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This is an example of traditional methods for starting a painting. The method includes starting with a toned canvas and then wiping out the highlights with a wet rag. This method allows for the composition and tonal values to be quickly established. The bright white of the canvas is also eliminated which can be a distraction while painting. 

The subject matter is a Lotus flower which  comes into bloom in the second week of July in Maryland.  I am often inspired from photographs I take of Lotus

from either Kenilworth Watergardens or at Lilypons Md.  The Watergardens are  near the National Arborteum which has a large Koi pond where I also find additional subject matter for  inspiration.


Here is a recent painting captured from the start to finish.  The inspiration for this painting was captured while kayaking in the early morning mist on the Potomac near Harper’s Ferry West Virginia.  Many unique moments are fleeting that you can only enjoy momentarily.  I was fortunate to capture this moment so that I can relive and share it again. 


This painting is derived from another painting I completed several years ago. 
The original painting is titled “Blue Tang”. I will often create an alternate version of a painting I previously completed in order to explore alternative techniques and composition variations.  The original painting is inspired from a photo opportunity while snorkeling with my wife in Belize while on our honeymoon.  I have many amazing underwater photographs from Belize which I hope to develop into other paintings in the future.

I took my first scuba diving trip to Florida Keys where I was instantly attracted to underwater world of lights and colors.  I continue to look for inspiration from these special underwater environments.


This drawing and finished painting are inspired by an actual butterfly I purchased while visiting lower Manhattan. The colors and lighting effects of the Blue Morpho are impossible to replicate, but I continue to attempt to catch the essence of this natural beauty.  I have painted the same butterfly many times.  I print out the original drawing each time which saves me time in my multiple attempts.  If you are interested in a copy of the Blue Morpho let me know as I have created several reproductions from the original painting.


Blue Tang


Blue Morpho


Morning Mist


I have painted this subject previously, but I always look for ways to improve a previous painting so I will attempt the same or derived composition in order to explore the elements that inspired me.  Below you can see the original photograph which I took at the Chicago Aquarium.


Octopus Sketch


john [at] moffittstudios [dot] com