I am a painter

Sometimes it’s a curse, and other times it’s a blessing. If I don’t do it, I feel guilty. I promised grandma I’d never stop painting, but I have, over and over. Life gets busy, my day job can be a challenge. When I force myself to paint, it often doesn’t work. If paintings were measured like wood, you could say I have a chord of bad paintings.

But I also have a house full of good paintings, even some that I love.  And I’ve sold over 60 paintings both in galleries and to friends.  One of the beautiful things about being a painter is that I can always make another painting, and it is usually better than the last one.

I love to paint outside. I have cameras, and they are fun, but there is something about capturing an image the hard way that floats my boat. I can’t explain it, other than it is an itch I have to scratch. I am working my way through painting all the pretty things within driving range of Tacoma. I’m like any tourist with a camera…except my camera is a 30 pound backpack full of paints and canvases with a 3 hour shutter speed. And yes, there are a lot of paintings of rock climbing areas. I typically take climbing vacations, but bring my easel for rest days.

I prefer painting nature untouched by man, but some buildings are so darn pretty I make exceptions. Painting on location in the city has turned out to be easier than I had feared. An artist working on the sidewalk is so unusual most people walk by as if I were invisible. This works to my advantage and allows me to concentrate on the painting.

When a painting is going well people stop and take my picture with their iPhones. It’s funny how they seem to feel that I’m doing something special, when really I’m just capturing an image using older, slower technology.

Turban Squash Thanksgiving 2016

Turban Squash Thanksgiving 2016

Van Gogh wasn’t the only one to enjoy painting sunflowers and still lifes. Did you know he only sold one painting while he was alive? Still lifes are fun to paint when it’s raining or dark outside. I like to set up my still life inside a big cardboard box, like a little lit stage. As long as I’m not painting raw fish or fresh flowers, I can work on the painting for a couple days in a row

Painting people from life is a magical genre. When a portrait rises up off the canvas and starts to breath, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I usually start in monotone to get the main features and values correct without worrying about color. Once I have a likeness I begin to ease in the color, being careful not to break the value scheme. Two of my favorite saying about portraiture are:

“Any color will work if the value is correct.” – unknown

“A portrait is: a likeness in which there is something wrong about the mouth” – John Singer Sargent

You can see a lot more of my paintings on my main website.