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Recent Painting — The Japanese Sentinel

“The Japanese Sentinel”

This digital painting started as a concept idea I had of a stream in Japan, watched over by a stone monument. I used a couple photos for reference. Created in Procreate 5.2 and with the Apple pencil, it used about 14 brushes, 16 layers and 13-15 hours work.

Japanese gardens are one of my favourite themes to paint. The lush foliage, the combination of stone, waterfalls, moss, trees and twisted tree trunks and bark make them fun to paint.

The Sentinel I based this on was on the stone monument but I added the tree above it as a last minute addition to balance the painting. The tree was based on a picture I took of an Arbutus tree from my hometown of Victoria, BC. The waterfall was placed on purpose to flow from top right diagonally across the image but tie-in with the stone monument.

Fall Artists Update – Nov 20, 2021

“Japanese Garden Of Plenty”

This garden digital painting was inspired by 4 different reference photos. The image was created in Procreate 5.2 and with the Apple Pencil. I used over 34 different brushes, when I normally use half as many. This image took about 12 hrs of digital painting. It’s about 17” X 17” in size. This was started about 14 months ago. When it started snowing today, I ended up finishing.

** I have been resurrecting old paints that I started a while ago and finally finishing them. This is why I paint cowboys one minute, then old cars, and then Japanese gardens.

“Jerry Garcia Lives Again”

I painted this digital painting for my brother David. He has always been a huge fan of Jerry Garcia, of the band “The Grateful Dead”. Painted in Procreate 5 with Apple pencil, I spent about 11 hrs on this using textures and custom brushes I built in the brush editor.

I started with 3 different concepts of Jerry based on images of Jerry in concert settings over the years. The images I used for simply reference images to get a sense of the character and personality of the singer / creative artist that Jerry was. Again, this was a challenging but fun painting to create!

“Spectacular Open Road Memory”

This image was painted digitally from a picture a friend posted recently. The car was wonderful and I painted it in a mountain setting (background). The car itself is placed (in my painting) on a salt flat. This car is a 1929 Dusenberg Model J. I started with a photoshopped image brought into Procreate 5.2, using Apple pencil. Its got 12 layers of texture, uses both watercolour and oil brushes. An experiment to say the least.

“Rocky Westcoast – Gulf Islands”

This sketch started yesterday morning and finished last night at midnight. This  digital painting (created in Procreate 5.2 and Apple pencil) was inspired by my many trips to Piers Island as a child and teenager in Victoria, BC. The trees in this image were quite new, but the old growth forest was in the background.

This image is 11” X 17” in size, about 23 layers of detail and used about over 25 different brushes. Fun to paint!

“Rocky Westcoast – Gulf Islands”

This sketch started yesterday morning and finished last night at midnight. This  digital painting (created in Procreate 5.2 and Apple pencil) was inspired by my many trips to Piers Island as a child and teenager in Victoria, BC. The trees in this image were quite new, but the old growth forest was in the background.

This image is 11” X 17” in size, about 23 layers of detail and used about over 25 different brushes. Fun to paint!

“Forgotten Relic” – Squamish, B.C.

This painting was inspired by a photo my younger brother (David Currie – Artist) took in Squamish, B.C. this fall. Based on his photo I painted this rendition of the old car, hidden away in the bushes. This painting was created in Procreate 5.2, using some of the new brush features. I used 100% watercolour brushes on this painting.  It was made up of about 32 layers and is about 16” X 16” in size.

This image will go well with my old car paintings that I have recently created. I plan to make prints and some canvas special editions. Thanks to David for use of his reference photo. Visit his site at www.CurrieArtworks.com 

New Sheriff In Town — New Artwork

This painting was started 2 months ago and was created in Procreate 5 with Apple pencil. It is 16” X 24” in size and took about 16-18 hours to complete. I used 4 different reference photos. The hardest part was painting the Sheriff on the horse. The brushes used were all custom texture brushes that I bought and collected since about January 2021. In order to create good looking paintings, a big part is the brushes you use. I have a series of paintings in this “Western Series” that I hope to complete soon

Insider Secrets: How I Paint…

As many people are aware, I paint acrylics, watercolours, gouache and pen / ink. Lately, about 80% of my paintings are done digitally on my iPad Pro using Procreate software.

Many ask, how do I paint? Why do I paint what I do? How is it many of my paintings look photographic? Here is some things to think about!

I started painting traditionally about 15 years ago, starting with Watercolours and then 2 years later with Acrylics. But I have painted digitally in Adobe Photoshop for 30+ years. And I ran a graphic design business and web design business since the mid 1980’s. So I am fortunate to have the experience that I do.

I have also taken courses with well known watercolour artists and acrylic artists. This mentoring, helped me move ahead and learn quickly!

A lot of art creation goes beyond the actual painting component. I research almost all my paintings. I sketch out on paper and pen, many image ideas. When I go to bed at night, I paint and compose images in my head. Years ago, I had a photographic memory and could visualize any image or artwork. I suffered my first stroke at age 50, when I suffered some memory loss and all the vision in my right eye. But, I can still paint in my head and that helps me with my art. It sounds weird but visualization in ones head does help.

I study the great masters and take video tutorials of painting techniques 4-5 times a week. For at least 5-7 hours a week total. That’s over 300 hrs a year of video training. Throw in the research, practice drawings and sketches, and you are easily looking at 1000 + hours per year. Spend 1000 hrs our any hobby or skill and eventually you get better. It takes a lot of work, but repetition and practice helps quite a bit.

Now, also consider that painting and art lowers my stress and makes me feel good. Art is very therapeutic during these tough Covid times. I am on permanent disability and yet I can paint even if its for 20 minutes at a stretch before I take a break. Some days, I stop and start every 15-20 mins 5-7 times. Makes for a long day but this is how I work.

On a related note, I paint many paintings (or start them) and then leave them for 1-3 months. Then I come back and finish them. In many cases I upload 2-3 painting photos one after another. So it is not me painting in a marathon session, but spread out over time.

Some folks have asked me why I paint Japanese Gardens one minute, Car paintings the next and then throw in a Pet portrait. I paint hundreds of different subjects to constantly learn and push myself. I get better by trying new techniques, new textures and digital brushes.

Last night I started jotting down ideas on some western themed paintings of old west towns with horses tied up out front of the stables. Ten minutes later I was sketching ideas for a painting I wanted to create on the inside of a blacksmiths shop with two people working metal in low light. You see, there are only 2-3 million ideas floating around in my head. Eventually, I hope to paint them all. I will never be short ideas or end up stuck for ideas to paint.

When I start a painting, digitally or traditionally, rarely do I plan ahead in terms of size. I just start and then later, wish I had gone bigger or smaller. But I paint for the enjoyment of painting and creating art. It’s a process for me.

Lastly, I wanted to share that I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone for researching ideas. I create small sketches on paper or note ideas on my phone of themes to paint. I sometimes just sit down and type out names for paintings. That can be challenging for many but I go with what pops into my head.

In future posts, I will share more about how I paint. If anyone has any questions or would like more information, feel free to email me at gcurrie@eldoren.com and I will try to get back to you! Have a creative day!

Hidden Forest Gem

This digital painting of an old growth, tree house in the Pacific Northwest. It’s 14” X 24” watercolour painting, I used about 9 different brushes, 3-4 textures. Growing up on Vancouver Island, BC, my brothers and I built tree houses for years. Painted in the new version of Procreate 5.2 with Apple pencil.

Downtown Victoria, B.C.

This image was created from some pictures I took of Victoria, BC about 3 years ago. My brother drove me around while I took reference shots of building and store fronts. It was created in Procreate.

Like many of my digital paintings, I stopped and started this painting over the years as I got better and better with digital oil brushes. This painting is about 14” X 14” in size. I used about 20 textured brushes to recreate the oil brushes and effect.

About Gordon

Gordon Currie has been painting watercolours, acrylics for over 15 years. Gordon has painted Digitally on an iPad for 4 years/ His work has been displayed all over Canada, the US in private collections.


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