Posts Tagged ‘steam engine’

Durango-Silverton RxR Vista in Watercolor

September 7, 2011

Durango-Silverton RxR Vista in Watercolor

With the opening of my first-ever One-Man-Show only three nights away, it has been fun, finishing watercolor compositions and delivering them to the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (  This afternoon, I got a sneak preview of the installation of the show, and was delighted to see this piece presented in a beautiful custom mat.  Besides my trademark nostalgia watercolors from the American 1950’s, there are several railroad compositions included in the show.  The scenes include Burleson, Texas, Eureka Springs, Arkansas as well as Durango, Colorado.

I cannot explain my train fetish.  From my childhood, I was flooded with that sense of wonder and delight of model railroads, and still remember my first Lionel layout when I was of preschool age.  I also remember pressing my nose against department store windows late at night, staring at layouts with dozens of trains winding about in all directions.  We frequently picked up my grandmother at the St. Louis Union Station when I was barely old enough to walk.  I still remember the pain of my parents holding both my hands tightly as we hurried along, and I tugged and strove to look about at all the different sets of road colors on the F diesels that polluted the 31-track train shed.  In later years, I was fascinated with all the road names on the sides of the passenger cars rolling in and out of St. Louis–the Frisco, New York Central, Pensy, MOPAC, Burlington Route, Wabash, etc.

I haven’t painted as many trains in this past year as I used to, but now have serious thoughts about returning to the practice.  I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some railroad management figures who have assured me access, provided that I call in advance for appointments and sign the necessary waivers.  The Texas weather is finally cooling enough for me to be outside longer.  I guess it’s time to resume the trainwatching!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you can attend the opening of my show Saturday night from 5-9:00.  Weiler House Fine Art Gallery is located at 3126 Handley Drive, Fort Worth, Texas   76112.


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.