Posts Tagged ‘Hillsboro’

Blogging from the Art Festival

March 11, 2012

Hillsboro Antiques and Crafts Festival

Good morning from Hillsboro,Texas.  I wanted to post to the blog yesterday morning, but there is no Wi-Fi at this location.  I thought I would take advantage of today’s early Sunday morning lull to update.  I am composing this on a Word document, and once finished, will dash across the parking lot to log onto the Internet, paste in this document, then dash back to the festival.  (I’ll be Eddie Albert shinnying up the utility pole to make a phone call on Green Acres).

I am at the Outlets at Hillsboro Antique and Crafts Show in Hillsboro, Texas.  My 10 x 20’ booth space is very nice, as I am now able to present my art work without that crowded warehouse effect I’ve grown accustomed to inside a 10 x 10’ tent.  I have also been given an enormous store window space to place larger works on an easel.  Fortunately I am indoors as well.  The rain has been unrelenting throughout this weekend.  Yesterday’s Classic Auto Show was ruined (four vintage cars showed up, and left pretty quickly).  That definitely put a damper on the attendance.  Nevertheless traffic remained steady throughout yesterday, and some sales were made.  Sundays are usually slow, but we’ll see what happens today.

I had hoped to work on a watercolor while here, but honestly, I cannot find space in my booth to work without obstructing customer traffic.  So I spent yesterday in the booth space, studying art history and playing my guitar (two things I don’t seem to find quality time for lately).  Spring Break has arrived, so as soon as this show closes tonight, I will have a week of out-of-school freedom, and could do more posting to this blog than you can tolerate!

My reading lately has come from the 13th edition of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (our A.P. textbook of a thousand pages—I’m almost to 800 now), and Heinz Zahrnt’s Question of God: Protestant Theology in the Twentieth Century.  I read this second book with great interest during my years in graduate school, and now return to it, thirty years later, with a renewed interest.  Such a peculiar feeling, seeing the 20th century as “history” now.  Gives me pause.

Hopefully tomorrow I can resume my work on the Ridglea Theater.  I truly believe that painting could be finished with a good day’s work.  I have another that I am itching to begin—a Fort Worth landmark that really seized my attention last week.  I fully intend to get that one underway while out of school next week.  I have two more art festivals coming up pretty quickly.  Thus, I feel this compulsion to get some more watercolors underway, because festivals have a way of interfering with my productivity—there is so much business and industry involved in updating the inventory, inspecting the furnishings of the booth, and the constant packing, unpacking, loading and unloading.  Very little painting happens during the festival season.  And I have really had the itch to pursue watercolor during these recent months.

Thanks again for reading.  Sorry for the blog hiatus.  I fully intend to do “make up” sessions next week during this wonderful Spring Break.


Druidic Texas Tree in Winter Dry Brush

March 15, 2011

Druidic Texas Tree in Winter Dry Brush

It’s nearly 10:00 p.m.  I have Muddy Waters playing on my turntable in the garage, and I’m suddenly seized with this compulsion to try an Andrew Wyeth-style drybrush of a Texas winter tree I photographed a few days ago while fly fishing in rural Hillsboro.  I was out fishing with a long-time buddy of mine from Lamar High School days–a custodian who always looked out for me in those days when I struggled as an inexperienced art teacher.

The crappie were hitting pretty good that day, but I couldn’t stop staring at this winter tree out in the overgrown pasture near the pond where I fished.  The Texas landscape is strewn with these druidic-looking trees, dripping with character.  The entire winter scene that afternoon looked like an Andrew Wyeth drybrush or tempera.  I have never been satisfied with my watercolor trees.  Something is still missing.  So, again I give it the old college try.  I need to capture that “essence” as the 6th-century Chinese painting master would have it.  I have a strong feeling that I will be giving this one multiple tries this week–it’s really gotten under my skin.  There are a host of subjects that hold my attention in watercolor, but these Texas winter trees always escape my brush and pencil.  So, let’s see what happens this week.

Thanks for reading.  Spring Break has been absolutely wonderful for a musing watercolorist!

Kerouac’s Dream, December 18, 2010

December 18, 2010

Kerouac's Dream

I have already painted this vintage car several times, but thought it was time to put some fall foliage around it.  It is a 1950 Chevy Sedan Special Delivery, parked in a field north of Hillsboro, Texas, along Highway 77.  The owner has graciously permitted me to come onto his property and do watercolor sketches en plein air of his collection of vintage cars.  Hillsboro is a one-hour drive from where I live, across beautiful sprawling Texas country.  I have Jack Kerouac’s On the Road that I listen to on CD as I drive and let my mind drift across the American landscape.  With my company’s name, Recollections 54, I still look for ways to translate the memories of the American fifties into watercolor compositions and vignettes.  Even if I never reach the standard of quality that I target, I can already say that this journey has been a profoundly rewarding one.  Soon I will journey to my hometown St. Louis for Christmas, and look forward to finding new vistas to record.

Thanks for reading.

Clawing My Way Back to the Studio!

October 26, 2010

Special Delivery

Well, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted.  I have violated my oath taken last New Year to do my dead-level best to post daily.  October has been a more-than-usually-busy month, with my teaching load at high school and university combined with four consecutive weekend art festivals.  Fortunately, my next festival is three weekends away.   Between now and then, I am committed to returning to the studio, tidying it and resuming my art production.

I did finish this painting last week.  It was begun over the summer (and the early stages of it were posted to the blog).  It began as a “poured” piece, and finally I got around to finishing up the dry brush foreground, detailing the car and refining the fence line.

This car is parked in a field alongside Highway 77 north of Hillsboro, Texas, just east of Interstate 35W.  The owner of the property has graciously allowed me to access his land and do multiple studies of this car and a 1954 Ford sedan.  I’m still not finished with these subjects, but am glad to have this composition completed.  Most of my watercolors are around 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 in size.  This one measures 20 x 25″–quite large by my usual standards.

Thanks for reading.

Let the Madness Begin!!! May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

Plein Air Watercolor of 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery

Tomorrow begins the “madness.”  I’m going to join the company of Captain Ahab in search of the white whale, or Dean Moriarty in search of kicks, or Jack Kerouac On the Road, or Claude Monet chasing the fleeting light, or Paul Cezanne seeking a solid form beneath the changing colors.  Tomorrow begins an eight-day plein air extravaganza in historic Waxahachie, Texas.  Tomorrow afternoon I will set up and paint somewhere near the courthouse.  On Saturday morning I will participate in the Quick Draw inauguration (90 minutes to produce a painting that is then auctioned on the courthouse square).  Following the eight-day event, I’ll set up a booth for the Historic Mansfield Art Festival.  Two days later, I’ll begin teaching a one-week plein air watercolor class at the Eureka Springs School of Art in northern Arkansas.

To all my readers–I’m sorry the school schedule buried me once again.  But I assure you, I will be posting daily throughout this plein-air event that begins tomorrow.  As to the picture posted, I’m not sure when I’ll return to it in the studio.  I’m glad watercolor doesn’t have a shelf life.

Thanks for reading.

Second Day of Poured 1950 Chevy, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

1950 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery, Hillsboro, Texas

I got to make a second pass at this large watercolor (24 x 18″).  Since I’ve done very little to the ground cover, focusing on the car, I cropped the photo to show the car details a little better.  I like the way it’s developing.  I need to solve the green problem now–not too sure what colors to introduce to make the green field & forest look better.  Tomorrow (Thursday) will be my last chance to work on this for awhile.  I’m packing to go to Granbury, Texas for a Friday-Saturday plein air event sponsored by the Outdoor Painters Society.  If I cannot return to this car tomorrow, then it will probably be Monday before I can do so.  Again, the same sad story–too much school crap to do and almost no time for outside activity.  Only fifteen days to go, though, and I can’t get it done quickly enough.

Thanks for reading.

Pouring Inside the Studio, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010

1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, poured watercolor

Normally, my watercolors are 8 x 10″ or 9 x 12″ since I like to carry D’Arches watercolor blocks around with me in the field.  However this one I’m working on in the studio, and it’s 24 x 18″ which is huge for me.  I’m getting lost inside the composition, which I guess is a good thing.  I feel no rush to complete it, and am really enjoying the process of pouring the pigment onto wet paper, tilting it around, and creating various effects and textures.  Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist in his laboratory.  I’ve done plenty of work with X-acto knife, toothbrush, masking fluid, paper towels, squirt bottle, salt and other various tools that I usually don’t carry around in the field.

Plein Air Watercoloring in a Field of Junked Autos, May 8, 2010

May 9, 2010

1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, north of Hillsboro, Texas

Saturday afforded great weather (59-72 degrees and plenty of bright sunshine) for hitting the road early and doing some plein air watercoloring.  I took Chris Toplyn (Boston watercolorist recently transplanted to Texas) to one of my favorite sites, this property along Highway 77 north of Hillsboro that is lined with vintage vehicles rusting in the elements.

I’ve already tried this 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery from the front view twice, and have a third poured painting in progress (all posted on the blog).  Today I chose to set up behind it and see what I could do.  On this day, I took genuine delight in drawing with the pencil, erasing, correcting, re-drawing.  I sketched and studied for quite awhile (so nice when there are no time constraints), and when it came time to flood the water across the page and drop in the first few washes, I felt I had found paradise.  Many times, plein watercoloring, to me, is like fly fishing in a Colorado stream–time elides and all my pores are delighted in what surrounds me–smells, sounds, sights.  And I lose track of time.  When I stopped noodling on this, I checked and saw that I had spent two-and-a-half hours on it.  It seemed like fifteen minutes.

Afterward, Chris and I decided to get back on Highway 77, and head to Waxahachie to see what we could conjure during the afternoon hours.  This time in the field with this car was a morning well-spent.  I wish I had more of them, but am extremely grateful for the ones granted.  And speaking of which–though it’s rained and gotten soggy outdoors, I have this day to see what I can get done inside the studio.  I’ll see what I can do.

Sublime Sunset, Jazz on the Radio, and a Painting in the Box, April 28, 2010

April 28, 2010

Abandoned Ford in Hillsboro, Texas

Here is the beginning of another plein air study I’ve been pursuing north of Hillsboro, Texas, along Highway 77.  The owner of the farm has a field full of abandoned cars and trucks from the 1950’s.  With my company called Recollections 54, I find this site to be a real gift for my watercolor compositions.

The evening was perfect for watercoloring outdoors.  Temperatures at 6:00 were a little below 80 degrees, with a wonderful breeze stirring.  I got lost in wonder as I sat in the shade of my Jeep and worked on this composition, listening to a car drive by every 5-10 minutes on the nearby highway.  I was sorry that I couldn’t finish it as I lost the light less than two hours later.  The time passed like it was 5 minutes, and I was really sorry I had to stop.

Of course, tomorrow brings another school day.  Perhaps I’ll get to return to this after school.  It’s been getting harder to find time to paint as the school year draws to a close, and of course, the dreaded TAKS test is chewing up all our quality time this week.

Later.  Thanks for reading . . .

Gorgeous Plein Air Environment, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010

Wildflowers among the wreckage

School has been keeping me buried in work, but I did manage to escape late Sunday afternoon, driving an hour south of where I live to capture this quick scene of a panel truck abandoned in a field of wildflowers.  The sun, shadows, and temperature of the day was gorgeous beyond description, and I could have stayed for hours.  But alas, there is still schoolwork to do and I’ll be up late again.