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!
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!
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.
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?
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…
I’m still getting settled into my new studio space on the northwestern edge of Portland’s Pearl District. My space is small – about 1/4 the size of my studio in Columbus (and more expensive!). For now, I’m making it work!
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!
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.
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.
I was recently invited to create art for the 2007 Bough House Silent Auction that benefits the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center here in Denver. The theme for artist’s creations is the “modern holiday tree”.
So, I’m busy working on two paintings from which I’ll select one for the Bough House exhibit and auction. Both paintings I’m working on are in my elementals style, are watercolor on paper and will be mounted on acrylic-embellished stretched canvas. I hope I’ll be able to easily chose the one I like best… I’ll post the second painting in a few days, but comments are welcome!
The exhibit and auction are coming up, so I’ll post details soon!
“Yet-to-be-titled-Bough-House-a”, watercolor on paper, 24 x24″.