Adam Houston

American Impressionist Oil Painter

Morning Catch

Here’s a little painting of a boat off St. Simons Island. I had grabbed a shot of this while I was there with my family last fall and I loved the way the light hit to the boat.

Morning Mist

There was this amazing mist and fog the second morning of the workshop in Chattanooga. I knew I could not move fast enough to capture what I was seeing so I made sure to grab a few photos.

After getting back in the studio I was able to experiment and explore the image. With fog, you have basically no hard edges and so it’s like trying to paint something that’s not there. It was fun to experiment with all the colors and work on something this soft.

Fall Color

Now that we’re done with the Chattanooga work, it’s time to get into some new subjects. This painting is from my October class with Barbara Jaenicke and features an image of trees in the fall.

I don’t think I’ve ever tried to paint fall colors or leaves, so it was a little challenging. Thankfully, Barbara guided us through the process and helped shape how it all came together.

It was a lot of fun to dig into the color mixing and especially the background trees. The muted purples and greens were interesting to mix and it was fascinating to see how they reacted with the brighter foreground colors.

Note: This painting was done as part of a class I take with Barbara Jaenicke.  The photo, composition and direction on this piece was from Barbara as a part of the class. 

The Road Ahead

Here is the last of the set from my workshop with Caleb. I was mentally exhausted after finishing two paintings earlier in the day, and nearly packed it up. This view of the road felt unique, and visually interesting enough to warrant an attempt at one more. Looking back, I don’t think I had enough in the tank to focus and get this where it needed to be. That said, it was still good to push myself and go through a full day of painting.

Lookout Mountain

After finishing No. 253, I took a little break and moved to a more distant view of the same field. By backing up, I was able to get Lookout Mountain in the view and have that be a part of the scene.

The painting was done in October and the leaves were just beginning to change. The dynamics of colors on the mountain led to some very unusual color mixing in an attempt to paint what I was seeing. I’ve never tried to paint a fall mountain using aerial perspective, so that was laid down and wiped off several times. The answer to the highlight color ended up being a gray/lavender type color. It was not where I started, but ended up working.

Chattanooga Valley Field

The second day of our workshop we got an early start and headed out for a full day of painting. After the tight views of the gorge, I felt much more at ease with open fields, mountains, etc. It was incredibly misty when we arrived at the location so Caleb set up and did his demo first. The environment was changing fast that he felt it would be better if we started once the fog burnt off.

There were some beautiful views of the Chattanooga Valley so I stared out with a field and some trees. The weather was beyond perfect and it was nice to settle in and work through this view.

Low Fall Sun

This painting is a view of the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge natural area outside of Chattanooga, TN. After finishing No. 251, our workshop group ate lunch and then watched Caleb do a demo. Which was so painful. Watching a great artist paint after you’ve just painted something makes it so much worse somehow. But it was also inspiring.

The light was starting to move, but I decided to try and squeeze one more in before calling it a day. Plein air painting is so crazy because you have to work with nature to find your spot. I painted this while standing on a rock in the middle of a river. I did not necessarily achieve what I was trying to capture in the painting, but it was good to push myself get a little more comfortable with the group.

North Chickamauga Creek

After a nice break from work and “normal” life it’s good to get back into the groove and kick the new year off right. My big goal for 2015 is to attempt another 100 paintings.

I’ve gotten to a point where it should be less painful than 2010 or 2011, but we’ll have to see how the year unfolds. Even though I’m still learning, it’s more of a joy now to paint vs. when I started back. So, here we go…

No. 251 was done on location late last Fall in Chattanooga, TN. I took a plein air workshop with Caleb Goggans though Townsend Atelier in Chattanooga. The weekend started with a little overview/talk at Townsend and then we drove up to the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge natural area.

Painting along the river was one part art and one part hiking. I had to do a good bit of climbing around on rocks (with all my gear) to find the right spot, and it was overwhelming at first. I’m always a little wound up when a new class or workshop starts and there was so much to take in that it was hard to buckle down and focus.

I had never painted rocks or rivers so most of the colors and textures felt very new. Caleb was a huge help and worked with me to zero in on some of the trouble areas.