Posts Tagged ‘Stockyards’

Resuming the Stockyards Cattle Drive Watercolor

October 17, 2012

Fort Worth Stockyards

To say the very least, the consecutive weekend art festivals (three in a row) combined with a full-time high school teaching load is taking a toll on me.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel–this weekend’s Edom Festival of the Arts will mark the end of my art festival season for 2012.  After such a bruising 2012 schedule, I have the winter to decide between quitting the art festival circuit completely, or restricting my shows to 2-3 a year (instead of the dozen or more that have marked my last few years).

I found some daylight in my afternoon schedule today to pursue this full-size Stockyards cattle drive watercolor I started a few weeks back.  I hate that the festivals have taken me out of the studio of late.  This afternoon and evening have been soothing as I have watched the details of this watercolor slowly emerge.  Most of my attention has been focused on the horse at the left foreground, particularly the saddle, rope and harnessing, along with the clothing of the rider.  I have opened the windows of my studio, and the cool winds coming through the night are a stark contrast with the triple-digit heat I knew the day I took this series of cattle drive photographs.

Thanks for reading.

Longhorn Cattle Drive, Fort Worth Stockyards

October 10, 2012

Fort Worth Cattle Drive

It was Thursday afternoon, August 9, 2012, at 2:46 p.m., with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees.  I sat on a bench beneath a tree on Fort Worth’s West Exchange Avenue and waited for the 4:00 cattle drive that would be coming down the street.  I wrote in my journal, read from a good book, made some preliminary sketches of the environment, and waited.  Finally, they rounded the corner and tramped straight in my direction as I snapped dozens of photos of this longhorn cattle drive that is a Fort Worth cultural tradition held twice daily.

My reason for waiting several months before attempting this is my reservation to paint longhorns for the first time.  I felt the same paralysis a few years back when I painted “Jennifer in the Hunt” (a fox hunt featuring hounds in the foreground which I painted for the first time).  I just feel so helpless when I face an unknown, unfamiliar subject.  Nevertheless, one longhorn has been rendered, and I feel that I am ready to approach the remaining ones.

This afternoon I spent more time working on that single longhorn, then turned my attention to the street, trying to render the textures and construction of the inlaid bricks.  I also deepened the shadows in the trees and re-worked the brick column in the background.  I feel that I am generating some momentum.

I have a festival fast approaching–Discover Historic Mansfield Art Music Festival will be Saturday and Sunday.  This will be my third straight weekend to participate in an art festival.  So far, they have been worthwhile, and I hope the trend continues this weekend.  This afternoon I replenished about fifty greeting cards that had been depleted during last weekend’s sales.

Thanks for reading.  It’s good to be painting again!

Finally Returning to the Watercolor Studio

October 8, 2012

Fort Worth Cattle Drive at the Stockyards

I have had a long absence from the studio, as well as the blog.  The festivals of the last two weekends were very enjoyable (and exhausting).  St. Louis was two weekends ago; Pantego was last weekend.  Today’s Columbus Day holiday and school closure was a welcome respite.  I managed to catch up on some lost sleep, tidy my home and studio and actually pick up the watercolor brush and work on my first longhorn ever, and add some shadows on the street in the foreground.

My biggest challenge with this longhorn was the mottled white patches all over his hide, which I managed with my modified “ugly” brush.  As to the colors, well that was what kept me from attacking this for weeks–I just didn’t know.  I mixed combinations of Cadmium Red, Winsor Violet, Transparent Yellow, Winsor Blue (Green Shade) and Winsor Green.  Had I attempted this four years ago, I would have reached for Burnt Sienna, Sepia, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and Naples Yellow.  I am taking considerable satisfaction, experimenting with the colors of my more recent palette.  I still have a long way to go, but I am enjoying this new color science.

I need to turn my attention to tomorrow’s classes (Philosophy and Art History), so this will be it for tonight.  The watercolor is still soaked and drying.  Once I get back to the dry surface, I look forward to detailing the brick street that these longhorns are treading.

Thanks for reading.  And thanks for your patience, if you’ve waited for a new blog.  I did not have Internet access at the recent festivals, and the weeknights have been a nightmare, trying to punch up my inventory for the festival booth.  I’m glad to be back to the brush and the blog.

Finishing the Foliage for the Fort Worth Stockyards

August 17, 2012

Fort Worth Stockyard Foliage

I have nearly finished the backdrop foliage for this Fort Worth Stockyard setting of a twice-daily longhorn cattle drive through the streets.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of rendering the massive longhorns.  Nevertheless, with them being in the foreground, I feel that my next step is working on the cowboys and their mounts.  I’m also looking forward to the brick street and shadows beneath.  I think this composition has real potential.

Thanks for reading.

Pouring, Masking and Drybrushing Trees in Watercolor

August 16, 2012

Stockyard Background Foliage

Today has been given mostly to studying the tree cover behind the Fort Worth Stockyards and trying to find ways of matching my pouring, masking and drybrushing efforts to the colors and textures there.  This has meant hours of masking, pouring, removing the masking and re-masking new areas, drybrushing, salting and occasionally sandpapering.  I seem to spend more time staring at the photographs and painting than actually painting.

During break periods, I have been reading and reflecting with great satisfaction over the Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell.  I love this man’s intellect, his aesthetic and his way of analyzing trends in art history.  I have also enjoyed reading from this huge coffee table volume: Andy Warhol “Giant” Size.  I just finished reading the first two chapters, and am fascinated with his overall life, his taking the New York advertising scene over by force, and especially his idea of opening the Factory.

Thanks for reading.

Beginning Work on the Fort Worth Stockyards

August 15, 2012

Fort Worth Stockyards

While allowing my Savoy Hotel painting to lie dormant for a day, I decided to go ahead and pour the background trees in this 22 x 28″ watercolor of the Fort Worth Stockyards.  Last week, for the first time in my life, I drove over there, sat in the 105-degree afternoon, and waited to see the longhorns driven down West Exchange Street.  It was worth the wait.  I have a little experience painting horses (very little), and zero experience painting livestock.  But, we’ll see how it goes.  First I have many layers to pour in order to lay in the background foliage.  I’ll be at this one for awhile.

Thanks for reading.