The Center of My Neighborhood

Just before Christmas, I finished and delivered another house painting, this one to my neighbors The Hoggards. Maybe I'm getting a little better at these house paintings, but this one gave me less trouble than the any of the other three I've done.

This one is also a historic home. When we first moved our family into this neighborhood, the Hoggards were among the first to welcome us. Their kids hung out with our kids. We sometimes attended their cookouts and parties. The Hoggards' front porch, which figures prominently in this painting, is the de facto center of the neighborhood. 

They are good people and I enjoyed having the opportunity to capture their home on canvas.

A Very Special House Call

I just finished my third painting of a house. This one is another historic home in Greensboro, and belongs to a friend and neighbor. Mebane Ham has played an instrumental part in my painting success. She encouraged me to take part in my first public art event, and has alerted me to other opportunities to help broaden my artistic interests. I owe a lot to Mebane.

So, it was a pleasure to paint her house. I did my usual round of struggling with colors, shadows and highlights. I wrestled with details and ultimately decided to do without some of them. In the end, I'm pleased with how the painting turned out.

And so was Mebane.

Arts and Craft

After I finished my first house painting for a friend and neighbor, I was pretty excited about trying another house. Another friend and neighbor -- who already owns several paintings of mine -- asked if I would paint his house.

I agreed to take it on and set about taking photos from different angles and directions. The Craft House, as I came to call it, just keeps going. I would argue that the impressive and beautiful front of the house gets much of the attention. There is so much detail and nuances.

And a lot of curves. I'm a straight-line painter, so I ruled out the front pretty early on. In the end, I settled on an angle from the rear of the house looking forward down the side. This angle gives a better idea of the length of the Craft House. It also illustrates the changes in the shape and lines.

To date, this painting was the hardest, most challenging I've finished. I started over twice, changing the colors more than once in one day.

I stepped away from the painting for a week or so to clear my head. I have a habit of forgetting I'm not the type of painter who goes in for detail. I had to remind myself that all of those amazing window panes are not my style.

"Stick to what you're becoming known for," I say to myself.

With the exception of the chimney, the painting is essentially a monotone: a collection of grays. And I love how it turned out.

I delivered it to the homeowners and they seemed very pleased with it.

I have since been asked to do the homes of two more neighbors. I'm glad to accept the challenge, but I do hope I can get through it with more ease than the Craft House.

To Build A House

I have a couple of neighbors who run a photography business. They are delightful people and have always been generous in offering their services to take photos of several of my paintings, free of charge.

Each time they finished taking photos of my work I ask them, "Can I paint something for you to pay you back?" Each time they would say, "We'll let you know if we think of something."

Finally, after taking a batch of photos of three of my paintings, my neighbor photographers messaged me and asked if I would paint a picture of their house.

"We'd love to see our house in your style," they said. I accepted the challenge.

I began by taking photos of their wonderful and large historic home. I began working on the painting, but shortly after that, I stopped. I just wasn't feeling it with this painting.

A month or so later, I flipped back through the photos I had taken of the VanderVeen House and found an angle I liked better than the one I had started. I was encouraged by the progress and became excited about the painting.

I finally finished the VanderVeen House painting and delivered it to the new owners. As a bonus, it was their wedding anniversary. I was thrilled this painting mad them so happy.

Also, it helped me attract a couple more possibilities for sales.

This Train Has Left the Station

I think I started this painting about four months ago. It started as one large box car and quickly became a row of small boxcars. Then I lost interest in it. Something about it wasn't keeping my attention.

So I set it aside and moved on to other paintings.

Then, about three weeks ago, my wife and I were rearranging our dining room, which is where my painting "studio" is set up. She pulled the still-unfinished train painting out and said, "You should finish this. It's cool."

We placed it on top of a set of shelves to get it out of the way. And it looked good sitting up there.
"Yeah, I should finish it," I said, suddenly finding interest in the train painting again.

So, I finished it and brought it to the Parisian Promenade. It's a large painting, so I had it sitting out front of my booth. The painting grabbed a lot of attention from passersby. And, it sold.

Which brings me to this conclusion: I'm going to take a break from grain elevators. I love those buildings, but I'm excited to do more work with trains. I've also been kicking around a idea or two for large cargo ships. And, I'm going to turn some of my focus away from the plains and direct it to the desert southwest. I'm even going to make a run at painting an adobe, or two.

I still have one more grain elevator to paint -- a commission for a friend and former co-worker. After that, this one track mind is going to try other routes.

Check back soon.

Going solo

I have my very first solo art show coming up on May 12. It will be at Irving Park Art & Frame in Greensboro. I'm excited for this event. I'm partnering with Preservation Greensboro. The nonprofit will receive a portion of any sales on the night of the opening.

The show will run through the end of May.

Here are a few of the newer works that will be at the show and available for purchase. Hope to see you there.

The bottom painting has sold.

When the Going Gets Tough, Walk Away for a While

I started this painting -- Grain Elevator No. 11 -- in early January. The painting and I have been through a lot together. I didn't like the angles. I didn't like the colors. I didn't like the new colors. I didn't like the shadows. I couldn't fix the shadows. I didn't like the area to the lower right. And so on.

So I set this one aside for a few days. When I came back to it, I made a few modest changes and -- voila -- we were friends again.

I hope you enjoy it. 20"X20"