The Dungeness Estate,by Christopher Simpson

The Dungeness Estate,by Christopher Simpson
The Dungeness Estate on Cumberland Island (as it once was.) Read more about this and other paintings by Chris at (Copyright-Chris Simpson Fine Art)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Scottish Series and related Artworks

"Ciamar a tha sibh?" Scottish Gaelic for hello or how are you.
The Artwork in this series is dedicated to all Scottish people everywhere and anyone who wishes to be or enjoys the traditions.
First of all some years back I was asked to do a large oil painting of the "Royal and Ancient," of Scotland for the Golf course Royal Lakes as a tribute to where golf all started. (Bottom Painting seen here)
With my Dad's love of Golf, I realized this is where it all started.
Little did I know at the time how my own connections were about to play out. You see, both of my major surnames are very Scottish, just one happens to be more literally connected to, but not only, the land. I had heard my Grandmother years ago say, "we are Scottish," and at the time thought nothing of it because my own interest and I was not mature enough I guess you might say.
With the past behind us, praise be to God, I have wanted to understand more where those in my family before me came from, and how this fits into me being an artist. I can still recall listening to family stories as a child visualizing what it may have been like in those days.
So the journey began to unfold. As you may see on my site and the blog here, my wife and I enjoyed our trips to Cumberland Island which became a great inspiration for my art. As I began to study the Carnegie family and the commission of the Royal and Ancient was finished, I started have more questions about my own lineage?

Intensely studying my maternal family was made somewhat easy by some family members who had compiled a book about the family.
In general, the Scottish surname dates back hundreds and possibly over a thousand years. For 5 centuries the Earls of Ross and their families lived in the Balnagown Castle you see above (top painting) that became a good subject for one of my first in the long series of Scottish oil paintings I am working on.
With my artistic license, I placed the river on this side of the Castle for the viewer to be able to see better and to have a great place for the flowers and rocks with moss.
There had to be the juniper which is a representation for the Clan Ross badge and of course what would it be without the beautiful heather along side. The bright blue sky and white clouds are symbolic for the Saltire as you will also notice flying atop the castle with the Ross tartan.
On the big tree to the right is carved on it's truck, Soli- Deo-Gloria, (to God be the Glory), which in the actual Castle is carved over one of the mantle's. Much thought, heart, and time went into creating this oil painting for all the Ross generations before and currently living and for anyone who just enjoys the beauty of Scotland and it's Castles.
The current Chief of Clan Ross is David Ross of Ross and Balnagown. He is a descendant of Ronald Ross who was a surgeon discovering the cause of Malaria, winning the Noble prize for such and also enjoyed doing some painting.
There is so much more to this "clan" and all it's connected families. That is exactly one of the points I will be making in my upcoming new book.

The Original of the Castle is currently not for sale yet to request to receive a limited canvas reproduction contact the artist directly at

All the Best,
Christopher Paul Simpson

Chi mi a dh'aithghearr sibh." (Scottish Gaelic for See you Soon).
Christopher Simpson

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Self Portrait
Christopher Simpson
(Copyright, chrissimpsonfineart)

One of my close artist friends likes to say,"to tell all is to be a bore." I must agree and in this portrait only some aspects are going to be revealed here. You may read into it what you will, just remember there is a truth in my artistic intentions and here's some insight.

In the background the Cathedral is an aged building in ruins, however for me does not mean destruction but is standing despite age and struggle. With a bold confidence rooted in deep faith, as well as many deep intangible emotions included in this painting, this has become a journey of discovery about how I have come to understand myself more though it did not begin this way.

When I began the self portrait countless hours looking into a mirror of similar size gave me no indication of what was to come. I did understand at the time I wanted to include the fact I'm an artist without overstating it, so my brushes play the part well. Notice the book in my hand. Are you able to tell what it says?

Lastly for me there is a timelessness to the painting. The flowing stream, ethereal light, and other elements makes it hard to distinguish exactly when this takes place.
After nearly two years of work, it's my hope you will not see me as thinking highly of myself and
believe me, when you spend this much time looking at yourself, it's quite humbling. Many artist have used themselves as a reference for art because of how readily available the subject is and the fact you don't have to get someone else to sit for you or rely on a photograph.

For we all find we must be true to the person looking back at us in the reflection.
So I leave you with this poem. Christopher Paul Simpson. 2009

The man in the glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you king for a day,
just go to a mirror and look at yourself and see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your father of mother or wife whose judgment upon you must pass,
the fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight-shooting chum
and call you a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
if you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
for he's with you clear to the end and you've passed the most dangerous test
if the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
and get pats on the back as you pass,
but your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.
-Author unknown

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Importance of Sketching and Drawing is so relevant to creating a painting.

It's been a while since I've blogged.
For anyone out there who'd like to know more, I'm resuming from a much needed break.

Many of you know the need for good sketches in your art if you have been doing your art for years.
Sometimes we forget just how it does help us with our idea.

Here is one example from one of my paintings "Seaside Journey," first in my Cumberland Island series which began several years ago.
I've included the finished painting along side the drawings.
These sketches or drawings were completed on Cumberland Island.
Then I study them carefully at home to decide how I want the painting to look. You see the gulls as you look at the finished oil. It's more than just copying your graphite work into your painting. I always think, where is the best placement for what I am trying to convey or how will this work out when finished. In the bottom one, notice how I have several thumbnail sketches, even one I didn't get to do. Your working with the idea here, so keep developing it.

The composition is important as I tell my students. Always or as much as you are able, carry your sketch book with you, on trips, out to eat, to the park. Inspiration strikes and it's hard to remember by words the experience you had "seen," with your eyes.
You will notice I sometimes write on my drawings. I don't advocate this always, but at the time for me it was a way to remember more than I find time for drawing and besides, dinner was almost done, ha ha.
There's something to be said about a drawing and even a loose sketch can speak volumes to you later about what you beheld in front of you in "real life." So don't be too critical of yourself when you sketch. Allow your feeling into it.

This is why life drawing is so important to all of us artist and anyone who
enjoys the process of art.

I will continue next time on the steps in between this and the finished artwork. Also check out my other blogs like the updates to student work at the Academy and my website,

Thanks for your interest and
keep on keeping on,
Christopher P. Simpson