information and applying it to my style and vision has helped me grow. My confidence has grown over the years as has my skill and that has allowed my style to emerge.

What do you like most about your work?

I have always admired artists who are not afraid to have their “hand” evident in their work, and I believe that I have achieved that in my paintings. I like that the emotion of my subject matter, whether real or abstract, shows through. People say that my work is expressive and I appreciate that.

What is one word that best describes your style?

Expressive.

Is there an idea you would like to explore?

My life long goal as an artist is to merge realism with abstraction in a unique way. No matter the painting, that is always in my mind.

What is your favorite time of day to paint?

I find that I am the most focused in the afternoon. My mind is more settled after other commitments have been accomplished. I have more energy in the mornings but my mind is chaotic.

Do you ever get “stuck” on a piece?

I am an intuitive painter rather than a planner, so it is safe to say that I get stuck at some point on every single piece! There are several ways I can move forward–I can stop working and not look at the piece for a day or two, I can go over my “Finish” checklist that helps me evaluate values, compositions, line, shapes, etc. One of the most effective ways is one I learned by taking a workshop from Jeannie McGuire. She said that when she is stuck, she gives her painting a story and that then she will be able to move forward. I have found that to be a sure and fun way to get unstuck.

What is up next on your easel?

I have been working on a series of 36×48 paintings of coyotes and told myself that I should do five. I have completed 3 1/2 so far and am trying to move ahead to finish number 4. I have also begun working on a series of large abstracts using the ArtGraf water-soluble pastels and am loving the process. I’ll always circle back to painting figures and animals too.

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website, www.thirdandwall.com, please contact us at customerservice@thirdandwall.com.

What To Read Next…

From The Studio of Patti Mann

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Get to know Third & Wall artist Patti Mann! Patti was born in Seattle, Washington but grew up in Los Angeles, California. She also lived in Colorado, Tennessee, and Ohio, and currently resides near Buffalo, New York.

Patti has been drawing on every available surface ever since she could hold a crayon, and has always known that she was first and foremost an artist. She majored in Fine Art at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA, and attended the Otis Parsons Institute of Art in Los Angeles, but family obligations drew her onto a different path for many years. She never stopped doing art while she raised a family and worked a variety of jobs, including (but not limited to!) data entry in a cancer research institute, a horse groom for a well-known Malibu riding stable, a racehorse hot walker at Hollywood Park Racetrack, receptionist, executive assistant, production artist and marketing manager. For the last 16 years Patti has been a Production & Creative Specialist with Third & Wall Art Group, of which she was a founding member.

Patti’s preferred media currently are watercolor, graphite, and pen & ink, but she loves to explore mixed media, acrylics, and occasionally oils. She has exhibited her work in group and solo exhibitions in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Commissions keep her busy, and her works appear in numerous private collections. She has illustrated the book “A Journey Worth Taking: A Collection of Animal Stories” by Norma Vermeer.

What do you first do when you get to the studio in the morning?

Since my studio is actually my front room, I make some coffee, get some atmospheric music going on Pandora (usually lo-fi, Celtic or Viking music), do a few warm-up stretches (not really), brush my cat, walk my dog, throw some peanuts outside for the squirrels, waste time on social media, and when all other procrastinatory options have been exhausted, I start making art, usually just minutes before I have to go to work…

How many paintings do you work on at a time?

I always have several paintings going at once, in addition to several that I started years ago sitting unfinished and lonely in a dark, forgotten corner. Some day, some day.

Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?

I have far too many dream projects. I dream of illustrating children’s books, painting giant glorious murals, painting wondrous things on wood furniture, painting portraits, and creating rich, compelling horse, botanical, insect, closed world and animal paintings that exist somewhere between realism and invention.

If you could paint with anyone, who would it be?

I would love to paint with Third & Wall artist Liz Jardine so that I could wonder at and absorb some of her incredible techniques and skills, rich artistic vision and astounding prolificness. I’m also currently into Charles E. Burchfield (b. 1893 – d.1967), a Western New York watercolor painter, who painted amazing, interpretive watercolors of his beloved Nature, and of daily life. He didn’t aim for photographic realism, but strove instead to capture the emotion and feeling of his chosen scene. His style is unique and unmistakable.

What’s your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

I love to get outside into Mother Nature and get really up close and personal with leaves, bugs, flowers, and all the mysterious macro-worlds that exist outside that no one ever notices. Sometimes I browse Instagram and Pinterest for ideas – there’s an incredible treasure trove of art out there that offers inspiration and motivation. If I’m feeling really stuck I will sometimes draw from one of the many drawing prompt lists available online to lubricate my imagination. I occasionally take online painting and creativity tutorials (but I never finish them).

“Art classes, museum and gallery visits, and meditation are other tools that help me access the great inspiration bank. The best way is to simply quiet one’s mind, engage in mindfulness and the wonder of Right Now, and open up to the vast source within and without.”

How has your art evolved over time?

I’ve evolved from tighter realism to a more flowing, intuitive painting style that still incorporates a good underdrawing and some representational aspects. About ⅔ representational and about ⅓ transitional!

What do you like most about your work?

I like that my work evokes not just a visual object, be it an animal or a person or a flower, but the essence and life of that object. Simple, yet it speaks.

What is one word that best describes your style?

My style varies depending on the type of art I’m making, but generally I’m a stickler for a good underdrawing, which is the framework for the painting that fleshes it out. If the drawing isn’t good, the painting isn’t going to look right. Currently with my watercolors I’m combining realism with a more loose and painterly flair, and I’ve been experimenting with adding metallic foils to my watercolors.

Is there an idea you would like to explore?

Something I’ve been thinking about is how miraculous urban wildlife is – the everyday animals we ignore daily that live and survive around us in abundance. If you slow down and simply observe, you will see the beauty, struggle and fight for life in each creature – the glorious iridescent neck feathers of the common city pigeon, the agility and grace of the squirrel, the cleverness and intelligence of the raccoon, the affability of the adorable opossum, the industriousness of the tiny vole…I want to find a way to paint and honor those urban animals that many of us consider pests, ignore, or even hate. I have some ideas. Now to find the time!

What is your favorite time of day to paint?

I’m definitely an early-morning person, that is my most productive and creative time. I work a full-time job during the day so an hour or two in the morning is my most precious time I can set aside to create, experiment, and dream.

Do you ever get “stuck” on a piece? If so, what do you do?

I usually just put it away and forget about it for a while, and work on other projects. I can usually come back to it days or weeks later with a pair of sparkling fresh eyes. Watercolors are especially touchy – you have to be much more careful with them, unlike the freedom of painting with acrylics – if you go too far with applying watercolor pigment it’s harder to reverse and alter it like you can with malleable and quick-drying acrylics. If this happens, I usually just end up cutting up the paper for scraps or recycling it.

What is up next on your easel?

I’m pondering creating some fish, bird and other animal paintings and incorporating gold, copper and silver metallic leafing. I’m also experimenting with some  yoga figuratives, and more contemporary nude figures. Also, I’m percolating some fun juvenile art.

I’m open to more ideas – what do you want to see me paint for your projects or markets? Let me know in the comments!

What to read next…

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website, www.thirdandwall.com, please contact us at customerservice@thirdandwall.com.

Less Is More: Embracing Minimalist Design

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After spending extra time in our homes, we have become acutely aware of the impact of the design of our spaces.  From function to style, people are changing up their spaces to fit their needs (like a home office) and design preferences.  It is no surprise, then, that minimalist design styles have been on the rise, as people are becoming even more intentional when it comes to designing and decorating.  At the root of minimalist styles are function, simplicity, intention, and beauty.  With minimalism, less truly can be more.

The versatility of a minimalist aesthetic allows it to be easily adapted to any personal style.  From clean and unadorned Scandinavian design to California-cool bohemian styles, minimalism can be warmed up, kept rustic and homey, or create a classic and understated elegance.  With an emphasis on neutrals, earthy tones, and muted palettes, minimalist interiors can be cozy and inviting while drawing your eyes to the architectural details of a space, a beautiful view, or work of art.  One minimalist design trend that is rising fast is Japandi style.  A cross between Japanese and Scandinavian design, it takes the best of comfort, functionality, and natural elements from each style.  Japandi focuses on a connection to nature, clean lines, and bright spaces to create a zen paradise.

featuring “Femme III” by Patti Mann

Decorating in a minimalist style is all about being intentional with the furniture, color palette, and décor you use to create a soothing, uncluttered space.  A key element in minimalistic décor is the use of clean lines, which is why line and sketch art is perfect for a Scandinavian, Boho, or Japandi design.  Classic black and white line art can be a great addition to your wall, keeping it simple while still adding personality.  From figuratives to subtle abstracts, finding the right artwork to fit your minimalist design can help create a bright, relaxing, and modern space.

Minimalist spaces don’t have to be boring! Designing with natural materials, clean lines, and organic finishes can create a sophisticated and sleek space. Warm it up with lots of texture and hang the perfect pieces of art to add a personal touch and harmonize your space.  Decorate with things that you love, bonus points if they’re functional too, and create a beautiful, warm, and inviting minimalist space!

What to read next…

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website, www.thirdandwall.com, please contact us at customerservice@thirdandwall.com.