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!

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

What in the World Has David Been Doing All Summer?

Summer is officially over and I know some of my art fans have been wondering what I’ve been up to since I haven’t been posting much new art around here.

Well, I’d like to introduce you to my latest, creative endeavor… Chop Shop Wear! Yes – I’ve taken my creative eye and applied it to a fashion idea that I’ve been percolating on for awhile. In a nutshell, Chop Shop Wear is a fashion “chop shop” where we acquire previously-owned men’s luxury-brand shirts and chop shop them (cut them up), re-purposing the material to make pockets for one-of-a-kind pocket shirts.

Some of you know that I’m most comfortable in shorts and tee shirts all year long. But, I also love me some luxurious, designer shirts, especially when I can buy previously-owned ones for a few dollars rather than spend hundreds for a new shirt. Case in point – I’ve had a long-sleeve Versace shirt in my closet for years that I purchased at a thrift store for $5. With a bit of research, I discovered that this shirt originally retailed for over $400! But, I rarely wore it until I started thinking about how to re-use the cool fabric on something I’d wear all the time – like a tee or polo shirt. How about cutting up my $400 Versace shirt and re-using the fabric to make pockets for some fun pocket tee shirts. Or pocket polo shirts. Or hoodies!

Chop Shop Wear - One-of-a-Kind Pocket Shirts!
Chop Shop Wear – One-of-a-Kind Pocket Shirts!

Fast forward through the summer… learning to sew, buying my first sewing machine, figuring out how to creatively “chop shop” luxury shirts and making pockets from the material, developing and testing prototype shirts, creating an initial Chop Shop Wear brand and logo… and officially launching Chop Shop Wear!

Whew! I invite you to check it all out – I’ve created an online store — — and stocked it with lots of great pockets to choose from. And just for being a blog reader of mine, please feel free to use a special savings code, “ChopFriend” at checkout to save 25% off your entire first order!

And that, my friends, is what I was up to this summer!

Chopping some previously-owned, designer shirt fabric into one-of-a-kind pockets.
Chopping some previously-owned, designer shirt fabric into one-of-a-kind pockets.

Met the Property Brothers, and… I’m Still on a Square Binge!

I’ve been painting squares like never before recently… which for me is saying alot!  I’m even doing a bit of collage application – here are some 1″ x 1″ squares that I’ve applied to a larger painting.  Incidently, I met the Property Brothers – Drew, Jonathan and JD Scott – this past weekend at a private meet and greet here in Columbus.  I’m a HUGE fan and presented them with some of my original artwork.  The painting below was one of them!

Steve and I with the very TALL Property Brothers.
Steve and I with the very TALL Property Brothers.
Collaged squares on a recent painting... now in the collection of the Property Brothers!
Collaged squares on a recent painting… now in the collection of the Property Brothers!

Percolation Complete: My Word(s) for 2013

I’ve been percolating on my list of words for the new year long enough… I’ve actually known which one is the winner for awhile, but spent some time considering a secondary word to choose, too.  So, considering that 2012 was mostly spent focusing on projects other than my art (moving to Ohio, career researching, caring for my Uncle Jack), I think the perfect primary word for 2013 is: ESTABLISH.  This relates to everything I’ve been planning for my art in the new year… more about how as I progress!

I’ve also decided on a secondary word that relates more directly to the art I will be creating: METALLIC. Many of my fans and collectors know that I’ve used metallic watercolors (and gouache and acrylic) for years, but I really want to explore the range of subtle-to-saturate with purpose.  More on that as I progress, too!

Meanwhile, here’s a just-finished painting in my latest “panes” elementals with some great metallics.

David Castle, "Pyrrol Autumn", watercolor on paper (canvas-mounted), 12 x 12 inches, $250.
David Castle, “Pyrrol Autumn”, watercolor on paper (canvas-mounted), 12 x 12 inches, $250.

2013 In A Word: The List

What will be my inspiration/guiding light/catalyst/focus for the New Year? I’ve done this exercise in past years and find that brainstorming The List is a pretty interesting process.  And maybe this year I’ll leave it at just that and glean from the process rather than the choice of a single word.  I’ll give myself a few days to percolate on that!


My Latest Studio Tool Addition – Asbestos Yard Stick

This summer, my cousins, their parents and I all cleaned out my 85-year-old Uncle Jack’s house.  One of my “finds” was this antique 36″ wooden yard stick, tucked away in his garage workshop (he had lived in the house for 50 years!).  I pulled it out in my studio to use and actually read some of the advertisement on one side – “Asbestos and Insulated Brick Siding”!  I included a snapshot of the other side with their phone number should anyone want to order some up in the Cleveland area!

Also, I tried to date this yard stick, but couldn’t find concrete info on when 4 digit phone numbers were in use in northern Ohio… help anyone?



How Do I Solve A Problem Like Michael W Smith?

I’ve been a fan of Michael W Smith’s music for a long time – surely over 25 years.  His music and message always inspire me… all year around and at the holidays.  His music is especially a favorite of mine for listening in my studio.

I recently commented here that I was listening to some of my favorite holiday music in my studio, including Michael W Smith, and received an interesting message from one of my blog fans.  In a nutshell, the point was, how do I reconcile being a big fan of a musician who most likely would condemn and oppress me for being gay?  I’ll admit that it is a question that I’ve avoided researching over the years, not really wanting to confirm anything.  But, this message from a fan made me google around to see what I could find.  I didn’t really stop to think how I would solve this problem, depending upon what I found out…

Well, there doesn’t seem to be much out there about what Michael W Smith thinks of gay folks.  But, he does have a recent, dramatic video on his website that encourages conservatives to vote and highlights the fear of “redefining marraige” as a motivator.  He also seems to be a fan of Rick Santorum, and we all know what he thinks of gay Americans.

So, how do I solve a problem like Michael W Smith?  Is there a problem? Can I just not care what he thinks and still be inspired by his music? I’m certainly not a book-or-CD-burning kind of guy, but will I stop listening to his music?  Blech – I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll try focusing on a simple message that is on his live Worship album.  I wrote it down to send to members of my family years ago and dug it out to hang back up in my studio today:

Michael W Smith, live from his Worship album to the crowd in Louisville, KY...
Michael W Smith, live from his Worship album to the crowd in Louisville, KY…

How Cute Are These Mini Flowerscapes?

These three mini Flowerscapes have been hiding out in one of my archive boxes for 10 years – all three were painted in November, 2002!  Just added them to my Etsy shop (DavidCastleArt).  In the words of my good friend and old neighbor Ronna…. these are “just so cute”!

Daisies, Susans, Hydrangea… each is approximately 3″ x 3.5″, $45 for all three on my Etsy shop.

Once Again… Alex Grant to the Rescue

Well, here it is in all of its glory… my current basement studio space.  Rather dungeon-like, huh?

So, on days like today, when I’m more than a little distracted by my surroundings, I load up my iPod with music by my friend Alex Grant.  No matter what the painting “situation”, Alex’s music always calms me and gets my paint flowing again.  Thanks, Alex!

Denver, CO –> Columbus, OH…. Did I Get Lost?

Dear Art Fans –

Where do I begin?  Well, perhaps I’ll start with where I ended up…. Columbus, Ohio.  Nine months ago, the cats and I made the two-day drive from Denver to Columbus to join my partner, Steve, in our new home.  Steve had received an opportunity to transfer within his company to the regional office in Columbus and, since we had been talking about “going on an adventure” for awhile, we jumped on it.  And landed smack in the middle of Ohio.

While Steve’s new job got off to a great start, I quickly became deeply involved in helping care for my 85-year-old Uncle Jack.  The court here in Ohio appointed me his legal guardian and I spent much of the Spring and Summer travelling up to Cleveland to help care for Uncle Jack’s health and finances.  Sadly, my Uncle Jack passed away at the end of the Summer… may he rest in peace!

So, now I’m making art in my basement studio that I’ve set up.  A lot of pent-up paintings are now flowing.  They’ll be showing up here soon, so stay tuned for more posts from Columbus!

Blank Shares Stacking Up…

I’ve been getting myself ready to leave for the Oregon Coast these past few days… including a big session with my paper cutter to create blank flapjacks for all of my Shareholders.  It’s not too late to become one and add your flapjacks to the stack!  Just email me or leave a comment here!

Blank stack of about 75 flapjacks that I'll paint on the coast for my Shareholders.

Where in the World is Oceanside, Oregon??

Since launching my 2011 Winter Painting Sojourn Shareholder Opportunity, lots of folks have asked me where, exactly, is Oceanside, Oregon? 

Oceanside is a tiny town perched on a rugged hillside overlooking Three Arch Rocks and the Pacific.  It’s a rather quiet, sleepy place in the winter… just one coffee shop and a part-time restaurant are open.  I need to travel about 6 miles on a winding coastal road to get to Tillamook for grocery shopping, the library and the world-famous Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Pretty much directly west of Portland, I’ve found Oceanside to be the perfect refuge for my sojourn.  I hope you’ll share in my inspiration by becoming a Shareholder and get your exclusive flapjack that I’ll paint while I’m on the coast!

Oceanside, Oregon (in the yellow shaded circle)... my winter sojourn spot!

My Winter Painting Sojourn: Want to Become a Inspiration Shareholder?

I’m busy planning my sixth annual Winter Painting Sojourn to the stormy Oregon Coast and would like to invite you to be part of it!

This year I’m offering 100 “shares” in my inspirational sojourn at $40/share.  As a Shareholder, you’ll receive one of my exclusive, oversized flapjack paintings that I’ll create for you while I’m on the coast (a $75 value).  I’ll be painting on the coast from January 19th – February 16th, 2011 and will work with a color of your choice.  I’ll then frame your flapjack in a 6 by 6 inch Nielson frame and include it in my special open studio exhibit on First Friday, March 4th, 2011.  You’re welcome to pick up your flapjack at that time, or for $5 extra, I’ll ship it to you after March 4th.

If you’re looking for a holiday gift – this is an excellent idea, and I’d be happy to provide you with a special gift certificate for the recipient.  Of course I’ll be blogging about my sojourn this winter, so you and your gift recipient can follow along and share in my experiences and inspirations and anticipate receiving your flapjack in March!

So, buy your share now!  Email me or comment here with your number of shares and your color(s) and I’ll be in touch with more details.

My exclusive, oversized flapjacks... over 75% larger than my regular flapjacks!

Grrr… Yellow is SO Hard!

Well, I’m down to one flapjack left to paint from my big free flapjack event that I held during Denver Arts Week.  And, it’s the only one with a yellow backwash.  As I contemplate how to finish it, I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from the sitcom, Will and Grace, where Jack says “Grrrr…. psychology is so hard!”.  Well, often for me yellow is so hard!

Not that I don’t like yellow – my home office where I’m at now is painted a nice, soft golden yellow and the yellow backwash on this last flapjack is a nice golden-yellow-ochre.  I just seem to have a block when it comes to creating and painting with yellow.

So, I’m going to let it rest over the weekend and tackle it on Monday.  I’m sure I’ll think of something even though “Grrrr… yellow is SO hard!”

The last free flapjack to paint...

Journey or Destination??

Some days I really wonder about the whole journey vs. destination thing… sure seems to be a tug-of-war at times.  But, it IS mostly about the journey, isn’t it?  When in doubt, I love this snapshot of the Hagerman Tunnel trail that I took back in August – no destination in this picture, just a great hike!

What do you think??

Hiking trail along the old railroad bed to Hagerman Tunnel near Leadville, Colorado. August, 2010.

Public Art Dedication by Australian Sculptor Konstantin Dimopoulos TONIGHT!

Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos has been in Denver working on the installation of his latest sculpture, “The Red Forest”, at the base of the Millennium Bridge in downtown Denver.  I actually “met” Kon online before he arrived in Denver and spent some time getting to know him and helping him with the installation this week.

His dedication is tonight from 5:30-6:30pm at PlatteForum, but if you can’t make that, you’ll definately want to take a stroll across the Millennium Bridge to the Riverfront Park side to view Kon’s creation.  He has created quite a combo of color, form and movement… I love it!

Kon working on setting the rods.


Me helping Kon "epoxy" the rods in place.


The installation-in-progress from the Millennium Bridge steps.

Artlovers Know No Age Limits

I love when kids of all ages really look at and comment on my art… it may sound corny, but it helps give me hope for our future!  Sometimes, someone will go beyond that and really surprise me though.  I recently had an exchange with a new fan that started with an email that said, “Hello.  I really like your art and wanted to say ‘good job’.”  I replied with my usual thank-you email and encouraged them to sign up for my email list or to Like me on Facebook where I post occassional art specials for folks.  I love the repy I got back:

I can’t get any of your artwork because I’m only 10.

Well, if this young art fan is able to get her parent’s permission, I’ll be sending her one of my flapjacks to get her collection started – you’re never too young!!

Some Rather “Sparkling” Feedback…

I received some rather “sparkling” feedback from a client recently.  I love it when folks take time to send me their thoughts after having purchased my art.  And, I especially love it when they have this to say:

My wife Stephanie and I just recently purchased ‘4 seasons of trees’ from you at the Denver Pavilions Art’s Festival.

Your work touches our soul and brings us much enjoyment.  I especially like how the changing light hits the metallic paint and brings the trees alive.  Just outside the window real Aspens quake in the wind.  Your art work is having a dialog daily with them.

 We thought you should know that your passion and talent is appreciated and will be a lasting part of our family.

All the best to you — Art and Stephanie

My "Four Seasons of Trees" fine art print awaiting hand-embellishment.



What Am I Doing? Or Feeling?

I’m working on mounting this painting to canvas panels… the whole painting will be a 24 x 64″ triptych.  But I’m feeling alot of “dis” since returning from the Oregon coast: -content, -combobulated, -organized, -energized, -heartened, -engaged… it’s not that I’m not happy, just going through some growing pains right now.

A bit of an Oregon Coast painting - elementals that will become a 24 x 64" triptych.