I’ve been obsessed with drawing and painting classic cars and motorcycles since I was a kid. I guess all those bright colors, shiny metal and chrome just grab my attention at a car show, whether it’s a fully restored 1932 Ford or if it’s an abandoned truck rusting away in the prairie. Most of my paintings are oil on canvas and I try to capture the character and attitude of these old classics with paint and varnishes.
Here are a few paintings I had fun working on over the last few years.
1952 Harley Panhead
I loved this Harley when I took a photo of it at a car show in Scottsdale, Arizona. After I started drawing it on the canvas, I realized it was actually a Colorado motorcycle. I wanted a street scene In the background, so I used a photo I took of a gas station in Longmont. It was also placed on the cover of Yellow Scene Magazine about a year later.
1946 Ford on Fire
Yep, nothing says Classic Hot Rod like flames. It’s always fun to see how close I can get to the original flame color and design.
I saw this car at a classic car show in Longmont. It’s one of my favorite car models of all time, and I wanted to zoom in and really focus on the front grill and bumper chrome detail, which is always a challenge.
The Great Pumpkin
This is a painting of a 1953 Chevy pickup that I owned with a few friends for a short time. To take this photo, I placed it in front of a beautiful old Victorian home near Thompson Park in Longmont.
1946 “H” Farmall
My dad taught me how to drive on his International Farmall “H” just like this when I was a kid. I’ve seen this tractor at the Boulder County Fair and classic farm shows a number of times, and finally had to paint it. I thought the flags were a nice touch, too.
1937 International Pickup
This pickup is part of the Hover Mansion in Longmont. One of their volunteers had a hard time starting the pickup in the dark Hover Farm garage, where I thought there was no way I was going to get a good photo. Eventually he got it running and drove it out into the sunlight where it could shine.
I also love painting machines other than cars and motorcycles. Anything from the 1930’s and 1940’s seem to have incredible design features to me such as vintage tractors and farm equipment. I recently painted my first train and am currently working on a medical rescue helicopter. That’s because the bright lime green paint grabs my attention and I see it everyday along I-25 on the way to work.
Finding Time to Paint
Being a parent of two young school kids, it can be difficult to focus and find time to paint. That time is usually for an hour or two, after the kids have gone to bed. After the drawing is complete, I refer to the early stages of a painting as the “tough” stage. It can be hard to stay motivated at this time, but as the elements start coming together, things begin to click and the fun begins.
Do you have a creative artistic skill you enjoy developing in your free time? How do you stay motivated to create?