Archive for March, 2010

A Second Painting Done at the Festival, March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010

Abandoned railroad property Fort Worth, Texas

Yesterday I began sketching a composition for a watercolor of an approaching freight train in Burleson, Texas.  I’m still drawing (slowly!) and havent’ yet begun to apply watercolor.  When I do, I’ll begin posting the work in progress.  While at the 4-day art festival, this is a composition I completed, sitting in my booth.  I started the work a couple of weeks ago.  The structure is in the Handley district in east Fort Worth, Texas.  I added the hopper, and am not satisfied that I positioned it quite right.  But there will be other tries.  I like seeing hoppers emerging from bays when I look at old railroad structures such as this.

I’m still struggling with winter tree masses in watercolor.  I love looking at them while I’m out driving, and I’m always thinking about how to solve the problem in combinations of neutral wash, dry brush and pencil renderings.  But I’m never satisfied with my results.  The time of year now is critical in Texas, as the trees are rapidly getting dressed.  Maybe I’ll have a few more cracks at it before they don their wardrobes.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Opportunity, March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

Railroad setting in Burleson, Texas

Enjoyed about an hour of plein air activity this afternoon while my wife rode her horse.  The old restored part of Burleson along Renfro Street has captured my attention for some time now.  I parked my stool alongside a double-track mainline that has plenty of Union Pacific freight traffic (two freights roared past during the hour that I painted).  On the east side of the tracks, I saw this converted gas station with a tractor trailer loaded with hay bales that caught my attention.  I might get back to this painting tomorrow, but there is another plein air opportunity pending that I might choose.   We’ll see.

First Real Day of Spring Break, March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

Decatur Texas--Whistlestop Cafe and Petrified Oil Station

Hopefully I’ll have a new watercolor sketch to post this evening.  Spring break began last Friday after school, but I was committed to a 4-day art festival.  Today is my first day of freedom, with a week stretched out before me.  I’m in the mood for plein air painting, and Texas weather is ideal for that right now.  This painting I finished in my booth during the first day of the art festival (last Thursday).  It’s been posted during its “in progress” stages, but now I’m glad to sign off and be finished with it.  I finished several other works in the booth as well, and will post them soon.  But now, I’m off to paint for the afternoon!

Last Day of the Festival, March 14, 2010

March 15, 2010

M-K-T restored depot at Hillsboro, Texas

The 4-day festival was fabulous.  Sold plenty of work and made plenty of new work–5 paintings, in fact.  The 10:00-6:00 hours daily provided plenty of time in the booth to do watercolor sketches.  I sketched this Katy Depot in Hillsboro last week as the sun was sinking.  I wasn’t too fond of the sketch.  This is my second attempt, using the digital photo I took while painting it the first time.  It’s a little better, I think.  I’m still fumbling with the textures of the tree bark, and looking to connect the leaves to the actual tree.  Also need to finish the main door, and render the wooden siding of the sunlit side of the depot.  I’ll soon post the other works I finished at the show.  It’s great to be painting again.

Thanks for reading.

Fading Sunlight in Hillsboro, Texas, March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010

Abandoned Panel Truck in the Sunset Moments in Hillsboro, Texas

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days.  I’m about to enter the last day of a 4-day art festival in Hillsboro, Texas.  I’ve come home late every night, and needed to prepare more art work to sell from my booth.  Last night I didn’t come home at all, but stayed in a hotel across the highway.  My wife joined me, and it was nice to spend the first night of Spring Break out of town.

I’m posting a quick watercolor sketch I began last evening after the show closed.  I drove north in I-35 from Hillsboro, Texas, then exited on Highway 77 north to find a row of abandoned cars on some farm property.  Sherri Hemrick, a Hillsboro photographer (also in the art show) had tipped me off about these vehicles and had some fabulous photos of them that she was selling out of her booth.  I only had about twenty minutes of daylight left, as the sun was sinking fast, and flooding the background hills with color, as well as the panel truck I singled out for the sketch.  I barely got the essentials laid down before I had to quit as the sky darkened.  Fortunately I had taken a digital photo before I started.

This morning, I returned to the show, and sat in my booth, staring at the viewfinder of my digital camera and continuing with this sketch.  The show was overrun with patrons today, and sales were brisk.  But I did manage to finish the sketch to my satisfaction.  Granted it has plenty of flaws, but I have to remind myself that I made fast work of it–and I’m not used to doing fast work in watercolor.  I still need to trust the “loosening up” factor as offering real advantages, such as spontaneity and freshness.

Thank you, Carolyn Brannen, for coming to the show!  What a pleasure to see you again after all these years!  And thanks for your kind remarks about my blog–I appreciate your reading it.

Quick sketch of the M-K-T depot in Hillsboro, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

M-K-T railroad depot restored in Hillsboro, Texas

Another one of those cussedly jammed-up days.  I began with 3 different classes in 3 different classrooms at my high school in Arlington.  Then off to college in Fort Worth to give a Logic exam.  Then back to Arlington in time to attend an Open House.  Blah!  In between all those appointments I matted watercolors and processed watercolor greeting cards for this upcoming festival (I leave in less than 48 hours).  And I did a little tweaking on a plein air watercolor I began last time I was in Hillsboro to pick up my art work from Burson Gallery.  This is a restored M-K-T (Katy) railroad depot on the west side of the town square in Hillsboro, Texas.  I spotted it as I was helping a couple of friends haul a sofa into a storage facility nearby.  The fading sunlight of the late afternoon on the corner of the depot caught my attention, and I had to sketch it quickly.  The initial sketch didn’t turn out too well.  But a few days later, I fiddled with it in the studio and now it’s starting to look a little better.  I’m afraid I’ve done about all I can do with this one, but plan to start another composition of the depot as soon as I can find some time (today certainly wasn’t one of those days).  Now it’s nearing 11:00, and 5:00 is going to come way too quickly for me, I’m afraid.

Thanks for reading.

Jazz at the Bistro now on the Greeting Card, March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

St. Louis Jazz at the Bistro

Finally, I’m bringing out this watercolor on a 5 x 7″ greeting card, blank inside with the following caption on the back:  Last August while visiting my hometown St. Louis, I came across this incredible edifice of a jazz club near the renovated Fox Theater.  Standing outside of it made me feel a sense of loss as I noted the darkened interior, and though the business had closed its doors.  As it turned out, the club was only closed for that month of August.  I paused that afternoon in silence, trying to conjure up in my memory the fading distant notes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie.  In my watercolor studies, I have made a few jabs at blues musicians and environments, but this is my first attempt at jazz, and hopefully not my last.

Fox Hunt now on the Greeting Card, March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

Jennifer in the Hunt

Signed-and-numbered limited edition giclees are being made from this image.  I’m hoping they will be ready in time for Thursday’s Art Festival in Hillsboro.  I’ve just finished preparing the 5 x 7″ greeting card, blank inside, with the following caption on back:  Here is my first attempt at painting a fox hunt with hounds.  Jennifer Stewart (the artist who designs my website) submitted to me a magnificent photo made by her husband Bart.  This painting is also my first “poured” painting, where I poured the watercolor pigments directly onto the wet surface to create all the accidental details of the foliage.  The major challenge of this composition was to capture the beauty of the fall foliage without taking the focus away from the magnificent equestrian subjects.  The last item I painted was the hounds, and again, I hoped to give them just enough definition to distinguish them, without taking the focus away from the subject.

First Art Festival of 2010, March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

Abandoned Filling Station north of Weatherford, Texas

With only three days to go till my first Art Festival of the year,  I’m scrambling to create greeting cards from all my recent watercolors.   This 5 x 7″ card is blank inside, with the following caption on the back:  With all greeting cards, my first intention is to identify the location of the subject.   I have been unable to re-locate this abandoned service station that caught my eye in 2007 while I was driving north of Weatherford, Texas.  All I can say is that it sits at a crossroads on a Farm Market road.  Twice I have returned to the vicinity, and have been unable to find it.  Service stations are among my favorite subjects for watercolor, and I came across this one during a fine sunny morning, when I was able to capture with the camera this wonderful separation of sunlight and cool shadows.

I’ll try to post all the new greeting cards in the days ahead.  The festival is in Hillsboro, Texas, Thursday through Sunday, at the Outlets alongside Interstate 35.  I’m pleased, for the first time, to have a 10 x 20′ booth out of which to sell my art.

Closing in on the Rogers Hotel, March 6, 2010

March 6, 2010

Rogers Hotel, Waxahachie, Texas

Spent the entire day trying to catch up on lost sleep, and writing a Unitarian Sermon to be delivered tomorrow morning on “The Artistic Vision.”  The work week has been diastrous, nearly cutting out my studio time.  I did return to this watercolor this evening, and enjoyed tweaking it for a few hours.  Hopefully I’ll be finished with it soon and move on to several other works that are “in progress.”  I still need to figure out how to finish out the building around the lamp post, and then return to the foliage to thicken in considerably.  I’m enjoying the play between Paynes Gray and Cadmium Scarlet with occasional touches of Brown Madder in between.  These are new color combinations for me.