Chris Cook Artist

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


Viewing Stages of a Painting, Five

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The title of this painting is “Sad Mary”… this title is purposely vague to leave it up to the viewer as to which “Mary” this painting may refer to. In image 1 you can see that this painting started out as a work on paper – it is “clipped” to the easel on the left for reference for the larger painting.  The first pass of the larger painting was spontaneous and only took a few minutes.

I worked quickly with large brush strokes and even let the paint that ran off her chin remain as it became more complete.  In the earlier work Mary looked masculine and I gradually softened the lines and shapes to make her more feminine as I continued. The started the skin tones in black and white and added color as I went along.  In the final version Mary looks noticeably sadder than the previous three.  I increased the size of the inside of her hood as I went along. I ended up subduing the black shadow throughout the painting by the time I completed the final draft. I moved away from the orange color in the bottom left corner. Then, I shifted to a more yellow shade in the upper left corner in the final draft.

Funny the processes used in painting – it just happens and I have learned “when to stop” – which is an art of it’s own!



Viewing Stages of a Painting, Four

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Sometimes in the painting process I reach a point where I don’t know if I should continue painting or leave it as it is.  For this particular painting, John the Baptist, I reached a point where I was pleased with the progress and I left it dormant for a week or so. When I revisited the painting I decided to add some flesh color and I really think it breathed new life into the painting.  Which version do you prefer? Lighter or Darker skin tone?


Painting a Painting 3 Times

Not sure if you noticed, but sometimes many artist paint the same painting multiple times. I have read that some great artist, like Robert Motherwell did this because he still felt he had to work it out, that earlier versions were maybe “not it” – was quoted saying “maybe now looking back, it could have been an earlier painting that was it”… Artist like Vincent Van Gogh painted the same painting multiple times to give one to his friend and brother but liked it enough to keep one for himself.

For me personally, this happens for several reasons.

  1. I notice an older painting and take a renewed interest in it and paint another version of it with a fresh look at the original.
  2. I feel that if I sell it (haha) that I might regret not having it around, so I paint another exactly like it (or as close as I can)
  3. I want to share it with friends and/or family and (like Van Gogh) want to have one too
  4. I looked at the original and something bugs me and I take another shot at it (like Motherwell, maybe the original was it?)
  5. I have a wild idea that maybe a museum would want the painting and paint it larger to be more in line with the works in a museum.
Jack Ruby Murders Lee Harvey Oswald on TV

Jack Ruby Murders Lee Harvey Oswald on TV

The second and the last reason above is the reason is the reason for painting the theme of Ruby shooting Oswald again and again. I stuck with the original theme which was to mix Pablo Picasso’s Painting of Guernica (black and white with a little brown) with a still from the television footage (black and white) of Ruby shooting Oswald on live television. Both the painting and the images of the 60s event seemed to have something deeply in common, something that has not changed since men have been on earth – a propensity towards violence to gain power over another person or group of persons…

Maybe I paint paintings multiple times because… I can?

Chris Cook






Night Noise

Night Noise.


This painting is from the distant past, but I still have it hanging in view of my desk here at my office so that I can see it daily.

This work started with some small pencil sketches to work out the composition. My concept was to visually create that feeling we all get when we hear an unusual noise at night. We would like to ignore them and think to ourselves, “it was probably just the wind”… but more often than not, we feel compelled to investigate the noise.  I don’t know about you, but I am usually a little anxious… walk slowly and quietly looking around… opening doors slowly… sound familiar?

In this composition, I used a second person to increase the drama. A noise outside that gets you and your spouse out of bed must be more than something to write off as the wind. The second person stays cautiously back a little peering out as well. The outside is dark and unknown, a little creepy, while the interior is bright, warm and safe. They are both venturing out… will they go out or just say all is well and go back inside where they can go back to watching TV or back to sleep?

That is all up to your imagination. I just like to create works that give you a chance to think, or to create your own story with. Either way, hope you enjoyed my story.

Chris Cook


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


Father Francis



Father Francis Xavier Kavanagh was one of the founding members of the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA. He, along with 19 others, formed the Trappist Monastery in 1944. Father Francis is widely remembered by most of the students and visitors who came to the grounds for his role as guest master. He was the face and voice of the monastery for many of the guest who came in seeking information and spiritual counsel.

Chris grew up in the Conyers area. He visited the grounds often as both a “tourist” and as an artist seeking inspiration. The beautiful southern landscape lends a lot of natural beauty to the grandeur of the abbey grounds.

I like the style of this painting. Chris jests that I’m “digging deep” for this painting because it’s from so long ago. I think that the geometric lines and shapes that compose the face, juxtaposed against the rounded crown of the Father’s head are captivating.

There is a mysterious, almost secretive shroud around the monastic lifestyle. I’ve often pondered about the type of faith that it would take to live a life devoted to monastic practices like prayer, service, solitude, silence, and the Trappist skills like baking bread and making wine, beer, and cheeses. The devotion that these men have to their crafts and to their faith is unparalleled. Chris does a beautiful job of capturing a glimpse of the father, incorporated into an artistically blended and beautiful expression.

My question is this – What are your experiences with Monks, Nuns, and Monasteries? Have you visited the grounds out in Conyers? Ever enjoyed a food or product made by the hands of one of these skilled craftsmen?


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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