I think I’m just beginning my third year on Instagram. Thanks to all of you that are following my weekly postings. It’s been a surprise to look back over 2021 and discover which paintings have been the most popular. Here are the top six and the story that goes with each. (Click images to enlarge)
“1954 Pontiac Star Chief” – 16″ x 20″ – Oil…Having been a young boy growing up in the 50’s, I just loved cars, could name all of them, and anxiously awaited new model releases each September. So, whenever I can I photograph cars of this era, I do so. Not surprisingly, I enjoy painting them also. This particular painting is a second version. The first painting, created using the same palette, was a rear view of the car. Again I had the loving couple strolling through the park together, hand in hand. The title of that painting was, “You’re My Star, Chief.” The painting sold quickly. I was contacted by someone asking if I could recreate the painting. Not willing to repeat the exact painting, I proposed this view instead. The client loved it. I can’t decide which painting I like better.
“A Letter to Daddy” – 36″ x 24″ – Oil…I think it was in Arkansas when my wife and I were strolling along this narrow road that we came upon this quaint little house. The lighting that time of day was perfect for photographs. But, what to do with them? After some thought it was decided to create a painting. I enjoy including a subtle narrative in my paintings, so a mailbox was added with a young girl inserting a letter for the mailman to pick up. The front door is slightly ajar suggesting that she has just come out of the house. I felt this was an appealing, heart warming story. The granddaughter of my neighbor posed for photos. Using the photos I inserted her into the painting. The title raises questions. The answer is left to the viewer.
“A Long Way to the Store” – 50″ x 40″ – Oil…I love the challenge of creating the various moods of nature. This is a case in point. The photo I worked from for this painting depicted a cloudy, gray day in Holmes County, Ohio. Reorganizing the landscape and trees, adding roads and fences, darkening the values, and selecting a palette that would best depict a sunset, were all important in achieving a much more dramatic result.
“A New Day Dawning” – 12″ x 16″ – Oil…Like the painting above, the concept conceived for this painting was significantly different than the photo reference. Although the basic subject and composition of the photo were used, the heavy atmosphere was created from imagination. An understanding of what happens to color, value, edges, and detail as distance from the viewer increases is critical to creating a convincing atmosphere such as this. As in many of my paintings, I like to incorporate a subtle narrative…in this case…the dog.
“After a Brief Shower” – 36″ x 36″ – Oil…I grew up in Kansas. My grandparents lived in Pittsburg…a 3.5 hour drive from where I grew up in Wichita. My Mom and Dad and us kids made many trips through open country, such as this, to visit my Dad’s parents. It just can’t be helped, but those trips, the countryside, the farms, are all deeply engrained in me to this day. It’s what I love to paint. I think it’s important to paint what one knows and loves because that passion can’t help but show up in one’s work…even the viewer picks up on it.
“A Road Less Traveled” – 16″ x 20″ – Oil…The Flint Hills encompass about 10000 square miles through the eastern part of Kansas and a small piece of northern Oklahoma. It’s a unique tallgrass prairie. It is eerily quiet and expansive. I’ve painted there many times, over a three day period, never once encountering people or a passing car. Some of my most cherished memories are strolling a road such as this, praying and contemplating God’s amazing creation. Like some of the other paintings shown here, the mood for this painting was also created from imagination. My reference photo was a mid-afternoon shot. Back to the Flint Hills…My most exciting experience was when I was painting in the middle of nowhere one day, when out of the silence three F-16 fighter jets came screaming by at very low altitude…and just as suddenly were gone. My heart was pounding away as I stooped down to pick up all my brushes. WOW!
Well, there you have it. What do you think? Which one of these paintings is your favorite?
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