Sunday, November 29, 2015

Don't Wait For Inspiration. Do It Now!

Are you in an artistic rut? Having trouble finding inspiration? You are not alone. Many artists have this problem. Few of them actually break through.

Many of you may be saying to yourself "I'm not feeling it right now", "I don't have enough time", or "I need a break, I'll paint tomorrow."

This is human nature. It is also the poison that will keep you from creating anything.
The times when we hit home runs in terms of our artwork are few and far between, so we must be producing all the time, even if the work is below our standards...

Sometimes when I have no ideas, no good compositions, nowhere to begin, I simply go into the studio and begin prepping for it. I prime canvases and boards with white paint, tape down watercolor paper to gator board, clean and organize a little bit, and go over my sketches from the last few weeks.

We have brilliant sparks along the way, but the truth is we forget them very easily. Sketchbooks can be one way of recording inspiration as it happens. It can bring back memories that may be a starting point for a new painting.

The point is do something....put paint or pencil to paper, and do it right now. Don't aim for a masterpiece, just aim for doing it. Things can happen in the process of creativity that can not be planned for analytically in the human brain....

....and contrary to what you are telling yourself, YOU DO HAVE TIME. Perhaps you've got your priorities mixed up a bit. Maybe you don't get much inspiration while you're watching The Voice, The Walking Dead, or America's Got Talent. 

Have a great weekend. DO IT NOW.

~Derek Gundy

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Custom Art for Gifts or a Present For Yourself!

This has been a busy couple years for commissioned work. I chat with a lot of artists, and I notice that very enjoy commissioned work or even accept them. Not me, I love it. Perhaps it's because I grew up in the "custom" industry of picture framing and art supplies...I just love helping people get what they want, and if that is with artwork, then that is right up my alley.

Last summer I worked on a special painting of Zarzuela Tapas Restaurant in San Francisco. My client had the most amazing memories of a dinner there, and it is always interesting to me how one memory of a certain place or event can leave a lasting impression, in this case a constant yearning fro San Francisco all the way from coastal Massachusetts.

I create sketches for every client so they can see the ideas visually, and so they get a taste of what is possible. Here is one of my favorite sketches done on location and then the finished watercolor which was done in the studio back in Washington State.

The initial watercolor sketch 9x9

The finished watercolor 16x20

One of the next projects was creating this watercolor painting of a house in Union, Maine, where a high school classmate grew up. The painting was to be gifted to her mother, who was at that time in the process of moving out into a smaller place. I always loved this great Victorian home on the hill, so it was great fun to recreate it from photographs. Like all other commissions, this starts with a sketch.

Sketching from photos 9x9 & 9x12

The finished watercolor 18x22

A very recent commission was this ancient home in Dunmore, Scotland. The client's mother was born in this house, and I had great photos taken by her, as well as old post cards of the house to work from. She also requested to work Urquhart Castle into the painting somehow, and since that castle exists on Loch Ness quite far from the actual house, I decided to work the castle into the clouds using gouache. This made it possible to work both subjects into one painting without sacrificing attention from the main house.

Dunmore House with Urquhart Castle

My most recent commissioned work is a small watercolor of the quaint and beautiful St. Peter's Church in Suquamish, WA. The church is just steps from Chief Seattle's grave which is visited by many from around the world. This is a very simple church, but the painting helps preserve the childhood memories for this client, and brings it into her home everyday.

St. Peter's Church in Suquamish, WA

I'm having a blast and I can't wait for the next project. If you have an idea for artwork you would like to discuss, let chat and see what's possible. What can I paint for you?

Email me at