After returning from a vacation, most people are likely to sit down and relax.

After returning from a vacation, most people are likely to sit down and relax.

But the first thing Dax Davis usually does is grab a paintbrush and acrylic canvas.

"As soon as we get back home, I'm usually painting," he said.

It is equally relaxing for Davis, 35, a Columbus artist whose inspiration most frequently is derived from the numerous exotic and picturesque destinations he visits with his wife of seven years, Carrie Stanley-Davis, a Davidson High School graduate.

Davis, a graduate of Upper Arlington High School, will host his first art exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the law offices of Willis and Willis Co., 4653 Trueman Blvd. in Hilliard.

About 40 of Davis' original acrylic and textured paintings, many of them abstracts and landscapes, will be on display.

"This is my first one and I'm excited," said Davis, who has been working overtime in his rented studio, a windowless garage on Scioto Darby Executive Court, building frames for the artwork that will be displayed at the exhibition.

"My wife will call me and say, 'It is 10 o'clock, aren't you coming home?' " Davis said. "I don't even realize the time."

The windowless rooms are not the only reason for losing track of time. It's also the nature of his work.

"The hardest part is often stopping," Davis said.

He said in many instances, the end result is not what he envisioned when he began, but it is just as pleasing, and sometimes more so.

An acrylic painting of a dark tornado and storm clouds descending on farmland began as painting of a beautiful day, but a dark mood on a particular day changed what appeared on the canvas.

But Davis said his works are cyclical. His life experiences, both good and bad, usually find an outlet on a canvas.

About 18 months ago, Davis rented his studio and began putting more hours into his original artwork.

"Right now, I'd say it's about 50-50," Davis said of how he splits his time between his personal artwork and that of the residential and commercial painting he does for his company, Xenos Uncommon Strokes. His full name is Diogenes Alejandro Xenos Davis, and Dax is derived from the first letters of his first name and two middle names.

Although Davis drew with crayons as a child, his flair and talent for artwork was largely latent in high school as he pursued about every sport that involved a ball, as well as swimming and diving.

The latter fueled his love for snowboarding, cold-water surfing and fishing.

He attended Ohio State University and the Columbus College of Art and Design, but ultimately taught himself how to paint, he said.

Davis first worked for his father's commercial painting company, most recently known as Fourth Generation.

Davis formed his own company in 2000 and began to build a client base from his commercial jobs.

He sold his first painting about four years ago, for $900, to an Upper Arlington couple whose house he had painted.

The painting was an abstract sunset, similar to many of his pieces, painted from memory or a cellphone picture of images he and his wife observed while surfing in such locations as Brazil, Peru or Costa Rica.

Davis said he has sold about a dozen pieces since then, and he is the midst of making several more by commission, all generated by the word of mouth of previous customers.

Among Davis' mediums are patina, copper, Venetian plaster and masonite. He often mixes iron and copper into his acrylic paint.

"I use a lot of recyclable material," he said.

In addition to the Feb. 21 exhibition, an array of Davis' artwork is on display at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.