Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Trying to Return to the Studio, Watercolors are Waiting to be Born

January 18, 2012

Chicago Impressions

The hiatus from the studio is drying me out!  School has  been better lately, and I have found myself pouring more time and effort into classroom preparations (I’m teaching four different subjects this semester–ugh!) which has been good for school but bad for the studio.  I’m trying my dead-level best to return to studio tonight (after prepping for two more subjects for tomorrow).  The student whom I’ve been giving private lessons in the evening is ill right now, so I will not be teaching this evening.  Perhaps I’ll pick up the brush.

I’ve posted an original watercolor that I still have in my possession: Chicago Impressions.  I photographed this composition while in Chicago a few years ago, visiting the Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer watercolor exhibits at the Art Institute.  Though I’ve priced it at $250, and have it in a professionally prepared mat, it hasn’t managed to find a home.  So, I continue to look at it.

Tonight, I hope to return to the Fort Worth Flat Iron building I started last week, and have already posted repeatedly.  But my next plan is to create a large railroad composition, larger than any watercolor I’ve done to date.  I have been restricted to the full-page layout of 22 x 28″ but now plan to cut a longer piece off a roll, and see where that takes me.  I have painted quite a few train compositions, and often felt I was too hemmed in by the restricted size.  The more I think on this, the more enthused I am about going after it.

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Bluesville USA–Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, February 10, 2010

February 10, 2010

Here is the third and final watercolor submitted to the juried exhibition of the Arlington Visual Arts Association.  The Blues are my passion, and I think Buddy Guy is the greatest living Blues guitarist and performer today.  It has been my pleasure to see him perform countless times, and finally, when I visited the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008, I made my way south of my hotel to visit his celebrated Legends nightclub.  My wife and I had flown in from our home in Arlington, Texas the night before, and as we entered his establishment, we asked the manager if Buddy Guy ever “hung out” in his own club.  His answer was, “Yeah, every night that he’s in town.”  Of course we had to know if he was in town.  We were in Chicago for a three-day stay.  “No, he’s performing a three-night venue in Houston.”  Oh well.  Still it was a great club, and the music we heard all three nights was Chicago Blues at its steamiest.

I photographed his club from every angle possible, finding it especially difficult from this perspective posted, with the constant obstruction of traffic lights, passing traffic, etc.  But I liked this angle, and gave it my best try.  I was intimidated by all the teals, as that is my least “cooperative” watercolor, so it seems.  I also struggled with the teals in an earlier blog post–the one of my St. Louis Jazz at the Bistro.  I found the neon-lit signs against dark windows very challenging, but was satisfied with how they came out.  I have tried neon a few more times in my more recent Waxahachie, Texas courthouse square paintings.  My attempts at capturing mildewed and stained concrete again took me back to the Andrew Wyeth coffee table books in my collection.  I spent a great deal of time looking at his drybrush renderings of the concrete buildings at Kuerner’s Farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  Wyeth has constantly “taken me back to school” when it comes to solving problems in drybrush renderings.  Finally, I had to try my hand at that vertical corner sign surrounded with light bulbs, featuring the illustration of a young Buddy Guy.  Lettering is my Achilles heel, and there was plenty of it to fight in this sign.  I’ll have to keep chipping away at the lettering issues because I love signage in watercolors, just as I do when I’m out looking at old commercial buildings downtown.

I miss Chicago, and look forward hopefully to spending more days in that Windy City.  It features one of my favorite art museums, my favorite musical genre, and the entire downtown is an architectural wonder to me.