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.


This one was conceived last year but never executed for one reason or another. I’m glad that I finally painted it but the truth is I was afraid of it looking like a liquor ad from the 80’s.

The goal was to abstract it to just the raw brush strokes and see if it could read without a lot of work. Most of what you’re looking at is the base black under-painting. I was super happy with the tops of the bottles as those are just a few squiggley lines.

Looking Outside

No. 98 is back at Trappeze. It was a bit of an odd shot but I loved the way the glass and the bottle were sort of looking out at the outside world. It seemed like they wanted to get out there and explore. The reflections were really cool too from the tree, the table, bottle, etc.

I painted this one just like No. 90 where the whole canvas was black and I just added the lights in. It’s so disorienting to work that way but I think it was effective here. The whole act of painting the bottle involved five dabs of white paint – that’s it.

I’m totally down to the wire with 99 & 100. I’ve got them both started but there is still a ways to go so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

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.