Archive for November, 2011

My New “Cafe Press” Store Now Open for Business!

November 30, 2011

Christmas at Spencer's Grill

It has been a long time coming, but finally, I have my first line of products ready for sale on http://www.cafepress.com/recollections54.  Currently I have Christmas cards, general “winter wonderland” greeting cards and one tote bag ready for sale.  As the days unfold, I will continue to add new products to this line.  This has been an exciting adventure for me, a new direction in the enterprise of making and marketing art.

I will do my best to blog daily, though I have several events tumbling in over the next few days.  Tomorrow and Friday, a group of us at Martin High School will be selling our own handmade arts and crafts at a holiday bazaar.   Saturday is the opening of a new show in which I’m participating with my watercolors at Burson Gallery, 207 East Elm Street, Hillsboro, Texas.  The opening reception will be 3:00-5:00.  Next week, I will be selling my art work out of my classroom (room 114) at Martin High School in southwest Arlington, Texas, where I teach.  I also have two new commissions to tackle, with crunching Christmas deadlines.  But nevertheless, I will try my best to keep this blog breathing.

Thanks always for reading.

Second Watercolor Christmas Card Completed

November 29, 2011

Second Christmas Card

Somehow, I managed to finish this second Christmas card tonight.  The schedule has been hectic, but I’m glad it’s done, and I’m thrilled that my Nietzsche session is already prepared for tomorrow’s class.  I don’t know how it all happened, but I’ll take it!

I look forward to posting the two new Christmas cards on my cafe press site in the very near future.  I have wanted to design Christmas cards for years, and have taken forever to accomplish this feat.  Hopefully I can continue to add appropriate Christmas images and build a collection for sale in the coming years.

Thanks for reading.

Creating Watercolor Christmas Cards in the Man Cave

November 29, 2011

Christmas card workspace

It’s hard to find quality time to paint when school is in session.  Nevertheless, I retreated to my Man Cave (dirty garage!) immediately after school today to resume work on Christmas card #2.  Tonight, with the help of a dear friend, I plan to resume work on my “store” opening soon at cafepress.com.  So, during this brief interlude between school and technical support, I find joy in painting once again.

Once this card is finished, I’ll post a tighter image of it and discuss what I’ve discovered in the process of rendering it.  As for now, all I can say is “Hurray for Prismacolor watercolor pencils”!  They are making the task go very quickly and efficiently.   It would be wonderful if I could finish this tonight, but I have my doubts.  Tomorrow my Philosophy class begins work on Nietzsche, and I still have plenty of prep work to do on him tonight after I finish work on Cafe Press.

What I am about to write may appear to have nothing to do with my painting, but I know in my heart that it does.  Yesterday I resumed my interior dialogue with some great minds that I had abandoned months ago.  The demands of my daily schedule, and certain priorities I had established simply pushed them out.  And to them I have now happily returned.

Since the 1980’s I have been absorbed with the history of ideas, and that particular discipline (I hope) has been able to rescue me from becoming too pedantic in the courses I teach.  I must say, with regret, that the abandonment of this fruitful dialogue more recently turned my high school courses into catalog summaries of the essential elements assigned to each discipline.  Since yesterday, I have worked to find my way back to the multidisciplinary path I once knew, and have come to miss.

My reading has been primarily in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” and “The Waste Land”.    But thanks to The Teaching Company, I have had the enriching experience of listening to VHS tapes and DVDs on Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition as well as An Introduction to Greek Philosophy.  I have been filled with lectures on the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle as well as Erasmus, Descartes and Spinoza.  Though I cannot describe how the fellowship of these thinkers has seeped into my painting, I can at least testify that they have soothed my mind and put me in a proper space for painting.  Hours pass by that feel like minutes.  I’m glad to be back once again in the company of these magnificent minds.

Thanks for reading.

Beginning the Second Watercolor Christmas Card

November 28, 2011

2nd Christmas card

Here is the beginning of my second Christmas card from Sundance Square.  The subject is the same platform, only I have moved to the right-hand side of it to try this look.  I seem to have picked up a little speed since the first attempt.  Unfortunately, I have school work to turn to now, so hopefully I can resume this one tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

Finished the First Watercolor Christmas Card of Sundance Square

November 28, 2011

Watercolor Christmas Card of Sundance Square

I finally finished my first Christmas card of the season and have actually printed off several versions to test the product.  I now have a second one underway that I hope to post later today (even if unfinished).  I’m glad finally to get a start on Christmas products for my company Recollections 54.

This is my first announcement–I am setting up a “store” at cafepress.com.  I have already uploaded a number of watercolor images to place on tote bags and stationery.  I have decided now that I want to have a line of Christmas cards to offer.  I hope to have the store online and ready for purchases before this next week is up.  The image just posted will certainly be available.

Thanks for reading.

Closing in on the Finish of a Watercolor Christmas Card

November 27, 2011

Watercolor Christmas Card of Sundance Square

The details on this 9 x 12″ watercolor are really slowing me down today.  It looks as though I’ll need one more day to finish it.  What a surprise–I really expected to finish this on the first day instead of the third.  Too many details and colors, I suppose.  I am getting “drawn in” as I focus on the composition, however, and I’m really finding the Prismacolor watercolor pencils to be a real asset in this enterprise.  I’ve experimented with this product for over a month now, and am finally getting some results from it that are pleasing to me.

Thanks for reading.  I really hope before another week rolls by that I’ll have two new Christmas cards ready for production.

Watercolor Christmas Card Shaping Up in the Cold Night

November 26, 2011

Christmas Card Shaping Up in the Cold Night

I got pretty sleepy as I continued tooling over this small watercolor (9 x 12″) that I’m hoping will reproduce into a decent Christmas card for the 2011 season.  About an hour after I quit, I got this incredible post that encouraged me, and I couldn’t help but return for another round.  As temperatures outside reached downward toward 30 degrees, I found the garage getting intolerably cold, even though I was working in a ski sweater.  Right now, I’m wrestling between hauling all my watercolor supplies into the house or just settling into a comfortable book and waiting for sleep to arrive. At any rate, I’ll no doubt have to drag the supplies into the house in the morning.

Thanks for reading.  This particular watercolor/Christmas card is starting to get hold of me.

Rendering a Christmas Card in Watercolor

November 26, 2011

Christmas Card in Watercolor

This is going much slower than I conceptualized.  I’ve been chipping away at this 9 x 12″ watercolor all afternoon, and feel that I am moving at a snail’s pace.  The sad thing is that I have a second 9 x 12 standing by!  My intention was to create two original watercolors that would be reproduced as Christmas cards, and I really thought I would need one day to kick the two of them out!  Now here I am on Day Two, and I have only one about 1/3 of the way finished.  Oh well.  At least I’m getting some kind of production out of my holiday.  More later!

Thanks for reading.

Making Christmas Cards over the Holidays

November 26, 2011

Making a Christmas Card

I apologize that more than a week has passed since my last post.  Too many disruptions that were school-related and then holiday-related.  Finally I manage to get back into the studio!  The “man cave” (garage, actually) is quite chilly as winter winds are blowing across north Texas today, Saturday.  But thanks to a heavy sweater, I’m managing to find some contentment in this space, and oddly enough, I’m listening to The Teaching Company VHS and DVD lectures on Aristotle.  I’ve had a curiosity about his ethics these past months, and thought I would devote some quality time to hearing lectures on the topic.  So far, I’m finding them quite engaging.

Yesterday afternoon, I journeyed to Fort Worth’s Sundance Square to see everything set up for the Festival of Lights that took place last night.  For several years now, I’ve had good intentions to photograph the complex “Santa Stage” and do a series of Christmas watercolors on the subject.  I am in the process of setting up my own “store” on http://cafepress.com and I did not think the store would be complete without Christmas cards.  I have begun two that are 9 x 12″ in size, that I plan to digitize and reduce to 4 x 6 or 5 x 7″.  We’ll see how that one goes.  I’m getting lost in the profusion of bright primary colors in the Sundance stage and wonder at this point how I’m going to unify the composition.  But at any rate, I’m having fun chipping away at the piece.  We’ll see how it all turns out.  Hopefully I can post more progress later tonight.

Thanks for reading.  Sorry for the lengthy hiatus.

A Quick Start on Some Galveston Palm Trees en Plein Air

November 14, 2011

Galveston Palm Tree outside Moody Gardens

I took a break between classes during the Texas Art Educators Association annual conference in Galveston.  Moody Gardens was surrounded in beauty with all the palm trees.  I found a shaded patio area and went to work on these palm trees before me, using my Winsor & Newton field box of watercolor cakes.  I found the palm-size watercolor kit very convenient for this 30-minute experiment.  The masking has successfully left me some areas to work on the highlighted stalks and palm fronds.  Hopefully I can get back to this study later in the week, once I catch up on all the school work neglected while I was in Galveston last week.  I do like the freshness of this sketch, and think I’ll review the canons of Xie He (early 6th century).  His first canon is resonating with me as I look at this: “Engender a sense of movement through spirit consonance.”  I think that is a timely word for a watercolorist as “anal” as I have been throughout my career.  It’s time to let the uptightness melt away.

Thanks always for reading.  I do appreciate your attention and feedback.