Adam Houston

American Impressionist Oil Painter

Mug Shot

Another apple here but this time I’ve tired two mugs and backed off of them a bit. In hindsight I think they are a little too far back but it would look good in a frame. This one was weird too because the mugs felt really good but I struggled a bit with the apple. You would think after painting dozens of them I’d have them down but it’s still a challenge.

The Lineup

Another one of the apples on blue here. Same goals as last time – be more loose and try a different perspective. It’s not that different but I tried looking at it straight on. I was also toying with the composition by cropping off the other two apples and then having the bright side of one and the darkest side of the other.

Three for the Road

Switching gears here and moving back to the fruit for just a bit. I liked how the last couple of fruit paintings turned out but I wanted to try and be a little more loose and experiment a bit with the color. I think I would paint everything with that brown / ocher background but it’s good to try different things. This one too I tried to look down on the apples to get a different perspective. I was too chicken to try it straight down but this is getting there.

Believe it or not, the red ones are a lot easier to paint. They have so many more colors (which would seem to complicate it) but the variances on the granny smith’s are much more subtle and harder to capture. More tomorrow.

Fernandina Beach Courthouse

Number 54 is an early morning image of the Fernandina Beach courthouse. Amelia Island is such a weird place because you have the beach, the marsh and then this perfect little downtown – Fernandina Beach.

Before I left for the trip Chris reminded me to get up early at least ONE morning and go take some photos to paint. I’ve learned from Chris that if you don’t get the shot before about 9:00 then you’ve missed your window.

So I dragged myself out of bed at 6:00 AM, on vacation, to go take pictures. It sucked getting up early but was totally worth it. I caught the sun hitting the courthouse and the buildings downtown at just the right time.

I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. I know I’ve done a lot of fruit this year but my heart is really in landscapes. It was a nice diversion to try this and get close to what I was aiming for. My problem earlier in the year was trying to make things perfect and here all I was trying to do was zero in on the light.

Amelia Marsh

Number 53 takes us back to Amelia Island. This shot came from the same day/walk as number 36. I had struggled with 36 but this one felt a lot more natural. I was a little nervous trying this after just barely getting back into the grove but it just happened without a lot of hand wringing.

One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned is the fact that I am painting these into a “wet” canvas. Back with the sepia ones I was struggling with getting the paint to do what I wanted. I tried laying down a thin coat of Yellow Ochre that was super diluted with Liquin and it was like magic. This eliminates white spots in the painting and has made it so much more fluid to paint.

This one was done like that and you can still see a little bit of the ochre at the base of the clouds and in the sky. I’ve got another one from Amelia for tomorrow as well but it’s a downtown shot.

Origami Duck (Blue)

Here is second of the Origami Ducks, Number 52. This blue one is almost an exact mirror image of the last painting. Origami is so design driven that I thought it would be fun to try something like this where they work alone and together.

One programming note is that I will pretty much be posting daily from here on out to No. 100. I want to be done ahead of the Christmas and so that leaves me with just a little bit of wiggle room. We’ll see how it goes but it should be fun to try it.

Origami Duck (Red)

No. 51 is another Origami one. This time it’s a duck. I had done a couple of these way back at the beginning of the year and wanted to try a couple more. This is the first of two that are mirror images of each other. This one is in red and 52 is in blue.

I actually made the duck, put it on a red shirt and painted it from life. Also, this was the one that finally got me to get some actual fabric to paint these on. I had this shirt from Miller Brothers that was very expensive but it was the right color red so I used it. Afterwards I realized how dumb it would have been to ruin that shirt for a $15 painting. So now I have lots of different bases to use instead of the clothes off my back.

The blue one will go up tomorrow. Later!

Spring Iris

Here’s number 50 which is a special one for a couple of reasons. The first and obvious one is that I have FINALLY gotten to 50. It’s taken forever to cross that line but better late than never.

The second and more important reason this one is special is that it was painted for my Mom. We celebrated her birthday on Friday (number 60 for her) and this was her gift from Les, Evi and I.

For as long as I can remember Mom has grown Irises. Growing up you could always count on the bed of Irises coming up and being around the house. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve always seen her tending to them but I’ve always loved them as well. I remember her doing watercolors of them and being amazed by the paintings. So in thinking about what to paint for her this stood above the rest.

So, there you go. Happy Birthday Mom – I love you.

Apple Bowl, III

With number 48, and the fear of being back in color, out of the way I was able to really start moving. Number 49 picks up with our friends the apples. I had struggled before when there were a number of different apples in the composition but this one felt better. Same deal as 48 here too. Set it up live, took about an hour with no wailing or gnashing or teeth.

These are also the first few with the 6″ x 6″ canvas boards. I had seen a lot of painters using these and wanted to give them a shot. I like the 8″ x 8″ size but these are even easier to deal with. It’s not too small but still has a limited area so finished them is relatively easy.


So after working in these monotone paintings I finally decided it was time to start really painting again. I was a little nervous after what happened with that one tea pot (the color one) but I took a deep breath, got the nectarine arranged and had at it.

I did the cup and background first and they both felt good so all I had to do was hit the fruit just right. I tried to really, really concentrate and move as deliberate as I could. This was one of those ones where I really did not get up and look at it as I went either. So it felt like I was done, I stepped back to really see it for the first time and there it was – a painting.

I don’t really know exactly how the monochrome ones helped but I know they did. For the first 40 it was never, ever that easy to get where this one is. It took about an hour but this was probably the first one I really got right after one one sitting. It felt good to be back on track.