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!

IMG_5937
“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!

Elementals-Purple-Day
“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.

IMG_5854
“The Orlando 49 – Into the Light”, oil and metallic watercolor, 12 x 12 inches.

Here’s what I think rain looks like

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?

IMG_5823

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?

 

IMG_5610.jpg
Large trees (aspen or birch?) are in progress in my studio (oil and metallic watercolor).

Winter Aspens: Making Oil and Watercolor Mix

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?

Winter-Aspens-No-3-and-5
“Winter Aspens No. 3” and “Winter Aspens No. 5”, oil and metallic watercolor, 12 x 12 inches, $350.

Well, Oil and Watercolor DO Mix After All

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…

"Forever Gone", watercolor and oil mounted on panel, 6x6x1.5".
“Forever Gone”, watercolor and oil mounted on panel, 6x6x1.5″.
"Golden Era", watercolor and oil mounted on panel, 10x10x1.5".
“Golden Era”, watercolor and oil mounted on panel, 10x10x1.5″.

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.

A Rash of Recent Acceptances Into National Exhibits Quickens My Pulse

"Bouyant" was chosen out of over 650 paintings to exhibit at the San Diego Watercolor Society International Exhibition in San Diego, California.
“Bouyant” was chosen out of over 650 paintings to exhibit at the San Diego Watercolor Society International Exhibition in San Diego, California.

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!

"My Personal Raincloud" one of 65 paintings chosen out of 665 for the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibit in Golden, Colorado.
“My Personal Raincloud” one of 65 paintings chosen out of 665 for the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibit in Golden, Colorado.

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!

Daniel Smith Is Breaking My Heart: The First Time

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!

Daniel Smith Silver Metallic Watercolor Pigment... now "vintage".
Daniel Smith Silver Metallic Watercolor Pigment… now “vintage”.

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”!

Metallic Squares for my latest watercolor painting series.
Metallic Squares for my latest watercolor painting series.

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?

My Gift to You: Mini Fine Art Prints With Your Purchase

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!

MiniPrintsforGiveAway2014

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!

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.

Preview of My New “Rama” Series at First Community Church in Grandview Heights, OH

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.

Here’s a sample!

"Rama Control Panel: Blue Sector 1", watercolor mounted on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, $1,200.
“Rama Control Panel: Blue Sector 1”, watercolor mounted on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, $1,200.

 

 

From My Archives: “Jewel People No. 3”

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.

Image
Jewel People No. 3
Image
Jewel People No. 3 – detail

 

 

 

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!

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

Give Some Hearts Away to Someone You Love…

Each year I paint a bunch of my Hearts mini-paintings for the Valentine’s Day season.  This year, I’ll be painting them “to order” when you order one from my website (last year I sold out of the ones I had painted in one day!).

I’m also offering a cool palette of blues, greens and purples and a rather sophisticated palette of black, grays and silver if pink isn’t your Valentine’s color!  Check them out on my website: www.davidcastleart.com and get yours ordered now!

"Blue Hearts", watercolor on paper mounted on stretched canvas, 6 x 6 x 3", $150.
“Blue Hearts”, watercolor on paper mounted on stretched canvas, 6 x 6 x 3″, $150.