Traditional Painters’ Forum- Raleigh, NC

The monthly Traditional Painters’ Forum at VAE (Visual Art Exchange) was a group I enjoyed attending when I decided to return to painting after a 14 year absence.  I went to several meetings last year when Dan Nelson headed the group.   Dan and other members of the group left to open a work studio & gallery in Cary- The Waverly Artists Group.   Unfortunately, for the Painters’ Forum,  the group was without a leader (I hate that word, especially since I would not want anyone following my style! :)), so I will use “representative” instead.  I volunteered to become the “representative”.

The Traditional Painters’ Forum is a peer-led group, free for VAE members, $5 for non-members.  The forum is a place to bring finished, or unfinished work for critique and discussion.  It is a great place for information on framing shops, contests, and art related topics.

Last week’s meeting was great..    Artist Dick Wayne presented several acrylic paintings, Kittie Rue Deemer displayed watercolor works, and Jean-Baptiste Renard brought a beautiful oil piece.  I even presented a few completed non-disasters (pneumonia takes a lot out of you- I painted a bunch of trash the past few weeks).

Kittie said she loved my watercolors (thank you), and asked what I do with my “disasters”.

To answer, I flipped my paintings- to showed the ruined work on the other side of the watercolor paper.

Let’s face it, I am cheap.  When I ruin a painting, I flip the paper and start again.  Watercolor paper is expensive…

So, anyone interested in buying a watercolor painting of mine, if you examine your purchase carefully, you may find you are receiving a two-for-one special (one painting one each side of the paper).

Now that’s a deal!  🙂

The Traditional Painters’ Forum meets the third Thursday of each month from 7-9pm.

More discussions can be found on the facebook page too.


(919) 645-8345

Watercolor painting of statue in Indonesia



Watercolor demonstration- Asian ruins

The internet is fantastic due to the wealth of painting information.  Years ago, when I took painting classes in college, the only way to learn was to watch students, ask professors, buy books, and read magazines.  However, there were few demonstrations in books and magazines, and I was left trying to figure watercolor through trial and error.

Now, you can google “watercolor demonstration” and be treated to thousands of lessons on individual websites and youtube.

In appreciation of websites I have viewed, I would like to talk about my processes.

Based on an old slide I shot at the Bagan/Pagan ruins in northern Myanmar (Burma), I developed this line drawing:

Obviously, I took out several elements of the photograph and simplified the temples for compositional purposes.

I masked several areas of the foreground field and lines on the temple.  Next, I floated (wet-into-wet) a mix of warm colors- rose madder, yellow-ochre, transparent yellow, and burnt sienna.  Salt was added to provide texture.

My next step was to negative paint the sky.  I was unhappy with this step as several of the wet-into-wet streaks ended too watery and several hard edges were formed.  However, I was confident that defining the foreground would “hide” these blemishes.

The mask was removed and I began to define the temples and foreground foliage.

Cobalt blue was added to the temples & foreground.  Amazing how the sky from the previous two photographs recedes into the background, huh?  This is an optical illusion- all images were photographed at the same settings.  The difference is the complementary color of the temple & darker values added.

Finally, I added a few details to the temples and a suggestion of trees in the left-hand side.

The finished piece was a loose interpretation of the original photograph.  I used the photograph as a reference, and chose the complementary color palette to reflect my memories of the scorching sun and heat at Bagan.  A happy ending to a painting session. 🙂


Ryan Fox

(919) 645-8345



Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors

Bummer. Was supposed to be flying to NY this weekend for the 31st Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American show, where my painting of the Bayon temple was accepted.  Judged by Paul Jackson and Pat San Soucie, the show features work by great watercolorists such as Patricia A. Allen, Judi Betts, Cheng-Khee Chee, Z.L. Feng, James McFarlan, Dean Mitchell, and many, many others.

i Arrived at the airport this morning to find the flight was cancelled- but they could put me on tomorrow’s flight. 🙁 Too bad I would have missed the opening reception and my opportunity to meet all the artists who attended (plus i would have visited a friend I have not seen in six years).

If anyone makes the reception, please email me and tell me how it went.

On the flip-side, I guess I have time to paint this weekend :).

First Friday Raleigh- Holgarama photographs

VAE (Visual Art Exchange) in the Raleigh warehouse district, features select artists monthly in their Exchange Gallery.  This June, I will have to opportunity to display my unique Holgaramas photographs.  The film photographs were shot in various locations around the world.

I have shooting with the Lomographic Holga camera for years.  For those unaccustomed to the Holga, it is a medium format plastic camera made in China.  A junk lens, dubious craftsmanship, light leaks galore, and manual controls, it is a delight to photograph with this camera.

The continuous image photographs are created by intentionally under-advancing the film.  Doing this allows the next photograph to blend into the previous image.   By visualizing the positive and negative space I can craft a mental image of the finished product while I am shooting.

(Holgarama of the French Quarter- New Orleans)

This image above three photographs blended together.  However, these images were shot at three different vantage points on Bourbon Street.

(Continuous image photograph of Cambridge University- UK)

Shooting these images with architecture allows me to easily distort perspective.  In the example above, I took a photographs of the left-hand side of the building, the center archway, and then photographed the right-hand side of the college.  This was a long, straight building.  But the photographs distort the architecture and make it look different.  Reality?  Sure.  Just not what you are used to seeing.

Further examples are available on my website.

First Friday at VAE and the art galleries of downtown Raleigh is from 6-9pm.  Come down, have a glass of wine, and take a look at my other Holgaramas.  Hope to see you there 🙂


R. Fox Photography

(919) 645-8345


Painting accepted into Watercolor Competition

Yesterday absolutely sucked.  And that is the nicest thing I can say.

So today had to be better, right.    I couldn’t possibly be living a real-life version of Flogging Molly’s “Worst Day Since Yesterday”, right?

So today:

1.  My wife received her promotion at work.  Congratulations babe, I knew you would get it.  That is why I left a rose and a York peppermint patty in your work mailbox (had you not received the promotion, you still would have chocolate.  :)).

2.  I ordered the canvas prints for my upcoming show in the Exchange Gallery at Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC.

(Continuous image photograph of Cambridge University- UK)

Holgaramas, for those hi-tech photographers who do not enjoy shooting with a $20 piece of plastic, are point-and-pray cameras that offer, among other things, excessive light leaks, faulty shutters, and questionable focusing.

What fun.

The photographs I will be showing take advantage of the unusual features of the camera, namely, that one can manually advance the film as far as he/she wishes.

When I create these images, I intentionally under-advance the film, so the previous and following images become one.  This is art.  And a little luck too.  Generally, by thinking in terms of positive and negative space, you can predict what will happen with the film.


3. Finally, I received an email about the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolor show I entered.

My piece was accepted.

I will be honest, this is a great watercolor show that displays the top names in Watercolor- Paul Jackson, Pat San Soucie, Judi Betts, ZL Feng, Cheng-Khee Chee, and others.  And that is JUST the 2012 exhibition!

Wow.  Considering I have painted less than 100 paintings in my ENTIRE lifetime, I am humbled, honored, and really encouraged by my late-night painting expenditures.  Perhaps, the endless hours I spend shuttling kids around, not-really-cleaning-the-house, and making sure no one eats anything that will kill them, make the few hours I get to create art so worthwhile.

Thank you Monday!

(Value and color study for future painting of Heidelberg, Germany)


(919) 645-8345