Posts Tagged ‘equestrian’

New Work for the Weekend Show

March 30, 2017

sandi (2)

The Splendor of a Morning Ride

rhett

Surveying the Results

As my show continues through the next two weekends at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas, I am bringing out more work not on display before. The original watercolors featured above have already sold. I have on hand two limited editions of the equestrian subject, and one of the pheasant hunt. The equestrian limited edition sells for $100 and the pheasant for $80.

These subjects I used to paint quite often in my past, but I’ve gotten away from them recently. Once this show is over, I intend to return to some of my earlier subjects, particularly railroad themes and Victorian homes. I haven’t gotten to paint seriously in several weeks as I’ve been busy getting ready for this show.

Thanks for reading. I have at least one more image I hope to post later today.

Equestrian in Fall Foliage, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

Equestrian in Fall Foliage

Here is a large 18 x 24″ watercolor I began over a week ago.  It’s been difficult finding quality time to paint, trying to close out the fall semester at school.  My wife Sandi is riding her horse Andante just as the leaves are beginning to turn in south Fort Worth, Texas.  Most of the foliage at the top is poured from bowls onto the wet paper that was previously masqued, then treated with salt and a spray bottle, along with plenty of tissue-blotting.  For the first time, I’m introducing the color aubergine into the shadows of the bay horse–I’ve never before known for sure how to shadow this guy.  I think this is going to work.  I did a plein air sketch of the pair of trees behind the fence, several weeks ago while we were on location.  I also took several digital shots of Sandi and Andante.  Now I’m hoping to combine two photos to create this landscape.  Hopefully I can finish this one by Christmas.

Thanks for reading.

Fall Colors in the Horse Country, November 27, 2010

November 28, 2010

Fall Colors in Horse Country

Saturday morning found me waking to temperatures in the upper 30’s.  Sandi had a riding lesson scheduled in south Fort Worth.  Since it was the first time to take her horse trailer out, I decided to come along to offer an extra set of hands for some of the details of loading a trailer and helping get the horse in and out.  Once we arrived, I found the world to be extremely bright and clear with sunlight.  Sandi got her horse prepped for the lesson, and I photographed her and Andante riding about the pen, stretching and loosening up.  By the time her lesson appointment arrived, I looked around for something to do.

These trees were “calling out” to me from the time we arrived on the property.  The incredibly bright yellow and orange leaves against a dark forest just would not let go of my imagination.  The sight of leaves falling between that dark space of tree cluster and bare ground also raised my ecstasy.  I walked around, looking at this site from three different directions, all the time trying to talk myself out of the commitment to a plein air watercolor.  I felt rusty, out-of-practice, uptight, not ready.  All of this added up to the “dance of avoidance” Ian Roberts writes about in his Creative Authenticity. I knew that, like Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth before me, there would be rewards waiting if I would just respond to the call.  But I was overwhelmed as I continually gazed at the complications–the masses of fall foliage, the dark forest behind, the bald, dirt ground beneath, the shadows spinning out from the trees and their gnarled trunks.  I felt there were just too many details to chase, and I felt tired.

I pulled out four unfinished watercolors, along with the 8 x 10 photographs I had taken of the subjects.  Nothing moved me.  I took out my digital camera and photographed the scene before me repeatedly, trying to convince myself that I could do a better job working from the photographs and inserting a grazing horse beneath the trees.  I knew that I would not do that, however.  Trees from photographs just don’t “do it” for me.

I even contemplated reading; I had a whole bag full of books.  I even thought of writing in my journal.  But I knew I would live with regret if I passed on this opportunity, and Sandi’s riding lesson was going to take up an hour.  So I sat, and looked, and thought–and finally drew out my watercolor block and sketched in the tree trunks and fencing.

Next I pulled the Super Nib Masquepen and began to dot in the hundreds of leaf clusters and falling leaves, along with the pipe fencing.  Once everything dried, I laid in a quick Cerulean Blue sky.  Fortunately the steady cold winds were drying out the surface of the watercolor block quickly.  Quinachronine Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Sap Green were the predominant pigments to help see me through the fall foliage.

I was pleased at my overall draughtmanship on the gnarled tree trunks.  I mixed plenty of Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Winsor Green and Ultramarine Blue to come up with my blacks and grays.  An HB pencil also aided me in drawing in the tree bark, along with some help from an 8B Derwent watersoluble pencil.  The tree trunks came together quite quickly.

I felt pretty lost on the shadows across the dirt, so I used more of my black and gray mixings from the colors listed above, and swirled them about on the dry paper with my “ugly brush”–a real staple for me.  My “ugly” is a flat sable that I cut diagonally and then used an X-acto knife to pull out some of the bristles, leaving a jagged chisel-looking brush for my foliage, weeds and tree bark.

I’m really delighted that I responded to this opportunity, instead of passing it by.  I was really taken by what Annie Dillard referred to as the “tree filled with lights.”  I could not get over the beauty and splendor of the bright, bright sun reflections coming out of those brassy-colored leaves.  And to think that I almost passed on this to read instead.  I recall Nietzsche talking about how “positively wicked” it was for a writer or scholar to spend the prime time of the day reading–lost in other men’s thoughts–instead of producing one’s own.  I’m grateful that this day was a day that I decided to create.

Thank you for reading.

Finished the Equestrian Watercolor, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010

Sandi Riding Andante

Glad to finish this one, finally.  Sandi will be surprised.  She knew I started this several weeks ago.  But she only saw the outlined pencil drawing of her riding Andante.  Today while she was out doing “horse” things with her daughter, I worked as quickly as possible to finish this up.  It’s always hard to know when to quit and just let the painting go.  I think I have done all I can to it.  Maybe I’ll change my mind in the days ahead, but for now, it looks “finished” and I’m going to leave it at that (for the time being!).

Thanks for reading.

Working at Lubbock Poolside, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010

Sandi riding Andante at Greenwood Farms

How remarkably blessed I’ve felt during our vacation which will have run about twelve days, once it ends tomorrow night.  We left Colorado yesterday, and arrived in Lubbock, Texas last night.  Sandi’s daughter has just purchased property west of town and is developing an equestrian facility.  Sandi joined her early this morning, allowing me to sleep in for the first time on this entire vacation (always fly fishing, plein air activity or itineraries to get one of both of us up early each day!).  After sleeping in, and enjoying the exercise facility at this Holiday Inn, I have now relocated at poolside, where the enormous sky-lighting gives me great quality of plein air light for re-working some watercolors in progress. 

A few days before leaving on vacation, I accompanied Sandi to Greenwood Farm, an equestrian facility west of Weatherford, Texas.  It was a blazing hot Texas day, and I chose to stay in the shade for the most part, while Sandi sweated out the activity of riding Andante in a clinic involving jumping.  Before they left to do their thing, I photographed them several times.  Then using the laptop to view an enlarged photograph, I drew Sandi and Andante as carefully as I could.  I did not like the backdrop in the photograph, so I went out onto the property and found what I thought would make a more suitable backdrop for inserting the equestrian subject.  I finished most of the foliage en plein air and then left the rest of the composition unfinished while we vacationed in Colorado.

Now, at a Holiday Inn poolside in Lubbock, I have taken this painting back out and spent considerable time this early afternoon rendering Sandi and Andante in color, tweaking the backdrop of foliage and adding some foreground color.  I’m really enjoying watching this take shape.  Maybe I’ll get it finished before the day is done.  Sandi just phoned and they will be picking me up for dinner at 7:00–about four-and-a-half hours from now.

What a splendid day, getting to work outside my hotel room in natural light, yet still inside the building (thus avoiding one of those disgusting 105-degree days–ugh!). 

Thanks for reading.

Finished my first “poured piece.” February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010

Jennifer in the Hunt

Glad to sign off on this one finally.  Thanks to all of you who have continually offered encouragement and affirmation.  I feel very satisfied with this.  The only finishing touches I added were myriads of branches and limbs in the foreground corners, along with dropped in colors to suggest sparse leaves and blossoms.  I’m happy with the way the alternating warm and cool colors created this sense of mood.  This is my first attempt at poured watercolor, and I’m already looking forward to my next try.  I think I’ve opened a new dynamic after years of pursuing the same trademark style.  We’ll see where it leads.

Thank you very much for reading.

Closing in on the Finish, February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010

Jennifer in the Hunt

This painting has had an incredibly long gestation period.  I can say that about my more successful watercolors, and hope I’ll be able to say it about this once it’s complete.  From my website (www.recollections54.com) there are a number of works that took months to complete, even years when the work would lay dormant for several months, untouched.  This is especially true of “Blues on the Corner.”

Jennifer Stewart is the one who created and maintains my website.  Two of her horses are in this composition, and her husband took the photograph (which incidentally has been published–thankfully, he has given me permission to paint from this published photograph).

Those of you who have followed my blog know that this is only about the fourth or fifth time I’ve painted a horse, and the first time ever that I have painted hounds.  All of this gave me pause, to say the least, and the reasons for this lengthy “gestation” process include anxieties, quitting, spending weeks and months staring at it, painting-stopping-staring-pondering, second-guessing, doubting  . . .  I think you know what I mean.  I could never have pushed this painting out quickly.  It contains too many firsts, and the more improvement I saw in the process of creating this, the more I hesitated to take the next step–you know, the paralysis that stems from the fear of blowing it.”  After all these years, it’s funny (or pathetic) to see how timid and tendentious I can be with watercolor.

So.  Today I went with my wife to Lyndon Acres in Burleson, Texas.  She stables her horse there, and was in the mood for a ride.  I set up my studio under the trees and poured watercolor all over the top two corners to enrich the dark greens of the foliage, being careful to apply plenty of masking fluid before the pouring.  After I got it home this evening, I peeled off all the masking fluid, picked up the brush, and restored the feathery foliage to the dark green areas.

My last step tonight, before posting this and heading to bed, was to pour deep plum colors all over the lower right corner (after applying plenty of masking fluid).  I have sprinkled heavy quantities of salt into the drying pigment, and I’ll find out in the morning how that worked out (I like what it did to the lower left corner lavender wash).

Anyway . . . thank you for reading, and I hope you’re getting as much fun out of this as I am.  I think I could be just a few days away from finishing it (if I don’t get interrupted.  Arrrgh!  The daily life cycle of a schoolteacher).

Accosted by a Stallion, February 1, 2010

February 1, 2010

Tack shed from Ranger, Texas

Just finished teaching an evening class in Logic.  Still have stacks of work to do for tomorrow’s Advanced Placement Art History.  But, a promise is a promise.  At all costs, I will strive to post my art with commentary every day of 2010.  This is about the only New Year Resolution I have yet to break.

I am posting something from my files of memory lane.  My wife Sandi, our friend Kat Duke, and I traveled to Ranger, Texas in 2008 on a scalding hot summer day–triple digits.  Her grandfather has property there and raises quarter horses.  Our only “plan” that day was to look for inspiration so we could write in our journals, create poetry, essay, write songs for our guitars, and just (to borrow from Kerouac and friends) enjoy some “kicks.”  We just hadn’t anticipated the kind of “kicks” awaiting us.

While walking across a seemingly boundary-less pasture, we were suddenly accosted by a very handsome stallion.  The first response of this magnificent beast was to turn his rear toward us and poop a large pile.  I thought this was O.K., but the ladies warned that he was marking his territory.  I was alright with that too.  The drift that I was not getting was that the three of us were not “invited” guests.  We casually walked away from him and he followed, closer and closer and closer.  Sandi would turn from time to time and gesticulate with her broad-brimmed sun hat, and he would wheel and turn and gallop away, but only for a short distance, and then would return.  This uneasiness persisted for what seemed a lifetime, as I thought we would never get to a fence–and he just kept coming, every time with more aggression.  Finally, the fence arrived, we were over it, and he seemed calmer without us.

Once the stallion incident was behind us, I came across this tack shed, that Kat’s grandfather built himself.  I loved the sight of it, the dark interior, the smells emanating from the mixture of heat, Texas dust and horse residue.  I took several photos and made some quickie sketches in my journal.  Once back at my studio I decided to add this Chesterfield King cigarette sign I photographed that was tacked to the outside of a restaurant in Creede, Colorado.  I also decided that the white-hot cloudless Texas sky was kind of boring, so as a last touch, I darkened it for a more overcast look.

Kat has moved on to Seattle to continue writing songs and living out the life of a folk singer.   We all miss her in Texas, but the Pacific Northwest is now much improved, having added her to their population of creative spirits.  Her mother purchased this original watercolor from me this past Christmas.  I’m delighted that it has found a home with its rightful family.  So, my heartfelt thanks goes out to Kat’s mom for the purchase, to Kat for all the memories and music together, and above all, taking us to Ranger, Texas for an unforgettable day of experiences.

Bring on the Hounds, January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010

Bring on the Hounds

Well . . . this is the first time I’ve attempted to watercolor hounds, and I must say it’s giving me quite a challenge.  I spend more time staring at the photographs than painting.  The foreshortening is always a problem for me, but more than that, the trick of making predominantly white hounds emerge from a sunwashed dusty trail often leaves me scratching my head.  I am enjoying the challenge, and hope all will end well.  I have considerable time invested in this experiment, and it has plenty of firsts–my first attempt at pouring watercolor pigment onto the damp paper, my first attempt to paint equestrians, my first attempt at hounds–I guess this entire painting is a first attempt!

Jennifer in the Hunt, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010

Jennifer in the Hunt

What a spectacular day to be outside for painting.  Lynda Lewis makes me feel welcome painting under the trees at Lyndon Acres in Burleson while my wife rides.  This painting I started before Christmas, but then got cold feet and let it lay dormant a few weeks (however, it continued to compost in my mind).  I’m completely out of my comfort zone here.  I’m pouring watercolors for the first time in my life, and painting with a limited palette of pure pigments instead of earth tones.  I have very limited experience in painting horses (about 4-5 watercolor sketches in my entire life) and have never painted hounds (which will eventually materialize in the foreground).  The colors are brighter than I am used to, but I’m enjoying the blaze before my eyes.  I’m spending much more time studying the photographs given to me by Jennifer Stewart (who created and maintains my website), beautiful photos taken by her husband.  I appreciate so much her contribution to this new adventure, and am looking forward to seeing where it will take me.  I still have a long way to go before I can get closure on this one, but at least I’m having fun.