Sean Erik O'Connor - Portfolio

Here are some paintings I've done in acrylic, pastel and colored pencil and pen. Click on a painting to enlarge. All works are Copyright © 1986-2023 by Sean Erik O'Connor. All Rights Reserved except where noted under the Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0

See my more of my paintings on ArtStation

Traditional Painting Techniques

I'm self-taught. On these pages, let me share some advice I've learned from experience and from various artists. There's surely a lot of terrible advice on how to draw and paint out there!

I paint in acrylics on canvas. Here's my outdoor easel sitting in my indoor studio with a white daylight LED floodlight, and a computer with my reference photographs.

Artist's Easel Artist's Studio

I also paint in pastels, draw in colored pencils and graphite pencil.

I'm currently working on a painting of an orbital. I've calculated the wireframe model and perspective view in Mathematica using homogeneous coordinates and matrix algebra.


Good draftsmanship is the foundation of your artistic skill. Carry a sketchpad and pencil everywhere you go. Draw freehand from life and from imagination every day to train your hand and eye. Do lots of thumbnail sketches.

Absolute basics which you must master:


Brushwork Technique

You need to master the basics of brushwork technique, including washes, drybrush, etc. I've found this book to be good: Brushwork Essentials

Color Mixing

I found it best to make my own color chart from a limited palette of acrylic colors. The color chart has pure colors across the top. There are exercises in mixing various browns, greens and blues for landscapes. For flesh tones, I use a slight modification of Portrait Painter Howard Sanden's palette. After mixing the basic flesh tones, adjust the tint with the different primary colors.

Color Mixing Chart

Gallery (Digital)

All work in progress so far as I learn Blender...

Digital Art Techniques

For CGI I use Blender. It's free software, and can be downloaded as executable or built from source.

I have a collection of detailed Blender worked examples.

Blender Example Quick Render Example

For digital painting, and doing quick studies for traditional painting, I use Gimp

Gimp example

Art Online