I have been thinking a lot lately about where I am going to take my paintings next. Should I smooth out my colors, blend my strokes and make things more realistic? Should I just cut lose, bring even more abstraction into the pieces, really push the texture to the next level. I have been flip flopping in my mind, trying to picture where these changes might take my art but in the end, when brush hits canvas, the paintings were coming out largely the same.

Then I painted this piece:

private_message_nick_ward

(read more about how this piece came together here)

I have to say, I have gotten a lot of great feedback on this piece, and overall I am feeling really good about the results… but I am still not sure that this is where I am going next. So I am going to try out a few more options.

First off,
I am going to bring back the sunbather paintings, except I am going to push the realism further. I am going to smooth things out, blend my colors a little more and really just try to use a lot more restraint on my crazy colors and textures. I already have a couple new people signed up to model for these paintings so, I am pretty excited to get started.

Christine Sunbathing #1 oil painting by Nick Ward

Next,
I am going to take things in completely the other direction. I have signed on to do a show that is Disco themed, which seems like the perfect excuse to really go crazy with some colors and cut lose with more abstracted elements. Maybe some people that have been following me for a while (a long while) will remember some of the dance club scenes I painted years ago. The plan is to bring back the feel of these pieces, except bringing a few more years of painting skill into the realistic areas and experimenting more with glitched images to bring some rhythm and color into the piece.

Danceclub study 1

Finally,
I am going to try to bring everything I learn in those two pieces together again into a few more paintings like the one I introduced at the beginning. I still want to play more with the idea of digital life versus real life and, like I said, I think the text message piece was pretty successful. It just needs a bit more development to really shine.

Two more quick notes before I go.

I am always looking for people interested in helping with these pieces so, if you have any interest in modeling for any of the ideas listed above, please get in touch.

If you are not quite sick of me talking about myself yet, I did a little interview with Poets & Artists magazine that you should check out here: https://iartistas.squarespace.com/…

It has been an exciting summer at my studio, which has taken its toll on my artwork. I got married, did some traveling, enjoyed the small window of warm weather that Boston offers and now, I am refreshed, ready to hit the ground running in the lead up to Fall. With that in mind, its time for a summertime wrap-up post.

First things first, crucial thanks to a few people that helped make the wedding great. Nathan Fried-Lipski took amazing photographs of the event. Not only did he risk life and limb by laying down in the middle of Atlantic Ave (a very busy three lane road for those of you not familiar with Boston) to get the shot he wanted, he also went above and beyond the call of duty by helping keep Margaux sane and happy during the days stressful moments. I can not recommend him enough, everyone should head straight to his blog to take a look at a few photos from the day, and then go ahead and like his page on Facebook. Seriously, he is a great guy and a talented photographer.

Next up, Eli at Alabaster and Chess. He does custom tailored suits for a good price and had me looking better than I probably ever will again. Beyond that, he was also just a really great guy and super easy to do business with, which counts for a lot in my book.

If you want to live vicariously, you can check out some photos from my travels by following me on Instagram.

Okay. On to some art related news. I know I have been talking a lot about the Street Diamonds show but, that’s because it is good. Silva Naci pulled together a nice mix of artists and it really is worth seeing. You’ve already missed the closing party but there is still time to see the show. It will be up through September 7th so, head out to Fourth Wall Project and have a look.

Speaking of the Just Platinum Rings and Street Diamonds closing party, I am told ALLDAYEVERYDAY was there shooting video for an upcoming Cheryl Dunn documentary. It should come as no surprise that I happily ride the coattails of those above me so, I am interested to see what they do with the video they took Saturday night. Keep your eyes open for that and, maybe I will be in the background of some shots, lurking awkwardly behind people, trying to gauge their interest in my paintings.

On to some paintings. I have done a little editing on this piece and plan on dropping it off at Sloane Merrill Gallery tomorrow (there is a good change that a couple new pieces will follow closely behind). I really loved the idea of consistent using four panels for this entire series of paintings but, I have just never thought it worked right for this particular piece. So I have dropped one. It is now a triptych and, since Sloane Merrill is interested in selling paintings, they have convinced me to allow them to split up the series. I still hope to keep all three together but, if you have had your heart set on a single panel from this painting (I know there are some of you out there), this is your chance. Head over to the gallery before I change my mind…

And finally, here is a quick update on my latest, large scale, piece. I lost my way a little bit with this one but, the solution has finally come to me. There will be some moderate editing done on this piece—don’t get used to her red hair—but, it is still turning out to be a pretty good looking painting. Stay tuned for the completed image and, enjoy the final days of summer.

casey_progress_8-26-2013

I recently sat down to talk with Carina Wine of Abstraks Magazine. After reading her profile of Adam O’day I knew I would be in good hands and the article did not disappoint. So head to abstraks.com or, click on the image below to go straight to issuu.com and read the feature (along with a great look at the Distillery Gallery) in the December 2011 issue of Abstraks.

If you want to read more, check out past interviews with Poets And Artists Magazine and with my friends from Papercut Fashion Magazine.

I am taking a break from all the make up paintings and portraits and starting a new series of works. I am trying to take what I have learned studying faces and apply it to the entire figure. Here is a progress shot of the first of these paintings:

And a little more detail:

While working on this painting I have taken photographs along the way and posted them to my Twitter account. So if you want to see the full development of this piece, head on over there. More too come as this painting continues towards completion.

After spending all week locked up in the studio I have another new portrait to share. I am not sure if a small jpeg can do this latest painting justice. I am really starting to get accustomed to painting on the larger panels and this latest one benefitted from my increased comfort. The brush work is more loose and the paint is going on easier. I brought some focus back onto the color shifts and feel good about the results.

In any case, here it is, about halfway completed:

I will have my work hanging in a show at the Distillery Gallery for the month of October. There will be an opening reception on October 1st from 6-9pm so, if you have wanted to see some of these paintings in the real world, here is your chance. Read the official press release below and be sure to join the Facebook event page to help spread the word.

People, Places and Horses at the Distillery Gallery Boston

The Distillery Gallery Presents:

“People, Places & Horses”
featuring works by Aimee Belanger, Monica Nydam, Nick Ward, and David Wooddell
October 1 – October 22, 2009
Opening Reception: October 1, 6-9pm
free and open to the public
516 E 2nd St., first floor
contact: Scott Chasse, gallery director
(978) 270-1904 / scottchasse@gmail.com
www.distilleryboston.com
Hours of operation: Mon-Sat, 9-5

The Distillery Gallery presents “People, Places & Horses,” a straight-forward exhibit of four Boston-based painters individually consistent in their chosen subject matter.

People:
Nick Ward’s close-up portraits reveal exaggerated elements of facial characteristics mixed with sparse use of text or vivid color as a backdrop. Each work is an uncontrived study of texture and form punctuated by the suggestion of everyday routine.

David Wooddell exhibits a clear appreciation of his predecessors and a mature, diligent work ethic by painting live models in a modernist manner. The focus of his rich, heavy-bodied figure studies balances between the subject and the individual brush stroke, resulting in luminous portrayals of the human form.

Places:
Aimee Belanger blurs the lines between imagination and reality with landscapes based on photographs, memories, and dreams. Her juxtaposition of stark architectural elements with colorful organic settings results in imagery of places that may or may not exist.

and Horses:
Monica Nydam‘s “Horse Series” entertains the viewer with painterly renditions of snapshots involving the subject. While some pieces use thick linear brush strokes to create “pixelated” visions of the mare or stallion, others involve hints of distortion or motion. Each work shares a candid, stolen-moment quality with the next.

Please join us on October 1 from 6-9 pm for the opening reception.

The Distillery Gallery is located on the first floor of The Distillery artist’s building in South Boston. This unique public display space is committed to featuring Distillery based artists, Boston artists, and invited guests. For more information about the gallery and The Distillery, please visit The Distillery website.

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

Got a little more work done on these two paintings. Unfortunately I blew it photographing these but, it will have to do for now.

Lisa’s Lips:
I am excited to get this one finished so I can show it to everyone, I have an interesting twist planned of it.

Lisa's Lips, Oil painting by: Nick Ward, work in progress

Val’s Transformation:
Almost done on this one, just need one more day with it to sharpen the details.

Transformation 2, oil painting by Nick Ward, work in progress.

I have just started two new paintings. One new Dance Club scene (there will be more of these in the near future), and a sort of portrait of Val in the sink (she claims to actually do this). So as always, here is a first peek at what is to come:

Dance Club Study 4, oil painting by Nick Ward, work in progress
Val, in the sink.  Oil painting by Nick Ward, work in progress.

Some more work on this one today…

Transformation 2 portrait in progress