Friday, December 4, 2009

"woman and lovers and paintings - oh my!"

Ok, I do not know why the "Wizard of Oz" phrase, Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" came into my head when I was typing in the title, but it did!

Still have these paintings hanging around and I continue to work on them gradually. The attention to how I paint them has been more deliberate than any other painting I have worked on this year. I uploaded a couple photos here just to see the progression. I actually would like to photograph some future paintings a little more detailed just to see the changes in approach, subject content, design and execution. I surprise myself most of the time and it would be a good learning experience too.

The first piece, working title -woman, has been on the blog, but a little more work was been done recently. I know it is difficult to pull all the detail from the lower quality iPhone pics, but it is still pretty cool.

Next is "momentary lapse". It has been a while since I put a brush to this painting, even though it is on my mind quite a bit. Possibly a little bit too much of creative fear holding me back. Like I could actually ruin something I created in the first place. I need to remind myself it is still the adventure, not the final outcome, because my perspective will continue to change every day of my life.
I started this painting (72"x36") in acrylic and just recently, as intended, switched to oils. The colors are much more vibrant and fluid and the painting has started to produce the energy, light and depth I wish it to convey.
Long way to go, so we will see what happens.

Napa - update

Attached is a photo of "Napa" in the home of the family that purchased the painting.
I love to have pictures of work displayed after it has been purchased.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Support the art and gallery

Karen Solem Gallery is having a Holiday Sale for the art that is currently exhibited in her gallery. There are several exceptional paintings on exhibit and I should know since three of them are mine - ha!

This is a great opportunity to purchase an original, inspired piece of art and support a gallery that wishes to continue to support the artist and the community of Elmhurst.

There are all the creative aspects of being an artist, the excitement and nervousness of exhibiting, the emotion and self doubt, the practice, the mess, the fear etc... This is true in all authentic creation just for the sake of creation alone . One of the best responses I have heard concerning the definition of artistic passion was when I asked a classroom of junior high children was this. "It is just when you have to get it out" - that was just beautiful!!!

and there is another side to being an artist (welcome to the dark side - not really is it???)

Seldom do we think of art as a business, at least for we artist, I prefer not to think about it. There is a very important, time consuming aspect of marketing, promoting and selling.

Enter the gallery owner who is as passionate (the good ones only, there are also those who have little or no integrity) about the art, artist and providing for her collectors/customers - art appreciators - an artistic experience into the emotions of the painter and the painting. The show opening is an opportunity for that experience with the artists and a chance to connect with the work. It requires a lot of work, overhead and money to produce those events and I for one wish to see the good gallery owners (Karen Solem) able to continue in this town and prosper too. So go to an opening, have an exceptional time, and if you connect with a piece of art see if you can work it out and take it home with you (hopefully after paying for it).

I know I am rambling as usual...

To the point I wish to acknowledge the passion, work and service Karen provides and to request you to attend this Friday.
Who knows you might have fun too and that is always a good thing.

Chicago Show Holiday Sale
This Friday, Dec 4th 5:30-8:30pm
off all hanging art
Please join us for this special event!!!
karen solem gallery
124 W. Park Ave.
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

Finally, In the spirit of the holidays (which I love) I will extend 25% off my originals and giclee prints that I currently have available. Contact me if you see something from my website, blog or want to rummage around the home studio!
Offer extended through December 31, 2009.

Merry Christmas


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Letting it go - everything!

"The pressure or stress of trying to keep something far out weighs the joy experienced while letting it go."

A thought going around in my head for the last couple of days which can relate to many areas of life - if not all.

On that note I am please to state that I have sold and delivered "Napa" to it's new home where I hope it provides a life time of enjoyment and visual pleasure.
I had been asked if it was difficult in letting it go (as with most all of my paintings) and the answer was really, "not at all". I am so happy and the fact that I firmly believe each painting I move to another space, outside of my home or studio, provides an opening for something completely new to be created.
Just as in life when we begin to let go of things (thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, judgments, etc...) a space is immediately created by the void of that thought and whatever you want can fill that space. So create a new thought and/or in my case I have the opportunity to create a new painting.

I need to create some more space in my studio so I have several of paintings looking for a new view!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Appreciating the art appreciator

A photo that was sent to me from the exhibit in Indiana touched me in a profound way.

The picture of the man viewing my artwork is my grandfather. He attended the opening and it was the first time he has seen my work exhibited in a gallery. As a young child I started most of my artwork in my grandparents living room when we visited them. Some of my most fond memories as a child - that are fresh to this day - happened in their house.
Sleeping in the back room with the tin roof during a rainstorm was music to my ears. Grabbing the coffee can filled with crayons and laying on the living floor to draw. Eating my grandmothers spaghetti and drinking iced tea. The smell of coffee brewing in the percolator when I got up in the morning. All a part of who I am and resonate in my work and very being.
So for me viewing this picture of my grandfather having the opportunity to see my work and the chance for me to share it with both he and my grandmother was very special.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

To everyone that continues to support my artistic passion, the shows, the library exhibit/contest and those who were able to attend the reception last night at Karen Solem Gallery.

Thank you very much.

Your kindness, friendship and contributions mean everything to me.

Due to the overwhelming turnout and show of support I and my painting ("NAPA") was the first place winner at the Elmhurst Public Library exhibit - pretty cool.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Transitions and allowing the painting to dictate

I thought these images or progressions of two recent works - one complete the other still in a state of development - were kind of indicative of the progress of my paintings.

This is becoming this????
The initial painting was not working and I knew it and it received a fine sanding, slight medium wash and it is taking on a new face as we can see in the following pictures.

The most recent painting illustrated in my last blog, and yes it now has a name ("The City Dreams... Hot Chocolate") always had the same design and vision in my head, yet I struggled with the foreground tree for a while. I wish I took pictures of all the progressions of that space on the canvas. It was a make or break the painting issue for me not only from a design stand point, but also in the execution of the painting.
I am happy with the outcome - at least for now.
One picture with the trees removed - limbo - and definitely not a painting yet.
Then the final with the trees (could have been any properly painted subject matter and it would have worked).

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Latest painting going on exhibit with two others at Karen Solem Gallery in Elmhurst. This is the last show of the year. The theme is titled "Chicago".
Come out and see the city through the eyes of all the exhibiting artist.
Karen Solem Gallery
124 West Park Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
reception is Friday, November 6th, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

You can also stop by the library and vote on my painting titled "Napa" as this is the last day of the exhibit and voting.

Friday, October 23, 2009


The Blue Heron Show is coming to a close, but there are a few great opportunities to see some new work that I am really excited about.

First, we have the Henrich Gallery show this Sunday, October 25th from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm for the artist reception. I have two large framed works that are dramatic in their size, execution, subject, design and limited pallet.

Second I am going to have a piece at the Elmhurst Public Library, titled Napa. That event - running from Sunday November 1st through November 6th - is a public voting event. So please come out and support the arts, my artwork, by coming out and voting.

Also in the neighborhood of the Henrich show in Aurora is the Aurora City Hall exhibit and the Water Street Studio Exhibit in Batavia. So there is a lot to experience.

Elmhurst Public Library
125 S Prospect Ave
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3298
(630) 279-8696

Henrich Gallery
349 East Indian Trail
Aurora, IL 60505
Phone: 630.859.3121
October 25th - November 4th, 2009
Artist Reception October 25th, 2009 from 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Water Street Studios "Grand opening"
Multi-artist show
160 S. Water Street, Batavia, IL

September 21, 2009 - February, 2010
Aurora City Hall Exhibit for the Yellow House Artists
44 East Downers Place, Aurora. IL

Finally some more new paintings in the works!!!! A while to go, but the process is always neat to look at too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New works in progress

Here are a couple of iPhone pics of two recent pieces I am completing. Several more in the works too!
I still have quite a ways left on the painting of the woman.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Special Thank you

Thank you for all of you that pitched in with hard work and dedication to get the Blue Heron Show off to a great start.
The show was terrific, the food was delicious, the service was great and I was very pleased with the attendance.
Hopefully some that expressed interest in a painting or two can work through the details to make it happen.
I wish continued success to the Blue Heron.
Thank you.
Mary Jo.
Mark - Blue River Cafe
... and all those involved and not mentioned.
Take care.

New or renewed passion

I am feeling a flow and energy that has developed into a style or method to my painting now that opens the door for a more simplistic, natural and playful (inspiring) yet with a maturity that is rich with emotion.
Here are a couple new ones that will be photographed professionally later.

Also working continually larger has opened up a new expression (not entirely new, but one that has a greater freedom) to my painting. I find it harder to transition much small at the moment.

Aurora City Hall Exhibit

Another one of the five pictures in the Aurora City Hall building.

I stopped in while I was visiting Aurora today to see the paintings I have exhibited at the City Hall.
I thought there were several beautiful paintings and the staff has the paintings exhibited very professionally. If you are in the area take a tour and enjoy all the incredible art.
You can stop in to Water Street Studios just down the river after and check out a wonderful exhibit and new art gallery/studios. I have Dancing Light and Fall LIght exhibited in their gallery and they are just waiting for someone to take them home to a new wall!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Something Different

Here is a painting I finished this morning. Slight departure from my usual landscapes or figures (which I have not posted either).
It was actually fun to take a slightly more realistic approach to painting and still keep the passion and energy too.
As a kid I use to draw in detail and more along the side of realistic rendering - actually with ease and skill. Then along with my regular practice of art in general I only picked it up every so often. So this was fun to incorporate it again in a painting.
Sorry for the low quality - iPhone picture.

I have other paintings to not ready to photo that I am prepping for a show. So I hope to take pictures of them too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Upcoming Schedule

September 25 - October 15th
Blue Heron Art Gallery - 129 West Main St. Milltown, Indiana
large solo exhibit with local artist support and works showing.
Reception is on September 25th 6 -9 pm

September 18th - December 31st
Water Street Studios "Grand opening"
Multi-artist show
160 S. Water Street, Batavia, IL
Reception is September 18th

September 21 - February 2010
Aurora City Hall Exhibit for the Yellow House Artists
44 East Downers Place, Aurora. IL

Post card for a new gallery opening and show coming this September.
On September 25th I will have approximately 30 pieces exhibited in the Blue Heron Gallery, Milltown IN.

This marks an exciting new event for me not only by having the ability to show the number of pieces, but more importantly to kick off a new gallery in a small town filled with creative and welcoming people. My hope is this event among many others they have planned will spark an interest in the art community not only in the surrounding area, but reach out to collectors and galleries in Louisville to support this new gallery. If nothing else lets have fun, get to know each other have a few drinks and dive into the art which is my passion.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Do not forget to get a reservation at the Blue River Cafe for dinner. The food is incredible and so beyond what I ever anticipated!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Promotion Winner TBA

Summer art promotion is over and the winner is... (I will announce their name as soon as they reply with permission to publicize it).

The painting selected to reproduce (hand signed limited number of 100) is "Morning Sea".

The winner will receive #001 matted and professionally framed.

Thank you again for all of you that took the time to participate and support my artwork.

Unframed and hand signed reproductions of "Morning Sea"  will be sold @ $100 each. Approximate image size 13" x 13"
All orders received prior to 9/1/09 will receive an additional 12% off. Please contact me directly with questions or to submit order.

Take care.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ressurecting an old friend

If I painted as much as I thought about painting I would be the most prolific painter in history. However it may be a good thing that I don't and I let the creativity build to a working or action point - not sure I necessarily believe this but it is a good excuse when you are not painting. At least I save on supply cost though.
I actually would prefer to paint for more than I currently do and may need to create a little action - beyond the sketch book - to get that to happen.
Maybe we all do that, hesitate, second guess ourselves, a little too much in our daily lives - speaking for myself of course. If I were to take things a little less serious, not so critical on a made up potential outcome, I could be  freerer (more free) to just do it.
So if the conversation in your head is "I wish I _________ more" maybe you should just do it!

I will begin working on this guy again both in my painting and in my life since it is the same anyway!

Latest painting updates and show updates.

Currently were I am at with this work. There have been many challenges and stopping points for me and most of them can be attributed to life situations and not the painting itself - although these tree are not behaving real well so I assume they will be well worth the extra effort, if not I told them I would turn them into road signs. ha-ha!
Hope you enjoy it so far.

Here are my upcoming shows too. I would love for a solo show to happen soon so keep your eye out and talk to galleries in your area and I would really appreciate it.


Selections of John Carman?s work are on display at:
Poe M. Art House
5226 Main Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Phone: 630.324.6332
April 1 - April 30, 2009
reception TBD

Elmhurst Art Museum EAG
150 Cottage Hill
Elmhurst, IL 60126
March 28 - May 7, 2009
reception April 10, 7 - 9 p.m.

Allen & Pepa Gallery
8 W. Wilson Street,
Batavia, IL
April 24 - May 30, 2009
reception April 24, 5 - 9 p.m.

Karen Solem Gallery
124 West Park Avenue
Elmhurst, IL
May 1 - May 30, 2009
reception TBD

Friday, March 27, 2009

Promotion #2

I will attempt to make the details cleaner or more direct.
I am looking to obtain some input that will assist me in choosing which painting I am going to have scanned to make high quality limited edition prints. These prints will be approximately 11" x 17".
So I have come up with a promotion that may give me the feedback I need.
My request:
  • Go to
  • Go to the heading "View John's Work"
  • There is a Gallery titled "Promotion" select that and view the 4 paintings
  • Choose your favorite painting of the 4
  • Send an email to with PROMOTION in the subject heading and the title of your choice in the body of the email
  • One entry per person 
  • Limit of 1000 entries total and I will end the promotion
  • By submitting an entry you are also agreeing to be on the mailing list  (I do not abuse your inbox , 1 or 2 emails per month max.) You can opt out at any time by emailing me.
  • After I tally the total number of entries I will have a drawing to select the winner
  • The winner will be notified via email
  • The winner will receive the first hand signed limited edition print, professionally framed (actual UPS packing/shipping charges may apply)
  • there is a way to receive additional entries for the drawing. Refer this promotion to your friends, family etc... and if they email me and include your email address as a referral with their selection you receive an additional entry - no cap on referrals.
  • Contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you.


Special promotion running 4/1/09 - 6/30/09.
I am looking for your input and I have decided to run a promotion/free drawing as an incentive for input.
Go to my website: or directly to the link
The bottom gallery is titled PROMOTION. Go there to view the 4 paintings to select from for this promotion.
From the selection chose the painting you feel would be the best one (the one you like the best) to reproduce for a limited run - hand signed Giclee print. I am also requesting you put a ballpark price range on such a print that would be approximately 11” x 17” on archival paper of high quality.
I will tally the result of the emails received and out of the submissions I will select from a drawing one lucky winner to receive the first hand signed print, professionally framed (UPS shipping charges may apply).
One submission per person and your entering is also your approval to be put on the email list (which I will never abuse your inbox - one two emails per month) of which you can email me to opt out at any time.
The word PROMOTION must appear in the subject header of your email.
A way to gain additional entries is to refer my site and this promotion to other people and if they include your email address on their submission I will add an additional entry under your name.
Please email me at

Any questions please contact me and refer this to as many people as you can. It will keep me up late at night calculating the results. Remember this should be fun and your input means a lot to me .
Thank you.

Upcoming Shows

A few of my paintings will be at the following locations.
Allen & Pepa Gallery
8W Wilson St., Batavia, IL 60510
April 24 - June 1, 2009 (reception April 24th, 5 - 9 p.m.)

Poe M. Art House
5226 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL
April 1 - April 30, 2009 (reception TBD)

Elmhurst Art Museum (EAG)
150 Cottage Hill, Elmhurst, IL 60126
March 28 - May 8, 2009 (reception April 10th, 7 - p.m.)

Karen Solem Gallery
124 West Park Ave., Elmhurst, IL 60126
May 2009 (reception TBD)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The whole Truth and Nothing but the TRUTH

If it is one thing for sure in the world you can ad this to the Death and Taxes phrase.

"All politicians lie and they lie as to why they lied!"

Thank you for keeping up the status quo Roland!

Next up - Ball players who inject themselves with a foreign substance for three years and they do not know what it did, what it was or if it was illegal????

Free ART

I am going to conduct a survey in the next couple weeks requesting your feedback. 
I will be asking you to select (rate) 2 - 3 paintings out of 12 - 15 choices.
I will use the information to better help me select which 1 -2 paintings I will have reproduced  in Limited Edition prints (GICLEES). I will have all the details set up prior to launch.
What I will have for one lucky respondent is FREE ART - the first signed Giclee/framed.
Stay tuned and I will notify everyone . 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cleaning my way into Louvre

Jumping into action to quiet the conversation "I do not know what to do" which I allow to limit my creativity. My desire for a shift in my current life situation has to tip the balance of my current "stuck" way of being into that of transformation be creation.
It is always frustratingly interesting how I revert to standard behavior-patterns-that keep me in a cycle of non action. Whether it be financial, time, relationships and/or my relationship to all three that triggers the cycle, it begins in complete unconsciousness at the speed of light and attempts to color my view of the world. Awareness is a big part, but knowing makes little difference, sometimes I think I spend too much time in knowing. Might be better to follow the Skynyrd tune in which they sing "I know a little" - then I can live my life from EXPERIENCE.
Well it has all but cut off my creativity, my painting and my forward momentum to share, market my work and secure collectors and galleries that wish to exhibit my paintings. It is that pattern which I desire to let go so my creative energy can assume it's rightful place in my being - that of and beyond my being.

That is what I am intending and doing so it is time to clean the bathrooms, create action and stop the cycle.
Probably did not know you could transform your life just by cleaning the bathrooms did you! FUN.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do not look behind the curtain.

New look, same guy behind the eyes. If you pull back the curtain you will see it is just the human OZ. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Latest News

I will update the website but I thought I would post it here first.
I have a few pieces in a new gallery this month.
The Gallery, which is also a cool little shop too with shirts, jewelry and art, is located at 5226 Main Street, Downers Grove - IL and is called Poe M. Art House.
The paintings will be there all month (JANUARY 09) and I will be there at a reception (Jan 17th 6pm - 9pm) to which all are welcome even if we have to take it down the street to Emmett's or Ballydoyle's for a few drinks. 

Welcome guys

Welcome to my latest followers (Dad & Robyn) and hopefully contributors to this blog. Hopefully you guys are feeling better now and we did receive your package today.
Is the cat still hanging around???
Love you guys and talk to you soon.