Monday, April 23, 2018


                                                                A New Website

Well, I finally got my new website up after a lot of struggling with computer and internet terms and fear (I'm nearly computer illiterate) and more than a little procrastination. I went with FASO as a host and they were a huge help once I got all my info put together and enough good photos of my work. I hope you like it.

http://johncoxpaintings.com/

Here is a new small painting that is on the new website. It is titled "The Old Back Road." It is a 12"x 9" oil on a linen panel. It is loosely based on an old photo I took nearly 50 years ago and quite a bit of artistic license taken to make it. It is available through here or my website where it can be purchased with Pay Pal. Another nice feature FASO provides. http://johncoxpaintings.com



 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

                                            A Quiet Place

This a typical scene in the Texas Hill Country. When I first saw this scene just off a Farm to Market Road winding through the hills. Once I started sketching I noticed not just the natural composition that first attracted me, but how quiet and peaceful it was. No sounds of traffic, only a light breeze that hardly made a sound in the trees and grasses.  A beautiful day to be out sketching and photographing for new paintings. I hope my painting conveys the peace and quiet I enjoyed being in.
                                                    "A Quiet Place"  18"x 24" Oil on linen panel

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

                               Taking a Second Look

I learned many things from my friend James Reynolds about painting. One of these was to set a painting aside and come back after some time, usually after the painting has had time to dry completely and is ready to be varnished. Before varnishing, set the painting up and critique the painting and make notes. When you have done this, go back to the easel with it and correct the questionable areas.

Now, as a person who makes his living from the paintings he makes, I don't always have the luxury of setting a painting aside for very long before it needs to go to a gallery or a show. I do wait awhile, after I think the painting is finished to critique it. I have found, for myself anyway, that the longer I separate myself from a painting before critiquing it, the better. Lately, I have had some health issues and computer problems, that made me wait a good amount of time before I could really look at and, if needed, correct areas of a painting.

When the original first came off the easel. I was comfortable with this piece, but about a week later I was questioning it. Several areas were bothering me. Particularly the Blue Bonnets and values in the foreground. I have tried different ways of painting these flowers, but have yet to find something I really like. This was one of the better efforts, but I was not really happy with them. I put the painting in my storage closet. Out of sight, out of mind.

A couple of months past and my computer crashed, and I do mean crashed. It had to be completely rebuilt, so to speak. I probably needed to buy a new one, but finances being as they were,  well you get it. It is during this time without a computer that I truly realized what a time waster a computer can be. Yes it is a great asset for artists, but if not careful it is also a huge thief of one's time.

With my computer down, I was not able to access my reference material. OH NO! What do I do now? The answer was go back to what I did for years before computers came into my life. Come up with original compositions and do more plein air work! What a novel concept!!!

Problem was, it was winter. Not really cold, but a lot of rain and dreary days limited when I could get out to paint. One these days if I wasn't working on something new I had started in the field, I would go into my storage closet and pull older paintings and critique them. One of these paintings was this one.

Not only did the Blue Bonnets still bother me, so did the background

                               "The Old Oak In Spring"  16"x 20" Oil on linen panel

I reworked the Blue Bonnets. The photo does not show much change, but they are much softer and not as harsh along with more variation in the blues and purples. I also lightened the value of the grasses in the foreground. I cooled and softened the mid ground and background grasses. The background trees were completely changed and softened as was the sky. I am  much more comfortable putting this painting out now.  I feel it is more cohesive, softer, and conveys the original concept and feeling I wanted to show. Time to put it in a frame.

Monday, February 19, 2018

                                                   Finally! A New Post

Well, after a series of computer problems and then some health issues keeping me down, I am finally making some new posts. I got a lot of painting done while the computer was down, but then after it came back I got the dreaded flu and with my old fire resistant lungs (asbestos), it hit me pretty hard. A little time in the hospital, and a long, almost 2 months now, recovery, I am finally getting back to painting and posting. So here we go.

This painting is an 18"x24" oil on linen panel. It is a scene here in the Texas Hill Country with a little artististic license (mine is still valid). I hope you like my efforts, and I will be posting more daily, I hope.

"The Road Home" 18"x 24" Oil on linen panel

Sunday, June 25, 2017

                                   Seven Of Seven

Okay, Here is the last of this series. Don't think this is my last post of the year. Oh no! You would be mistaken if thinking that. I wanted to get a painting a day posted as a restart on this blog. Much more is coming and more regularly. I am committing to a new post every week and more if I have something to share between regular posts. I have several things in the works and one is a new website. But that is not the only thing. This blog will continue along with the new website. There will likely be changes in my work as far as style and subject matter and more comments and suggestions on painting coming more often here. I have no intention of competing with any of the fine instructional websites currently helping others to paint and improve peoples work. They are doing great and doing a fine job teaching bout painting good art.

I plan on answering questions when I can and maybe offering some other solutions to solving problems we all run into when making a painting. I will not be disputing others, but trying to re- enforce what they teach with maybe a slight adjustment or suggestion. The first rule to painting is there are no "set in stone" rules one must follow. That said, there are many ways to solve a problem and by going back to the basics of drawing, value, composition, simplicity, edges, color and so on, one will find the answer to any given painting problem.

What some might think of as "rules" are usually "rules of thumb" that make up the basics for making good, pleasing, archival works of art. When I say archival, I mean your paint won't be falling off the canvas in a few years after it is finished and hanging in a collectors home. It also means less problem with cracking, fading of colors.There is a lot that can go wrong with a painting after it leaves the artists studio, if the artist does not pay attention to the basics of good painting.

Okay, this post is not a teaching post so let me get on with this post. Number seven in this post is another piece from old reference material and a few changes I made, since my artistic license is still valid. Again this is on an oil primed RayMar panel. It is 12"x12" I call it "Glacial Pond" True is is bigger than what most people consider a "pond," but it certainly was not lake sized. This location is in Colorado, near Rocky Mountain National Park. It was seen and photographed during a hike, I am physically unable to do any more, I'm sorry to admit, but age takes it's toll on all of us in different ways, I guess. This like the others is available by contacting me through this blog. A frame has not yet been ordered so you can make that choice if you so desire. I hope you like it.

   
                                              "Glacial Pond" 12"x12" Oil on panel

Saturday, June 24, 2017

                               Number Six of Seven

Here is number six (finally!) of the seven continuous posts of new paintings. I don't do many still lifes unless you count florals, but even those are of still growing flowers and rarely floral arrangements in vases and such. This is what I consider a true still life piece. I don't know what to say about it other than it is an assortment of bowls and some fresh garlic recently purchased at the store. It is called simply "Fresh Garlic" (forgive me I am a painter not a writer). It is an oil on a 8"x16" RayMar panel and done with a very limited palette. Transparent Oxide Red, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light and of course Titanium white.  I hope you enjoy it.

 
                "Fresh Garlic" 8"x16" Oil on panel Available through my studio. Contact me here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

                                             OOPS! 

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, etc. etc. Murphy's law and all those sayings struck yesterday eliminating the daily post. A technical glitch with my computer put the kibosh on what I intended to post. Now that it has taken the better part of today to get fixed, I am re-posting the small portrait study I showed at the beginning of this series of "one-a-day" posts. I did not say much about it previously, but will get into it a little more now.

About six months before I moved here from Arizona I did two portraits. One was a single 16"x20" portrait of a friends wife. The other was a portrait of the husband the same size. These were my first forays into doing portraits. I was probably more surprised and happy with both pieces as the couple was. Adding portraits to my portfolio was still not part of my future goals.

When I arrived here in Texas and got my studio set up and began painting it was more landscapes and florals. I got a call from a long time friend who still lived here and he wanted a portrait done. Not having a local gallery outlet here yet and like most artists and happy to get a commission I agreed to do it. I used photographs and several sittings and again pulled it off and had a very happy client. this lead to another portrait and another happy client and taking with a few other people about commissions. Consequently, I have decided to also pursue doing more portraits. This painting is a study for my next one.


                      "Portrait Study of A Young Woman"  12"x9" oil on panel. This piece is available since I have made another, the client likes the pose better.

I would also like to say something about my method of drawing. I stick with the basics of drawing the human head or in some cases the full figure . The very fine figurative artist Steve Huston has some excellent, detailed, easy to understand instructional videos on YouTube on the same method I use. I truly believe it is why I have been successful doing portrait, achieving a likeness of the subject withou no experience doing portraits of actual people. Sure I have done a lot of figures, nudes and otherwise, but those rarely, if ever included a good portrait quality likeness. The lighting and design the pose made were the focus of those paintings, not a perfect likeness of the subject, as a portrait requires. So I encourage anyone wanting to do figures or portraits really get these basics down so you do them with every drawing and painting you do without think. In other words do it automatically, just like breathing. Not only will it make everything easier, it will improve your paintings quicker. And we all know a better painting is what we are all after.

For this study I made some quick marks, measuring with a proportional divider. Once I had the accurate locations of each facial feature and their shapes, I switched to a bristle filbert and raw umber from Daniel Smith. I love using this brand in this color because it makes such a nice full range of very neutral grays using LaFranc titanium white. There is no yellowish cast as one sees in many other brands of raw umber. It has several other advantages also. It is very fast drying and speeds the drying of the white, making the grisaille ready to paint over the next day. It also works well in flesh color mixes. Don't get me wrong, it is not mixed in every color I make when I get into the full color work, but is in some transitional areas and maybe some shadows. I use a limited palette for figures and everything I paint, no matter the subject. It consists of a warm and cool of the three primaries. The exceptions to this only occur in a few florals, where I might add or substitute a color due to the color appearing on the actual flower.

My basic palette I use at this time is:
Titanium White                       LaFranc
Winsor Lemon                        Winsor Newton
Cadmium Yellow                    Utrecht
Cadmium Red Light                Utrecht
Permanent Alizarin Crimson   Winsor Newton
Ultramarine Blue                     Utrecht
Cobalt Blue                              Utrecht
Raw Umber                              Daniel Smith

Occasional additions to my basic palette might include:
Transparent Red Oxide             Rembrandt
Permanent Rose                        Winsor Newton
Magenta                                    Winsor Newton
Viridian Hue                             Holbein

My brushes are mostly bristle flats and filberts from Trekell. Mongoose flats and sable rounds from Rosemary and Co.  I also have a couple of cheapo bristle brushes from Home Depot for toning a canvas or massing large areas when first laying in a painting.

Trekell brushes are excellent brushes and probably equal in quality T Rosemary and Co. for hog bristles that I use. I am in the process of changing to all Rosemary and Co. brushes when I need to order more. This decision has nothing to do about the quality of the Trekell brushes. I want that clear. I am only changing to all Rosemary and Co. to make ordering easier and stay with top quality brushes. It is strictly for my personal convenience and no other reason.