Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cards’

Rolling in the Painting

November 18, 2019


My newest 5 x 7″ Christmas Card–$5

And a pleasant Good Monday Morning to all of you from The Gallery at Redlands! I awoke with a rush of excitement to get back into the UP Big Boy lococmotive watercolor I’ve been building over the weekend. When I entered the gallery to see what was on the drafting table, I wasn’t completely satisfied with its overall look from a distance. So now, over coffee, I plan to spend some time contemplating it to figure out exactly what to do next. Hopefully I can post the image later in the day.

I stayed close to the watercolor all day yesterday, with an extremely narrow focus on detail. Now, I believe, the time has arrived to pull out the journal and begin recording corrective notes as I determine how to complete the overall composition of the piece. I have lost so many paintings over the years by working closely on them for hours and not stopping to view from a distance and make critical finishing decisions.

I love crawling into a painting and rolling around in it the way a dog does in the grass at the park. I recently walked my favorite dog in a Lubbock park near the overflowing playas. In the distance, I saw him rolling, rolling, rolling with great glee in one spot. He was oblivious as I called out to him, and continued tumbling. Once I got to where he was, I saw what held his attention–a rotting carp from the playa. He was rolling all over it, covering himself with decay. Yum. I made sure I walked back to the house upwind from him before stuffing him into the shower.

All this to say that I need to back away from rolling all over this painting to keep from suffocating it and ending up with a corpse. As I’ve written before, I don’t suffer much anxiety over losing a painting, but in this case, I like the way it started, and would like for it to end just as well.

More later. Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

A Butternut Coffee Christmas

December 18, 2012
Butternut Coffee Tin and Vintage Suitcase Watercolor

Butternut Coffee Tin and Vintage Suitcase Watercolor

The afternoons are getting rather long.  I finish teaching daily at 12:20, but am staying in my classroom (which I’ve converted into a “rustic gallery” for selling my art) until 4:00 daily.  The four-hour afternoons have been given to reading Hemingway and experimenting in watercolor sketches of various still life arrangements.

During Christmas 2001, I got this notion of creating a series of watercolor Christmas cards, calling the series “A Heritage Coffee Christmas.”  I went to antique stores and purchased vintage coffee cans, so I could see the logos and color schemes, and created a series of 5 x 7″ cards of barns at winter time, surrounded by evergreens and sporting advertising billboards of these various coffee companies.  I thought the watercolors were good in that day, but that was 2001.  I will post my Butternut Christmas card below.

I noticed my pile of vintage coffee cans in the back of my room, hanging out with my books, and realized they had been back there eleven years with nothing to do.  So, I selected the Butternut can, put it in front of one of my ragged vintage suitcases, and began this sketch.  Today is my second afternoon to fiddle with it.  I have no idea what is going to emerge, but I’m enjoying what I see, so far.  The composition measures about 8 x 10″ and I’m using a cheap Strathmore watercolor sketchbook I found lying among my supplies.

Thanks for reading.

"Heritage Coffee" Christmas Card

“Heritage Coffee” Christmas Card

Converted my Classroom into a “Rustic Gallery”

December 13, 2011

Rustic Christmas Gallery

My sincere apologies for this lengthy hiatus in blog posting.  School is winding down the semester and preparing to dismiss for the holidays.  In addition to the extra duties, I have been involved in a couple of art shows and competitions.  I was delighted to take 2nd place in the annual members’ show of the Desoto Arts League last week.  And I opened a group show a week ago at the Burson Gallery in Hillsboro, Texas.

Every year near Christmas time, I decorate the back of my classroom at Martin High School, converting it into a “Rustic Christmas Gallery” and sell my art work to teachers and students.  I will have my little “store” open till 5:00 every day this week, then until 3:00 next Monday and Tuesday (we meet in the mornings for final exams).  And then it is home for the holidays.

I have a new watercolor planned, but haven’t gotten enough done to photograph and post on the blog.  Hopefully I will give you a snapshot of it by the weekend.  The events around me always seem to accelerate when the holidays arrive.  This year is no different.

Thanks for reading.

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  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  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.