Posts Tagged ‘Ridglea theater’

Soothing Rains for the Fatigue

November 22, 2014
Posing with Godiva at Christmas in the Village

Posing with Godiva at Christmas in the Village

This Saturday has been a day filled with wonder.  I was invited to attend “Christmas in the Village” at Breckenridge Village in Tyler, Texas.  My artist-friend Bubba Norris, a resident of the Village, displays his art there, and this year I got to sit with him in his booth and watch him make original art.  Sometimes I get more of a thrill watching someone else labor over his/her creation than I do my own.  This day was no exception.  The unexpected bonus was learning that Bubba played in a handbell choir and I got to attend their afternoon recital.  This was my second year to attend “Christmas in the Village” and I was saddened to learn that Clyde, the camel that I posed with for pictures, died since last year.  He was 28.  He was replaced by Godiva, and I found her to be just as cuddly.

Watercolor Sketch of the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth--$100

Watercolor Sketch of the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth–$100

Following the event-filled day at Breckenridge, I found myself exhausted by evening but was delighted to sit quietly with friends.  Three of us experimented with watercolor sketching, and I found the company very affirming.  I did this quick sketch of the Ridglea Theater on Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth, about 8 x 10″ overall. I would seel this one, matted, for $100.  I’m quite proud of how it finished out.  I have painted the structure several times, but decided it was time to work on a small, quick one.  Once I laid down the brush, I decided it was time to retire for the night–I don’t bounce back from full days the way I used to do.

Thanks always for caring enough to read me.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am never alone.

Attended a Play Tonight

October 20, 2014

“Both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply poignant, “Superior Donuts” celebrates the human spirit. It’s as simple and complicated as that.”

– Ann Holt, Jackson Citizen Patriot

Playbill plus my Rapid Sketch of the Set

Playbill plus my Rapid Sketch of the Set

Today was a grinder of a day.  I taught three art history classes on ancient Greek sculpture (loving every minute of each), then returned to school late this afternoon to grade a backlog of journals and essays, dashed down the street to my favorite Cafe Acapulco for a quick Mexican dinner, then back to school to catch the final performance of Martin Theater’s Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts–a deeply-moving play set in a rundown Chicago donut shop.  I was seated about ten minutes before lights out, and managed a quick, quick pencil sketch in my Moleskine journal of the set.  The three-hour production was deeply moving and cathartic, as all excellent plays are, and the high school cast performed masterfully.  I will never forget the experience of tonight.

It’s late and I need to retire for some quality sleep.  But I wanted to share this moment with whomever reads, so thanks always for reading.  I am inspired to return to the brush, thanks largely to tonight’s performance on the stage.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

New Watercolor of Ridglea Theater now at the Weiler House

March 18, 2012

Ridglea Theater

My most recent painting has been delivered to the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (

Watercolor of the Ridglea Theater Finished

March 18, 2012

Ridglea Theater, Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth

It is rewarding to rise early on Sunday morning, enter the studio, and complete a large painting that has been in progress for a few weeks.  This is a 28 x 22″ composition of the historic Ridglea Theater on Camp Bowie Blvd. in west Fort Worth.  It is undergoing renovation now as the new owner wants to obtain historical status for this magnificent structure.

I didn’t move to Texas until 1977, so I have no early “vintage” experiences with this venue.  However, I am proud that I viewed Casa Blanca here on its 50th anniversary.  I also saw my first Coen brothers film here, Miller’s Crossing, and though I knew absolutely nothing about the Coen brothers at that time, I knew I had seen a film that was remarkably different from any genre I had viewed before.  I also saw A River Runs Through It at this venue.  So, I have some terrific memories filled with gratitude involving this theater.

Thanks for reading.

Nearing Completion of the Historic Ridglea Theater Watercolor

March 17, 2012

Ridglea Theater

As the hour passes 2 a.m., I’ve decided to call it quits on this watercolor I resumed after letting it lay dormant for about a week.  I believe I’ll have it wrapped up before returning to school Monday.  I still need to enrich the brick work up and down the tower facade.  Recently I’ve been caught up with the lower portion, especially the marquis portion of the facade.  I’ll be glad to return to the brickwork, hopefully later today.

Thanks for reading.  I’m pleased that I got in some quality painting time this week.  That will change when school resumes and I prepare for a couple of art festivals coming my way.  It’s going to get much busier the next two weeks.

Small Ridglea Theater Watercolor Sketch from the Festival

March 12, 2012

Small Sketch of Ridglea Theater

I’m glad to be home again from the weekend art festival in Hillsboro, Texas.  The one-hour commute, along with load-in, load-out, and missing an hour with a time change kind of took a toll on me.  But I rested this afternoon, and am starting to feel a little better.

This is a 5 x 7″ watercolor sketch I did while seated in my booth on Sunday.  The customer traffic picked up quite a bit during the closing hours, but still I was able to “noodle around” and put out a quick one in this.  I think I will go ahead and mat-and-sleeve it to put in the booth for the upcoming festivals (2 more over the next 3 weekends).  Maybe I’ll create a handful of smaller pieces for the inventory.

Tomorrow I’ll take my plein air endeavors to the Dallas Arboretum.  I’ve been invited to join a group of painters there.  Thursday we will gather again at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.  I’ve always been timid about painting flowers, but maybe I’ll muster some courage and see what I can accomplish with these outings.

Thanks for reading.

Working on Ridglea Theater Facade

March 5, 2012

Ridglea Theater, Fort Worth

Good Day.  Finally, I get around to the dark facade of the historic Ridglea Theater.  I have been nervous about approaching this.  I took my reference photos in the afternoon, when the sinking winter sun was behind the facade.  I could see little more than silhouettes.  I used Photoshop to lighten the photos so I could see the actual brickwork and wooden framework of the upper balcony.  The work has been slow lately.  Mostly I’m using Terracotta and Venetian Red watercolor pencils to suggest the roof tiles, and mixing Winsor & Newton pigments of Winsor Green, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Deep and French Ultramarine Blue to render the shadows on the facade.  The layers are taking awhile to dry, so I cannot move too quickly on this area.  As soon as I can get the warm gray washes to dry, I’ll attempt to render the wood grains visible along the balcony beams.

I’m reading a biography on the architect Le Corbusier, and was struck by this description of the processes involved when he designed a building: “Chaos, disorder, and a wild variety in the general layout (i.e., a composition rich in contrapuntal elements like a fugue or symphony).”  I love that!  I feel that I experience that when working on a large watercolor such as this one.  All kinds of elements clashing and meshing, as I seek to force my nervous butterflies into some kind of formation.  That is what I’m experiencing right now as I stare across the expanse of this Ridglea Theater composition.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday Afternoon in the Garage Studio

March 4, 2012

Continued work on the Ridglea Theater

Texas temperatures are spiking today.  The garage studio is getting hot in the western sun, so I’m going to have to leave this watercolor at this point of the day.  Perhaps I’ll return to it tonight under cooler lighting.  I may be finished with the large letters of the Ridglea.  I spent most of this afternoon trying to render the neon tubing, using mostly watercolor pencils (warm gray, brown ochre, and occasionally washing it with alizarin crimson and a liner brush.  I decided to begin blocking the shadows of the facade down below.  That is when the Texas sun chased me out of the garage.  I wish I had started a little sooner this afternoon.  I need to spend a little more time looking at this painting and making some decisions.  My original plan was to work a dark shadow down the left side of the tower, then cut across the bottom and into the lower right facade.  So far, I’m not getting very dark in those areas, and am afraid to, now.  I hate feeling timid like this.  Therefore, I’m going to step back and spend more time looking at it and evaluating before proceeding. So far, I like what is happening with the painting, though.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring the Cupola of Ridglea Theater

March 2, 2012

Ridglea Theater Cupola

Today afforded little time for studio work, but at least I got something accomplished and learned a few things in the process.  The cupola of this Ridglea tower features a brick that is pinkish in tone, compared to the ochre cut stones on the actual tower.  It is a subtle distinction, but a distinction nevertheless.  As I began washing in the pink tones of the bricks, careful to delineate the archway arrangement of bricks, my eye kept going to the shadow side, and finally I decided on a mixture of ultramarine blue and cadmium red medium to render the shadow darker.  Once that was dry, it was time to re-establish the shadows inside the archway.  I had already used sepia and mixes of Winsor Green and Alizarin Crimson to lay in the shadows inside the archway on the right.  But as I looked at the archway on the shadow side, I kept noticing in the photograph that the interior was more atmospheric than what appears within the arch on the sunlit wall.  So, I decided again to go with ultramarine blue, but to concentrate it at the top of the shadow, then shift gradually to cadmium red medium as I worked my way down to the bottom.  One it was dry, I liked the look–more atmospheric than plain dark.

The birds were a little disturbing–something I’d never painted before (that I recall).  I just chose to go with a Cool Gray VI with an Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil, and moisten a brush to push the shadow colors across the rest of the body.  I did next-to-nothing while working on the birds, all the while praying that they would at least resemble birds.

The terra cotta roofing on both towers just involved some watercolor pencils and a moist brush.  I worked them over pretty quickly, choosing to avoid detail.  I used several different shades of red and green to get the terra cotta look, and mostly sepia and ultramarine blue in the shadows.

Thanks for reading.  Hopefully, I’ll get back to this again tomorrow.

Adding Bricks to the Ridglea Theater Watercolor

March 1, 2012

Ridglea Theater Closeup

Today I managed to slip into the studio for a short period, and begin work on the bricks in this Ridglea tower.  After laying down several washes yesterday (combination of Cadmium Yellow Deep and Cadmium Red Medium, along with some Ultramarine Blue and Sepia), I took a handful of watercolor pencils today and tried to sharpen some detail.  I like the Albrecht Durer, Derwent and Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils the best.  I used mostly Goldenrod, Venetian Red, Terra Cotta, Sienna Brown and Brown Ochre.  I also found useful the Derwent Graphitint (water soluble) in Chestnut color.  After drawing with the pencils and dragging a wet flat brush over the area, I started to get the effect I was pursuing.  I chose to stop, because I know that if I put every brick in place along the entire tower facade, that I’m going to finish with an illustration at best, and a comic book effect at worst.  I am getting attached to this watercolor, and am hoping for a decent watercolor painting, as a work of fine art.  My worst fear at this point is finishing this piece with an “illustration” look, the same problem that plagued Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.  When I  step back from the reference photos, I have to keep reminding myself that I cannot see every brick, every seam.  What I need to determine is just how much (or how little) of the brick detail I need to put into this composition.  I have always liked Wyeth’s assessment that the strength of a composition is not what you put into it, but what you leave out.

So.  I see plenty of “composting” on the horizon, as I “think out” the next move on this painting. And right now, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Thanks for reading.