Archive for May, 2010

2nd plein air attempt in Granbury, Texas, May 15, 2010

May 16, 2010

2nd Victorian house painting from Granbury, Texas (Pearl Street)

My second attempt at this Victorian house on Pearl Street in Granbury, Texas met with better success.  The sun had finally broken free of the clouds, and I was feeling much more relaxed and content.  The cupola was incredibly bright with the sun reflecting off it, and I was trying to capture that sparkle as best I could.  I’m thinking seriously of finishing this one.  I took several digital images of it while I worked.

Granbury Plein Air, May 15, 2010

May 16, 2010

Town House on Bridge Street, Granbury, Texas

The weather was largely uncooperative during the Outdoor Painters Society plein air activity in Granbury, Texas.  Heavy storms filled the first day, so I didn’t paint at all.  Fortunately I had reserved a hotel room, and managed to get in plenty of quality reading and journaling.  I also had the fortune of spending a large portion of that morning in the studio of local artist Robert Cook.  He generously gave his time demonstrating for me some fabulous techniques of rendering trees with some modified brushes.  Afterward, he drove me around the town, showing me quality sites for plein air experimentation.  By the time Saturday rolled around I was ready.

But alas, the entire Saturday morning was dark gray and overcast.  No light or shadows to be found.  So, I set up outside this beautiful Victorian home on Bridge Street and worked hard at drawing it, then faked it, concerning sunlight and shadows.  The results weren’t convincing, but nevertheless I was able to put in some quality time studying and drawing Victorian architecture.  I never cease to be amazed at all the angles and intricate details in these lovely homes.

Second Day of Poured 1950 Chevy, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

1950 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery, Hillsboro, Texas

I got to make a second pass at this large watercolor (24 x 18″).  Since I’ve done very little to the ground cover, focusing on the car, I cropped the photo to show the car details a little better.  I like the way it’s developing.  I need to solve the green problem now–not too sure what colors to introduce to make the green field & forest look better.  Tomorrow (Thursday) will be my last chance to work on this for awhile.  I’m packing to go to Granbury, Texas for a Friday-Saturday plein air event sponsored by the Outdoor Painters Society.  If I cannot return to this car tomorrow, then it will probably be Monday before I can do so.  Again, the same sad story–too much school crap to do and almost no time for outside activity.  Only fifteen days to go, though, and I can’t get it done quickly enough.

Thanks for reading.

Pouring Inside the Studio, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010

1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, poured watercolor

Normally, my watercolors are 8 x 10″ or 9 x 12″ since I like to carry D’Arches watercolor blocks around with me in the field.  However this one I’m working on in the studio, and it’s 24 x 18″ which is huge for me.  I’m getting lost inside the composition, which I guess is a good thing.  I feel no rush to complete it, and am really enjoying the process of pouring the pigment onto wet paper, tilting it around, and creating various effects and textures.  Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist in his laboratory.  I’ve done plenty of work with X-acto knife, toothbrush, masking fluid, paper towels, squirt bottle, salt and other various tools that I usually don’t carry around in the field.

Victorian House Waxahachie, May 8, 2010

May 9, 2010

Waxahachie Victorian

After spending the morning of Saturday, September 8 north of Hillsboro, Texas painting a 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, my buddy Chris and I drove over Highway 77 to Waxahachie to paint in the early afternoon light.  I took a shot at this Victorian home a few weeks ago, but never finished it (probably posted on the blog).  On this day, rather than be overwhelmed at the complexity of all those architecutral angles, I chose to concentrate on the vertical, hoping to get all the way to the flower bushes in front.  After 90 minutes, fatigue finally caught up with me (I had already invested 2 1/2 hours on the other painting and then a 30 minute drive over to Waxahachie, not to mention that the first painting was a one-hour drive from my home).  I chose not to dive into the center of the house (with all the complexities of porch, shadows, door and window details, etc.), and tried to splash some color at the bottom and suggest all the beautiful things growing in the front yard.  I like the way this one is going, and my get back to completing it.  Today however, I have this huge, 24 x 18 poured painting of the ’50 Chevy in progress, and I would like to push that a little further down the road.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Watercoloring in a Field of Junked Autos, May 8, 2010

May 9, 2010

1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, north of Hillsboro, Texas

Saturday afforded great weather (59-72 degrees and plenty of bright sunshine) for hitting the road early and doing some plein air watercoloring.  I took Chris Toplyn (Boston watercolorist recently transplanted to Texas) to one of my favorite sites, this property along Highway 77 north of Hillsboro that is lined with vintage vehicles rusting in the elements.

I’ve already tried this 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery from the front view twice, and have a third poured painting in progress (all posted on the blog).  Today I chose to set up behind it and see what I could do.  On this day, I took genuine delight in drawing with the pencil, erasing, correcting, re-drawing.  I sketched and studied for quite awhile (so nice when there are no time constraints), and when it came time to flood the water across the page and drop in the first few washes, I felt I had found paradise.  Many times, plein watercoloring, to me, is like fly fishing in a Colorado stream–time elides and all my pores are delighted in what surrounds me–smells, sounds, sights.  And I lose track of time.  When I stopped noodling on this, I checked and saw that I had spent two-and-a-half hours on it.  It seemed like fifteen minutes.

Afterward, Chris and I decided to get back on Highway 77, and head to Waxahachie to see what we could conjure during the afternoon hours.  This time in the field with this car was a morning well-spent.  I wish I had more of them, but am extremely grateful for the ones granted.  And speaking of which–though it’s rained and gotten soggy outdoors, I have this day to see what I can get done inside the studio.  I’ll see what I can do.

Pouring it on a 1950 Chevy, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, Hillsboro, Texas

Finally, I’m getting this one underway.  I have done two small watercolor sketches of this 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery that I found north of Hillsboro, Texas, alongside Highway 77.  The owner of the property has graciously allowed me to come on site and take a good look at it, and sketch it on site.

Tonight I began this 24 x 18″ poured watercolor of it.  I can’t wait to get up to my elbows in this composition.  Hopefully I can begin rendering the car tomorrow.  Right now it’s wet, puddly, sloppy, gooey–all of the above.  I used too much water in the mixtures of pigment, and it didn’t take long to turn the entire stretched paper surface into a lake!  I’m going to have to turn out the lights and just let this set up for the night.  Maybe after school tomorrow I can return to it.  I definitely have the itch.   But you know–school.  It’s been a lousy year, trying to find quality time to make art.  If not tomorrow, then perhaps the weekend.

Thanks for reading.

First Plein Air attempt in McKinney, Texas May 1, 2010

May 4, 2010

605 College Street, McKinney, Texas

This is the first of four attempts I made at plein air watercolor sketching in McKinney, Texas, May 1.  My following three blogs piece together the entire story.  It was a splendorous day for painting in the open air, and by the time I finished my 4th painting, I was exhausted.  But it was a “good” exhausted.  I felt like a weary fisherman, bringing home his stringer of fish by day’s end.  I have another plein air event scheduled for Granbury, Texas weekend-after-next.  I’m already rested from the McKinney excursion, and cannot wait for Granbury.

An Afterthought? Only 45 minutes left till deadline, May 1, 2010

May 4, 2010

McKinney, Texas town square

The Southwestern Watercolor Society was scheduled to meet at the Garret Art Gallery on the town square at 4:30.  I had only 45 minutes remaining, so I thought I would take a shot at a piece of the square.  I deliberately avoided the water tower looming in the distance, but as I was finishing up and time was expiring, I realized there just wasn’t much on the paper.  So I inserted the water tower, and think it’s about the only decent part of the composition!

Thanks for reading.

McKinney, Texas plein air activity, Saturday, May 1

May 4, 2010

601 College Street, McKinney, Texas

The blog post following this one tells the whole story of my plein air activity in McKinney, Texas on May 1.  It was organized by the Southwestern Watercolor Society.  This watercolor sketch is the second of four that I created on that day.  I had finished the first painting by 10:15, and began this one around 10:30, finishing it just before noon.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the historic homes and properties were full of color.  I especially delighted in the juxtaposition of the rock and brick facade colors of this historic home against the deep, deep green shadows forming on the property just to the right.  The Garrett Art Gallery at 111 E. Virginia (on the town square) provided a space for us to hang our work to be judged.  I was delighted (and quite surprised) to be awarded First Place.  There were scores of magnificent works cranked out that day by twenty-two watercolorists.

The Garrett Art Gallery will be hanging this painting, framed, along with other framed works created that day by the other artists in a special exhibition to be held July 10 through August 12.  My three other watercolor sketches will be matted,  shrink-wrapped, and placed in bins in the gallery as well.  All work will be up for sale.

Thanks for reading.