Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Christmas Cards 2012

There is a limited edition of 50 cards. Each one is numbered and signed. The text on the inside reads, "May the Joy of the Holiday Season Remain With You Through the Year" and is done in calligraphy. You have the option of Script, Old English, or it can be left blank. The card is based off of a painting I completed earlier in the year and is $3. You can either purchase through paypal or check.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cards

Tuesday, December 18, I will be posting a limited edition of 50 Christmas Cards. In January, I started a painting, and finished it in July. I haven't posted it, because I had the painting turned into cards. These cards are hand-numbered, hand-folded, and you can either choose the option to leave it blank for your own message, or it will come with Christmas greeting. The cards are on high quality linen paper, and will be sold for $3 each. You can either send a check, or pay through paypal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In Progress - Brewer Children 11

Not completely finished, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So it's been a week since my last posting. I've had the time to get the upset feeling out of my system for the most part. I had put a lot of time into that portfolio, and I think what upset me the most was not that it was rejected, but that there was no explanation as to why. I do not want to go down the road of bitterness, where I put down, mock, or make fun of other artists or the company I had presented a portfolio to. I would be lying if I said my feelings weren't hurt, because it feels as though it's not just a rejection of my art, it's a rejection of me.

A friend once told me, "hey, don't get your hopes up, you might not get it." It's friends like these that I really don't keep around. What she told me was true, that I might not get it. The possibility is always there. It's the self-deprecating, defeatist attitude like that where people like her never get ahead in life unless they win the lottery or marry a rich person. Life doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. This event was a set back for me ... nothing more.

Back to the drawing board. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Journey

As some of you know, I submitted a portrait portfolio to Portraits, Inc. back in October of this year. Here was their response to me today.

November 20, 2012

Dear John:

Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to send your portfolio to Portraits, Inc. for our annual new artist review.  We always appreciate and look forward to seeing the work submitted by each artist. 

A committee of staff members, sales associates, and artists evaluates each submission.  We seek to identify artists whose styles are similar to those we sell the most, as well as artists who might bring a unique style not currently included in our roster of over 150 artists.  I am sorry to say that we are unable to include you in this group at this time.  Please know that we do not attempt to be art critics.  We only evaluate based on our understanding of our current markets and the requests our sales associates make on behalf of their clients. 

We hope you understand this is one of the hardest things we do, and we regret leaving anyone out.  We sincerely wish you every success and thank you once again for your interest in Portraits, Inc.

Best regards,

Beverly McNeil
Chairman & CEO

Friday, November 16, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Color Palette

This is my color palette for the Brewer Children. I found out completely by accident, that if you mix Magenta and Cadmium Yellow Medium into Titanium White, you get a beautiful natural-looking flesh tone. A yellow/green browns it up a bit, and a light touch of Ivory Black and Burnt Umber really get the shadows going. To get any bluish tone of the skin, I added a some Payne's Grey to the mixture. I love how colors work. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Progress - Brewer Children 4

The background has been layered in for the most part. Their mom requested an impressionistic feel to the landscape.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In Progress - Brewer Children 1

Here's my next portrait - and the largest one that I've done thus far. The children are sitting on a park bench at Maymont in Richmond, VA. It's a beautiful park with Japanese gardens, a zoo, a walkway, and just some beautiful landscaping. This photo is of me beside it showing the size scale of the painting. In the sketch, I placed the children too far down the canvas. This is the reason I outline in charcoal, to easily cover up mistakes like this. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Spider & The Fly

As previously posted, I've created a poster that goes along with Mary Howitt's 'The Spider & The Fly.' I've used words from her poem to create not only a layout over the spider, but also allowed the words to become part of the rocks, slowly leading into the cavern. I had this idea of recreating Shelob's Lair from Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings,' but also trying to somehow create an image in the vein of Dante's Inferno. The spider is merciless, just as the evil that is hell is merciless. 'Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here,' are the words that are said to hover over the gates of hell. I don't know ... maybe I'm reading way too far into this. But I love a good poem that really goes deep, and is not something written so a wannabe author can get published for the sake of getting published. For those unfamiliar with the poem, I've reposted it below. Enjoy.

“Will you step into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly; ’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.” “O no, no,” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain, For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high; Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly. “There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.” “O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said, They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do, To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you? I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice; I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?” “O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be; I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “You’re witty and you’re wise! How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes! I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf, If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.” “I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say, And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den, For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again: So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly, And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing “Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing: Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head; Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly, Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by. With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue; Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last, Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast. He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read, To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed; Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye, And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Spider & The Fly

Here's an ink wash drawing I did for a project in InDesign. I'm going to incorporate some color in this drawing and use the words from Mary Howitt's 'The Spider & The Fly' to make a really interesting illustrated composition. I'm not an illustrator, but I've completed quite a few book covers and other "illustrated" style works of art. I think this will be interesting when I get finished.

My Business Card

Anybody trying to contact me through this business card, the information has changed. The phone number is no longer valid for personal reasons, and the email address has been disabled - again, for personal reasons. You can email me at my new email address johnpriceart@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Failed Graphite Portrait Commission

This is the kind of portrait that I will never include in a portfolio, but I want to post it here. Early on - maybe 5 years ago, a customer requested I draw a portrait of his aunt. After complaining over and over about the price, I finally gave in and lowballed the price. At the time, I was charging $300 a portrait, but I completely sold out, and charged him $50 for this. After I finished the portrait, I couldn't get in contact with him. Come to find out, he'd moved. I finally tracked him down and he said, "Oh, I don't want the portrait anymore. You can just mail the photograph of my aunt to my girlfriend's house."

Huge lesson learned. This is why I don't compromise on my prices, and why I always take a deposit. People tend to pay when they put down a nonrefundable deposit. I've also kept the horrendous watermark across her face, just in case he ever comes across my page, decides he wants it, and tries to print it out. The original posting of this portrait was posted on this blog in November of 2009. I was recently asked about this portrait, and thought I'd repost it and tell the story behind it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - Portrait Unveiling

Today was the unveiling of Rev. Frank Gooch's portrait. It was a real honor to be able to present this portrait to him. Not only is he a fine gentleman who has an great love for God, but he's also someone I consider to be a dear friend. I'm honored to know him, and it was a privilege to be able to paint such a commission. Here are some of the photos from the unveiling. Sorry for the poor quality. Professional photographers were there, and I will be posting some of the photos they shot here soon - hopefully within the week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 6

Maybe another hour or two??? As fierce as these creatures are, they always look like they're smiling.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Journey - Day 44

Well ... my journey is complete for the most part. Around 1:30 EST, I submitted my portfolio to Portraits, Inc. Before submitting it, I looked over everything and just stared at the screen for a few minutes. This really shouldn't be a big thing - it really shouldn't. I think that sometimes I turn a molehill into a mountain. I've been drawing for over 30 years. I completed my first portrait of Bruce Lee when I was in the 6th grade, and since then, I continued to progress at portraiture. I've spent countless hours and money, honing my skill as an artist.

Over 10 years ago I began this journey, 2 years ago, I began pushing for this portfolio, and today, I wrapped everything up. I really hope that the staff at Portraits, Inc. like what they see, and I'll post it in here whether they want to work with me or not. Even if they don't I have a remarkable, and God-given ability to capture the character in a human face. Either they'll see this or they won't. I'm fairly confident that they will, and I look forward to a positive response from them.

So to a degree, the journey is over. But in reality, it's still going on. On to my next portrait.

Great White Shark - Hour 5

Friday, September 28, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 4

Here, the outline has been established.

My Journey - Day 42

Day 42 is upon us, and I have just a few more days ... hours really, before this portfolio is due. Oct. 1 is the deadline. On Monday, I'll post all of my submitted paintings here so you can see what they'll be seeing. I won't post all of the additional work or the reference work. I think they'll like what they see. I've committed a great deal of time, not to mention money and years into this, and like anybody else, it's my desire to be accepted at something I love to do. Dean Paules is a Fine Art Portrait artist who I spoke to about two years ago, and it was because of his conversation that I really began to pursue this and train at it. His sincere confidence in "hey, if you're good at it and can do it, give it all you've got," really motivated and inspired me. I spoke with him yesterday and he said, "send me your portfolio and I'll take a look at it." What an honor!!!

I wish they could see my work in person. It's in this moment that I'm reminded of a conversation with a client a few years ago. "I thought your work was good from what I saw online, but when i see it in person, I'm completely blown away by what I see. The screenshots don't do it any justice."

I encourage anybody who sees my work online, to come see it in person. You'll be blown away.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 1, 2 & 3

 Here is a charcoal - in progress - drawing of a commissioned shark. I'm starting out with white charcoal paper, and the size will be 18x24. I'll upload them by the hour. This first posting consists of the first 3 hours. Yes, it took 3 hours just to color in the background. I know I could've bought black paper, but I wanted to really take my time with this and make sure that I touched every single part of the paper.

My Journey - Day 41

I haven't posted here in well over a week, and there's a good reason for this. You know how things can go wrong all at the last minute? I won't go into great detail, but let's just say that last Friday, Saturday, and portions of Sunday, my temperature was at around 103, my throat was swollen, and I couldn't keep food down. I couldn't do the photoshoot on Saturday, and was forced unfortunately to wait until Monday. 

Then, after the photoshoot, I took the pics home and took a look at them. I will say that the photographer was very good at what he did, but I didn't catch two of the photos. The one of Alicia and Sydney look sunburned. I don't want to put it off on the photographer, because on his screen, it looked awesome. 

Other than that, I'm coming up on the final few days. I'm nervous again, but I think that's to be expected. I don't think a photograph does my work justice at all. I really strive for detail and accuracy, and I don't think the photographs really pick that detail up. Again, not the photographer's fault, I just think it's one of those things. In person, it's just different. I hope Portraits Inc., take that into consideration. For example, take a look at these 4 shots of Rev. Gooch. Not one of them is anything like the painting. He called me after viewing them and said, "I'm not really pleased with any of them." I invited him over and after just a few seconds of looking at it, he and his wife remarked, "wow, you got me dead on. This is me."

Then to top things off, the PDF files are really compressing the images and there's a serious loss of resolution. However ... I'll get this thing right in the end. You can count on that. I've committed my life, study, work, to portraiture, and I'm good at what I do. Just a few more days ... I'm ready.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch

Here is the final image of Rev. Frank Gooch. The original photograph was taken by Peter Alexander Webb Jr.

The official unveiling of this portrait will be framed and will take place on October 7 at 
Lighthouse Baptist Church 
5608 Staples Mill Road
Richmond, VA 23228

(804) 264-1590

Please contact Rev. James Frank Gooch for further details.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

It's been a few days, and I'm further along than this, but I haven't gotten pics of it yet. The hands still need to be done, the Bible needs to be touched up, and the books in the back. The photo seems slightly out of focus too which makes seeing the detail somewhat difficult.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Journey - Day 31

So here I am - on the last two weeks of this portfolio. I'll be finished with the final portraits by Friday (hopefully) and then I begin working on the PDF's and putting it all together in a professional, presentable manner. This Saturday, I'll be taking the paintings to John Tyler Community College to be professionally photographed by a guy who does photography of artwork. My design instructor once told me that photographing artwork is probably the 2nd most difficult thing to photograph. She never said what the most difficult thing to photograph was, but for some reason, artwork is the 2nd. The thing that I hate about this photographing of artwork is, I have to rely on someone else. This is completely out of my hands, and to a certain degree, my portfolio is dependent on someone else's performance. This makes me nervous to be honest. I've put in a great deal of time, detail, time away from my family, etc., and I am anxious about this process. 

From my understanding, the gentleman who will be photographing my work (I'll give him credit after the photographs are taken) is not only reliable, but a very good photographer who does a great deal of craft/fine art photography. So we'll see. 14 more days until October 1, and I'm really looking forward to impressing the fine people at Portraits, Inc.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Journey - Day 29

So ... there are 16 days until my portfolio is due. Last night, I had a meeting with The Brewers, the family of a portrait I'll be presenting in my portfolio. They absolutely loved the portrait I'm painting of their children, and they offered some critiques of my work. One thing I think artists genuinely love and hate at the same time, are honest critiques of their work. After all of the hours we've put into a piece, an individual comes along and says, "I like this part, and here's why, but at the same time, this isn't working, and here's why." The Brewers offered some advice, showing me places where the portrait just wasn't working. As much as I want to get a painting right the first time around, sometimes it just doesn't happen that way.

I'd planned to have the painting finished by this weekend, but it's not going to happen. I now have to restructure things - nothing major, but it does push me back slightly. I generally give myself 4-6 months from the time I begin on a portrait, to complete it. I began this particular painting back in April and here it is right at the 6 month mark. Well, I can either complain, or take it in stride and realize this is what I need to better myself. The Brewers are a wonderful family who have given me the opportunity to create a masterpiece on canvas. The painting in this blog is not the painting I'm doing for them - it is just another shot of me painting Rev. Frank Gooch.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

It's coming along, but still a long way to go. It seems as though his suit is really drying at an irregular rate. One area will dry really shiny, and the other will be somewhat dull.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

The face is just about complete. I won't add any highlights or touch up the hair until I'm finished. I'll let this dry while I work on the suit & books. I apologize about the redness in his face. When I get finished, I'll tray to take a photograph of this in different lighting.