Winter Birch Forest Series

My first Winter Birch Forest Painting sold almost immediately. It has gotten more feedback than any painting I have done so far, and it was painted to specific requirements of the interior designer for the space it was to hang. So when it sold, I knew I had to expand the series and do a new Winter Birch Forest painting. Ultimately I plan to do a “Birch Forest” series encompassing multiple paintings in all four seasons. I really enjoy conceptualizing these birch forests, and choosing the birds to put in them. The choices are usually influenced by the birds I have been observing out my window the days prior to painting, and this time our resident downy woodpecker has been making the rounds.

I filmed the painting of both of these paintings and with some luck will be putting up a time-lapse video of the first of these on YouTube soon for those who would like to see how I approach these. Its possible I will do a short teal-time demonstration of how I paint the birch trunks with a little more detail. Its my goal to share how I learn and paint with anyone who is interested, as that is how I learn myself.

This painting is 16″ x 40″ x 2″ and the painting extends around the edges. It is currently on display at the Mad River Barn Inn and Restaurant in Waitsfield Vermont for anyone passing through.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed painting it!

Getting Started

I thought one of my first posts should be about how I got started, or re-started, painting. And what that experience has been like.

If you read my “about” page you’ll get a good summary of how I painted for a while in high school, and held an interest in art for the next 30 years without painting much at all. In the last couple of years however I started painting again. And the experience has been both rewarding and challenging.

The challenging part comes from a variety of sources. First being learning to paint in acrylics.

I chose acrylics over oils, which is what I painted with in high school, primarily because my first painting had to be done, and dried, quickly in order to be ready on time as a surprise gift for my wife. However I may have chosen acrylics over oils anyway because I like the idea of them drying quickly, and not having to use turpentine and other solvents.  I was not ready for the difference fast drying time would make for things like blending and reworking the painting. I like the idea of being able to paint over mistakes, but sometimes I think it would be easier if I could scrape off and blend my mistakes instead of having to paint over them. And not having the extra time to work the paint can be quite the challenge.

Challenge number 2. While I took some lessons in high school I either did not learn much or forgot everything. So I had to learn all over again. How does one go about learning to paint without finding a teacher or class, and spending lots of dollars and time wasted between lessons? You Tube of course. That and the internet in general. But a quick search on You Tube and all of a sudden there were all these free resources to get me started! Yay!

Of course free is what you pay for it. There is a lot out there and one artist disagrees with another about what is right and how to go about painting. So you have to sort of be careful and look at a lot of material to see what might be of value and what won’t. And, and this is a big “and” you need to be careful that you are not just copying what others a doing and not learning your own way of painting.

Continue reading “Getting Started”

Welcome to the Creative Waters Art Blog!

I have set up this blog and website to accomplish the following goals:

  • Keep a Journal of my journey to become a better artist
  • Share my experiences with others and give back to the community
  • Share my work in order to solicit feedback
  • Make paintings available for sale

I hope to follow in the footsteps of some artists I admire who have not been afraid to put their learning process and artistic process out there for everyone to follow and learn from. For me the journey to becoming an artist involves a lot of mistakes and trail and error. If I can help other beginning or struggling artists learn from or avoid the mistakes I make, then all the better.

One of my inspirations for sharing is Brandon Schaefer who you can find online and on YouTube. He may be the  biggest reason I managed not to get stuck and frustrated when I began painting again. His encouragement to keep pushing through even when my work felt (to me) like crap and his devotion to sharing his journey and knowledge with others is inspirational.

I have many inspirational artists to share with you and will soon start a series of posts about some of them and why I find them inspirational. Continue reading “Welcome to the Creative Waters Art Blog!”

Autumn Escape

Autumn Escape

“Autumn Escape” was inspired by the beautiful Autumn foliage here in Vermont along with trips to Northern Maine with my dad. This painting was done as a gift for my mom and dad for their home in Florida. When they opened it, the first thing my dad said was “It reminds me of Maine”, which was the perfect compliment.

This was the 3rd or 4th painting I did that featured birch trees as a focal point. I found I really enjoyed  the process of painting birch tree trunks. I paint them a little different than I do other trees in that for birch I start with white (well almost white) and go from light to dark instead of the usual approach of painting from dark to light.

I didn’t want to struggle to get that beautiful luminous quality of the crisp white bark of a paper-white birch so starting with the light and adding the dark made more sense to me.

I hope to soon put up a You Tube video of me painting a birch tree to share my technique. When I have done that I’ll update this post.

Struggles with this painting included the water which is still a challenge for me every time I tackle it. I think I did the water in this painting 3 times before getting it to a place I like.

I also left the sky clear so it wouldn’t draw attention away from the focal points, the birch, the near island and the reflections.

I was very happy with the trees on the far shore and island, layering the paint to build up the subtle color that hints of the fall foliage. Birch trees usually turn early to the far trees, maples, oaks, beech and the like, are just getting a hint of fall color.

I enjoy paining large (this is 30″ x 40″) but it does pose additional challenges in keeping the paint fluid. I use regular (not open) acrylics so have to work fast.

I’d love your feedback. So feel free to comment down below.