Brad Teare: Landscapes


Brad Teare is a talented landscape painter with a background as a designer and woodcut artist. Teare was featured previously on The Krakens for his wood cuts. Teare and his wife, the artist Debra Teare, live in Utah.

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Regarding your painting, you once said, ‘Design is everything’. Explain. By that I mean there is little an artist can do technically or aesthetically to compensate for bad design. Design carries the important meaning–all else is secondary. Paint application can be primitive–completely lacking in virtuosity–yet the painting can retain its artistic value through its design. A strong design clashing with a primitive application can be electrifying. Although I have been experimenting with a type of virtuosity in my paintings what I’m really after is a lack of apparent technique–a technique that exists within a primitive application surrendering to design.

Your landscapes are beautiful. How do you pick a location? How do you approach the project? They say John Singer Sergeant could create a beautiful painting from nearly any vantage point of any scene no matter how mundane. I’m not one of those kinds of artists. I have to consider my design for quite a while before I start painting. I keep a sketchbook of compositions and look for scenes that echo that vision or concept. Generally I sketch and paint outside to gather visual material, not to create a finished painting. Although I like my paintings to look like they are painted in one session few of them are. Most evolve slowly. The best method to get the results I want is to first draw a very accurate pencil sketch of the scene. By accurate I don’t mean a realistic, detailed sketch, but rather one that captures the emotional quality I’m trying to portray. I take liberties with the rhythm and structure of the landscape. Again, the design is most important because it determines how the viewer engages with the scene. I let the colors evolve organically. Sometimes I scrape the dried paint, oil up the canvas, and repaint sections. Such repainting is not considered the correction of a failed painting but rather an integral part of my process. The first layers of color react with later applications. I often say, “start with a bad painting and work toward a good one. Not the other way around”. It’s an adage that applies to life as well as painting.

Visit Brad Teare’s website.

Follow Brad Teare on Instagram.

See Brad Teare’s YouTube Videos.


Brad Teare: Woodcuts


Brad Teare is a talented woodcut artist with a background in design and landscape painting. Teare is also a prolific social media experimenter. His YouTube channel passed 1 million views earlier this summer with titles like Getting Greens Right and Glazing and Impasto. Teare and his wife, the artist Debra Teare, live in Utah.

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What are the challenges in working with wood cuts? Color woodcut using the lost key method takes an incredible amount of planning which is a challenge (the lost key method creates a more painterly looking woodcut without the conventional dark outlines containing flat color). But despite the hurdles the results of this technique are so rewarding I’m constantly returning to it. Color woodcut has phases–the design phase, the color planning phase, the carving phase, and the printing phase. Lots can go wrong at any phase so you have to stay organized.

The biggest challenge of being a woodcut artist has been connecting with collectors. Two decades ago most cities had print galleries and people knew what fine art prints were. That’s no longer true. But I recently started an Instagram feed where I explain the woodcut process. I intend to post every day about block printing until my show in April 2016. It’s my first one-person woodcut show and I’m very enthused about it. I have a link to the feed on my blog as well. So far people seem to be enjoying it.

What do you enjoy about the medium? I love the raw, emotional energy of woodcut. Paradoxically woodcut can also have symbolic and intellectual power as well. All art forms can have those qualities but you almost have to try to excise those traits from woodcut. It’s like the medium wants to occupy a certain metaphysical space. It’s that paradox that keeps me coming back. Despite the challenges I always had a certain knack for woodcut. I discovered the art of Rockwell Kent as a teenager and loved the power he evoked with his work. When I had a chance to buy an antique press for $60 during my last year in college I jumped at it even though I knew next to nothing about block printing. I ordered some tools and blocks and shortly thereafter printed my first wood engraving. The print went into the portfolio that landed my first illustration job in New York City. I also enjoy the physical act of cutting the blocks. Once I have a design transferred to the block it’s relaxing to carve. The process is almost a form of meditation. Ideally I like to sit outside while I carve. I’m building a new studio with French doors and a porch so I can work outside when weather permits.

Five years ago you started uploading instructional videos on YouTube. Explain your motives, your experience, and the reward. Several years ago my brother, who is a web designer, repeatedly told me I needed to write a blog and if I didn’t I was missing a huge opportunity. To placate him I started the blog. I had no expectations for it. My only intent was to give a few artists seeking practical knowledge a resource to move their creative projects forward. I grew up in Kansas where there was little access to art information. Because of that I’ve always felt behind in my career. It’s not a good feeling and I wanted to help fellow artists get early access to artistic fundamentals.

The videos were a complete fluke and I can’t remember why I started them or how I managed to overcome my introversion to make them. With the first video I remember thinking, “dozens of people are going to watch this!” and feeing quite terrified. If I had known that over a million people would watch the videos I probably would have had a heart attack. Usually I made the videos late at night when I was approaching exhaustion so the quality suffered. But people didn’t seem to mind and I started getting emails from all over the world. It’s especially gratifying to get email from artists in developing countries that might not have access to art books, workshops, and DVDs. My blog is translated into 50 languages, which is extremely satisfying. I’ve grown too. I’m more relaxed on camera. I think my videos have gotten better over the years. I’ve grown artistically as the process of sharing ideas has clarified my own vision.

Visit Brad Teare’s website.

Follow Brad Teare on Instagram.

Watch some of Brad Teare’s YouTube Videos.

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