Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shifting to 2nd gear

O.O. Howard House
6 x 8
I am getting into a groove now with the Historical Series of paintings. Early this afternoon i took a stroll around the Vancouver Barracks/Officers Row area searching for my next victim and decided on the O.O. Howard House. This historic home was built for the Civil War general O.O. Howard in 1879. While this is not the most popular of homes on Officers Row - probably for being just off the main drag, i felt it was definitely worthy of my attention and best effort.
General Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909) was a Medal of Honor recipient who lost an arm during the Civil War, and was the founder of Howard University in Washington, DC. - and its president from 1867-1873.
As i ponder about this historical figure, i can only imagine the stories and lessons he might have had to offer, and i am humbled by the thought i could give light to such tremendous history.
When i started with the idea of painting Vancouver's historical buildings, my driving force was to bring awareness to our community's past; but i am finding that the list of prominent figures reaches well beyond household names like Marshall and Grant.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Academy Ruins

Morning Light
8 x 6 Yesterday i went to The Academy in downtown Vancouver. After wandering around for a while, i landed on a composition that i felt most compelled to paint. The building is what i would call, local ruin, and is a lovely, beat up brick structure that i believe is condemned. On one hand i would really like to see this structure refurbished, but on the other hand there is an overwhelming charm about it that combines rugged and soft textures to create an amazing contrast that many artists search for. While i didn't get the colors quite right in this painting i think i did a pretty good job with value and composition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Historical Collection I

St. James Catholic Church
18 x 13 3/4
This is my second attempt at captivating the mighty presence of St. James. This structure has cast shadows for well over 100 years and is some of our most prominent architecture in Clark County. I have worked this painting off and on over the last ten days and it has been a great challenge. One reason i took this on was to push myself into creating a piece, something that most people have seen and know well, and making it look believable; a task, not easily accomplished. I'm not entirely sure if i will continue to work on this piece, i think i will let it settle for a couple days and review it with fresh eyes to see if there are any details i would like to change. I am pretty happy with the lines and dimensionally i think it's pretty sound. One thing new for me was the implementation of the #6 Round. I had never used a round brush with oil paints before, and the foreground retaining wall face, which i struggled with, owes all its marbling and texture to the rolling and sliding ability of the great.... #6 Round. Charles Hawthorne said in his book, Hawthorne on Painting, "Swing a bigger brush; you don't know what fun you are missing." While i wholly believe this, i would like to add that the versatility and creativity of the round cannot be understated either and i now have a new best friend in #6.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Friendly Disposition
14 x 9 5/8
I have been wanting to paint the dramatic architecture of St. James Church on W 12th St in downtown Vancouver,WA. Saturday, i decided to go down and start in. I wandered around snapping pics and coming up with what i thought was a nice composition. Then, I spent a few hours working on it and only encountered one rain shower, which wasn't bad considering the amount of rain we have had this year. In that time i managed a solid start. Sunday morning, in the studio, i added layers of paint, shaping the lines and adding depth and texture.
When completed, i wasn't entirely happy with my lines of this prominent structure, but what i do like is the friendly, welcoming disposition she possesses, and any artist worth their salt will tell you the feeling and emotion in a painting is more important than having all the i's dotted and t's crossed.
I plan on painting more architecture this year and am looking forward to documenting my vision of the many amazing and historical structures in our city called (for now) Vancouver,WA.