Friday, November 9, 2012

A New Landscape, an Historic Treasure, and a Great Book

September. Acrylic on board, 8" x 8". Private collection.

One of the best things about being an artist is the time when you finish a painting and know that your exploration resulted in a treasure. The adventure and discovery are always my favorite parts of the process, and most times I like the end result, but once in awhile the final work excites me as much as the progression leading up to it. This is one of those times. The inspiration follows:

A photo I took in 1982 of the DeBoer Mansion in Denver. It has fascinated me for years and was the main resource for the painting.

I don't want to digress much into the controversy surrounding this historic building, but this is Denver--infamous for its penchant for destroying historic and/or beautiful properties and replacing them with crap.  This amazing building was nearly demolished, and saved only by a compromise that has left it surrounded by new construction. You can read about that by clicking the link:
and see photos of the stunning interior and history here:

I'm generally not interested in painting portraits of houses or people, so the likeness or historical significance of the building was not part of this process at all. I simply loved the look of the architecture, and used it as my jumping-off point.

What did interest me was approaching a landscape with thick, black outline, and using a strong, dark, foreground to frame the scene.

My all-time favorite landscape-painting book will always be Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting, by John F. Carlson. It is packed with what Carlson likes to call "generalities" (observations, really) that open up an artist's eyes and options--with none of the strident, limiting rules found in the how-to books of less-confident artists. If you love that sort of thing, you'll eat this book up!

I'll leave you with this detail.  The painting will be part of an upcoming group show, details here:

Hope you like this artwork.  Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi, Tom

    I am fascinated by your compositions and colors. the first of your photos have the colors you are using! Total Fauve and Expressionist!

    I enjoy reading your thoughts because it seems that I'm talking about ... awesome!
    you got me amazed!

    1. I am glad you like the blog, Karumina. I can see that you too are often influenced by color alone. It has been awesome to be able to see your work as well!

  2. Love it! I will be checking out that book for a possible Christmas present for my daughter.

  3. Very nice Tom! So interesting to see both the photo and the picture you painted. We all have our own way to translate what we see and I enjoy so much to see how other artists do that. Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Thank you, Line. And you are most welcome! I identify with that sentiment; I learn more from seeing and reading about an artist's processes (sketches, translation of resources, inspirations, and media use) than by viewing the finished product alone. It will always be the process that excites me the most.


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