My Next Acrylic Painting? I have Two options


I like the way the light diffuses through the plexiglass window.


I am so glad that the conductor took his sweet time opening the train doors which gave me the time to take these shots.

by Robert Conway

These are two digital photos that I took at the Hoboken Train Station at the end of a beautiful Saturday when my son Griffin and I were returning from our little trip to New York’s Central Park.

One of them might make a really good acrylic painting even though I would be going way out of my comfort zone in order to produce it, I mean it has straight lines which is usually a no-no for yours truly. Also these two images are pretty somber in mood and the color palette is uncomfortably limited for me so I am trying to decide if I want to go there. I mean I usually paint subjects that are alive and naturalistic, I would be breaking one of my long standing painting rules about depicting man made structures because they tend to lack emotional quality, but in this case I get the notion that the effect of the lighting is so appealing I think I may be able to squeeze out some feeling with this usually cold subject matter. Also, even more importantly, these two images are very strong in the composition department and that is the number one thing I look for when I start a new painting, you know what? I think I just convinced myself that I am going to do it. Maybe.

The fact remains that I don’t have a better idea at the moment for my next painting so we will see. I don’t want this to be a depressing painting, I never want to do a depressing painting. I can’t be a “Debby Downer.” I must admit however that depicting all those wonderful lighting effects and shadow is becoming very appealing to me, There are a lot of cool things in there that would be fun to explore. Also, since I have been on this binge about painting a variety of paintings at the same time it may be a good thing in my evolution as an artist to throw something completely different into my rotation, it may sharpen my skills. We will see, I am still mulling it over. What do you think out there?

March 9, 2014


35 thoughts on “My Next Acrylic Painting? I have Two options

  1. Hi Robert. I say, Go for it! I especially like the bottom photograph. Thanks, by the way, for liking ‘Notes from a Tree/05’ on my blog. I had to delete the post and retype it because I wanted it to appear in a different order, so I’ve lost your ‘like’ 😦 Good luck with your new painting!

  2. Hi Robert, thank you for finding me. I’m glad you did because I have enjoyed your blog very much this afternoon and am looking forward to seeing more. Have followed! I like the second photo, really interested to see what you do with it. have fun! – Trudi

    • thank you so much Trudi, I like your blog too, you have some very interesting things on it. I think it will be the second photo for the painting, I will try to have some fun with it even though I wish I had taken a picture of something more colorful! nice to hear from you 🙂 – robert

  3. I’m going to have to follow you now to see what you choose to do…both photos have a great deal of “emotional quality.” Nice work in capturing the moment…. (and thanks for the “like” )

    • thank you ana, so the second one it is, thanks for the feedback everyone, I will start it in a week or two, right now I am still working on the pool painting and I am really enjoying painting the water, I am going to bring my camera every time I go to the pool from now on. – robert

  4. I’d second the ‘go for it’. Something is pulling you there, so maybe it would be good to listen to it even though it is out of your comfort zone.
    If I had a challenge like this, I’d look at how other painters handled similar subjects. Not to copy exactly, but often seeing how someone else has tackled it helps to move one out of one’s normal approach and makes things easier. Then it doesn’t become a daunting task as much as an exciting exploration into new territory.
    I’m thinking right now of a Scottish artist who makes large charcoal drawings of roads and landscapes, they are a wonderful play of light and dark areas, and charge the manmade objects with drama. Wish I could remember his name.
    But filling a page with charcoal tone and picking out the lights with a kneaded eraser might be a great way to find your way in.

    Oh and I was meaning to say thanks for liking my latest. I’d hoped you’d see it because you were wondering how it would look to work into a 37 minute one.

    • thanks Sarah, your blog always has such great, valuable advice on it. Yes that new painting is a gem, I like that you painted over another painting that must of been fun with the texture. and the composition is right on the money. You read my mind about my next painting, the reason that I haven’t began it yet is that I am thinking about the approach, I am going to have to do some research, I will try to google your scottish friend. here we go another journey outside the comfort zone. thanks for staying in touch 🙂 – robert

  5. I couldn’t find the Scottish guy- if he even is Scottish! but might be able to find the book I saw his work in when I go into town tomorrow. Will get back to you. Thanks for kind words about my blog and latest painting, am glad to be in touch.

  6. Definitely the bottom photo. It’s more subtle. You can rotate it a little in PS, and perhaps cut out the gate on the right. I once did a photo-realistic painting in acrylic of a photo of the underside of a pier. Same sort of deal with a limited palette and color range + somber mood. It’s good practice. You end up using washes of color to tint the image. Unfortunately, I loaned that painting to someone who LOST it.

    If you want to do something completely different, perhaps after that you can make an imaginary fish, or more than one, and paint it. It’s the opposite approach. One is deference to external reality as it appears, and the other gives precedence to the imagination. Just a thought.

    • thanks, the gate on the right is gone, good eye. I had already rotated it, you must be psychic. now I am just waiting to print a full size (16x 20) proof of this shot at work for reference, but I have to wait for the right moment when certain people are not socializing around the printer. . . . so sorry to hear about your missing painting, that sounds terrible. thanks for all the great advice, I think your artwork is outstanding. – robert

    • So nice to hear from you Amber. I will start it in the next week or two, work has been so crazy lately I haven’t had much painting time, it is going to be a good one I think. 🙂 -robert

  7. RC,

    I can look at this gorgeous paintings again and again, for they immediately remind me of the termini in the dreams of ‘Won’t take the A train.’ I can’t wait to see the finished masterpiece.


  8. Pingback: The Train Station acrylic painting finally gets started | BUSY BRUSH CAFE

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