Lon Brauer

Lon Brauer: Abstract Figure Painting


Video Length: 5 Hours
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A glimpse into what you’ll discover in this art instruction video:
  • Lon’s philosophy and “The 3 Principles” he lives by
  • The “Space Flattening” technique to help you see more easily
  • Lay out a palette for figure, color mixing, brushwork, and movement
  • Use alternative tools to add interest (you’ll love this)
  • Maintain a strong underdrawing throughout the process
  • See patterns as an accent
  • …and so much more


Figure painting can be very complex, but there’s a way to make it simpler.

The trouble most novice artists struggle with is not knowing how to SEE shapes in the subject or photo reference.

The shape is, ultimately, the core of all visual imagery.

This means the “secret” to making even the most daunting of subjects 10x easier to paint is quite simple:

Find the “hidden” shapes

When you can take something as complex as a photo reference and break it down into basic shapes … painting essentially becomes almost as easy as painting by numbers.

It all comes down to mastering the ability to identify shapes.

What you’ll discover here is how to recognize shapes in figure and portrait compositions in a way you’ve probably never been taught before.

You’ll soon be able to see the “hidden” shapes behind any subject you wish to paint — a powerful skill that will last for life.

You’re going to have a firm foundation you can build upon, which only leads you to creating more powerful paintings viewers will love.

Beginner artists tend to “copy the image,” but what you’ll find here will get you closer to painting mastery.

You’re going to see the inner workings of exactly how award-winning artists make their mark in the art community…

…and all you have to do is follow simple steps.


Meet Lon Brauer

Lon Brauer is an American artist from Granite City, IL, who’s known for his work in figures and plein air landscapes, working primarily in oil.

Lon has an aesthetic that leans toward early 20th Century Realism, Abstract Impressionism, and the Golden Age of Illustration. The result is a mashup of the traditional and the avant-garde — consider it a salad of Eakins, Henri, Wyeth, DeKooning, English, and Fuchs.

His subjects range from the conceptual to the concrete. In his work, he develops a strong foundational composition on which to hang the paint. He feels that painting should be primarily about the paint itself as it describes the subject. 

If you want to know what art juries think … read this…

Getting into the Outdoor Painters Society’s Plein Air Southwest Salon is tough.

To get into the prestigious salon, you have to enter an online competition (sponsored by the OPS and called the Associates Show) and win the top prize.

Only then will you get into the salon.

Now, there are hundreds — if not thousands — of entries, and there are a lot of talented people out there.

It's not easy for a judge to pick a winner!


Judge Bev Boren struggled before deciding that Lon was the winner. Here’s what she said:

When I jury an art competition, I look for paintings that first attract my attention with excellence in composition, technique, and confident brushwork. When more than two or three paintings grab my attention, I ask myself, Which one has the ‘wow’ factor? Is it unique, fresh, and unusual? 

“There were several paintings that spoke to me, but in the end, Lon’s painting kept demanding that I return to it. There were several paintings that were skillfully made and deserving of an award as well, but in the end the simplicity and uniqueness of Lon’s piece was a winner for me.”


Without a doubt, Lon Brauer's brilliant painting skills have that “wow” factor…

In this video, Lon will demonstrate a figure painting from start to finish with an emphasis on seeing the big shapes in a photo reference.

You’ll see how he goes from taking photographs … to breaking the subject into shapes … transferring the information onto your canvas/panel … all the way to completing your abstract figure painting in great step-by-step detail.

He’s going to share his personal painting gear and some highly unusual tools (like a tuna can and serrated steak knives!)… 

…plus a ton of information straight from his highly creative brain. Prepare to take a lot of notes.

The fastest way for you to improve is to know Lon’s thinking process.

You’re going to get career-making insights on what new things you can try to make your painting even stronger.

This video is perfect for artists who usually “work small” and wish to uplevel the quality of their paintings while continuing to grow and feel comfortable and confident with larger pieces.

As you work larger, you’ll want to know even more from Lon since you’ll be using more paint, bigger brushes, and you’ll follow his lead in putting your whole body into it.


Lon Brauer’s Philosophy and “The 3 Principles”

Being able to paint is one thing. Being able to think like a painter is a whole different ball game.

In this video, Lon will share his philosophy to make sure you’re approaching your painting in a way that serves the outcome you want.

He’s also sharing the key “3 Principles” to set the stage right. Get them down pat, and you can almost guarantee your paintings will turn out successful.

He’s also going to emphasize the value of knowing your tools and materials, because knowing what they can do can have a tremendous impact.

For novice painters, you’ll appreciate that Lon will also go through some very basic skills like color mixing … palette knife work … making lines with brushes of various sizes … and so much more.

A Complete Walkthrough, From Block-In to Refining … and More

Lon will guide you all the way from the compositional block-in … to reestablishing the drawing … to developing and refining your painting … to the final stages.

He’ll also show you how to establish a grid with a straightedge … how to do a quick preliminary drawing to build composition and structure … and how to correctly use the grid to transfer the photo image to your surface.

The most important lesson here is having the courage to show a figure differently than you’re accustomed to.

You’re going to learn how to do something new and different — a key ingredient to your success!

Secrets to “Dazzle” the Viewer — The Finishing Touches

Lon is going to introduce you to highly unusual tools that will allow you to create interesting effects.

You’ll see how he uses a tuna can to add weight, or what he calls “Razzle Dazzle.”

His method of adding sparkles for interest — in the same way watercolorists use thinned, splattered paint — is a must-see.

He’s also going to share various accent techniques to emphasize line and shape … how “bubblegum” colors can be accents … and why he likes the “Sandpaper Technique” so much!


Here’s more of what’s inside Abstract Figure Painting:

  • How to master the ability to find the “hidden” shapes in ANY subject you see…
  • How to make complex subjects 10x easier to paint by understanding shapes…
  • Discover Lon Brauer's personal painting gear (including highly unusual “finishing” tools like a tuna can)...
  • Listen to Lon's thinking process and apply his ideas to your own paintings…
    The “Space Flattening” technique to help see shapes more easily...
  • How to lay out a palette for figure, color mixing, brushwork, and movement…
    How to use alternative tools to add interest...
  • How to maintain a strong underdrawing throughout the process…
    How to see patterns as an accent…
    How to free yourself and go from “painting small” to painting BIG (this is the secret to creating successful paintings)...
  • Discover Lon Brauer's philosophy that will reprogram your artist’s mindset…
  • Learn the "3 Principles" that will set the stage for ALL of your future paintings (get these right, and your paintings will almost always be successful)...
  • How knowing your tools can affect the outcome of your painting tremendously (novice artists must watch this)...
  • The COMPLETE walkthrough on how to paint exactly like Lon Brauer, with nothing held back…
  • Lon’s “Sandpaper Technique” to create a unique finishing touch…
  • Highly unusual tools that will make your paintings even MORE interesting and engaging…
  • How Lon creates award-winning paintings using student-grade paint (see what he uses and why it works so well for him
    PLUS: Your NEW favorite DIY brush holder (not to be missed!)
  • …and so much more that will improve your paintings FAST!


Chapter Breakdown: 


  • Welcome to this workshop as we explore recognizing shapes in a portrait composition. Painting or drawing the figure can be a daunting task. It doesn’t need to be! Through the use of photo reference I will be showing you how to choose an image, dissect that image into manageable parts, and get the thing onto canvas!
  • In this workshop I will be talking about all sorts of things. And it will be a big brain dump that I hope will give you some new insight on this subject. This is not going to be your typical “how-to” video. My methods are mine and they have evolved with my experience. Your path is different…you have your own experiences. I will show you how I work and what I think about along the way. And in the end both you and I will learn new things and be able to move in new and exciting directions!


Tools & Materials

  • Unusual tools that Lon uses
  • When it’s okay to use Student-Grade paint
  • Your new favorite DIY brush holder 


Painting Is a Craft 

  • The value of knowing tools and materials … and what they can do.
  • Basic skills – mixing color, palette knife work, making lines with brushes of various sizes, etc. 


Using a Photo Reference 

  • Discuss how to utilize photo reference for building an image
  • I will show my photo and painted reference for the demo to create a discussion on the

steps in the creative process.


The Compositional Block-In 

  • Establish a grid with a straight edge and do quick preliminary drawing to build composition and structure.
  • Transfer the photo image to the surface.


First Layer of Color

  • Now that the drawing is established, lay down some color.


Reestablish the Drawing

  • Redraw the image to make sure the structure does not get lost.


Build Head & Hands

  • Help with skin tones
  • Make directional strokes


Break It Down

  • See Lon reassessing his process all throughout the painting.
  • Maintain a firm structure underneath.
  • Sand the whole painting down.


Assess & Rebuild

  • Analyze what’s working–the angles and curves of the composition are strong. The painting is taking over and telling us what to do we are leaving the reference image behind
  • Develop values and colors
  • How to Paint Polka Dots and Patterns of Lines and not have them take over (unless you want them to)


Develop & Refine

  • Develop and refine the face–values, color temperatures
  • Lon shows a portrait in a different way that most artists are accustomed to.


Razzle Dazzle & Finishing

  • In the vein of great American Illustrators such as Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, David Grove, Marshall Arisman, and others, “What can I do to bring something into a different reality?”
  • Add weight or dazzle 
  • Add sparkles for “interest, immediacy, something organic.”
  • The beauty of bubble gum colors to highlight, outline here and there for interest
  • Play the “what happens if” game 
  • When do you know if a painting is done? Find out Lon’s philosophy


Bonus Extras:

  • High Speed View–timelapse of the painting demonstration start-to-finish
  • Analyze Work in Progress–Lon reviews the stages of the demo and why it’s important to analyze your work as you paint 
  • Interview with the Artist–Eric Rhoads talks with Lon Brauer about art, career, and life
  • Exhibit of Works–slideshow of inspirational paintings Lon has created


Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
Lon Brauer: Abstract Figure Painting

Excellent exploration of his process with emphasis on seeing how he is inspired to go beyond the photographic reference. I find myself coming back to things he showed and said in this video over an over.

Britta Russak
Lon Brauer: Abstract Figure Painting

Perfect. It helped so much to loosen up

Nancie King Mertz

I so enjoy his loose approach and how easily he explains his process.

Britta Russak
Lon Brauer: Abstract Figure Painting

Perfect. It helped so much to loosen up

Nancy Long
Lon Brauer: Abstract Figure Painting

Excellent exploration of his process with emphasis on seeing how he is inspired to go beyond the photographic reference. I find myself coming back to things he ...