Posts Tagged ‘Fort Worth’

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.

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.

Continued Work on Haltom’s Jewelers Sundance Square Watercolor

July 11, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Sundance Square Fort Worth, Texas

This watercolor is not coming along as fast as I would have liked.  It’s been awhile since I worked on such a large scale (22 x 28″).  The studio is rather cramped, but I choose not to go out to my 100-degree garage studio.  There are many, many details to nail down on this one, particularly the clock.  Nevertheless, I’m enjoying the experience, watching this painting emerge gradually under my gaze.  I spent two hours on it last night (midnight till 2:00 a.m.) and now have invested about three more hours on it today.  But it’s getting “addictive” now, and I love that feeling!  Even when I have to straighten my back and walk away, I find myself turning suddenly, leaning back over it and doing something else.  Endless details!  But I love that in a watercolor.  I’m a sucker for detail.  And so this is going to give me plenty of outlet for that.

Thanks for reading.

Beginning of a Poured Watercolor of Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

July 8, 2011

Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

It’s taken awhile to get started on this large piece (22 x 28″).  I spent several hours yesterday, drawing out the composition.  This afternoon, in the bloody hot garage (another triple-digit Texas temperature day) I poured my first layers of color onto the tree foliage (Aureolin and Winsor Blue).  It took a few hours to dry.  Now I have poured my second, darker layer (a combination of Sap Green and Cobalt Blue Deep), sprinkled plenty of salt, and then intermittently hit it with a spray mist bottle of water and added more salt.  I’m afraid that is all I can do tonight.  it is nearing 11:00 p.m., and I should probably give this all night to set up and dry before I strip away all the masking fluid underneath.  I can’t wait to see how the beginning stages look tomorrow.  the setting is Haltom Jeweler’s at Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth.  I spent two days there this past week, photographing, sketching and trying to make a decision on what to paint next.  I knew I wanted to tackle a full size sheet of watercolor paper again.  It’s been a few months since I’ve poured watercolor onto the page.  I’ve missed that sense of dizzying freedom.  I’m glad the Muse is stirring tonight.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Painting in a Cemetery during a Stormy Afternoon

May 24, 2011

Plein Air Painting in a Cemetery on a Stormy Afternoon

In just a few days, I have a major plein air painting event taking place in Waxahachie, Texas.  For several weeks now, I have been brushing up on plein air practices, which are profoundly different from studio approaches.  This afternoon, as the north part of the city of Fort Worth grew dark with gathering storms, I traveled to the Greenwood Cemetery and attempted a quick sketch rendering of this monument.  I worked on it for one hour and ten minutes.  I’m getting faster, but last summer I was finishing plein air watercolors in as fast as 45 minutes.   I still have a ways to go.

This is the first time I’ve attempted to capture Greek-style columns in watercolor.  I enjoyed the experience, though I’m not too pleased with the result.  However, I remind myself that this is a first.  I’ll eventually get to where I want to go with Greek monuments.  I’m just glad the storms held off till I was finished with this piece.

Thanks for reading.  Hope to see you in Waxahachie beginning this weekend.

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.

The Passing of a Local Blues Guitar Legend

February 9, 2011

Zeb Cash-Lane, holding his Fender Jazzmaster

My Watercolor Tribute to Zeb

Zeb Cash-Lane passed away yesterday, February 8, 2011.  He had taken me under his wing back in 2006 when I was trying to find my way as a blues guitarist.  I played side guitar for him at the Peppermill Lounge in east Fort Worth, Texas for a few months spanning 2006-2007.  Zeb’s health was failing then, and when news came this morning that he had died, I could only hope he hadn’t suffered.  I had seen him on many days when it was a struggle just to draw a breath.  I’ll always remember with gratitude what he taught me about guitar, music, performance and a host of other matters relative to the music environment.  And I will always recall the sensations of his Fender Stratocaster shrieking in the night as he belted out his original blues compositions.

I close by posting recollections recorded in my personal journal the morning after I met him:

Friday morning, October 13, 2006, 7:50 a.m., Martin High School Philosophy Class:

Last night, I had a life-altering encounter at a recording studio in east Arlington.  I met for the first time Zeb Cash-Lane, an aged blues musician, specializing in harp and searing electric guitar (Fender Jazzman played through a Fender tube amp).  It was a night to remember always and I now attempt to record the visions . . .

7:00 p.m. Thursday found me pushing my Jeep westward on Abram, with temperatures dropping, a chilly October evening and a sun sinking large, flooding the western sky with color.  Looming silhouettes of tire shops and tattoo parlors paraded down the corridors of my peripheral glances.  Finally, the cinder block building came into sight.  Jim Farmer waited outside on the parking lot with a slender, rangy man sporting a Rasputin-like full white beard, faded jeans, suspenders and a gray-blue “Charley Guitar Shop” T-shirt.  I was introduced and shook hands with Zeb Cash-Lane.

Inside the dim studio room that doubled as Zeb’s dorm room, we heard the searing electric blues that Zeb ripped.  It was an authentic Blues environ: whiskey bottles, ashtrays, Zeb rolling his own cigarettes, scattered amps, guitars, a cello and even an upright piano.  The room had the clutter of a maintenance shed or electrician’s shop, but it was a music room.  A Blues room, a three-dimensional photo gallery of where Zeb was and where Zeb had been.  Jim Farmer played his new electric bass, Zeb played his Fender Jazzman and I played my Martin D-35.  The Blues seared, screamed and moaned late into that cold October night.  Inside, the guitars cried while outside, the winds answered with a chorus of mournful, yet affirming howls. Stormy Monday set the tone for the Blues night in the studio.

After hours of playing, we sat outside on the concrete steps, weary but full of hope about our musical collaboration, and shared stories over cold beers.  I drove home, late in the night, numbed by the experience.