Archive for the ‘French easel’ Category

Waxahachie, Texas Paint-Out Under Way

May 26, 2012

Waxahachie Quick Draw Ready to Commence

The “Paint Historic Waxahachie” commenced this morning at 8:30 with a Quick Draw competition.  More than twenty of us set up our easels around the Farmer’s Market south of the square on Rogers Street, and had to paint something en plein air in two hours’ time.  Then the paintings were silent auctioned until noon.  I struggled first to decide on what to paint, and then on the actual painting of it (as usual).  I ran into some trouble with my watercolor getting too wet and soggy, and I was afraid at the end of two hours that I was not going to be able to peel away the masking fluid I had used to highlight tree trunks and limbs.  But, it turned out all right.  Happily, the painting sold, so it now has a home. Here is a picture of it, still on the easel, just as I finished it.  The painting measured 16 x 12″.

Waxahachie Quick Draw complete

I’ve returned to the house to do some quick business for my festival booth tonight, and to organize and pack some food for the event.  I will be at the Arlington Levitt Pavilion from 4:30-10:30 again this evening.  Music will be brought by Ray Wylie Hubbard.  Thousands of people packed the place last night to hear Michael Martin Murphey.  We expect enormous crowds again tonight (and hopefully a substantial number of art patrons).

Thanks for reading.

Autumn Trees in the Western Sun

November 1, 2011

Autumn Trees in the Western Sun

Texas weather was again delicious for plein air experimentation.  After school let out, I immediately went out in search of autumn colors, and it didn’t take long to find them.  This time I layered Winsor & Newton watercolors with Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils, going back and forth between the media.  I found a happier balance this time, and believe I have come up with one of my better watercolor sketches of fall foliage.  It’s rather small (about 9 x 12″), but I think it will have  a smart appearance once matted and framed.

In looking at this pair of trees, I was surprised to find the one with the dead leaves still sporting its full headdress, while the tree of living leaves had already lost about half of them.  I found that strange, and wanted to try and sketch the pair accurately.  Fall is coming on.  Because of the dreadfully hot and dry summer, I’m afraid that Texas will see little-to-no color this season.  Nevertheless, I still like the looks of the trees as they begin casting their leaves, even if the colors range only from green-to-brown. All the same, I’ll try to capture some of them in watercolor sketches en plein air this time around.

Thanks for reading.

Rendering Trees in Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils

November 1, 2011

Trees Rendered in Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils

This afternoon, I attempted to render a pair of trees exclusively in Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils.  So far, I have only had success in balancing them with watercolors and brush.  I’m still finding it a challenge, trying to neutralize the intense colors.  My style tries to match landscape colors with what I find in nature, and these are still coming out entirely too bright.  Perhaps my palette is too limited.  I’m working with a set of 24 pencils, and haven’t taken the opportunity to refine my palette by ordering individual colors.

Thanks for reading.

Looking Forward to Fall Colors and Plein Air Watercoloring

September 18, 2011

Looking Forward to Fall Colors and Plein Air Watercoloring

The cool, autumnal temperatures that lightly kissed the four-day Grapefest have left me yearning for the changing colors that announce the plein air season for passionate watercolorists.  Though the art festival season will be extremely heavy from September through October, I am of a mind to commit my weekday afternoons to plein air watercolor sketching.

This is an open meadow across Business Highway 287 on the north side of Waxahachie, Texas.  I had stopped by Zula’s Coffee House late one autumn afternoon in 2010, and enjoyed my coffee outdoors at a picnic table while watching the sunlight sweep across the field across the highway.  I took out my watercolors and made quick work of this vista.  Now I’m ready to chase autumn colors with the brush again.  They cannot come soon enough.

Thanks always for reading.

 

Hico, Texas–Painting the Town on a Hot Summer Day

September 13, 2011

Downtown Hico, Texas

Now that school is underway, I really miss the open road and those splendid opportunities of the past summer to paint en plein air.  Though the temperatures remained at triple digits (including this afternoon spent in Hico, Texas), I nevertheless found favorable settings for watercoloring in the open air.

Hico, Texas was a fun place to pass the day.  From this location, I was situated on the divided street of the main drag, enjoying the shade of trees and gazebos.  There was even Wi-Fi available, and I was able to blog on that particular afternoon from the place where I painted.  A number of the town’s citizens dropped by out of curiosity, watched me paint, and engaged me in meaningful conversation.  To me these are the most perfect moments in creating art–the privilege of talking to strangers who will not remain strangers.  I felt a real “connectedness” on that day, with every conversation that transpired.  I am hoping that when the temperatures cool, the leaves turn, and the art festival season ends, that I will be able to return to Hico for further work.  I was fascinated with the age of the public buildings, with their rusticated, cut-stone exteriors, old signage and fabulous shadows.  And I now know that the public is very receptive to artistic endeavors on the main drag.

Thanks, Hico!  It was a fun day, and I look forward to returning.  And thanks all of you for reading.

David Tripp watercoloring a 1903 cabin from Flippin, Arkansas

September 10, 2011

Tripp painting historic cabin in Flippin, Arkansas

 With watercolor pad and digital camera at his side, Texas watercolor artist David Tripp drives his Jeep along meandering county roads, seeking small towns and open countryside to paint.  Every day presents a new opportunity for discovery of some artifact reminiscent of earlier decades of energy and prosperity.  Today, only the shells and husks remain of filling stations, general stores, movie theaters and other public buildings formerly stirring with conversations, stories and glimpses of life. David’s watercolors feature subjects drawn from 1950’s America, now present as mere relics of a once-thriving civilization fading from our American landscape, but not from our memories.

David received his Bachelor’s degree in art from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) in 1976, focusing on drawing, painting and art history.  Graduate school took David’s curiosity down a more academic path, focusing on philosophy, religion, literature, and art history, finally earning him the Ph.D. in 1987.  Since then he has been a full-time educator in high school and part-time at the university. 

Every derelict commercial structure or private residence leaves this artist with a feeling of profound loss, but at the same time an exhilarating presence. The writer Marcel Proust has pointed out the thrill of beholding an object capable of triggering profound memories from our youth, and our being filled with a sense of warmth and gratitude.  Pausing before these subjects allows space to re-live important elements from our past, the recollections that create what we are now.

Deja Vu–A Second Painting of Cotter Cabin

July 6, 2011

Cotter Cabin Deja Vu

If you have been following my post, you may have read that I “froze up” on my first large painting of this historic cabin in Cotter, Arkansas.  So, I began a second one, and once the juices began flowing, I went back to the original and finished it.  Now I’ve decided to bring closure to this one (though it appears I won’t finish tonight, as much as I wish I could!).  Right now, I’m up-to-my-elbows in it, and very interested.

Today was quite a day.  I rose shortly after sunrise, went to the historic Handley neighborhood and took some digital photos that I think will yield some good watercolor compositions.  By the time 7:30 arrived, I decided to go on into downtown Fort Worth to see how Sundance Square looks in the low-angle morning sunlight.  Choosing to avoid Loop 820 and Interstate 30, I chose to stay on Lancaster, finding it smooth sailing, relatively free of traffic, and conducive therefore for a speed trap.  Yep.  Ticketed for speeding.

Once I got to Sundance Square, I found exquisite yellow sunlight all over the downtown architecture, and focused mostly on Haltom Jewelers, taking about 40 more photos from all angles.  Then I settled into Starbuck’s on Sundance (hadn’t yet had my coffee-fix), opened Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and found myself lost in a swoon.  I cannot get enough of this guy!  The more he spoke of primal sensations taking us back to childhood memories, the more I thought of the Cotter Cabin with its look, its smells, and its reminders of my parents’ roots in Southeast Missouri near the Mississippi River.  The smell of the damp, rotting wood stuck in my throat, even though I was in modern upscale downtown Fort Worth.  I didn’t want to leave.  I don’t know how long I lingered there, reading, writing in my journal, and gazing across scores of years into my primal past.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the house and resume this painting.

So, yesterday it was William Carlos Williams with his Imagism.  Today it was Proust and his “recollections” (Ha Ha–I call my company Recollections 54) as well as William Wordsworth and his “child is father to the man” mantra.  It’s been a fabulous day, traffic ticket notwithstanding.

Thanks for reading.  Maybe I’ll finish this Cotter Cabin Deja Vu tomorrow.

Eureka Springs Railroad Environment

July 4, 2011

Eureka Springs RxR

The 4th of July has turned out to be a decent day for painting.  Once my thermometer reached 106, I decided it was time to get out of the garage and retreat to my indoor studio (I cannot bear the dim light of the indoors, once I’ve indulged in plein air, nevertheless I’m not inviting heat stroke either).  It’s nice to work in an air conditioned place now.

I began this small 11 x 14″ piece on the last day of class with my Eureka Springs School of the Arts group.  It was Friday morning, and I felt a heaviness, knowing I was going to leave Eureka Springs and all its beauty that day, yet anxious in my heart to get on to the next appointment.  I felt that great things were just ahead.

Once I took out this piece today, I realized that the antique steam engine really needed a set of wheels.  So I fortunately had a reference photo taken on location, and set to work today trying to finish out the bottom of this composition.  I’m glad to bring closure to this work.  Again, I have too many conflicting feelings co-mingled, as this painting takes me back to the end of Eureka Springs and the transition back to life as I know it today.  It has not been an easy shift, and I’m still working to get my feet back underneath me.

I have filled out an application for the 2012 academic year at Eureka Springs School of the Arts, and hope I can return to this remarkable mountain town next summer.  This quaint Victorian mountain town is a plein air artist’s dream.

Thanks always for reading.

Colorado Dizziness! Durango-Silverton Railroad Watercolor Finished!

July 4, 2011

Durango Silverton RxR finished

This 4th of July finds me somewhere between Vincent Van Gogh’s steam locomotive and Andy Warhol’s factory.  I’m possessed with an energy to kick out some art work on an assembly line.  I frequently allow a number of watercolor partial attempts to accumulate in my studio–some that I regarded as “finished enough” en plein air and others that just started out badly and I abandoned them but did not throw them away–just threw them aside.

Now and then a day comes along like this one, where I choose to line up the unfinished pieces and resolve to bring them to their conclusions, sign them, blog them and move on.

This painting began during the Art in the Park festival in Kennedale, Texas.  During a slow moment in sales and traffic I sat on my stool and began this work, using a small reference photo (3 x 5″).  I never thought anything significant would come of it–just passing time (festivals can become rather long when the sales taper off).  In the months following (this began in April), I took the sketch out now and then and “diddled” with it.  I thought it was finished last week, but then saw some more things in it that bothered me.  Now I’m satisfied.

I long for the next time I get to board the Durango-Silverton.  My wife and I are thinking seriously about a trip to Colorado when the Aspens start to turn.  We’ll see.

Oh well, I have another railroad composition awaiting-one that started badly.  We’ll see if anything positive can come out of that.

Thanks for reading, and happy 4th of July.

Finished the Cotter Cabin. Time to Move On

July 4, 2011

Historic Cabin, Cotter, Arkansas

To those of you who have followed my blog, this picture may look no different than the one posted late last night.  Exactly the reason for me to sign it and leave it alone.  I have worked an additional 90 minutes on it this morning, but once I realize that each stroke I add does not radically improve the overall composition, and indeed may diminish it, it is time to let it go.  Perhaps I held on to this painting too long because it reminded me of things in my life that I need to let go.  So, there it is.  Ironically, I have another of the same size started, but I have decided for the moment not to pursue it.  Time to look at something else.

The morning of the 4th of July has started early for me.  I’ve chosen to paint in the garage because of the wonderful light, though I’ve been shirtless for an hour and am still mopping my brow frequently with my gym towel.  But I do love the light.  Funny–I’m not a guy who takes sun well, and doesn’t particularly like it.  Yet when I watercolor outdoors, I find a way to tolerate it.  Granted I would not enjoy pulling weeds or painting the siding of my house in this climate.

I am listening with my whole being as the VCR plays behind me “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”  That book by James Joyce touched my life at the very core when I read it back in the late 80’s.   I really need to read it again, but I’m hung up in Proust right now, hoping to finish him this summer.  Joyce and Proust both put me in touch with the important elements of my upbringing, and with summer vacation present, I have tried to spend more time pondering those matters.  Unfortunately I let other elements intrude, and they managed to keep me away from my quality reading and painting.  Perhaps Independence Day will be doubly poignant for me if I allow it to mark the first day of my return to what matters.  All I need to determine at this point is–what matters?!

Anyway, for the moment, painting matters.  And having said that, I have a couple of unfinished works at my side that need tending, so I will pursue those.  With some good fortune, I’ll be posting them in the hours ahead.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your 4th of July brings good things your way.  I’m happy to be painting this morning while my wife rides.  The garage studio space is working, for the moment.