Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Belize Shack"

9" x 11" Oil on canvas panel

This painting is a representation of the houses that line the sand road to Hamanasi Resort in Belize. The painting makes it look a little more idyllic than this particular area was. In reality, I was a little stunned by the conditions I saw along the way and this made me wonder if Belize was the right choice for a honeymoon destination. My skepticism was compounded by a feeling of complete isolation that grew during the small plane ride from Belize International Airport and the hour and a half long bus ride through the Belize countryside to get to Hamanasi. But, like I've said before, it was well worth it. Hamanasi and Belize in general is amazing.

When I say that I worked from a photo, this is what I mean:

I work from photos quite often, but that doesn't mean that I'm copying photos. Most artists work from photo references if they are not observing a subject directly. I think there is a misconception out there that true artists somehow create scenes out of their heads. An experienced artist may be able to improvise where a novice would not be, but photo references are quite common. As you can see, my painting doesn't look much like the photo. The bright white light on the side of the building on the left caught my eye. I had to rearrange things to make the painting work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Cool Shadows on Lake Fairfax"

11" x 14" Oil on canvas panel
This is Lake Fairfax in Reston, VA. Lake Fairfax is within walking distance from my house. I took the photo that I worked from for this painting two weekends ago during a walk with my dog, Riley. Fairfax County stocks the lake with rainbow trout from the end of March through the beginning of May and there were quite a few people fishing on the lake this day. I planned to work a fisherman or two into the painting, but decided against it.

I worked with four colors (crimson, ultramarine-blue, pthalo green and cadmium yellow light), not including white. I tried to create contrast between the cool colors of the lake shore and what is actually an open field and then more trees beyond. Hope you like it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Reflections of Her"

8" x 10" Oil on Canvas
Offers accepted via email

This is my younger sister in her kayak on the Piankatank River at sunset.

I went with another triadic color scheme of Cobalt blue, cadmium yellow light and cadmium red light, plus viridian green for the kayak. In my opinion, mixing primary colors to create color variations is much less of a hassle than buying and using premixed tubes of color. There are thousands of premixed color variations out there, but it is possible to create the same variations by mixing a small number of primary and secondary colors.

I used a combination of brush and knife today. I laid in the base colors with brushes and used knives to spackle on thicker layers of paint. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Belle Isle Foot Bridge"

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
$125 Includes Shipping

This is the riverbed on the south side of Belle Isle, in Richmond, VA. The river is the James River. Beyond the riverbed is a foot bridge that connects the James River Park System in south-side Richmond to Belle Isle and beyond that is the Lee Bridge (US-301).

Richmond, as I've mentioned, and the James River in particular, hold a special place in my heart. My dad spent is entire young life on the river growing up in Richmond and I grew up fishing and canoeing the river with my dad and brother.

The river here is quite rocky, and it is possible to rock hop and wade across, but it's also deceptively deep in some spots. The rocks are smooth and slippery and I can distinctly recall the feeling of stepping for a rock, thinking it was only waist deep and getting pulled into the current as I sank to my neck. It's a slightly scary and mysterious feeling to float along in that dark water when you can't see what's below. The best thing to do in that situation is to relax and float feet first until you touch bottom again...

As for the painting, I went with a triadic color scheme (someone's been reading his painting books). The triad (three colors) I chose were viridian green, cadmium orange, and manganese Violette. Using only three colors, you don't get as much color variation or contrast as you do with a full palette, but the goal is unity, which I feel this painting has.

I stayed away from the knives today and I'm thankful for it. This was a nice, quick painting that was fun to paint. I hope you enjoy.

Thanks again to Richmond photographer, Taber Andrew Bain, for the photo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Dive Boat"

12" x 16" Oil on Canvas
Offers Accepted
Today's lesson: They can't all be masterpieces! Unlike my last painting that was a joy to paint, this one not so much. I felt like I was fighting with the paint and I never could get the balance quite right. Plus, I may have gone a little nuts with the knives. I got cocky after the last painting, but they put me back in my place today. There is a lot more mixing of color involved with this painting and my lack of experience with the knives became obvious. I guess it's all part of the learning process. The beauty is in your eyes right?

This is the one of the dive boats from Hamanasi Resort in Belize where my wife and I went for our honeymoon. Hamanasi is a small dive resort on the central coast of Belize in the Stann Creek District on the Caribbean Sea. I can't recommend the place enough if you're the type of person who does not enjoy crowds and a touristy, spring break type atmosphere. My wife and I did two dives during the week in addition to kayaking a jungle river, hiking through the jungle to a waterfall, tubing through a Mayan cave, snorkeling and a whole lot of good eating.

The boat is similar to the dead rise boats that the commercial crabbers use on the Chesapeake Bay. It has a V shaped hull so that it cuts through the waves,a center steering console, and a flat deck for easy maneuverability and equipment storage, plus, two, 225 horsepower Johnson outboard engines that really make it move.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Boston Harbor Blues"

24" x 18" Oil on Canvas
$250 includes shipping

Excited about this one for many reasons. One, it's my first all palette knife painting. I use palette knives here and there if I need a bright splash of of color on top of wet paint, but I've never done an entire painting with only knives. Two, this painting is four times the size of my last few paintings and it took less time to paint...I used five colors; phthalo blue, titanium white, cadmium orange, crimson, and viridian green. I mixed up wads of paint and Spackled them on on in one stroke. Three, I love the impressionism here. In case you are wondering, I'm not trying to paint realistically, I'm trying to create the feeling of a bright, cool, spring day on the harbor. What I enjoy most about this painting and what I seem to be saying above is that I like the simplicity and the cleanliness that palette knives can give. Sometimes I come away from a painting without having enjoyed painting it and that's usually because I wind up reworking and remixing colors until they no longer look fresh. If nothing else, this painting looks fresh and I had a good time painting it. Hope you like it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Warehouse District"

8" x 10" Oil on Panel

This is the "Warehouse District" in New Orleans. The painting is adapted from a photo that I took on Tchoupitoulas Street (Still can't pronounce), just down the road from Cochon Restaurant, one of the many restaurants that we sampled during our New Year's 2010 trip to New Orleans. If you like pig in all its glorious forms, check out Cochon.

The painting is of the Warehouse District, but it could be any city. I thought about working in a Fleur-de-lis somewhere, but I couldn't make it work and the painting is busy enough without it.

I haven't painted in a few days because my blog malfunctioned and I had to go back and re-upload every photo that I've posted so far as a link to my Picasa album. That was a little discouraging, but hopefully I'm back in business now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"West Leigh and Hancock"

8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas
$150 includes Shipping

This is the corner of West Leigh Street and Hancock Street in Richmond, VA. The neighborhood, known as Carver, was founded in the 18th century. The centuries following have witnessed vitality and decline. Within the last two decades, however, conservation and redevelopment efforts designed to encourage "urban homesteading," have slowly begun to revitalize the neighborhood. The expansion of Virginia Commonwealth University and the construction of new, Victorian-style, town-homes funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development with first time home buyers in mind continue to bring new life to the area. Reader input on the history of the area is appreciated.

I visited Richmond Easter weekend - my brother lives in Carver so I stayed a block away from the location featured above. I woke up early Sunday morning to go running and I brought my camera along, hoping to take some photos of the City for painting. I did not take the particular photo on which this painting is modeled. That photo belongs to Taber Andrew Bain, a local Richmond photographer with a knack for capturing the scenes that epitomize a city/location, particularly Richmond. Here is his blog link: There is a link to his FLICKR Photo Stream in the blog too. Check it out.

I did take some photos of my own that I plan to paint from, but I'm drawn to this scene for sentimental reasons (my brother lives there) and because the Victorian style buildings are so representative of the neighborhood. I didn't try to perfect the lines of the buildings, or the shadows or highlights, and if you zoom in and really look at this thing, it probably looks a little messy. That is somewhat intentional...I do not believe that perfection is not an accurate representation of the neighborhood, or the city.

I don't know what it is about Richmond that draws people to it. It's not a large city, it's not a modern city, there are no professional sports teams, oceans or mountains. My brother says it's the grittiness, the edginess, the imperfection of the city that draws him to it. To me there is a sense of community in Richmond that I have not witnessed elsewhere. Maybe the grit and the imperfection and the sense of community are related. The long time Richmonders recognize the imperfection, but they have such an appreciation of the city's history that they stick with it out of blind devotion.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Framed! "The Chosen One"

8" x 10"
Oil on canvas

"The Chosen One" looks real nice in his new frame. $150 includes shipping and frame...You can't beat that for an original, signed oil painting!

On another note, I have two paintings entered in the April Founder's Exhibition at the JoAnn Rose Gallery - Lake Anne Community Center, Reston, VA. The two paintings are "Coreopsis," which I have already blogged and "Hamanasi," which I will blog this week. The paintings will be there for a month so stop in and see them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Bourbon Street"

Oil on Panel
Ever since my wife and I visited New Orleans this past New Year's Eve, I've wanted to paint something from the trip. Bourbon Street certainly isn't my favorite part of New Orleans, in fact, it's probably my least favorite part of New Orleans, but it's still an amazing site.
I painted this really quickly this afternoon. I like the contrast between the warm lights of the street level and the coolness of the building tops and the flags. Feels like a belly full of bourbon to me.