DVD Length: 8 Hours, 20 Minutes
The Story of a Monumental Painting
How an artist conquered one of the most difficult subjects anyone has ever tried to paint.
Thomas Kegler’s lifetime goal as a painter was to master the techniques used by renowned Hudson River School painters of the 19th century. Entirely self-taught, Kegler felt a special connection to these artists and their techniques, but after years of trial and error, he was unable to give his paintings the feeling captured by these historically important painters.
Tramping through endless woods with his easel on his back, Kegler sought out the very locations where important Hudson River paintings were crafted. Returning time and again, he sketched the locations, then painted plein air studies, trying to understand and capture the nuances and subtleties of distant mountains, mist-filled atmosphere, and lush forests. A scientist at heart, Kegler kept detailed notes on every process he attempted, experimenting with colors, glazing, underpaintings, and mediums in order to understand and ultimately capture the same feel created by these masters.
After a decade of study, Kegler had reproduced what he felt were the masters’ rich yet tasteful greens, the subtle reds of the pine needles they depicted on the ground cover, and their approach to drawing, well rendered but not “too perfect.” Finally, he had mastered the techniques.
Master New York artist Jacob Collins had formed the Hudson River Fellowship, a summer-long program designed to help painters master the landscape at the highest level. Collins ordinarily hand-picked students from the finest ateliers, including his own, but upon seeing Kegler’s work, invited him to join in.
And because Kegler’s painting skills had become so refined, Collins invited him back — not to study another year like the other students, but to teach.
Though Kegler is one of few painters ever to master the Hudson River School techniques, there was one “untouchable” subject he had never taken on because it was so ominous and so challenging. This subject was like the Holy Grail to the Hudson River School painters. Only the best of the best could take it on and master it. Most artists never try to copy the Mona Lisa because it’s so perfect, and most landscape painters never attempt the subject of Niagara Falls.
Yet Thomas became uncomfortable. He had an itch. He could not, in his mind, justify not finding a way to master the falls as the artists who came before him had. It was the one thing he felt he had to do in his life to feel he had reached the pinnacle as a modern Hudson River School painter. He had to master the falls.
Living nearby, Thomas would visit the falls as often as he could get away from his responsibilities as a husband and father and a high school teacher. He would gaze at the falls for hours, trying to figure out how to capture the scene. He looked from every angle, he made hundreds of sketches, and he did plein air studies of various parts of the falls in every imaginable weather and light condition. It had become his all-consuming passion as an artist.
Unlike most of the Hudson River School painters, who had depicted the falls in paintings of a size that could hang over a fireplace, Kegler felt the only way to represent this powerful and massive wonder would be to paint it as a giant panoramic canvas, a canvas eight feet long.
Thomas began to share his dream with fellow painters and was met with all the reasons it could not be done. But as they saw he was not to be discouraged, they suggested that the project was so monumental, requiring so much preparation, that he must document the entire process of sketches, plein air studies, and the creation of the giant painting itself, step by step.
Documenting it all on video, Thomas finished the painting, which was immediately met with national acclaim and now hangs temporarily in the Castellani Art Museum near the falls. Though it will eventually find a home in a major U.S. museum or in the hands of a leading collector, it is a sight to see, and one of the most spectacular accomplishments of any American artist in history.
Not only is this a monumental painting and a must-see video, Thomas had to reinvent himself and develop techniques that stretched his limits as a painter to help him capture the feel and the mystery of the falls and the water.
In this video, for the first time ever, master painter Thomas Kegler reveals the step-by-step process he used to paint his masterwork Niagara, Psalms 84:11 .
This video is a masterwork in itself. We believe it will go down in history as an important documentary of how a single artist created such a monumental and historic painting, a feat few artists would ever attempt.
If you have ever asked yourself HOW a painter can capture something as intricate and elaborate in nature as Niagara Falls, this video explains it in detail.
What we find fascinating is how Thomas managed to create so many interwoven pieces, as though he’d done dozens of small paintings on one large canvas. It is so striking and realistic — and yet still lets the viewer have an emotional experience derived from Kegler’s creative vision.
If you’re familiar with the Hudson River School of painters, then you know just how magical their work can be …
Take a look at work by Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, and, of course, Thomas Cole, and you’ll be swept away by the sense of wonder and romanticism in their work.
The awe-inspiring depth in these natural scenes will simply take your breath away…
If you’re like us, you’d love to learn how to do this yourself — to embark on this same journey to capture the beauty of nature. What we find especially magical is that Kegler accomplished something in a size and scale that history may say exceeds any painting ever done of the falls. We would not be surprised if this painting ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, representing an American and Canadian icon depicted by a painter from 2017.
What if there was a way you could learn the Hudson River School techniques for yourself in your own home from your TV, your computer, or your tablet or phone?
What if you could watch, step by step, a project no American painter has mastered in such scale?
If you had the right teacher to show you exactly what you needed to know, you could start to see results in your work much faster.
And if you’ve always wanted to paint something big — really, really big — you’ll soon find that there are massive challenges associated with it. Thomas will show you how he wrestled with and conquered each and every challenge that comes from painting at such scale.
We’ve already told you a little bit about Thomas Kegler, but we have not told you he has already achieved great notoriety for his incredible landscape, still life, and figure paintings.
In fact, you can find his work hanging in numerous high-profile galleries and museums around the world, and he’s been featured in several prestigious art publications, including:
· American Arts Quarterly
· PleinAir magazine
· American Art Collector
· American Painting Video Magazine
He’s won several awards for his work, and he’s been recognized as an Associate Living Master by the Art Renewal Center.
In his own words:
Through my work, I strive to bring an awareness and respect for God’s creations and their temporal qualities.
They provide an infinite supply of beauty and inspiration. I paint traditionally — mirroring a time when academic training and processes were embraced and nurtured.
This approach has given me the skills and knowledge to express myself through hand, head, and heart.
So when, a few years ago, Thomas set out to paint one of the most enchanting natural wonders in North America, Niagara Falls, he captured the entire process on video, from the very beginning steps of developing the concept to adding the final details (and even framing the painting).
The final composition is absolutely stunning — an 8-foot sweeping scene of the falls, complete with a rainbow, cliff faces, flowing currents, and sun flares reflecting off the mist that rises hundreds of feet into the air above the falls.
In this all-new video release, Thomas gives you a rare behind-the-scenes look into his technical processes as he creates the painting, including his “layered” technique and several fascinating methods for using the palette knife.
This one-of-a-kind video training experience features over 8 hours of highly detailed step-by-step instruction and commentary. It’s titled:
A Master Class in Studio Painting
Inside you’ll discover:
· How to perform your initial sketches and all the steps in preparation before you begin to paint
· What you should consider in your notes and studies (including temperature value and hues, pigments, light and shadow interactions, and more)
· How to transfer your drawing to a larger canvas without throwing off perspective
· The important first steps to prep your canvas to give you a perfect foundation, creating unity
· The carpenter’s tool Kegler uses as a critical part of his painting and preparation process
· How to block in a believable sky and prepare it for atmosphere and mist
· How to mass in the “dead colors” for the trees, the cascade of the falls , and the moss-covered rocks at the bottom of the escarpment
· How to paint the color shifts in the dome of the sky, and where to place your darker and lighter colors
· How to obscure your brushstrokes and hide the forms so you can create the illusion of a deep sky
· The essential brushstrokes Thomas makes when he lays in the tree forms (in both the foreground and background)
· How he designs the cloud structures and highlights, and the color mixtures he uses to do this
· How to convey moss growth on the rocks
· How to check measurements, proportions, and alignment to make sure you are on track as you go
· How he develops the face of the rock cliff and the colors, creating a sense of reality
· How to create edges so they feel more natural
· The unexpected tool Thomas uses to create a sense of texture
· How to soften edges using special tools
· How to play cool and warm colors against one another to create a feel for temperature
· What to do at the water’s edge to make your painting feel believable
· Mixing secrets to give the paint a touch of transparency to mimic the effect of water
· How to paint the magical effect of the sunlight hitting leaves and foliage
· The brushes Thomas uses to work on the multiple water forms in the various sections of the waterfalls
· The way to apply the paint to enhance certain areas of your painting
· Ways to paint the tree masses that sit BEHIND the falls and create distance
· How to paint a rainbow and avoid the mistakes almost every painter makes
· How to add realistic details, like sun flares in your rainbow
· Three critical reasons you need to apply varnish in certain spots
· How to design and create a beautiful custom frame for your work
· How to paint trees and leaves that make viewers feel they are inside the forest
· How to piece dozens of drawings and oil sketches together to create a unified painting