Ailithir McGill

This portrait  is Ailithir McGill, the director of Nickel Plate Arts.  Nickel Plate Arts is an art center created by Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. Their mission is to build community around the arts in each of the six towns along the Nickel Plate Railroad from Fishers to Tipton, Indiana by supporting, promoting, and providing outstanding arts experiences. They offer great experiences for art lovers, artists, students and corporate partners who care about the arts.

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Every year I do a portrait of my wife, Norene.  This time I’ve tried to be free with my brush strokes.  I’ve been teaching my art students about the techniques of the impressionists and decided do the painting the same way.  The dark background on the left give a contrast to the face, creating a much more dramatic feel.


DSCN4290This painting is  called “Oceanside” for two reasons — first, it’s at the side of the ocean, and second, it’s actually a painting of Oceanside, California.  The most important thing in the painting is the portrayal of the people wading in the water.  Their  reflections are made by painting a mirror image below them, then dragging the brush through them to give the impressions of water and waves.  The beach houses are done with linear perspective.  They are larger in the front and move to the center of the picture.  Atmospheric perspective is created when the people are sharper and clearer than the things in front of them.  The green on the horizon line actually  looks blue.  This is what happens when the viewer is further away.


DSCN4052I found all of my school pictures from when I was growing up.  As I looked at them, I realized the kids were small like my grandchildren.  They were all innocent, unlike the way I remembered them.  In my thoughts they were adults.  The people in my pictures got to look forward to the Vietnam War, heartbreaks, divorce, murder and other things.  Hopefully many of them have lived happy lives and enjoyed the fulfillment of family and friends.  This painting shows how we dressed back then — the girls all were required to wear dresses every day to school.  I enjoyed doing this painting.  I hope my classmates are all happy.


DSCN3264I have a canoe.  I love paddling it anytime, but especially during Autumn.  It’s great t o see the red and yellow leaves reflecting in the water.  This painting is quite impressionistic — I’ve just let my feelings flow to create the feeling I have when I’m out on the water.


DSCN3261The Bean Blossom covered bridge is one of several found in Indiana.  They’re very beautiful structures and are generally in scenic places in woods or farmland. I’ve given the illusion of sunlight and shadow — sunlight has a yellow tint to it while shadow is bluish.  Depth is portrayed by putting things over the top of others, like the plant life over the top of the bridge.

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DSCN2856This is a demo I did for a class I’m teaching.  It gives the feeling of depth because the cars at the left are larger than the ones on the right.  The same is true with the buildings.  When I paint, I’m working more with emotion than trying to create reality.  That can be done with a camera, but my work comes forth like singing from my soul.