The Eyes Have It

From top to bottom, here are the three main stages in the development of a recent portrait.  This piece was commissioned by my parents, and my mother (an artist herself) expressly stated that she wanted a painting of her eyes (which always have such a lovely, dreamy look in them).  There is quite a difference between the second and third pictures; this is simply because in step two I found that I had focused too much on the mood of the eyes and not enough on the resemblance itself. . . with a little careful reworking, however, these eyes are quite unmistakably Mom's!


Of Old Southern Towns and Wintery Days

It is always a pleasure to do a painting for Jamie and Andy Hoffman, and given the three prior pieces they have commissioned from me (View from a Garching Window, Maple Ripples, and The Happy Turtle), I wanted their newest commission to look backward and forward simultaneously; in some ways it is thematically related to the other three pieces, with a nod to their love of nature, color preferences, and my history as an artist, but with a conscious sense of stylistic evolution too.  That having been said, Winter Village, below, is inspired by a photo that I took in Athens, AL [above] when I was still in high school.  I loved old towns and the fantastically gnarled trees of the American South as much then as I do now, though at the time my favored medium was photography, and I was often spending winter, summer, and spring, wandering around sleepy towns, tangled woods, stony creeks, and junk yards with a 35mm camera, fleeing the suburbs to experience the sense of "authenticity" and "romance" I found in the countryside.  Many of the towns I visited were very quiet, sometimes even a bit lonely, but most were cosy places, and all seemed rich with shapes, textures, stories, and a interesting mix of overgrown nature, stately (even when small) older homes, and barns and storefronts and sheds in varying states of repair.  

Recently, when driving back from a trip to Lexington, KY through Ardmore, TN with a friend who grew up there, we found ourselves discussing the charm of some of these places, and agreeing that a certain amount of weathering is an important part of it.  (We were soon avidly discussing the way the Italians actually prefer to leave historical buildings and ruins in a state of disrepair for effect, of course. . .)  I wanted the painting to blend man-made structures into nature in the way that some of my older pieces, such as Emerging Red or 417 Greenacres Drive, do, but with some of the softer brushwork of the much more recent Roma.  Most importantly, I hope that the result will be a cheerful addition to Jamie and Andy's home and am honored to be able to add another piece to their collection!


On Display: Art@TAC Gallery

Beginning today and continuing through March, two of my paintings will be part of a new group exhibit at the Huntsville Arts Council Gallery.  If you happen to be near the Von Braun Center in North Alabama, be sure to take a look at the art just outside the Arts Council office and theater!  My pieces include Longhorn, New Braunfels, TX [above] and Organic Composition I.  Both paintings are available for purchase through the Arts Council; prints of all sizes can be purchased directly from me by E-mailing or contacting me through Christina Wegman Fine Art on Facebook.

A Portrait Commission with a Twist of Noir

Not unlike many of the superheros he so admires, David has a conventional day job, but transforms into something completely extraordinary and different come evening-- in this case, a writer.  Exploring politics, the nature of justice, religion, and more in dystopian short stories and complicated fantasy works, he is also quite the "nerd"-- a lover of Batman, Dr. Who, and strong protagonists who seek to leave the world a better place despite (or perhaps because of) their inner conflicts.  When he requested that I paint an imaginative portrait for him, we originally talked about doing with Dieselpunk what I did with Steampunk in Steam Bryan, but as I looked through many different reference photos, I was drawn more and more to Art Deco style and the very urban portraits painted by Tamara de Lempicka.  David, after all, does enjoy wearing bow-ties and a leather blazer, has a lovely watch and uses cologne-- he is quite the classy gentleman too.  As I began envisioning a gritty film noir atmosphere in the piece, David himself was inspired to begin writing down his ideas for a story about "D", a vigilante who is trying to remain a helpful, decent, free-thinker under an extremely oppressive, corporate-run political dystopia.  As D winds up stealing supplies to help a starving family and having to use his eclectic arsenal of weapons more often than he would like, he feels conflicted-- is he doing too much?  Too little?  How can he, one individual, really change anything?

As David's writing project and my painting project developed, we had many conversations over tea that managed to influence both. . . the perfect casual collaboration.  The resulting portrait is David as "D", the vigilante and man of thought and justice. . .