Category Archives: Paintings

Avast Ye Art Lovers!

A Sparrow Takes Flight
Ye may not survive to pass this way again!

Guns, swords, cannon fire, sea monsters, crashing waves, and cutthroat pirates; a pirate’s life for me! Captain Sparrow is honoring that most timeless of pirate rituals – live to steal another day. With a ship full of dead pirates fighting another ship of deceptive pirates and a sea monster named the Kraken in the middle, this is no place for a respectable thief. Take all you can and give nothing back, but first – get the hell out of there!

My first completed painting of 2011 is here! You have heard me talking about a pirate-themed painting for months and now I proudly present “A Sparrow Takes Flight.” This is a 24’’x48’’ oil on canvas project. Anyone who knows me knows that I love pirate stories, history, and cheap souvenirs. So why shouldn’t I paint a pirate scene? What better scene than one taken from the Pirates of the Caribbean universe?

Close-up of Captain Sparrow
He takes all he can...and gives nothing back!

I wanted to represent the best elements from those films. Of course the whole concept starts with the main character – Jack Sparrow. He’s a thief and an opportunist and isn’t too proud to run from a fight which is what he is doing here. It seems everyone is always after him for a broken promise, ship, or heart. We see Sparrow running from a battle between the Flying Dutchman on the left and the Black Pearl on the right. In the middle is the notorious monster that all pirates fear – the Kraken. With this massive sea conflict unfolding in front of Jack, we can’t blame him for running.

I wanted to create a sense of action and danger in this scene. There needed to be movement and tension. My favorite part of this work is the Kraken. What made it come alive for me was the spray of the ocean and the drops of water running off of the tentacles as they climb ever higher into the sky. I am also quite satisfied with the movement and color of the ocean. I used combinations of blacks, blues, and greens to achieve a Caribbean ocean color. Now if you are familiar with my paintings then you might recognize a throwback element to a painting I did in 2007. The pirate who is stranded in the water is actually rendered in the same manner as the Salla character from my Boulder Dash painting. This was simply to tie together my paintings and give the viewer (primarily my Brother) something to laugh at. Obviously Salla does not appear in this film, but on canvas anything is possible.

Close-up of the Kraken
No pirate, no matter how heavily armed, can match the arms of the Kraken!

The original is not available but reproductions are. Check my website for prices on canvas and paper reproductions. Also, I recorded my painting sessions for this project and thus a video is in the works. The video will be similar in format to the “My Bonny” video. Look for this on my website in the coming weeks.

This is the 5th movie themed painting I have completed. This is for my Brother who loves a movie scene on canvas. He actually possesses 4 of the 5 paintings as my soon-to-be sister-in-law has the other. So in a few months all 5 paintings will be under the same roof. The movies I tackled previously are (in chronological order) – Star Wars (Defense of Yavin), Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Boulder Dash), Jurassic Park (Carnivorous When Wet), Alice in Wonderland (Mad to the Bone), and finally Pirates of the Caribbean (A Sparrow Takes Flight). I find the movie paintings to be a challenge, but it is fun to re-imagine my version of the films.

So what’s next? A landscape painting is coming and I plan on making this one a short and sweet project. I hope to complete it within 2 weeks. This last painting was about a month’s worth of work – not including the planning stages. So I need something to flush my mind and get the tension out. I’ll be doing a painting of a local park I frequently walk my dog to. There will be more on this in the next session. Until then…

Paint all you can……hold nothing back!

It’s a Mad-Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. I certainly did as I was able to visit family and friends over the last 2 weeks. One of my favorite things about the holidays is reminiscing over old stories of the silly things you did when you were younger. I got a few laughs out this holiday season and I hope you did as well.

With all of the visiting I was doing, I took time away from the easel. With the year closing, I looked back at my goal from New Years 2010 and realized I did not even come close to my goal of completing 12 paintings during the year. I managed 6 paintings though and that is still better then in recent years when I was only completing 4 or 5. My favorite painting of 2010 is easily “An Early Memory.” I love that work so much because I spent many hours glazing the bear to get the soft fur look of the teddy bear. I also think the warm light helped to convey a sense of affection in the scene.

Mad to the Bone
Alice is relying on this mad cat for assistance? All ways are the Queen's ways! Copyright 2010 Ryan G. Williams

My 6th painting you have not seen until now. That’s because it was a Christmas gift for my Sister-in-law and I didn’t want her to see it before then. She loves the Cheshire cat from the “Alice in Wonderland” story and so I decided on a scene that focuses on the cat and his “mad” guidance. In the scene, Alice is wandering through Tulgey Wood and is about to breakdown in tears of frustration when the Cheshire cat appears and offers some suggestions. Unfortunately for Alice, there is no clear path home and she will have to encounter even more mad characters before she escapes. The signs tease her about this way and that way and even a path home, but she is utterly lost because ultimately, “all ways are the Queen’s ways.”

The color scheme was made to emulate the Disney version of the story as is the cat himself. I did embellish the size of the cat though to give it more prominence in the painting. I wanted to capture the soft light in the distance of the paths to create a strong spatial relationship between the forest and the figures. Alice has her back to us to remind us that the focus is the cat and not her. You will notice on the main tree where the cat sits is a carving. The carving reads: “CW + NT” which is a reference to my Sister-in-law’s and my Brother’s upcoming wedding this year (Congratulations guys!). The original is not available but this painting is available as a reproduction on canvas and paper.

As the New Year begins, I have hopes of completing more paintings this year than last. I set a goal of 12 last year. I realize this just won’t happen this year as I am planning a move in the summer. So my time is limited to work on new projects. Still, I am setting a lofty goal of 8 paintings to complete this year. What do my plans include? My top priority is to complete a Disneyland painting I started in 2005. I simply lost my confidence in the layout when I started and decided to put it on the shelf for a while. I think I can rectify the problems with it if I change my approach so I am going to give it another shot. Also in the works is another movie-inspired painting – this one will be from Pirates of the Caribbean. I will also be tackling another landscape or two, a still life, and perhaps a portrait of a loved one. For the rest of the works you will have to keep checking my blog.

I would like to thank those people who purchased works of my art in 2010 including Brian Lacey, Tracy Cook, and Bob Weston. I thank you for supporting my art and I hope my works bring you enjoyment throughout the years.

Have a great and inspired 2011!

alice in wonderland art