These two pieces are getting so close to being finished. Just need to paint hair on them and refine some areas that need a bit more detail. Now back to work on the Portrait of Margaux.

It has been a while since I have made any progress on this piece but with Open Studios coming up soon, I had some motivation to bring it back out and try to finish it off. I have made quite a bit of progress in the last week and look forward to seeing it completed. This painting is quickly becoming one of the best in the make-up series (although I am not sure anything will ever be able to replace my all time favorite). I did not even intend to shoot photos of Amanda when I got the reference for this piece (I was there to shoot her roommate) but I am glad she popped in and volunteered because those photos have led to some great paintings.

Just a quick update with three new paintings that I am currently working on. Also getting ready to start a third large sunbather painting and looking for a model for another large scale nude. 2011 off too a good start!

After so long without touching a brush and then a few unsuccessful attempts at starting paintings I finally have some new work to post. Amanda came out to Studio 11 originally to help the Papercut Magazine girls with a photo shoot. She was here to help give the models wild hairstyles for the shoot but, her energy was infectious so I had to get her back into the studio for a photo shoot or her own. I am obviously not alone in my appreciation for Amanda, once she discovered my under-utilized Facebook fan page I suddenly found myself with 100 more people “liking” my page.

So, here is the start of my portrait of Amanda. I still have a long way to go but hope to have this one done for South Boston Open Studios next month.

Finally got decent photos of the first three Makeup (transformation) portraits in their finished states. So these, along with a few other new paintings will be added to the Gallery page within the next few days.

Transformation 1, oil painting by Nick WardTransformation 2, oil painting by Nick Ward

Transformation 3, oil painting by Nick Ward

With even the best laid plan, so much of life is left to chance (or maybe that is just my life?). With that in mind, it is hard not to see the value in having some routine that is all your own. The little things that you do daily that help you feel your best. Every morning I sit with a cup of coffee, as I am sure many others do, and do nothing but sip. It is not the caffein that gets me moving (not that it doesn’t help) but, the 15 or 20 minutes of head clearing that accompanies it.

Everyone has their own rituals that, however trite they may seem, help them mentally prepare for what is ahead. I started this series of paintings with other ideas in mind but, it was my fascination with other peoples routines led me to keep creating them.

Transformation 3 (make up), work in progress, oil painting by Nick Ward

The other day I read this:

Life is mostly made up of routines and patterns. Every day we act them out and they are what make up the bulk of our lives. Many of us live according to a socially acceptable template, within the realm of safety, while living repetitively and dreaming of ways to escape.

I used to revolt against these routines. I saw them as the enemy of adventure and of living a spontaneous life. However, I’ve found that routines can be quite blissful. I’ve realized that every day events and what we would commonly classify as “normal”, is often extraordinary if you just take a closer look.

I’ve discovered that even if you’re not exactly where you’d like to be, that doesn’t mean that life right now can’t be beautiful or enjoyable. And the best part is, you don’t have to do anything to make it beautiful. It already is beautiful.
All you have to do is open your eyes.

The rest of this post is not necessarily related to what I am talking about (it is still an interesting read) but, that opening paragraph sent me running to my sketch book to create more studies of other peoples rituals. In retrospect, maybe that was where these paintings were taking me all along?

Today’s progress on this painting:

Transformation 3 Work In Progress, Oil Painting by Nick Ward

After a nice sunny Sunday morning here in Boston, I locked myself in the studio and got back to work on this painting. Warm spring days are such a motivator for me and I managed to get a good amount of work done.

Transformation 3 Work In Progress, Oil Painting by Nick Ward

Also, I have reached an all time high in internet stardom as my website showed up on page two of a google search for Nick Ward. So, I have decided to celebrate by loading this post with references to the fact that, I am the most important Nick Ward in Boston, and deserve to be on page one of your search.

(edit.. The Google Gods already punished me for this blatant self promotion and I am back to page three where I belong.)

A first look at the third work in this series of paintings:

Transformation 3 Work in Progress, Oil Painting by Nick Ward

Stay tuned for updates as I start to add color to this painting. Thanks to Amanda for bravely volunteering to be a part of this.