Posts Tagged ‘railhead’

Eureka Springs Railroad Environment

July 4, 2011

Eureka Springs RxR

The 4th of July has turned out to be a decent day for painting.  Once my thermometer reached 106, I decided it was time to get out of the garage and retreat to my indoor studio (I cannot bear the dim light of the indoors, once I’ve indulged in plein air, nevertheless I’m not inviting heat stroke either).  It’s nice to work in an air conditioned place now.

I began this small 11 x 14″ piece on the last day of class with my Eureka Springs School of the Arts group.  It was Friday morning, and I felt a heaviness, knowing I was going to leave Eureka Springs and all its beauty that day, yet anxious in my heart to get on to the next appointment.  I felt that great things were just ahead.

Once I took out this piece today, I realized that the antique steam engine really needed a set of wheels.  So I fortunately had a reference photo taken on location, and set to work today trying to finish out the bottom of this composition.  I’m glad to bring closure to this work.  Again, I have too many conflicting feelings co-mingled, as this painting takes me back to the end of Eureka Springs and the transition back to life as I know it today.  It has not been an easy shift, and I’m still working to get my feet back underneath me.

I have filled out an application for the 2012 academic year at Eureka Springs School of the Arts, and hope I can return to this remarkable mountain town next summer.  This quaint Victorian mountain town is a plein air artist’s dream.

Thanks always for reading.

Quick Watercolor Sketch of the Durango Silverton RxR

June 30, 2011

Durango Silverton RxR Skirting the Gorge

Every time I think I have finished this small watercolor sketch, I find something else to do to it.  I began the work while sitting in my booth at Art in the Park last spring in Kennedale, Texas.  My reference photo is a small 3 x 5″ photo I took with a throw-away digital camera purchased years ago before I bought my own Nikon.  I had the privilege of sitting near the back of this train, and was able to photograph the front portion of it as it wended its way around the mountains between Durango and Silverton, Colorado.  I still haven’t managed to capture the steam billowing out of the engine, and feel that I’m going to have to do some scrubbing with a towel or maybe even some sanding with light-gauge sand paper and begin again.  I really want to show the steam.  I’m also not satisfied with the misty trails in the distant valley to the right.  I feel that it looks as though I just quit on the foliage.  I believe the cliff face in front also needs additional work on the deep shadows, and there are some details with the yellow passenger cars that I forgot to finish out.  Anyway–plenty more “playing around” left to do on this way.  All the same, I wanted to post it on the blog, so here it is.  Hopefully I’ll show it again when I get it where I want.  It’s a small piece by the way, about 12 x 16″.

Thanks for reading.

Kansas City Southern Railway Trackside shacks in Waxahachie, Texas

May 30, 2011

Kansas City Southern Railway Trackside in Waxahachie, Texas

The winds got up again this afternoon, making it difficult to paint and hold supplies in place.  But it also kept the heat from rising.  I found a tree that offered plenty of shade, and went to work on this trackside structure, stopping occasionally to allow passing freight trains to obstruct my view (one Kansas City Southern, one Union Pacific).  I painted this shack at last year’s Waxhachie Paint-Out, but this time decided to paint it larger (11 x 14 instead of 8 x 10) and incorporate more of the surrounding trees.  I did not time myself, but estimate that I had this one finished in less than 90 minutes.  Two paintings in one day has exhausted me.  School resumes tomorrow (one more week of it) and I will return to Waxahachie for a new plein air adventure as soon as that final bell rings!

Thanks for reading.

A Shout Out to the little town of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois!

March 10, 2011

Turvey's Corner

I am posting a watercolor that I completed in 1999, the first completed watercolor from my intensified quest to become a “professional” watercolorist, rather than a novice or Sunday Painter type.  The actual setting is a composite of three places I had visited throughout my life.  The Switzer building I always knew from downtown St. Louis, near where I grew up (sadly that building/landmark  has since been torn down).  The buildings on the left margin came from New Bern, North Carolina, a town I visited only one time in the mid-1990’s, and actually used the interior of a coffee shop there (the Trent River Coffee Company) to compose a mural at Arlington Martin High School (that mural can be viewed under the “Murals” tab of my website http://www.recollections54.com).

The building on the right, with the Budweiser and Busch ghost signs, I only knew as coming from a town in Illinois.  I scoured a number of those towns very early in the 1990’s with my father, but did not take good notes in my journal.  Since 1999, I have been unable to tell people specifically where I found that striking building to anchor the right side of this composition.

All of that changed at Open House last Monday night.  Parents of one of my A. P. Art History students were visiting with me, and as we shared our backgrounds, it was established that the father had grown up in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, near  Fort de Chartes.  I recognized those names immediately as two of the places I had scouted with my father during that summer excursion in the early ’90s.  I told this gentleman about my painting titled “Turvey’s Corner,”  explaining that one of the buildings came from a small Illinois town in his general area.  Today I received the surprise email from him, informing me that he had looked up my painting on the website and immediately recognized this “phantom” building as Lisa’s Market Street Grille in downtown Prairie du Rocher!

How thrilling to meet someone who connected with one of these small towns far, far away that connected with me in my travels!  Having an identity now for that building means everything to me, as I now can tell people more about the painting and what generated the idea for it.  I am adding the Facebook link to Lisa’s Market Street Grille, encouraging any of you interested to check out this business.  I was a patron there when I took my photographs of the establishment with my 35mm camera long ago, and still have fond memories of the place.  How happy I am to re-discover the business, and I cannot wait to return some day.   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisas-Market-Street-Grille/274360247861

Thank you, Mike and Karen, for providing this information for me.

And thanks to all of you for reading.

 

My Friend’s First Attempt at Watercolor–Railroad Trestle

February 27, 2011

Good-Bye Today

How about this for a first-timer?  My guitar buddy, David Slight, has been asking me for some time if I thought he could create a decent watercolor.  I always thought so.  He picked up the guitar really fast, and I saw him fly fish for the first time, handling a fly rod with dexterity and landing a 3 lb. largemouth bass from a farm pond.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised to see him knock this one out inside of two hours in my garage studio this afternoon.  The painting measures approximately 12 x 14″ without the frame.  I stood by to show him the basics–wet-on-wet, drybrush, graphite rendering, masking, scraping with x-acto knife, and he went right after it.

He was so pleased that he’s decided to come back Tuesday after school (David is also a public school teacher in Tarrant County).  Both of us probably wish that we could draw decent salaries by painting in the garage!  So, here’s looking to next Tuesday!

Thanks for reading.  Thanks Dave, for a fabulous afternoon of art and quality conversation.

Best of Show, Paint Historic Waxahachie, June 4, 2010

June 4, 2010

Best of Show Waxahachie

I still cannot believe it–Best of Show at this year’s Paint Historic Waxahachie.  After eight mostly sweaty days and nine watercolors produced, I’m deeply grateful to be given this.  The quality of the overall show overwhelmed me this year, with 55 artists taking part and creating over 200 paintings.  The quality and professionalism of the work displayed throughout the exhibition space knocked the wind out of me.  I’m honored to be included in this rank of painters, and proud that I got to spend time talking with them and looking at their craft.  This is a moment I’ll always remember and cherish.

Last Day of the Waxahachie Paint Out, June 3, 2010

June 3, 2010

Stop, Look and Listen

The last day of painting for the Waxahachie Paint Out brought overcast skies and marvelously cool breezes.  I could have stayed all day.  Chris Toplyn joined me and we had the good fortune of meeting up with Gaylord O’Con from Dallas.  The three of us painted the entire afternoon, enjoying the cool, along with the mutual encouagement.  It’s been a great week in Waxhachie.  I’ve managed to kick out eight watercolors, and definitely feel drained from the endeavors.

Thanks for reading.

A Hot Afternoon at Trackside, June 1, 2010

June 1, 2010

Waxahachie Trackside

Another extremely hot day, nearing triple digits.  Today was the official last day of school.  The next two days will be final exams.  I’m nearing the end of the school term, but also nearing the end of the Paint Historic Waxahachie event.  The event ends Friday at 2:00, which means Thursday evening for me, since Friday is a teacher’s workday at school all day.

My friend Chris was under the weather from the grueling schedule and harsh weather.  So I traveled solo to Waxhachie today, arriving around 2:00 after finishing my school responsibilities.  I decided to do this trackside structure, two blocks southeast of the town square.  I feel that I did some “hack work” since I’ve done these kinds of structures before.  This looks similar to a Decatur painting I completed last summer.  The bottom line: there was no real discovery for me in this work.  No risk.  Nothing new.  Just another painting that I seemed to “whip out for the trade.”  Perhaps it is.  My objective this week is to experiment in plein air, but also to create as many works as possible for sales or at least inventory replenishment.  I guess the heat was so unbearable that I just wanted to get another watercolor piece completed, and hope for better conditions tomorrow for painting.

It was good to get home earlier this evening.  I have a mountain of school work to complete, and hope to get to bed early enough to get decent sleep so that tomorrow I can get through the schoolwork and return to Waxhachie with enough energy to do some decent work.  Maybe I’ll get two paintings accomplished tomorrow–I hope to anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Last Day of the Festival, March 14, 2010

March 15, 2010

M-K-T restored depot at Hillsboro, Texas

The 4-day festival was fabulous.  Sold plenty of work and made plenty of new work–5 paintings, in fact.  The 10:00-6:00 hours daily provided plenty of time in the booth to do watercolor sketches.  I sketched this Katy Depot in Hillsboro last week as the sun was sinking.  I wasn’t too fond of the sketch.  This is my second attempt, using the digital photo I took while painting it the first time.  It’s a little better, I think.  I’m still fumbling with the textures of the tree bark, and looking to connect the leaves to the actual tree.  Also need to finish the main door, and render the wooden siding of the sunlit side of the depot.  I’ll soon post the other works I finished at the show.  It’s great to be painting again.

Thanks for reading.

Quick sketch of the M-K-T depot in Hillsboro, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

M-K-T railroad depot restored in Hillsboro, Texas

Another one of those cussedly jammed-up days.  I began with 3 different classes in 3 different classrooms at my high school in Arlington.  Then off to college in Fort Worth to give a Logic exam.  Then back to Arlington in time to attend an Open House.  Blah!  In between all those appointments I matted watercolors and processed watercolor greeting cards for this upcoming festival (I leave in less than 48 hours).  And I did a little tweaking on a plein air watercolor I began last time I was in Hillsboro to pick up my art work from Burson Gallery.  This is a restored M-K-T (Katy) railroad depot on the west side of the town square in Hillsboro, Texas.  I spotted it as I was helping a couple of friends haul a sofa into a storage facility nearby.  The fading sunlight of the late afternoon on the corner of the depot caught my attention, and I had to sketch it quickly.  The initial sketch didn’t turn out too well.  But a few days later, I fiddled with it in the studio and now it’s starting to look a little better.  I’m afraid I’ve done about all I can do with this one, but plan to start another composition of the depot as soon as I can find some time (today certainly wasn’t one of those days).  Now it’s nearing 11:00, and 5:00 is going to come way too quickly for me, I’m afraid.

Thanks for reading.