Roy’s Motel Cafe

May 31, 2019
Sam Vance

Acrylic on Panel. 24″ x 36″

Roy’s is a famous stop on Route 66. I always laugh when I find these places and see that they have vacancy. I’m like, “Really? You have a room available? At this four star establishment? Book me.”

This is a composite painting of a number of photos taken by friends on road trips. I took some liberties with the colors…

Making a Mess

May 28, 2019
Sam Vance

I had a couple of serious fails this week. When I wake up to paint I have the highest hopes for what will come out onto the canvas. Sometimes I feel pretty good about it. Sometimes it’s just bad. Often, I step away from the work and come back to it a couple of hours later and it is neither as good or as bad as I thought. This is an acceptable perspective. The good stuff energizes me for the next piece. But so does the bad. If the process is to learn from failure instead of being bested by it then we’re heading in the right direction. This weeks’ lesson: mixing burnt umber with any other color just makes mud. Sigh… on to the next one…

The Cellist. Pen & Ink, Watercolor on Paper
The Cellist. Acrylic on Canvas, 8 x 10″

This is actually my son, Max. He’s had a lot of cello gigs in the last month which has given us good reason to go and hear some great live music and then, of course, for me to draw. The painting is also a quick sketch. Lots of mistakes along the way. But a learning experience.


Just the thought of someplace tropical and warm is never far from my mind…


Sometimes I wake up with a whimsical image. I drew this within about 10 minutes after getting out of bed. And making a cup of coffee of course.

Abandoned Gas Station

This old gas station reminds me of Hopper.


This is a sign that we saw in Yelm, WA. We were driving out of town and my wife said, “There’s a sign you should paint.” Listen to your wife.

Buy Quality

I’m always looking for the humor. Or if not humor, at least irony.

Studio Life

May 20, 2019
Sam Vance

I reconfigured my studio so that I have a couple of painting areas and a designated drawing area.
This is where you will find me with a cup of coffee around 5 in the morning.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been following the daily drawings on Instagram (samvancearts). I’m encouraged by the likes, the comments and of course, the sales of both original pieces and prints. Your commissions and purchases make a big difference in the life of an artist. A friend recently asked, “How can I support you?” “Buy some art!” You bring beauty into your world and help me to pay the bills. Thank you!!!

Old Chevys. My dad found this in a box of old photos and sent it to me.
Silos on the Palouse.
The Night Airstream
Red Sails.
Ghost Horses
Carters. Dancing! Grill! Bar!

From the Palouse to Florida, Crows and Circus Tents…

May 13, 2019
Sam Vance

This weeks’ visual journey has taken me all over the map.  Sometimes I find inspiration right out of my car window as is the case with the Upstart Crow.  He was just hanging out, posing for me and I took a bunch of shots.  My sister, photographer Joana Espinoza, has been sending me shots of her town Moscow, ID.  She’s right in the heart of the Palouse so there is ample subject matter all around.  I love the old tractors, trucks, silos and signs that are just rusting poetically on the roadside.

And then there is the matter of the circus which never fails to provide a sinister mystery… so much color and promise with a dark underbelly.  There are stories within stories…

Lastly, Clean Restrooms is a sign that we saw on a road trip from Orlando to St. Augustine Florida.  We laughed out loud at the irony of “clean restrooms” at what used to be a gas station?  Rest stop?  Who knows?  But everyone in the car was yelling, “You have to draw that!” So here you go.



This week of drawing and painting

May 6, 2019
Sam Vance

This week I experimented with taking a couple of the one-hour drawings and attempted to paint something with the same approach.  How fast can I bang out a painting?  Could I do it in under an hour?  The Windmill and the Motel with FREE TV! (I love that) are both the result of that experiment.  I’m also trying something new with the sky.  I’m working (laboring is more like it) on a larger painting with a lot of sky.  I find myself looking at cloud formations throughout the day, studying the various shades of blue.  The sky is a challenge.

A week of drawing

May 2, 2019
Sam Vance

I’m a couple of months into my “one-drawing-a-day” project.  I’ve been good about getting up and going to work.  Not so good at posting regularly.  So I will post updates as I can.

The rules are pretty simple: one drawing a day and it has to take less than 60 minutes from idea to finished piece.  When the hour is up, the drawing is done no matter what.  Here’s a week of drawing.

The reality is that there are more drawings from this week. But I’m not going to post EVERYTHING.  And I’m trying to get to some of the other work in my studio.  Hopefully, more on that next time… thanks for checking in.  ~SV

Blog at