Archive for June, 2011

Evening Plein Air Watercolor Start on a Eureka Springs Church

June 12, 2011

Eureka Springs Church

This morning, my wife and I rose at 5:00 to make the four-hour drive to Little Rock so she could catch a flight back to Texas.  She begins teaching summer school in the morning, and I begin my one-week class here in the morning as well.  The return to Eureka Springs capped eight hours of driving, and I felt it.  However, the Eureka Springs School of the Arts has provided me with a place to stay this week, and when I moved in this evening, I could not believe my eyes!  I’m in a luxurious space, and feel so unworthy!  All I could hear were the dying words of Tom Hanks to Private Ryan: “Earn this.”  (Incidentally I did not care for the movie, but always remembered that “hook”).  And so, with “Earn this!” on my conscience, I hastily unpacked my gear in this beautiful dwelling, then headed out into the surrounding neighborhood at 6:00 p.m. to paint something, anything.  I just felt I needed to “earn this!”

The sun was setting on this beautiful church, about a block from where I will be residing.  I only had 45 minutes of light with which to work, so this is as far as I could go.  I believe I will set it out as a sample for my plein air students in the morning, showing them how I begin an on-site work.  Then, when 6:00 p.m. rolls back around, I’ll return to the site, and hopefully complete it.  I begin with four students tomorrow.  We’ll practice plein air watercolor for five days, 9:00-4:00.  I’ve waited a year for this, and can hardly believe that the inauguration of this experience is just hours away now.

About this start to the church painting–I was much more fascinated with the beautiful sunset colors filling the trees and foliage to the right of the church, than the actual church structure, although I look forward to (trying) to solve the problem of the rusticated exterior.  I love such cut-stone buildings and their Roman predecessors.  Finally I get to attempt a watercolor of one.  Hopefully I’ll render the stop sign and street signs with enough detail that they emerge from the overwhelming, colorful foliage.  I also love the slant of the street downward, much like what I saw with that Victorian cottage bathed in yellow that I attempted a few days ago (posted).

Thank you for reading.  Wish my class (and me) good luck tomorrow as we begin this week.

A Winsor Lemon Victorian Cottage in the Morning Sunlight at Eureka Springs

June 9, 2011

Second Morning in Eureka Springs

How could a life of plein air painting get any better?  I woke before my 7:00 alarm, found Eureka Springs bathed in yellow sunlight, and decided to give this perspective a shot.  I loved the Winsor Lemon color of this Victorian in the slanting yellow rays of the morning sun, and the longer I gazed at this setting, the more “taken” I was by the lemon yellow sunlight that washed the atmosphere, and the complementary lavender shadows that flowed out from the foreground pavement.  I did not want to stop painting on this composition!  I finally made myself stop, pencil in some refinements on the house, sign it and leave it alone!  This one was hard to release.

The Carnegie Public Library, as it turned out, is right around the corner from this lovely home on Spring Street.  How convenient to step into this air-conditioned ambiance, enjoy the aged, classic architecture of the interior, and post this blog!  How could it get any better?

Thanks for reading.  More tomorrow, as the plein air odyssey continues.

First Plein Air Watercolor Morning in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

June 8, 2011

First Morning in Eureka Springs

Greetings from Eureka Springs, Arkansas!   I’ve been sick with a sinus infection for four days now, but today am much better, a little stronger, and very interested in painting.  I finished out the Waxahachie Paint Out totally spent of energy, and that is probably why the illness set in.  The long drive to Eureka Springs was not without its wrong turns and missed signposts (my nickname is Magellan).  So we arrived yesterday evening and relaxed awhile, and retired to bed early.

I awoke without an alarm at 6:30 and decided to descend upon the sleepy historic district of Eureka Springs.  From my cabin, I shambled down “shin splint” mountain, finally getting to the bottom and finding my self surrounded by scenic structures bathed in the morning sunlight.  I didn’t know where to begin.  I walked about another half mile through the town and out the other side, along the lowest route, avoiding Spring Street (I’ve already done a number of paintings along that street, and no doubt will do more the next couple of weeks).  Finally I found this abandoned facade, with sign missing, and loved the light tumbling down the side-gable.  I surprised myself by completing the pencil sketch in 11 minutes, and the watercolor sketch in one hour and six minutes.  Finally my speed is returning.  I’ve always been happier with plein air works as quick sketches, with studio work coming at another (and slower) time.

I feel terrific now, and cannot wait for my next subject (probably tomorrow morning).  Thanks for reading.

Third Place Watercolor, Desoto Art League competition

June 4, 2011

Third Place Desoto Art League

It was a busy weekend.  After attending the awards ceremony for Paint Historic Waxahachie, my wife and I dashed across the county to try and get into the city hall building of Desoto (in the next county!).   We arrived five minutes after closing, but they were still shutting down everything inside and we were allowed entrance.  As it turned out, I took Third Place in the watermedia division of the Desoto Art League annual show.  It came with a nice check and plenty of congratulations and compliments. This is my largest framed watercolor to date, measuring 42″ high.  I’m looking forward to trying some more “oversized” ones this summer.

So, today is another day,  Saturday.  I get to spend half this day at school in my classroom, finishing out my contract, though the students are gone for the summer.  And I get to return on Monday to my classroom in order to finish my hours “owed” on the contract, because I am  unable to stay for this full “working” day Saturday today.  So, I guess summer vacation begins around noon next Monday!  Glad to be finished with the classes at least.  Now there will be more time to paint!

Thanks for reading.

Honorable Mention at the Paint Historic Waxahachie Plein Air Event

June 4, 2011

Waxahachie Honorable Mention

I’m still bone-tired and short-on-sleep from the past week of painting.  It did yield rewards, however.  In addition to this honorable mention, I’ve sold three of my seven paintings already.  The sale continues through Saturday and Sunday.  Time now to prepare for my next plein air activity, only three days away!

Lazy Afternoon at Zula’s Coffee House. Last Day of Waxahachie Plein Air Competition

June 2, 2011

Lazy Afternoon at Zula's Coffee House, Waxahachie, Texas

Today marks the end of the plein air competition in Waxahachie (for me).  The deadline for entering work is tomorrow (Friday) at 2:00, and I will be stuck in school for the entire day.  The last week of public school is a total waste of time and resources, if I may offer my frank opinion.  Prime time every day this week has been spent in a high school where everyone–student and teacher alike–has already mailed it in.   I’m happy that I managed to crank out seven paintings since last Friday–six of them between Friday and Monday, and then the past three days on this one (again, prime time spent in school, and left-over, late-afternoon time, painting).

Zula’s Coffee House is my favorite place to land when I’m in Waxahachie, Texas.  Terra, the proprietor, has this way of making any patron comfortable and grateful for setting up in this coffee haven, any time day or night.  It has become a popular venue for folk singing, book discussions and various other small group activities.  Wi-Fi makes it a great place to work on the laptop when deadlines are pressing.  The coffee house is located on Business Highway 287, on the north side of downtown Waxahachie (Main Street).  It is far enough away from the town square to escape the traffic noises of midday, and has a life of its own (which the town square lacks after 5:00 p.m.).  The open meadow across the street provides plenty of space for anyone with an active eye and a dreamy imagination.  During the fall of last year, I painted the meadow in all the bright colors that the late afternoon sun yielded.  Again, this is a sweet spot to land for anyone who is a lover of art, books, music and of course, coffee!

Thanks Terra for a very rewarding three days.  I’m glad I finally got around to painting this splendid venue.

Thanks for reading.