Update from Scotland


Greetings! An update -

You may have seen on social media, the warm welcome I received as a finalist in the portrait painting competition held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. My painting of Gene Kelly will be framed and retain pride of place in the grand staircase. Even though I did not win the competition, it is a great honor to be a part of this historic hotel. If you would like more “on the go” updates about my work and studio practice, please follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Working to make more Youtube updates in the near future!

So here is the not so skinny… The past few months has been a challenge. Some aspects a very delightful challenge, and some not at all - Planning an immigration, wedding, creating an exit/transfer plan for my studio practice, and helping my sister organize my father’s estate affairs. Much of these processes are almost complete and becoming more manegable by the day, and I am happy to say that my Fiancée and I are working our way into the peaks and valleys of life in Scotland. Lyndsey is now working, and I am traveling back and forth to Glasgow, making connections and procuring a new studio space. For now, my work is limited to small watercolours and sketches, but I’m having a good time with that. I’ve ordered a Pochade Box easel for some outdoor painting and future workshops. Oh, the landscapes! I mostly stick to the portrait and figure, but I believe nature will beckon me. I imagine I will not confine myself to the studio nearly as much… How could I??! Well, it does rain a hell of a lot here, but I’ll be sure to plan appropriately.

Between all this networking, studio scouting, and little paintings, I have a lot of admin to manage. This update goes along with all of that. You will see lots of changes in the works! Please keep a look out in the coming weeks/months for website additions, including new paintings and drawings, ways to purchase originals and prints, and links to my Patreon page! I’m very excited about this project… While painting, I’ve been documenting my processes in detail, and soon will be dividing them up into snippets for short tips and longer educational videos. Patreon will give me the opportunity to interact more frequently and intimately with people who would like to give support and are curious about my techniques. You will also be able to follow many of my new experiences and some content through Youtube. Looking forward to bringing my journey closer to you!

See you soon, and kind regards,



Art Sale & Auction


Hey guys, I am moving to Scotland with my fiancée, and having an “everything must go” exhibition and sale/auction. Come help us lighten the shipping crate by depleting my inventory of original paintings and drawings while saying bon voyage in this last chance to grab artwork at a fraction of market value. Paintings that go for $3,000 in gallery could have a starting bid of $300. Paintings that go for $800 could start at $100. $300 start at $50… You get the idea. It would be great to see you, and you’d be a big help with my move.

Tickets are $10 - A grand selection of fine art, print giveaways, raffle prizes, libations, and delicious food by Chef Erin Rae Bentley. Ten percent of silent auction proceeds will support Open Books, and The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Get more information and tickets here: artsaleauction.eventbrite.com


New Painting Workshops

The Portrait Simplified is coming back to Gallery 1070!

The Portrait Simplified is coming back to Gallery 1070!

Happy to finally put some new workshops on the calendar after this incredibly busy holiday season. I’m ready again to go out, meet some of you, and share some knowledge! This is a great opportunity to learn some new perspectives and de-construction on simplified portrait painting. And the experience is easy-peasy and fun. Register online at Eventbrite, choose your day, and come with a sack lunch and paper towels. I’ll handle everything else! You will leave with something you’re proud of.


Tiny Paintings!


Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season! I feel a bit like an elf. Working my fingers to the bone painting "made to order" mini commissions for the holiday season. If you'd like one let me know. It's a great chance to acquire affordable work for yourselves, or as a gift for someone special. 

Each painting will be oil on durable/archival Arches oil paper with a small white border (mixed with a Liquin medium for quick dry and luster). Any subject (landscape, portrait, still-life, abstract) 4x6 inches for $50 or 5x7 inches for $75. These are perfectly sized for simple frames or gifting however you’d like! If you have a few people you’d like to buy for, I’ll take 25% off of the third and each additional painting.

I’m getting right to work so they will be done in time! Please respond to jasonmbentley@jmbportfolio.com with your order before Wednesday Dec 12. 

Happy Holidays!


Have you heard of Saatchi? Did you know I have some of my Psithurism prints for sale there? I always thought it was weird to buy art online, but I think the experience here is very unique. Check it out and see how easy and transparent the process is. You can choose your size and select mat and framing options, all while having a virtual example of what the piece will look like as you construct it. I started this not too long ago, so I have a limited selection... Don't see something you wish was there? Let me know and I'll put it up! Also, wanna tell your friends about it? I'll love you forever! xx

Visit: www.saatchiart.com/jasonmichaelbentley


Painting of Elia at Play

Portrait of Elia at Play :: Oil on linen - 14 x 14 inches

Portrait of Elia at Play :: Oil on linen - 14 x 14 inches

I love painting people! It’s my opportunity to spend time with, and bring into being a fragment of the human experience that can be examined and appreciated. And even further, the opportunity to put on a pedestal the experiences that trigger emotions from both precious and critical moments in our lives. I think it can be said that every portrait artist is looking for that special commission. There was something quite magical about this one.

This work opened up the opportunity to explore most of what I like about portrait painting from almost every angle; Intense light and shadow, dancing warms and cools, and communicative gesture in the subject make this a wonderfully balanced piece. In the technique itself, it was necessary to display a sense of craftsmanship and spontaneity all at once. The brush strokes are assured, yet playful. My attempt was to keep the background soft and feathery, while pushing the subject forward with bolder strokes. This was not easy as it was quite dark. I handled the shadows differently than I normally would with the shadows of a face for instance, which I often leave slightly transparent and lacking in detail to suggestively separate it from the light plane. The extraordinary contrasts forced me to “push” the background with denser paint, although I compensated with thicker strokes for the subject and foreground elements to achieve my goal. On the topic of color, I do not often use yellows for their own sake, but I enjoyed integrating them slightly. They are not prominent in this painting, as they are in my gorse bush study, but much is mixed into the greens, and offers a pleasant lushness to the light in the trees. It’s as if you can feel the warmth of the mid-day sun sprinkling through the cooler shadows. My favorite aspect of this painting is the subject (Elia) leaning and passing through both light and shade. Truly immersed. 

This was the perfect reference. Painting from life is always preferable, however it is difficult to capture and deliver the "decisive moment" that can be snatched by a photograph such as the one I worked from. I am truly glad I captured that thin slice of time and perspective in paint, and perhaps gave it something more than it could have been otherwise. In this moment, young Elia is caught with a seemingly mature sense of reflection and contentment surrounding her play. A moment of true enjoyment. You could linger in it forever. I’m very proud of this one.


Demonstration at the Glenview Art League!


I’m honored for the opportunity to demonstrate at the Glenview Art League tomorrow (Tuesday Oct 2) at 7-9pm! Packing my brushes and paints and readying myself for a great 2 hour presentation. I’ll focus on work-flow efficiency in the foundations of fine art portraiture. Points will be made on palette preparation, mapping of light and shadow, color recognition and relationships, and confidence in strokes. Looking forward to painting, and sharing some techniques with you!

These meetings are FREE and open to the public. More information here: The Glenview Art League

Glenview Art League
1920 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025


Thoughts on painting studies :: Scotland

Composition study for painting inspired by Scotland . Charcoal on paper. 18 x 12 inches. 

Composition study for painting inspired by Scotland. Charcoal on paper. 18 x 12 inches. 

Wild Gorse Study . Oil on board. 12 x 12 inches.

Wild Gorse Study. Oil on board. 12 x 12 inches.

I had to pinch myself upon my first arrival to Glencoe. As the roads north of Glasgow winded broader into the foothills of the highlands, I was stunned. My eyes never able to stop moving, I scanned the soft greenish-brown winter landscape that began slowly wrapping around me. The rise and fall of the earth changed like a moving organism, with some parts sloping gently up from the moors, and others jagged and wild. All the elements of design and balance were in place. In Scotland, on the west coast, it never really gets much colder than 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It always seems to hover around 36-40 when I am there anytime between November and January. But it does rain quite a lot - the sun scarcely seen. The land is wet, lush, and calm… Sometimes. I love how it all seems to change so quickly. One minute the sky can be marbled black and heavy, dispensing a torrent of watery sheets, and then quietly disperse only 30 minutes later, leaving a timidly low sun and a curiously faint, almost non-existent rain the Scots call smirr (end with an “r tap” of the tongue). It’s hard to dress for the day, as you can run into a variety of weather in just a few hours!

I am forever charmed by the harmonies of Scotland. The Thistle, the national flower, is an emblem of pride for the Scottish. Beautiful and dangerous - unable to be uprooted. But I often like to think about the sprawl of wild gorse instead. Nothing quite like visiting the sea with my lover. The gorse grows thick near the shore by Dunure Castle in Ayrshire. The scent of salty coconut in the breeze that blows over the spiny bushes of radiant yellow blooms is the stuff of dreams. She is like Scotland. 



Live painting event at The East Room

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I will be setting up my easel to paint an oil portrait at the East Room. I think I'll bring along some smaller paintings to sell too if anyone is interested. There will be Rock n' Roll, and tattoo art. Come out! The event goes till 4am. But I will only be there till' 1am.  

Wednesday July 11, 9pm-1am
Demonstration in oils - The East Room
A live painting event for Jams & Jammers
Free event




Painted treasures: A Still life Workshop

New workshop coming May 20!

This one is about little still lifes. I enjoyed coming back to this subject. Something very satisfying about arranging little objects into a neat and colorful composition. Have a look at the Eventbrite page for more details. And of course, get your early bird ticket sale before May 2!

Still time to register for my workshop The Portrait Simplified: Paint Like a French Impressionist vol2. Click here to register at Eventbrite. Starts tomorrow at 10am! 

Vol3 is June 3 if you can't make this one. Be sure to regularly check out my Demos and Workshops page to never miss an event.


Blick Demo in Milwaukee


Always a pleasure to come up to Blick Milwaukee-Farwell. I've really grown to love what I know about this city so far. Good folks, and a great post-demo beer at Von Trier around the corner of course!


It's all about trees!


For the sake of further defining my creative developments... I started a new Instagram account supporting the progress and process of my ink tree series, Psithurism, and other side projects. So far, I've just moved some photos from my main account. But be sure to give the page a follow to see all the new developments! If you are a fan of Psithurism, this is a great way to see rich content unique to this series - sketches, concepts, project development, and exhibitions. 


Also excited to announce with this development, I am finally offering prints for sale online! Visit my page on Saatchi Art to view the store. I will continue putting up new work. Don't see something you love? Send me a message with an inquiry and I'll see about making it available. :)


Saatchi Art




I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be an artist. My goodness, right? But more specifically, what it means to be an artist who enjoys the gathering of experience and insight. Not just for myself, but in aid of cultivating a shareable, and accessible aesthetic for others. As a foundation, I’ve been thinking about how we are shaped as human beings. What are we without the influence of others, directly or indirectly? The contributions in human history have massed into a cumulative knowledge that has erected the pillar we all stand on. I have an underlying sense of gratefulness, amusement, wonder, and at times, terror. It’s as if these feelings run just below the surface of my skin. They rest with a modest tension, warming and bubbling over as I am absorbed into the world around me by my vocational interests. I am reminded that it’s the people part that rings out with importance. We are here, with our condition, for better or for worse. Our need to recognize the relationship we have with each other, and with nature, are becoming more important by the day. 

My place is not to be isolated in the studio. Although, I often revel in it. My recent experience with teaching and conducting workshops has reinvigorated my passion for this cumulative contribution - as small a part as it may be. And not just for the sake of contribution, but the preservation of the approaches I hold dear. Focusing more on engagement and connection places more context under my instincts and guides my motivations. I advance, trip and fall, and constantly re-define. Chiseling away at the block, gradually revealing something that looks a bit more refined. Every interaction I am gifted, is the opportunity to see the larger sense of existence. 

And for a bit of news about classes, demos, and workshops...

Three Week Class - Painting With Gouache
I'm excited to announce my signing on to be an instructor at The Art Center in Highland Park! Bringing back a lost love, with an introductory class on painting with gouache. Fridays, 2-5pm. April 13-27.

Click here for more information, and to register. Receive an Early Bird discount until April 2!

New Demos and Workshops on the Calendar
Take a look at what's on the calendar for April, May, and June! Sign up for a workshop, private demonstration, or a free in-store demo.


The Portrait Simplified: A Success!

Students painting and experimenting with impressionistic portrait techniques at Gallery1070.

Students painting and experimenting with impressionistic portrait techniques at Gallery1070.

Extending my heartfelt gratitude for the participants in last Sundays workshop at Gallery 1070. I could not have asked for a better inaugural event, and appreciate everyones courage, curiosity, and eagerness toward the subject of the portrait! Teaching and demonstrating has become my great joy. I learn so much in my own discipline by helping others discover techniques and develop their capacity as artists. Looking forward to continuing this program in earnest, and will very well be creating new workshop programs in the near future. Be sure to join me for the next The Portrait Simplified on April 22. Registration opens soon! Check out my Demos and Workshops page often for calendar events as they occur.






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So very happy to announce my inclusion into a group exhibition at Jackson Junge Gallery! A dream come true! Join me and the many other talented artists at the opening reception for exhibition RED. Come meet the talented artists and enjoy some refreshments. The exhibition runs from March 9 - May 6. 

Jackson Junge Gallery
Opening reception :: Friday March 9, 2018
1389 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL

See it on Facebook
See it on Eventbrite