Adam Houston

American Impressionist Oil Painter

Table for One III

Here’s the last of the Table for One paintings for now. For this one I did the whole painting in one pass using Burnt Sienna to give it more of a cohesive feel. If you’re going to do monotone, do monotone – not white, etc. I’ve always loved the vibe of these paintings but this one really seemed to say what I wanted it to say. Which does not happen often, so that was fun. I don’t think my skill level is to the point where I can translate this into color but it it feels great, at least, to realize it in this form. Got a bunch of new stuff starting this week.

Table for One II

This one goes back to No. 94 from 2010. I had picked it up again in 2011 and tried to do a 40″ x 30″ of the same basic composition but never finished the painting. I could not figure out what it was missing so I ended up painting it a number of times at the 8″ x 6″ size to try and understand it better. This one is really more of a value study but it felt like it clicked.

Bus Stop

After learning what I did in No. 114 I was ready to try something bigger and a little more complicated. I had been frustrated by No. 95 from last year and wanted to give that one another shot. It was one of those that should have been perfect but it did not seem to work like I wanted it to.

Overall I like this one so much better but part of it may have to do with the size. This is by far the biggest one I have done since starting back and that was fun. Painting it the way I did though did give it all kinds of character that the little one did not have.

Sunlit Church

No. 102 is a painting of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Athens. It originated with the same set from the end of last year. We were working our way from campus into downtown and I really liked the way the light hit the front of the church.

This was another one of those like Headed Home or Pharmacy at Night that I felt should have been a home run but proved much harder to execute. In my head this is exactly what I want to paint but I end up feeling more rigid compared to when I am painting fruit.

It’s not that I think it’s awful but it just does not capture what I know it could and that is REALLY frustrating. You look at someone like Stephen Magsig and appears effortless to describe that light but it’s a much, much harder task.

As a side note, how weird is it to have two 8″ x 16″ paintings in a row? Probably the last of those for a while.

Passing Time

Alright – here’s No. 99. Another one from North Campus at UGA. There is this little spot with a garden, some benches and this sun dial. When we walked up on it the light was just about perfect. It was beaming right onto the sun dial and make this nice, long shadow across the bricks.

It was about 25% into it when I realized how pastel driven the image is. There is so much pink, white and baby blue in the thing that I had to double check to make sure that’s what I was seeing. The bed of pansies in the front also gave it some color too.

North Campus Path

Here is another one from Athens. After shooting some of downtown we headed onto North Campus and tried to find some spots that would make nice paintings. I was originally thinking that the buildings would be the best thing to paint but my favorite spots ended up being out of the way images like this.

It was fun after the bus stop one to be a little more loose. When I am working with architecture I feel like it has to be tight but with organic images it feels easier to have fuzzy edges. I love on images like this where you get those light blue shadows on gravel paths. It seems unnatural that the shadow would be that color but it works.

Headed Home

Here is the first of the Athens set. As Chris Rank (is that better Rank?) and I were driving back into town we passed by the old bus stop on Broad Street. I said “wow that’s nice” and started to keep driving. We were at a light and Chris, being Chris, jumped out of the car, stood in the middle of the street and got the shot. That’s how fast these things go away. If he had not been there I would have kept on driving and this would have never existed.

The morning light on a place where people leave and arrive just seemed right. It’s a new morning and maybe someone is leaving Athens forever. Or they could be coming into town for the first time. It’s in the eye of the beholder and that’s what makes it fun.

Table for One

No. 94 is from the same day at Trappeze but this time we’re looking at the whole place instead of zooming in on one beer. There is something about that booth in the middle of the afternoon that makes for a good image. Rank has a great shot from a year or so ago from the same exact place and I’ve even seen others on Flicker with about the same composition. Something about the light pouring in through the windows on the dark booth. It just works.

The actual dude in the bar that day was pretty frumpy so I had to give him a hair cut and put him in a little more shadow to make it mysterious. There were also some other people here and there but they were all removed (sounds ominous) in order to make it feel a little more quiet.

I was amazed at how much color was in this when essentially it’s a black and white painting. You have these pretty obvious diagonals of black and white that are cutting this in half but the rest of it is some pretty crazy color. Oranges, greens purples and a lot of light blues here and there. It felt good to use those colors in this kind of painting – unlike an outdoor landscape or a regular still life. Lots going on.

Winter Break

Here’s No. 93 which is the next of the beer ones. This one is a little bit bigger and slightly more complex than 92. I was intrigued by the way the colors at the top of the glass change with the light and how deep the browns are right next to the white at the top.

My favorite part of this one though is actually the wall behind the beer. If you’ve been to Trappeze you know that every wall has some kind of metallic paint. The trim is this green that I’ve only seen there. It was difficult to try and just decipher what green was and even harder to capture the light hitting it.

It makes me want to take a road trip.

Allagash Victoria

Here is the first of a set I am doing from Trappeze, which is owned by my good friend Eric, in Athens. Chris and I went over for the day a week or so ago (when it was frickin cold) and took some shots of Athens at sunrise and then a bunch inside Trappeze. I have thought about painting beer all year and it was good to finally get into it.

Painting these has been a lot more fun than I even thought. I don’t know if it’s the colors in the glass or all the weird shapes but it’s easy to work with. Maybe it’s just because I like good beer. This one in particular is an Allagash on the windowsill. My favorite part of this one is seeing the reflection of the window in the top of the bottle. I’ve got a few more of these in the works.

The really fun part is that we are going to have a for-real show with the finished set at Trappeze sometime next year. It’s not for sale here but will be up during the show. That will be my first art show (sort-of) so it will be an experience.