Artist Blog by Sheep Incognito Artist Conni Togel

Category Archives: Art Instruction Classes

Intro to Digital Painting on Ipad

Intro to Digital Painting on Ipad

Now offering workshops for Beginners to Intermediate – learn to use your IPad or IPad Pro to create your art digitally.

With the development of new tools, artists need to keep up with the times, to not fall behind their peers that made the jump into any of the new media available out there.
And, the longer you wait, the harder the transition will be: with new features and capabilities being added to the new digital painting field, it is important to get started early on, to ensure you don’t lose the connection.

I’ve been using my IPad, Ipad Pro, and yes, even my IPhone to create my digital paintings for the past four years or so. And as time goes on, it has become clear that this art form is NOT going away, but instead just might take over much of the artworld of our time.

Of course, this does not mean your painting skills will become obsolete – quite the contrary.
The artists that will rise above the noise will be the ones that have the traditional artist eye, but with the powerful new tool of digital painting software and hardware at their fingertips.

While it seems daunting, and to many fine visual artists just a bit “fake” – there is nothing fake about using powerful tools to make your art improve, or more vibrant, or easier to work with, easier to print, etc..

We are now offering 5 hour workshops where you can get started with the basics of setting up your IPad, installing the software, starting a new painting, using brushes, and how to get colors, and the other tools in the software to become your friends, rather than nemesis. You will quickly see why so many artist are starting to use these powerful apps for their artwork. It lets us retain our style, but with the added power of digital tools that are not available out in the real studio otherwise.

Click here to book a session with us

– or call the studio for more information: (864) 634-2150 (ask for Conni)

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Sheep In Mount Dora, FL – and What’s Wrong With The Art Market Lately?

A Trip to Florida in February, and Why Some Places Won’t, and Another Place Will Have Sheep This Year

After a short hiatus from the center of Florida last Winter, the Sheep Incognito are heading back to the always fabulous Mount Dora Fine Arts Festival on the first weekend in February!

This will be the kick-off of a year of “sheepishness” near and far – we’ve already booked shows from North Carolina to Colorado, from Florida to New York, and many places in between.

For this year, some of our favorite shows will have a different artist in our spot – some shows like mixing things up every year, so Mount Dora will have us in Booth A-029 this time.

For a few other big shows this year, scheduling conflicts due to some family events that fall on those exact weekends will have me being home with family instead. Not a bad thing at all. It will give all of you a chance to support some of the other fantastic artists there this year – keep art alive, by purchasing directly from the artist!
With the influx of “junk art” – the big, cheap, canvas prints with gel-medium as texture, that you can buy for little money at home furnishing stores, craft stores, and discount clothing stores – many artists have noticed a downturn in sales and interest from the people attending even the juried fine art shows.

Galleries have closed. Art programs in schools have been slashed. More and more of the cheap import art is cropping up everywhere. Shows are being added at a dizzying pace. Existing shows are adding more and more booths (some even adding on booths for “commercial” wares – gutter guards, windows, mass-produced wares, etc.) that increase their income, but also water down the sales for the artists at the same time. Booth fees have gone up, hotels are more expensive, etc…
Very concerning trends, and not easy to cope with as a full-time professional artist.

Nonetheless, I will continue to paint – because, it’s my game, not theirs. And, I love what I do – whether I am traveling or not.

So, to make things a bit easier, I’ve also begun adding painting lessons in my studio – great fun to do, relaxing, no mass-produced wares to compete with, and, best of all, new friends to make.

Come join me there sometime! Or, check my schedule every now and then to see where I will be – if we are close to where you are, we can meet in that area somewhere to do some “paint flinging” together. If you like painting outdoors, we can do something out in the Rocky Mountain National Park this June – we’ll be there, and it would be awesome to paint some beautiful landscapes there together!

Either way – keep checking the schedule – though we might not be at some of the big juried shows this year, we’ve added a few fun Celtic/Irish/Highlands Festivals this year, and as always, our big Sheep & Wool Festivals are always a blast as well!

As always, I LOVE hearing your comments and ideas for new Sheep Incognito paintings – leave a comment, share this post, and thanks for being part of the Sheep Incognito Flockies in the meadow of life!

Also, if you are in connections with a decent children’s book publisher by chance, I would love to have some feedback for the two books I’ve written and am illustrating as well. They do involve sheep in some capacity, but do appeal to the general market more than the sheep arena.

Here is my newest painting:
“The Great Flock Defender” click this link to order prints of it!

The Great Flock Defender Sheep Incognito Art

The Great Flock Defender Sheep Incognito Art


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Keep It Light!

Tips & Tricks for Setting Up Your Palette for Vibrant, Clean Colors

Make your colors stay alive by following these few handy tips and tricks I’ve learned in the past 15 years of painting – it might just change your paintings for the better…

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When you start painting, and are confronted with a pile of paint tubes, all just waiting to have a say in your artwork, it is really easy to get overwhelmed, and try to put them all out there, just to see the pretty colors.

But keeping them in the right place, will eliminate a lot of maaahem and muddiness in your work – and it will help you focus on what you are painting, instead of trying to remember which color you were using to mix this awesome octarine color you just invented…

Here are some pointers that will help you create vibrant, clean, awesome looking colors that sing:

Use a neutral colored palette.
While intuitively one would love to use a white palette to spread out the pretty colors onto, ultimately it changes your color perception because the contrast is too stark. Same theory applies to a black palette.
Use a gray palette instead, to ensure you are seeing the colors right.
If you cannot find a gray palette, just slap some gray gesso or light gray housepaint, or acrylics onto a wooden palette, and you should be good to go.

• Make clean-up easy: cover your palette!
Would you love to spend more time painting than cleaning? Yup, me too!
The most valuable thing in my studio for that purpose is my roll of Glad Press ‘n’ Seal – maaahvelous stuff, that there. Cover your palette board with it, THEN put paint out – when you are done painting, or when the colors are all starting to blend together, pull off the old, add a new sheet, and transfer your paint to the new palette surface for a fresh start.

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•Keep your colors sorted!
Clean colors are the result of an uncluttered palette – the sooner you make a habit of keeping your colors in order, the sooner you will be able to master the art of adding light, vibrancy, and clean, clear colors to your art.

Keep complementary colors as far as possible away from each other on the palette. Having a color wheel like the one from Daler-Rowney pictured here is quite helpful in getting your colors sorted correctly. And, when you are trying to mix a certain color, the color wheel is a great reference guide for which colors to mix for certain shades of green, for example.

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Starting with your white, lay out your colors in order from light yellow, to medium yellow, to dark yellow, to orange, to red-orange, to vibrant red, to dark red, to mauve, to purple, to dark ultramarine blue, to cobalt blue, to pthalo blue, to turquoise blue, to pthalo green, to sap green, to burnt umber, for example.

You will want to be creating a “progression of color” of sorts – whether you are using 6 colors or 50 – the rule remains the same: keep like colors together in progression towards the next primary color.

•Keep opposing colors for creating neutrals or contrast
Keeping your colors clean calls for a bit of close-minded-ness: keep colors close together when mixing, to achieve vibrant colors, with almost no muddiness.

When you want to mix, say, a vibrant purple: rather than mixing a light reddish orange with your turquoise to make purple (which, in fact will render something that looks like your cat ate it, and didn’t like it either…), try mixing a red that leans towards purple, and a blue that leans towards purple together.
The resulting purple will be vibrant, clean, and quite striking, because you have introduced none of purple’s complementary color: yellow.

Check your color wheel – colors across from each other on the color wheel are complementary colors – they look great when side-by-side, and make awesome neutrals when mixed together for that purpose. But for mixing clear vibrant colors, stay close to your goal color instead.

•Place complementary colors with the intent of creating drama

Complementary colors are great for increasing the “zing!” in your artwork: place orange beside a vibrant pthalo blue  – a vibrant red beside a pthalo green – plop some bright yellow beside that purple grape…whenever you have complementary colors side-by-side, it has a striking effect. Use that to your advantage when selecting your color-scheme.

Painting a moonlit night? Make sure the moon is the right shade of yellow, to contrast with that dark blue/purple-ish sky with twinkly stars.

Painting some yummy strawberries? Make the leaves a juicy green, to make them look delicious!



“SLEEPING BOOTY” by Conni Togel – oils on canvas

• Lighten color the right way!
When making color lighter, to make it look like it is lit by the sun, try using a lighter version of the color you are painting with. Mixing white into your colors will just dull them down and make them bland, instead.
For example: try starting with a stroke of ultramarine blue, add a touch of azure blue to lighten it (Azure blue has some white in it, but is still mainly blue pigment – it is opaque, so this works really well, I’ve found – I use this a LOT).
Or, try starting with a dark alizarine crimson, adding some cad red, then cad orange, then cad orange light, then yellow, then a dab of white.

This is a basic repetition of the layout of your palette – going from darks to lights just like you have them laid out on your palette, will keep your colors from going bland and blah.

Hopefully this was helpful to you – when everything turns to mud, wipe it off, and start again – or wait for it to dry, then drop in some pops of color to make it zing!


“Dry White Whine” by Conni Togel – oils on canvas

STILL Have questions?
Email me at – I always love hearing from people about how these tips work for them!
Remember that I also offer private sessions to learn these tips and tricks in real life – sometimes explaining this first-hand is better than reading it online…shoot me an email to schedule a meetup somewhere near my studio in Upstate South Carolina, or near one of my shows when I am on tour: