Posts Tagged ‘Flat Iron Building’

Return to Drawing the Fort Worth Flatiron

April 18, 2014


Returning to Work on the Fort Worth Flatiron Building

Returning to Work on the Fort Worth Flatiron Building

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.  To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.  Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Throughout this morning, while working on atmospheric qualities in watercolor, I was moved to find this passage from Thoreau that once impacted me while studying him back in the early 1990’s.  I don’t pretend to be consistent in living an artful life while making art, though it is sublime when life’s details and the tasks of making art are both at their best.  I can certainly vouch for a beautiful morning in the studio.  I reached a point in the Hermann, Missouri painting that I was willing to give it a rest.  Then, without a moment’s hesitation, I pulled out this closeup of Fort Worth’s flatiron building that I abandoned months ago and went right after it.  So far, the colors are working, and I am drawing, drawing, drawing.  I hesitate even to refer to this as a painting.  The sharp brushes are doing just as well as sharpened pencils, and I probably am feeling the same kind of satisfaction that an old-timer feels while whittling on a stick with a penknife.  The more I scratch and chip away at these details, the happier I feel as an artist.  I may not be too far from finishing up this work as well.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.








Back to Work on the Fort Worth Flat Iron Watercolor

January 18, 2012

Fort Worth Flat Iron Building

My painting buddy David Slight came over this evening, and we spent 3 hours in the “man cave” garage studio working on watercolors.  It was a nice decompression after a hectic high school load earlier today (four 90-minute classes in 4 different classrooms, no conference period).  Of course, there is the devil to pay.  I still need to spend about 90 minutes finishing my regular art history prep for tomorrow.  Fortunately I got the Advanced Placement Class finished before David came over.

I’m hoping to get this painting finished in the next week or two.  It is full-sized (22 x 28″), and the details are making me cross-eyed!  I still have plenty of Flat Iron to tend, and then have a rich network of shadows to lay down on the pavement below.  But, I’m finished for tonight.

Thanks for reading.

Chipping Away at an Historic Flat Iron Building in Watercolor

January 7, 2012

Fort Worth, Texas Flat Iron Building

While waiting to give a private art lesson Friday afternoon, I had a few more leisure hours for drawing and watercoloring on this Fort Worth Flat Iron building begun a couple of days ago.  It is on a full sheet of paper (22 x 30″) and rather hard to get to, requiring plenty of leaning over a desk.  Fortunately the weekend has arrived, and I have a tilting drafting table here in my studio to make access more pleasant.  As you can see, I’ve devoted most of my recent work on the shadow end of this building.  I still need to darken it further, but will probably move on to the sunlit flat end and get to work on all those blasted windows (yawn).  Hopefully by Monday I will have much more of this behind me.  I do have another major project to work on as well, however.  If that second project goes well, I’ll toss some of those pictures on the blog as well.

Thanks for reading.  Have a splendid weekend.

In Progress Watercolor of Fort Worth Flat Iron Building, Downtown

January 6, 2012

Fort Worth Flat Iron Building

After an exhausting day of lecturing my way through three Art History sections, I finally had the opportunity to return to this full-size watercolor (22 x 30″) of an historic Flat Iron building on the south side of downtown Fort Worth.  Though the building is a considerable walk from mainstream Sundance Square, it is nevertheless worth the walk to view it in all its dignity.  I have wanted to paint it for several years, and quite frankly have felt intimidated with all the details on the building.  But now I have the serious urge, so I’ll see where it takes me.

I have another major watercolor project to tackle this weekend, that is long past due.  No doubt I’ll be posting that one as well.  I sincerely hope I can get some quality work done on this pair of projects with what time I have left Friday through Sunday.  Next week promises to be a brutal school schedule.

Thanks for reading.

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.

Eureka Springs Flat-Iron Building from the Extreme Ground Level

March 27, 2011

Worms-Eye View of Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Finally I return to the garage studio and get some quality painting time in.  I could not paint Thursday through Saturday due to high school and university teaching responsibilities, the hanging of a new show that finished last night, and attending a wonderful seven-hour symposium on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.  Today I was privileged to sleep until nearly noon (only 4 1/2 hours’ sleep the night before) and then enter to paint for a while this afternoon.

This watercolor is only 8 x 12″ and the detail is slowing me down, but that’s a good thing at this point.  I have been working on rather large compositions, and have tried to work on large splashy wet-on-wet surfaces, which have yielded their rewards.  But now it’s nice for me to focus on small, minute details, and today I was thinking of J. M. W. Turner’s early watercolor and pencil compositions, particularly the wonderful small piece he did of Tintern Abbey cathedral.  I also mused over some of Andrew Wyeth’s smaller pencil and drybrush renderings.  I like to go back and forth between the splashy and the tight.  I go down  a dozen avenues as I think of these contrasts–Apollo vs. Dionysus, drafting vs. painting, Neo-Classical vs. Romantic art, and on and on.  Frankly, I’ve always been on the tight side, many would say the “anal” side of the artistic enterprise.  Three of my college painting professors said I did colored drawings, and they called it right.

Anyway, all of this to say–today I have fed the Apollo side.  I’m a little drowsy now–the past three days of intensive work are still taking a toll on me.  I’m thinking seriously of an afternoon cat-nap, and–if I revive sufficienty–an evening of further work in the studio.  I would really like to listen to this muse before I have to return to school (ugh!) in the morning.

Thanks for reading.