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!