Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving outside my comfort zone, painting on cast iron!

It's been awhile since my last post and I have been busy in the studio! New work for galleries and I also participated in a Christmas gallery exhibit.

I have also been busy with commissions, and I just finished an interesting one.
 A friend of mine wanted their grandmother's old house problem. Then she told me it was to be painted on one of her old cast iron skillets.
That is a first for me, and I wasn't sure about how the pan would take the paint, even with gesso primer. Anyway, I like a challenge so I primed the center with 3 coats of gesso and did some test painting. It took the paint great even if the surface was a little bumpy and it dried even faster than acrylics usually do, so I couldn't blend much. I used acrylic paints as it had to be dry immediately to give as a gift.

I jumped in to do it even though I have never painted on anything like that, and I think as my first ever pan, it turned out pretty well. As usual, I see a few things that I think I could do better if I had the time, but I was on a tight deadline!
Hope your Grandmother enjoys it Brad & Wendi! Thanks!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Annual Christmas Studio Sale

I have just started my annual Christmas Studio sale on my website. I create many small paintings each year as studies for larger gallery works, so I am clearing out the studio to make room for new work. These pieces will all be offered unframed at a fraction of the original retail price with FREE Shipping.
I will be adding new pieces every week until Christmas, so be sure to check it out and return often!

Click the link below to go directly to the sale portfolio on my website.

Happy Shopping! Contact me at with any questions!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogging Break & Madison Trip

Well, you may have noticed that I haven't posted here in about 2 months, but I am back. After the birth of our second daughter, I just needed a break from some online activity to enjoy and spend time with my family. I have been painting and posting to my Facebook page, but had taken a rest from the blog. You can always join my Facebook page to see more frequent updates and my blog posts also feed there as well. Just search "Justin Holdren Fine Art" when logged in to Facebook and "like " my page to see my updates.
Enjoy the pictures below that I took over the weekend. We visited my wife's aunt and uncle and their families in Madison, NC in Stokes County. We went to a bluegrass pickin' at an old general store and spent time at their home too. My wife's uncle is a well known Stokes County artist, Frank Duncan, and I always enjoy visiting his studio and talking "shop".
All in all, a a great day with family and taking in the beautiful Stokes County scenery.

 The view beside Frank's studio

 Frank Duncan's art Studio and Gallery

  A view of Frank's gallery

 Another gallery view showing a recent large oil

 Pickin' at Priddy's General Store

Priddy's General Store in Stokes County

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back in the saddle & Playing with watercolors

I am finally back in the painting saddle after the birth of our second daughter in July. My five year old daughter also started K-5 this week too, so I have not had much studio or field time lately.

Most of you know that I paint mostly in oils and acrylics, but lately have been playing with watercolors. I am doing mostly small sketches on site and in the studio, but am having fun!

Often times, I paint when traveling with family and even taking minimal oil and acrylic supplies can take up valuable space, so I plan on using this pocket watercolor kit that I purchased on some future trips when I just want to sketch. All I need to paint is the kit with included brush and a sketchbook or watercolor pad. The kit is small enough to put in my pocket!
Here is quick pic of the pocket kit with some quick watercolor site sketches done at the historic Capt. White House in Graham, NC.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NC Plein Air Landscapes

"Tree Study"
7" x 5" Oil on Canvas on Panel - SOLD

"Crestmont Meadow Study"
8" x 6" Acrylic on Panel - SOLD

These are two landscapes done on site in rural Chatham county on a beautiful private property. Was a really hot day and eventually used my acrylic spray bottle to mist myself with water to stay cool! These are both sold recently to a regular collector of mine.
I have been busy in the studio packing up some commissions to ship out as well as working on new paintings for my gallery rep in Siler City, NC. Will show some of those when I get them finished.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

North Carolina - An Artist's Oasis

I have been working on many new studio paintings that are in progress and I will post some plein air paintings tomorrow that were done over the weekend. Thought I would just share a few pics of some the beautiful landscapes that abound in central NC..
 I love working and painting in North Carolina. We have such a wide variety of landscapes and beauty here. These pics are from central North Carolina where I live, but I can be at the coast or the mountains in just a few hours as well. Even when I travel, I always look forward to coming home to the beauty of NC.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hatteras Boat Painting & A Plein Air exhibit

"Working Boats"
16" x 20" Acrylic on Canvas
Currently ON HOLD

Just finished up this scene in the studio a few days ago. It's a dockside view of some Hatteras boats, and it is currently on hold while a buyer in the Outer Banks decides between this one and another boat painting that I did.
Also, our Plein Air group's small exhibit "Local Landscapes" opens Friday, June 15 and the opening reception will be from 6-9pm. The show is located at Courtyard Coffee, next to the NC Arts Incubator Gallery in Siler City, NC. Go to my website at and click on "events" to find out more. If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

100 Paintings Project. Am I crazy?

Starting the "100 Paintings Project" 

I have had a project idea in mind for awhile now and I finally started prep work for it yesterday. I am going to do 100 small 5 x 7 inch paintings as a mini painting project. These will be a mix of landscape, still life, and paintings with people. I do a lot of small paintings in a year anyway to work out ideas for larger gallery works, so I am used to working small.

My main reason for wanting to do this is not for sales, but for the growth that comes with completing that many paintings. I have sort of hit a plateau lately and these works will be a way to explore many new ideas and methods of working on canvas. I got out some rolls of canvas and used a 5 x 7 panel as a template to draw out the dimensions on loose canvas. I will then mount the finished pieces on gatorfoam or hardboard.

Although I would love to sell each of them as I complete them, I am toying with the idea of holding these back and mounting all 100 in an exhibition and offering them unframed at an affordable price for new collectors. I will let everyone know soon.
Due to the fact that my wife is due any day now with our second child, and I am still holding a day job, I have not set a time limit on myself to finish these, but I would like to have them done by the end of summer and plan an exhibit for fall, just in time for Christmas.
I will post each one I finish here on the blog as I complete them. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Painting the Beauty of North Carolina

I am painting on location a lot lately for a June group show that I am in with members of NC Paint Out. These shots above show the county I was painting in Saturday along with my small, portable cigar paint box easel. I could spend hours upon hours at these locations photographing and painting. The best part is that these kinds of locations are only minutes from my house.
I find the beauty of God's creation fascinating, and North Carolina has so much varied beauty from the mountains, to the Piedmont region, to the coast. I never have to search far to find a beautiful landscape to paint.
Come visit our opening reception at Courtyard Coffee on North Chatham Ave., next to the NC Arts Incubator gallery in downtown Siler City, NC. Our opening reception will be Friday, June 15, 2012 during the 3rd Friday Art Walk from 6-9pm. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tropical Palm Trees and Beach in Kenya

"Bamburi Beach View, Kenya"
12" x 12" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas with sides painted black - Wired and ready to hang
Click HERE to view the auction and place your bid

This is an older one from some sketches and photos I did in Kenya years ago. This is a view looking at Bamburi Beach into the Indian Ocean from a hotel. I loved the colorful shadows on the sand made by the trees outside of the picture. I am offering this one for a limited time at an insane opening bid on Ebay of 49.99, much less than the normal retail price of $250.00. Click above to view the auction. You can also click my Daily Paintworks widget in the sidebar to the right and it will show this piece and link you to the Ebay auction. This item will ship for FREE. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New online Gallery

I have joined Daily Paintworks, a site started by well known daily painter Carol Marine's husband David. I do so many small studies and paintings in a year and this site has a lot of traffic, so I thought I would give it a try for awhile. Click on the widget in the right sidebar to see my gallery there and you can purchase direct through the site.
You can also click HERE to go directly to my online gallery there. Keep checking back as I will be adding many more paintings at affordable prices! Most of the paintings there will be available to buy immediately through paypal. It is quick and easy to register at the site and purchase.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Painting the coast

I am working more on a few commissioned marina paintings depicting the marinas and boats of the North Carolina Coast. These are both in progress and not finished, but thought I would show them anyway, so you can see the process. As you can see by the top painting, unless I am working on a really detailed drawing or work on paper, I generally rough in the shapes of the objects with thin paint after toning the canvas to kill the white color. After all, if the boats are going to end up white, I like to start with a warm base to put the white over and I let some of it show through.
I then adjust the drawing of the boat as needed by adding or removing paint when I am painting., but I try to get it as accurate as possible right off, especially on something like these boats where the shapes have to read right.
These are acrylic paintings which are so easily correctable because the paint dries very fast. If I decide I don't like a passage of paint, I can paint over it almost immediatley and correct it.
Hope to show you these fnished in a day or two!

A couple of marina paintings in progress, still a ways to go on both!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The busy season has began!

So the busy season has begun! I will be in an upcoming show at Courtyard Coffee in Siler City next to the NC Arts Incubator Gallery in June. This will be a plein air show by members of our plein air group, NC Paint Out. All works will be paintings that were done on site at the locations in the paintings.
I am also busy with some commission work, and some coastal paintings. Pictured below is the start of one of 4 marina paintings that I have in the works. They will all be done in acrylic and one of them shipped to a buyer in the Outer Banks.
Stay tuned for new finished paintings soon!

Work in progress in the studio

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Marsh Scene

"Tidal Pool"
8" x 10" Acrylic on Canvas
$150 unframed, $200 Framed
Email me at if interested and you can pay by credit/ debit card or checking account through Paypal

Here is a small marsh scene I finished up last night. I had started it a while back and forgot about it, so I decided to get it done! There are some subtle colors in the sky that aren't showing well in the digital image.

 Although I love mountain landscapes and still life and flower paintings too, I just seem to be painting the coastal regions of North Carolina lately. I have a ton of field studies and photos from that region, so I have been going through those and they inspire me to paint the coast!
I am working on another commission for a homeowner in the Outer Banks, as well as painting new works for my Siler City gallery rep and painting work to show a gallery in Beaufort, NC. Add to this a full time job, one five year old daughter and another due in July, and it can be quite a juggling act. I thank the Lord for a supportive wife!
More work to show you as I finish, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rural and coastal studies

 "Outer Banks Dune"
5" x 6" Acrylic on Primed/ Sealed Acid Free Matboard

Small study done in the studio from memory

"Pond Grasses"
6" x 5" Acrylic on Primed/Sealed Acid Free Matboard

Done on location in Chatham County

"Early Spring Study"
6" x 5" Acrylic on Primed/Sealed Acid Free Matboard

Painted on location in rural Chatham County

Contact me at if interested in any of these. They are super affordable studies at just $35 each. Usually this size is closer to $50 - $75 unframed, but I will accumulate many of these studies this year, so I would rather them hang on your wall than to collect dust in my studio!

Since the warm weather came out here in North Carolina, I have been doing some small plein air studies in the field. The top one here is a coastal study done in the studio as prep for some larger paintings, but the two below that were done Saturday in rural Chatham County.
After being in the studio a lot, I like to start working on location again by doing these small studies. I have tons of acid free matboard and also museum board scraps, so I gesso these to seal them completely and use them for small studies. I also seal the colored boards with an acrylic matte medium if I want to use the colored board to get interesting effects. If they are completely sealed, they can be framed like a typical oil or acrylic without glass. If I paint on them unprimed, I treat them like a work on paper and put them under mats and glass. The ones above were just sealed and primed with white gesso.

I will be attending some events this summer like the Sunshine Lavender Farm Festival where I will be painting on location. I will post the details here and on my website soon. Ok, back to the easel!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Plein Air Weather again!

 Painting a field study with my smallest paint box made from a cigar box

"Light Study, Early Spring"
6" x 5" acrylic on Primed/Sealed Acid Free Matboard

Well the warmer weather is quickly approaching, and I needed to get outdoors and paint! I enjoy the winter time painting in the studio, but when warm weather arrives, I am ready to go out and paint on location and enjoy the outdoors!
This is a small study in acrylic that I did the other day. The light was being filtered by the trees behind me and some light was just striking points on these trees and the grass. I didn't really nail the values, but that's why I do these studies on location, so I can observe the color and light firsthand and learn to make a more convincing scene with light. Be looking for more paintings as I get out and enjoy the warmer weather!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Anybody out there?

Well I have not been very good at keeping my new years resolution to post more often to the blog! I apologize to my five or so readers :) I have been working steadily, just not posting. I am doing some commission work that has kept me busy, and my wife and I are expecting our second daughter in July, so we have been busy to say the least!

I have some projects on the back burner that I hope to get finished soon. I am working on paintings from my travels in North Carolina and will publish them in a book through I hope to have it finished by the time the baby arrives. I will post the details on how to purchase the book when finished.
I am also doing sketches for a new series of paintings, but right now I have a commissioned Hatteras marina scene to finish for a home in the Outer Banks. Will post some paintings soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Commission Finished

16" x 20" Oil on Canvas

Just finished this commission for a home in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. This one is in oils, so I had some adjusting to do since I have been working almost exclusively in acrylic over the past year.
 The buyer wanted a simple marsh composition, without an overwhelming amount of detail. They wanted a small boat in the distance and lots of blues and greens in the piece. Normally I add many layers of different colors to the water, but this is the color scheme the client wanted and they are so happy with it, they have commissioned a marina, fishing type scene next.
Now to pack it up and send it to its new home!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Commissions and online marketing

Well I haven't posted lately, but I have been working away in the studio. I am currently working on a commission for a collector who will be putting some of my work in their beach home at the Outer Banks of NC. The collector actually found me through my auctions on Ebay. This is why I continue to auction small studies and sell some regular retail price gallery paintings at fixed price on Ebay. The exposure has led to larger sales from my website and commissions.
Hope to show you the finished painting once the client gives the OK to be finished with it.

In addition, I have been adding small paintings in my Etsy store and working on new pieces to upload to my website. Etsy is a website like Ebay, but for handmade items only and the items are at a fixed price instead of auction style listings. I will post the link to the Etsy store when I finish adding new work.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Traveling to Paint!

"Provence Lavender"
10"x 8" Acrylic on Canvas

$150 unframed, $200 Framed
Email me at if interested

Here is the first small study of a new series I am working on. This view is from an elevated view with a field of lavender and brightly lit field and mountain in the distance.

A collector of my work and friend was kind enough to let me use some of her photos from France to do a series of paintings. She owns a lavender farm here in North Carolina where I go to paint during their annual Harvest Festival.
She had recently taken a trip to France and I was blown away by the pictures of Lavender in the Provence region and the beauty of the places they visited.
Now I am breaking my unwritten rule to paint a place that I have not been to, for this series anyway. I usually paint places that I have visited to absorb the view in person. I feel I can do the paintings more justice when I have observed a place firsthand.
 I still create paintings from my imagination too, but they are usually based on a place that I have been to, although I couldn't resist doing some new paintings based on the reference photos that my collector friend let me use.
Be looking for some larger ones here soon that include some other "French" scenes!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back from Florida

The park at Marineland along the Florida coast

The coastline at Flagler Beach, Florida

The castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom

I just returned from a family trip to Disney World in Florida. We had a great time with the whole family, which included all of my wife's sisters and their families and her parents too. Normally on a family trip, to not take away from family time, I get up in the morning and do some plein air painting and sketching on location, but we were up early and back late every day on this trip, so I just had to get a bunch of photos. I also did some sketching of the views out the van window on the drive down.

We hit one Disney park a day the whole week and headed home yesterday via Highway A1A to take in the coastline scenery. I will be working on some paintings of the Flagler Beach area soon so look for them here!