Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Empty Easel article featuring my paintings

Here's a great EmptyEasel feature about my landscape paintings. EmptyEasel is one of the most established art sites around and averages a few hundred thousand visits each month. I'm honored to have been selected as their featured artist this week.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The physics of Van Gogh

Van Gogh has been one of my reference points since I first took up a brush. On our trip to New York in college my friend and fellow artist Curt Cryer and I we're enthralled by even the smallest Van Gogh paintings at the Met. This is a fascinating animated video explaining the link between Starry Night and modern physics. Check it out!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Waking with the waves

Bolivar Rising
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
15" x 30"
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 week or two ago I started playing around on it. After two or three afternoons at the easel, I'm finally happy with it. The sky 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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I am a River, starting a new 36" x 48" painting

A couple of nights ago I was listening to the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways and zoning out during a 3 mile run, and then the song "I am a River" came on and I found myself imagining the Neches.

 It's been a lifetime since I've taken a canoe down any river, but my mind's eye was flooded with a vivid yet slightly unformed idea. Curious, I found an interview where Dave Grohl talks about how his inspiration for "I am a River." The song was recorded in New York, and like the other songs on Sonic Highways it contains references to the city and the interviews with the musicians he talked to while he was there.  

The river part refers to Minetta Creek which flows beneath Manhattan. Grohl said he thought it's a beautiful idea that something primitive and natural lives beneath the modern urban sprawl of New York, and that maybe there's something like that river that connects us all. I like that idea. I like thinking that somehow we're all connected across the thousands of miles that separate us. 

I started this 36" x 48" canvas yesterday afternoon. Lately I've been doing very minimal drawings for my paintings, really just bare outlines and broad layouts, but this idea felt like it needed more so I spent today fleshing it out a bit. The tree lined banks are those of the Neches here in SE Texas, at least the way I remember it.  I used a few different photos for reference and haven't quite decided the color or mood I'm after, but I can see it taking shape.

Monday, March 9, 2015

New oil painting "Fire in the Sky"

Fire in the Sky
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas
24" x 20"
I've stared at these two oaks outside my classroom all year thinking I should paint them. One day I watched the sun fight through the dark clouds of a dying storm. It was like a burst of fire in the sky. I've held that image in my mind and yesterday after school I started laying in the beginnings of this painting.  

I haven't decided if this is finished or not yet, but nothing is yelling at me when I look at it so I'm leaving it alone for now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New forest oil painting "Against the Sky" by Mark Nesmith

Against the Sky
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
10" x 8"
Click here to purchase this painting.

As a boy I practically lived in the woods. There was a small pine forest behind my home in Beaumont, and I spent my time out of school in the woods building forts, climbing trees, racing, and just losing myself in the sights and sounds of nature. Later hiking trips through the Big Thicket only reinforced my love for the tall and graceful verticals of an East Texas pine. The sight of the towering pines against the sky has always entranced me, and to this day I feel my eyes and thoughts pulled to the shimmering sky seen through the branches of the pines when driving anywhere in SE or East Texas.It's a sight I've always felt compelled to paint and draw, but generally haven't felt much success with. 

Lately I've been wanting to take another stab at the woods and have been planning a few large canvases featuring the Big Thicket area. I've started to do a few small paintings to kind of find my path, so to speak.Here a couple of pines tower above the distant treeline and are silhouetted against the vibrant pink clouds at sunset. True to the form of my recent paintings this canvas has thick impasto with layers of color and textures.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New beach landscape oil paintings "Bolivar Suite" by Mark Nesmith

"Bolivar Suite"
Oil on Four canvases, each 6" x 6"

Been awhile since I've shared anything here, but now that Spring is around the corner i find myself dreaming of the coast more and more. Those dreams are starting to work their way onto my canvases again. I know I posted some of these when I was making them a few months ago, but don't know if I shared the finished series. I call it "Bolivar Suite". Each of the four canvases is 6" x 6" and features the same view of Bolivar Flats with different light. These have been on display as part of my show in Baytown and are now listed on the Daily Paintworks site individually.  Hopefully we'll have warmer temps and some sun soon to enjoy our beautiful coast.  I've attached links to the Paintworks site if you'd like to view more or bid in the auctions.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New oil painting "The Burning Down" by Mark Nesmith

The Burning Down
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
Click here to purchase this painting. 

I'm often drawn to the tree lined shore of a lake or river. Here the pines at the distant bank are nearly silhouetted against the fiery sunset. It can be a challenge to balance my love for loose, thick paint with the demands of representation on a small canvas. Here thick impasto works hand in hand with thinner veils of color and subtle sgraffito effected by the handle of a brush, a whirl of movement and explosion of color that seems on the verge of burning itself down.