Sunday, March 1, 2020

So often people want to know my painting process. Most times they are captivated by the fact that the images I create are rendered in watercolor pigments. They comment that my work is so vibrant, so colorful, so powerful. Teaching myself, I discovered techniques that lent themselves to the overall effect of pure colors and rich tones. The second response is usually to the fact that these watercolor pigments are done on canvas, a tightly woven portraiture linen primed with an alkaline primer. This primer was developed for use in the giclee print process. It was researching the print process that I discovered this fact and immediately ordered a roll of canvas to experiment with. I was instantly hooked. One must only break down the factory "sizing" with a gentle wash of mild soapy water. I use a product called Simply Awesome, available at most stores.  If I am composing a piece, I sketch the composition with an SoHo Ebony graphite pencil. This is the best I have found for my work because it cleans off with water and "drags" well. Let me explain dragging. I use a fine tip round brush dipped in clean water, sized #2 to #12 depending on size of work. I go over each pencil line with this, allowing run and bleed to do its magic and establishing shading and shadowing from line edges out to center of shape. I set this work aside to dry naturally. One can shoot across the canvas with a hair dryer but excess water will travel. One can tamp this up but I like the natural drying effect better. When the sketch wash is dry I can then begin to add color washes. Watercolor work is traditionally done from the lightest, most transparent color to the darkest, most opaque: opposite of oil or acrylic. I can flood the piece with gamboge for a bright yellow underpainting or with a mauve for a darker underpainting. I will often do a combination so I can enhance the gradient shades. Whatever one uses, it is good to remember this is the first stain on the canvas and is difficult to remove. It shifts all the layers of color applied above it. A delicious phenomenon when used for dramatic effect! I let this dry naturally also. In the third phase of construction, I hit the "zone" and begin assembling colors all over the canvas. Starting with skin tones, I work right to left (being left-handed, I am forever swiping freshly laid wet paint... Oh well.) I apply the tones of Naples Yellow, Vermillion, and Mauve from highlight to shadow. I allow to dry. I then take brushes or small squares of cutup t-shirt and, much like applying

make-up, I blend the colors. This gives me smooth skin tones with gradient shading and shadowing. The eyes and lips are still blank, but I am beginning to recognize my characters. Once this phase dries, I flip the canvas upside down and move to the lips and eyes. This is much detail and I invite the reader to expand the images and research the eye/lip work. Hint: do eye shadow and Iris color first; pupils last. Moving from the creation of the characters, I begin to use all my color theory lessons to place the large color blocks. I clean brushes and palette with each color. I apply a coat and lift it off. I reapply for two or three stains. You'll often hear me say, "I paint a painting seven or eight times." The last pigment I apply is the pure Indigo for the rich black accent color blocks I use for drama. Don't forget the pupil and mascara!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Images for Stockley Gardens Art Festival October 15-16... This Weekend!

A few new for preview... Website changes will be up this weekend. Looking forward to clear skies and bright smiles as I travel back to roots of art show experience. It's been almost 25 years of painting and selling and placing art in the homes of Virginians living in the Tidewater Area of Hampton Roads. And so many friends who visit, check in and remind me of how blessed I am to have had the warm and wonderful reception for my work... More to come...
Number One        20 x 24

Number 2           24 x 24

Number 3                  24 x 48

Number 4                                      24 x 24

Number 5                         24 x 48

Number 6                       24 x 48

Number 7                                   20 x 24

Number 8                                                  30 x 30

Number 9                                                        24 x 24

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Season Images and Alexandria VA King Street Show this Weekend (Sept 17-18)

The seasons changes and summer seems to have wound down. Now the new season kicks off with the Alexandria Show on King Street this Saturday and Sunday  (Sept 17-18) 10 AM to 5PM. Thought I'd share some of the newest images I've been working on... Hope to see you there. And Thanks! Sincerely... Tom
Stepping Out 30 x 30
Winsome IV 24 x 36

Esmerelda 24 x 30
Morning Breaks 24 x 24
Dame, Dude and Dog 24 x 48
Diana, Dashford and Dixie 12 x 12

Winsome IV 24 x 24

Long View Home 48 x 24

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New Works and Musings On Art

Venice (Downtown) and Sarasota (St Armands Circle) are the Florida venues up next. I've just finished all the pieces - 46 total. I'm wiped out but I even swept the studio (it needed it badly) and all is ready for the trip. I'm picking up Ty in St Augustine at the beach house, having dinner at The Seafood Kitchen (Sissy and Margaret beware - I'm hungry), and spending the night - traveling tomorrow and setting up Saturday at daybreak. I miss my honey and bride so I'll be real serene when I get a hug from her! Gotta love this: I had some real interesting experiences painting this week... had some pieces I didn't like so much and I took them and reworked them. I am very pleased with the outcome... especially after 16 hours of rework! The new postings should be up and on the website sometime this weekend. Dan got them all this morning 3 AM Denver time. I am also working on abstracts and after reading a novel about the American Expressionist movement and one about bullfighting in Mexico, I am energized for the long haul. Abstracts are freeing to do, but they are the most difficult to manage. Seems anybody can fling paint but to keep the passion and nuance, the structure and "push/pull" of the color theory, add in theme and message and boy has one a tall order to fill... then it has to be pleasing! Well we'll see how this pans out. I do feel like I understood some new principles in the making of art. I am alone so much in the studio, listening to "my shuffle" and dancing around the table, that I don't get out much. I don't get the stimulating conversations about how we do this thing. And after 24 years of it, I guess I'd have to say I have some experience - now the job is to use it in innovative ways, refreshing my art button. Of course, my patrons and friends do a very good job of keeping me at it and their approval means everything to us - how could we do what we do without their love! I'm stoked!
Homage to Isak

Homage to Degas

Gals Redeaux

Floral Burst Redeaux

The Dame and Dude

Pam's Commission

Tommilyn Commission

The Dame, The Dude and the Dog

These Gals

The Harlequin Toredos
That's Attitude!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stockley Gardens This Weekend

I am amazed that for twenty-three years I have been privileged to go to Norfolk VA and do the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival. Twice a year, forty-five times totaled, I have loaded up and delivered, set up and sold. The only one I missed was right after 9-11... This one promises to be beautiful weather - Please Lord - and it will be great to see my friends and patrons; they started me out and gave the support and encouragement I needed. It is so gratifying to see children once in strollers, who over the years have grown up with my work, now pushing strollers of their own and buying works of art for their homes! I've lived too long! Ty is staying at the house in St Augustine and Gail and I are making this trip - a tradition for us for sure... And below are some of the new works I'll be bringing along. I am experimenting with oil pastel. I can't ever see me shifting mediums, but this one has rather captivated my creative sense in that there are some many things which can be done to enhance a piece, give it texture, and embellish the canvas - but do I want that? The jury is out on this one; I'll know when I know... for now it is good to refresh the juices with new experiments in new ideas... Looking forward to seeing you at Stockley this weekend or at the new show in Urbana (Arts in the Middle) on May 30-31... I was honored to be invited as a Featured Artist and am looking forward to kicking off this show for the area "in the middle." More before then...
Classic Barnes Floral
30 x 30

Lolly and Meg
24 x 24

12 x 12

My Garden
24 x 48
(Absolutely a knock-out painting according to the Supreme Court)

Oil Pastel Lady I
12 x 12
(Note the crayon like effect)

Oil Pastel Lady II
12 x 12

Lady Lillian
24 x 24

House on the Cape
18 x 18

Homeward Bound
24 x 24

Toasted Friends
16 x 20

Another Toast to the Night
30 x 30
(Classic Variation on a Classic Theme)

16 x20

Bess and Lila
16 x 20

12 x 12

24 x 24

Village on the River
18 x 18

Structured Lily
12 x 12
(Here's what I do with modeling paste applied to the canvas and then painted over)

Soft Garden
12 x 12

12 x 12

Oil Lady III
16 x 20
(A nices mix of watercolor and oil pastel)

24 x 24
(Complete coverage with oil pastel over the watercolor base)

30 x 30
(Done from a study of photos shot of Gail in the studio one afternoon)

12 x 12

Oil Floral
16 x 20