When a new challenge catches my interest, I tend to get engulfed in it fairly quickly. Things will start out as a small side project but, before I know it, all other tasks are put on hold while I spend too much time analyzing every aspect of my new distraction. Looking at the paintings I have made in the last year or two, this pattern becomes plainly apparent. I started out making fairly loose, quick paintings playing with simple ideas. Before too long, the brush strokes started to shrink and those lose fluid strokes became the smaller and more detailed, almost pixelated patterns of my current pieces. I just couldn’t help myself, I got sucked deeped and deeped into the task of creating these pieces.

The same thing has been happening as I have had to approached promoting my shows and openings. Case in point, I have recently been tasked with organizing and promoting the annual Spring Open Studios event here in The Distillery. There is no reason this should be anything more than a simple job. But, I can’t seem to keep my mind off it. I have been talking to people about how they have approached similar events. I have been emailing blogs and newspapers trying to drum up publicity and, if I happen to succeed, I am obsessively tracking the response in traffic on the website. It has been an interesting task and, we will see this Sunday how I did. In the meantime, as an unexpected bonus of my attempts to promote Open Studios, I managed to land myself (my painting) on the cover of The Weekly Dig here in Boston. Which is a pretty fun perk.

Mirrors Eye View By Nick Ward On The Cover Of The Dig_7

Open Studios time at The Distillery is always a lot of fun. Unlike regular gallery openings, it really is a great time to meet other artists and talk about art. My studio will, as always, be open for visitors. Art will be hung, floors will be mopped and the beer will be flowing. To add to the fun, I have invited two of my most talented friends, Cassandra Long and Cai Veil, to hang out in the studio for the day and share their work so, there will be A LOT to see and do in studio 405. Keep reading for the official information and don’t forget to join the event on Facebook (and invite your friends!):


South Boston Spring Open Studios at The Distillery

South Boston Open Studios
Sunday, June 2nd from noon to 6pm
The Distillery
516 E 2nd Street, South Boston

Every spring, the artists and craftspeople of South Boston open their doors to share their work and their studios with the community. The Distillery is a beautiful mid-nineteenth century converted rum distillery where artists have been setting up shop for more than twenty years. As a hub of creativity and the arts, The Distillery has housed some of Boston’s most talented artists and artisans. Located in the heart of South Boston, it includes two galleries, dozens of artists’ studios and live/work lofts, as well as creative small businesses. As you tour the building, you will notice that it comes alive with all of the creative energy and even the corridors serve as remarkable display spaces. As you explore the various studios, you’ll notice that each one is unique, reflecting each artist’s creative personality.

Come meet the artists and check out what’s new in the local arts scene during South Boston Open Studios on Sunday, June 2nd from noon to 6pm.

Visit www.southbostonopenstudios.org for more information and an evolving list of participants.

I like to make big paintings. I like to have plenty of room to work. I like to be able to include a lot of texture and chaos while still painting realistically. I like to incorporate the smallest of details without feeling cramped. Also, big paintings just look impressive on the wall. If you are reading this, those statements are probably not news to you. However, big paintings take a lot of time, money, and energy to create. Big paintings are expensive. Big paintings need to go places with big walls.

The most common thing people say to me when they see my paintings–more often than mentioning the nudity, more often than questioning the strange use of text or bright colors–is the paintings are just too big for their walls. Open studios weekend is coming up at The Distillery (June 2nd) and I expect to be told that my paintings are too large… a lot.

So, I am making a regular sized painting. Here it is after a couple afternoons of work.

Jessica eyeliner portrait, painting in progress

And, next to a big painting for scale.

big painting small painting comparison

Next up will be a sunbather in similar scale so, for everyone who asked for smaller paintings, here is your chance.

Open studios time is almost here again and it looks like it will be bigger and better than ever. There are plenty of new artists in the Distillery building and more of them are opening their doors than ever. There are also even more great artists right down the street at King Terminal.

So, come on out to South Boston on November 3rd or 4th and say hello. Check out some freaky studios, drink some free beers and maybe even look at a painting or two. The event is free to the public, rain or shine, noon to 6pm each day.

Head over to the official website for a full list of participating artists and locations.

And be sure to join the Facebook event page and share it with your friends.

South Boston Open Studios 2012

I jumped into this new painting fairly quickly without any real plan as to where I wanted to take it. The model came by and we ended up with this image that I loved so I just went for it. Unfortunately, I now find myself halfway through the piece with a lot of questions to answer – or maybe the painting will just take me where it wants to be? Not sure about the yellow, not sure about the way the paint is hitting the canvas but, I still love the overall composition. I guess that is always part of creating, getting lost, choosing a direction and just going for it. I feel like this piece just needs more… maybe someone will come by Open Studios this Sunday and give me some good advice.

It is almost time for South Boston’s annual Spring Open Studios event. My studio will be open for visitors – along with around 50 other artists in The Distillery and down the street in the King Terminal – on Sunday June 3rd from noon to six. For those that have been to The Distillery building before, there are quite a few new artists this year so it is a great time to make another visit.

Visit the official Southie Open Studios site for more details and directions:
And if you are on Facebook you can help spread the word by joining the Facebook event page and inviting your friends:

If you are in the Boston area, be sure to stop by The Distillery for Open Studios this weekend. For those that have been in the past, remember to find me in my new studio, #405 (that we are affectionately referring too as “The Tower”). I am the first door on the left, just before the Distillery Gallery when you come in though the main entrance. For those of you on Facebook, if you check in on my artist page during your visit I will give you a free print (until I run out!). I have a few different prints to choose from, all hand pulled signed and numbered screen or block prints.

I have plenty of big new paintings and some beer from Jacks Abbey brewery to share so, be sure to stop by.

I am finally starting to feel at home in the new studio and the paint is starting to flow more easily again. Made a lot of progress on this painting. I originally started this to have a brand new painting for people to see at Open Studios but, as usual the painting just wants more time and attention so it will not quite be ready in time. In any case, here is the progress on this latest piece:

Speaking of Open Studios, I have decided to try out a Facebook deal for the event. Anyone who comes to Studio 405 to hang out for a while that check’s in at my artist page can take home a free art print. I will post some more details once I figure out exactly how it all works.

November 6 and 7 is the annual fall open studios weekend in South Boston and Studio 11 will be open with 9 artists giving you a glimpse into their art and lives.

I will be down on the first floor hanging out with Tony from Chroma Lab all day long, showing some new paintings and gossiping about the art world. So, if you have not visited my studio yet, or have wanted to see some of the paintings in person, come on down and say hello.

Upstairs, the newest member of Studio 11, Matt Bennett will be showing his photography next to Robert Davies and his intricately detailed drawings. Right outside their door our two guest artists, Val Eliason and Alycia Aube, will be showing off their bright enamel paintings and mixed media work. Finally, we will lure Elizabeth Grammaticas and Mary Holt down from upstairs (the Studio 11 penthouse?) to set up their work. Mary will even be putting on some musical performances throughout the day so your ears wont be too jealous of all the fun your eyes are having.

Studio 11 is in The Distillery building at 516 East 2nd street in South Boston. If you follow the open studios map we are the last stop in the Distillery so, be sure to make it all the way here (or live dangerously, sneak in the rear entrance and visit us first!).

For more information and a complete list of partisipating artists, visit www.southbostonopenstudios.org

Please help us spread the word by telling your friends and going to the Facebook event page and clicking “attend”.

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.