One fine Sunday afternoon, while the kids and I were hanging in the studio, we started talking about some cool ideas that we could put up onto the 23 foot grey wall that we were staring at. We threw around tons of ideas and finally realized that there were a few things that all of us loved: 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."
We started sketching out lyrics and panels and trying to figure what we would need for each lyric. Our search was hilarious and we found so much amazing art for inspiration. Repurposing retro comics has been one of our favorite projects so far.
So, I worked up the final design in Photoshop before getting it up on the wall. I'm notorious for my bad math so I had to check and 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 just gotta get it started to see what happens.
I used sample wall paints from Lowes and they really do the trick. 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 (my daughters lavender color came in handy on a couple of panels).
I accomplished a ton on the first day. I did the chalk lines, taped off the panels, got everything drawn in with black paint and got two of the panels started color-wise. I also did a Dave Matthews commission painting since it was due the next day as well. It was a busy day.
The next panels came 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 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.
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: 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 live painted the first outline of it online (see video), live painted it at a BGA Fundraiser at The Factory in Franklin, worked on it during the March Painting Jam with Kristin Larkin, moved it to the garage to drizzle paint it in Jackson Pollock style, and finally demonstrated how to varnish a large painting (see video).
So join me in the journey of this painting as it goes from blank canvas to an explosion of color and energy. Check out the 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!
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 has 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.
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 was a great night for Live Painting at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, TN! I was invited by the Junior League of Nashville to come and 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 up on stage 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, so 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 had figured that I would have 3 hours to work on the piece, but it turned out that I had just the hour while the guests were having their dinners. So, to make a timeframe like that, I had to paint like the wind, but luckily that's how I usually do my best work. While I was painting there was a great jazz band playing and towards the end former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean came up to say a few words. No pressure.
Then came time for the auction, which was handled by former Sotheby's auctioneer Edward Playfair. If you've never had your work glowingly talked about in a smooth Australian accent, it's quite nice. I worked on it up until he started his pitch about it, at which time I lifted it from the easel and held it up for the crowd to check out and bid on. It wound up bringing in $800 which I thought was great and I hope it's 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 adding in some shades of purple to the buildings in order to give them some depth. After that, it was varnishing, wiring, scanning, cataloging, wrapping up and delivering it to the lucky winners.
So the painting is now in it's new home above a beautiful mantle. 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!
An art student recently contacted me and wanted to know more about the Shirley Manson painting, as 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, and the strange trip it's been on ever since.
Way back when, probably 1995 or 1996, I was waiting tables and while walking through the dish room, a song I'd never heard before was on the radio and I had to stop to listen. The song was "Stupid Girl" and I thought it was amazing, but I was thought it was a Madonna song and was shocked that I'd like one of her songs so much. Fast forward a few weeks and I'm hanging at the record label Almo Sounds in Nashville with my sister who worked there and she handed me a pink CD case and told me I'd probably dig these guys. The disk she handed me was the self-titled first Garbage album and she was quite right. 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 and have listened to all their albums and still consider them to be my favorite artists, why they're not 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 and decided I'd like to do something with a bit more of a rock attitude. This one was going to be for me, so I wanted it to be someone I really liked, so Shirley was a pretty obvious choice for me. With this painting I started with a 36 x 48 gallery-wrapped canvas that I had already drawn something else on (don't even remember what 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, and I'll do that on occasion as well. However, with this one, I went with a technique I've used during my live events and that's working off the sketch with Payne's Grey and figuring out my shadows and values and then building colors in on top.
After that, it was a matter of adding in layers upon layers of paint to start to get 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 in purples in the skin tones to give some depth and accents. The hair I knew from the beginning 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 and 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 is their favorite and have 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) and she was the first painting you saw at the grand opening of Music City Fine Arts.
Almost a year ago, Shirley Manson saw my painting and shared it on her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and sent it out to all of 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 one check off the list.
So, I still consider this to be my favorite painting, subject and technique-wise. I'm glad that it's gotten such a positive reaction.
The original Shirley Manson painting is currently on display at Ansbach Artisans in Franklin, TN
So it was a busy December this year. I was commissioned to do lots of custom works this year and it was a blast! Contact me anytime you have questions about artwork for your home or as a gift.
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). Crowd is expected to be around 15,000 both nights, so this will the largest live painting I've ever done by a long shot. 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.