Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Portrait Drawing & Painting Classes

This summer I'm opening up my studio here in Pleasant Grove, UT to my fellow artists interested in gaining a greater understanding of traditional portraiture. I'm offering two classes sessions, June 4-July 6, 2012 & July 9-Aug 10, 2012, where I will teach and demonstration my approach to creating a convincing portrait. We will begin by creating a solid drawing with correct proportions and form, then transfer the drawing to canvas and complete the portrait in oil. Students will be responsible for bringing there own materials. Class size is limited (I want this to be a small group for more one-on-one instruction), so if you're interested go to: and reserve your spot!

Feel free to contact me if you have ANY questions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painting Demo at NWC

Last week I had the opportunity to give a demo at the place where it all started for me, Northwest College in Powell, WY. Northwest was my first REAL experience with art and the time I spent there had a major impact on the course of my career. Under the tutelage of John Giarrizzo, my art professor at NWC, I gained a strong desire to be a painter. John was a huge source of encouragement and support during my struggles of learning how to paint. I had a great time hanging out with him again and visiting with the rest of the faculty there.

Here are some images of my demo, courtesy of Dan Baney. The demo lasted about 3 hrs..

and here's the final piece... (I'm too slow to get any detail in)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Painting

Casey Childs, Hayden, oil, gold leaf on canvas, 32x14" Frame by Rett Ashby.

Here's a new painting commission I finished just before Christmas. I haven't done any gold leaf in my work in quite some time, but the client really liked the look of it in the portraits of my boys and wanted me to add it. So I decide to reflect the swirls of her beautiful red hair with the pattern of gold in the background. I think it turned out alright.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Process to Create "Greater Love Hath No Man"

Casey Childs, Greater Love Hath No Man, Oil on Linen, 60x48″

Prints are available HERE

 **UPDATE** I'm currently working on the second panel of this painting originally designed as a diptych. The second panel, which will be displayed on the left, will show the members of the mob outside the door. The wood frame in the middle of the two panels will act as the wall separating the inside and outside of the room. Here's an article from the Daily Herald about the photoshoot. The completed piece will be on display at the Church History Museum fall of 2015. Prints will be available once the painting is completed


I'm happy to announce that my new painting, Greater Love Hath No Man, received the Charles & Ruth Whiting Award during the 26th Annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah Exhibition at the Springville Museum in Springville, UT! Here are a couple news articles for the show:

Spiritual snapshots: Popular religious exhibit makes annual appearance at Springville Museum of Art

26th annual Spiritual and Religious Art Exhibit offers inspiration & variety

I've been wanting to show the process I took to create my recent painting, Greater Love Hath No Man, and my research to make it historically accurate, so here goes... The entire painting is not yet finished--the finished painting will be a diptych, so this is detailing the process and research behind the first completed panel.

The Idea

The painting has been a personal project of mine beginning in 2009 when I had the impression to capture the moment right before Hyrum Smith was shot in Carthage Jail at Carthage, IL in 1844. A painting of that moment had never been painted, which made me more excited to do it. I wanted to paint a diptych, a two-panel painting, portraying what was happening on both sides of the door. And the more I thought about this projec,t the more I want to make sure the painting was as accurate as possible, so I began researching this event.

Casey Childs at Carthage Jail in Carthage, IL

The Research
I decided I needed to travel to Illinois to see for myself the room where this took place. So in August 2009, with my friend and photographer, Michael VaughAn, I spent 3 days photographing and documenting the room in Carthage where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered. We were there at approx. 5pm each day to make sure the light in the room was similar to that day in 1844 when they were shot. Here's a short video of our time in Carthage:

I studied the witness accounts from both survivors of this event, John Taylor and Willard Richards. I tried to stay as close to their accounts as I possibly could even though they varied slightly. I consulted Dr. Joseph L. Lyon who has done extensive research on the scene at Cartage Jail to help me fill in the gaps. He and David W. Lyon wrote a wonderful article, Physical Evidence at Carthage Jail and What It Reveals about the Assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In this article they go into great detail about the crime scene at Carthage Jail, analyzing everything from the type of musket balls the mob members were using down to the angle that the ball was traveling that killed Hyrum. This research and discussion with Dr. Lyon helped me greatly determine how to pose each person in my painting. I then did some quick sketches to figure out the composition of the painting, enlisting the help of a neighbor to get some poses:
Initial Sketch for Painting

Clothing and Props
The next step was to get accurate clothing made for proper reference for my painting as well as to research the props needed.
I enlisted the help of costume historian Carma deJong Anderson as well as my mentor, William Whitaker, who has done a TON of research on early 1800s clothing to get accurate clothing from that era. Eldred G. Smith currently owns the clothes Hyrum was wearing at the time of his assassination. Below is an image of Hyrum's clothes:

Images of Hyrum Smith's Clothes

Carma and my mother, Linda, worked tirelessly to sew the clothing my models would be wearing, including a replica of Hyrum's clothes.
Working on Costumes

I also researched the walking sticks Willard Richards and John Taylor were using.

As well as the pistols Joseph and Hyrum were carrying (images courtesy of the Church History Museum in SLC, UT).

To stage this scene properly and accurately pose my models, I felt it necessary to build a set that included the two walls with the door in Carthage Jail.
Once I had the clothing and set built, I was ready for the photo shoot. Here's another short video of our photo shoot in my studio:

Image from the photo shoot for the first panel of the painting

Creating the Painting
I began with some drawing and painting studies to figure out the expression of Joseph Smith and John Taylor since their expressions are a very important part of the story and composition.
Sketch of Joseph Smith by Casey ChildsSketch of John Taylor by Casey Childs
Oil study of John Taylor by Casey Childs

I then enlarged and transferred my drawing to the final canvas. I did a simple under painting before laying down opaque paint. You can see some of the burnt sienna (orange-brown) coming through in this photo:
Painting in progress
And here's a shot of me working on the painting in my studio (image courtesy of Gwendolyn Soper):
Casey Childs working in the studio

Thursday, November 03, 2011

"Influential Figures" gallery

We now have a page set up where you can purchase any of the original drawings from the "Influential Figures" series. I will be updating the page with new drawings as they're being completed, so please check back often. Each drawings includes a custom frame and is 14x8.5" in size. Go here to see the gallery page.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kickstarter Project

Hey guys, I've started a project on kickstarter to help fund the production of a collection of prints from the Influential Figures series I'm working on. Here's how kickstarter works:

ALL OR NOTHING--Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. So if I don't get the minimum amount I'm asking to produce my project, nothing happens. It's less risk for everyone that way.

REWARDS--Each pledge receives an award, and the more you pledge the better the reward. You can pre-order the print collection for a minimum pledge of $200.

So check it out and hit the "like" button under the video to spread the word!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Greater Love Hath No Man

Casey Childs, Greater Love Hath No Man, Oil on Linen, 60x48″

After nearly a year of work and research on this painting, it is half finished. My goal is to paint a dipytch, but this half of the painting is done.

I finished this in time to enter into the Spiritual & Religious show at the
Springville Museum in Springville UT. I hope you'll go check it out!