Saturday, October 25, 2014


Finished Fraction, oil on canvas 12x12 inches on Thursday night. My first completed oil painting in 15 years. Thankfully, Gamblin's new solvents and mediums don't trigger my asthma as badly as traditional turpentine and damar varnish do. The drying time of alkyd resin is a little bit different, but the window for the drying time in comparison to acrylics is nice.

I don't think I will be abandoning the act of painting with acrylics, but it's nice to have options, depending on the piece.

I opted to do a detail from Preoccupation. It's interesting, but sharing my work on Instagram (@jhowardpaintings) has enlightened my process a bit. Due to the forced square format I often shoot details of works in progress rather than the full piece. Sometimes I actually like the details better than the whole piece.

Now that the show is up at Modified Arts - "Lost in Transition" October 17th to November 16th. I'm still busy in the studio, just taking some time to play with new medias and techniques. Need to have a little fun before I get back to work on the next major body of work.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day Like Any Other

Just a reminder tonight is the opening for my new exhibit at Modified Arts October 17th, 6-9 pm. Here's their website for more information 

Above is A Day Like Any Other, acrylic and collage on canvas 12 x 12 inches Monday morning. I've had a lot of fun painting these little square canvases. After working on that big 36 x 120 inch canvas that ironically feels rather small in the Modified Arts space with it's giant walls, it's nice to work on something with a different time table for completion.

This is fourth in a series of Phoenix cityscapes completed for the show. They're almost a small series in themselves.  When I painted Temporal many thought it was Phoenix last year and although it was San Francisco that particular intersection felt very Phoenix like with the bank and car dealerships with the more modern architecture. When I've painted these works I've used the same palette to much success.

With this piece and a few of the drawings with the mood and titles I have been drawn to the idea that a "ordinary" or "typical" day is something special. I feel like our society has been getting into a almost Disney/Hollywood mode where every day has to be great, spectacular, epic, and a technicolor experience of some sort. It's really an unhealthy premise to begin and end each of your days with. If everything has to be ultra eventful every moment - I think you miss the subtly and quiet beauty of life's more simple moments.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Finished Preoccupation, acrylic and collage on canvas, 36 x 36 inches this morning. It's nice that the last three and the painting still in progress are Phoenix based. Tomorrow evening I deliver the paintings and drawings to Modified Arts for my solo exhibit "Lost in Transition" with the opening this Friday October 17th 6-9pm.

It's been a long haul getting ready for this show. There were even two works that although nearly done that I juried out of the show. They will be great paintings when completed, but they didn't fit into the whole theme overall. 

It's odd how shows come together, really. I'm sure musical artist go through the same feelings when putting albumns together. There are just songs that don't fit and are either used for b-sides or saved for another albumn.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Little Comforts of a Busy Day

Finished The Little Comforts of a Busy Day, acrylic and collage on canvas, 12 x 12 inches last night. My hope is to get two more 12 x12 inch works done for the show. The title comes from the gentleman's baggy of convenience store items. It seems like when I'm working tons of hours that sodas and candy bars really hit the spot. They're the little comforts that help me get through my busy day. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lost in Transition - Finished

Just completed Lost in Transition, acrylic, ink and collage on canvas, 36 x 120 inches. It's the title painting for the show at Modified Arts this October wit.h the opening on Third Friday the 17th! There will be a healthy mixture of paintings and drawings. 

At the moment I'm basking in the glow of the two newly finished paintings. It's that time during the preparation of a show where works come together and are finished. Thanks, to my habit of working on several pieces at a time they all seem to just about finish together.

Initially, I was going to name this painting "Come as You Are", because that Nirvana song just kept popping in my head, but this morning I realized that it was the piece in the show that epitomizes what the whole body of work is about.

Everything is in a perpetual state of transition. A constant state of becoming something or someone else. Sometimes though a person, a society, or a place gets stuck and lost in the flux of this change. Two Guns, Arizona is such a place.  An abandoned and re-inhabited several times, but now only the ghostly remains of it's checkered past remain high on a desert plain with each season slowly cleaning the remnants of its history away.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Gift of Ordinary Days

Finished The Gift of Ordinary Days this last Saturday. It was a very crazy day being part of the Art Trends Magazine's Artist of the Year Contest. Just thankful to be in the running and glad that I was able to hang with the leaders for most of the voting throughout the day. It felt like running for an election, after the storm took out my phone line; I opted to go draw at the coffeehouse and finish this guy up. I saw that I'd been left behind in the polls and sat back enjoyed drawing this piece while sipping my mocha. The gift of going back to an ordinary day for me.


Just finished Standoff acrylic, ink and collage on canvas 12 x 12 inches. I've been working on the big 36 x 120 inches painting, but thought a break was in order, soirée turned toone of the smaller works. The large canvases can seem to last forever with tons of little details to wrap up in the end.

Using iPad to reference my photos instead of print outs has be extremely efficient. I wish I would have thought of doing this sooner. It's really nice to be able to zoom in when needed.

The Modified Arts show - Opening October 17th is quickly approaching. With what I complete this weekend I should be set, but as usual I will be trying to get a couple more works done. I think it's purely a case where; when you are at full throttle you just want to keep going no matter what. There's always more fleshing out to do. I think I'm done with the abandoned highway works for this show. I'm anxious to get out and photograph more stations. Kinda hungry for the open road as well.