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Locust Grove Studio
Biography

I was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Long Beach, California. I attended Long Beach City College, and received a degree in Commercial Art from the University of Central Oklahoma. I was an illustrator in the Marine Corps and I’ve worked as a graph designer, illustrator for manufacturing companies, ad agencies, and printers as well as doing free-lance art. I retired as the Manager of Creative Services at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education where I spent twenty years.

 

I’ve had seven shows in Oklahoma and participated in art festivals in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and California.

 

I fell into doing art work naturally. In the 4th grade my fellow students thought my maps and art assignments looked good.  In the 5th grade my teacher made me the class artist. All through my youth I would withdraw into art to escape.  When I entered high school I became enthralled with the Southern California car culture and drew custom cars constantly.

 

My paintings are primarily with watercolor. Just controlling the medium can be a challenge.  It is a medium that is similar to life, “you get surprises and you have to work around them.”  I use to work for a guy who wanted “no surprises”.  He would not have liked watercolor.

 

I begin a piece in various ways.  Sometimes I see a scene or object that I feel inspired (in spirited) to paint.  Sometimes I have an idea I want to convey (especially with the surreal).  Some times I just do a stream of consciousness piece where the ideas come one after another without being studied.  I do thumbnail sketches of my subject.  I select the one I like the best and scan it into my computer and enlarge the small sketch to the size I’m going to paint.  In my pre-computer days I often had trouble duplicating the feeling in my large sketch that I had in the original thumbnail but this method solves that problem.   I may alter the sketch in the computer. I then printout my enlarge drawing and transfer it to my watercolor paper (Arches 130# cold press).  As I paint I may make further adjustments in the subject.  I may be forced to make adjustments because of those aforementioned surprises.  I know a piece is done when it feels right.  If it’s over worked I start over.  When my work is going well, it’s a good feeling.  There are times when I am not feeling so good about what I’m working on and I have to resist the urge to toss the work out.  Often I will work through this dissatisfaction and end up with a painting I am pleased with.

 

I sometimes hide items in the painting.  When people see my work, I like them to find the hidden an unusual on their own.  I especially enjoy it when students and young people get up real close “to see how that was done”.

 

I also do some digital work in Photoshop I call Car Art Photo Illustrations.  I photograph a restored old gas station, theater, drive in or land mark and add items to and delete items from the photo to end up with a backdrop for old cars.  I shoot the car separately and drop it in one of the completed backgrounds.

2411 W. 10th Avenue  •  Stillwater, Oklahoma 74074 • 405/747-7897  •

bobdavis@locustgrovestudio.com