Art Stories

"Lollipop Celebration"
30 x 40 acrylic on canvas

This is a painting I completed back in August 2022.  Like so many of my other creations, this started out as something else.  It started out as simple garden painting.  With a red background of course.  But if you want to hear a painting laugh at you, tell it what you have in mind.  

I have learned many lessons on this artist journey.  First, take your time.  Don't rush. Second, allow space for your painting, and you, to breathe and reflect.  Third, take lots of pictures along the way.  With all of these steps, if you are wise, you will listen and observe.  The painting will tell you what it wants and what it needs.

And this is exactly what happened here.  And I love it!  I love the bold colors, vibrancy, and the energy.  I struggled with the title.  I didn't want to do another floral-inspired name. I needed to change it up a bit.  I also thought about fireworks, but that didn't seem quite right either. Then one day I started humming the old song from the 1950s called "Lollipop."  Then, later that same day, I showed the picture to a friend who told me it looked like a garden of lollipops.  And that was it!  I thought back to the fireworks theme, and to me, it looked like a glorious celebration with lollipops.  I finally had a name for it!

 

I showcased this painting at a private party I held at the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center.  One of my friends and colleagues told me I needed to market my art, especially my large pieces like this, to realtors.  She said that pieces like this would be ideal in staging and selling homes to buyers.  She said she had a few friends who plan on dropping by to see this painting.  So it went from being just on display at the Center to being for sale.  

To date, it is still for sale.

"Peggy's Wildflowers"
30 x 48 acrylic on canvas

Peggy's Wildflower Garden.jpg
Peggy and her Wildflowers.jpg

This is a custom piece I created for a very dear friend of mine.  She is the person who invited me to showcase my artwork for the very first time back in 2015.  My life hasn't been the same since.  She is very special to me, and I treasure our friendship.

When she approached me about creating a custom piece, she said she wanted wildflowers, with big, bold, and vibrant colors, with a lot of yellow.  Right up my alley!  She trusted me completely, so I felt very comfortable bringing this to life.

 

I wasn't sure how to approach it, but then I went on a road trip to Pennsylvania to attend the Laurel Festival in Wellsboro, PA.  The laurel was in full bloom, with all of their billowy white cloud like flowers everywhere.  As well as all of the green, pink, blue, yellow, and orange colors on full display.  I couldn't wait to get back home to paint this.

 

Painting for yourself and painting for yourself are very different.  When you are painting for someone else, you are trying to make sure that person is happy with what you are doing.  You worry about going too far, or not far enough.  Not so in this case.  I had as much joy and pleasure painting this as I would if I were painting for myself.  I KNEW she would love it!!!

And she did.  In fact, she almost burst into tears when she saw it.  The feeling of happiness that something you create brings to others is priceless.  That feeling lasts forever.  The money will be spent, in fact, I may not even remember how much I sold it for, but the feeling of happiness will stay with me always.

"Festival"

Festival.jpg

This is the second watercolor painting I ever created. And it is probably my favorite.  It captures everything I want to convey as an artist.  Bold and vibrant colors. Whimsy. Magic. Happiness.  If I saw this painting for sale, I would buy it. 

At my most recent art shows, this was the one piece that received the most comments from people.  I have sold several prints of it!  

While this is mainly watercolor, I did go in with my acrylic paint pens to add in some more detail and definition. 

Looking at this painting makes me incredibly happy, and I hope it does the same for you.

The original painting of this, an 11x14 watercolor and acrylic painting on canvas paper, will be on exhibit and for sale at the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center beginning Wednesday, August 10 and running through Friday, September 23.  Matted prints will also be available for purchase.

I'm Alive!!!

"Xanadu" starring Olivia Newton-John has always been one of my favorite movies.  It is right up there with "The Wizard of Oz." Yes, the film is very flawed, but it fills me with so much joy! 

 

The music is classic...."Magic," "Suddenly," "All Over the World," the title track, and of course, "I'm Alive," which is one of my favorite musical production numbers.  It is at the start of the film, when the frustrated artist Sonny Malone gives up on his dreams, tears up a drawing, and throws it out the window.  This act brings the Muses, painted on a mural in an alley, to life.  For a whole year, I would wake up every morning and watch this scene (thank you VCRs!).

I have always wanted to paint an homage to this movie, and earlier this year, I found the perfect opportunity.

Many years ago, the film was adapted into an award-winning stage show, and I regret not having seen it on Broadway.  In 2019, a national tour was mounted with Jinx Monsoon and Ginger Minj from "RuPaul's Drag Race" as two evil Muses.  I had the tickets purchased, but the show was canceled due to "lack of interest."

Saturday, March 12, I finally attended a production at a theater in Appomattox, VA called Wolfbane Productions.  I didn't know what to expect, but it far exceeded my expectations!  I had the best time of my life, singing along to every song in the show.  It was truly a magical night!

I had such a good time that I had prints made up for the director and everyone involved with the show! 

I love this painting and I hope you do too!

I'm Alive.jpg
Electric Eclectic.jpg
Tree of Pride PRINTWELL.jpg
Wheels of Time.jpg

Toward the end of 2021, and the beginning of 2022, I started painting with an artist friend whose medium is exclusively watercolor. I wanted to master acrylic painting before I ventured into watercolor or oil (which is still daunting to me). She suggested I try out watercolor to see if I liked it before I went out and purchased anything.  I must say I was very pleased and surprised.  And quite happy to be honest!

The piece on the left is called "Wheels of Time." it is about 11x15 size on watercolor paper. I loved how using both wet and dry techniques you can get different dimensions and textures.  And since it is with water, I was able to get more fluid (duh) and whimsical with my paintings. 

The piece in the middle is called "Tree of Pride."  It is watercolor and acrylic on yupo, which is a very thin plastic-like material.   It takes a VERY. LONG. TIME. TO. DRY!!!!  And the way I paint, it took even longer.  I had no idea what I was creating when I started.  I thought it might have been a vase with some flowers, but it morphed - literally - into something else entirely. Once the watercolor had dried, I went back with acrylic paint pen and added some touch-ups.  This piece is now in the hands of a private collector.  A friend of mine who fell in love with it and wanted to have a Michael Jones/Magic Bear Art original.  

The piece on the right is one of my favorites.  It is called "Electric Eclectic." It is also watercolor and acrylic paint on watercolor paper. I started with the watercolor, just letting the paint go where it wanted to go. Once it dried, I wasn't entirely satisfied with it. But as I slowly started adding in details with my acrylic paint pens, the piece sprang to life.  

I plan to exhibit and sell these paintings later this year.  I just need to get them matted and framed.  

As always, with this and everything, if you are interested in any of these pieces, or anything you see on my website, please reach out to me.

Glass and Violet Christmas WATERMARK.jpg

I love Christmas Trees.  Whenever I see one, I have to take a picture of it.  And I have found that whenever I am feeling uninspired, or doubting myself as an artist, I sit right down and start painting a Christmas Tree and suddenly all seems right with the world. I have painted so many over the years, and I know I will continue to create more.

This is one of my most recent creations.  It is an acrylic paint and glass bead tree on an 11x14 canvas panel.  The "tinsel" and star shine is stained glass paint drizzled over the surface. 

 

I had planned to put it up for sale in the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center's Small Works & Holiday Show, currently up through December 17.  But a friend of mine saw it posted on my Facebook page and decided she had to have it.  

 

So this particular piece is no longer for sale.  But I did want to share it with you.  I hope it brings you happiness and a smile. 

 

And if you find you want one for yourself, please feel free to contact me. 

"ballons dans le ciel"

The source of inspiration
My interpretation

This has become one of my absolute favorite paintings.

 

This is my contribution to the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center's current "Camera to Brush & Beyond" exhibit, running now through November 12.  For this exhibit, photographers submitted photographs, and then artists selected a photograph to then interpret in their own way.

I selected a photograph depicting an umbrella art exhibit above a street scene somewhere in either France or Belgium, the umbrellas casting shadows on the pavement below (see photo at left).

The moment I saw it I knew I had to paint it. I just wasn't sure how.  Certainly, I knew how I would interpret the umbrellas and their shadows, but I was unsure of how to interpret the space in-between. For weeks, I wrestled with several different ideas.  Finally, the deadline was fast approaching, and I knew I had to do something.

Suddenly it hit me.  I remembered the words of some recent art instructors about keeping things simple, allowing the viewer some space for their eyes to rest.  I also recalled some Parisian scenes done entirely in black and white, and voila!  I had it!  Once I figured out what to do, the painting came together rather quickly.

I decided it had to have a French title.  Hence the name "ballons dans le ciel," which translates to "balloons in the sky."

I love this painting.  It gave me some familiar terrain to work with, but also pushed me outside the bounds of my comfort zone.  

It is ink, acrylic, and stained glass paint on an 11x14 cotton panel, in a 16x20 frame. 

Currently for sale and on exhibit at my booth in the Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, VA.

"The Final Frontier"

The Final Frontier - PHOTOSHIP.jpg

I recently completed another commissioned piece for a friend.  He saw a painting I did a long time ago that was Star Wars-inspired, and so he asked me to do a Star Trek-inspired one.  

This one was relatively easy to do.  Outer Space and Science Fiction paintings are so much fun.  The color combinations, the shapes, and the sizes are limitless.  You are only held back by your imagination.

The most difficult part was recreating the Enterprise. It's such an iconic image and integral to the show.  How was I going to do it? 

 

My original plan was to make the Enterprise the focus of the painting.  But then I remembered a Mary Poppins painting I have, where she is very tiny compared to the River Thames and the London skyline. I decided to the same with this picture.  I wanted to convey the extraordinary vastness and wonder of Outer Space. And I do believe it works.

Thankfully my friend is very happy with this!

"Fire Power"

Fire Power.jpg

 I have a very good friend who is a veteran.  He loves my artwork, and he commissioned me to do a painting for him.  He didn't care what I did, as long as I incorporated the colors navy blue, white, and yellow.  And it needed to be BIG!!!

I call this painting "Fire Power."  It is 36x48 acrylic on canvas.  It is the largest piece I have ever done....so far.

I wanted to incorporate those colors.  But since he is a veteran, I wanted to convey strength, power, bravery.  Is the yellow figure an eagle?  Or a phoenix rising?  It is entirely up to you.

Per my friend's request, there will not be any copies made of this.  But I wanted to share this with you so you could see it. It took me a long time to create, but I am very happy with the result.

UPDATE: For some reason, my friend has not responded to my inquiries about delivering and paying for the painting, so it is clear that he does not want it.  It will be displayed and up for sale in my booth at the Crossroads Art Center sometime in early 2022.

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Here is a photo of me posed with my entry in the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center's Annual Members' Show.  

It's called "The Eyes of Fantasia." Acrylic and stained glass paint on canvas.  

This piece is currently on display and for sale in my booth at the Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, VA.

"A Study in Black and Blue"

Study in Black and Blue.jpg

Never have I finished a painting so fast.

 

I had some leftover paint from working on a custom piece for a client, so I decided to just smear what was leftover onto a new canvas.  I smeared up one time and then down with the blue and black ink.

Boom. Done.

 

I am just going to call this "A Study in Black and Blue."

Simple and perfect.

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