Chris Cook Artist

Southern Art – Georgia Artist – Landscape Paintings, Christian Art, Southern Expressionist Art

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Night Beach

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The beach really is a completely different place once the sun has set, and night has begun.

Gone are the hoards of scantily clad sun worshippers, seeking out a chance to back in the glory of the big ball of fire in the sky. The remnants of engineering masterpieces that once were intricate sand castles and sculptures have crashed and eroded with the shifting tide, and washed out into the blue. The sands are littered with signs of the congregants who had gathered hours before, leaving behind footprints,  beer cans, and the occasional hotel room key.

The droves of people who were once sprawled out, enjoying the rays of warmth are now replaced by sporadic couples and solitary pilgrims, meandering up and down the shore with their feet getting kissed by the waves as they roll in.

Chris depicted this beach in another Painting, but this one is of that same area at night. It’s amazing what night can do to change the entire perspective of how we see, use, and enjoy a particular thing or place. Take, for instance, a neighbor or loved one’s house, or a church. Even if you’ve been there 1,000 times before during the day, the place somehow becomes a whole new beast if you’re there at night (without as much light, that is).

I think Chris really does a good job of capturing the serenity behind being on the beach at night. There is something about the cooler air, and the way that the moon hits the waters that is reminiscent of, yet completely different than the  bright and sometimes harsh summer days.

Im almost reminded of Van Goh’s “Starry Night” and it’s peacefulness and serenity. The colors and style of the painting seem to lend a calming effect. I, for one am so fair skinned, that I typically end up under an umbrella in the pool, or relaxing in the hotel room to avoid the lobster like impact that the sun and sand can have on my skin.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Ponte Vedra

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With all of this talk of snow, I felt the need to dig into Chris’ “Works On Paper” category of his website to find something to take my mind off of the chill in the air.

This original painting on paper that Made is a wonderful ocean scene that makes me wish that I was sitting on a beach chair, smelling the salt air, and sipping one of those frozen drinks with the little bamboo umbrellas in it! I particularly like the effects that he created with the waves rolling into the shore. I just might have to fly south for the winter!

When I spoke to Chris about the “Works on Paper” section of his work, he explained it to me. He told me that sometimes, he uses works on paper to begin to brainstorm and draft out one of his larger paintings before he commits it to canvas. Other times, he simply uses the paper projects to express a moment in time and theme that he experienced.

I like browsing through this section of his work, because it continues to showcase just how versatile he is as an artist, and how the subject matter that he chooses to feature is not limited to any one particular genre or style.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

 

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Cain and Abel

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Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

This is an original piece of Chris’ art that he painted on paper. Many of  his paintings on paper are precursors to his larger works on canvas, but some remain as a momentary expression on paper. Flipping through these is a glimpse into a very diverse and broad spectrum of what is Chris’ styles, subject matters, and techniques of his paintings. As I look through, I marvel at the breadth of variety and skill that Chris possesses.

This particular image of Cain murdering Abel in Genesis 4 strikes me as reminiscent of a primitive cave painting, and also makes me think of the scene in the movie 300 where young Leonidas is fighting his way through the Agoge. There is something about the primitive, animalistic, carnal act of violence that this passage of scripture depicts that reminds me of that scene in the movie.

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It blows my mind to stop and think about this act, from the standpoint of how truly flawed and sinful humanity is without divine intervention. One generation removed from the fall of man, Cain finds enough animosity and hatred towards his own brother to rise up and kill him. On top of that, when GOD asks him about it, he has the audacity to get snippy with a remark like “am I my brother’s keeper?”!

As I pause and reflect on both this painting, and this moment in humanity, I am grateful that it only paints a picture of what humanity is capable of, not what we are bound to. I am grateful that God, in all of his infinite grace and wisdom chose not to leave us to our own devices, suffering in pain, sin, and separation. Today, I am grateful that he himself chose to come down and redeem us. He offers to wash us in his blood so that we can be white as snow, rather than stained and speckled by the blood of our fellow man…

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Water’s Edge

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If you follow this blog, or know Chris at all, you know two truths about him that stand out almost immediately. He is a gifted and talented creator (websites, sketches, paintings, etc) and he loves technology. He has been in on the forefront of website development and marketing since its early days in the 90’s. He has been able to showcase much of his creative talent by featuring his original artwork here at Madison Studios.

The painting above is a great example of Chris’ ability to fuse his talents with art and technology. The process behind this piece, and others like it, is intriguing. It began with a digital image that he took with a camera. He then imported it into a creative software program that he has (much like the ones you’ve seen the Pixar employees working on in the behind the scenes featurettes of your favorite movies). From there, he began to overlay digital “brushstrokes” onto the original image, using the photo as his guideline for creating the new painting.

This fusion of creative ability and harnessing technology is a large factor to what I feel makes Chris’ gift so special. His abilities are so diverse and broad that he is not limited to any one particular style, medium, or subject matter. He has been able to utilize the full gamut of his skills to create artwork that is beautiful and incorporates his diverse talents and abilities.

In short, this style of creating paintings is very indicative of who Chris is, both as an individual and as an artist. He’s able to combine much of today’s technology with the techniques and styles of traditional art into something new and exciting. I believe that being true to the old, while embracing new and current technologies and programs is the true path to consistent success in art, as is the case in many other aspects of life…

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Old Country Church

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, it’s fitting for me that I am tasked with writing words about the pictures that Chris creates with his art. The job seems insurmountable at times; I get charged with writing down something that, when people read it, they better understand the how and why of the painting, as well as taking a moment to contemplate life through a lens that is shaded by the perspective of both Chris as an artist, and myself as an author. Chris creates pieces of artwork that capture moments from scripture, history, and today’s life that spark a gamut of emotions, thoughts, and memories for his audience, all while sampling from numerous artists that he appreciates (as an avid art history buff) and pays homage to in both style and subject matter. (No pressure, right?)

I came across this painting as I was searching for my next blog post topic. It’s a very small country church, surrounded by a lot of open space and a picturesque evening sky. It spoke to me on several levels, and I knew that I had to write about it.

1st- The perspective of seeing the church from a distance, in the middle of nowhere. It seems fitting that the church can do just that – be standing out in the middle of what could seem like a vast expanse of “wilderness”, both in the world, and in the hearts of the people in it. The familiar silhouette of the pitched roof and steeple serve almost as a beacon, as if coming from a lighthouse, shining out into the country.

2nd – My grandparents went to a small country Baptist church in Godfrey, GA that closely resembled the one in this picture. I have lots of memories of the uncomfortable pews, creaking floors, and low attendance numbers on Sunday mornings.

I begin to think about little churches like this one, and about the Church in general. For years, the Church (big C, the body, not the building) has been an institution of refuge and safety for those who come into it’s fold. It’s stood for love, acceptance, generosity, care, and hospitality. Here in rural Georgia, there are small country churches just like this one dotting the backroads all around.

As time has progressed it seems like the church (little c this time) has begun to shift it’s “look”. More and more, little buildings with pitched roofs and steeples seem to be closing their doors, and the congregations are gravitating more towards buildings in cities and towns that are less about steeples, suits, and shined shoes, and more about being the Church (with a big C). This is not to discredit the work, depth, or worship of the churches  in the past at all, but is merely a reflection about the trend of moving from little c to big C churches.

I’m not entirely sure what the impact of this movement really will be, or if it is a “good” or “bad” thing. It’s just an observation… It seems that our churches, along with the world, are becoming more and more centralized, nationalized, and connected to the rest of the world in a very real way. The small country churches like the one in this painting seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs, as we move more into auditorium style venues with padded chairs, lights, and stages.

I know one thing for sure. Regardless of the future of how the church looks, the Church will carry on, and the message will continue to prosper and change lives.

So, what do you think? What will the church look like in 15 years? What will the Church look like in 15 years? What are your preferences? What do you see when you look at this painting? How does it make you feel about the church?

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

For the record, there are only 691 words in this post, not 1,000. 🙂

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Mountains at Dusk

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I think that there are two types of people in the world….beach people, and mountain people.

Beach people are able to sit in the sand and sun for hours on end, listening to the waves crash, and seagulls call out without a care in the world. They come alive when the smell of the salt air hits their nostrils, and they’re able to get their toes in the sand.

Mountain people are the ones who wouldn’t trade a thing in the world to be sitting in a rocker on a panoramic porch in a cabin, sipping hot cider and  listening to nature as the sun and stars pass by. The air in the mountain seems to be somehow a little more crisp and clean than anywhere else.

Sunsets are beautiful things to watch, no matter where you are. Depending on which coast your beach is on, you can view spectacular sun rises, sunsets, and beautiful skies year-round. Mountains provide a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, and heights for the sun to dance through each and every day.

In this painting, Chris depicts what I see as a “typical” Georgia mountain scene at dusk. There truly is nothing quite like sitting in the mountains as the sun begins to disappear over the ridge, and watching the colors shift in the sky and the shadows grow longer and larger. (Not to mention a starry mountain night sky!) The shades of green, grey, and blue that the landscape is able to produce in conjunction with the beauty of the sun’s rays are unparalleled.

So, my question to each of you is this – Are you a mountain person, or a beach person? And, why? I can’t wait to hear your answers.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Downtown Santa Fe

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In light of the forecasted 11 degree weather tonight in the Madison, GA area, I felt that I should post a blog that might help some of us think warm thoughts, and feel a little bit toastier in this bitter cold night.

This painting, titled “Downtown Santa Fe” is an original acrylic painting that Chris created based on a trip that he took to the Southwest a few years ago. I  personally have never traveled that far west, but i’ve heard nothing but good things about the colors, climate, and people of that area.

I’m no expert on the science of warmth of colors, but looking at this picture does make me feel a little bit less of the sting of the windy cold that waits for me on the walk to my car in a few minutes. As I look at this painting, I can almost begin to feel the radiant warmth of the mud-walled buildings. Surely, this would be a much more inviting place and time to find oneself than anywhere outside during this cold snap.

The hues and tones of this painting make me wish that I were on the next thing smoking out west, or down south to a much warmer and calmer climate.

What about you? What picture, if you could look at it, would transform you mentally to a warmer and more enjoyable climate? Would it be a beach, a mountain house with a cozy fire, an adobe hut similar to this one in the southwest?

Art has the ability to transform us to places, even if it’s just in our minds. I hope that this painting brings you just a little bit of warmth on this cold, cold night! Stay Warm!

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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The Studios

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There is something truly special and captivating about the buildings and storefronts of downtown Madison, GA, and the storefront of Madison Studios is no exception. There is a rich and storied history that is contained in each of the buildings. I love speaking with people who have lived in Madison longer than I have to get stories of what used to be in buildings in years past. The plaque outside of the office reads “The Hardware Bldg.”, so I assume that this might have been the original site for the hardware store before it moved to the old Livery Stable.

Chris painted this watercolor painting from a photograph that he took of the storefront. When he and I spoke about it, he mentioned that it definitely had a “photo” feel to it, meaning that the lines were much more pronounced and the angles of the awning were more severe than if he’d painted it from memory. Whenever I see it hanging in the office, I can’t help but think that it could easily be mistaken for a photo. It’s an amazing testament to Chris’ artistic ability. It is very reminiscent of the painting of the old barbershop that he painted.

Realism is a style of artwork that I don’t think that I would be very good at, therefore, I appreciate it all the more when I see an artist that has captured an image like Chris has here. This is just awesome.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

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Southern Snow-Madison

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Living in a southern state, we don’t get so see snow very often, and when we do it is seldom at a time when one would generally expect it. I can count on one hand the number of “white Christmases” i’ve had in my 27 years. When we do get snow, its on a random night in March, or it just melts and causes all of the roads to ice over.

Chris Cook has lived in the Southeast for most of his life as well. He depicts one day in Madison, GA, post evening snow in this original acrylic painting. I feel like it captures the essence of what we get if and when we do get snow. The next day, the roads are slushy, if not iced over, and the fields are dotted with bits of white. Seldom do we have enough accumulation to make a snow man or snow angel.

Chris is a gifted artist, and I feel like his landscape paintings in particular do a fantastic job of capturing the southern terrain, in all of its glorious splendor.

With any luck, we will be able to get some snow before the winter ends this year…

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.