Posts Tagged ‘city’

Flatiron Watercolor Delivered to the Gallery

February 15, 2012

Sunlight on the Fort Worth Flatiron

I have delivered this watercolor (size 30″h x 22″w) to the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery, 3126 Handley Dr., Fort Worth, TX   76112.  Now that it is out of my sight, I am more than ready to begin the next adventure, hopefully by this weekend, seeing that it’s a 3-day weekend off from school.  Thanks to all of you who watched this painting from its birth to its completion.  The journey was a rewarding one for me.  I only hope the next one proves to be half as fun.

Thanks for reading.

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Evening in the Garage Studio Painting the Fort Worth Flatiron

February 2, 2012

Flatiron in the garage studio at night

The school schedule finally knocked me down.  I called in sick today, slept till nearly noon, and woke up feeling better than I have in months.  Retiring to the garage studio (man cave?), I resumed work on this Fort Worth flatiron building that I have been unable to give undivided attention to since its inception.  The result is that today it has made notable progress.  Tonight I finally drenched the foreground street with warm neutrals, trying to render the mottled shadows of the overhead trees, and hopefully get this building to “pop out” more.  I still have to darken the areas behind the building as well, and will get to them when I can, perhaps tonight.  I’m not tired yet, though this is just about all I’ve done the entire day.

I have been drinking deeply from the Mystic Fire video presentation of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  Many of his Irish Catholic tensions stemming from his upbringing have close parallels with my own Midwestern Protestant past.  I’ve been haunted lately by the closing words of his novel, describing his sentiments while in exile:

“O life!  I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

April:  Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.”

Thanks always 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.

Watercoloring the Haltom Jewelers Clock

July 21, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Clock, Sundance Square

This morning, I rose bright and early, determined to go after this clock that I have avoided from the start.  I spent about 30 minutes on it, then quit to work out at the health club.  Returning, I labored over it again for about an hour, then quit again,  This afternoon, I am chipping away at it yet again.  My fear has been that the clock would melt into the background, so I keep backing away to study my reference photos taken on location, to get a good read of the surrounding contrasting colors.  As I’m getting deeper and deeper into this painting, I’m aware of my tendencies to “choke,” as I fear doing something that will un-do whatever good work I laid as a foundation.  So far, I’m pleased.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring Haltom Jeweler’s, Getting Lost in the Details

July 20, 2011

Haltom Jewelers details

By now you have probably guessed rightly that I am terrified of painting this monumental clock.  I’ll get to it, when I’m comfortable with it.  Meanwhile, I pursue the endless details.  I’ve heard it said that the Devil is in the Details, but I have always found the Sublime in the Details, at least when it comes to drawing and watercoloring.  I get lost when this occurs, and I find it totally enjoyable.  My breathing changes when I detail a watercolor just as profoundly as when I step into a mountain stream with a fly rod.  Considering that Texas is facing yet another triple-digit temperature day today, I could wish to be wading a mountain stream, but oh well–I’m glad to be painting.

Thanks for reading.

Chipping Away at the Watercolor of Haltom’s Jewelers, Fort Worth, Texas

July 19, 2011

Haltom Jewelers plugging along

I feel that an apology is owed my blog readers.  It has been several days since I’ve touched this watercolor, and therefore, posted on the blog.  Several other details in my life have managed to crowd out my watercolor time.  This is entirely my fault, as I’ve felt somewhat burned out on this piece for several days, and really hated to pick up the brush when my heart was not in it.

I did get out yesterday evening to the Fort Worth Stockyards, north of town, and did a plein air piece of the historic Hotel Texas.  The attempt was a disaster, as again, my heart wasn’t in it.  I choose therefore not to publish that sketch.

Tonight I put my best effort forward, and once again am beginning to develop an interest in this piece (particularly, to finish it!).  I began work on the Worthington Hotel windows in the upper left corner, did some more pencil rendering of that magnificent clock, and darkened the background foliage to push the clock forward more effectively.  Also I began work on the ground-story brickwork of the Jewelry store.  Plenty of details are starting to get my attention.

Hopefully tomorrow I can turn the wheel several more revolutions.  Thanks for reading.

An Entire Saturday of Plein Air Watercolor Activity, Some of it Good

May 8, 2011

Red Goose Shoes, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

This was an unbelievable Saturday (yesterday, May 7).  I set out early in the Jeep and came to rest in sun-washed downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  Sundance Square is a delicious setting with an abundance of historic sites that I wish to watercolor, hopefully very soon.  So, here is my first sketch of Red Goose Shoes (sign only, the store below long gone) next to the historic theater, formerly the AMC Sundance 11, at 304 Houston Street.  It also is long gone (suites of meeting rooms now) though the facade is still intact.

I remain deeply dissatisfied at my own watercolor sketches.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love watercolor sketches and gaze at them for hours–just other people’s watercolor sketches!  I have come to appreciate more my own “finished” watercolor paintings.  The spontaneity of a well-done on-site sketch I recognize in other artists, just not my own.  But, I’ll get there.

The experience of sitting in a cool shade and sketching the facade of this building and magnificent sign defies description.  I worked on it for about 34 minutes (I’m so obsessive/compulsive with the journal I keep at hand–10:08 until 10:42!), and the result was very bad.  I’m not sure if I’ve already posted this in a previous blog (not sure if I’m thinking too much or just getting old), but I’m reading with great delight Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit.  This amazing artist/teacher is truly prophetic in the writings he has left behind.  The testimony of his “presence” and power to inspire others around him is well-documented.  In reading him, I laughed, being caught off guard at one of his remarks–few artists can finish a painting because they cannot seem to start one well.  Ouch!  Many, many of my paintings start out very badly, and I find myself working slavishly to “rescue” them.  Some just have to be abandoned.

So here I was, with another bad start to a plein air watercolor sketch, though I was truly “in the moment” and enjoying the outdoors immensely–every sound, smell and sight absorbed into my excited and receptive pores.  I love the bustle of a city waking up on a weekend.

I packed my gear together and proceeded south on Houston Street to duck into a Starbuck’s enjoy a tall bottle of cold water, fiddle around on my laptop (so much delicious correspondence to enjoy, thanks to the blog, Facebook, email–thanks all of you!) and to take another look at this.

I took out my journal and made critical notes, then returned to my painting spot, enriched the reds, detailed the sign, tried to load in some better contrast, and delineate the bricks in the white facade.  Finally, the painting appeared to do all it could, and each new stroke seemed to diminish it, so I quit, and moved on to the next location, which I will record next, in “Part 2.”

I have posted other “Red Goose Shoes” paintings on this blog.  There is a magnificent sign like this in south St. Louis that I completed earlier this year.  Red Goose Shoes is a memory from my childhood, even though I never bought a pair of shoes from them.  My parents always took me to the local Fischer’s Department Store in High Ridge, Missouri.  I liked Fred Fischer, but he didn’t offer golden eggs filled with prizes!

Thanks so much for reading.  Hope your Saturday was sublime as well.

4:30 A.M. in the Painter’s Studio

March 29, 2011

Eureka Springs, Arkansas Flat-Iron Building

This morning, I entered the garage studio at 4:30 and worked on this for one hour.  Now, I sit in my darkened classroom–ambient perimeter lamps providing the only light, and pause to write in my journal, reflect, and perhaps put out one more blog on this piece.  The last piece contained somewhat of a rant–I was tired and ready for bed, yet I choose not to erase it.  I’m not pleased with my school district, or with our state legislature that has made decisions leading to the demise of public education funding in Texas.  But I’ve written all I intend to on that subject.  This day began with art, so it promises to be a good day.

No signature yet, but this painting is nearly finished.  As I pause and look over it, I realize that tinkering with details and “finish” work tend to suck the freshness and spontaneity out of a watercolor.  So it is likely that I will just add a signature and let it go.  I’m very happy with the last two 8 x 10″ pieces of the historic Eureka Springs business district.  My brief sojourn there during Spring Break was a cold and overcast one, nevertheless I managed to take a few photos, and am very pleased that I recorded the experience, and, I believe, these two paintings do indeed reflect an overcast, winter light.  In a more perfect world, I would have a painter’s studio on the top corner floor of this flat-iron.  Monet gushed that he didn’t have to leave his backyard at Giverny to find compositions to paint during his final decades.  I believe that if I could look out from this top floor, over the scintillating Eureka Springs town, that I could very well say the same.

Thanks for reading, and have a fabulous, artful day.

Five A.M. in the Painter’s Studio

March 28, 2011

Worm's-Eye View of Eureka Springs Business District

As an aging teacher, I have become certain of two things: (1) A man’s character is his fate, and (2) days that begin with art are better than those that do not.

(99% of that opening statement is not original, but as a creed, I offer it as 100% heartfelt)

For those of you who have followed my blogs, you are aware that I am suffering a slow-burn of fury and indignation that our school district (superintendent actually) has chosen to postpone (probably cancel) the International Baccalaureate Diploma program that my high school was going to inaugurate in 2012.  With that action, my heart/intellect was brutally amputated, and going to school every day I now find to be extremely difficult.

This morning, I rose at 4:30, went to the garage/studio (wow, the cold front had dropped temperatures to the 40’s!), and painted on the above work for about 90 minutes.  I found the experience so affirming and satisfying (something that has largely disappeared from the daily school routine) that I seriously believe I will try it again in the morning.

My college painting professor rose before dawn to paint in his studio, and usually expressed chagrin that he didn’t see that kind of “drive” in us when we dragged into the painting studio in the afternoons.  I am now about the age he was then, and I think I see his perspective.  At any rate, painting is a healing salve for me now, and I’ll continue to look for ways to pursue it.  By entering the studio at 5:00 a.m., I give to art the best part of my day, the best part of me.

Thank you for reading.

An Edward Hopper Perspective of Eureka Springs, Arkansas

March 22, 2011

Second-Story View of Historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas

My pulse is pounding to paint, and it’s been so hard to find the quality time.  The last days of winter were spent last week in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I’m doing this small (12 x 14″) watercolor composition from a photo I took from the balcony of a cool hotel in the historic district of this town.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity of trying out an “Edward Hopper” perspective, as I recall that he composed some of his New York City watercolors and oils from this high-angle view.  I seem to recall the French Impressionist Camille Pissaro doing the same with his “modern” Paris and its expanding boulevards.

So much is surging through me these recent days.  I’ve been indulging in Imagist poetry from Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Willliams, and now am re-reading James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I’ll have more to say of all that later, hopefully today.  I just walked away from the painting to allow it sufficient time to dry.  I’m itching to get back and work some more.  This particular scene definitely has my attention.

Thanks for reading.