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My Oil Painting Breakthrough: Striving Pears and Peggi Kroll-Roberts

Striving Pears, Oil on Gessobord, 6x6"
Striving Pears, Oil on gesso board, 6x6"

My friend Kathryn Law wrote on her blog about the workshop she took with Peggi Kroll-Roberts and about Peggi’s instructional DVDs. The videos focus on the things I most wanted to learn, especially creating strong value patterns and making rich painterly brush strokes, along with loosening up and having fun. I ordered the videos and watched them. Wow!

The Buddhist proverb, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” is so true. I had to have tried and given up on so many other approaches to oil painting to become very clear on what I didn’t want, what I did want (working with the freedom and looseness I have when I sketch) and what I needed to get there (all the things Peggi teaches).

Watching Peggi demonstrate and explain what she’s thinking and doing as she does it is such a rare ability in painting teachers in my experience. Her videos answered many questions I’ve had for so long. I’ve read dozens of books and gotten great advice from artist friends, but until I watched Peggi’s videos, I just didn’t get it.

I’d almost given up oil painting in frustration but now… Yippee! Oil painting is fun again!

About the painting:

While bosc pears aren’t as pretty or colorful as other types, when I saw the way they were sitting in their container, one seeming like it was “striving” to reach, copy, or catch up with the other, I had to paint them. I used the techniques/tools I learned in Peggi’s videos and really enjoyed the painting process (and the results).

11 replies on “My Oil Painting Breakthrough: Striving Pears and Peggi Kroll-Roberts”

I love the simplicity and buttery texture of this – something I try for but find elusive. Looks like I’m going to have to order those videos… Thank you for sharing this, Jana!


Your brush strokes do look very fluid for lack of a better word and quite casual and random, in a positive way of course! I read Kathryn’s comments also about the shadow and light families and thought they were helpful. I hadn’t thought to watch a video but am now rethinking that idea.


Jana, this is wonderful! That is exactly why I love Peggi’s instruction and approach: it’s academically so sound, but also freeing and so much FUN. It’s so nice to see you having fun with this, because that’s your spirit in painting and it really comes through here.

Thanks for the link to my blog. Days one and two of that workshop are also up, people can find them by clicking the “workshops” search label in the right sidebar, or go to:


Oh wow! This is great! I wish I hadn’t already spent all my Christmas money or these videos would be on the list! Value studies and brush strokes…something I’m very interested in!


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