Signs & Arrows

July 10, 2019
Sam Vance

Gouache on paper

Obviously, signs and arrows are kind of my thing. I haven’t really delved into the whole psychology of their meaning yet. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with finding a sense of direction, looking for signs, seeing signs… This sketch made me laugh. How often are we going along, sure of the direction we’re heading when we hit DETOUR.

Do you ever feel like sometimes there’s just no right turn?
Goauche on paper

A friend of mine simply replied, “yes.”

One Way
Pen & Ink on paper
Box Office
Gouache on paper

I haven’t done a lot of city scapes but this one was fun to do. Lots of color going on, a human element and the challenge of painting it fast.

Gouache on paper

I did a couple of paintings this week from former drawings. The daily painting exercise sticks with me through the following days and weeks. Sometimes an image stays in my minds’ eye and I will return to it. This one happened because I simply had paint on the palette that I didn’t want to throw away. I had finished my daily painting and I whipped this one off in a few minutes. I still have to go buy more paint…

Drive In
Gouache on paper
American Landscape
Pen & Ink, Gouache on paper

I tried a couple of different things with this (after some failed attempts the day before- not posting those). This started with pen and ink, adding gouache and then returning with pen on top. It has a kind of amusing cartoon look to it. In regards to the subject matter, I’m not that interested in political or social art for its’ own sake. I’m not an evangelist against fast food although I don’t eat it. But the golden arches strikes me as something that is uniquely American. And, as a landscape painter who is interested in signs, it’s kind of hard to avoid something so obviously entrenched in our cultural consciousness.

Gouache on paper
Way West
Gouache on paper

By far my favorite image of the last week. I am working on a larger scale version of this one on the big easel. Sometimes I am able to find out the history of the signs that I find along the road. This one used to be the Way West Motel on Aurora Avenue, here in Seattle. The big vertical MOTEL letters tracing the white portion have long since fallen off. But I actually found some old photos online. Since it’s demise, the motel has become (among other things) a pot shop (short lived) and most recently La Iglesia Pentecostal Unida del Nombre de Jesus. You can’t make this stuff up.

Moving from Sketch to Canvas

July 1, 2019
Sam Vance

Please Be Aware of Oncoming Traffic. Goauche on paper

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. The combination of a much needed family vacation and then the return to general busy-ness has kept me from regular updates. But I have still been painting every day. It has become such an ingrained part of the routine that my family now asks me at the breakfast table, “What did you paint this morning?” On the one day that didn’t produce a painting before breakfast I sensed both disappointment and responsibility. So I made sure that I got one in that day.

Cle Elum Trading Post. Acrylic on Canvas 16″ x 20″

I have been moving from the small sketches into larger formats. Predictably, the larger the canvas, the longer it takes. Sometimes (due to the speed in which I am attempting to paint) the results aren’t always what I want. Monet was known to paint 9 or 10 canvases a day. Even for small to medium sized paintings, that’s fast.

Arcade. Goauche on paper

Not that speed is everything. I’m trying to find the balance between virtuosity and inspiration. Timing myself keeps the brush strokes loose and I have to live with both happy and some unhappy accidents. The one hour paintings I do with that 5 am cup of coffee are intended to be quick sketches, like the one above. I have to remind myself, “This is only a sketch,” before I breach the one hour mark and start obsessing about the details.

Closed. Acrylic on Panel 12″ x 18″

Where that pays off is at the other easels where I’m trying to have a couple of larger paintings going simultaneously. Whereas the morning sketches take an hour or so, this one took two or three. The goal here is to maintain spontaneity but allow for more detail as well as the size difference.

Fuel Coffee. Acrylic on Canvas 16″ x 20″

I will be offering prints of many of these pieces very soon. Keep your eyes open and thanks for visiting!

Commission work!

July 1, 2019
Sam Vance

Three friends, Cannon Beach. Acrylic on Canvas 24″ x 36″

I finished and delivered this commission for my niece, Autumn. She sent me a photo of her beloved weimaraners playing at one of their favorite “dog parks,” Cannon Beach, OR. Autumn liked some of the sepia toned sketches I was showing and asked if I would be willing to do a larger piece of her dogs. I had a lot of fun doing this painting with such a limited palette- there are only two colors here: Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber, mixed with a little white. But it captured the ethereal quality of the Oregon seascape. Thanks Autumn!

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