Dustin Van Wechel

Dustin Van Wechel: Painting Wildlife: Birds and Waterfowl


Video Length: 7 Hours
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Discover Dustin Van Wechel’s Proven 3-Stage Painting Process That Makes Your Wildlife Paintings Come Alive!


Everything you need to know about capturing light, color, and life is here. Dustin Van Wechel’s clear 3-stage process makes it easy for anyone to transform their art from dull to dynamic and bursting with life.


Close your eyes for a moment.

Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a serene, sun-kissed lake. The air is crisp, carrying with it the unmistakable scent of autumn leaves. A gentle breeze whispers through the rustling foliage.

Before you, a picturesque scene unfolds — a magnificent trumpeter swan, its pure white feathers glistening in the warm golden light, comes to rest gracefully on the tranquil waters. Its reflection dances on the surface, creating a mirage of elegance and tranquility.

As you immerse yourself in this breathtaking wilderness, you can almost hear the soft ripples of the water, the distant call of migrating birds, and the subtle rustling of leaves.

In this moment, you feel a profound connection to the natural world — a deep sense of peace that can only be found in the heart of the wilderness.

Now, imagine being able to not only witness this idyllic moment but also recreate it on canvas with your own brushstrokes.

Unfortunately for many artists who dream of painting such a timeless scene, this vision quickly becomes a frustrating reality as they attempt to bring the beauty of the wild onto the canvas.

If you love to paint wildlife…

But you’re tired of your nature scenes looking flat and lifeless…

…and you find yourself frustrated and confused, exclaiming, “Why can’t I get the light right in my paintings?” or “My brushwork is terrible!”...

…you’re not alone.

But one day, you’re going to look at your paintings and realize a transformation many artists fail to make:

Your artwork no longer looks flat or lifeless.

What you’re about to discover is a methodical step-by-step process to make your art come alive, from dull to dynamic.

Why is this proven process so brilliant?

Because award-winning artist Dustin Van Wechel has spent years perfecting it.

He too wanted to create art that not only had clean colors and bold value contrasts, but also offered viewers more to discover through surface textures.

In doing so, he developed a groundbreaking 3-stage painting process where every brushstroke, every color mix, and every texture is carefully considered.

This isn’t just a course, it’s a roadmap to mastering the skills to make your paintings come alive — no matter what you’re painting!

You’ll gain the skills to create a strong sense of light and add depth and interest to your paintings through unique color usage, textures, and bold value contrasts.

With this skill in hand, you’re going to transform all of your work from mundane to mesmerizing.

You’ll know how to expertly capture the essence of your subjects that connects emotionally with your viewers.

That means no more feeling frustrated with muddy colors. No more paintings with bad value contrasts.

Instead, you’re going to paint works of art that not only look alive, but feel alive!

Here’s the best part:

He’s going to share his very own secrets to painting wildlife — specifically, a gorgeous white trumpeter swan — for this demo.

(Fun fact: Trumpeter swans were an endangered species, and at one time thought to be on the very brink of extinction — but conservation efforts have been successful and these majestic birds are no longer endangered. It’s extremely fun and rewarding to paint one, as you’ll soon see.)

You’re going to get VIP-class seating (in the comfort of your own studio) to learn from this amazing award-winning artist.

Get ready to get your fill of mind-blowing painting techniques that will make your brush hand tremble with colorful excitement.


Bonus Tip: 3 Ways to Use Soft Edges



Here’s a small taste of what’s inside Painting Wildlife: Birds and Waterfowl:

  • Discover Dustin Van Wechel’s 3-stage painting process to make your wildlife painting (or any painting) come alive!
  • How to “cheat” when selecting reference images so it’s easier to paint a winning painting…
  • How to choose light that evokes a mood…
  • How to translate color to improve its dramatic effects when working from photographs…
  • How to combine photographic reference using traditional methods as well as using modern methods withphoto editing software
  • Amazing tips on how to manipulate your brushwork to enhance effects and create a “sparkle” that delights viewers…
  • Keys to build a strong sense of light (never forget these)...
  • Tip for newbies: Why a subject with dramatic contrasts is easier to paint than the subtleties of indirect light…
  • Why Dustin loves using flats and doesn’t need any other style of brush…
  • Secrets to using color to inject more life into the painting…
  • Painting Formulas! How to get instant depth in your paintings (just watch and apply!)...
  • How to achieve clean color every single time…
  • Tips to SEE like an artist! Do this, and all your paintings will have life and authenticity…
  • How to avoid chalky mixes and get rich color…
  • Texture building with palette knife, which gives a sense of depth and detail with little effort…
  • How to get automatic interest and variation by using different tools within the same area of the painting…
  • How to paint leaves and grasses without painting every leaf or blade…
  • How to paint realistic logs / fallen trees…
  • The two decisions that put yourself on the path to successful wildlife paintings…
  • How to open up shadows so they don't become black holes…
  • How to paint water and reflections…
  • How to paint the color white in light and shadow…
  • and so many more incredible insights straight from an award-winning artist!



Meet Your New Instructor, Dustin Van Wechel!

Dustin's artistic journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

His work has graced the walls of prestigious institutions such as the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Booth Museum, the Briscoe Museum of Western Art, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

His mastery in capturing the essence of wildlife has not gone unnoticed. Among his many awards are the 2018 'People’s Choice Award' at the Buffalo Bill Show, the 'Bob Kuhn Award for Wildlife' at the Masters of the American West Show in both 2015 and 2022, and the 'Premier Platinum Award' at the Buffalo Bill Show in 2015. His work has also been featured in leading art publications such as Fine Art Connoisseur, Art of the West, Western Art Collector Magazine, Southwest Art, The Artist’s Magazine, The Pastel Journal, and Drawing Magazine.

Painting wildlife provides me with a well of opportunity to communicate not only my personal experiences and perceptions of my subjects, but also yields a window into understanding what moves me as an artist.”

- Dustin Van Wechel


Dustin's work is currently represented by Trailside Galleries online, Illume Gallery West, Settlers West Galleries, and the Broadmoor Galleries in Colorado Springs, CO, where he lives with his wife, Yvonne.

This is your golden opportunity to learn from an artist who has not only achieved technical mastery but also understands the emotional and philosophical depths that art can reach.

With Dustin as your guide, you're not just learning to paint; you're learning to connect with the essence of your subjects in a way that will elevate your artwork.

Don't miss this chance to learn from a true master of wildlife painting!


Chapter Breakdown

Course Sections

  • Introduction
  • Build the Painting with Photo References
  • Tools & Materials
  • Block-In
  • Develop the Background
  • Develop the Swan
  • Develop the Water
  • Refine the Painting


Extra Bonuses

  • A High Speed timelapse of the demonstration painting for your enjoyment.
  • Insights on art and inspiration from Dustin Van Wechel (Interview)
  • Exhibit of Dustin Van Wechel’s works for your creative inspiration


Read more here >>


Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews
cher bettencourt
Dustin Van Wechel: Painting Wildlife: Birds and Waterfowl Pre-Release Video

I love this video, he showed me how to hold the brush for certain strokes, how to use a palette knife.I am on my way yo becoming a better painter.

Daniel McCarthy
Dustin Van Wechel: Painting Wildlife: Birds and Waterfowl Pre-Release Video

Great video, filled with lots of insights. This would be worth the price even if it were silent.

Lynn Haste
Learned A Lot

Very thorough and informative!

Linda Borch
Painting waterfowl in nature

This is an outstanding video on painting wildlife! Dustin's paintings look so full of detail, but in reality SUGGEST detail. He is very articulate in explaining his thinking and his process of painting both the subject and the environment. Probably what I loved the most was his explanation of how he uses, bristle brushes, palette knife and synthetic brushes all for various reasons throughout his painting process to reach his desired goal for the painting.

Gail Franklin
Great video

Beautiful video, lots of words of wisdom. Beautiful painting. I only wish he could have walked us step by step how to work the photoshop part. I realize the video wasn't about photoshop and it's just a tool, however, maybe he would consider doing another video about Photoshop for Artist. Dustin is an amazing artist. 5 stars for sure !!!!