Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reynolda House Daytrip

Today I took a day trip to my favorite museum of American art, Reynolda House. Located in Winston-Salem, NC, Reynolda House (pictured above) has become a treasured visitation experience for me. I try to go at least once a year, and this was my first visit during the holiday season. The current exhibit (which closes tomorrow) is "Virtue, Vice, Wisdom & Folly: The Moralizing Tradition in American Art." It includes a large canvas by Thomas Cole. In addition to the museum wing, the site also encompasses the home of the R. J. Reynolds family (of tobacco fame). The highlight of this visit was listening to Christmas music played on the mansion's original Aeolian organ. What a treat!

Back in the studio, yesterday I worked for three hours on a large canvas I began in August. The painting depicts two Victorian-era mansions overlooking a seaside cliff. Called "Mansions by the Sea," the painting has been a difficult piece for me. Its large scale and unusual subject matter have proven challenging. I believe it is finished, but will await a final verdict after the paint has dried from this session.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Glow

Every holiday season I create a visual image, usually an oil painting, to reproduce as a special Christmas card I send to family members. This tradition dates back to 1995, and each year I look forward to making the next edition in the series.

Shown above is this year's Christmas card. It depicts my living room tree lit before the huge, curved bay window in my house. The hardwood floors create a nice reflection, and I always try to fill the tree with as many lights as possible. This canvas also displays a painting within a painting: Tinam Valk's "Stairway I" seen in the distant right-hand side.

"Holiday Glow." Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Completed November 2010.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ambassador Theater Commission

I recently completed this commissioned piece depicting the former Ambassador Theater once located in Downtown Raleigh (NC). The theater opened in 1938 as the city's premiere movie house and remained in operation until 1979. Located at 115 Fayetteville Street, in the heart of Raleigh's commercial district, the theater hosted major first-run features as well as live acts. In February 1956 Elvis Presley gave a standing-room-only performance inside the Ambassador. Sadly, the theater was demolished to make way for -- yes, you guessed it -- a parking lot.

The patron of this painting was the wife of a local resident who has a strong attachment to theatrical venues. It was a surprise gift for his birthday, and the subject matter was very appropriate. I enjoyed creating this piece, in part because I, too, have a strong affinity for lost architecture in Raleigh.

"The Ambassador at Night." Oil on stretched linen, 18 x 24 inches. Completed November 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From the Archives: Poinsettia

Continuing the theme from recent weeks, here is another older work created with the holidays in mind. I painted this small canvas from life, using a live poinsettia as my subject. Once completed, I used the piece as the cover of my personalized Christmas cards for 1998.

This work was done while I was living in Columbus, Ohio. Each holiday season I would buy several live poinsettias from the greenhouses at The Ohio State University. The proceeds helped their student groups, and the plants were always inexpensive and spectacular.

"Poinsettia." Oil on canvas paper, 16 x 16 inches. Completed November 1998.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From the Archives: Addie Under the Tree

As the holidays approach, I thought I'd post some works that were completed as studies or created just for fun (and practice). This holiday-themed study was produced one afternoon after I had worked on a very large canvas. I still had quite a bit of paint left on my pallet, so - for personal enjoyment - I pulled out a sheet of canvas paper and quickly sketched out this painting of my cat, Adelaide ("Addie" for short) laying under my family room Christmas tree. I didn't really care how the final product would end up, but simply wanted to enjoy the experience and capture a quick moment in time.

This past week I was the lucky winning eBay bidder on a small gem of a painting by Detroit artist Stephen Magsig. Entitled "Brush Park View II," the painting arrived on Wednesday and is now a prized part of my small but growing collection of works by artists I admire. Please be sure to visit Stephen's great daily painter blog, Postcards From Detroit.

"Addie Under the Tree." Oil on canvas paper, 9 x 12 inches. Completed December 2007.