"After Moon" was a very special custom art piece I recently created for some very special clients of mine. They have brought me into their home to do live paintings during two of their Christmas parties. Both of those pieces now hang in their home. So, when they came to me with a concept for custom art that would be the focal piece of their house, I was all in.
Project: They have a beautiful stone fireplace that sits between two floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Brentwood and the surrounding hillsides. I threw several concepts at them and they kept coming back to one shape: round. So, after a while, a memory popped in my head: a few years ago, I made a set of paintings of a sun and moon for the birthdays of siblings. I decided to show them those and they freaked out. They explained that they had always talked about "how amazing it would be if Roy Laws did a Moon" and there was one just like they imagined.
So, now we had a concept for their custom art: the Moon. Next, we needed a color scheme. I took pictures of the rocks so I could pick up those colors later on. They had also sent me a photo of a painting with shades of blue they really liked. The space needed a 35 x 35 canvas which isn't a standard size, so I made that canvas and got started. I started out by using the outline of a dinner plate to make the circle. But eventually wound up making it bigger as the piece went along.
Next, modeling paste was added to give dimension and texture to the canvas. Then I drizzled acrylic paint mixed with airbrush medium to give it fluidity. It's a fast and effective way to get a lot of paint on quickly. Plus, I always like the way it takes on a life of its own. From then on, it was layer after layer after layer of paint applied with brushes and knives.
The first version of this custom art I showed them (in the gallery below) was well received. However, it didn't have enough of the blue they wanted. Besides that, the Moon had too much shadow for what they wanted. So, I used that information and went to work on the final version. And that's what got us to the finish line.
When I delivered the painting, it would be an understatement to say they were enthusiastic. The real Moon actually passes by their windows at night, so now their mantle painting picks it up perfectly as it goes by. They were so happy with it that they gifted me a Fender guitar that they had built themselves. I've spent the last couple of months teaching myself how to play and I love it!
If you'd like a custom art piece for your home, contact me today and let's create something amazing. Or, go and check out more of my custom artwork pieces here.
November 26, 2018
One fine Sunday afternoon, the kids and I were hanging in the studio. We started talking about some cool ideas that we could put on the 23-foot grey wall we were staring at. We threw around tons of ideas and finally realized that there were a few things we all loved. Those are rock and roll, pop art, sci-fi, colors, comics, and Queen. So we got out our sketch pads and pencils and went to work on what would become "Bohemian Rhapsody."
After all, I don't call myself a "painter of music" for nothing!
The kids and I started sketching out lyrics and panels. It took some time working through what we would need for each lyric. Our search was hilarious and we found so much amazing art for inspiration. Re-purposing retro comics has been one of our favorite projects so far. It was a really good exercise for the kids because it forced them to think differently. It was a good exercise for me too. As an artist, I love pushing boundaries and trying new things all the time. So, working with my kids to re-purpose a retro comic to create fan art honoring Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody on a wall mural was an amazing experience!
When we decided how the wall mural should look, I worked up the final design in Photoshop. I'm notorious for my bad math so I had to check, double check, and triple check to make sure everything was going to fit. Of course, there were last minute adjustments, as always. Things never work out quite like you think. That's why you've just got to get it started and see what happens.
I used sample wall paints from Lowes and they really do the trick. The great thing is that you don't need many colors since you can reuse the same colors across multiple panels. I was also able to reuse old paints from when I painted all the rooms in the house. In fact, my daughter's lavender color came in handy on a couple of panels!
I accomplished a ton on the first day. First, I did the chalk lines, taped off the panels, and got everything drawn in with black paint. Then, I started filling in color on two of the panels. I also did a Dave Matthews commission painting since it was due the next day. I'm not sure how I pulled it all off, but it just kind of flowed. Still, it was a really busy day!
Filling in the next panels went along pretty quickly. I left sections of the last two panels blank so that the kids could each do one of their own. They were a big help in coming up with the concept, so I wanted them to be able to help out with the painting as well. They both take a lot of pride in showing off the work they did when visitors come around.
The wall mural has really brought the studio alive even more than it already was. It makes an amazing backdrop for the monthly concert I host here with my friends. What do you think of our Bohemian Rhapsody fan art wall mural? Tell me in the comments. And while you're at it, be sure to check out the short videos to learn a little about the process!
If you've been keeping up on my Instagram or Facebook page, you've probably seen me posting photos of the progress of my latest portrait of David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust. I've documented the progress of this painting from the day I started back on March 3rd until it made it's public debut on April 29th at The Garden Brunch Cafe.
During that time, I did the following:
If you know my art, then you won't be surprised at the evolution of this David Bowie portrait. My favorite musicians are the ones who are constantly reinventing themselves. David Bowie is a perfect example! That's what Ziggy Stardust was all about: evolving. He always kept things fresh and new. Ziggy Stardust was a whole new identity. Practicing my art is similar. If you've ever seen me do a live painting, you know how fluid my works is. I regularly change directions until I get a concept "right." A painting never turns out the way I envisioned it. It just kind of...happens.
This David Bowie portrait here evolved more than any other painting I've done. So, join me in the journey as it goes from blank canvas to an explosion of color and energy. Check out the videos and photo gallery below to see it all.
Ziggy Stardust Photo Gallery
Join me Sunday night as I welcome The Mann Sisters to the studio for a night of live art and live music. We'll have a bunch of our friends over and it'll be an interactive show you can watch from home. I'll be broadcasting on Facebook Live so just tune into my page and enjoy. We'll go live at around 7 Central Sunday, April 23rd. It's like The Bob Ross Show, just with music, beer, and a live audience!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow more live art events at my studio and keep up with my newest work.
To see some of my past shows, check out the videos below:
Nashville Art - Painted Live
Once again Roy Laws Art will be set up at the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN at Harlinsdale Farm. Last year was a great success and I hope to see a lot of the same people come back out this year. I may have to abandon my post for awhile to check out Cake on the Fender Gold Record Road Stage on Saturday, but it'll be totally worth it.
I'm getting my canvases ready to be live painted during the Festival. First up is Saturday's headliner Beck. I'd painted this canvas about 2 years ago and it's just been sitting around waiting for something to be done with it, so last night I drew his portrait on it and will paint it during his set. This one is 36 x 36.
These are two in progress Harlinsdale Barns I've had sitting around the studio for the last year. I think I'm going to bring both of them along and try to finish them up. The first of this series has already sold and they are 24 x 36.
Three guitars I have sketched out and ready to go. Once again, that medium one is a canvas I painted long ago and have just now decided to finish it up this weekend. I love doing the guitars and with this crowd, I think they will go over well. The largest is 24 x 48, medium is 18 x 36 and the small is 12 x 24.
And here is a group of the paintings I plan on taking for the booth. Hank, Willie, Guitars, the works. I'll also have a wide selection of prints and reproductions, so stop by and holla.
After about 3 weeks of work, I have completed the commissioned Adele portrait for a wonderful client of mine. He recently moved into a new home and really wanted something to "pop" and grab attention when guests entered his living room. He specified the color scheme he wanted and also had a particular red that he wanted to spring forth to match accents in the room. The lips were especially made to pop.
Billboard ranked Adele's songs. The top 10 include:
This piece is 30 x 40 inches on a gallery wrapped canvas and is painted with acrylic paints. See below for in-progress pictures:
Saturday, February 6th (2016) was a great night for Live Painting at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, TN! The Junior League of Nashville invited me to be the live entertainment. I was to create a piece of work that would be auctioned off at the end of the evening. The proceeds from the silent auction in the main corridor and the live auction on the stage (that's where I was) all went to the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
To start off, I had never been to the Omni before and let me just say, that place is nice! I think I need to go back and check it out when I don't have a deadline hanging over my head.
Anyway, the event was a Masquerade Ball and it was also a black-tie affair. Not wanting to befoul a nice suit or ruin a rented tuxedo, I sprang for a vest to cover up my nice black tie and a dress-up shirt. However, I had to go with my regular painting jeans and shoes for the rest of the ensemble. You have to be ready to make some sacrifices to the art gods when it comes to clothes, but I didn't quite want to total an entire outfit.
The event itself was amazing and, of course, everyone looked like a million bucks. I originally figured that I would have 3 hours to work on the piece. But it turned out that I had just the one hour while the guests were having their dinners. So, to make a time-frame like that, I had to paint like the wind. Luckily, that's how I usually do my best work. While I was painting there was a great jazz band playing. Towards the end of dinner, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean came up to say a few words.
Then came time for the auction, which was handled by former Sotheby's auctioneer Edward Playfair. If you've never heard anyone glowingly talk about your work with a smooth Australian accent, it's quite nice. I worked on the painting up until he started his pitch about it. Then I lifted it from the easel and held it up for the crowd to see and bid on. It wound up bringing in $800 which I thought was great and I hope is put to good use.
The next day I got the painting back up on the easel at home just to give it some touch-ups. Mostly this meant adding in some shades of purple to the buildings for a sense of depth. After that, it was varnishing, wiring, scanning, cataloging, wrapping up and delivering it to the lucky winners.
Since I scanned this painting of the Nashville skyline, that means you can order prints of it. I can also have it printed on canvas. The quality of the reproductions is so good that it's often hard to tell the difference. I can take it a step further for you, too. In two ways, actually! First, I could print it and embellish it so that it looks exactly like the original, including paint drips and all. Second, I can literally just repaint it. What's your preference? Just contact me and let's talk about what you want.
So, now the painting sits above a beautiful mantle at its new home. I'm hoping it becomes a conversation starter for years to come. Not many times you get to watch a painting on your wall be created live!
Recently an art student contacted me to learn more about the Shirley Manson painting. She was going to write an essay about it for school. So, I decided to do a write up on it and include photos and stories about how this painting came together. Not to mention the strange trip it's been on ever since.
Way back when, probably 1995 or 1996, I was waiting tables in Nashville. While walking through the dish room, a song was playing on the radio that I'd never heard before. It stopped me in my tracks. Literally....I just had to stand there and listen to it. The song was "Stupid Girl" and I thought it was amazing. But I actually thought Madonna was the artist singing and I was shocked that I liked one of her songs so much.
Fast forward a few weeks and I'm hanging at the record label Almo Sounds in Nashville. My sister worked there and invited me. She handed me a pink CD case and told me I'd probably dig these guys. The disc she handed me was the self-titled first Garbage album. And man, was she ever right! Imagine my surprise (and relief!) when I heard Stupid Girl on the album. I have been listening to Garbage and Shirley Manson pretty constantly since that day.
So, over the years I've seen them perform live twice, listened to every album, and consider them my favorite artists. Why they aren't touring to Nashville on the 20 years Queer Tour I'll never know.
When I started painting portraits on a regular basis, I was mostly painting old country legends. But I decided I'd like to do something with a bit more of a rock attitude. This painting was going to be for me, so I wanted it to be someone I really liked. Of course, Shirley was a pretty obvious choice for me.
With this painting I started with a 36 x 48 gallery-wrapped canvas. I had already drawn something else on it, but I can't remember what it was now. I didn't feel like erasing what was there, so I put a very thin wash over the entire canvas and used that as a starting point. Lots of times, artists will paint in the background and then draw the subject on top. I do that sometimes myself. However, with this one, I went with a technique I've used during my live painting events. That is, I work off the sketch with Payne's Grey (dark blue pigment used a lot in water colors), figure out my shadows and values, then build colors in on top.
After that, it was a matter of adding in layer upon layer of paint to begin getting the desired effect. My plan was to stick to blue and orange only since they are the most striking colors to use against each other. However, it started to become clear that I'd need to add a new dimension. So, I started to work purples into the skin tones to give some depth and accents. I knew from the beginning that the hair was going to be what made the portrait really "blow up." To get the effect I wanted, I first started with a base of heavy-body Paynes Grey, then Dioxazine Purple, Quinacridone Crimson, Pyrrole Orange, Hansa Yellow Opaque, and finally, Titanium White for the highlights.
I really liked the final look of the hair. The way it explodes from the blue background is what I think makes this painting so attention-grabbing. I've had several people tell me that this portrait of mine is their favorite. I've even sold two reproductions to people who didn't know who Shirley Manson actually was.
Since I finished her up, she's been on a whirlwind tour herself. Being a popular piece, I've brought her with me to just about every show I've done. Her first time out of the house was a RAW show in Atlanta (video here). She was also the first painting you saw at the grand opening of Music City Fine Art.
Almost a year ago, Shirley Manson saw my painting and shared it on her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. She even sent it out to all her followers. Needless to say, my social feeds were blowing up that day! It was too cool. I was seeing people all over the world changing their profile and cover photos to the painting. That was a great feeling to see so many people digging something I had done. One of my yearly goals is to get the portraits I do seen by the subjects. So, that was definitely one I could check off the list.
I still consider this to be my favorite painting, subject and technique. I'm glad that it's gotten such a positive reaction.
The original Shirley Manson painting is currently on display at my house. But you can see a reproduction of it at Ludlow and Prime in Brentwood, TN. And if you want a copy of your own, check out some options in my Store or just contact me for something special, like a reproduction with embellishments.
So it was a busy December this year. I was commissioned to do lots of custom works and it was a blast! Contact me anytime you have questions about artwork for your home or as a gift. I do commissioned work, live painting (I am the live entertainment), fundraisers, and more. I can paint anything, but my favorites are those related to music and Music City.
Large and Up Front for the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN
In very cool news, I will be live painting in front of the main stage on both Saturday and Sunday night at the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN (September 26-27, 2015). That means I'll be the live entertainment during the live entertainment. So, I think that makes me meta-live-entertainment! Anyway, the crowd is expected to be around 15,000 both nights. This will the largest live painting I've ever done by a long shot. And I can't wait! Saturday night I will be painting Wilco and Sunday will be the man himself: Willie Nelson.
Wilco has 6 members in their band and I've decided that I'm going to do a group portrait of all of them. Traditionally, I only do one subject per canvas, so this one is going to be a bit different. Looking forward to see how this works out. Willie gets the show all to himself and both will be on 5-foot canvases.
I will have a booth set up during the day, so be sure to come by and say "hey." I'll have prints, reproductions, and perhaps an original or two for sale. And, I'll also be offering free drop-shipping on any prints purchased there.