Acrylic painting in progress: The Fifth of July


I’m off to a good quick start on my most recent acrylic painting

by Robert Conway

    Well here is the latest acrylic painting I have been working on for just over a week and it is a bit of a departure for me since this is the first painting I have ever done that has an actual human in it. Painting a person is going to be my last hurdle as a painter, the one stumbling block that I have always avoided the most in my artwork, so after this everything is going to be gravy, right? This new artwork is based on a digital photo I took of my son Griffin at the local swimming pool over the fourth of July weekend and I am hoping it will keep reminding me summer as the weather outside gets colder, something warm to hold me over. The last two paintings that I have worked on have been painstakingly realistic like the aquarium painting and the Hamptons vine painting (see on the left) which I am happy with, but painting that one was like passing a kidney stone for four months, so now am just cruising through this new swimming pool painting and I am totally enjoying it because I’m not concerning myself with making sure every little detail is in the right place. I am just cruising through this one, for some reason painting water goes along a lot faster than rendering a lot of other things so now I am going to go through my old library of photos to find some more pool shots, hats off to you David Hockney, you were a very smart man.

    All that cyan blue water is so busy I just might mix it up a bit and add a little style, maybe add a few fancy brush strokes to it instead of always concentrating on detail, in this one I want to avoid that ‘painted from a photograph look’ even though that is exactly what it is I would like to give a shout out to Sarah Zoutewelle-Morris whose article Painting quickly, bypassing the inner critic from her blog Art Calling has been such an inspiration in this new venture.

February 15, 2014


28 thoughts on “Acrylic painting in progress: The Fifth of July

  1. This is really an awesome start!!! I am envious as in my running life I can not afford to paint!!!!
    You are painting this one very good!!! I wish you best mastery for this piece, composition is very good.
    I think it is going to be your specialization

    • thank you so much, Maria, maybe it will be my specialization, now that I feel more comfortable painting people I can give the fish a rest for a bit and explore other things. It is great to hear from you don’t run yourself out too much you must save a little time for your lovely artwork. good luck with adobe illustrator, I am using it right now at work, it is the first program I ever learned. – robert

      • I am always envious to people who can take t8me and paint for pleasure (is it for pleasure?) I take art as a very serious hobby, as I become too anxious if I think about earning money with ut. If it comes, then I would be happy. Nowadays I am moving to another country and can not afford to start a big painting (neither moneywise and timewise) but I hope to start projects once I settle down. Your work anf entries really inspire to think even more seriously about making painting on canvas!! So thank you too!

        • hmmm, I try to not let the money thing drive me crazy. at least now. thank goodness I have a good job as a retoucher so I don’t have to depend on painting to get me through. I do enjoy it a lot it is a good way to get away from all the electronics and the bad news on television. I am enjoying it more now than before, it used to be a big struggle, and it also made me too anxious but now I feel more in control in what I am doing because I have improved over time from a lot of practice. good luck on your trip to another country, that sounds stressful, I hope you get to settle down soon and get back to painting. 🙂 – robert

          • Oh, thank you. It is hard to stay far from painting 🙂 I sketch and practice at least something art related every day. As i am studying architecture, i consider this as art. I think is is any creating. that is good to hear that you also do not feel anxious with your art, but that is so sad, people feel uncomfortable working as artists too often!!!

  2. Robert, this is beautiful, it needs so little else to my eye. But I understand that is different if you’re the one painting it.
    Thanks so much for the link to my painting article.
    This 37 minute thing has completely changed how I work. I don’t know if I will go back to the carefully thought out and layered approach I’d had. This fast blocking in of colour and value is so liberating, and what is more, it is closer to the results I wanted. I’ve just done another 37 minute still life and this one I will work into just a little bit.
    I had to laugh at your description of the painting process on one of your detailed pieces as 4 months passing a kidney stone. Who ever said art isn’t suffering!!

    • thanks Sarah, yes I am a little dumbfounded that it looks so good and it has only been a little over a week. there is no going back right? I won’t be painting any more vines anytime soon that is for sure. I am enjoying it this way it is so much more confining, have you posted your new 37 minute painting yet? I must check it out. thanks for all the great advice – robert

  3. Some of us could not begin to capture photo realism, Robert, or knew right away we were not going to expose ourselves to the torture of the inner critic. I’d rather enjoy painting and explore. Sounds like you have decided to do something similar. I like your start, above!

    • yep leslie, I guess I had to explore that route to get to where I am now with the new painting, a loosening up of my painting rules was long overdue, maybe I was just trying to prove something to myself. the less rules the better from now on. it is great to hear from you, take care – robert

  4. Wonderful picture Robert. I truly thought it was a photograph and as it’s only the ‘start’! Amazing. Beautiful paintings full of life…love them. Thank you for following and visiting my blog also 😉

    • nice diane, you have to finish “The Lovers” that is a great piece. I am getting close to finishing acrylic pool painting, it is looking really good I will post it soon. It is getting pretty realistic looking now, when I paint it late at night it sometimes feels like I am swimming in the pool. 🙂

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