Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

Plein Air Watercolor of Trolley now Published

September 12, 2011

Trolley Car Parked in Waxahachie, Texas

The blogging life of the artist has taken interesting turns of late.  This is a trolley car that had been parked on the square in Waxahachie, Texas two summers ago (2010).  I painted it during a “Paint Historic Waxahachie” event that featured 55 plein air painters from the surrounding areas.  The eight-day competition spurred the creation of hundreds of paintings.  This one pictured was one of nine I painted during that eight-day cycle.

Yesterday I received an email request from a graphics design artist working for the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He was requesting permission to publish this on the front of an advertisement for an arts fundraiser involving an arts trolley tour around the local museums.  The publication is giving me credit for the art and publishing my website.  I was all-too-glad to grant permission.  The cover page has been sent to me, but alas, it is in PDF and I have not found out how to convert PDF to JPG unless I pay for the service.  My attempts to publish the PDF photo on this blogsite have proved futile.  At any rate, I have the magazine cover saved on my flash drive, and have been admiring it all day.

Thanks for reading.

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

September 8, 2011

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

Marcel Proust reminds us in his Remembrance of Things Past that the mere sight, sound or smell of something has the power to transport us back to primal memories from our childhood that fill us with warmth and gratitude.  These are the kinds of subjects I attempt to capture in watercolor for my company that I have named Recollections 54 (http://www.recollections54.com).  This past summer, while cruising Sundance Square one morning, I saw how the sun washed the yellow, blue and red facades of the Red Goose Shoe store and what used to be the Sundance 11 theater.  Though saddened by the demise of these companies, I felt at the same time a gratitude for the memories that flooded my being.  Having grown up in St. Louis, I watched the Red Goose Shoes commercials on children’s television and fantasized about the golden eggs filled with prizes available with the purchase of a pair of shoes.  I also recall the abundance of art deco theaters that I frequented in the greater St. Louis area during those early years.  Now they are mostly gone.  When I encounter sights such as these, I linger in the moment, feeling that profound sense of loss, but also an exhilarating presence.  The memories matter, and they leave me with a comfort too profound for words.

Thank you for reading.  My One-Man Show opens Saturday night from 5:00-9:00 at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery, 3126 Handley Drive, Fort Worth 76112.  I would love to see you there.  Currently, we have about forty watercolors at the location, ready for showtime.

Haltom’s Jewelers Watercolor, Sundance Square, Nearly Complete

July 26, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers nearly finished

I’m trying very hard to have this watercolor wrapped up and delivered to the Weiler House Gallery by tomorrow (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com).  The latest obstacle interfering with its successful completion is our air conditioning breaking down today.  It is only 102 degrees outside now, meaning that the inside of my studio is a cool 90 degrees.  I find this exceptionally irritating, especially since I called in our problem Saturday morning and it only took four days for someone to come and announce that the motor was nearly dead, and that ordering and receiving the replacement would take a minimum 48 hours–then 3 hours after he left, the motor gave up the ghost.

At any rate, I still hope to finish this tonight and deliver it tomorrow.  I will take one final photo of the completed work.  I hope all I need do is complete the downspout and vertical slice of brick facade running down the right side of the composition.  Of course, if I stare at it long enough, I’ll no doubt find other things to do to it.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking with my self-imposed deadline.   Tomorrow, then.

Thanks for reading, and especially for following up on this particular watercolor odyssey.  It’s been an interesting path for me.

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.

Watercoloring the Windows at Haltom’s Jewelers, Fort Worth, Texas

July 12, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Windows, Fort Worth, Texas

Most of this afternoon and this evening have been spent on the right-hand side of this large composition.  Therefore, I chose to crop the photo to show anyone interested in what has just been rendered.  The earlier posts show the entire painting surface.  There is still so much to be done.  I am pleased that I attempted to paint reflections and wooden blinds as seen in the windows instead of merely blacking them out, as has been my custom.  This could be one of the stronger parts of this overall painting.  Sleepiness has not yet overtaken me, so I believe I’ll stay with this one on into the night, as I have done the past two nights.  However, I’ll hold off posting until tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.  I’m starting to catch some momentum with this one.

The Next Day, Watercoloring Haltom’s Jewelers, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

July 12, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers, Fort Worth, Texas

I have decided to post this painting daily, as long as I am working on it daily.  The details are emerging slowly.  I worked on it in the studio late last night, until about 3 a.m.  Now I am back at it on a Tuesday afternoon.  For years, I have been fascinated with the monumental posture of this clock outside Haltom’s Jewelers in downtown Fort Worth, Texas (Sundance Square).  I had always had a fantasy of rendering it in watercolor, and now that I am at that point, I find myself frozen at the colors in the bronze, both shadows and highlights.  I’m still trying to find those colors in my palette.  Once I solve the “bronze” problem, I’ll resume the clock.  The reflections in the upper story windows of the jewelry store also have me fascinated.  Too often, I just paint the windows as black silhouettes, avoiding problems of reflection and distortion.  But these window patterns are too fascinating for me to do that.  At any rate, if I botch them, I could always come back and turn them into silhouettes!

Thanks for reading.

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, Loss and Presence

April 23, 2011

Sketches in the Studio

1887 relic of 4th Methodist Church Fort Worth, Texas

Today, Friday morning, April 22, 2011 begins a 3-day weekend for me.  While in classes yesterday morning, I suddenly was seized with this notion to visit this relic from the edge of downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  It is what remains of the 1887 Fourth Street Methodist Church (today First Methodist Church, in a different location).  The ruins were discovered a few years back when demolition began of a storage facility, with no knowledge that the skeletal remains of this vestry were within the old structure.  The Bass brothers decided not to destroy the relic.

For the past two weeks (is this serendipitous?) I have been mulling over William Wordsworth’s “Lines.  Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.  July 13, 1798.”  I have also lingered over a watercolor by J. M. W. Turner, composed while the painter was quite young and visiting that same Medieval ruin of a church.  The poem and the painting have been on my mind the past few weeks, again with all those Proustian notions–of memories, of loss and of presence.

Other writers have expressed this better than I, but I know these heart-shuddering sentiments of standing in the midst of something left over from the past, with the wreckage of decomposition prevalent, and I simultaneously feel a profound loss and an exhilarating “presence.”  This is what I feel when I look on this church ruin adjacent to a thriving Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas.  At the close of the 19th century, worshipers, mourners, seekers–people of all persuasions–lingered on these grounds and worshiped within the sacred space.  I tried to focus on those matters while the traffic of downtown Fort Worth whizzed past me.  One memorable moment during this 30-minute sketching exercise was a courteous bicycle security guard working for the city stopping by and chatting with me for a few minutes.  Her presence, and the knowledge that there were “many of them” about the town, made me feel safer to return here and sketch again.  Indeed I shall.

Thank you for reading.  It is now Saturday, and I hope to get some quality work done in watercolor by the close of this 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.

Eureka Springs attempted, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2011

Historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The Texas weather was in the upper fifties today, and the sun was bright.  I raised my garage door, and whittled some more on this work-in-progress, enjoying the bright afternoon sun on the paper.  This is a full sheet of watercolor paper, and I’m not used to working on so large a scale.  I’m getting lost in the painting!  I photographed this quaint historic district of Eureka Springs, Arkansas repeatedly when I was teaching at the School of the Arts last June.  I have gazed at the photos numerous times, and decided it was time to get daring and try a large piece.  I’m enjoying the ghost signage, the plumbing and cables outside the old brick walls, the painted bricks, and the brightly-colored umbrella tables down  below that I plan to tackle tomorrow.  If I can pull this one off, then hopefully I can return to Eureka Springs this coming summer and try to paint en plein air this same district.  I’ve been offered a position teaching there again in June, contingent on the class making.  Last summer was quite successful, as I taught plein air watercolor in the town.  I would love to do it again.

For those of you gracious enough to read my blogs, I hope to kick up my activity to a higher gear.  It appears that the next four months are going to allow more time for painting and blogging.  School got pretty tight last semester, but the approaching spring term appears to be a little lighter (I hope it will be, anyway).

Thanks so much for reading.