Heartbroken from the hate…

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.

And, I’ll also keep painting rainbows.

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Things I think about in my studio…

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!

At work in my Denver Studio, where I paint AND think…

Happy Pride… and a little about my big gay journey

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!

Pride colors 2022

Denver Arts Festival is This Weekend!

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!

NEW Mini Abstracts Available on My Website!

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!

“Rainbow Drops” Mini Abstract
“Mossy Earth” Mini Abstract
“Ochre and Graphite” Mini Abstract

BIG news for my Mini Abstracts!

New mini abstracts with a brand-new, glass-like resin varnish… releasing to everyone on October 28th!

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!

Welcome (me) back to Colorado!

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.

Steve and I at the abandoned, narrow-gauge railroad tunnel – Hagerman Tunnel (August, 2021).

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!

My basement studio… awaiting interior finishing this winter!

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.

 

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!

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!

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.

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“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?

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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).

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?

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“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″.

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.