Saturday, January 10, 2015

What about the Background.

 A question came up on a artists' group. What do you paint first in a portrait, the subject or the background. Now I can tell you how to paint, but remember the background will definitely affect the look of the subject. Here is an example. I painted this sketch of a model on an orange toned canvas. (Don't do this at home) Here is the finished sketch. After looking at it a number of times over a month or so, I was unsatisfied with the over all darkness and dullness of the face colors. The brighter orange background in relation to the subject caused the color to look less vibrant and flat and made her face look just plain dirty needed a shave :)
Elizabeth 1,  5 x 7 oil

I decided to paint the background a darker tone. Still keeping the color warm, but much less vibrant than the orange. The colors in her face now appear much lighter and vibrant. Her pink blouse no longer fades into the background but becomes and element in the painting.

Elizabeth 2,  5 x 7 oil

So my answer to the question, what comes first the model or the background is both need to be taken into account throughout the paintings progress.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Small Paintings Large Painting

Working on some small landscape paintings with a larger 24 x 30 painting as the final goal. This is a view of Lake Lure in the North Carolina mountains on a summer day.  Oil on canvas 8 x 10

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Paintings

I have to admit, it is a bit of laziness on my part. Or a lot of procrastination. But I have still been painting all along.  So the time taken to create painting, the time it takes to sell paintings. Then that darn Facebook making it seem like I have done something when I post a painting there.

Here are some paintings that were commissioned or sold for Christmas presents:

Oil 20 x 20

Oil 9 x 12

Oil 11 x 14

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Large Paintings

Those of you familiar with my work, either from seeing me at shows or through my blogs, website or facebook page might notice that the majority of my paintings are 8 x 10, 9 x 12 up to 16 x 20 and 18 x 24 (inches)  In fact the 1hundredpaintings blog is exclusively small paintings, 4 x 6 and 5 x 7. 
Sometimes though you have to make a change. Go Big. I have put two recent large paintings here on this post. The White Horse is a 3' x 4' oil on canvas. (Click on the image for a larger view)

Here is a photo of my wife, a portrait artist, standing next to the painting. (I am too tall, so it does look more impressive with her instead of me,) 

I have painting smaller formats for a number of years now, especially when painting outdoors when smaller canvases are much more convenient, easier to carry and not a prone to blowing away. But large work is not entirely new. Years ago, before digital printing, illustrations on signs and billboards where painted by hand. They were called "pictorials" in the trade. Though I didn't paint many billboards, for a time I worked with a sign company that had a number of commercial real estate and developers as clients. Coming Soon construction signs with renderings of future buildings one of my niches. Eight foot by twelve foot paintings of a building or shopping center where not uncommon. I do remember painting three 8' x 12' renderings of the same office building. (Good practice)

Back to the present....

The second painting is a landscape, a mountain stream in the deep woods with sunlight filtering through the leaves. It is a 30 x 40 (inches) canvas and below is a photo of the painting in progress on the easel.

One thing that both paintings have in common is that I painted a smaller version (8 x 10) of each before the large version. 

Come see me at the shows and see them "live and full size"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 Farm Tour

Farm near Moriah, NC

What is the Farm Tour?

When you look at paintings on this blog or perhaps my website, on facebook or at a show, it might not be immediately apparent that many of those paintings are actually created on location, with me carrying my easel, canvas and paints to where I can work with my subject before me.

As an artist, I journey to exhibit at art shows, deliver work to galleries and clients. Plus going to horse shows to display work and paint scenes of the venues along with trips to teach workshops and other travels (and all my travels become art excursions, even taking a sketch book along with the morning cup of coffee out to the porch or into the pasture with ponies and chickens) have me venturing from around the corner to across the country.

So the idea behind my farm tour is to coordinate these trips with the requests of my collectors who ask me to create a personal painting for them. With input from you, I can share my travel schedule and arrange a stop at your location. For example, If I am in Blowing Rock, NC, a side trip to Kentucky or Tennessee would fit in nicely. From the Philadelphia region I can travel to NJ, New York and if I am painting in NY a trip to New England could be easily arranged. From here in the central NC area, trips to SC, Virginia and the East Coast are no problem! I will be in the Northwest and the Seattle area later this summer. for a brief spell! So that's it, FARM TOUR 2013!

The Farm Tour is a great opportunity to have me as your own personal artist at your location. I work with you to create a painting of what is important and special to you. The possibilities are endless! I have sat on back porches and painted a favorite view of the sunset, or sunlight on a pasture gate that the kids swing on, or the horses grazing in their paddock.   

Ovoca Farm, Paris VA

Your Painting

Your paintings can range from a panoramic view of the landscape to intimate details of the porch where you sit to watch that view. The Ovoca Farm in lovely Paris, VA is an examples of a scenic view of a farm. Some people have asked for a particular building instead of a scene, such as an old tobacco barn on the property or a view from inside an old barn looking out. The possibilities are endless.

Old Pack House, this barn was slated for renovation

Street Scene, Middleburg, VA
Not a barn, farm or home, but a favorite spot.
Barn in Wellington, FL

Homes and gardens are popular as are street scenes such as Mom's
favorite pub, an old town or college scene, country lanes, your dogs at the horse show or your barn, or any scene or location that has a meaning or connection for you. Sometimes it's the time of day with the play of light that captures your feeling for a particular vignette of your day to day life.
And let's not leave out the animals and people special to you! A child grooming a pony or cleaning tack, the horses at the creek, the family at the beach or near the water.

Evening Turnout

Salem Farm, Upperville, VA

Farm in Warrenton,VA, now a Walmart parking lot

Farm near Unionville, PA 8x10
Old Barn at the Kellogg Farm, 24 x 36

Types and Sizes of Paintings

Most of my on location paintings are oils on canvas or linen board. Sizes range from large 36 x 48" or 24" x 36" down to the smaller 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" sizes. I can paint with oils outdoors on those hot summer days and while standing out in the snow during the winter. I travel with my paints and canvases to locations ranging from city streets and events to country lanes and farms, from the beaches to the mountains, from travels overseas to my own front yard. So the oils are versatile, traditional, travel well and are popular with my collectors. The colors are rich and buttery. In fact, the medium for these paints is linseed oil, which I hand process from organic food grade flaxseed oil using 16th century methods for a finish unattainable with modern manufactured materials.

Watercolor of home near Altoona, PA
A smaller percentage of my paintings are watercolors. This medium works well outdoors on a small scale but larger pieces are finished in the studio. Watercolor has always been popular for paintings of homes, boats, children at the beaches and seascapes because of its beautiful transparency.  

Barn in Aiken, SC This painting captures the feeling of walking
up to the barn rather than just a painting of the actual building 

Painting Belted Galloway Cows on location at a farm

Why the Farm Tour

My wife, Theresa Brown and I are both artists and have a studio at our home in North Carolina. As working artists, our schedules vary from definitely scheduled (such as workshops, art and horse shows and deadlines) to wonderfully flexible times when we are working in the studio or traveling and painting on location.
In the past, I made my living as a signpainter, hand lettering with brush and paint on trucks, signs and walls. Leaving the shop to work outside on a "wall job" or sign was always the best part of the job. Years ago I went back to my roots in "fine art", and working outdoors is still the most enjoyable "part of the job." Painting in the field and on the street in public brings an interaction between my viewers and myself that I especially enjoy. The enjoyment that onlookers have when watching me bring a scene or a memory to life is one of the rewards of being an artist.
I know you can hang any painting on your wall. But I am always honored to be able to make that painting a special one for you. One that has a connection for you and your family and will continue to bring enjoyment forever!

Private Home, painted on location

The painting in progress

How to Get on Board

The "Farm Tour" allows me to paint in many more locations and makes it easier for you to get that special custom painting.
Ready to get on board? It's easy, Call or email me so we can discuss your ideas, location and specifics. Email me at
Call me at 919-880-2858
Visit my website to see additional examples at and on facebook you can "like" my page at You can even send me a message from there!
This is the 2013 FARM TOUR!  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The White (Horse) Album

This was an interesting painting to create. I had toned the background of a number of larger, 3' x 4', 2' x 4' canvases along with this smaller 9 x 12. The paint to longer to dry than I had planned so I worked on the smaller canvas with its still very wet orange background.

White Horse - Naranja
9 x 12, oil on linen
$425. shipping included

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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