Just Popped This Mini Abstract…

I just popped this mini abstract into a fun, silver metal frame and love it! This’ll be a hint at another blog post to come about my mini abstracts that I mount for original artcards.

I haven’t been liking much of what I’m doing in my studio since the lockdown started nearly 2 weeks ago, but loved this mini so much that I just had to share today! And, the cool colors remind me of the now-closed Oregon coast beaches that I love so much.

I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!

Mini David Castle Abstract (Oil and metallic silver watercolor)
Mini David Castle Abstract (Oil and metallic silver watercolor)

Artist Intermission: Anxiety and Depression

I’m in a bit of an “artist intermission” full of anxiety, and the familiar depression that I’ve battled for many years. Nope, not a glamorous star here bringing awareness to those of us who live with depression and anxiety. And, I don’t have the resources to completely “take time off” to check in to a place of wellness to work on myself. Although I’m happy for those creatives who can work on their own wellness with time off and a dedicated (even inspirational) place to do it.

For me, I’m still here – in my home studio which has sat empty and alone for the past several weeks, just waiting for me to come back. I’ll admit that I’m acutely struggling right now.

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Not much going on here lately…

Meanwhile, some of you have asked what I do with myself?

Well, I sleep a lot. I’ve worked on office chores such as household budgeting and financial actuals. I sit in my green leather studio chair and pet studio cat Stan. I managed to finally update my website with snapshots from my Arctic Circle Expedition. I take pills and go to talk therapy. I attempt to help myself with hard-to-crack wellness workbooks. And, I generally try to get back into things I’ve enjoyed in days gone by like gardening… one weed pulled at a time.

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I’ve had this self-help workbook for months… I’m on page 18. ¬†ūüė¶

I miss painting my abstracts… I really do. Hopefully a new and inspirational project will come along for me soon. In the meantime, I’ll just try to tread water.

And a big thank-you to my husband, Steve, who through it all, helps and loves me lots.

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Icy Inspirations

I’ve always been inspired by anything water – rain, puddles, the Pacific. And the frozen water of the arctic circle didn’t disappoint me in how it all inspired my paintings made onboard the ship and once I returned to my Portland studio.

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Arctic sunset behind the tall ship Antiqua.
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Flat icebergs in front of the glacier at Blomstrandbreen.
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Icy blues and greens near Ny-Alesund.
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Setting up a safe perimeter among the ice.

 

 

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 3

Daunted by the experience itself and the 900 snapshots I took on the Expedition, I’ve clearly taken several months off from blogging more about my trip. Today I finally finished going through all of my snapshots, pulling out the better ones for publishing here on my blog and posting on my website.

The good news is that in the meantime, I completed the last larger commissions for my Kickstarter backers in late February, so everyone now has their arctic abstracts – over 80 that I painted – all inspired by my time in the ice and cold of the arctic circle.

Preparing for the Expedition, I had thought I’d be able to possibly paint on a table set up on the outside deck of the ship. But after two failed attempts to paint in the cold, snow and wind, I set up a makeshift studio on my bunkbed in my shared cabin. ¬†Tight quarters for sure, but I made it work and at least was out of the extreme elements!

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Tight painting quarters on the bunkbed in my shared cabin.
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Yes, for this hot-blooded guy, I did actually feel cold for most of the trip!
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Our first glacier hike.
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The glacier at Esmarkbreen.

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 2

By the way, I had two very simple goals for my time on the Antigua in the Arctic Circle…

  1. Soak up the frozen landscape: I was mainly looking forward to seeing glaciers and lots of ice and was certainly not disappointed!
  2. Paint my abstracts: I committed to painting smaller abstracts (12 x 12‚ÄĚ and smaller) for my Expedition Backers (from Kickstarter) and completed them just before the end of the trip.
    Now begins the project to get them all sealed with spray varnish/fixative and ready to ship out in November!

Here’s a snapshot from the ship as we departed a calm but cold fjord (Ymerbukta) on the second day.

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The water in this fjord was calm enough to start freezing… you can just see the thin frozen layer in this snapshot. Every day was a new opportunity to soak up the frozen landscape around Svalbard!

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The Antigua from a hike up to a glacier in Esmarkbreen.

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I’m still working through all of the over 800 snapshots I took with my little travel camera, so will have more to post soon!

 

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 1

Well, since my last post, I’ve been fully outfitted, made all of my preparations… and have actually GONE ON MY ARCTIC EXPEDITION!

Most folks are more interested in the actual trip and what I experienced while in the arctic circle than all of my preparations anyway. So in a multi-part series of posts, I’ll be sharing my most favorite images and observations of my travels in and around Svalbard (Norway) and the Arctic Circle.

I did have some fun trying to pack up all of my cold-weather gear and art supplies, but finally got everything down to a manageable size and packed up!

After a day and a half of travel, I arrived in Longyearbyen, Svalbard which is about 78 degrees (north) and 800 miles from the North Pole. I would spend the next 2 weeks aboard the tall ship Antigua, sailing the arctic circle around Svalbard, soaking in the frozen landscape and painting my abstracts.

Here’s a snapshot of the first glacier we visited… and, after a nice hike, that I actually got to touch!

And here’s me looking (and feeling) pretty darn cold (it was in the teens and 20’s most of the time throughout the Expedition).

Finally, here’s a snapshot of the tall ship Antigua that I spent 2 weeks on, along with 27 other artists, 4 guides and 7 crew!

My Arctic Circle Journey – Getting Outfitted

My Arctic Circle Expedition is still months away (I leave on September 28th, 2018), but I’m trying to take advantage of end-of-season sales to get myself better outfitted for the Arctic.

Some of you know me as the guy who wears shorts year-round (Denver, Columbus, Portland… doesn’t matter!). I’m usually warm, so I just don’t have much colder-weather gear in my closet. But, on a recent winter trip to Boise, I was reminded that I CAN actually get cold, so I need to be prepared for the Arctic by planning on more than shorts and tees for my wardrobe.

Trying on big, puffy jackets isn’t a whole lot of fun for me and I began to overheat in the snapshot below, but here I am hitting an end-of-season sale for warm outerwear that I just don’t have…

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While technically an “mid layer”, I’m calling this a “puffy layer”…

My dreams of icebergs coming true…

Nearly a year ago, I posted that I was accepted for a truly epic artist’s residency: The Arctic Circle 2018 Autumn Arts & Sciences Expedition in October, 2018.

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Me in my cozy, warm studio thinking about making art in the Arctic Circle. [photo: Mercy McNab]
Wow. I’m super excited as the super-long anticipation and lead time gets shorter… 18 months from when I was accepted has now shrunk to just 6 months. And, I’m thrilled to announce that after a month-long campaign on Kickstarter to raise the funds necessary to participate, I am fully funded!

A huge thank-you to those Backers on Kickstarter who pledged funds now to receive paintings of various sizes at the end of this year to help me get to the Arctic Circle. Now that I’m through the funding phase, I have lots of work to do to get organized, outfitted for the Arctic environment and experiment with how I’ll paint my abstracts on a ship in the middle of the Arctic Circle!

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Arctic Circle Environs. [photo: Risa Horowitz]
As a guy who generally likes to be well-prepared, I’m thinking this summer will go quickly and in no time I’ll be in the Arctic, soaking up the frozen inspirations and making art… somehow and of some sort!

Dog Days of Summer, 2017…

I think we’re officially into the dog days of summer here in Portland with temps expected to rival our all-time high of 107 this week. Even though it’s summer, this is one of my least-favorite times of the year. Heck, I’m hot if the temperature is above 65!

The good news is that my studio is air-conditioned and cool, so I’ve been working on larger and larger oil-and-metallic-watercolor abstracts. But, I think the psychological effect of the heat outside is impacting my success since I’ve recently failed at two attempts of a 52 x 52 inch original… each has clear process mistakes in them and the overall finished paintings just failed to come together. And, due to my unique process of layering oil paints and metallic watercolors, these aren’t “fixable”.

I must keep trying though, as I must finish a spectacular 52 x 52 inch painting for a special exhibit that starts in September… the dog days are ticking!

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My studio set up, ready to start another 52 x 52 inch original!

Arctic Circle Art & Science Residency: I’ve Been Invited!

After 2 months of anticipation, I just learned that I was one of a few artists chosen, out of hundreds of international applicants, for the 2018 Autumn Arctic Circle Residency Expedition!

As an artist primarily inspired by place and water, I’m sure this will prove to be the expedition of a lifetime and I couldn’t be more excited!

In October 2018, I’ll be traveling nearly 4,000 miles from my studio in Portland, Oregon to our port of call, Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Near the edge of the polar ice cap, Longyearbyen is a mere 600 miles south of the North Pole and is about the same distance north of the Norwegian mainland. And yes, it is truly the land of icebergs and polar bears!

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Portland, Oregon, USA to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway = 3702 miles

For nearly three weeks in October 2018, I will sail on an ice-class barkentine tallship, exploring the arctic region around the Svalbard archipelago. I’ll be joined by a small group of artists, educators and scientists for this once-in-a-lifetime residency program. Yes, I have nearly a year and a half to wait, prepare (and raise funds!), but that enables me to focus on other events already on my calendar for this coming autumn here in Portland.

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My home for nearly 3 weeks during the 2018 Arctic Circle Art & Science Residency

Stay tuned in the coming months for more info and thoughts as I prepare for this epic adventure! In the meantime, I’d love to hear from anyone who has traveled to this part of the Arctic – please share with me and my readers what you thought of your adventure!

I love them… I love them not…

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?

What do you think?

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“Tall Birch Trees – Summer, Autumn, Winter”; oil and metallic watercolor on panel (middle panel is 45×18″).

Painting the Sea and Sky Like This Calms My Nerves

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.

Sure wish we were there in No. 6, don’t you?

Thanks for looking and for supporting my art!

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“Oregon Coast Sea and Sky No. 6”, oil and metallic watercolor on panel, 12 x 12 inches, $400 (available on my website).

TBT: “Purple Day”

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!

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“Purple Day”, watercolor, 18 x 18″, 2005. Fine art reproduction prints available at http://www.DavidCastleArt.com

I Painted the Orlando 49 – Into the Light

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.

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“The Orlando 49 – Into the Light”, oil and metallic watercolor, 12 x 12 inches.

Why Do I Love to Paint Trees? Here’s a Hint.

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?

 

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Large trees (aspen or birch?) are in progress in my studio (oil and metallic watercolor).

When In Doubt… I Return To Squares

“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.

Wet watercolor "elemental" squares.
Wet watercolor “elemental” squares.

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.

Following a 20 Year Dream: Moving to Portland, OR!

I’m following a 20-year dream and moving to Portland, Oregon!

I’ve soaked up lots of inspiration on my many trips and painting sojourns to Oregon over the years and am finally making the move in June. So, I’ll be closing my Columbus studio at the end of May and need your help to lighten my moving truck.

Through the end of May, all of my original art is available for 40 – 75% off regular prices.

  • Purchase online at DavidCastleArt.com and use Savings Code “PDX” at checkout to instantly save 40%.
  • Visit my Columbus Studio on Saturday, May 23rd (9am – 5pm) to browse hundreds of paintings at 40-75% savings.
  • Contact me to schedule a private Studio visit anytime through May 28th.
"May Flowers", watercolor and acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 inches, $300 regular price ($180 after 40% savings!).
“May Flowers”, watercolor and acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 inches, $300 regular price ($180 after 40% savings!).

Daniel Smith Continues Breaking My Heart…

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.

My acrylic drawer filled with now obsolete Daniel Smith Acrylics.
My acrylic drawer filled with now obsolete Daniel Smith Acrylics.

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!

Save Me From Destruction: “Fossils No. 2”

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", watercolor on paper mounted on canvas, 36 x 36", Regular Price $1,600.
“Fossils No. 2″, watercolor on paper mounted on canvas, 36 x 36”, Regular Price $1,600.

“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!

"Fossils No. 2" - scheduled for destruction on May 15th, 2014 UNLESS someone saves it!
“Fossils No. 2” – scheduled for destruction on May 15th, 2014 UNLESS someone saves it!

Musical Studios…

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!

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My move at 400 West Rich from upstairs to downstairs.
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Larger space on the ground floor.