Posts Tagged ‘Trinidad’

Best of Show, Desoto Art League

June 7, 2013
Best of Show, Desoto Art League

Best of Show, Desoto Art League

My “Trinidad, Colorado Morning” just took Best of Show at the 2013 Desoto Art League Annual Art Show.  I was shell-shocked.  The quality of the works surrounding me was overwhelming.  They gave awards in the categories of Photography, Dry Media, Watercolor, Mixed Media, Oil & Acrylic, and 3-Dimensional art.  All the categories were so top-heavy in quality, that I didn’t feel much surprised to be passed over for all the places in watercolor.  I had no idea Best of Show had been set aside for me.  I’m quite numb tonight.

Thanks for reading.


Finished the Trinidad, Colorado Watercolor

December 6, 2012
Savoy Coffee, Trinidad, Colorado

Savoy Coffee, Trinidad, Colorado

It felt good this evening, signing off on this large 22 x 28″ watercolor of downtown Trinidad, Colorado.  This piece was started a couple of months ago, with great enthusiasm, then the excitement melted away as the painting took on a dullness that I found discouraging.  Yesterday, finally, I managed to sharpen the contrast in the composition, deepen the reds, and get more aggressive with the tree shadows.  Today I spent my time mostly cleaning up details of lamp posts, shadows cast off of various objects, laying in the sidewalk, and then finally tonight, working on the brick textures in the street.  I enjoyed the brickwork so much that I feel I could have done that for several more hours, but I worry about overworking a watercolor, as I have done time and time again.  I hope it didn’t happen this time.  I’ll know within the next several days, I suppose.

Thanks for reading, and thanks also for all the times you logged on and viewed this painting as it went through its long gestation period.

Resuming the Watercolor of Trinidad, Colorado

December 5, 2012
Savoy Coffee Shop in downtown Trinidad, Colorado

Savoy Coffee Shop in downtown Trinidad, Colorado

For about two months, I have been of a mind to throw this watercolor away, nothing was going the way I wanted it to.  After letting it lay dormant for weeks, I took it to school today and decided after my classes were finished to see if I could salvage it.  Fortunately, the painting turned itself around today, and I am very pleased with the direction it is taking.  I darkened the shadows in many areas, and intensified the reds in several other places.  Finally, I laid in the basic wash for the street and put down the yellow striping.

Sitting and staring at it from across the classroom, I recorded eight more observations of things that need to be done with the picture, so I am still a good ways from finishing it.  But I am much happier with it today than I have been in a long, long time.

The watercolor measures 22 x 28″ and I must say I was lost in it for a good while.  That is why I laid it aside.  I was exhausted by the process and unhappy with the results, until this afternoon.  I have locked the painting away in my classroom, and for the time being, have decided only to work on it during the afternoons following classes.  I’ll tend other important matters at home in the evenings.

I have all my art work on display and for sale in my classroom (Room 114) at Arlington Martin High School until December 21 when we go home for the Christmas holidays.  This is something I have done every December for a number of years now.  It is nice to see all the work out in front of me, not only while I’m teaching (it’s in the back of the classroom, in my line of sight, over the students’ heads) and in the afternoons while I’m enjoying coffee and working on my big Trinidad watercolor.

Thanks for reading.


Preparing Large Watercolor for Grapefest Art Festival

September 6, 2012

Downtown Trinidad, Colorado

Hello again, and my apologies for letting this blog languish, yet again.  The new school year has kept me up late every night, preparing for classes.  I haven’t  gotten behind, but cannot seem to get ahead, either.  At any rate, I have managed to get in some late hours in the studio over the last several nights, and think I just may have this 22 x 28″ watercolor finished before my first art festival of the fall season (Grapefest, in Grapevine, Texas next weekend).

The ghost sign on the shadow side of the building has demanded considerable time from me, and I still feel there is much to be done on that one wall alone.  The left hand side of the composition features a myriad of details that I haven’t even yet started.  Hopefully I can give it the attention it deserves beginning tomorrow night, once the weekend commences.  I plan to have more to report tomorrow night, so stay tuned, and thanks always for reading.

Working into the Night in the Watercolor Studio

August 23, 2012

Close Up of Savoy Watercolor

I have no doubt that my recent surge in watercolor activity is due to the fact that I have three days remaining before school begins.  I know that my best intentions are not to allow school to cut into my production, but frankly it happened this summer (though I’m pleased to find out that I did actually complete 21 paintings this summer) and it will probably happen again once the school year moves into full swing.

I am fascinated with the complexity of the facade of this Trinidad, Colorado building.  Today I began working on the tree foliage and the upper story windows and brick textures.  The ghost signage is still getting plenty of my attention as well, as I try to darken the shadows and make the bricks more distinct.

Thanks for reading.

Returning to Work on the Ghost Signs of the Savoy Hotel

August 23, 2012

Savoy Hotel Ghost Signs

Work on this building is coming along very, very slowly.  I resumed the ghost signage on the side wall of this hotel late last night (and stayed up till nearly 3:00 a.m.).  Today I am back at school, getting my classroom ready for the students next week.  But I hit the wall around noon, and decided to take out this painting (which I conveniently brought with me) and push it a little further.  I have begun work on the tree to the left, three more windows have been added, and now I am trying to work on the fascia details running along the roof.  Contrast has been a problem on this composition from the beginning.  Last night I began taking daring steps to darken particular portions of the building, and today I have pushed them even further.
I always have a problem rendering the ghost signage, but I do love it so.  I cannot stop staring at it in real life, cannot stop photographing it, and after all these years am still flummoxed by the task, nevertheless I continue experimenting.  I have viewed so many splendid watercolors of ghost signs, and want to enter those ranks myself.  So, I keep trying.

Thanks for reading.  I need to go pick up some textbooks now!

Composting Today

August 15, 2012

Savoy Hotel

I have decided to pause in the midst of this painting, because I am unsure of where to push it next. Yesterday was a good day, but the painting changed too fast, and I now have questions concerning how to finish out the composition.  I call this “composting” because I am letting the thing settle for awhile into my consciousness, as I keep it in front of me, and across the room on an easel.

My Studio

We received another good storm last night, a good soaking, the second one in three nights.  Today it is 75 degrees and overcast outside.  I have opened my studio windows, and have decided to settle into some quality reading.  As usual, I am working on too many books.  Lately I have found real treasure in Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be and Cardinal Newman’s The Idea of a University.  I also have begun Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.  Until I get my second wind on the painting, I’ll choose to read, reflect and write things in my journal.  It’s a good day for that.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring Ghost Signs and Weathered Bricks

August 14, 2012

Savoy Coffee Shop and Hotel

I awoke this morning with a passion for working on ghost signs and weathered bricks in watercolor.  I had been avoiding that part of this large watercolor I began a few days ago.  For several hours now, I have been masking, drawing, spattering, pouring and salting layers and layers of flowing watercolor onto the weathered side of this historic building.  It has been years since the last time I pursued this kind of a subject.  Ghost signs have fascinated me since I was a child on road trips, trying in vain to read through the layers of the painted palimpsests adorning the sides of recycled businesses.  Fortunately, I have a number of photos of this building to study and seek to emulate.

The intellectual company has been sweet this morning.  I listened (for the thousandth time) to the DVD of Robert Motherwell and the New York School:  Storming the Citadel.  I miss him since he passed away, and will always be grateful that he left these sensitive interviews behind.  John Donne’s Meditation has always moved me, his words saying that someone else’s death diminished him.  I certainly feel that concerning Motherwell.  I share his intellect, his aesthetic, and his love for literature, even if his style is totally foreign to what I attempt to do as an artist.  The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins and George Herbert have also kept me good company during the drying stages of this watercolor that have forced me to walk away from it.  And speaking of which, I suppose it is dry enough to resume, so I guess I’ll go back and see how much further I can kick it this afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

Watercolor has come along very slowly, but has been most enjoyable.

August 11, 2012

In the Studio with a Large Watercolor in Progress

Good afternoon.  I wish I had more progress to report.  The painting today has gone very, very slowly, and has been painstaking.  The ghost signs and window sashes have really slowed down my progress.  The light has started to fade, so it looks as though I’ll have to lay this aside till tomorrow.  At least I have some momentum building, and that’s a good thing.  It’s good to be painting in the studio again.

Thanks for reading.

Studio Watercolors on a Quiet Saturday

August 11, 2012

Savoy Hotel and Coffee Shop

It’s a hot Texas Saturday, so I’ve chosen to stay in and enjoy the air conditioning and work at my leisure on my latest large watercolor.  This is part of an historic downtown scene I photographed and have always wanted to paint.  The building is covered in ghost signs and still features a viable cafe.

I blogged earlier this morning that the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins put me in a reflective state of mind, and in the mood to pursue watercolor.  This afternoon I have been listening to Andy Warhol documentary DVDs.  I’m always inspired by his genius, his business sense, and his amazing sense of color.  Recently I traveled to North Park mall and photographed a set of ten of his silkscreen prints on display there.  I’m saddened that he died prematurely, before he had the chance to pursue graphic arts on the home computer.  I’m thinking of re-opening a couple of books I read over this past year: Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties.  Several years back, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Factory Made, but darn it, someone stole that book, and I regret having to buy another just to mark it all up again and retrieve the information I found so valuable.  I hate book thieves.  I guess that’s what I get for moving half of my private library into my public school classroom for easy pickins.

I don’t have too many hours of quality daylight left to pursue this one, and I hate painting after dark, under artificial light.  I think it’s dried enough now that I can go ahead and give it another push.

Thanks for reading.