I love my art-making process – it’s my favorite part of being an artist. And, I’ve worked for more than 12 years now to hone the processes I use to make art.
We had record October rain here in Portland. I thought alot about my process as the rain came down and I painted several new originals for my Pacific Rains Series. You might have noticed that I now mount my original paintings onto “cradled” wood panels. I love both the process and the finished result and have shared snapshots of both below.
All original paintings on my website are mounted on panel like this with crisp, finished
edges. Check out what’s available to add to your collection
by clicking here ==> www.davidcastleart.com.
For the last month and a half, I’ve been working on a large commission triptych project for a client’s office. Today I’ll apply the final coat of varnish, so the project is nearly complete. And, my client loves these paintings, so… yay!
However, the last week of finishing these paintings up has me stuck between loving them… and not loving them. In general, I love my birch tree paintings and, with this particular set, think I captured (from left to right) a solid feeling of Summer, Autumn and Winter. In fact, I wish I was sitting smack in the middle of the Autumn panel right now!
So why am I sometimes feeling that “I love them not”? Is there something wrong with my composition across these 3 panels? Is it just my usual feeling of depression that I experience whenever I finish a painting?
This year has been a struggle for me as I live my artist’s life with ongoing depression and rising anxiety. Some might say I’m just another “tortured” artist, but it has taken me 20+ years to become accustomed to what “normal” feels like for me. And how I feel has changed alot this year for me.
So, as I work to get back to my own normal, one of my trusty therapies is my painting process. And besides trees, the sea and sky is one of my most favorite subjects. Painting the expansive sea and the ever-changing sky along with a nice, crisp horizon line holding them together almost always calms my nerves.
See what you think (and feel) with my latest sea and sky painting below. It’s titled No. 6 but is the only larger sea and sky painting to date that I’ve completely finished and mounted on panel. Click the painting or the link below to view it on my website.
One of my all-time, most favorite paintings I’ve made is “Purple Day”. Finished back in 2005 and sold right here in Portland at the Art in the Pearl festival, I miss this painting every time I think of it.
As an artist, I have many of my own paintings that I rotate on my own walls at home and a few – maybe five – that I consider in my “permanent” collection… “Purple Day” would have been a fine addition to that collection!
The horrific events in Orlando have taken over my creative process in my studio since it happened nearly two weeks ago. As an artist, I paint what I’m thinking and feeling – first I paint in my mind (often while I’m supposed to be sleeping!) and then, ready or not, I put paint to paper in my studio.
As a gay American, tragedies like Orlando impact me deeply. My own family has rejected me on this “issue” and I’m saddened that hate and anything but complete acceptance, still fills many people on this planet.
So, I paint. And then I paint more as I process what happened in Orlando and the 49 young people who died. The painting below, one of my Pacific Northwest Rains series, is one that I finished this week. I’m conveying the lives of 49 colorful people (as the stripes on the bottom) who are being transported through a black line into whatever silvery “light” is above and next for them.
I’ll never forget what happened in Orlando and will be painting many more as I try to make sense of people like the shooter… and my own family.
Have you ever seen rain streaming dramatically down a window like it does in the movies? In those fat, silvery rivulets? I could sit in my comfy studio armchair and watch rain rivulets all day here in Portland.
Instead, I started a new series of oil and metallic watercolors called Pacific northwest rains. Water – especially rain – makes me feel cool, calm and balanced. Do you feel the rain in these abstractions, like the new one below?
I feel like a caterpillar.
After 12 years of my artist career, I’ve kicked off 2016 by examining everything I do:
Why do I paint?
What do I hope to share with you, through my art?
How do my inspirations guide what I put on paper?
Why do I love painting trees?
As I “metamorphosis” on these questions and more, I will share my discoveries with you this year. Right now, I can share a bit about those trees I love to paint so much.
As I travel my life’s path, I create idyllic places for me to “hide” — to keep me safe, and to belong — and all of these places always have trees. Trees that shelter, that protect, and that cool. Evergreens and aspens from the mountains of my native Colorado, and towering hardwoods in the forests of southern Belgium. Trees that have trunks with those crisp lines that I love.
How could I not paint these trees, in those idyllic places?
I’m continuing my quest to master mixing oil and watercolors successfully and just might have a new series emerging: winter aspens. Or winter birch. I’m a bit torn since I love the aspen trees of my native Colorado in winter, but also love the birch found in the Pacific Northwest where I’ve spent many months painting in the winter over the last decade (and now live).
Here are two of my most recent winter trees – layers of oil paint (I use oil sticks such as Winsor & Newton Oilbars), followed by layers of watercolor paint (some traditional paints along with my own mix of metallic pigment powders). At just the right time, I scrape the tree shapes out with an old favorite tool: pieces of cut up credit cards.
I’m loving these early results… what do you think?
I’m finally calling my experimentation from the last month or so a success! I’ve experimented with various methods of making oil paint and watercolor mix and love my results. I mix layers of oil paint (using oilsticks such as Winsor & Newton Oilbars) and metallic and traditional watercolors, working on paper and then I’ve mounted the paper onto cradled panel. More about my techniques another day…
“up/down, up/down, up/down”… is a funny saying we’ve had around the house for a decade now, coined by me on our honeymoon when my husband kept playing with the rental car’s controls for raising and lowering the convertible top repeatedly. Again and again – until he blew an electrical fuse and we were forced to drive around with the top stuck in the “down” position, sweltering in the Hawaiian heat.
Well, “up/down, up/down, up/down” is what I’ve been doing with my creative process in my studio lately. I thought I was on to something new and good with mixing oil paints and watercolor, but after lots of experimenting and thinking that I love what I’ve spent the last 3 weeks painting (up), the last few days I’m frustrated and angry with my results (down).
Instead of destroying paintings that I might love again tomorrow, I’ve been going back to my most basic and comforting work – painting my “elemental” squares. But even those aren’t going so swell… but there’s always tomorrow to turn things around.
I’m still getting settled into my new studio space on the northwestern edge of Portland’s Pearl District. My space is small – about 1/4 the size of my studio in Columbus (and more expensive!). For now, I’m making it work!
I’ve had several of my new Metallic Squares series paintings accepted into well-respected, national juried exhibitions recently. I’m super-excited that my latest watercolor and oil paintings are receiving some attention and it gets my heart rate going in my studio to keep on exploring my Metallic Squares and painting more!
As a followup to my last post about my crumbling love affair with Daniel Smith paints, I’m sad to say that Daniel Smith has definitely discontinued their entire acrylic paint line. I’ve primarily used Daniel Smith acrylic paints (along with their watercolor paints) since the “beginning” for me over 10 years ago. The last time I visited their website to order acrylic, I noticed all of them appearing on web pages that contained “discontinued” in the title.
Well, after a few emails to them, I was told they were discontinued, but they failed to respond with any additional info. I couldn’t even find an official note from them to their customers and fans (lovers) to explain the what, why, when, etc.
I guess I could go on and on about my breaking heart, but seems I should just move on and start filling up my acrylic drawer with paints that are going to stay around!
I’ve long been a huge fan of Daniel Smith paints – so many reasons to love: made in the USA, ultra-fine quality, superb colors… I’ve really been in love since the beginning of my professional art career with my first big order in 2002 of watercolors and acrylics. I’ve even written several blog posts describing my love, including this post titled “I Heart Daniel Smith” here.
Well, I guess with any such love affair lasting over a decade, there’s bound to be some heartache. And lately, Daniel Smith is just plain breaking my heart!
I recently discovered that Daniel Smith discontinued one of my favorite products — metallic watercolor dry pigments. And I’m completely devastated. Dramatic? Sure, but I use a variety of metallic paints in most of my paintings – almost all exclusively Daniel Smith products.
I’ve stocked all of the metallic watercolor pigment colors (silver, pale gold, Egyptian gold, copper…) in my studio and have actually been using them rather sparingly over the past several years. So, now that I’ve started a new Metallic Squares series which requires heavy use of the Daniel Smith metallic watercolor pigments, I went to http://www.danielsmith.com to order up a bunch, only to discover they aren’t anywhere to be found. But, oh joy, in an email exchange with one of their Sales people, I was told I could special order the metallic watercolor pigments by the pound, and would I like a price quote? After putting my heart back in my chest, I replied “absolutely”!
The next email from Daniel Smith was the first “Dear John” from them. Apparently after checking with their production team, the Sales person informed me that they had been discontinued “a long time ago” and were no longer available.
Now heartbroken, I’m not sure if I should pursue my love any further with Daniel Smith? Or should I put my heart back out there with a Canadian lead I have for a new love?
It was kinda quiet around here at David Castle Art (and Chop Shop Wear) over the frantic Black-Thursday-Small-Biz-Saturday-Cyber-Monday shopping weekend.
Now that we’ve all survived the last few days, I decided to share some love with my fans and collectors who make a purchase from David Castle Art or Chop Shop Wear through the end of December. For everyone making a purchase, choose one of my mini fine art prints as your gift from me (while supplies last – I have about 50 of these mini prints in stock!).
Just visit www.DavidCastleArt.com and www.ChopShopWear.com (my one-of-a-kind pocket wear fashion site!) to browse lots of great gift options for those on your list. After you purchase, I’ll then be in touch to give you a choice of a free mini print (see a glimpse of some below)!
And, if you’re not on my very-occasional email list, be sure to sign up using the link on the top of my homepage!
For the last several months I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with this Fossils painting still hanging around my studio. So, I’ve decided that I will schedule this painting for destruction-by-saw on May 15th, 2014 UNLESS someone saves it first by naming your best price.
I know that was a rather abrupt announcement, so let me briefly try to explain what’s going on here. Over my 13-year art career, I’ve destroyed very few of my original paintings. It’s not that I’m so good that nearly every original I’ve painted is perfect, but I’m a sentimental and nostalgic guy at heart and like to hang on. And maybe someday I’ll do something with the pile of paintings I have in storage that have never been seen by anyone.
“Fossils No. 2” is an exception that has become rather glaring over the last several months. I really like this painting – one of the largest of my Fossils Series that I ever painted. It has many great “fossil” shapes that I created with the polished Oregon beach stones that I used. And, tons of glowing gold and copper metallics in with the purples and reds.
The feeling I have with Fossils No. 2 is like a bubble inside that just wants this painting to finally be free from me. To escape the captivity it has endured for years in my studio or locked away in storage. I saw only two solutions: destruction-by-saw or someone will save it by naming your best price to purchase it. So, if you’d love to have this painting, comment here or email me before the destruction date of May 15th, 2014!
Many of you will remember my fun Flapjack events in my studio in Denver, and now that I’ve settled into an awesome new studio space here in Columbus, I’ll be hosting my first Open Studio and Flapjack giveaway!
On Saturday, April 26th (11am – 2pm), come tour my new studio at the 400 West Rich building in the Franklinton Arts District just across the river from downtown Columbus. There will be many open artist’s studios and a fun Farmer’s Market going on and if you stop by my studio, each visitor will get to choose their favorite “Flapjack” mini abstract to start your David Castle Art collection. All I ask for in return is for each recipient to sign up for my very-occasional art email list. So, bring your family, kids and friends!
Event: David Castle Open Studio
When: Saturday, April 26th, 11am-2pm
Where: 400 West Rich Street, Columbus, Ohio
And for my fans outside of the Columbus area, be sure to watch my blog here or my David Castle Art page on Facebook, because I’ll be giving away a few Flapjacks online through the end of April, too!
I just hung over 25 paintings in the Brownlee Exhibition Hall at First Community Church in Grandview Heights (Columbus), Ohio. Like many progressive churches, First Community has a great art program and embraces artists in the Columbus area. Their Exhibition Hall is quite a large space (so my studio walls feel rather empty!), and I used one wall to hang a preview batch of paintings from my new series called “Rama”.
One of my most favorite science fiction novels is Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. My new series of abstractions, begun in early 2014, is based on Clarke’s vivid descriptions of Rama, a massive, cylindrical spaceship that purposefully enters our solar system. Inside Rama is a landscape of zoo-like plots from different alien species – no aliens are present, just plots of their very different and bizarre landscapes.
I imagine such a massive spaceship must have an impressive operations center to monitor and control the thousands of alien landscapes (like watering the grass on the Earth Plot or lighting plutonium lanterns on Planet Z’s plot). Imagining these operations centers and the variety of control panels, monitoring panels, and power grids is the inspiration for my Rama Series. The shapes, colors and textures from these thousands of alien landscapes are what I’ve painted.
Part of getting settled into my new studio at 400 West Rich is unpacking my archived artwork that I last saw when I packed it up for our move from Denver to Columbus two years ago. I have quite a few wonderful paintings in my archives – many haven’t been introduced to the public.
So, here’s one from my Jewels Series: “Jewel People No. 3”, watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 inches (unmatted/unframed). Regular price is $800, but I’ll offer this up for Name Your Best Price! Just comment here or email me with your Best Price offer and I’ll let you know if I can accept your offer.
Back in January, I was excited and relieved to move my studio from our home basement to a studio space at 400 West Rich in Franklinton, just across the river from downtown Columbus. In a bit of musical studio maneuvering, I’ve now moved from my original studio upstairs to a larger space on the ground floor and am extremely happy. I’ll still be settling in over the next few weeks, but am set up enough to continue working on my new Rama Control Panel series – so look for snapshots of works in progress very soon!