Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bluebonnet Fields Forever - New 7" x 5" Daily Oil Painting


Bluebonnet Fields Forever
Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

Spring is finally here, and in Texas, that means wild flowers. Specifically, that means bluebonnets. The state flower transforms ordinary roadside fields into brilliant blankets of rich blue and violet hues. Here three trees stand on a patch of green island amidst a virtual sea of blue. 

This is was painted alla prima in just about two hours. There's lots of juicy impasto paint, particular in the bluebonnets. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Cypress Lake"




Cypress Lake
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.



The greatest amenity at the apartments where I live is the beautiful horse shoe shaped pond (which they've named Cypress Lake for some unknown reason.) I've done several small studies of the pond at sunset and have been working on a few larger canvases as well.  This past week has been beautiful, blue skies, sun, and comfortable temperatures.  It's finally feeling like Spring around here. 

This is a 12" x 12" oil painting on canvas of the pine tree lined shore and reflection on a sunny afternoon.  I painted this fairly quickly with a 1/2" brush.  I've been trying to be a little less fussy with some of my smaller paintings, and I wanted to use my brushstrokes to capture the carefree, breezy afternoon by the pond

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New daily oil painting "Distant Rain"

Distant Rain
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




Rain has been a bit of a scarce commodity around SE Texas for most of the past year or more.  I've always loved the rain.  I love the smell and the sound, but most of all I love the strange, eerie quality the light can take on with dark clouds overhead.


While out on my bike for a ride, the sunny day I left the house in suddenly turned dark and storm clouds took over the distance.  They trailed rain as they swept along, drenching some areas and seeming to leave other spots untouched and dry.  I made a mental image of the scene and recreated it as best I could. 


I'd love to devise some system for painting outdoors in the rain, maybe a canopy or easy up tent would work.  Maybe even just a large umbrella and some anchors for the easel.  I've often painted the storm clouds with the promise of rain, but I think this is the first time I've ever tried to capture the rainfall as well. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Daily oil painting "White Rose"

White Rose
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Gessoed Panel
10" x 8"
2013


Click here to purchase this painting.

I painted this rose back in October of 2013.  I had taken a trip with my new girlfriend not long before for the memorial service for her father.  We were in Mississippi at his home and surrounded by her family who I was meeting for the very first time.  What could have been a very somber occasion turned into a celebration of life.  It was amazing to be there and feel the spirit and love.


There was a flower garden in front of the porch filled with roses.  There were beautiful, full blooms of red and white flowers.  I took lots of pictures that weekend, and I also did a few quick pencil drawings in a small sketchbook I brought with me.


Later back in Beaumont I painted this white rose from her father's garden.  I loved all the subtle shifts of green and violet I discovered reflected in the white petals, and the deep reds and browns of the porch and ground contrasted beautifully with the soft tints of the rose.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "First Light on the Pond"


First Light on the Pond
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

In a day that included a flat tire, double classes, and helping out with P.E. in the gym, it was tough to fit in some painting time, but I squeezed in a little more than an hour and calmed my soul with this little 5" x 7" painting of my brother's pond.


When I first moved back to SE Texas after my marriage ended, my brother was gracious enough to let me stay at his place and get myself back together.  He really was a rock for me.  I spent many mornings and evenings at his little tree lined pond seeking moments of tranquility in my turbulent world.


Here the warm, soft light of the new dawn fills the sky.  The water ripples and the reflections of the trees pool along the banks.  I'd stand on the little pier or sway on the bench swing, breathe deep,  and still my busy mind.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Hushed" Oil Painting from the John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center

Hushed
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

I'm a sucker for the wetlands.  My whole life I've loved the look of the reeds and tall grasses swaying against the calm, shallow waters of a marsh.  From the salt marshes near the coast to the bogs in the Big Thicket or Caddo Lake, there's something about the rhythm of the grasses and trees against the calm reflections that entrances me every time.

The John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center near Crandall, TX uses aquatic plants to filter and purify water to be used in North Texas. They've built a wonderful set of boardwalks to let visitors walk out over the water, and it's become a haven for birds and other wildlife making it a popular spot for local birdwatchers.

When I lived in Seagoville I'd often go to the center and take photos and sketch.  There's a wonderful view of it from Hwy 175 as well.  I'd often sit and soak up the sunset there.  I think everyone loves the brilliant colors of a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and I certainly find myself painting those intense displays of fiery reds and yellows often, but one of my favorite times is twilight.

John Henry Twachtman, one of my favorite late nineteenth century American painters, was a master of the poetic, lyrical light found at dusk.  Here I've focused on the soft, subtle light found after the sun has dipped below the horizon.  The last rays of the day illuminate the still, shallow water of the wetlands bathing the world in soft pink, blue, and lavender tones.  The short, staccato rhythms of the grasses and their slight red and orange accents provide movement and contrast.

I actually started this 16" x 20" oil painting several years ago, but this past year I uncovered it in some of my boxes after moving back to Southeast Texas following my divorce.  It was a time when I needed some calm in my days and finishing this painting gave me some much needed relief from the stress I was feeling.  I hope it does the same for viewers today.

New Daily Oil Painting "Blaze"

Blaze 
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.

Rice is a part of life in Southeast Texas.  Anyone who has spent anytime at all here is familiar with the rice mills that dot the skyline throughout towns like Beaumont, and the flooded rice fields along IH-10 and other roads are as much a part of our landscape as the tall pine trees.  Doguet's Rice is a household name in most homes here, and the Winnie Rice Festival rivals the state fair and has been an annual tradition since 1969.


I've always loved the shallow, flooded fields of rice with their subtle tree lines in the distance.  The shallow, still water makes for beautiful, soft reflections in the daylight, and transforms into a fiery pool of burning sky during sunset.  With barely any separation between the earth and sky it seems like they melt into each other and the whole world is a blaze of color.


This is an 8" x 10" oil painting on canvas I completed in a quick surge of painting.  It was painted alla prima with just a quick outline sketch in pencil to start.  With very little detail, I was able to focus on the intense sky spilling over into the flooded rice fields.  I plan to do several more and hope to flesh out a few larger canvases soon.













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Friday, April 11, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Spoons"

Spoons
Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
5" x 7"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.

I'm not a really a bird watcher, but if you spend enough time around the coast you can't help but notice the abundance and variety of winged creatures hanging around.  These two Roseate Spoonbills recently caught my eye near the Bolivar Lighthouse just before the ferry to Galveston.


There are several wildlife preserves and bird sanctuaries on or near the Bolivar Peninsula, so each year thousands of birds stop off at the beach.  Spoonbills wade in the shallow coastal waters and tidal pools, swinging their bills side to side and sifting through the mud to feast on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and small fish.  Their vivid colors are a result of their diet and can range from pale pinks to bright reds and magentas and makes for great contrast against the green weeds and salt grass. 


This small oil painting started as a pencil sketch.  I then laid in the darker values on the birds and the background.  The reflections and ripples in the water proved to be lots of fun to paint and I saved some of the juiciest brush strokes the foreground.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Yellow Feet"

Yellow Feet
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

People often associate the beach with sunshine and surf, but it's also a fantastic place to get a little closer with nature.  The Bolivar Peninsula is home to many bird sanctuaries including my often cited favorite beach, Bolivar Flats, but just about any stretch of the coast along the Gulf of Mexico can be a great place for watching our winged friends.

From the mundane seagull to spoonbills, pelicans, and egrets, there are thousands upon thousands of birds that make an annual stop off along the Texas coast. 

Here a white egret enjoys wading in one of the many tidal pools that crop up every day with the tide.  The curvaceous neck gives most egrets a graceful appearance akin to swans, but it was the vibrant yellow highlights along this bird's feet and eyes that caught my attention.  On an otherwise overcast day, those flashes of yellow just seemed to pop out of nowhere.

It can be a challenge to keep interest in the white areas of a painting.  Here I alternating tints of light blue on the left side of the bird with warmer, yellow and greenish tints on the right.  Placing the bird against the muted earth tones of the background created a strong contrast that really helped the whites pop.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Dusk on the Dunes"

Dusk on the Dunes
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

It's been a hectic week in the classroom with STAAR testing going on, so I needed a little vacation.  No days off left to use so I had to settle for the next best thing...I painted myself a day at the beach.

Growing up in Beaumont, TX the beach was just a short drive away.  My family and I often visited Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Penninsula and crossed the ferry to Galveston. Over the fifteen years or so that I lived in or near Dallas, trips to the coast became less and less frequent.  Since moving back to SE Texas after my divorce I've made it a point to visit the coast as often as I can.

I've posted many paintings of Bolivar Flats, one of my favorite stretches of beach.  It's a birding area and less frequented by the tourist trade.  It sits just a short distance before the ferry landing to Galveston so lots of people miss it in their rush to make it to the island. 

Bolivar Flats is a beautiful, open stretch of beach with lots of dunes and vegetation. Turn to your right and you can see Galveston in the distance.  Turn to the left and you can get a glimpse of some of the homes along Crystal Beach, but look towards the Gulf and it's easy to imagine yourself completely alone in a remote, un-spoiled part of the world. 

Here I've painted the beach late in the day when the last rays of light start to slip away at dusk.  During my week of standardized testing, this serene scene helped me keep my sanity!

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Push and Shove"




Push and Shove
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting


One of my current favorite spots is the deck at the Down Under Restaurant at Crystal Beach.  It sits on the canal side giving an up close view of the steady stream of tugs pushing barges along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  It's always interesting to see these mighty little ships pushing barges the length of a football field.

This is usually a common sight, although lately it was more like a parking lot while they were cleaning up the oil spill after the recent collision that left a barge partially submerged.  Hopefully they contained and cleaned up the spill quick enough and there won't be any major long term damage.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New daily oil painting "Bolivar Afternoon"

Bolivar Afternoon
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.



I've been spending a lot of time at Crystal Beach. My girlfriend started managing a restaurant there and I've played a few acoustic shows there too. The coast has always called to me, and getting to spend more time there has been very inspirational to me.

In the past few weeks I've completed and sold several small paintings of the marina area, and just finished a 12" x 24" painting of some of the beach houses nearby.

News has been spreading of the barge accident this past weekend that spilled oil into the bay and has shut down part of the ship Chanel and even the ferry service to Galveston. One of the biggest concerns is the nearby habitats frequented by tens of thousands of migratory birds. This is the time of year when they usually start flocking here. Crews have been working non-stop trying to contain and clean up the spill. Hopefully there won't be too much long term damage to the area, although I'm sure local fisherman and the shipping industry are already feeling a few pains about the situation.

This 8" x 10" painting is of  a stretch of beach called Bolivar Flats. It's just before the ferry landing on Hwy 87. It's one of my favorite local beaches. It's a birding area and less frequented by people so it's expansive beach front is usually less cluttered. I often paint the view along the beach looking towards Galveston, but today I favored the simple straight on view if the Gulf.

There's something that stirs inside me when I look out over the water towards the distant horizon. It's like standing at the edge if the world. I can imagine how sailors all those years ago might have thought the world was flat and comes to an abrupt end out there in the distance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Daily Painting "Against the Tide"




Against the Tide
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

The weather hasn't exactly felt like Spring around here lately, but that hasn't kept me away from the beach.  The Texas Gulf Coast is only about 45 minutes away, and just a bit farther down the highway is one of my favorite beaches, Bolivar Flats.


Bolivar Flats is right before the ferry landing to Galveston.  It's a favorite of bird watchers, but being so close to Galveston and farther down from Crystal, most of the tourists don't frequent the flats.  I like that because there's often hardly anyone else around.


Here's a row of pylons heading out in the ocean.  I've always loved the look of these posts being reclaimed by the ocean.  It's the beach equivalent of my favorite pine trees.  I've drawn and painted similar scenes quite often.  Eventually I'll settle on a composition and make a larger painting.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Waiting for Lunch"



Waiting for Lunch
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


Sunday I was out at a Crystal Beach helping out a bit at the Down Under Bar. It was a chilly and overcast day, but regardless of the weather I always enjoy spending the day at the coast. When I wasn't working I passed my time walking around the marina and enjoying the sights and sounds.

I had just walked outside and was planning to take a few pictures of a nearby fishing boat when these two Pelicans came flying in. It's amazing how graceful these big, awkward looking birds can be as they glide just inches above the water looking for their next meal.

After making a pass and coming up with empty mouths they flapped their wings and perched on the posts right in front of me. There were several people who quickly whipped out their phones to snap a few pictures. The birds seemed happy to oblige and sat there long enough for me to take a dozen pictures from different vantage points. 

This 5" x 7" oil painting is a combination of a couple of the better photos, and I edited out the cars parked in the background. I believe I could happily paint the gulf coast beaches and marinas everyday and never grow tired of the endless variety.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Stingaree" A Painting in Progress



Stingaree
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014


This is my first ever painting of a boat. I spent a lot of time out at Crystal Beach this past weekend. I played an acoustic show at the Down Under Bar Friday evening, lucked into a beach cabin for the night, then went back to the restaurant on Sunday to help out. I've done lots of paintings of the beach over the years, but never of the marina area. This sailboat belongs to the owner of the Stingaree Restaurant and is docked out back. I didn't really think about how complicated this little painting would be. It was quite a challenge but I had a lot of fun painting it! I'm planning to do a few more paintings of the boats and marina area there.

I took a few pictures of my progress while painting "Stingaree." I started with a pretty accurate pencil sketch then laid in the darker areas of the boat and foreground water before painting the background and sky.  I worked through the different light tints for the boat and the lettering on the back, then added the sails and rigging.  I finished with some brighter, warm highlights on the top and edges of the boat. 

All in all I'm pretty pleased with this little boat.  I think I managed to convey a sense of the atmosphere and feeling of the marina, and have a pretty good mix of details and looser brush work that belies the small size of the canvas.













Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "The Old and Lost"

The Old and Lost
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


I commute about 50 miles to the school where I teach art in Baytown. The drive would be a best if it weren't for the incredible sunrises and beautiful scenery. One of my favorite stretches is the long bridge that crosses The Old and Lost River. It's essentially an old branch of the Trinity River that's now a swamp like slough.

I've always loved the rhythms of the tall reeds and aquatic plants that border the side of the bridge and blanket the small islands that dot the waterway. On this particular morning a front was moving in. The sky was filled with a blanket of blue and purple hued clouds with the sun casting it's radiant glow just above the horizon.

I started this painting late Thursday afternoon, then managed a few minutes working on it during lunch on Friday. I had most of the sky laid in when I had to leave to make it to my music gig Friday after school. I didn't get back to it until today. I favored a flat bristle brush on this painting and tried to minimize unnecessary detail in favor of a lively surface and brushwork to capture the incredible movement and energy I felt that morning.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Reaching"


Reaching
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

When I first passed by these two massive Oak trees on a hazy, softly lit morning, I was struck by their resemblance to giant hands reaching out of the ground.  I tried to hint at that idea, particularly in the forward tree, by emphasizing the knobby, knuckle like joins and finger like branches. 

I started this painting with a pencil sketch, then went to work on the Oaks. After I was satisfied with the trees I painted the negative spaces of sky between the branches.  There's a push and pull about painting branches this way, and often smaller branches are repainted or even scratched out.  The end effect is a complex weaving of positive and negative space.  I kept the grasses in the foreground and distant tree line loosely painted, but tried to play up the contrast between the brightly lit fields in the background and the cooler, shaded greens up front.

This is another view from Oak Knoll Farms on Hwy 124 just outside of Beaumont, Texas.  After spending a couple of hours on this painting yesterday I intended to come in this morning and do a little bit more to it, but when I came in and gave it a once over I decided to leave it be.  I often think a painting needs a touch more work, and sometimes this gets the better of me.  There's often a freshness to a spontaneous work that can't be duplicated and is easy to lose.



Friday, February 21, 2014

New Daily Painting "Kaleidoscope"

Kaleidoscope
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
2014


Click here to purchase this painting.

I've had this image in my head for a while. Back in October I made a quick 8" x 10" oil painting on canvas mounted on board. It was very rough and expressionistic and didn't quite hit the mark.  Yesterday I pulled out that old painting and a few reference photos and started again, this time on a 12" x 12" canvas. 


I started with a pretty loose pencil sketch on a lightly toned canvas.  I knew the sky would make or break this painting so I focused on conveying the movement of the clouds while retaining enough definition to keep the canvas from dissolving into a multi-colored mush. I only managed an hour and a half or so yesterday, but managed to get the sky mostly put together. 


Today I came in a bit early and worked on the tree line and grass in the foreground.  After I had the whole canvas covered with paint, I began layering a bit thicker paint on top, finally finishing with a few more brush flourishes in the sky and the bright highlighted clouds at the center of the composition.


What keeps this image in my mind is the way the clouds seem to explode from the hotspot of the sun behind the trees. I always feel such energy watching the world as it seems to die at sunset, yet at the same time I'm filled with peace. I've tried to let the paint handling convey a bit of the vibrant, charged atmosphere while the calm blue sky and soft greens and reddish hues of the foreground lend a bit of tranquility.


I'm calling this one "Kaleidoscope" because the swirling multi-colored clouds reminded me of the circular patterns of my old child's toy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Oak Knoll Farm"

Oak Knoll Farm
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




Yesterday I posted some pictures of this little painting in progress (http://paintdailytexas.blogspot.com/2014/02/new-daily-oil-painting-of-hay-bales-in.html.)  It was a hectic day and hard to get in painting time and at the end of the day I wasn't really satisfied with this canvas.  The drawing and composition seemed strong, but overall the painting was kind of dull.  I was very happy with the initial lay in of the tree, but the background seemed kind of flat and the foreground and hay bales just weren't focused enough. After letting it sit over night I came back to it in the morning and re-worked the whole painting.


I started by punching up the color in the hay bales, adding brighter oranges and even some very light yellow green tints along with some soft greenish blue highlights.  I added some violet and light blues to the distant tree line in the background and brightened the field as well.  The tree gained some red and green highlights and the foreground gained some needed definition, particularly the patch of dirt in front of the hay bale.  I also punched up the sky with a light yellow and broke up the dark shadows of the hay and foreground grass with some ultramarine blue.


Overall I'm pretty pleased with this painting now.  I enjoy the layered depth the color takes on with the added, thicker impasto paint on top. Oak Knolls Farm is a beautiful little stretch of land.  I've been thinking of doing some more of the area but focused more on the beautiful and graceful oaks.  This is only my second time to ever paint hay.  It always seemed a little too much like walking in Monet's shadow, but I'm learning to let go of any hangups I still have left over about that and just paint what I enjoy. I hope you enjoy it too!   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New daily oil painting of hay bales in progress


Today was pretty hectic. It was hard to eek out time between classes and at lunch to paint, but I managed to get a good start on this 8"x10" canvas of some hay bales in a field near Oak Knolls Farm on Hwy 124 near Beaumont, Tx.

I drew this a while back and pretty much forgot about it. I pass this spot all the time and love the look of the trees against the more geometric shapes of the hay bales.

i decided to hold off calling this one finished. I want to do a little more to it in the morning, maybe push the colors a bit.  In the meantime, here's a few shots of the painting in progress. 


I haven't decided a title for this painting yet. Any ideas?

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Sunset at Cypress Lake"


Sunset at Cypress Lake
Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




I've been doing a few painting of Cypress Lake, the horse shoe shaped pond at my Apartments (still have no clue where they got the name from...)  Here's a quick study of the pine tree lined shore and reflection at sunset. The sun has dipped below the horizon and the trees are little more than silhouettes.


I played quite a bit with this one.  It's thicker than most of my small paintings. I kind of like the impasto in the reflections and the texture of the tree tops.


I'm planning to do quite a few small paintings of Cypress Lake to help me plan out a series of larger paintings.  I think sometimes it takes a while to really get a feel for a new place.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Twilight"


Twilight
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

On the back side of the apartments I live in there's a large field where I often walk the dogs. The right of the field is bordered by pine woods, and the back runs alongside a small drainage canal with another expanse of trees along the other bank. There's a small dirt access road that cuts through the field bordered by grasses. All this makes for an interesting combination of geography, especially in the morning and evening hours when the low angle of the sun interacts with trees and canal.

This lonely tree stands near the canal where the mowed stretch of right away, the ditch, and a few plowed or planted areas intersect and create some unusual zigzag diagonals. These built in landmarks create a sense of instant depth that's fun to play against with the background.

I've always loved trees in winter. Their leafless limbs take on the appearance of a skinny old man and the intricate web of small branches and negative space creates a beautiful, flickering rhythm.

Here the sun has slipped below the horizon off to me right leaving a soft afterglow to permeate the sky and grasses. It can be hard not to overdue the subtle color shifts at twilight, but I find it's a sublime and magical time of day to paint.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Daily Oil Paiting "Red Flyer"



Red Flyer
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


One of the nice things about doing so many small paintings is the freedom it allows for exploring subjects and techniques that I might not otherwise do in my larger studio work.

This old red wagon sits out front of a friends' home.  She has a beautiful place on a nice stretch of land.  I've been out there a few times and have always been so interested in the great little pond with a small pier and a lovely arched bridge that I never even noticed the old wagon.  That's what I like about artists, we're all so observant, right?  Ha!

Anyway, her home is the meeting place for the Santa's Children charity toy drive.  I've been privileged to help out the past couple of years.  I've donated paintings for their auction to raise money, helped wrap presents, and this year I was able to go on the toy run and help deliver the presents.  A dozen or more vehicles meet up at her place for a caravan of toys.  It's really an incredible and worthwhile event. 

When I was out there this past Christmas, I took lots of pictures including plenty of the pond as always, but also several of this old carriage.  When I was going through some of my files yesterday looking for some inspiration this red flyer leaped out at me.

This is a small 5" x 7" oil painting and presented quite a few challenges along the way, particularly all the small, intricate areas of negative space between the spokes, seat, and the fence in the background.  I loved playing the various red inflected hues of the wagon against the green grass, and was surprised to find so many shifts and blue tints in parts of the wagon.  The field was full of fallen leaves sporting the deep red tones of fall, and scattering a few reds, maroons and pinks throughout the  foreground and some lighter tints in the background really helped tie the whole painting together. 





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Sky Falls"


Sky Falls
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




I spend a lot of time in my car. My daily commute is about 50 miles. Depending on the season and daylight savings time, I'm almost always driving down the interstate at either sunrise or sunset. It's the one saving graces of driving so far for my job.

As far as I'm concerned, if you see the sunset and aren't filled with a sense of awe there must be something wrong with your eyes or your soul. On this afternoon I was struck by the last rays of sun shooting out over the tops of the pine woods to illuminate the scattered bursts of clouds overhead.  

There's a big part of me that wants to keep working on this one, but I don't want to overwork it and get too fussy. Part of the magic a beautiful sunset is that it's a fleeting moment. I tried to keep the loose, spontaneous feel and sense of movement that sparked my imagination while still conveying a sense of the grandeur and sublime beauty only nature can provide.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Afternoon at Cypress Lake"

Afternoon at Cypress Lake
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.





The apartments I live in aren't fancy. They're an older complex and don't have the modern amenities and upscale look of newer complexes in the area, but I love my place because it's situated outside of the city and has acres of land to explore.


One of my favorite spots is Cypress Lake. They call it a lake but it's really just a decent sized horse shoe shaped pond. Despite its' name, there aren't any cypress trees to be found, but the bank is lined with tall pines.


I often visit the pond at sunrise or sunset to catch the brilliant sky filtered through the pines and the rhythmic rippled reflections on the water, but this particular painting is from a quiet, sunny afternoon. I painted this rather quickly and used a single stiff bristle brush, keeping the details to a minimum and focusing on the silhouetted mass of pine trees against the sky.


I've started a few larger paintings of Cypress Lake and have a series in mind.  It's quite a luxury to have such a scenic and inspiring location just a few hundred yards from my door.  I think I'll manage to do a little plein air painting here soon.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

First Blush - New Daily Oil Painting




First Blush
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas on panel
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.

This past year I started cycling. There are lots of lightly traveled roads near my brothers' house in Hamshire. One of my favorite routes starts on Hwy 124 then turns and loops around a couple of back roads  near Elgin. I love riding this way because of the gorgeous scenery, particularly this little stream the road passed over.

It's framed by tall grasses with a beautiful tree line in the distance, and the water is always blanketed with lily pads. Of course this time of year there aren't any blooms, but the pads themselves offer an array of hues from lush greens to cool bluish tints to the reds and browns of the lilies that are past their prime. 

On this early morning ride the sun flooded the whole scene with golden yellows and soft oranges. The play of the warm sky and its' reflection in the water against the cool green and blue banks of grass was irresistible. I had to stop and get off my bike to take lots of reference photos with my phone. This is my first attempt at capturing the magical light of that golden hour. I'm pretty happy with this little painting, and already itching to flesh it out on a bigger canvas.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Siblings - New Daily Oil Painting


Siblings
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas on Panel
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to buy this painting.



Trees often take on figurative qualities in my eyes. Earlier this week I was out walking the dogs and came upon these two trees. Sunset was starting, the sky was still a vibrant blue but the clouds were starting to take on golden hues, and these trees instantly reminded me of a little brother tagging along with his older sibling.

I'm also always enthralled with the little staccato rhythms of the light shining through the branches.  These sky holes of negative space seem like a little drum solo.  Must be the musician in me.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Clouds at Dawn - New Daily Oil Painting


Clouds at Dawn
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas on panel
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to buy this painting.

Here are a few shots of this painting in progress.  I started with a loose sketch outlining the major areas of the composition and the strong shadows and contrasts. From there I started laying in the darker parts of the clouds and sky. 




Once I had the sky well underway I started on the dark masses of the woods on the right hand side, then gradually worked my way through the line of trees
in the distance.





With the shadows in the woods established, I focused on the splash of fall reds in the foliage.


Finally I quickly brush in the yellow and orange field before adding a few brighter highlights to the clouds.







Monday, January 27, 2014

The Wee Hours, New Daily Oil Painting


The Wee Hours
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas on Panel
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting 
Hay bales are a common sight in Texas.  Venture outside the city limits on a FM road or highway and you're bound to pass fields and pastures full of them.  They're not at all like the fluffy stacks of Monet's rural France countryside.  Hay bales make an interesting geometric contrast to the organic and free form nature of the Texas landscape.

This is a stretch of pasture I pass often on Hwy 124 near Fannett, Tx.  The night before had seen heavy cloud cover and was pretty much a dreary, overcast and stormy day, but the sun would not be denied its' glory in the morning. 

I love times like this, when the sun comes breaking through the clouds casting its' magical, golden glow across the world.  The greens take on such a unique quality, almost glowing like an emerald.  The light can seem otherworldly and eerie after a storm, and the brilliant sunrise on this day just added to the intensity of the light.

I started this painting Thursday.  I often work on these little paintings throughout the day at work, catching a few minutes here and there between classes or at lunch.  It's my little bit of fresh air during the day of teaching.  I had a pretty good start on this painting, having laid in the clouds and the sky, when we got word of the winter storm and impending school closure the next day.  Needless to say, I didn't get to finish working on this painting until today. 

I usually don't like to have such a delay, particularly on small paintings like this one.  I sometimes find a delay like that causes a disjointed effect in the work.  I'm inevitably in a different frame of mind than before, but for whatever reason I found it quite easy to pick back up on this painting today. 

I really enjoy the contrast of the clouds and the bright sunrise, and the greens are even more intense in person.  I'm pretty happy with this little painting, and think maybe I'll have to try my hand at a few more hay bales before long.  Who knows, maybe they'll even turn into a series like the famous French master.

here