The following paintings were my most popular Instagram postings for 2019. Thanks to all of you that are following my work. It is sincerely appreciated.
With each image I have also included the reference photo used. As taught in all my workshops and written about on numerous occasions, every painting begins with a concept. Sometimes the fullness of the concept evolves during the painting process, but each painting always begins with a pretty good idea as to the mood I want to create. The reference photos sometimes help determine the idea for a painting but most of the time, I depart significantly from the reference photo. The only way I’m able to do that is because I’ve done a lot of plein air painting, making a study of nature’s various moods.
If in doubt, which is often, before putting brush to canvas, I work out composition, value, and color schemes on 5.5″ x 8.5″ gessoed paper. These small oil studies of various sizes are filed in notebooks, along with all the plein air studies I’ve done on the same size paper. They become a continual source of reference and inspiration. (Click images to enlarge)
This is a scene from Holmes County, Ohio. Home to a large Amish community, it is spectacular in its beauty and has inspired many a work from my studio. A few changes were made to the scene…the buildings were redesigned, the shapes simplified and the lighting clarified and intensified. This painting is sold.
“All is Well” – 18″ x 24″ – Oil
There are a lot of memories from Pittsburg, KS. The small Southeastern Kansas town is where my paternal grandparents lived during my childhood, and where I attended my first year of college; it was there that the decision to become an artist was made. The structures in this old coal mining town are some of my favorites. I kept the scene pretty much the same but added the subtle narrative, making the scene much more personal. This painting is available through the Illume Gallery in St. George, UT.
“Saturday Afternoon Game” – 16″ x 20″ – Oil
This neat little place has appealed to me for years. It’s down the road a short distance from our house. Growth in this area has forced road expansion and will ultimately force changes to this beautiful property. I’ve painted it many times. The slight remaining remnants of snow and the beautiful shadows were inspiration enough to express an intensified mood. This painting is available through Southwest Gallery in Dallas.
“The Magic Hour” – 30″ x 40″ – Oil
I will forever be attracted to farms. I’ve often said, if I were not an artist, I would seriously consider being a farmer or a gardener. I’m pretty sure I have a romanticized view of those professions but the appeal of farms…the people, structures, sounds, smells, and openness of the country life…are still very attractive to me. I have no idea why the idea of a sunset came to me when studying this photo. It came immediately, so I set my mind to creating it. The house on the right, which I partially made up, and the farmer shutting it down for the day, complete the story. This painting is available through the Highlands Art Gallery in Lambertville, NJ.
“End of a Great Day” – 12″ x 24″ – Oil
A little northeast of me is Farmersville, TX. I found this location and was painting a small study on location when a father and his son came up over the rise on their bicycles. Stopping to see what I was doing, I discovered they had already ridden 50 miles together. They were pretty excited about seeing an artist painting en plein air. It was their first encounter with such a thing. They were very nice people and enjoyable to speak with, but the plein air study ended at that point. Fortunately, I had a camera with me so I was able to capture this beautiful scene. A simple palette of Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red, Lemon Yellow, and Titanium White was used; just further proof, you don’t need lots of tube colors on the palette in order to successfully create a landscape. This painting is available through the Highlands Art Gallery in Lambertville, NJ.
“Road Trip” – 30″ x 30″ – Oil
I took a lot of liberties with this piece in an effort to depict the feeling of Spring in the Texas Hill Country. One of the changes was to create greater depth. This painting is sold.
“Nature’s Subtlety” 28″ x 22″ – Oil
Of all the places I’ve been in the United States, New England….in this case, Vermont…is one of my favorites. Anyone that has been there in the Autumn knows exactly what I mean. Working only from a 4 x 6 photo…the old way, before the days of digital photography…I cropped the subject and expanded on some of the foliage. I am always a sucker for structures as seen through trees. I couldn’t resist this one. This painting is sold.
“Autumn” – 24″ x 18″ – Oil
Driving along the back roads of Vermont and coming upon this scene was a “Wow” moment. The color, the contrast, and the structure itself was most appealing. As I began working out the idea for the painting, I realized what is appealing in the photo is less appealing as a painting because the lighting is basically flat. Wanting to change that presented a whole set of problems. A decision was made to light the scene from the right, that meant the light on the house needed to change.
A foam core model was constructed in order to determine how the shadows would fall on the structure when the direction of light was changed. Because the final painting was so large, I had to be confident of the light effects; it couldn’t be faked. This painting is available through the Illume Gallery in St. George, UT.
“Cruising Vermont’s Back Roads” – 64″ x 48″ – Oil
My friend, Anita Elder, was kind enough to show me some of the area around her place in Georgia. I was there to teach a workshop, so being able to enjoy the surrounding area was an added bonus. Roads that invite the viewer to wonder what’s around the corner are appealing subjects. I warmed the scene up considerable and strengthened the lighting. The painting has won several awards, including the Silver Medal in the 2018 OPA Western Regional. This painting is sold.
“Rural Hideaway” – 25″ x 28″ – Oil
I know, you’re probably scratching your head over this one, but with a lot of imagination and some other reference photos of grasses, fields, etc…this is the result. It was in the midst of the painting that the title came to me. I wrote a whole blog post on how this painting was created which you may access HERE. The painting has been extremely popular, winning several awards, including Best of Show for a NOAPS Online competition, and the Silver Medal in the 2018 OPA National Salon. The painting is available through the Highlands Art Gallery in Lambertville, NJ.
“Be Still My Soul” – 30″ x 40″ – Oil
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I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest teaching video and book. The video and accompanying book, shown here, along with my first video, “Limited Palette Landscape”, include everything I’ve taught in my workshops. You can now take my oil painting workshop right in the comfort of your home, and for a lot less money than physically being present. (Click image to learn more)
To own an original painting from the book, please click HERE
John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Living Master. To view his art and bio, please click HERE.