John Troxell Demonstration
April 6, 2015


There's just no other way to say it . . . John Troxell’s demo was done - IN THE DARK!
And it was a fascinating demo.  John has painted in this fashion for decades, in what he calls a semi-photo realistic style.  While he has the ability to paint many styles, from
classic portraits, to his large wall-size murals both on the sides of commercial buildings and in the interior decorations of fine homes, he uses this technique to produce many of his acrylic wall paintings, for sale on commission or to art galleries.

EAA President Lee Peters set up a projector to display a Cleveland Heights scene (looking west toward the downtown Cleveland skyline from the hill at the intersection of Fairmont and Cedar), a late evening sunset view of a near-dark cityscape in the foreground illuminated by oncoming headlights and bright red taillights, and a sunset glow in the horizon sky.

In what the rest of the audience saw as a near-dark room, John grabbed his brush, applied some paint from a dark corner near the illuminated canvas, and began brushing at a feverish pace over the projected image, starting with the sky. He transitioned from blue into burnt sienna as he approached the skyline, then switched to a dark purple hue to begin the shadowed farther tree line and darkened buildings bordering Cedar. 
From time to time he raised his brush hand, as if sighting along it to determine distance or height of an object, but in fact he was blocking the projector's light so that he could see, in light reflected off of his hand, what colors and shapes he had just painted in that area of the canvas.  His brush hand moved rapidly across the canvas, back and forth, painting at high speed.  It was quite a show.

Every ten minutes or so the canvas was lit so the audience could see what was actually being done behind the bright photograph being flashed across the canvas - and what an amazing sight it was (see the sequence of photos at right).  What had been painted "in the dark" to the rest of us, was a rich texture of shapes and colors that were quickly forming themselves into a beautiful impressionistic representation of the photograph being projected onto the canvas.

As he painted in street lights and car lights with brighter colors, John mentioned that he gets the lights to "pop" by putting them against a much darker background.  And because photographs tend to create a halo effect around lights in a photo, he will make an artistic choice in such paintings, sometimes leaving the blur or halo out, and sometimes painting it in.

His final image, (left) was about half as dark as the image we had seen projected throughout the demonstration.  He suggested that it was lighter than he would like, and that he would probably do more work on it in the studio, darkening the foreground a bit more.  However, the finished product was very professional, very impressionistic, and yet had a very credible realism to it as well.  Considering he had literally painted the entire work in the dark and in just over one hour, it was nothing short of miraculous that he had an image at all!  The demonstration was a fascinating show of professional skill and the result of years of practice and experience.

Refreshments were provided by the mother/daughter team of Mary Ann Gambitta and Mary Ann Hagen, featuring delicious tiny pizza slices, meatballs, vegetables with dip, taco chips with two dips, a plate of grapes, melon, watermelon (ripe and sweet - very tasty), and a plate of triangle-shape cookies, and small round brownie treats.  Everything was delicious.  The table was decorated with pots of colorful daisies, and a centerpiece of bright apple blossoms accompanied by a pottery rabbit and big blue bird.  A nice touch of Spring for our meeting.

Source Photograph