Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spanish Dagger in Bloom

Dear Friends,

Again it has been a while since I posted anything on the blog. I've been very busy trying to get things organized so I can go get some surgery done this Friday and spend the next couple of weeks recouperating. Not to worry. It's nothing dire, but it will make me sore and grumpy for a few days so I wanted to get this one last post in before I head for anaesthesia.

This is another plein air painting of the Spanish Dagger in front of my house. It's actually an older painting than the other one I already showed you. It demonstrates again the color really involved in a "white" subject. I do like the glow of the afternoon sun on this huge blossom.

My friend and mentor, Susan , has pointed out that I am not doing a good job of photogaphing my work and freqently these posts are a bit out of focus. I am trying to remedy this with rephotoing some of the work and fixing the images already on the blog, but trying is as far as it's gotten. I am also redoing the photos of the new works I want to post as her remarks were very correct and I need to pay more attention to the presentation of my work. So, hopefully, when I get back to you after the surgery, I will have better pictures of the dog and cat and horse paintings I am currently doing. I am excited to show them to you.

I will look forward to returning to the blog very soon and I hope you will stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Winter Along the Blanco River

Dear All,

I am sorry again to have let things go for so long on the blog. I haven't forgotten you all and I hope you didn't think I've given this up. Oh no. Not at all. I've just been busy.

This little plein air piece was done in Wimberly in the Texas Hill Country. The bare trees along the hillside didn't offer much color to work with. Shades of gray are ok if you feel like being subtle, but I opted to use the fact that there was good color in the water. It really was quite intense. This is because the day was overcast and in that situation while one does not have good sun for lively shadows, color often becomes stronger. I've had folks who have spent much time up there tell me they think this looks just like that area in winter. Well, I hope so!

See the little house up on the hill? I've often wondered what it would be like to live in such a nice place with such a great view. I noticed it sat well above the flood level for the river. Anyone who has ever witnessed the amazing flooding with a little hard rain in the Texas Hill Country will know why that house was set so far above the river.

Hope you like this.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Cove at Point Lobos

This was done on the California trip a couple of years ago. It is a plein air piece, on 8x10 board, in oil and was done in a morning on the cliffs overlooking the convoluted rock and water landscape of the Point Lobos area. I was excited because the first thing I saw when I hiked to this location was a big fat seal lazing on the little beach sunning himself. I let out a gasp of surprise, which unfortunately, he heard and I think was surprised himself as he rolled into the water and floated off. Otherwise I'd have added him to the painting and it would have been better for it.

But I enjoyed the color of the rocks and the wonderful green of the shallow water over the sandy beach. California truly is blessed with great color in their landscape.

This is one of my favorite pieces from that trip.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

South Texas in the Spring

Hi again y'all!

Sorry to have been so slow to repost on the blog lately. I've been getting stuff ready for the big River Art Show in downtown San Antonio this weekend, Oct. 4 and 5. If you are in the area, my booth will be inside the La Villita Assembly Hall in the air-conditioning. You should drop by.

This piece will be there on display. For Sale. Available cheap. Why? Because, good as it is, it is done on canvas board. Oh. Why does that make it cheaper? Because it makes it non-archival. Will it melt away? Only if you soak the backing in your bathtub. Is there anything you can do to protect it? Yes, you can gesso the back of it and keep it dry. It will last for years and years and years. And years. It's 9x12, for a change, and framed nicely in a gold plein air frame.

I did this of my neighbor's vacant land in the late spring when the yellow flowers have taken over from the bluebonnets. They are almost as rampant and make for some pretty bright landscapes. I like the contrast with the bluey cedar (juniper) trees.

I think it has a slightly (very slightly) Van Goghish look to it. You may disagree. You can feel free to say so!

See you at the show?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Old Fashioned Roses

This is an oldie but a goodie. I know I said I don't like doing flowers, and I don't, but now and then a good opportunity arises. In this case it was roses. Now roses don't intimidate me as much as other flowers for some reason. I can make a bunch of indistinct, non-drawn, blobs and if my values are right, I'm good. I don't think you even have to have good color to do roses. Just good values and an approximation of the drawing. Well, and good composition. I still have this one because it is one of the few flower paintings I've ever done which I like. Notice that the one with the vase which I also liked was also roses. Yup. Blobs. I promise never to do a sunflower.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bridle Path

This painting was done on location at a friends ranch a little south of San Antonio several years ago. She ran horse trials on her place and had made wonderful trails through the brush by clearing and mowing and a little bit of bull dozing. I rode there many times and found it to be a great riding venue. One day I went out to her place and parked my truck along this favorite trail and painted it.

The painting later won a Grumbacher Medal and I have always counted it among my favorite pieces. It remains with me. A keeper.

Again, an oil on 8"x10" gessoed board. I know you get tired of me telling you that, but it's what I usually paint on.

Hope everyone is getting over the hurricane faster than Galveston and Houston are. But it sounds like some places in Ohio got it pretty bad. My good wishes go out to you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Still Life with Flowers-Oh No!

Dear You'uns,

Yes, I actually heard someone really say that once.. " you'uns. " She was from Pennsylvania.

As you may or may not remember, I have stated flatly that I don't like still life, and further, that I hate painting flowers. Having said that, I admit that I kind of like this one. Why? Because of the light. I got that right. And that unfinished looking spot over the top of the vase? I like that too. Makes the whole thing more arty and less drawn. I need to remember this lesson in all my work.

This is a studio piece, obviously, done on gessoed board, 8"x10". Why did I paint it even though I don't care for the subject matter? Because it was good for me. I learned from it. I do occasionally do things just to learn something from them. That's why the now-and-then still life, portrait, life-drawing, etc. is inserted into the body of my work. Every artist should use these things to improve their work.

This one is still available, by the way. I've rarely showed it to anyone for some reason or another.

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Way They Were

Okay Folks,
Here we have some family nostalgia. I did this in a class with Gladys De Moras several years ago. I show it to you to prove that I am not much of a portraitist. But it does hold a place in my heart. These are my parents. The photo from which this was done was taken shortly after they were married in 1943. As you can see my dad was handsome in his WWII uniform and I'd guess from the cat's meow grin on his face, he was pretty pleased with himself over having snared this lovely bride. My mom doesn't look so sure.
I like the painting for a number of reasons, beyond the obvious fact that the subjects are dear to me. I like the light on it. It's a bit back lit and makes the figures really stand out. I like the clothing and how it evokes the era. Ditto the hairstyle. Mom was always stylish.
This is done on a 16x20 inch canvas, in oil, on cotton. I don't like that it is so illustrative--looking more like an illustration than a piece of art, but that's my failing and I've never gotten very good at doing people more artistically. OK, I've gotten better at it, but it's still not really satisfactory to me.
This was a favorite photo of theirs, but by the time I painted this piece, after 50 years of marriage Mom had passed away and Dad had remarried and was already showing his Parkinson's. So, to spare him possible upset, I never showed it to him. I keep it hanging in my studio in hopes that some member of the family will want it someday. One never knows!
Thanks for putting up with this one.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spanish Dagger

Dear Folks,

This time we go back to Texas landscapes. This one was done in my very own front yard. These Spanish Dagger--a type of yucca to those of you not familiar with Texas--were already here when we built our house on what had been a cow pasture. It was just a wild native. We built a little rock garden around it and have given it minimal water so it looks a bit hard scrabble most of the time. But come spring, the old yucca puts out these spectacular large multiple blooms which are most impressive.

This piece was done plein air, meaning I sat on a chair outside in the sunshine and painted it the way you see it. That's the horse pasture behind it. See?

I like this one very much and have opted to keep it rather than offer it for sale. I like the red underpainting. Remember my discussion about bright colors as underpainting in those coastal pieces? Well, here we have it in a more desert type environment. And it works nicely as a counterpoint to the muted greens of the various plants.

I have to tell you about my friend Anne, who visited us from upstate New York a few years ago. She was wearing white pants when she got too interested in the various native plants in this grouping and walked right into one of the pointed ends of the Spanish Dagger. She got a very good lesson on why these plants are called that. The blood on that white pair of pants was quite stunning. I think she still remembers that incident. So, these things are fun to look at, but don't get too close!


Sunday, August 31, 2008


Dear Folks,
Now here is truly something different for me. This is the view outside my brother's house in Charleston, SC. I was inspired by artwork he already had in his house by another artist. The vibrant colors were perfect for that coastal setting. I learned a lot from doing this and the several other views and versions of that yard. I am hoping that it keeps me reminded that just because I am used to only mild variations on arid and semi-arid landscapes,my work doesn't need to all be yellow ochre. Even if the view in front of me really is. One can extrapolate to push color if one is careful how one does it.
I feel that the teaching artists I've worked with over the past have given me a pretty good grasp of color theory and I've usually been pretty determined to tell the absolute truth about a landscape. That's what I try to do in my plein air work. But you can have some fun with the color notes you make in the field when you take it into the studio. You have to be conscious of your color choices though. There aren't exactly rules to follow, but you need to stay true to value and consistency or it won't read right.
I've been very happy with these particular pieces and am trying to work a bit more of that sort of color choice into my landscapes. I've always put a little of these bright colors into my work, but it's it often so muted by the overpainting that it's lost. I need to be reminded to let those colors stand sometimes.
Do you like this type of thing? Or do you prefer the more naturalistic form of landscape?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Color Challenge

Dear All,

Before we leave the subject of still-life, I have to show you this. This is of some Chinese bronzes I inherited from my grandparents who went to China in 1920 as missionaries. In fact, my mother was born there. They returned from four years there with, among other things, a two year old child and these items, an incense burner, two vases and the candlesticks. I have a photo of these things in their house in China.

But the history of these items is not why I show you this painting. See how muted the colors are? Well, that's because this was an exercise in using a very very limited palette. I used four tubes of paint. White, black, yellow ochre and cadmium red light. That's it. Think you see blue in there? You do. It's what happens when Ivory Black is mixed with Titanium White. It goes blue. But that is only a relative thing. If you were to mix those colors on a neutral palette, it would look gray. But in this painting, with these other muted colors as background, it looks blue. Neat huh?

OK, this was just an exercise piece, but I thought the result was interesting from a skills point of view. Hope you do too.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Those of you who know how much I hate to do still-life will be proud of me. Peggy and I actually set this up at my studio and painted it without an instructor looming over us with a whip. Well, Peggy doesn't need to be battered. She likes still-life. I, on the other hand, detest it. It's way too technical for me. And, ok, I admit it, I don't even like other artists' still-lifes. And if it has flowers in it? Whoa, Katy, let me out that door! Now THAT'S complicated! Unfortunately most workshops I encounter are offered in still-life. I don't know if that's because most people are more mindful of technique and detail than I am or if they just don't want to get mosquito-bit outdoors. Now I try to paint my landscapes en plein air, and the reason is that I fully understand the criticism of painting from photos--that the light lies, the color lies, the perspective lies, etc., but I would way rather do that than paint something which just sits on a table doing nothing but gathering, reflecting, emitting and changing light. So confusing.
So, anyway, this is a still-life of pears. At least you can eat the subject matter when you get tired of it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Morning in the Hill Country

Dear Folks,
I am back at it with the Jay Lauver's Art Blog and wanted to show you another piece done for reference purposes for a later bigger studio piece. This one is another 8x10 done on location. I took photos and used both this and the photos for a canvas, 16x20. It looks much the same so I won't bother to put that on the blog, and besides, I kinda like this a little better. I think the things done plein air are actually a bit more free and lively.
This was at a ranch in Comfort Texas, and in fact, the place where the previous blog posting painting was done. Peggy and I got up early one morning and found this lovely misty morning glowing outside the door. Hard to resist.
I've had several rather shy inquiries about my prices and while I am not doing this blog strictly as a commercial enterprise, I am not averse to lettting you know that my work is mostly for sale. Almost all of my plein air pieces of the 8"x10" size come framed and range in price from $200 to $500. The vast majority of them are about $300 framed. I have gotten to the point too, where I do not sell them unframed unless there are extraordinary circumstances. I learned this the hard way when I would see pieces I had sold unframed put in cheap thin black frames which did not complement the work and presented it very poorly. Framing does not necessarily make the painting but it certainly can belittle it. I don't understand why you would pay for an original work of art and then not present it like you were proud of it.
Oops. I think that's another lecture. And if you are reading this, I am likely preaching to the choir. Sorry.
I hope you are enjoying the rain, which is a big weather break for us South Texans. Maybe the drought is going away?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hill Country Cedar

Dear Folks,

Thanks for the positive feedback on that exotic painting from last time. It's not my usual thing, but it was fun.

Today's painting is more my usual thing. This was done plein air at a ranch up near Comfort in the Texas Hill Country. We sat outside on a gray day during the late winter. Technically, the trees we all call "Cedar" in this part of the country are actually junipers, but tradition holds sway over biological accuracy.

Again, this was done on an 8"x10" gessoed board. You may ask why so many of my pieces are done on this board, and the answer is twofold. One: it's very convenient to carry when going on location. It fits in a backpack with several other boards until I am ready to use it and it takes up no room. When it is a done painting I can either leave it in my paint box or put it in a wet box designed specifically for that size painting. I have carried many wet paintings of that size board all at the same time in such a box. Mine holds six at a time. They even dry well in there. Secondly: I like this surface for a more impressionistic work. My brushes are very soft because this surface does not really allow the use of bristle brushes, but it allows me to control edges and make good blending lines and color.

Sometimes these small paintings make great reference material for a bigger, more studious piece, but I am usually trying my best to produce something complete when I paint out. Or at least something which can be easily made finished. Sometimes I go out with a plan to work on a specific element of art--such as color or light--and then I don't necessarily worry about producing a finished piece. This painting did not require much attention in the studio as I had time and unchanging light the day we were out.

That's my lecture for today. It may be more than you wanted to know!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Christmas on the Riverwalk


Here we have something very different for me. This is the San Antonio Riverwalk during the holidays. I can never remember if it's actually Thanksgiving day or the day after, there is a big ceremony to light the lights along the famous Riverwalk. All the huge cypress trees are completely festooned with bright Christmas lights and it just makes for a fairyland of color.

Of course this brings out scads of people, and the boat ride people and sidewalk vendors and stores and restaurants gear up for that. Lots of activity. This was done from a photo my brother, the ace photographer, took last year. I was a little dubious about it as it is so far off my usual path. But the further I got into it, the more fun it became.

There were lots of challenges to it, some of which I did better than others. The lights themselves had to be depicted with straight color from the tubes, and then there was the light reflected on the water and then the light reflected on more absorbant surfaces like the trees and the boat parts and the umbrellas. I took liberties with some of the lighting just to give the piece a more painterly feel. Note the halos around the Christmas lights.

I have no idea what I'll do with this painting. It's little again, 8"x10" on board, but I am wondering if there might be a place for it during the holidays. Maybe there will be a contest?

Just wanted to show you something different from all the recent animals.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Flying English Setter

Dear All,

Here is the action painting of Dove, the dog I showed in portrait yesterday. D'Lynn had a very nice photo taken at a show which showed Dove in full excited extension. I made some adjustments to enhance the feeling of movement. I changed the angle of the tail to a more upright position to give the feeling of lift. And I lowered the position of the pole to let you know how high Dove can go. She really does air her jumps.

The two portraits from yesterday were done on gessoed board and required framing. This piece is done on gallery wrapped linen canvas and does not require framing if it is not desired. The colors of the background go around the sides of the painting and make a complete image without needing to be set off by a frame.

Again, this is done with a very light oil wash for the background, to let the brush strokes help with the feeling of movement. The figure of the dog is done in opaque paint.

I love doing this sort of work. I think it brings the animal to life to show it doing what it does best. And, much as most owners think they would like a more formal portrait, I think this is the way they really remember their beloved pet. Out there happy and laughing and doing whatever it is that makes them special to the owner.

I hope you like this as much as I do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

English Setters!

Dear All,
Herewith are the promised dog portraits I've been working on the past couple of months. There is still one more painting of the top dog which is an action painting but I haven't gotten that loaded into the computer yet. Tomorrow.
These two dogs belong to D'Lynn, one of the folks we train with at Eurodog Training center. The top dog is Dove, her current competition agility dog. Dove is a sweetie with a great disposition and plenty of drive to be a top level competitor. In fact, twice now, she has gone to the National AKC Agility Invitationals, where only the top five dogs in each breed in the country are invited to participate. Dove is currently the top English Setter in Agility in AKC in the country!
The bottom painting is of Belle, D'Lynn's very first English Setter from several years ago. Belle has been gone now for several years, but D'Lynn holds her in a special place in her heart and wanted a portrait of that special dog. I never knew this dog, but doing the portrait made me feel a connection to her as though she'd been sitting at my feet while I was at the easel.
I hope you like these dog portraits. I think they came out rather well. They are small, on my usual 8"x10" gessoed board, and were varnished and framed in matching frames before being presented. Now stay tuned tomorrow for the action painting of Dove flying her fences!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Getting Started

Dear Readers,

I promised a horse in honor of the Olympics, and this is a horse, even if a very young one. I also present this to you to prove that I do watercolors too, as well as oils.

This little baby is my very own Sadie, done when she was newly born. She grew up to be a beautiful chestnut Trakhener cross with a peppery personality and lots of talent. We did hunters and some cross country and eventually dressage. She even knew how to do piaffe! Very advanced for a stiff old rider like me.

I have had good success with watercolor in the past, as it lends itself to showcasing good drawing and I have always been fairly good at drawing horses. I quit doing it for a long while because I didn't have a good place to store my things and work uninterrupted for as long as it takes to work wet into wet. I now have that place with the new studio and am anxious to get back into watercolor soon.

This piece has been sitting around for quite a while and now that I look at it again, think it might make a good submission to the Chronicle of the Horse as cover art. I'll have to do something about that.

We're hoping for rain here. Are you wishing it would stop raining where you are?

Have a happy day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guiniviere and Julia


We are laying the cow paintings to rest. This is the other of the two portrait cows. I was gratified to get many suggestions on naming the first one and am declaring the winning name to be GUINIVIERE. Yep. I think that suits her just fine. Elegant and feminine and just what she looks like. So thanks to Anne for that suggestion!

And since I now have a list of other good suggestions, I can go ahead and name this one. And she is a JULIA. Thanks to Sandy for that one!

So Julia and Guiniviere are a pair, I think. I will eventually frame them similarly and offer them as a twosome. I see them going to a rancher somewhere maybe.

Are you watching the Olympic equestrian events? I plan to do that as much as possible. For a change, the TV people have recognised how popular those events are and are airing most of them. I had friends who went to the Atlanta games and they told me that the attendance numbers for the equestrian events were extremely large and eclipsed a lot of the track and field events. Yet the TV people still didn't cover it. One had to buy tapes if one wanted to see how it all went. So I'm excited to see the events are scheduled to show for this Olympics.

Think I'll put a horse painting on the blog next, in honor of the Olympics. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Is Her Name?

Dear Readers,

This is one of the cow portraits I promised a while back. It's from a photo I took the day my friend Peggy and I went to paint on a ranch near here. We were supervised by a large herd of cows and their bull and I just had to take pictures.

Now, my problem with this little painting is the title. I'd like this cow to have a name. Something feminine. Something elegant. Something not the name of any of my friends who might take it personally. Like, I like Margaret, but I'm afraid Peggy might not like that. I like Calista, but that was my great aunt. She was quite proper and would have been aghast at a cow with her name. Can't do it. I am open for suggestions. You can't know the names of all the people I don't want to offend, but you might have some names which would just suit. Send them on!

For those of you who know about the dog portraits I'm doing right now--they will be on the blog next week. They are being delivered on Monday and then I can put them up for you to see. Stay tuned to Jay Lauver's Art Blog. (See how clever I was to get that in there? )

Have a sunny day!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Andalusian

Hi everyone!
Here is one of my favorite horse paintings. It's a little one, only 8"x10", but I like the style and the color and the drawing and the subject and - and --. Well, I like it.
This horse belongs to the De La Parra family here in San Antonio. Several years ago I was with a group of trail riding women who were invited to visit their facility to see their Andalusian stallions and watch them work. It was a wonderful experience. I took a lot of photos, but this gray really struck a pose for us as we all snapped away with our cameras. I am sorry that I never learned his name but he was a fine looking animal.
One reason I like this painting is the many colors in the coat of a seemingly " white" horse. So much yellow reflected from the ground to his belly, and so much light blue in the folds of his muscle and skin.
I've had several offers to buy this piece, but I just can't make myself part with it. I use it on my business cards and as a sample piece for anyone wanting a portrait of their own horse.
I hope you like it as much as I do.
Have a great day!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tourist Art?

Dear Y'all,

If you are an artist in San Antonio, you must do at least one version of the various sights famous in the town. A big favorite is the Arneson River Theater on the Riverwalk in downtown. Not to be left out, this is my take on that famous landmark. I did this on location and with reference photos which I took myself. The work boat in the foreground was there and added an element not found in most versions of this scene, so I kept it in, just to be a little different.

The original of this is 16"x20" and is on canvas. I felt it was a good enough piece to have reproductions made and I sell those regularly at the gallery. This seems a more painterly option than the usual almost photographic versions of the Riverwalk at that gallery. People seem to like it as it sells well.

I am still getting a mixture of comments on the blog and email responses which indicates to me that folks are still having a bit of trouble with postings. It's still a mystery to me too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dear All,
I just love horses in action. I am lucky in that there is a racetrack near me, Retama Park Racetrack, and I can go there to photo horses doing their thing. These two paintings are from such photos. I think this style of oil painting lends itself to action and movement. The backgrounds are a loose wash of oil color and the figures are done more opaquely to draw attention to them and to make them stand out a bit more. These two are small works, 8"x10", and are done on gessoed board. They look pretty good in a gold frame.
Hey, I just learned that if you type Jay Lauver's Art Blog in the search engines, this blog will now come up. I guess we've been on the WEB enough now. That sure makes it easier, eh?
Again, thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of this publishing venture. You all make me feel pretty good about it. I admit to still working on the nuts and bolts, but I'm getting better at it. And I remind you that you can email me at if the comments section on this thing excludes you, which it should not but does anyway.
Ta for now,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Hunter

Hi Y'all,

This is one of my very favorite animal paintings. I did it last year after a visit to Charleston SC where we did the tourist thing at Magnolia Gardens. Amidst all the beautiful Spanish Moss draped trees and lovely flower beds and gracious lawns, here was this American Egret poking about in the shallows of a swamp. He was oblivious to my presence and stayed long enough to let me do several photos of him. In fact, he was still there when I was done photographing. Obviously he was used to tourists.

I was a little dubious when I started the piece as I wasn't sure about two things--one was composition, which I felt might be too simplistic, and the other was the challenge of painting a bird, something I've avoided until now. I used to work closely with lots of birds for many years and I came away from that experience feeling that the feathering was too complicated for me to paint. I've always been somewhat intimidated by those who paint birds well.

But I don't think my worries were justified. I like the composition on this. And my rather loose style worked with this particular bird, I thought. Would love to hear your opinions on it though! By the way, this piece is 8"x10", oil on board and is framed in a wide gold plein air frame.

Let me know if you are having trouble still with postings to Jay Lauver's Art Blog. I'll see what I can do.

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Personal Friends

Any artist with pets sooner or later makes them subjects of their work. I am no exception. I want you to meet two of our co-habitants who held still long enough for me to get a useable photo for painting purposes. On the right is my very good friend, William. This is his puppy picture. He looked just like this when we got him at 3 months. He is an adoptee from the Animal Defense League in San Antonio. He is the guy who got us into agility way back a long time ago. He is now ten and retired from competition but remains top dog in the household and one of the sweetest dispositions in a dog I've ever met. On the left is Louise, now about seven. She and her brother Bo came to us as street urchins as kittens. She never stopped eating when she moved in. This painting is enhanced somewhat in that I made her look a little thinner than she actually is. Sort of what you hope any artist would do for you too.
My objective when I do any animal, besided just loving to do it, is to create a piece of artwork, not just a record of that animal. I want the work to stand on it's own as something anyone would appreciate, not just animal lovers. I try my best to apply all the elements of art to these sorts of work-- composition, lighting, color, edges, etc. Thus I am not aiming for a strictly photographic likeness, but more of a feel for the animal. I think this gives the painting life.
I have finally competed my photography project and will now be able to put more of the existing work on the blog. I'm looking forward to showing you more! Keep those comments coming, please!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gentle Readers,

This rather fanciful image is of a horse I had been commissioned to portrait. After the portrait was done, I was intrigued with the wild abandon of his cavorting, and decided to try to capture that. It's a fairly large piece, done on canvas and was selected to be in a show at the airport where it was seen by thousands of people walking by. One of those people happened to be a friend of mine who was taken with it and eventually purchased it for her home. This tickled me on two fronts. One, artists always like to know that their work is appreciated. Second, I get to see it!

Today I am photographing. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some of those on the blog. Stay tuned.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

More California Paintings

Dear All,
I am sending along a couple more of the California paintings done Plein Air. The tree was done at Carmel, along the beach. And the surf painting was done at Point Lobos, which is near Carmel.
I am so sorry to have not gotten anything on the blog the past couple of days and am grateful for those of you who have shown such an interest. I'll try to keep up with it in a more timely fashion.
These paintings are both done in oil on 8"x10" gessoed board and are framed in gold Plein Air wide frames. They were almost entirely done on location but were adjusted a little in the studio.
The trip to California was a couple of years ago and was a golden opportunity. I went with a group of other Texas artists and we were there just to paint. We went out every day from our home base, a rented house in Carmel, and painted at least one painting each day, and often did two or even three. It was a great experience. We saw seals and sea lions and various species of dolphins and whales, not to mention the western bird species I had not seen before. I kept a pair of binoculars on my chair while painting so that I would not miss any chance to see all the wonderful wildlife out there.
I've sold many of those paintings but still have some left, including these two. I'll post some more at a later time. In the meantime, I am working on three dog paintings I am excited about. I can't post them until the dog owner sees them, but I'll keep you informed on how those are going.
If you are having trouble making comments on this site, please just send me an email, I have tried to change the comments section so anyone can do so without having to sign in, but there still seem to be problems for some folks.
We are enjoying Dolly rain right now. Its' a sad state of affairs when you welcome a hurricane!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A few animals

Well, I promised animals, but I didn't get any of the dog, cat, and horse portraits on the computer yet. I thought they were there but they are not. Must have been on my old computer.
Anyway, these two pieces were done in the last couple of years. The gulls are California seagulls who were sitting on a dock at a shipyard in Monterrey. I loved the sun on them.
The cows were part of a group who were watching my friend Peggy and me as we painted landscapes plein air on a ranch north of here. The entire herd came to see what we were doing. That included a very large bull. It made us a little nervous to have these large beasts looking over our shoulders, so we shooed them through a gate to the other side of a fence. They seemed content to go but this cow and a few of her friends kept watching us. The calves got tired of the whole thing and lay down to take a nap. I could not resist the photo. The painting is entitled " The Babysitter", which is something I learned that cows do. I had not known that before this experience.
Anyway, since the calves were not laying in a good composition for me ( animals are so uncooperative) I took liberties with the composition and moved them around some. I thought it came out rather well. Well, at least it made me laugh every time I looked at it. Several other people laughed too, and sure enough, someone was so amused, he bought it for his new house in the hill country. I have a couple other paintings of cows from this same day so now I'll have to get those on this blog.
I am delighted to have received many many positive responses to my email and plea for your attention yesterday. One even came from folks in Florida I don't know! My aunt Jacqui referred them to the site. Welcome to Jay Lauver's Art Blog everyone! I hope you'll put the http address on your favorites list so it's easy to find me.
Plainly the next project for me is to get more paintings photographed. And a better job of cropping them so you don't see the frames. I'm working on it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Window in the Chisos

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to get more paintings on the blog as soon as I can. I still have to create a file of just the paintings, which are numerous, but in the meantime I thought I would add this piece from a trip to Big Bend two years ago. Again this was done plein air, which means out in the open, on location. Two of my art friends, Peggy Thompson and Irena Taylor, and I went out to the national park for a few days of intense painting. We stayed in the Basin at the Lodge, an incredibly beautiful place, and did day trips around the park to paint. It certainly was not hard to find painting locales. Everywhere one turned was a different gasp-worthy view.

My next post, hopefully, will have some of the animal paintings I have done. Dogs, cats and horses. Did you know that I have two covers on the Chronicle of the Horse magazine? Hmm. It's been a while. I should submit something new one of these days.

Happy painting!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Prize Winner

This is the painting I described in my first post on this new blog. Sorry. I'm still learning how to work this thing.

This painting was done on location on Evans Rd. north of San Antonio along the Cibolo Creek. The old house is still lived in, but remains very much the way it was when it was built. An old family cemetary exists not far from the house but I don't know if the residents are related to the cemetary family. The painting is small, 8"x10", is framed in a wide gold "plein air" frame and is available for $500. Buyer pays shipping. I have another version of the same house, painted the same day, but with a slightly different composition, which is also available.

As I become more accomplished with the blog, I will publish a great number of my paintings so that they can be viewed as a body. Please look for that when I get it done. If you have comments or questions, please do respond as I am interested in what you have to say about the piece. Besides, I'd just like to know if anyone is looking at the blog.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An Introduction to My Blog

Hello, and welcome to my first attempt at getting a presence on the WEB. I have included a photo of a prize winning painting of mine for you to look at in this first effort. This piece won the Best In Show award at last fall's River Art Group Fall Show in San Antonio. I was thrilled to win such a prestigious award, especially since it was up against not only other oil paintings, but watercolor, mixed media, sculpture, wood carving, jewelry, pottery and some other art forms. It was a great show with lots of good work in it, so to win the whole shebang was a real thrill.

This piece was actually painted "plein air", which means I did it on location. This is an old farmhouse on Evans Road on Cibolo Creek near my home. The house is still lived in, but hasn't seen a coat of paint in the nearly thirty years I've lived by it so it is quite picturesque. I plan to use the painting on my blog for a while, but keep in mind, it's for sale!

See if you can email me back with comments on the site and please be positive. I need all the support I can muster to try this new fangled method of communication. Let me hear from you.