Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

A Weekend Given to the Arts

October 2, 2016


. . . there is something else in painting beside exactitude and precise rendering from the model.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, March 5, 1849

I celebrated this first weekend in over a month when I had no work-related responsibilities to fulfill. The entire weekend was given to reading, journaling, and watercoloring, and now my soul, finally, feels restored. The abandoned gas station from Claude, Texas is coming along slowly and with much feeling, as I spend more time staring at it compositionally than actually painting. Reading the Delacroix journal this morning confirmed me in this practice, that I should spend more time contemplating my work as art instead of the craftsmanship of drawing or painting.

I spent a large part of Sunday painting all around this composition, and I believe the most satisfying discovery was the way the stale bread crumbs responded in the foliage above the roof of the station. As the paint dried around the crumbs, I continued to mist the paper with a small spray bottle given to me by a dear fellow watercolorist/friend. Thank you, Elaine! I feel that finally I’m learning how to cope with the difficulty of tree foliage and texturing.


Over a week ago, I began a smaller sketch of Queen Anne’s Lace, intrigued by the warm and cool greens that surround the blossoms, and wondering how actually to shape and render the blossoms themselves.  After alternating several layers of masquing and color washes, I finally peeled away all the masquing this afternoon and tried to go back into the composition and render the blossoms.  So far, it isn’t working the way I wish for it to, but it’s early still.  I’ll keep studying and trying new things.


I wish I could pick up the brush again in the morning, but I have a job to fulfill, so I guess I’ll see if I have any gas left in the tank after finishng my Monday classes.

Thanks for reading.

First Plein Air Sketch at the Dallas Arboretum

March 13, 2012

First Dallas Arboretum Sketch

This is a BlackBerry photo of my first watercolor sketch at the Dallas Arboretum this morning.  It was the first time that I sold a painting literally “off the easel.”  The work was not completely dry when a patron purchased it.  I failed to photograph the painting, but was happy that it found a home so quickly.

The morning was overcast and wonderfully cool for working outdoors.  The crowds were huge, but fortunately there is enough space at the Arboretum to handle them.  I found everyone very friendly, and enjoyed conversing with a number of onlookers as I worked on this one.

I found the Arboretum to be a splendid place for painting, but was not thrilled with the $25 admission.  Fortunately, I left the place with a profit, thanks to this sale.  I’ll look forward to painting for free at Fort Worth’s Botanic Gardens on Thursday.

Thanks for reading.  It was a great day for painting.

Plein air Painting at the Dallas Arboretum

March 13, 2012

Dallas Arboretum

Today offered perfect weather for plein air painting.  My friend Chris Toplyn and I journeyed early to the Dallas Arboretum and met three other Fort Worth painters for a day of painting.  This is my second attempt of the day.  I’ll try and pull a photo of my first one from my BlackBerry.  I failed to photograph it with my good camera, and sold it off the easel before remembering to get a good shot of it.

I stared at this subject for a long time before finally deciding to try it.  I was really transfixed at the sight of the distant dead growth contrasting against the explosive yellows of the foreground tree.  Finally, I decided that if I tinted the background in lavenders instead of the gray that I actually saw with my naked eye, that perhaps a complementary composition would be pleasing to the eye.  My real interest in painting this was the stark, “druidic” looking tree that invited an Andrew Wyeth-type of drybrush study.  I still am not satisfied with my way of handling stark, dead winter trees, and I spend hours poring over illustrations of Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies of this subject.  To me, he is the master.

Painting this subject brought pure pleasure to me, as did the affirming comments from passersby.  The Arboretum was overrun with people on this gorgeous day, and  I enjoyed every conversation.

I plan to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on Thursday, hoping for a continuation of this gorgeous painting weather.

Thanks for reading.




Calling my “Bluff” at Eureka Springs

June 15, 2011

Eureka Springs Bluff

A hot, humid, sticky day in Arkansas, thanks to midnight thunderstorms the night before.  Our plein air class from the Eureka Springs School of the Arts began the morning at the Turpentine Creek Cat Refuge south on Highway 23 out of Eureka Springs.  My students asked me to do a demonstration, painting a slumbering Bengal tiger in the shadows.  I tried.  She turned over about a dozen times in the first 10 minutes.  My attempt of course was a disaster.  The students paintings that ensued however showed much more promise.

Our afternoon session was spent on Spring Street near where I am residing this week.  The students gravitated toward this beautiful bluff and flower bed shimmering in the sun.  They called my bluff, asking me to do a painting demonstration of this scene, knowing I had never tried to paint a large natural rock surface.  I suppose I did O.K. on this (much better than on the tiger, which I won’t bother to post!).  After the students finished at 4:00, I noted that two students wished to remain for about another hour.  So I took this sketch back out, having only roughed out the bluff, and tried to knock out some flowerbeds (another first for me).  I lost the light as the evening shadows lengthened, so I will need to come back to this one.  The flowers and foliage are not quite finished.

An inspiring day for plein air painting, once again.

Thanks for reading.