Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kanlica Village

Kanlica Village
5" x 7" oil on board
$60 plus shipping

I could not get a good photo of this painting to save my life. That aside, I really like the painting. The village of Kanlica is one of the stops along the Bosphorus Strait ferry tour my wife and I took last year when we visited Istanbul, Turkey. The Bosphorus Strait runs between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea and separates Europe from Asia.  So, even though I only spent a brief time in Asia, I can say I have at least stepped foot on the Asian continent. One of these days, I hope to spend some more time there.

The Bosphorus tour was amazing.  The final stop was the village of A. Kavagi, where the Bosphorus empties into the Black Sea. Yoros Castle, built in the 15th century, overlooks the Black Sea on a hill rising behind A. Kavagi.  The tour gave us enough time to explore the village on our own and climb to the top of the hill to explore the castle.

We stopped at a little fish restaurant on the way down the hill and ate whole grilled fish and drank Efes, Turkey's most widely distributed beer. Everything was so beautiful, we could not put our cameras down. Any time I'm touring a new city that has any kind of waterfront, I make a point to see the city by water. I always see sights that would have been impossible to see otherwise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Got One?

Got One?
5" x 7" oil on board
Sold

I've been trying to paint outdoors as much as possible lately, but the last couple of weeks have been ridiculously cold.  This image is from our trip out west a few years back.  The scene is Echo Lake near the base of Mt. Evans, outside of Denver, Co.

Strange Path II

Strange Path II
8 &1/2" x 11" watercolor on paper
$50 plus shipping

Last Sunday, Sarah said she was bored so I convinced her to do some watercolor painting with me.  Getting started, I didn't have the most serious of intentions.  I was going to give Sarah some pointers and have a beer or two while painting leisurely. However, I wound up really liking the painting.

Sarah's painting turned out nicely as well.  Here are the suggestions I gave her:

1. Draw out the scene very lightly before starting.
2. Use only three colors to keep things simple:  red, blue, and yellow.
3. Paint in shadow areas first.
4. Move colors around. Don't limit a color to one spot.

Here it is:

Top O' the Dryer

Top O' the Dryer
8" x 10" oil on board
$70 plus shipping

All I can say is sometimes I want to paint a still-life subject, but when I try to arrange the still-life it looks "arranged," and I don't like it at all. So every now and then I'll see something, similar to the way I saw the hammer and nail sets on my desk (see previous post), and I have to paint it because it's arranged in a perfectly un-arranged way.  With this one, I loved the way the dryer sheets were positioned perfectly, from a compositional and complementary standpoint, next to the blue bucket and green shirt.  Yeah, kinda weird.

Hammer and Nail Sets

Hammer and Nail Sets
5" x 7" oil on board
$50 plus shipping

A piece of my travel easel popped off, so I had to put a tiny nail in it to keep the paint tray from sliding out and spilling all of my supplies. I left my hammer and nail sets sitting on my desk, and one day, as I walked past, I realized that I liked the way they were arranged. They were actually sitting on a blue towel that was covering my desk at the time. I used ivory black, red, and yellow ochre, so I wasn't able to make a true blue. The result looks a bit like plywood or something you'd find on a worksite.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 1st

February 1st
8" x 10" oil on board
$70 plus shipping

February 1st. Quite possibly the worst day of the year. Not only is February 1st the dregs of winter, my least favorite time of year, but it's also the day my mom passed away, 18 years ago.

I have tried not use my mom's death as a reason to hold back from enjoying the good things in my life. However, not a day goes by that my mom or her death doesn't cross my mind in some form. And although I've tried not to let if affect me negatively, I know that her death, and the chain of events that followed, have forever changed my life and my view of the world; in many ways for the better.

Because of my mom's death and my dad's a few years later, I spent a lot of time thinking about the point of life and what was really important and worthwhile.  I ruled a lot of things out; an obsession with staying busy, relentlessly staring at screens, blind consumerism and inactivity. Many people seem to think these things are the point of life. Ultimately, it was my mom who helped me find the truth.

An excerpt from a journal that she wrote as she was dying is framed by my bedside, and I read it often. My favorite line is this: "Every day of life has something good and valuable in it. Sometimes you have to look hard to find it, but it's there." This line may have been what spawned my love of painting, and my obsession with trying to see the beauty in life. I don't always succeed in finding it, and I often lose my way, but I've been able to return to this, and I've been happier for it.

With that in mind, I attempted to honor my mom today by braving the extreme cold and painting outside. Man was it cold. I think I may have been close to hypothermia. The wind blew harder and harder off the frozen lake as I painted. And, although the painting is pretty true to the colors and values of this cold, dreary day by Lake Fairfax, I'm not sure I captured the beauty of the scene. But at least I tried.