Filming Craig Nelson: Plein Air in Oil with Craig Nelson - Creative Catalyst Productions

Filming Craig Nelson: Plein Air in Oil with Craig Nelson

March 02, 2015 4 min read 2 Comments

In late summer, 2007 we filmed Craig Nelson in a plein-air setting.  Because we were outdoors, this was a particularly challenging DVD to film.

Lynn and I scouted locations in advance and decided on a bluff above the Calapooia River, about a mile from the Creative Catalyst studio.  We figured that we were close enough to run back and forth if we needed supplies.  We were also a few hundred feet off the rural road that runs by here.


Sound is a big issue when filming.  We had to contend with passing cars, trucks, farm equipment and school busses.  We also had an occasional airplane passing overhead.  Thank the Lord we didn’t have a crop dusting airplane come over, that happens on occasion.  We did, however, have a breeze that wreaked havoc on our microphones.


Direct sun and shade is another problem when filming outdoors.  Zach and Kelly decided we should have a shade screen, and we rented an outdoor shade with a robust stand for this purpose.  It had to be moved to keep Craig in shade during the shooting.


The sun also caused a problem for me as a camera operator.  I couldn’t see my monitor.  So I draped myself in a black cloth.  You can see my feet sticking out in this picture.

We filmed with three cameras.  One was overhead, one to the left and one behind.


Here is the progression of Craig’s painting.





Since 1970, Dr. Craig Nelson has been depicting figures landscapes and various environments in rich vibrant oils. His passion for the subjects relates directly to his brush work, weaving mood and emotion into each work of art.

After graduating from Art Center College of Design with distinction, Craig began his career working in Los Angeles for recording companies and motion picture studios, creating portraits and other subjects with strict deadlines. Craig's countless movie posters include "The Cowboys", "Slapshot", and "Homeward Bound" among many others. His album cover credits include, "Sammy Davis Jr. Live", "Rick Nelson, Country" and "Natalie Cole, Thankful" along with many more.

Collectors include, James Garner, Neil Simon, Toyota Corporation, UCLA Dental and Law School, the U.S. Air Force, UCSF Dental School and many more. He has won over 200 awards of excellence and several gold medals. The "Arts for the Parks" national competition awarded Craig the Grand Teton Natural History Award for a painting entitled "Dining Alone". His work is collected in the United States, Asia as well as Europe.

In 1974 Craig began teaching at Art Center College of Design and for the past 23 years has been sharing his knowledge at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he is Director of Fine Art MFA & BFA, Drawing and Painting.

Craig is currently a signature member of the California Art Club, and a member of the Portrait Society of America. Craig's books "60 Minutes to Better Painting" and "The Drawing Bible"  published by North Light are now available.  He teaches two to three workshops a year which have gained in popularity attracting students from all over the United States and Europe.   Craig's annual Figurative Painting workshop and his Sonoma Plein Air Painting workshop are held in Santa Rosa, California.  His European Painting workshops have covered many areas throughout Italy and France and this summer will be travel through Austria and the Italian alps. 


Craig created seven art videos with Creative Catalyst:


Quick Studies: Studies in Under an Hour (in Oil) with Craig Nelson

Learn more in less time with Quick Studies. DVD PREVIEW Craig Nelson's exciting one-hour sessions help you hone your skills without spending days on a single painting.  Craig's dynamic approach works with any subject matter.  


A Quick Studies Oil Portrait From Life with Craig Nelson

Craig Nelson uses his quick studies approach to develop a portrait of an in-studio model, in a logical manner, from a line drawing to a beautiful three dimensional portrait. Craig discusses and demonstrates: lighting; preparing the painting surface; developing a...


Drawing with Pastel and Charcoal: Tips and Techniques with Craig Nelson

This DVD drawing workshop with Craig Nelson is great for anyone interested in drawing, whether you want to improve your painting skills or just enjoy knocking out a quick sketch. DVD PREVIEW Part of what you learn is how to...


Drawing a Duotone Portrait with Craig Nelson

Master the art of portrait drawing with professor of illustration, Craig Nelson. With this instructional DVD workshop, Drawing a Duotone Portrait, you will soon master portrait drawing, following the logical and intuitive progression Craig has refined. DVD PREVIEW Craig Nelson...


Drawing Gesture in Charcoal & Pastel with Craig Nelson

A reference photo of a dancer allows Craig Nelson to emphasize gesture in a charcoal drawing and capture an exciting pose not possible with a live model.


A Solid Start in Oil Painting: Still Life with Craig Nelson

Stop staring at blank canvas and start painting. With Craig Nelson's simple method for still life, you'll overcome your hesitation and kick start your career in oil. DVD PREVIEW You'll develop foundation skills, create a path for improvement, and even...








Plein Air in Oil with Craig Nelson

Capture the mood of a moment with Craig Nelson's Plein air oil painting techniques. In this oil DVD workshop, you'll learn to be observant and decisive enough to paint inviting landscapes within the time constraint of a shifting sun. DVD...


2 Responses

Ginny Sullivan
Ginny Sullivan

March 22, 2016

As usual, Creative Catalyst goes the extra mile to produce their superior DVD workshops.

Marjorie Ewell
Marjorie Ewell

March 03, 2015

A really neat story of the travails of en plein air and filming. Its good to know what goes on behind the camera. Thank you. Marjorie

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