Monday, January 24, 2011

'Orange Tree Lake'

16" x 20" Oil on Canvas

I'm taking an oil painting class at the Herndon Art Space with a local artist instructor.  This is the first painting I've completed in the class.  I can't say that I received a lot of instruction on the painting, but I think it came together well.  Just spending three, uninterrupted, hours painting with no distractions is helpful enough.  The teacher did provide one helpful suggestion and that was to bring the reflection of the sky out and to the bottom left of the painting.  This way, the reflection leads you into the painting, whereas I had originally painted it as a straight line from the horizon to the bottom of the painting.

What I don't like about the class and I guess there is no way around this in the middle of winter, is that we were painting from photos, and small, dark, photos at that.  The painting is quite different from the photo - I really had to move things around and create to make it work so that's good.  My biggest gripe against the photo and maybe this is the teacher's fault, is that she didn't know where it came from.  Hence the name, 'Orange Tree Lake.'  To my knowledge, Orange Tree Lake does not exist. I like to have some sort of attachment to my subjects so next time I'm bringing my own photos.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


11" x 14" Oil on Canvas
Commissioned - Sold

This is Miles.  He's a Corgi/Lab mix and although I've been staring at his face for the last month, I wasn't able to meet him until today when I delivered his portrait to his owner.  He's a good dog and luckily, he looks a lot like his painting. 

Happy anniversary!

Friday, January 14, 2011

'The Beltway II'

8" x 10" Oil on Gallery Wrapped HD Canvas

Back by popular demand...Believe it or not, there was a little buzz surrounding this painting at the Marriott Craft Show.  More than one person wanted it and I felt bad that I couldn't give it to both, so I offered to re-paint it.  It took a little while to build up the motivation to try it again, but I had some meetings yesterday that required me to drive the beltway in its entirety and I came home inspired.  This one may be uglier than the original...

The photo makes it look a little more yellow than it is in person - not sure why.  Sorry this took so long - hope it brightens your workspace.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

'Nighttime In the Valley'

11" x 14" Oil on Gallery Wrapped HD Canvas

I had a hard time photographing this painting - it's looks much cooler in person. Either way, I really like this one. And, it's 100% original. I did a painting a few months back called, 'In the Valley,' which was a landscape that I created. 'Nighttime in the Valley' is the same landscape, night. It's a simple landscape, but to me it is reminiscent of the landscapes that I grew up with in the Shenandoah Valley. Hope you like.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Mandarin Teapot'

8" x 10" Oil on Canvas Panel

For those of you who thought I'd gone crazy're probably right, but I'm returning to sanity today with a good ole-fashioned still life of mandarin oranges and my green teapot.  I like the contrast of the orange against the green and I think leaving some visible brush strokes makes a painting look more alive.  What do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

'Empty Mind'

16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas

Even as an "artist," I struggle to understand some abstract art.  The 20' x 20' blank canvas hanging in the museum of modern art is a mystery to me.  But, if you've read my previous posts, you know that I struggle with the idea of originality.  I do most of my work from photo references and while I do not simply copy photos, when you work from photo references as opposed to observing nature, or working from the mind, it's tough feel like you've created an original work.

I do a lot of reading on the subject (art) and I know that no matter how accomplished the artist, just about every artist, even abstract artists, use photo references.  This knowledge helps me to invalidate, or confront the negative feelings I have about using photos -

The point of this rambling is that pondering the idea of originality has had an unforeseen yet positive effect on my outlook in that it has lead me to a better understanding, or appreciation of abstract art.  While  there are limitless ideas and reasons for creating art, maybe some of those abstract artists have had the same thoughts I've had about what it means to create original artwork.  (Does that mean it's not original?)

So, with that weirdness in mind, I decided to try something new (new for me anyway).  And that was to see what would happen if I just painted without thinking (or while thinking as little as possible).   I did think about the colors that I wanted to use beforehand - earth tones, however the turquoise was a spontaneous decision as was everything else including the strange patterns.

I think it is well balanced, the color scheme works and could fit in just about anywhere.  It's tough to tell from the photo, but there are some really interesting patterns going on and while you may not want to hang it on your wall, I like it.  My first original painting!