Friday, September 4, 2015

A Painter of Memories

The Beacon
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2015
I have painted the Bolivar light house several times in the last couple of years.  It's a sight I never seem to grow tired of and brings back the thrill of waiting on the ferry to go to Galveston as a kid. I started this little 8" x 10" after lunch a couple of days ago and spent yesterday afternoon finishing it. I often post progress photos of my paintings on Facebook, and yesterday when I posted this one I immediately had a buyer.  She and I have been Facebook friends for the past year or so and she often sends me incredibly thoughtful and kind comments about paintings I post. She's wanted to buy one for herself for a while and the timing hadn't worked out yet.

She used to live at the coast but moved to North Texas decades ago.  She had plans to move back home to the Gulf Coast with her sweetheart but he died a year or two ago.  Turns out this would be their anniversary and she's decided to make this painting an anniversary present to herself in honor of her life with him. When she commented about the painting she told me "It looks like you have painted a picture of a memory of a light house...not just a painting of a light house.  You're a painter of memories."

Wow! It's always nice to have buyers for my work, but when something I've made touches someone so deeply money doesn't compare.  When people ask me about the subjects I choose to paint I always point out that each and every image is related to a memory I have of time spent with the people I love. My paintings are a personal diary of sorts.  I'm humbled and honored every time someone else chooses to make my memories a new page in their own book of life.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Idyll Time" new 16" x 20" oil painting by Mark Nesmith

Idyll Time
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

This is another lost gem. I started this painting a couple of years ago. I don't get out much to paint plein air anymore, but I started this one while I was staying out at my brother's place. He has a bit of land and lives in a rural area. I'd take bike rides for miles seeking out places to paint around the nearby farms and pastures. This little cropping of trees was close by and I was often struck by the contrast of the warm field against the deep blues of the sky. For some reason the scene struck me as something Inness might paint. I spent a few hours laying this painting in and was pretty happy with it but for whatever reason I never got around to finishing it.

Flash forward a couple of years and a couple of moves....Elizabeth and I have our own extreme home makeover in progress. We bought a little house and are gutting it to the studs one room at a time. I was going through some of the storage looking for any art supplies I might have hidden and stumbled on this canvas. It was dusty and a little worse for wear but the scene struck me. I brought it to my make shift studio in my classroom a while back and finally got around to it this week. I've spent a little time in the afternoon the last couple of days basically treating the original as an under painting and painting, scumbling, and scraping thick impastos of color on top.The end result is maybe a little more impressionistic than some of my work but I love the lush textures and colors. We've had pretty dreary weather here this week but working on this painting took me away to lazy summer days.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"Pipe Down" new daily 8" x 10" oil painting by Mark Nesmith

Pipe Down
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2015

Click here to bid on this painting.

I'm not a bird watcher exactly. I don't know the names of them all. I don't carry binoculars and I don't really seek out avian life, but I often notice birds, particularly when I'm at the beach.  Lately I've been plugging away mainly on larger canvases, often spending a few weeks or more coming back again and again to work on the same images.  Now that my shows at Third Coast Gallery in Galveston and Davis Gallery & Framing in Austin are in full swing I thought I'd get back to some smaller daily paintings I could finish in a couple of hours and just relax a little. 

I recently stopped off at Bolivar Flats and a couple of other beaches on my way back from the gallery in Galveston to shoot some reference photos and make a quick sketch or two of the sunset.  Bolivar Flats is sort of a mecca for bird watchers and photographers, and as usual there were plenty of our winged friends around.  These little pipers always catch my attention because their squatter statue stands in such contrast to the plentiful herons and pelicans.  

I started this 8" x 10" at lunch with a simple charcoal outline.  I wanted to keep things simple so I only used one, scraggly 1/4" flat bristle brush for the entire painting but tried to keep the surface interesting by varying my strokes and using the handle of the brush as well.  I've done a few small 5" x 7" panels in the past of spoonbills and pelicans, but this was my first piper.  At some point I'd like to try my hand at a larger more fully rendered bird, but for now I'm enjoying these occasional small flights of fancy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Bolivar Rising" 15" x 30" oil painting of a Gulf Coast sunrise by Mark Nesmith

Bolivar Rising
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
15" x 30"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

When we were packing up to move I stumbled upon this forgotten beach painting I started 4 or 5 years ago. I wasn't happy with it and never finished it but I kept it around thinking I'd get back to it someday. A while back I starting playing around on it again. After two or three afternoons at the easel, I'm finally happy with it. The sky now casts a warm, radiant glow and I think I've managed to catch a bit of the calm rhythm of the waves I feel when sunrise wakes the coast. This painting really has me dreaming of warmer weather and salty breezes. Sometimes digging up the past yields new treasure.

This painting was recently featured in the artist showcase at Le Grand Bal at the Dishman Museum in Beaumont, TX and as part of the art walk at Third Coast Gallery in Galveston.  It's on a deep gallery wrapped style canvas. The edges are painted a neutral grey and the canvas is wired and ready to hang.

I'm the featured artist for Volume 6 of the AOT Collectors Update!

I'm honored to be the featured artist for the AOT Art Collectors Update this week.  The page has some of my paintings, bio and statement, and information on some of my current events. Please take a few moments to check it out and let me know what you think. It's a great feature and worth subscribing to for ongoing information about some great artists in Texas.

Click here to view Volume 6 of the AOT Art Collectors Update featuring my work. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Artists of Texas Page

My Artist of Texas webpage got a makeover today.  Stop by and check it out and let me know what you think.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Mudbugs" oil painting and the joys of a Southeast Texas crawfish boil

Mudbugs
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas
24" x 30"
2014

Click here to buy this painting.

I grew up in Beaumont, TX, but after graduating from Lamar University with my BFA in 1998 I moved to Dallas. Over the years trips back home to SE Texas became less frequent as I wound up working more and more to support my growing family, but the people, places, and culture of SE Texas and the Gulf Coast was always in my heart and my mind.
 
When my marriage was coming to an end in 2011-12 I moved back to my hometown where most of my family still lives as a much needed reboot for myself. Beaumont had changed a lot in the years I'd been gone. There were still lots of familiar places, but most of the friends I'd had growing up had moved away. I reconnected with a few people from my past, fell in love with my beautiful muse Elizabeth, and have been working on my happily ever after ever since.
 
One of the things I did after moving back was to start painting and drawing my new (old?) surroundings, and one of the ways I started meeting new people and making new friends was at the crawfish boils at The Pacesetter Lounge which my girlfriend was managing at the time. I like crawfish ok (never liked all the work it takes to peel them though,) but what really makes a crawfish boil special is sitting around with everyone sharing stories and laughs over a cold beer and some spicy crawfish. This painting is kind of a still life, but for me it's a reminder of all those evenings spent with good friends making new memories for a new life. This painting was originally exhibited as part of my one man show at The Art Studio, Inc. entitled "The Way Back Home" and recently was on display at Third Coast Gallery in Galveston. I think it's time to find these mudbugs a good home.