Playing with Paint

Most of my time is spent sketching or drawing. I don’t consider myself a painter, but I certainly like the idea! The idea of having the whole world of colors to play with is intoxicating.

Here are a few paintings that I’ve created over the past couple of years. Each of them are painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints. All but the abstract boxes and landscapes are subjects or concepts that I’ve been repeating (exploring in depth) throughout much of my artistic life.

(Click on the title for more details about each of the paintings/series.)

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil

While enjoying a cabin in the California mountains, I decided to monkey around with some paints. The Hear/See/Speak concept is a concept that continues to capture my attention (like the triptych featuring Ashley). This was a fun painting to work on and was a good way to ease back into acrylics, since I hadn’t used them in some time prior to this.

The colors don’t look right in the image – it’s an emerald green background and a yellowish-brown fur and face.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil  is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics. It was completed in 2015.

Abstract Boxes

There is some abstract art that really captures my attention, that intrigues me and draws me in. Most of it, however, I just don’t understand. Maybe that’s the analytic side of my brain coming out, or a lack in my artistic education, or… -shrugs- Whatever the reason, I generally prefer representational art, and that is definitely what I make most often.

In an attempt to further my understanding, sometimes I try my hand(s) at making abstract work. Abstract Boxes is such a piece, playing with the golden ratio and a variety of colors.

It is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics.

Flying Birds

This is yet another of the recurring images that I draw, a series of (generally 3) stylized birds flying up from the left. Their tails, like ghosts, Chinese dragons, or visual after-images, show the paths they’ve traveled to arrive.

For a long time I’ve thought that this might make an interesting letterhead, or a water-marked set of stationery, though I haven’t pursued that concept yet.

Flying birds in color, with an experimental background and a version of my usual corner-framing. It’s painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics.

Simple Landscapes

While working on the cityscapes and sunset trees I also wanted to experiment with some simple landscapes. Though I might sketch some scenery while out and about, I definitely don’t paint them very often. It was fun to quickly create these two pieces, especially since they represent real places in Washington that I have fond memories of.

This is the watchtower on Mount Freemont in Mount Rainier National Park. Ashley and I hiked out there with Jackie and Mikel. This view was photographed in the rare few clear moments when we could see. It’s not a detailed “accurate” depiction of the scene, which I had to consciously be ok with. I can tend to focus on the details and struggle to achieve a loose, flowing style.Using the same basic palette I also tried to capture the feeling of our time spent at Lake Crescent. On one of our visits we stopped for an early morning coffee break to enjoy the view and lucked into perfectly still water. The mirrored mountains only magnified the beauty of the location.

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Sunset Trees

I suppose they could be Sunrise Trees, if you prefer that time of day!

Another of the subjects that I draw regularly are trees, specifically in front of sunset. Here are a few paintings in that vein from a bit of colorful playtime.

The first two combine a few recurring subjects – the borders (specifically the corners), the trees in front of the sun, and that specific way of drawing a sun with the lined “rays” radiating out from them. Of course, I normally do all of these things in a drawing – so this is the colored version of that concept. Additionally, the rounded branches was a new style that I was playing with.

In the above I was playing with texture, using angular hatched lines to fill in the background. And while both of these are acrylic paintings, below I was experimenting with the medium, pursuing a looser, more watercolor-like feel. Along with that looseness I also varied the borders – not sure which I like more, but the varying widths certainly give drastically different feelings to the paintings!Finally, this unique tree was painted at the same time as the orange-skied cityscape and was yet another experiment. I find the delicate, bare branches of trees beautiful and fascinating as they are silhouetted by the sky – and that’s generally how I portray them. Adding leaves is relatively rare, and these stylized, swirls of foliage was an experiment in color and style.

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Cityscapes

There are a few subjects or themes that I find myself returning to over and over. When I’m bored and supposed to be listening I doodle box stacks or swirls. Nothing coming to mind? I’ll make sunset-silhouetted trees. Have a bit of color or a blank paper coffee cup? Cityscapes it is!

I’ve thought about spending a bit of focus drawing real cityscapes that I’ve encountered. Until then, however, here are a few playful paintings, done where I was primarily just having fun with my paint supplies. I do love the contrasting colors and different size/shapes of the buildings and windows!

These two blue-skies were painted simultaneously, side-by-side. So they could function as a diptych (a two-part painting) or equally well as individual works.

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Old Portraits

My focus while in art school was figurative work, which built on a few years of working as a portrait artist. Here are a few blasts from the past:

The superhero was drawn with chalk on black paper in 2011. Entering it into the 2012 National Arts Program netted me a Best of Show award.

A friend posted this picture as her facebook profile image. I thought it would be great fun to recreate with some charcoal in 2010.

Another facebook profile image, Bethany has really bright blue eyes, and she happened to be wearing a matching dress. Charcoal and pastel in 2010.

My wife modeled while I explored a new take on an old concept. This triptych was painted on canvas with acrylic in 2010.