A View into My Studio – Making Original Artcards

With the galleries and boutique shops that carry my original abstract artcards closed for now, I’ve received several requests for them directly from my art fans. So, since my inventory is low, I’ve been ramping up production in my studio and want to show you a bit about how I make them.

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David Castle original artcard (oil and metallic silver watercolor).

I started making original artcards a few years ago as a way for folks to keep in touch with family and friends “the old-fashioned way” – a hand-written note sent snail mail style right to their mailbox. And, the artcards are designed to be ready to pop into a favorite frame and added to the art collections of your family and friends. Or maybe they’ll be simply displayed in your kitchen as refrigerator art or in your office on an inspirational bulletin board. I think it’s a pretty versatile little piece of original art!

My most recent “batch” of mini abstracts starts as a larger painting on paper – typically 12 x 16 inches – in my layered oil and metallic watercolor style that I call my Pacific Rains Series.

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Artcard original paintings… ready for varnish and the chopping block.

After a good week of drying/curing (the solid oil paints I use contain a wax component that allow them to dry quickly), they get a few coats of spray varnish to set the metallic watercolor layer and protect the painting from light damage.

Once the varnish layer has dried, I’m ready to cut the larger painting up into my mini abstract squares – each measuring 2.5 x 2.5 inches. I just use my artist’s eye to gauge where to make cuts so I end up with mini square abstracts that I like.

Finally, on some, I add a bit of acrylic paint to finish each abstract. Now they’re ready to glue-mount to blank cardstock. I use Italian-made Fabriano Medioevalis cards that I think present the abstracts nicely.

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Mini abstract artcards… mounted, signed and ready to send.

 

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.

I’m Open for the Portland Open Studios Tour

This weekend is the final weekend for the 19th Annual Portland Open Studios Tour and I’ll have my studio open. If you’re in Portland, come check me out Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 5pm each day, at my studio at SW 71st Ave/Ashdale in Portland. Visit my website for details and my address – http://www.davidcastleart.com.

And just for visitors, I’ll have all artwork in my studio priced at 10-75% off regular prices, plus see more about how I paint my abstracts and hear about my upcoming Residency trip to the Arctic Circle!

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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!

Summer Studio Sale

I’m having a summer studio sale! I’ve selected 16 (or so) original paintings on canvas and ¬†have marked them down by 50%. Check out the selection from my studio wall below and let me know which favorites you’d like to add to your collection! Sale goes through Saturday, July 15th.

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Painting Details
  • Top two rows: 12 x 12 inches;¬†¬†50% off price¬†= $200 each
  • Bottom row, left to right: Painting #1 is a¬†collage of 100 mini metallic silver squares, 24 x 24 inches,¬†50%¬†off price¬†= $600; Paintings #2-4 are a¬†collage of mini metallic squares,18 x 18 inches,¬†50% off price =¬†$325 each
I’ve posted more snapshots of these paintings, plus a few bonus ones on my Instagram.
To see more of these paintings on Instagram click here —>¬†David Castle Art Instagram.

Thanks for looking, and happy summer!

Studio Snapshot

It has been awhile since I posted a snapshot of my studio… I’d sure be lost without my large, main studio table that I got at The Ohio State University’s surplus warehouse before we moved out to Portland! In fact, I’ve found several pieces of great “studio furniture” at university surplus stores, so if you’re looking for furniture you might check with your local universities to see if they sell surplus furniture and equipment.

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David Castle Studio – February, 2017

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″).

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.

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!

FREE Flapjack Mini Abstracts Are Back!

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!

"Flapjack" mini abstracts by David Castle.
“Flapjack” mini abstracts by David Castle.

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.

“Name Your Best Price” Spring Cleaning Sales Event!

Happy Spring!¬† I’ve done some cleaning in my studio this week and set aside¬†a stack of¬†paintings for a special offer –¬†my first ever “Name Your Best Price” spring cleaning sales event!¬† All of these paintings are David Castle original watercolor or acrylic works of art.¬† Most I just never got around to framing or mounting on canvas, but there are a few canvas-mounted paintings that are ready-to-hang.¬† Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, 3/27 – Wednesday, 4/3

How: Browse the three studio snapshots below, select your favorites¬†(using the numbering in each snapshot)¬†and name your Best Price in an email to me!¬†¬†I’ll accept all reasonable offers, but will also let you know if any Best Prices you offer are too low for me to accept.¬† I’ve listed details for each painting at the bottom of this post, but feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions or would like a closer snapshot.

Payment & Shipping: Once I accept a Best Price, I’ll mark the painting sold here on this post, and will then email you with payment and shipping details (applicable tax will be added for Ohio residents).

Special Free Art Bonus:¬† Share, share, share!¬† I’ll make you a trade:¬†share this with¬†your friends and contacts and I’ll send you an original mini watercolor called an Artist Trading Card (ATC) for free!¬† Just share this Event, encouraging your friends to buy some art, Like me on Facebook and to sign up for my email list.¬† Then send me an email telling me how you shared – include your mailing address and I’ll send an ATC right out.¬† See my blog post here for more details.

Studio Snapshot 1: Large Paintings (regular price range is $450 - $1800).
Studio Snapshot 1: Large Paintings (regular price range is $450 – $1800).
Studio Snapshot 2: Medium and Small Paintings (regular price range is $300 - $600).
Studio Snapshot 2: Medium and Small Paintings (regular price range is $300 – $600).
Studio Snapshot 3: Medium and Small Paintings (regular price range is $225 - $500).
Studio Snapshot 3: Medium and Small Paintings (regular price range is $225 – $500).

Studio Snapshot #1 – Large Paintings

1. Watercolor on paper, 16 x 16″,¬†$450.
2. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36″,¬†$1,800.
3. Watercolor on paper, 19 x 19″, $550.
4. Watercolor on paper, 16 x 21″, $500.
5. Watercolor on paper, 18 x 18″, $500.
6. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 21″, $600.
7. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 21″, $600.
8. Not available.
9. Watercolor on paper, 28 x 20″, $750.
10. Watercolor on paper, 26 x 26″, $900.
11. Watercolor on paper, canvas-mounted,¬†24 x 24″, $850.

Studio Snapshot #2 – Medium and Small Paintings

1. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 16″, $500.
2. Sold!
3. Sold!
4. Sold!
5. Sold!
6. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 16″, $500.
7. Sold!
8. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 22″, $350.
9. Watercolor on paper, 17 x 23″, $550.
10. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 29″, $400.
11. Watercolor on paper, 15 x 21″, $450.
12. Watercolor on paper, 19 x 19″, $550.
13 – 18. Watercolor on paper, canvas-mounted, 12 x 12″, $300 each.

Studio Snapshot #3 – Medium and Small Paintings

1. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 10″, $225.
2. Watercolor on paper, 15 x 15″, $375.
3. Watercolor on paper, 17 x 13″, $375.
4. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 14″, $300.
5 – 6. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 10″, $225 each.
7. Sold!
8. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 10″, $225.
9. Sold!
10 – 16. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 10″, $225 each.
17. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 16″, $500.
18. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 16″, $500.
19. Watercolor on paper, 15 x 15″, $350.
20. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 14″, $300.

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?

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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!

50 FREE Flapjack Paintings all Ready to Give Away Today on Super First Friday!

Today is Super First Friday to kick off Denver Arts Week!¬† I’m all ready in my studio to give away 50 FREE Flapjack mini paintings to the first 50 guests in my studio today between 5pm – 9pm!

My studio is located at 800 West 8th Avenue in Denver.¬† I’m in the building on the southwest corner of 8th Avenue & Inca – entrance is on Inca under the “Creative Studios” awning… hope you can visit!

Flapjacks of all colors to choose from!
50 FREE flapjacks to give away this Super First Friday, November 4th!