wedding gift

Top 10 Paintings of 2014

as i reflect on the past year, i realize that i grew -

i grew a lot!

it must have been my biggest growth year ever in terms of all areas of my life. & i'm so thankful.

& i'm even more pumped for my plans for 2015 - because it's going to be my BIGGEST year ever!

but before we head into 2015, i wanted to share my top paintings of 2014.

in no particular order...

"Boston Red Sox Celebrate", 20"x24", 2014, oil on canvas

"Boston Red Sox Celebrate", 20"x24", 2014, oil on canvas


let's see if the red sox can win the world series again in 2015! i know i'll be cheering them on.

this painting was created specifically for a boston red sox fan. she wanted something special she could give to her husband. it was energizing to recreate this celebration. a feeling came over me as i felt like i was on the field with them. a rainbow of colors surfaced giving this painting a vivid quality. her husband almost fell over with excitement when i unveiled it for him. he proudly displays it in their home in gloucester, ma

"Ayla & Dave Wedding Painting", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Ayla & Dave Wedding Painting", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


if there's one word i could use to describe this original wedding painting, it would be passionate!

"Governor Jeb Bush", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Governor Jeb Bush", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


i'm honored to be partners with gsv capital & brandlift as they have brought my art to many new levels this year. they asked me to depict in vibrant color some of the leaders in education as they wanted to show their support and generosity by gifting them their paintings. and what you see above & below are a series of portraits that were exhibited at the phoenician in scotsdale, az during the 2014 asu+gsv summit and then given to these influential people. governor jeb bush received his portrait and commented how good he looked. that's the beauty you can do with the brush

"Laurene Powell Jobs", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Laurene Powell Jobs", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


laurene powell jobs graciously accepted her painting from gsv capital

"Coach Lou Holtz", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Coach Lou Holtz", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


coach lou holtz smiled bright when he was given his portrait

"Magic Johnson", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Magic Johnson", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


magic johnson loved his!

"Secretary Penny Pritzker", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Secretary Penny Pritzker", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


secretary penny pritzker appreciated the gift and contacted me to put in on public display at the u.s. department of commerce.

"Reed Hastings", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Reed Hastings", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


reed hastings was very thankful for the kind gesture by gsv capital

"Samantha & Steve Wedding Painting", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board

"Samantha & Steve Wedding Painting", 12"x16", 2014, oil on board


another wedding painting depicting this couple's first dance to a live reggae band. the name of the song - love you more. both were blown away by how accurately this painting recreated their special moment at their wedding. tears even flowed - it was monumental!

"Bob Marley", 12"x16", 2012, oil on board

"Bob Marley", 12"x16", 2012, oil on board


a favorite by so many fans from around the world. many fine art prints have been sent all over the world. i'm excited to also announce this painting is being sold on musical products worldwide. swenk, a signapore based company, expects an explosion of sales in 2015.

what is your favorite painting i've created?

let us know in the comments below and tell us how art heals your mind, body & soul.

i'm so excited to hear what you share

with love & passion

Derek Russell

Ayla & Dave ~ Wedding Painting ~ The Roundhouse, MA

Ayla and Dave joined hands and said "I do" this past August at the Roundhouse in Coltrain, MA.

this fun couple wanted to capture this day (their day, their moment) forever. after their wedding, they turned to me to create a one-of-a-kind painting for them from one of their wedding photos.

i loved talking to them and hearing how they remembered their wedding day - and what made it special for each one of them. the photos started to come alive. i could feel their love and excitement for each other - so precious!

here's a little taste of what each of them shared with me:

David's emotions were high as he was excited that it was finally happening! and he couldn't say enough about his love for Ayla and how beautiful she looked. 

Ayla (a wedding photographer herself) remembers loving how the light looked through the apple tree. she recalls standing there with the person she was about to marry (they did a first look which they highly recommend), enjoying their time when it was just the two of them. laughing she guessed he looked okay too :).

the painting expresses their moment of LOVE, PASSION, & HAPPINESS

and it all comes together through a balance of vibrant color.

I wish Ayla & Dave years of happiness, love, and laughter!

Ayla & Dave ~ The Roundhouse, MA ~ Wedding Painting ~ Sneak Peak

On August 30th, Ayla and Dave tied the knot and were married at the beautiful Roundhouse in Coltrain, MA. It was the perfect setting for this gorgeous, outdoorsy couple.

They asked me to paint them a masterpiece that they could treasure forever that reminded them of their special day.

I'm well underway, and I've actually got a surprise up my sleeve on this one. You'll have to check back in in a couple of weeks when the final painting is complete.

But here is the sneak peak I promised to share with them, to let them in on the creative process:

Ayla & Dave Wedding Painting Monochrome

For this painting, I decided to sketch them out in pencil first before moving into a loose acrylic style. Developing the shapes and shadows with Burnt Sienna, their form is coming alive.

And now it's time for the magic...

Samantha & Steve ~ Portsmouth, NH ~ Wedding Painting

Samantha & Steve were married in 2013 on a gorgeous day in Portsmouth, NH overlooking the Piscataqua River. They hired their favorite reggae band - Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad - to play at their reception and it was off the hook. For their first dance, they jammed out to the band's own "Love You More" - a song they've loved for years when they've heard it at concerts. And on their wedding day, it was performed for them.

But after the wedding, when the photos came back, something was missing.

And Steve wanted to capture it. He reached out to me back in the springtime and asked for my help. We got together and talked about the possibilities. We decided a one-of-a-kind painting would be the perfect way to recreate this memory.

As I got to know them, I can say that these two are an absolute joy to be around - so full of life and love, it was contagious. And we never let on to Samantha about Steve's surprise for her.

The painting I created for them tells of this moment they experienced. It was a time when two lovers shared their passion on their first dance. It was a time when they were free and united. It speaks of how their bodies were moved by the music.

Steve surprised Samantha with the painting this past September for their one year anniversary, and she was speechless. It brought tears to their eyes.

That expression of love was captured forever in vibrant paint.

I wish Samantha and Steve all the best and happiness in the world!