Posts Tagged ‘ghost signs’

Sunday Morning Musings from Studio Eidolons

April 11, 2021
Glad to be back in the Studio for some Quiet Restoration

. . . finding you were able to make something up; to create truly enough so that it made you happy to read it; and to do this every day you worked was something that gave a greater pleasure than any I had ever known.

Ernest Hemingway

Today is restoration day. Sandi and I received our second COVID vaccine shots yesterday and are happy to experience no unpleasant symptoms. We’ve just been on the go for several days and are glad now to stop for awhile.

I’ve resumed reading Carlos Baker’s Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. I love the quote above, and that general sentiment of the artist–creating something out of the void. My life has been enriched in recent years by a mix of painting and writing. Last weekend while in The Gallery at Redlands, I met an author who invited me to join their writers’ group that meets once a month. The next one won’t be until May, but I am already leaning forward with enthusiasm to gathering with these writers and finding ways to sharpen my own vision of what to do with my own practice.

My latest watercolor has laid dormant on my drafting table for twenty-four hours, and I intend today to give it my next push. I’ve gotten bogged down with the bricks and ghost signage, so I may decide to return to work on the trees awhile. We’ll see.

Planning today to return to the Ghost Sign watercolor

I look forward to participating in Artscape 2021 at the Dallas Aroboretum April 23-25. Last year was canceled due to COVID, but I understand that there will be 80+ artists participating this year. This festival has been one of the highlights of my annual art schedule before last year’s cancellations. I am excited to bring out quite a stack of framed watercolors that have not yet been seen by the public. I guess that’s one positive to address concerning the lost year during COVID.

A new Greeting Card for my Inventory

Hank Under Oklahoma Stars

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Walt Whitman, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

Reclining against his backpack, Hank savored the warmth of the fire that neutralized the chill of the October night. He had left Turvey’s Corner just this morning, but thanks to a pair of truckers, had managed to put nearly twelve hours between himself and the town he just left. Finding wide open plains west of the town of Vinita, he now rested his stiff body and gazed in wonder at the millions of stars filling the deep night sky.

The back of the Greeting Card (blank inside)

I have allowed my greeting card inventory to dwindle over the past couple of years. In The Gallery at Redlands, as well as my festival tent, I sell 5 x 7″ cards (blank inside) with my artwork on front and a descriptive text on back. They sell for $5 each, five for $20, and come with the proper envelope. A protective plastic envelope encases the assembly. Above is an example of one of my newest ones printed last week. Materials just arrived to print 250 new cards, so I’m excited to create new editions as well as replenish the ones sold out. Above is an example of one of my newest cards; below is a photo of another spread out.

(Cards are blank inside)

I’m ready to paint again. Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Watercoloring Ghost Signs and Weathered Bricks

August 14, 2012

Savoy Coffee Shop and Hotel

I awoke this morning with a passion for working on ghost signs and weathered bricks in watercolor.  I had been avoiding that part of this large watercolor I began a few days ago.  For several hours now, I have been masking, drawing, spattering, pouring and salting layers and layers of flowing watercolor onto the weathered side of this historic building.  It has been years since the last time I pursued this kind of a subject.  Ghost signs have fascinated me since I was a child on road trips, trying in vain to read through the layers of the painted palimpsests adorning the sides of recycled businesses.  Fortunately, I have a number of photos of this building to study and seek to emulate.

The intellectual company has been sweet this morning.  I listened (for the thousandth time) to the DVD of Robert Motherwell and the New York School:  Storming the Citadel.  I miss him since he passed away, and will always be grateful that he left these sensitive interviews behind.  John Donne’s Meditation has always moved me, his words saying that someone else’s death diminished him.  I certainly feel that concerning Motherwell.  I share his intellect, his aesthetic, and his love for literature, even if his style is totally foreign to what I attempt to do as an artist.  The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins and George Herbert have also kept me good company during the drying stages of this watercolor that have forced me to walk away from it.  And speaking of which, I suppose it is dry enough to resume, so I guess I’ll go back and see how much further I can kick it this afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

Watercolor has come along very slowly, but has been most enjoyable.

August 11, 2012

In the Studio with a Large Watercolor in Progress

Good afternoon.  I wish I had more progress to report.  The painting today has gone very, very slowly, and has been painstaking.  The ghost signs and window sashes have really slowed down my progress.  The light has started to fade, so it looks as though I’ll have to lay this aside till tomorrow.  At least I have some momentum building, and that’s a good thing.  It’s good to be painting in the studio again.

Thanks for reading.

Ghosts of Summers Past–Eureka Springs Watercolor Delight

February 22, 2011

Ghosts of Summers Past--Eureka Springs

I’m glad to return to the garage studio.  For any of you following my blog, I haven’t posted since the passing of Zeb Cash-Lane, simply because I haven’t painted since then.  I needed a little time after his passing to sort some things out.  Then my school district dropped its bomb.  I have been in training for over a year to begin teaching in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.  You may have noted my watercolor blog posts from Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles while I was studying and attending classes in IB.  Last week the district canceled the program.  Texas public schools face a funding crisis, which has been the general law since 2005 (earlier than that, actually).  The decision left me in a state of rage, that I’ve had trouble laying aside.

Finally, I decided to pick up the brush again, and push the public school finance and politics behind me.  The more I painted yesterday and today, the further school receded from my thoughts.  The way I figure it, I only need another day or two to paint like nothing else happened.

This composition has burned in my retina since I spent a week in Eureka Springs, Arkansas last June.  I sincerely hope to return again this year.  The Victorian town is absolutely breathtaking in the summer sun, and I took dozens of photos similar to this.  I have a real compulsion now to work on some downtown scenes, particularly ones I can find with turn-of-the-century commercial buildings and their fading ghost signs towering above, muted against brightly-colored umbrella tables and modern signage below.  I still struggle with my rendering of people in watercolor, but I’ll never “get it” until I do it more.  So . . . there will be people in this one.  Right now I’m working on a ceramic chef standing outside the restaurant.  Hopefully I can get him to look right.  Then I’ll turn to the patrons at the bottom of the composition.

It’s good to be back in the garage studio.  The weather yesterday and today was heavenly, with bright sunshine and cool breezes blowing.  I was in the mood to push this painting for another hour or two, but heavy cloud cover has turned my outside world dark and gray.   I really hate to work with studio lights indoors, but I just may have to this evening.

Thanks for reading.  I’ll see if I can make enough progress to blog further tomorrow.  I’m getting excited about the possibilities of this painting, possibly the largest I’ve attempted so far–about 30 x 22″.

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.