Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Acrylic on Canvas. 37" x 30.5".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

Alright now I am all up to speed, no more past/future connundrums or such nonsense. And I think this is my favorite so far. I think I am getting closer to the Gogh. I love the way this pulls you into what really amounts to a tiny focal point for such a large picture, but if I were there I would totally walk down that path and take a dip. I tell you this looked like crap when I started and I figured it would just end up a complete mess, but I had this image in mind from the getgo and actually was able to capture it, despite starting off on the wrong foot. I really love the night-time scenery, I'll probably always be an evening person thanks to this frackin' insomnia. But ok, speaking of which, maybe someone who reads this can answer -
Is it still insomnia if you get your 6-7 hours of sleep but for the life of you can't fall asleep before 3 or 4? I mean when I have to work, those 6-7 hours get destroyed, but I always make up with a good 12-13 on the weekend. So it all ends up about the same I reckon. But I just have the hardest time crashing out before then, no matter how tired or how early I get up. So is that insomnia or what?

Anyways. . . there it is, my latest painting, I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm back to the East Coast for 12 days for my Grampa's 90th, so don't know how much painting or posting I'll get to do during that time. Maybe it's time to whip out the old sketchpad again.

Sunset on the Hills

Acrylic on Canvas. 33.25" x 24".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

I seemed to be running out of my greens, whites, and blues a lot faster than anything else, so since I can't afford new paints just on a whim I decided I had better get some use out of my reds and yellows, and I'm pretty happy with the results. At this point, I've realized a common trend in these works are night and day, moon and sun, and so forth, so I'm goign to embrace that until I get this set of ten that I'm happy with. Anyone got a clever name for this . . . 'series'?

I guess this reminds me of the rolling plains of America's Midwest, the rolling hills soaking up some fantastic sunsets. And man, those states manage to pull out this color palate that is out of this world during it's sunsets, maybe only topped by the Southwest's deserts' purples and oranges. I sort of love this one in its simplicity, honestly I just wish the sunset didn't resemble a sunny-side-up egg quite so much.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Island Chain

Mixed Paint with Acrylic on Canvas. 29.5" X 20.25".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

It's hot as sin out in Portland right now! They say there's always a few days a year where it gets to be unbearable, I guess this is it. Upper 90's. Still, glad I ditched the East Coast before their two month long heat wave. At least it's not so humid here. I don't do well in heat. Which is a shame, there's so many other parts of the country I'd love to spend time in, both the South and the Southwest have this incredible allure to me. I just don't think I could make it through the summer in either of those places. Anyway, in this unbearable heat, this just happened to come out, if I have to deal with this kinda heat, this is where I'd like to be. Secluded tropical islands with some cool ocean to dip into. With plenty of coconuts to eat, who needs civilization.

I started this working with out plethora of cans of house paint to get the basic idea down, then went into the details with acrylics. I think this is my most successful attempt at painting clouds so far! I just wish the sun wasn't so lopsided. Oh well.

I really wish I could dive into that ocean right now.

Small Farms at Night

Acrylic on Canvas with Gloss Finish. 34.25" x 32.5".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

Well now we're getting somewhere. I've got colors and shapes all pulling the viewer into a focal point nicely, and the farms, kind of an afterthought, create a lovely setting for some epic countryside vista I'd love to see. I roadtripped out to Portland from Boston earlier this summer, and I'd like to paint more places inspired by these travels. Usually though, as I'm working it all starts as colors and shapes that slowly start to pull themselves together, and sometimes they take the shape of someplace I've been, sometimes they don't. This one I have to say though seemed to find its inspiration in the rolling hills and quaint farmhouses out by Lacrosse, Wysconsin, where I spent a pretty epic three days surrounded by tasty cheeses, bad beer, and of course, June Dairy Days (or JDD if you don't want to sound like an out-of-towner doncha know). Just looking at this is setting off the cravings for more deep fried cheese curds.

So what do you like better, the moon or the sun? I'd have to go moon, but I'm an insomniac and days (especially mornings) never agreed too much with me, especially when it's hot.

So I'm looking at a farm, out in Brush Prairie, about 20 minutes on past Vancouver, trying to help my mom find a new home, whereas she works overseas most of the year, I'll set up shop out there myself to take care of it while she's gone. After 6 years in NYC, can't say it's a path I expected to go down, but it's pretty exciting nonetheless! Might get some chickens and shit. Maybe goats. Crazy, right? Kinda hope it works out.


Acrylic on Canvas. 22" x 19.25".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

I told you more icebergs were coming!

I painted this in a couple hours at Vancouver's First Friday street fair. Which if you haven't been out here, First Friday is Vancouver's answer to Last Thursday in Portland. And of course Last Thursday is NE Portland's answer to SE Portland's First Thursday. Anyways, to sum them up, First Thursday is a lovely, well organized festival with some fantastic artwork and incredibly talented people setting up tables to display their work. Last Thursday is a free-for-all where apparently anyone can go and set up a booth or table or play music or read fortunes or paint or sing or sell pompom dresses or buy Voodoo Donuts or whatever along Alberta Street. Anything goes. And you get this incredible mix of terrible and awesome talent with great food and crowded streets and this wonderful atmosphere of mayhem and talent I can't picture anywhere besides Portland. And then there's First Friday, again an anything goes event, but we got there along with like 12 other booths and what seemed to be just the normal Friday night crowd thinking, "huh . . . looks like something's going on here tonight." Anyways, it's no Last Thursday but maybe word will get out. It was still a lot of fun, and I painted this thing, and managed to sell another painting (I didn't get a picture of it first, but it was in the style of my last postings "Cloud Break" except with more of a red, desert and dunes and sun kinda feel) for 10 bucks, which totally bought me a cold sixer and a bag of Doritos!

Anyways, I like it well enough, and a thick layer of glossy finish totally brought out the oceany and icy feel, and the strong orange against the blue creates a nice, highly contrasted effect. Little off balance, but I guess it works.

Photograph by Susan Strand

Cloud Break

Acrylic on Canvas. 13" x 10".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

Well here is where I start trying to go for a style. . . I don't necessairily want to limit myself to one thing, but I'd love to get a good set of 10 or so pieces in a likeminded style, then maybe they can all go together and be displayed somewhere, and maybe I can sell a painting, and maybe I can pay for rent, and if I'm lucky even pick up a few beers. If I were to pick anyone's style to emulate, hands down it would be Van Gogh. Not that this really approaches that by any means, but the idea of big, strong brush strokes and intelligent color design and manipulations, and a real direction the eye gets pulled in. . . that's what I like. I mean this one is just a little guy, a test run if you will, and also kind of an accident. Swirling colors together for about an hour on this little canvas, suddenly I added some whites and it caused the sky to just open up, giving the effect of an epic cloud break in the middle of a massive storm. I think anyway. Simple with some strong contrasts, if a little lacking in compositional depth. This is the start of where my new style is evolving, just wait and see! (yes, still writing in the future, but I'm almost all caught up!)


Mixed Paint on Canvas.
36" x 17.5"

What better way to escape the masochistic details of Pastel City than splattering some paint around on a canvas. Especially after discovering how much free paint we can get through the wonders of Craigslist! Put up a post last night, and picked up about 50 cans of all different types of paints and colors and finishes from some lovely lady who couldn't take them with her as she had to move from a house into a little apartment. So this is a small sampling of those free cans, all piled up now in the corner of our studio. Actually, this took quite a while to do. Well, about 5 minutes each visit I guess, but each time I revisited this painting would mean another 2 days to dry. Not a big fan of abstract, but it can be great, I just feel it's much more a matter of luck than skill. Anyways I think maybe I got a little lucky with this one, the colors and shapes seem to work and have some motion to them.

Traffic Jam in Pastel City

Acrylic on Canvas
36" x 20"?

I don't know what I was thinking, but this was quite an undertaking. Definitely needed a break from the detail oriented stuff after this, this was almost a full week at the studio to get done. Not that I mind spending that much time on something, I know that great work takes time. But I'll admit, I don't expect to make any truly great work anytime soon as much as I would love to, and as much as I like this piece and had fun working with the colors and the idea. . . man it was a pain in the ass. It's nice and big though, and the colors are just happy. And it also reminds of a blend of neighborhoods of good old NYC . . . the traffic of midtown, the patch-worked architecture of Alphabet City, the characters and commotion of the village. Anyway, I like that about it. Actually I really do like this one. But damn it was a pain to do. I love playing with cityscapes though, and when I rebuild my patience, I'll revisit the idea for sure.


Spraypaint on Canvas
23.75" x 15.26"

At this point, i had to take a break from attempting detail work, and that pile of spraypaints in Ron's workshop was looking more and more promising. So, for a bit of a break, I decided to start spraying with whatever colors I found. When they ended up being reds and blues, it just started taking shape into a dillapidated flag, but I sort of like it, especially the more I look at it. Spray paints are fun! Great release after trying to work on the real detail-oriented stuff. But I think the way the colors blend and bleed together is nice, it probably means somethin' or other if someone would care to think about it for a long time. the silver was a nice touch and gives it a great shine when you see it in person too!

Small Falls in the Woods

Acrylic on Canvas
8" x 10"?

Here's the little guy. Sweet, if you ask me! Too bad the photo isn't so good.

Twin Peaks?

Acrylic on Canvas
About 36" x 20"?

Well... can't say I'm thrilled with this one. But I decided to try my hand at a grand landscape, taking some inspiration from the massive snowcapped mountains they got out here. It's alright, just a little too straightforward I think, trying to do whats been done, and certainly been done better. Also, that's the best name I can come up with, sorry... This painting got some final touches after this version though, I added a little fly fisherman and some highlights, and that pulled it together somewhat. My mom decided she wanted this one, and took it off my hands before I could get a final shot or measurements. She got me Red Dead Redemption in exchange though which I've been wanting but have been to broke to spring for, so . . . score, I guess! This is definitely the biggest canvas I have worked on though, and that was exciting and quite a challenge, and I think I definitely started picking up some good tips and techniques with this, which will start coming out soon (yes, I'm writing this in the future, but hopefully soon I will be all caught up to the present). Oh, but I also bumped a little guy out with my leftover colors, which I kinda like, especially after getting a super glossy coat (not a great pic, but you get the gist). It's the next post!

Arctic Passage

Acrylic on Canvas. 21x17
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

Well this one started rough, and again took way too many hours to complete for what it is, but I'm still figuring out even the basics. This I can't say is inspired by anyplace I've been in person, but I love the feeling it gives, as cheesy as the whole moon/sillhouette thing might be. I'm pretty happy with the reflections (and love the icebergs! I will have to paint more icebergs in the future!) I've never seen the Northern lights but it is on my bucket-list, and in the meantime I can still google-image search and paint them! Can you imagine what early travelers thought about that, crossing from Europe to find this, and in early days in science when it must have been pegged off as supernatural.

Anyway, so I joined a studio with this interesting character out in Vancouver and have an awesome workspace in an open carport under an apartment building, and this is shaping up to be an epic summer hanging out outside in the shade painting. We spent the day building a pile of canvasses from scratch, and then finally got to some painting. This is the first one I got finished there, and it sure beats working in the corner of my way-too-crowded room.

Digital Sunset

Acrylic on Canvas. 17" x 21".
Image by Ross Wilson, 2010.

Well here's my first go-round, with a pile of cheap Walmart acrylics and a shitty Walmart easel that had a foot break off as I took it out of its box. So had to deal, and I kinda like this one. I guess I was sort of thinking about the digitization of Africa as a result of my most recent visit there, the tree is certainly baobab-inspired, and the colors pulled right out of an epic African sunset. But I hate to analyze at such depth, for two reasons at this point - I don't feel like the image quite warants that, and by such words behind a piece it makes it more difficult for a viewer to come up with their own original interpretation. Besides, at this point really I'm just pulling colors and shapes together that fit well, and it took way longer to complete this than it might look like, wrestling with colors and adjusting details until I was finally satisfied with it. Mostly anyway. I still hate the sun and the moon but aren't sure what to do with them, but I do love the colors and the tree, and the overall feeling the image gives. Anyway, for my first foray, I'm pretty happy.

First Piece

Well, so I finally made it out to Portland after years of plotting and planning my escape from NYC. And it turns out, the city is just as cool as it has been made it out to be . . . but folks also weren't lying about the job situation here . . . a few months of trying and I realized quick making the cash to get by will be no easy feat . . . I'm not one to moan about having too much free time on my hands, time to take blackberries and turn them to blackberry wine, as I suppose people must do out here with their plethora of blackberries. Or spend what little cash i got left on some paints and brushes and try to make something out of this time to kill. . . and that's what this blog is about, putting up the yields of this time I have come across. And so I guess I'm a starving artist now, which I must admit, is a hell of a lot better than just starving. So here's my work, I hope you enjoy it, and if you really dig it and/or want to help me pay for food and rent, you can always order prints off of my deviant art gallery, or get in touch with me if you're interested in originals or commissioned pieces.