Friday, March 27, 2009

Domestic Cat

Here is the piece I did in Vie Dunn-Har's workshop last week. I am extremely pleased with it and am going to endeavor to use this technique in more of my animal paintings. This was so much fun to do. I've used abstract backgrounds in my animal paintings before, but this was much stronger than I was used to, and it works so much better. Vie does masterful botanical paintings and I would not even consider coming close to her lush foliage, but this gave me some ideas of how to present animals in a more interesting background.
This was done on 20"x 24" linen canvas, and we used a medium, unlike I normally do with my landscapes, where I use the gessoed panels and only turp to work the oil paint. It certainly made the paint flow freely.
I struggled the first day with the medium and the canvas and the subject matter, but learned a lot from that effort. The second day of the workshop I was able to start this and it suddenly became much more than I had anticipated. I did most of the finish on it the second day and tuned it up a little in my home studio this week, but I think it's done now and it is going to hang on my studio wall as a reference for future paintings.
The cat is our own Zelda. I used a photo of her sitting smugly on Steve's knee in front of the burning fireplace this winter. Steve's knee became the tree branch but the arrogance only cat's can produce is all Zelda.
I sure hope you all like this as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dry Wash

And here's one more of the resurrected landscapes I had stored away. I really like this one. It was very basic when I pulled it out of the bin and I have made only a few changes to make it more finished. I particularly like the edges which reveal the underpainting along the ridge of the hill. I think it gives the distance some vibrancy.

Still waiting to photo the two workshop pieces.

A reminder to all of you on the email list: if you are tired of hearing from me with the blog, feel free to ask to be removed. It will not hurt my feelings and I can always add other names.

We are again awaiting rain. It is such a big deal here!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Out of My Element-Snow!

Faithful Readers,

Here's something I didn't think I'd ever do--a snow scene. But my friend Sally sent me a fantastic picture of the valley in front of her house in Virginia this winter. Plainly they had way too much snow. It was just too beautiful a view not to paint so here it is. Sally will note that I eliminated a few buildings in the distance and shuffled a couple of trees and shrubs, but I don't think that matters. The rest of us don't care.

I am just off a three day workshop with Vie Dunn-Har, who does rampant vibrant florals and was gracious enough to let me apply some of her techniques to animals. I feel a wave of new ideas coming on. I'll post the two results of the workshop as soon as I get them photoed. I am anxious to hear how you like these new things as I am thinking of a dozen ways to put my new knowledge to work in my own way. Stay tuned.


Friday, March 20, 2009

East Texas Spring

Dear Folks,

I told you I had a backlog of stuff to get on this blog. Here's another one. This is another 8"x10" oil on board. It was done several years ago at the Botanical Center in San Antonio. It is a little cabin brought in and planted around to represent East Texas. And it does that beautifully. This may be the only place we are likely to see wildflowers this year. They plant and water this so the field is very representative of what you see in that part of the country.

It needed very little to finish it off--a little sharpening of the roof of the building--a little emphasis on some of the field flowers--and there you are.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

South Texas in the Spring

Here is one more bluebonnet done at the same ranch as the last painting. Again, done plein air, on 8"x10" board, and now, years later, fussed with in the studio to bring it up to code. The one from yesterday is at the gallery downtown now, and this will go down there as soon as it dries. I have more to post, so stay tuned!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A little bit of blue

Here is another piece of the group I just finished. It was done on location at a friends ranch south of San Antonio several years ago. I put it away and never finished it. All it required was a bit more paint to give it a more painterly look. I don't do real detailed bluebonnets but have come to appreciate why the public likes bluebonnet paintings. Often we artists look down our noses at bluebonnet paintings and those who do them as trite and overdone, but the fact is, when you are faced with the things in real life, they draw you into their landscape. A field of bluebonnets is a wonder to behold. I try not to go that spectacular, because it always looks fake to me, but really, they do exist in those huge fields and are impossibly spectacular.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hill Country Woods


I am feeling most accomplished today. I spent all morning in the studio working away at a group of paintings from my "To Be Fixed" pile. This is one of them. I painted this 8'x10" oil on location several years ago but was never satisfied with it as a finished painting. I wasn't exactly sure of what was wrong with it, but after letting it sit all this time, I showed it to one of my cohorts at the studio and he went right to the problem. I had never finished the tree tops! Oooh. Why didn't I see that? Because I was so focused on the distance in the thing I never looked above that central blue. Now you know why I go to the studio downtown when I have a perfectly good one to paint in at home. I need those extra eyes now and then.

Anyway, this is typical of the cedar woodlands of the Texas Hill Country and was actually painted not far from my house.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


Dear All,
I can't believe it's been a whole month since last I published something on the blog. I've been working on three or four works at a time and this is one of them. I did this from a photo I took in Charleston's harbor area. I learned or relearned a lot from this one. One thing which continually amazes me is that nature works so consistently in telling you what the complements of colors are. In this case, the late sun reflected such strong red-oranges and yellows that one would expect the complements of purples and lilacs to show up somewhere. And by gum, there they were in the photo.

As usual this one is an 8"x10", oil on board and it looks particularly nice in an ornate black frame I have. It has more than the usual impasto (for me) on it as I am still striving for that painterly effect.

Now stay with me for the next few days as I have a couple more that are finally done and are ready for Jay Lauver's Art Blog.

We are beginning spring here in South Texas, and I will soon be outside again, with paint brush in hand. For a change, it will be the art paint brush and not the barn paint brush!

Hope you like this one.