Chris Cook Artist

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

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Coffee!

 

It seems that so much in life, particularly in the work of the church, revolves around the glorious essence of a ground bean that has been steeped in hot water. Coffee is what makes much of the world go round. It brings warmth and energy to our bodies and life to events and parties.

Some of us cannot function without at least one cup in the morning. Even if we can make it out the door dressed and ready, our day hasn’t started without a stop by our favorite spot for coffee, or a good cup from our favorite mug at home.

I believe that the way that one takes their coffee is a matter of pride, preference, and passion. I personally tend to take mine black. I am a purist. I don’t often waste time or calories with creams, sugars, and syrups. When I first began drinking coffee, it had to taste like a candy bar in order for me to even think of drinking it. I wasn’t fond of the taste or the smell of coffee, and I couldn’t understand how or why other people drank it. As I continued to work through meetings and counseling sessions as a youth minister and church staff member, it became more and more clear that coffee was going to be a necessary evil. Somehow,

Somehow, coffee was able to work its hooks into me, and before long I was drinking it black and by the pot full.

 

No matter how you take your coffee or if it’s tea or cocoa that you prefer, I believe that one thing that we can all agree on is that there is something special about holding that cup of hot delicious goodness that brings us together, keeps us going, and motivates us all throughout our busy lives.

 

May your weeks be short, and your coffee be strong.

 

Shalom, Y’all –

Jed

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Choosing what is better

 

I love this representation that Chris painted of the story of Mary and Martha in this painting. As I have contemplated the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other prominent women figures in my life, I have noticed when each of them demonstrated the tendency to be more of a “Mary” or a “Martha” at times.

 

As I look at this painting, I find it almost comical. The style in which Chris painted is to me very reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s work. Martha is seen draped over the open refrigerator door, red-faced and trying to collect herself from the business of hosting the party. You can almost see her internal dialogue going off. “Ok, devilled eggs, tea sandwiches, the olive tray is full, the vegetables will be done in 4 minutes,  the meat is resting…do we have enough ice? Mary, I could really use a hand here!”

Mary is intently studying, reflecting, and taking notes on everything that Jesus is saying. Her smile suggests that she is absolutely captivated by Jesus’ words and could care less about making sure that the food and the details are all taken care of. The company is her only concern.

I believe that it takes both types of people at different times to keep events going and to make sure that things get done. I know that Martha gets a bad reputation, but without the Marthas of this world, none of us would have tea sandwiches, olive trays, or the vegetables with our dinner. Mary’s exist to remind us to stop and enjoy fellowship, to sit at Jesus’ feet and to keep our eyes and mind on the things that truly matter in the grand scheme of life.

 

This picture speaks to me on many levels. Are you more inclined to feel like a Mary or a Martha? Why…

 

Shalom, Y’all –

Jed

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Walking the Line in Infamy

When Chris asked me to begin writing blog posts again, I was excited and thrilled. I love his artwork and really enjoy stretching my creative writing muscles as I compose these pieces about his paintings. This particular upcoming show is one that I think will feature Chris’ ability to tell stories through images in a very dynamic and thrilling way.

The exhibit, “Face to Face – Portraits of the Infamous” will be shown at the Colonial at Main & Washington from Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 7. When I asked Chris about his inspiration for the subject matter, he told me he painted one just because, and that quickly turned into many, which seemed a natural fit for an exhibit.

infamous – adjective in·fa·mous \ˈin-fə-məs\

  1. 1:  having a reputation of the worst kind: an infamous traitor

  2. 2:  causing or bringing infamy: an infamous crime

  3. 3:  convicted of an offense bringing infamy

As I began to ponder the idea of infamy and look at this portrait of Johnny Cash, It started to click with me just what Chris was up to. Chris told me that this exhibit is much less about the individuals that he paints themselves, as it was the “face” of that person. Johnny Cash was a man with a tremendous gift to tell stories through song. His strong voice is definitely unmatched and completely unique. His hit “I Walk The Line” sat on Billboard’s record charts for 43 weeks and sold over 2 million copies. In 1980, he became the youngest living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he joined an elite club of performers that are in both organizations.

Cash’s infamy came in part from his “bad boy” appearance and the addiction to narcotics that he developed to keep up with his hectic, 300 shows a year schedule that he had in the 1960s. The “Man in Black” kept up his no-nonsense persona even after recovering from addiction. Despite his storied past and outwardly defiant appearance, Cash had a gift that could not go unnoticed. He was the man that, regardless of how you felt about his character, one could not deny the passion and talent that he showcased.

This piece will be sold in a silent auction in conjunction with the art exhibit as a fundraiser to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Madison, Georgia.

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Viewing Stages of a Painting, One

I have had questions over time about how I work (how an artist works really). I do sometimes take quick snap shots of different points I get to in a painting. I am doing a little series of posts that will show some of the stages a single painting goes through as I develop a work. I do have different starting points… sometimes pencil sketches on paper, or a small painting on paper first before going to a larger format. But, like with the example below of “Matthew Listening by Candlelight” I started with an overall wash of a dull color. After it dried, I took a smaller brush and dipped it in some left over brown and started drawing from a photo reference right on the canvas.

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The next day, I went out to my studios and mixed brown and dark blue together to make a near black and with a pretty wide, flat brush laid in all the darkest parts away from the imaginary candle light source. (the photo reference was a man sitting outside in bright daylight). I used a mix of yellow oxide and gray to dab at the highlights.

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After that, I used the three previous color mixes and filled in the rest of his face. Finally a sloppy wet mix of medium dark to tone the entire canvas down giving it the old candlelight look!

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Enjoy.

Chris

 

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Just Trying Something New

I have painted many different subjects, in many different styles and even experimented with different media. In looking at my website, I noticed that I do not often paint Still Life paintings. After working so hard to make the deadline for the Farm Show at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, I had to take some time off to rest.

In visiting my art studio after 2-3 weeks after that rest, I took a stab at still life. I wanted to work on my “brush work” and keep them loose… so I painted all of this series (so far) with an oversized brush to force the looseness.

Take a quick look at the early results – what do you think?

 

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White top cliffs

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I think that classifying himself as a “Contemporary Christian Artist” speaks volumes about Chris’ style of painting and his approach to life. His creative eye gives him the ability to spot beauty in things around him, while his faith allows him to remember that God is the ultimate creator and the force behind all things that are beautiful. What an awesome thought that the Lord of the universe is not only a loving God, but one who takes pride in creating beautiful things for us, his prized possession to enjoy.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the LordGod Almighty is his name.”

I too take solace and comfort in knowing that, with just His words, our God was able to create the beauty that is contained within our earth. I also love that artists like Chris are able to capture beautiful scenes like this one to preserve their visions and memories during their exposure to these places. Knowing that he knows WHO created this beautiful landscape, and why makes this painting all the more enjoyable to look at.

“I tell you,”he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

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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Fruit in a bowl

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Chris does some amazing things with paint and canvas. Whether it’s something as complex as capturing the sunset bouncing off of the Sedona, AZ desert, the anguish in the face of Jesus as he was crucified, or as “simple” as painting a still life of some fruit in a bowl, he always has a way of capturing the moment, and the memory that it evokes.

This particular painting is one that we all might think to see in an art class, or a “beginner’s lesson”, but Chris seems to have a way of capturing still life in such a way that it is able to still express his personality and style of painting. Even with watercolors on canvas, I am amazed at his ability to capture highlights, reflections, and shadows. I feel like this style, in addition to the whimsical, spiritual, and sometimes fantasy-like nature of some of Chris’ work is a real testament to his talent as an artist.

Sometimes, creating things that are simple, and simply beautiful is the best understated ability that one can have. Chris is able to do this with both his artwork, and with the websites that he designs. He truly has a gift…

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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Barns, Barns, Barns…

Tennessee Barns: 1 through 5.

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Why paint the same picture 5 times? Good Question. As I was about the finish Tennessee Barn #1, I was really liking the way it looked compositionally and the color scheme as well, but, I had an idea for another color pallet that I “could have used”. I pulled out a second blank canvas the same size and roughed in the same composition and left it there while finishing the first.

I thought about Monet, and how he painted the hay stack picture over and over again – using roughly the same composition, point of view… but at different times of day to get different light. What a marvelous idea… but he painted those paintings “En plein air” that is a French expression that means “in the open air,” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors (on the spot).

Unfortunately, I was painting this in my art studio in Madison, Georgia while that barn is sitting in a sharp curve in the road just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I had made a quick photo on my iPhone from the side of the road years ago, so I could not observe the barn at different times of day – I abandoned that idea and went with “I could have painted this in a different color pallet idea” that I had originally.

I repeated this idea until I had exhausted color pallets I felt were appropriate for this subject. Now I have a wonderful set of five paintings of the same subject if someone wanted to make a grouping on their wall, or a nice set of different color paintings of the same subject to suit someone’s idea of “I like those colors”.

I went on to paint another barn from Blowing Rock, North Carolina two times with two different color pallets. You will just have to go to my website to see those.

Enjoy,

Chris Cook

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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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What’s his story?

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One of my favorite pastimes is to pick a random person, someone unknown to me, and to think to myself, “what’s their story?” It gives me an opportunity, albeit completely in my mind, to try and put myself into someone else’s shoes, and imagine their story. I might see a couple sitting on a park bench and think to myself, “he has the ring in his pocket. He’s known she was the one since the first date, and he’s finally ready to pop the question”. Or, I may see a young boy using a small stick as a laser blaster or sword, “he’s blasting storm troopers, or slaying members of the foot clan!”

I feel that, so often, the story behind a piece of art enlightens us to so much more about both the artist and the subject. In writing these blog posts for Chris, I have been able to get a lot of the “why behind the what” for many of the paintings that I’ve written about. How great would it be if we were about to know the truth behind the half smile of The Mona Lisa, or what The Thinker was actually thinking about?

I want to leave you with a question about the man pictured in the painting above. What is his story? Why might Chris have painted him sitting at the bus stop, with a sign for the drivers license station being in close proximity? How old is he? Why isn’t he driving? Comment below, and let us know what you think!

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.