Thursday, September 8, 2016

Getting it Right The Third Time

"The light that never was on sea or land, the consolation and the poets dream"  - Wordsworth

This quote sums up what I'm always after.  I get this picture in my mind ( often in the place of emotion in my mind) and I'm never really satisfied until I bring it to my canvas.  It can lead to frustration, but good paintings often come out of this ambition.

The painting below was done on location and painted in about 30 minutes. During this golden hour what you are looking at changes literally every five minutes. Experiencing this gave me a clear picture of what I wanted to paint back in the studio. The most shocking part of the study was that at the time I did not realize how much warmth was reflecting onto the canvas from the trees behind me.  As soon as I put it in the truck I was stunned at how cool my greens actually were.  Not the plan.  All a part of the learning process.

Back in the studio it became obvious that many of my warm/ cool relationships were off.  One likes to think that if I would have had more time I would have been able to notice this while painting.(who knows, maybe genius would have struck after another five minutes!) I solved much of this in the next painting by going to some larger extremes in value, but this is still not the minds eye vision that I'm hoping for.

I'm planning to go back (with both paintings as reference) in order to get closer. So maybe I'll get it right the third time.

Monday, September 5, 2016


"Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in it's absence" - Herodotus

Painting is always hard and sometimes presents obstacles that seem impossible to conquer.  By faith I push through looking for the fulfillment of this Herodotus quote. The strength that is drawn out is seldom in the painting itself but in the persistence that leads to a great painting years down the line.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Cloud Study 9" x 11" by John Kelley

I painted this in 95 degree heat, 75% humidity, under only my hat.  You west coast folks have it made.

Cottondale Storm, 30" x 30". Oil Painting by John Kelley

I've been driving through this intersection for 23 years and never once considered it a subject suitable for a painting. Creation can make even nondescript strip malls and gas stations visually compelling.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Heart of The Artist

"I want people to say of my work: that man feels deeply, that man feels keenly, in spite of my so-called coarseness... I should like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart" - Vincent