The Tree of Knowledge

This mural which is over 30 feet long and 8 feet tall is the last piece I painted at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, Ohio. It is a companion piece to my other mural, The Torch of Learning. Both of these works took over 4 months to complete.

I thought this picture would give you a better idea of what I meant when I referred to this as a companion piece. This will also let you see how I approached this work. I drew the outline of the focal point, the tree, first and then, I painted the background and filled the sections in a I went along. In truth, I did go back and forth at times, but certain sections of the tree were necessary for me to finish so I could gauge how the whole was going to work together.

What you are not seeing here because this was taken at the end of a work day, is the drop cloth, my paint table with all my tools, and the scaffold that allowed me to reach the top of the work. This all looks in hindsight very clean and neat, but the reality was much different. It was hard, working on a piece this large to not drip paint, and I bet the maintenance crew thanked their lucky stars I used a large plastic drop cloth.

Must say, this was so much fun to do. It took a long time, but the people walking up and down the hallway, filled my days with humor and pleasant conversation. I’ll always be thankful to them for their goodness and caring.


Say Goodbye to Gaga


 Later next month (Sept. 2017) my portrait of Lady Gaga will go on display at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. When the show runs its course (around the 22nth-I believe) it, and others in the gallery, will be auctioned off. The monies raised will go to a charity that seeks to help gay and lesbian youth. 

This makes me very proud, and I do believe Mother Monster would be also very proud to be able to assist people who need a hand-up. The portrait is as unusual as the lady portrayed; it is a mixed-media works of glass and glitz. 

I must thank my friend Nigel who I gave this work to a few months ago. I knew he would figure how to put my art to work for a good cause. Nigel runs a bar/cabaret in Cincinnati called Below Zero, and he’s just one of those special people.

If you are ever in that city make sure you stop in and say hi, and, oh…and do have a drink, he makes ‘killer’ cocktails. Also, it would be so nice, if you can, to stop into the Contemporary Arts Center around the auction date and spend some money. Gaga and I would appreciate it ever so much.

Red Haired Bitch

This is the painting I just finished for my friend, Sherri. I took this image from her Facebook page and cropped it down so that the horse was the single focus. After I had done that, all that was left was to dream the dream and then paint what was seen.

Must say, not being a horse person myself, somthing about this animal seems mystic. I came upon a quote by Elizabeth Taylor where she states that some of her best leading men were either dogs or horses. That made me laugh, but when you think about it, those animals are pure emotional creatures. I doubt their egos get in the way when the cameras begin to role.

I always wanted to paint a horse, so when this opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance. When we were at a charity function for children of domestic abuse, Sherri told me that when she was young, she told her parents that she would rather have a horse than the bicycle they were promising her. That spoke to me of a woman who was emotionally connected to this animal. That spoke of love, and it touched me. 

I gave this to her yesterday, and I hope she loves this as much as I loved painting it. It is always a bit tricky when you paint something that is closely attached to another person. They see their love in a personal light, and it is my aim to try to capture that essence…not an easy job. My style of Cosmic Impressionism works well here; it places the animal in a universe of magical beauty and colors her with special tints of light. I believe that this is what someone sees inside themselves when they look upon their love.

The Torch of Learning

I began this mural at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, Ohio in December 2016. It took 4 months of work to finish, and although it was physically difficult to accomplish, it truly was a labor of love.

The mural itself is 33 feet long and over 8 feet tall. These dimensions meant I had to push my physical being to the max. That said, the fact that this was right on the main hallway of the college meant that my work was constantly on display. I loved that. People would stop and engage me in conversation and the young people were wonderful – wonderful!

I do not think I have ever had so much fun painting.

Eastern Gateway Community College 🎨

The Tree of Life –  ( My model for the next mural at EGCC❕ )

This is my proposed mural for the next mural project at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, Ohio. I chose this image of the Tree of Life because it speaks to the unity of mankind. The reality that we are all related is a fact that is somehow overlooked in our world. We see the divide and not the unity of life. Odd.

This tree has been characterized in different cultures as a Sycamore, Cyprus, Tule, the Acacia, etc. I doubt it truly matters the genus of the tree since it is but a symbol of mankind’s interconnectiveness, and as such a fitting image to be placed upon the walls of an institution of higher learning.

Beginnings are the Hardest Part

A Portion of my Eastern Gateway Mural

I remember at the very beginning of this work how daunting this 33 foot wall seemed to be. This was going to be the biggest canvas I had ever worked on, and it was scary. That first day took every bit of courage I had to start the process. Maybe, as I think back on that day, I was somewhat less intimidated because the second portion of the wall ( another 33+ foot section) was not part of the contract. This humors me now because I have just been commissioned to do that section as well.

My First Day

It humors me as I think back to that first day. Making those first stabs of paint really were akin to dealing a death blow to this artist’s enemy – self doubt. Being an artist  is also about being brave and believing in yourself.❗️‼️❗️

I worked four days a week – eight hours a day, and on three occasions I added short Saturday sessions. After three months I signed my name…T for Thomas, E for Edward, and my last name, Ott.

Me Speaking about the Mural – 58 sec. Video

I finished this Big Mother mural March 11, 2017. There were times when I thought I would never finish. This sucker had me crawling on the floor, kneeling, and standing for 8 hours a day four days a week. Thank goodness my friend Elmer lent me his scaffold to use because the ladder was turning my body into mush.

My video: (BTW my muse, Dave Moffat is the videographer, and he’s been a vital part of this project.) Yes, I know the screen is black, but if you click on it, a handsome man (me) will color your world. (Sorta❗️)