Friday, October 23, 2015

12" x 12 Oil Painting "Above and Below" by Mark Nesmith and the separation of Heaven and earth




Above and Below
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

This 12" x 12" oil painting was inspired by the Neches River near Beaumont, TX. I painted this over a couple of afternoons while I was on Spring Break. Originally I was thinking of it as a kind of counter balance to the intensity of a painting of the Neches titled "The Burning Down" that I had painted a couple of weeks before. This one started as a calmer almost mirror image of the composition of the first, but as I worked those vivid oranges insisted on pressing forward, overtaking the distant shore and the reflected light in the water. Meanwhile the trees in the distance struggle to maintain the slightest separation between the sky and the earth.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thank YOU! A Special Announcement from Mark Nesmith

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you sincerely for your past and continued support of my artwork!  A few years ago I wouldn't have thought it possible that I'd achieve so much in such a short time.  I owe it to you! So many of you have shared my artwork, mentioned it to your friends, or even purchased a painting for yourself.  It's that kind of grassroots support that really gets the wheels moving.

This year I've been able to exhibit my work in Galveston, La Grange, and Austin.  I was asked to be a showcase artist at Le Grand Bal at the Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University, and I've been featured on www.emptyeasel.com and in an interview for the Artists of Texas blog.  I've gained collectors in sixteen states in the USA which puts my goal of having work all across the country in sight.  Most recently I've signed a contract with Orisons Decor line to start publishing and selling prints of some of my paintings.  

Now I'm thrilled to announce that one of my boyhood dreams is about to come true.  I've been invited to exhibit at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas! Their Cafe Arts program features local and regional artists.  I'll be showing at AMSET from August 18, 2016 through October 30, 2016.  There will be a reception tentatively scheduled for Sunday, August 21st  to open the show.

There will be invitation postcards mailed out closer to the exhibition date along with email updates and reminders.  I want to make sure that you, my friends, family, and patrons are there to share in this very special day. Please take a moment to subscribe to my email list, and stop by my web site to learn more about me, leave some feedback or a comment on my blog, or just browse my artwork portfolio. If you'd like to receive a postcard invitation in the mail please email me directly or send me a message through Facebook or text to update your physical address.

Thank you for your support and for your friendship.

Sincerely,

Mark Nesmith
www.marknesmith.com
art@marknesmith.com
409.548.8060

PS:  Your support has made this possible for me. Thank you!  Don't forget to sign up for my email list on my web site to receive continued announcements regarding my art work, and message, email, or text me your snail mail address for your postcard invite to my show at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas!






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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

12" x 16" Oil Painting "Stormy Night" and being happy when it rains

Stormy Night
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

I've always loved watching the sky when it rains, especially the moments just before and after a storm. The light takes on such a dramatic cast and even the most familiar sights seem new. We'd had some pretty big storms in SE Texas on this day, but by the time sunset rolled around the rain was leaving. What remained were these incredible cloud heads and the flicker of light just above the horizon. So many lovely tints and subtle shifts of color in this sky, from light mint greens through pinks and violets and deep blues. I painted just a few days apart from "Cloudburst" and it testifies to the endless variety of a Texas sky. This was another of those rare gifts that seemed to paint itself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

12" x 16" oil painting "Cloudburst" and the joys of painting in the zone

Cloudburst
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

I'm a sucker for a good light show, and some of my favorite moments include the rays of a new sun bursting through the clouds. This painting was finished it two short sessions on the same day. I wanted to keep the freshness and spontaneity of the brushwork and colors in the clouds to have the feeling that the sun is exploding to life in the morning sky. This was one of those little gifts that just seemed to paint itself. The best moments as a painter are when you just kind of zone out and disappear from yourself and let the brush do its magic.

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Mirror, Mirror" reflections of a SE Texas Cypress Swamp

Mirror, Mirror
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
16" x 12"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

As a boy some of my fondest memories were hiking through the Big Thicket with my father. He directed the summer camp for the YMCA and we'd often take field trips to the Katy Nature Trail near Kountze. The cypress sloughs were always our favorite. Seeing the ancient trees reflected in the shallow water is an image that has lasted in my mind my whole life. To this day I return to the Big Thicket to sketch and take photographs. I seek out Cypress anywhere I can, and someday hope to complete a whole series of them like Monet's water lilies.

I kept thinking I would do more to this little canvas, but every time I came back to it I stopped myself. I love the contrast of the warm tones in the Cypress trunks and background against the cool jewel-like blues in the foreground.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Port Neches Art Walk on the Ave - Saturday, October 17th, 2015 from 2 - 6 pm


Join us this Saturday, October 17th, 2015, for the inaugural Port Neches Art Walk on the Avenue from 2 - 6 pm. There are dozens of artists involved along with food trucks and fun for the family. We're setting up a booth with artwork from our students at Port Neches Middle School, and I'll have a booth with my own paintings as well. I'll also be performing some tunes with my talented friend Patrick Coletta. It's a free event and there's sure to be something for everyone.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

New 12" x 12" oil painting "Puesta del Sol" (another Bolivar sunset)

Puesta del Sol
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
2015

Click here to purchase this painting.

I love to walk along the edge where the ocean meets the beach at sunset. The world seems to disappear in a swirl of color and there's the sense that it's only a thin veil that separates things in this world. You can see the sunset from the exact same spot every day and every day it's brand new.

As I worked on this nearly abstract view of Bolivar along the Gulf Coast I had images of the great J.M.W. Turner filling my head. His work often features vast skies full of twisting colors that seem to have a life of their own. Like much of Turner's most famous works, this little painting of the Texas shore has just the barest hint of solid form to anchor the scene and keep it from dissolving into pure abstraction. Full of thick, juicy impastos of paint and lush color, this painting is meant to be a celebration of the beauty of our world.

Friday, October 9, 2015

John Alexander and the Crystal Head

Crystal Head
by Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
14" x 14"
2015
As an artist growing up in Beaumont, TX and attending Lamar University it was impossible not to know about John Alexander. Alexander, born in 1945 in Beaumont, earned his bachelor’s degree from Lamar in 1968 before gaining a Masters Degree from SMU and teaching at the University of Houston. These of course were all stepping stones to his move to New York and rise to renown in the art world.  Alexander’s work hangs in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the world, and he has had major retrospectives of his work at the Smithsonian and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

Though I’ve known about him for half of my life and often seen him across a crowded gallery (most recently at The Grand Bal at the Dishman Museum where I have to admit I was thrilled to see my painting “Somewhere Under the Rainbow” hanging near his as one of the showcase artists this year), I’d never had the opportunity to actually meet the man. Well as luck would have it, he was in Beaumont this week for the opening ceremony of the newly named John Alexander Painting Studio at the Lamar University Art Department, and I finally had the chance to press the flesh and talk a while with Mr. Alexander.

It’s really a few chance meetings that led to this encounter.  My sweetheart Elizabeth has been working at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Beaumont for more than a year now.  One of the regulars at the tavern there is none other than Jim Gilligan, the Lamar University baseball coach and Texas Baseball Hall of Fame member.  Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know coach a little.  He’s a lively story teller and a great guy.  Turns out he’s been friends with John Alexander for years.  When Coach found out I’m a painter from Lamar and have never met John, he was determined to introduce us.  I’ve seen coach a few times over the last month or so and he always reminded me about Alexander coming in for the ceremony at Lamar and that he was intending to introduce us.  I was touched by the gesture and thought I should do something in return.

The other piece to the puzzle happened this past week.  Elizabeth and I were talking about Coach and John Alexander and she suddenly remembered that she needed to order a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka.  Alexander designed the bottle and partnered with Dan Aykroyd to found Crystal Head in 2007, so they wanted to make sure they had some on hand at the bar. It occurred to me that the bottle would make an interesting little still life painting and a perfect thank you gift.  

I finished the painting the day of the ceremony so it was still too wet to give to him in person. Instead, I took a picture of it on my phone and showed it to Coach Gilligan at Lamar.  He instantly grabbed my phone and made his way across the room to John Alexander and motioned for me to come over.  John was surrounded by well wishers, friends, and representatives from the university and was constantly posing for photos with someone, but he took the time to talk to me a few minutes and wish me well with my career. I told coach I would get the painting to him after it dries and he said he’d have it shipped to John.

I wound up going to the Elegante that evening to see Elizabeth, and sometime around 10 PM John Alexander stopped by Tradewinds at the Elegante with a gift for me.  He gave me a hardbound book from his retrospective at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and signed a little note to me inside the cover.  We spoke a while about art and Lamar, some professors we had in common and other artists from the area.  He’s a very genuine guy and an entertaining storyteller himself.  It’s not often that you get to meet someone of John Alexander’s status, and it’s even rarer when they turn out to be so down to earth and friendly.  It’s an experience I won’t soon forget and was truly an honor, and if I ever make it big I hope to be as gracious and generous with my time as Mr. Alexander.