I launched my annual Spring Studio Sale and have selected over 30 original abstracts that are 50-75% savings from my regular prices. I love having my sale so I can clear out a bit of space in my studio AND send people home with some new art for their collections.
I’m so grateful for my second career as an abstract artist… nearly 20 years of painting abstracts after years in corporate technology! I sure don’t miss the days of software development, data warehousing and IT project management…
For most of my 20 years as an artist, I’ve painted mostly abstracts with square and linear shapes. Now, I’d like to “re-introduce” myself and my art as I’ve turned things upside down over the last 5 months… painting circles!
And, I’ll exclusively launch 12 of my new Circles abstracts in an online exhibit with Artburst Studios. The exhibit opens on 2/23 at 2:32pm MST and only goes for 3 days, so visit Artburst Studios website here for details on how to attend!
Last autumn, I was invited to join a new virtual artist group – Artburst Studios – and participate in their inaugural online exhibit coming up February 23-25, 2023 (visit Artburst Studios Website).
I’m quite excited about this group for many reasons – mainly because I’ve come to highly respect the founders and their approach to launching Artburst Studios and all of the detailed ways they’re doing it right.
But, it has also forever changed my abstractions. The way I paint shapes and colors “in my head” when not in my studio. The focus I’ve had for nearly 20 years on painting squares and stripes – lots of linear shapes and corners and sharp edges.
The theme for Artburst Studios exhibit is “Inside, Outside, Upside Down”. So for the past several months, I’ve embraced this by turning my square and stripe shapes “upside down” and painting… CIRCLES!
I quickly found circles to be a “perfect” shape to explore… just like squares. While I continue to use some of my favorite, self-discovered abstract painting techniques, my biggest challenge was how to paint circle shapes that I loved. I wanted perfect round shapes with some rough/irregular lines, giving me a break from some of the crisp, sharp edges of my square past.
So, here’s a few snapshots of how I paint my circles using an unexpected painting tool – PVC pipe connectors and caps! I’ve collected a variety of sizes (even ordering an 8″ cap online since Home Depot didn’t carry caps that large). I’ve sanded the edges of the PVC a bit, but they otherwise work great as is to create “perfect” circle shapes with lines that are varied and unexpected. More on how I apply oil paint to the PVC and stamp the actual shapes in a future post!
After the horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month, I painted two rainbow abstracts as I processed this. One I sold to wonderful Collectors here in Denver and donated all the proceeds to the Colorado Healing Fund to benefit those affected by the shooting.
The second rainbow abstract was cut into my Micro Abstracts and sent out to both allies and haters in positions of power right here in my native Colorado.
Earlier this week I sent rainbow Micros to allies who clearly use their voices and votes to support LGBT+ folks, including: US Representative Diana DeGette, Senator Michael Bennet, Senator John Hickenlooper and Governor Jared Polis.
Today I’m sending out more rainbow Micros to haters here in Colorado who use their voices and take actions to continue oppressing LGBT+ folks. And they continue to normalize hate. Clearly sometimes the consequences are death for those just living their authentic lives, whether they are shot in a safe space or they take their own lives.
Blood is on their hands: US Representative Lauren Boebert, US Representative Ken Buck, US Representative Doug Lamborn, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly.
I’ve been painting while I process the recent shooting in Colorado Springs this past weekend. At first I felt numb and just “jumbled up”. As I painted these rainbow colors, weary sadness and sharp anger is what holds me now.
I firmly believe from my own experiences and observations that this is the result of the non-acceptance and hate TAUGHT and FOSTERED by many on this planet of so many people, but especially LGBT+ folks just being themselves. Just being the people who God created them to be.
To the many conservatives out there – this means YOU! And if you truly believe that your own heart and mind are hate free, you continue to elect leaders with loud voices who don’t accept, who oppress, who voice false nonsense and hate about those different from you. And if you remain silent while this goes on and people die, your hands are bloody too.
And for some of my family members – “love” without full acceptance isn’t love at all. It’s hate and fosters this world where people are killed just for being themselves.
I’m done trying to change minds and hearts about acceptance and love. Now I’m working to support those who are hated and in crisis because of it.
It has been awhile since my last post, but I need to get this topic out of my head (and my studio) and onto “paper”. You may have seen my Instagram (davidcastleart) posts recently about my Forgiveness Tour to Idaho where I verbalized to my Mom (who passed away 2 years ago) and my Dad (who has severe dementia) many things that I forgive them for from my 54 years as their son. Forgiveness topics included some big things like rejecting me completely just for being gay, and for some small things like reminding me to not be a “sissy” when I was young.
I also forgave them for never acknowledging my career change 20 years ago from a corporate technology guy to a full-time abstract artist. And this is what I’ve been thinking more about in my studio lately as I paint. I just don’t understand it and, given my Mom is gone and my Dad doesn’t know who I am, I’m sure I’ll never understand why.
Was this just another general rejection of me? Was becoming an artist not “manly” enough for their conservative/traditional views? Was giving up a 6-figure salary (and all the trappings that came with that) too “irresponsible” of me for my future? Was embracing my creative self being too much of a “sissy”?
I’ll never know.
But, after 20 years of pursuing my passion and embracing and living as my artistic self, I’m OK with letting this fade as I continue my forgiveness journey. Now, back to painting!
I’ve never posted much about the “big gay journey” part of my life, but this Pride month it has been on my mind. So, I’m sharing what I thought about as I painted this Pride-inspired, colorful abstract today.
I knew that I was different somehow from a pretty early age. Those who say “don’t say gay” are wrong… I think I would have benefitted from knowing that gay people and gay parents and gay families even existed at an early age. It never came up in my conservative family and I had no idea what was going on with me through my childhood. There were no visible gay people around, nor role models in rural, conservative southern Missouri. By the time I figured things out on my own, I knew being gay must be very much hidden from the world. And loathed by myself.
After years of suppressing who I was, accepting the oppression I witnessed around me, thinking about ending my life (just a jerk of the wheel going 100mph on the autobahn), I finally accepted me as God made me. I was 27 when I finally came out, and then spent the next decade trying desperately to change the minds and hearts of my immediate family, while my parents pleaded with me to get “cured”. But, the resolve of my parents, and brother, and sister to continue rejecting me only solidified as the years progressed. I believe this kind of hate is taught, learned and still advocated by many. I still am in wonder that I made it through it all, but I did and my journey continues out the other end.
Now, my life is full. Full of my art, the love of my life and best friend Steve, many wonderful extended family members and a sense of peace. Yes, I’ve had to let go of much and have found forgiving my immediate family, especially my parents, is more of an ongoing process than a single decision point.
So yes, it does get better and yes, I’m proud. Proud of being the gay man God made me to be. So I paint these rainbow colors with lots of reflection and pride!
I kicked off my career change in 2003 from computer scientist to abstract artist by exhibiting at many art festivals in Colorado and the West. The Denver Arts Festival has been one of my favorites and I was awarded the Best in Show award in 2008!
Now that I’m back in Colorado, I’ve been selected to exhibit once again at this wonderful festival, full of local and national artists. If you’re in town, please plan to come by to visit (or meet) me and see almost all new abstracts that I’ve painted over the last several months.
Denver Arts Festival details are below and you can find me in Booth #85… hope to see you this weekend!
I’ve released 15 new mini abstracts on my website and invite you to jump over to www.davidcastleart.com to check them out!
No waiting for the supply chain to catch up, these original abstract paintings are all ready to go, for shipping or pick up at my Denver studio.
Each features a brand-new resin varnish and I love the rich, glass-like finish it gives each painting. I think you will too… they’ll make a great addition to your own art collection or for your gift-giving list for the upcoming holidays. I included a few sample mini abstracts for you to browse below, but please visit www.davidcastleart.com to view them all!
I’ve been hard at work in my studio painting fifteen new mini abstracts, each with a brand-new resin varnish. That’s the reflection you see above and I’m loving the rich, glass-like finish it gives each painting.
I’ll be releasing all fifteen new mini abstracts to folks on my email list first on Wednesday morning, October 27th. So, you’ll have first choice to add them to your art collection (or gift list) before I announce them to my social media followers the next day.
I’m super excited and think you’ll love them. If you’re not on my very-occasional email list, visit my website homepage to add your name to the list so you won’t miss out on the initial release!
This summer has been a flurry of activity (and stress) to get me and my husband Steve moved back to my native Denver, Colorado. We arrived to a temporary apartment living situation on May 1st and haven’t looked back. Less than a month later we were under contract to buy a great townhome in Denver’s Central Park (formally Stapleton) neighborhood. I can’t believe how blessed and fortunate we were to find a place to buy so quickly in the hot Denver housing market!
Now that we’re mostly settled, we’ve been enjoying the main reason we moved back to Denver – spending time with old friends and extended family here in Colorado. We even took a day off to hike one of my most favorite hikes in the world… the Hagerman Tunnel railroad bed trail near Leadville, Colorado.
I’ve also been getting settled into my basement studio space at our new home. It’s a fine workspace for now, but this winter I’m planning to have the interior finished with drywall, electrical, new lighting, a work sink, a purple-painted concrete floor, etc!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…