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An Eye for Art: Westminster artist Christopher Cody tries to inspire through painting

Christopher Cody is pictured with his paintings of Kilgore Falls in Harford County and a pin-up girl from the 1950s.
Christopher Cody is pictured with his paintings of Kilgore Falls in Harford County and a pin-up girl from the 1950s.(Lyndi McNulty photo)

Christopher Cody is an artist who lives in Westminster. As a child growing up in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, he was always coloring and drawing.

He started to draw as a hobby on his own. Cody began to experiment with pen and ink illustration when he was 20 years old. Most of his family tends to be musically inclined, but his brother, Tim, is also artistically inclined. He is a graphic illustrator and has a degree from the York Academy of Arts.

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Cody drew mainly still life drawings of the machines and equipment he was using at work the time. Cody drew bottling equipment, forklifts and conveyors that were in industrial environments where he worked. It was an attempt to capture their images.

“In most cases they were unusual types of equipment that you would not find anywhere else,” Cody explained. At the time, it was solely a hobby. He had no ambitions to pursue other aspects of an art career.

In 2006, Cody read a Harford Community College brochure and found a non-credit course for introduction to painting. He signed up and fell in love with painting immediately.

The class began with still life paintings and then progressed to projects the students could choose. He gravitated toward landscapes as did many of the other students. He drew from photographs.

“What I really liked about it was with painting landscapes, exploration of color was compelling to me. I got jazzed up with fall colors and spring colors. I also liked peaceful outdoor scenes,” he said.

He took subsequent classes including floral painting and drawing. The classes were held one day a week for three months. Cody used water soluble oil paints for the classes. The instructor recommended them because regular oil paints require turpentine to clean the brushes and is it is flammable.

Since then, Cody has continued to paint on his own. From 2012 on, Cody has painted independently. He has branched out to painting portraits, floral painting and still life painting and a landscape now and then. Most recently, he has done some digital painting.

For digital painting, he uses Windows accessories “Paint” and a mouse. He does digital portraits. He likes to do celebrity photos. Cody does many of these portraits for practice as much as anything else.

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“It seems to me that with someone’s face, the slightest movement turns it into a different picture or person. Emotion comes through. There is no emotion to a landscape or still life, “Cody said.

Cody is starting to explore watercolors. He goes to different parks and does plein air watercolor. One of his favorite plein air paintings is an oil painting he did plein air of Kilgore Falls in Harford County.

Cody admires Johnny Romita Jr., a comic book illustrator known for his work for Marvel Comics, as well as Simon Bisley, a British comic book artist.

"Bisley does comic illustration that is on the border of being paintings,” Cody said, noting that Bisley is famous for his artwork for Lobo, ABC Warriors and Sláine.

Cody also likes the work of Jordi Bernet, another comic book illustrator. He also likes the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and local artist Liz Slaterbeck.

Cody tried to do comic book illustration himself but it became too complex to write the story and do the artwork in the space of a panel. If you go into a specific area of art, you expend time and resources, he said.

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“I enjoy painting because it has more solidity, longevity than digital art. There is a texture, a vibrancy of color," Cody said. “It is like classical music on a piano. You can enjoy pop music all you want but if you want to make someone cry, let them hear classical music. There is nothing like a painting to inspire.”

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