Reclaiming my online presence

I know what you’re thinking, “Here goes another rant about the horrible social media that rots people’s minds and sells your soul”. Well fear not my friends, this is not this blog. I have experienced a great sense of community with FaceBook and Instagram. The ability to be exposed to artists that I admire and discover new artists has been very rewarding. However, I do feel a disconnect that in such environments, the ability to recount my experiences in long form is lost. I won’t even begin to get into the can of worms that is privacy and ownership with social media. So, I wanted to experiment and go back to my blog. To tell my stories, share my work without fear of judgement from my peers. Yes, I do feel that pressure to live up to everyone else’s expectations, even if it is not really there and nobody gives a damn about what I write or post. So here is to new beginnings and experiments. Are you excited as I am about the unknown? Let’s begin...

Today, I had another request to paint a portrait from a photo. These are such delicate decisions. Most photos people show me are washed out old photographs of long lost loved ones. The photo is more of a placeholder for their memory which fills in the gaps of missing details. Since I don’t possess the same memories, the photo provides little if any details of how to handle the portrait. What they are hoping is that I can read their mind and magically pull the visions from their memories and produce what they remember of the loved one. Sadly, I can’t do this. More often than not, I politely turn the job down and explain the photo is lacking necessary visual information needed to work from. I feel for them and their longing to reconnect to those memories. However, sometimes, there are photos that I can work from. The technology of better cameras in smart phones helps me immensely when accepting new commissions. And of course, good contrast light doesn’t hurt either.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are two photos that will help illustrate my point. I hope.



A photo of my dear mum. Notice the washed out details? She literally could be any young girl from that baby boomer era. Not a good photo to work from.


A photo of my Pops. See the details and the contour of the face from the shadows? This kind of photograph makes an excellent reference for a portrait.



Doug Clarke is an award winning Plein Air and Studio painter based out of Virginia Beach. He works in oils creating plein air and studio paintings.

Graduating with Honors and Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University, Doug's work has evolved from commercial to fine art.  As an active member of the Norfolk Drawing Group, the painter strives for excellence in his figure drawings and paintings.  His commitment to life drawing and painting led him outdoors to paint "en plein air".  There he realized his passion for capturing light and nature in his own personal way.

Doug has been commissioned to paint both Harborfest and Neptune Festival posters for 2014.  Awards include 1st place awards for Plein Air 757,  Williamsburg Plein Air and the Plein Air Mount Lebanon quick draw competitions, as well as a three time winner of the Historic Fort Monroe Plein Air Exhibition.  His paintings are collected far and abroad internationally.  Doug’s work is currently represented by Harbor Gallery and the Ellen Moore Gallery.

In pursuit of mastering his craft, he has participates in local and national plein air events

When painting outdoors, Doug is very passionate about capturing the vanishing landscapes of Southeastern Virginia.