Posts Tagged ‘cabin’

Ready to Deliver Christmas Watercolor Gift

December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, Uncle Paul

The painting has been picked up from the frame shop.  I’m ready to pull out at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow, en route to St. Louis to deliver Uncle Paul’s Christmas gift, and spend Christmas with Mom, Dad and the siblings.  Still have plenty of packing to do, so I cannot linger here, though I wish I could.

Merry Christmas to all of you who keep my blog alive.  I cannot thank you enough for your visits and kind sentiments.  You truly are my inspiration to continue painting.  Have a fabulous and safe holiday season!

And thanks always for reading.

Finished the Christmas Watercolor

December 19, 2011

Grandpa Tripp's Dwelling

I’m feeling a sense of satisfaction and closure, now that I have completed this watercolor for my Uncle Paul.  He has been admitted to a nursing home facility, and his health is failing.  He has fond memories of his father’s cabin, so I’m happy to have this one ready to surprise him this Christmas.  I’m taking it to the framer today.

Thanks for reading, and for staying with me, helping me see this one through its stages.  On to the next one!

Christmas Watercolor Activity in the Man Cave

December 17, 2011

Uncle Paul's Christmas Present

Saturday has been a good day to spend in the Man Cave.  I have jokingly referred to my garage as my “man cave” though I have no power tools or table saws in place–just my drafting table, easel and watercolor supplies.  The winter light is really terrific now in Texas, and the temperatures today have hovered about the mid-fifties.  The sun is bright and the lighting is quite cool and clean.

I am hoping to finish this painting by Monday so I can get it to the framer.  It is for my Uncle Paul, an amazing man now in his 90’s and in failing health.  Paul lived in San Mateo, California since the 1950’s and did well out there.   He lived a quite life, working for Greyhound all those years, mostly night shift.  That was so he could support his habit as a writer.  The night shifts were quiet for a supervisor, and Paul loved to write and publish.

Paul was always a terrific humorist and story teller.  I had my own Garrison Keillor in the family while growing up, and never quite appreciated what a treasure he was.  In his final years, he re-lives the memories of rural Jackson, Missouri, where he lives now, and loves looking upon the monuments of his growing-up years.  This picture is one of them–the cabin where his father resided for the final decades of his life, about 20 paces from the main house on the farm.

I am trying to cool the colors as much as possible, because Paul always appreciated the blues and lavenders visible in the shadows of the snowdrifts that piled up on the family farm.  I am going to regret seeing this painting come to an end.  I’ve been chipping away at it slowly and methodically, enjoying every nuance of the decaying timbers of the cabin and every branch of the naked trees hovering overhead.  One day I hope to approach the “Andrew Wyeth” standard of dry brush as I continually explore rural winter landscapes.  The world indeed takes on a beautiful aura during those months of quiet.  I am so glad school ended yesterday.  The Christmas holidays are a splendid time to relax, enjoy the quiet, and attempt a few watercolor experiments.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring Grandpa’s Cabin

December 16, 2011

Grandpa's Cabin

I am returning to a scene I’ve painted several times, yet haven’t seen in over thirty years.  This is the converted “brooder house” where my Grandpa Tripp resided during the final decades of his life.  The main house was only about 20 or so paces away, but he spent his nights in this cabin, while taking all his meals with Grandma in the main house.  He passed away when I was in elementary school, and the memories grow fainter.  Still I recall the smell of the interior of this structure, and recall his card table, pot-bellied stove, large bed, and B&W TV.  Those were all the creature comforts he desired.

I sold a watercolor of this when I was in high school, perhaps my first watercolor ever to sell.  I remember a truck driver making deliveries pulling over on the highway and trotting down to our high school campus to see the sidewalk display our art department set up.  He asked if any of the pieces were for sale.  My teacher said “Yes.”  He said, “I want that one,” and bought mine on the spot.  I was in another class, and didn’t even know until hours later!

During Christmas 1988, I made another watercolor of this and gave it to my dad.  It is framed and hanging in his special room in High Ridge, Missouri.  Now, dad is welcoming back one of his older brothers from California whose health is in decline.  He has returned to his original stomping grounds in rural Jackson, Missouri.  He loved my dad’s watercolor, so we’ve decided to surprise him with one of his own for this Christmas.  I need to move quickly so we can have it custom framed in time to deliver for Christmas.

This is the painting in its beginning stages.  It’s not coming along as quickly as I had anticipated, but many of them don’t.  I just have to get used to that.  It will develop at its own pace, I suppose.

Thanks for reading.

 

Watercoloring a 1903 Cabin from Flippin, Arkansas

September 11, 2011

1903 Cabin Flippin Arkansas

Last spring, while judging a plein air painting composition in Cotter, Arkansas, I was taken to this wonderful rustic cabin dating back to 1903.  This structure was reportedly one of the first two homes built in Flippin, Arkansas, just about the time the railroad was coming through the town.  I was taken to this site just after sunrise on a morning that was threatening rain.  The cool, moist atmosphere and the gathering clouds cast such an amazing pall over the cabin that I set up an easel and went to work immediately, trying to capture a watercolor sketch of it.  Once I returned to my studio in Texas, I used the original watercolor sketch along with some reference photos taken with my digital camera, and created this piece.

I was most intrigued with the light and shadow playing across the table and chairs lining the porch, as well as the rusty screen covering one of the doors.  The entire cabin seemed alive with the dynamics of light and shadow flickering in the dim light of that spring morning.  I hope one day to return to this cabin for further sketches and studies.

Thank you for reading.  And thanks all of you who attended the opening of my One-Man Show Saturday night at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery.   (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com).   I appreciate each and every one of you!

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.

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.

Still Working on the Historic Cotter Cabin

July 3, 2011

Historic Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

I’ve lost a few days of quality painting.  Sometimes life takes a lousy turn, and mine is no exception.  I’m glad I’m out of school for the summer, but hate to waste opportunities because I cannot seem to get myself back to work emotionally.

Having said that, I did return to this one this afternoon, and have stayed rather steadily with it throughout the evening.  I hope to finish it tomorrow, and truly celebrate Independence Day.  I have a second watercolor of this same subject also in progress.  I started it because this one was getting rather tight, and I was fumbling with my next move.  Then other personal things clouded my painting activities and both paintings got abandoned.  At any rate, I’m resolved to work through the emotional baggage and get something creative accomplished.  Perhaps I can finish this one tomorrow, and the other on the following day.  I’ll try.  I have other projects waiting in the wings and would like to move ahead with them.

I’m happy with how the chair emerged in this work, and am getting more satisfied with the table.  I found the stone steps an absolute delight to work with, thanks largely to the practice I got in a few weeks ago when I painted that limestone bluff in Eureka Springs.  I had no idea that that activity would prove so helpful with this current painting.  Now that the masking has been removed, the flowers are showing beneath the cabin, and out front as well.  I’m seeing a few elements emerge that are beginning to please me with this painting.

Thanks for reading.

Feelings Evoked from a 1903 Cabin in Arkansas

June 26, 2011

1903 Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

I’m surprised at how quickly this composition is shaping up.  It measures 20 x 24″ and I began it yesterday evening with only about an hour of daylight remaining.  I took a reference photo of this 1903 cabin in Cotter, Arkansas when I was visiting there last May.  I actually did a plein air watercolor sketch of it during that visit, devoting about 90 minutes to the session.  I blogged it in an earlier post.  Though it’s taken over a month, I’ve had it on my mind to do a larger studio watercolor of this sketch, using the photo.  I love working from natural light so much that I choose not to work on it inside my house.  So, today, with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees again, I spent the morning and evening in my open garage working on it, ever so grateful for gusty winds (though at times they gave about as much relief as a hair dryer).

In order to work on this, I’ve spent considerable time poring over Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies of frame houses and barns.  I’ve also looked carefully at how he renders grasses in watercolor.  It surprises me that I’m moving so quickly through this piece, when I thought that I would be working slowly and methodically.  When it comes to the ongoing art historical debate between the Poussinistes and Rubenistes (drawing vs. painting/Nicholas Poussin followers vs. Peter Paul Rubens followers–sorry, just had to throw that one in!), I always came down on the side of Poussin, Wyeth, and all others who approach painting as an extension of drawing.  For decades, I’ve wanted my own watercolors to model fine draftsmanship.  But over the past couple of years, I’ve tilted more toward color exploration and quality, and have found myself moving away from drawing.  Drawing always slows down my work.  I guess I’m surprised that I’m not spending more time drawing in detail on this piece.  But . . . the painting is not yet finished.  Who knows–perhaps tomorrow I’ll return to drawing and slow my pace.  We’ll see.  The bottom line is that I’m having fun with it.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Painting of a 1903 Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

May 24, 2011

Plein Air Painting of 1903 cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

This was my second sublime morning of plein air painting during the Plein Air on the White River competition in Cotter, Arkansas.  Shortly after the sun rose on this 1903 cabin, I found my eye filled with gratitude at every detail of this forsaken cabin that cried out for an Andrew Wyeth-style dry brush study.  I only had about 90 minutes to work on it, but I am persuaded that I will give this subject some serious studio scrutiny in the immediate days ahead.  These kinds of subjects are too elusive these days.  I cannot find them very easily.

Thanks for reading.