Low Country Sunset

30 X 40 | Acrylic on Canvas | Work in Progress

After painting in Venice Beach California for 40 years, this is my first work since relocating to Savannah, Georgia.

For the past few months, I have been relocating cross country, training for a new full-time job, setting up my studio, shooting photographs and studying the local landscape for painting possibilities. I decided to begin by painting the surrounding low country.

Landscape painting was my first love as a young artist. So painting my impressions of the natural surroundings is an excellent way to acclimate to my new home.

For now, I am excited to render the dramatic skies, lush vegetation, dense woods, meandering streams, ponds, marshes, and fields. Eventually, I will paint cityscapes and incorporate the incredible architecture, churches, and historic homes into my paintings.

This work was inspired partly by my observations on a brief road trip to Beaufort, South Carolina. It is also influenced by various treks across the local low country while commuting to work and running local errands. I also studied various images of local paintings online.

 

 

 Springtime in Monterey Square

24 X 30 | Acrylic on Canvas | Work in Progress

After painting in Venice Beach, California for 40 years, this is my first depiction of the historic district in  Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah, Georgia, “The Hostess City” of The South welcomed me with open arms. When I moved across-country from Los Angeles, California the very first person I met upon arriving at Savannah Airport remains a friend today. In fact, he helped me to land my present job as a Trolley Driver conducting tours of Savannah’s downtown historic district.

For the past several months, I have been familiarizing myself with the local terrain and shooting hundreds of photographs of the surrounding rural landscape and the incredibly beautiful historic area of Savannah. While working full time as a history tour guide I have recently begun to paint my new home on my days off.

This study was painted from a photograph I shot with my trusty iphone one morning before work. I was running a few minutes early for my morning tours so I stopped to snap a pic of dozens of vibrant pinkish purple hydrangeas blooming in the famous Monterey Square. The scene depicted is across the square from the Mercer WIliams House featured in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

This work was inspired partly by my observations on a brief road trip to Beaufort, South Carolina. It is also influenced by various treks across the local low country while commuting to work and running local errands. I also studied various images of local paintings online.

 

 

 One Golden Moment

18 X 24 | Acrylic on Canvas | Work in Progress

After painting Venice, California for 40 years, I am enjoying the creative challenge of depicting a vastly different landscape.

I am fascinated by the myriad of inter-coastal waterways which meander across the surrounding low country of Savannah, Georgia. Recently, I visited historic Beaufort, South Carolina just across the border to the north. Much of the route was a lovely highway rolling across a wonderland of tranquil streams and sprawling marshlands. The ever-shifting weather patterns create a gorgeous plethora of wildly colorful and dramatic skies.

I must confess I initially departed my home of over 60 years in the familiar suburbs of Los Angeles, California with some trepidation.  For 50 some years I painted hundreds of scenes of the lovely Golden State landscape and established my reputation primarily as a Venice Beach artist. But the incredible and mysterious landscape here quickly soothed my spirit and filled me with creative inspiration.

This simple study is essentially a composite of meandering streams and local landscapes I have enjoyed during my first few months as a proud new resident and painter of The South.

 

 

Calm After A Storm

18 X 24 | Acrylic on Canvas | Work in Progress

After painting Venice, California for 40 years, I am enjoying the creative challenge of depicting a vastly different landscape.

My new studio is located in the leafy green suburbs of Savannah, not far from peaceful woods, sprawling meadows and centuries-old historic plantations. On my commute to work and while running local errands I often drive through some remarkable scenery.

Still, as often as I possibly can I spend peaceful moments strolling with the dog in the woods and fields enjoying the serenity of the sprawling meadows, studying infinitely flickering reflections in the waters and the interplay of light and shadows in this incredible place.

In this painting, I am working to depict the sudden billowing cloudy blue tranquility that settles over the world after the dramatic outburst of an equally sudden Summer Storm.

 

 

 

 

Abbot Kinney’s Wildest Dream

24 X 36 | Acrylic on Canvas | Work in Progress

This work in progress depicts the famous Venice intersection at Windward & Pacific. It is the last work painted at my Venice studio of 40 years.

I use a wide variety of colors in my paintings and they are often BRIGHT! Each color requires multiple layers to achieve the desired intensity. Colors also have an unusual quality in that they change according to the color next to them. As I add new objects or people, I adapt existing objects and people accordingly. So much of my work involves what I call “tweaking colors and details” My objective always being to achieve contrast, clarity and overall color balance.

Being self-taught, my work is essentially organic. I keep dabbing and smearing until it looks right and I feel comfortable signing it. What I call “The Muses” often whisper ideas in my ear.  Even when I set out with a clear idea to paint one person it may turn into a vignette, involving other folks who each take on lives of their own right before my astonished eyes.

 

 

 

 

The Road to Happy Destiny

30 X40 | Acrylic on Canvas

The Road to Happy Destiny is the first in a series of road paintings I will complete over the next few years. It essentially depicts the joy and beauty of my home state of California. It essentially portrays a composite of memories from my various travels in The Golden State.

I wanted to capture the essence of a lush coastal farm valley in Spring. the land bursting with fresh produce, the hills and fields vibrant with wildflowers, an eclectic array of mostly good-natured folks living the best version of life they could muster.

I look forward to painting my next road painting. I am considering various landscapes and I will know the right one when it comes time to sit down and paint. FO r now I am working to capture Venice Beach California in my last few months here and to design calendars and cards with the Holidays descending upon us.

 

 

Vintage Digs

20 X 24 | Acrylic on Canvas

“Vintage Digs” is a commission I painted for an old high school friend who contacted me out of the wild blue on Facebook with a request that I paint his 60 era childhood home in Suburban Los Angeles. As he tells the tale:

“I reconnected with an “old” high school classmate, Frank Strasser recently. Frank is a well known and highly regarded artist in Venice, CA. I had seen examples of his work on Facebook and was taken by his unique artistic interpretation of people and places and his wonderful use of vibrant colors.

I commissioned Frank to do a one of a kind painting of the house I grew up in, located in Westchester, CA. In addition to a couple of photos I sent to Frank, one color and one black and white, Frank did much personal investigation of our past abode.

Frank was incredibly accommodating AND PATIENT throughout this process. He quickly provided a draft of his depiction of my home based upon my early descriptions. He continued to modify and adapt the painting as my recollections of certain details of the home evolved thru this process. He melded some old with some new in the painting. The station wagon was our car in the ‘60’s and the short hedge bordering the walkway was what I remember as a kid but which no longer exists. In addition, he added some of his trademark whimsical components such as the jumbo jet in the background and the license plate on the station wagon. SBHS 72 = Saint Bernard High School, class of 72; his addition, not mine

The result is the attached painting.

I couldn’t be more delighted. I have an original Strasser and it is of a subject that means so much to me, as it reflects a wonderful home, wonderful family life, wonderful childhood, and wonderful memories.

Frank, thank you so much for providing something so perfect! The painting will be given a place of prominence in our home in Annapolis, MD.

 

Winter Wonderland

(Mixed Media 5 x 7 Holiday Card Design)

This is a graphic  enhancement of an original oil on canvas snow scene I painted n the 80s. My earliest paintings from the 70s and 80s were primarily created in oils before I switched to using acrylics full time in the 90s.

I designed this image during a sizzling heat wave in Los Angeles. When much of the country was starting to cool down for Fall, L.A. was 100 degrees in late October. With the insane heat, i felt cooler working on a wintry scene rather than one of my more typical beach compositions.

I once read a similar tale about “The Christmas Song” … ya know … “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” That lilting little holiday ditty (made famous by Nat King Cole), was composed by Mel Torme and Bob Wells on a sweltering Summer day in the San Fernando Valley. The songwriting duo kept cool by writing a Christmas Carol and reminiscing about wintry Xmas days back east.

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