Posts Tagged ‘vintage fishing lures’

Working in the Studio on a Rainy Night, Preparing for Next Festival

April 3, 2013
First of Four, 5 x 7"

First of Four, 5 x 7″

Second of Four. 5 x 7"

Second of Four. 5 x 7″

Third of Four.  5 x 7"

Third of Four. 5 x 7″

Fourth of Four.  5 x 7"

Fourth of Four. 5 x 7″

Every artist has a central story to tell, and the difficulty, the impossible task, is trying to present that story in pictures.


It is raining cats and dogs this evening in Texas, possibly on its way to 3 inches.  Temperatures have dropped, requiring a sweatshirt in the Man Cave.  The evening has been productive.  I have finished the four vintage lures (5 x 7″) that I’ve tinkered with the past few days, and am ready to put them into mats and plastic sleeves.  Tomorrow I load all my gear for the next festival, which begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday (Art in the Park, Kennedale, Texas).  The weather promises to be glorious this time (I faced a disaster a couple of weekends ago).

My reading recently from Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit has given me much to ponder, and in subsequent blogs I want to share him with you.

I Paint In Order to Remember

April 2, 2013
multiple watercolor sketches of vintage lures in progress

multiple watercolor sketches of vintage lures in progress

Credo ut intelligam (I believe, in order that I may understand)

Anselm of Canterbury

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign.  It was in this hope that the arts were invented.  Sign-posts on the way to what may be.  Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.

Robert Henri

I am more tired than usual this evening.  The school schedule is the pits, with 4.5 hours of testing followed by regular classes in the afternoon.  Today I entered the Cave and began two more 5 x 7″ watercolor sketches, and poked at the two I have been working on previously.  Here is a photo of where they stand now.  I selected these vintage lures, lent by a friend, because they take me back to the late fifties and early sixties, when I fished with push-button reels and “plugs” (we didn’t call them lures) made of wood.  These are from the era I knew as a child.  Today I did some experimenting with salt and a spray bottle, and mixed some pigments I haven’t mixed before to create some different “watery” backdrops for the lures.  I enjoyed tinkering with the compositions for awhile, but feel sleepiness already dragging me down (it’s not even 8 p.m. yet) and my rule is not to create art when I’m fatigued.  So, I guess I’ll stop for now, prepare a late dinner, and see if that will perk me back up.  If so, I’ll push these a little further tonight.

Anselm said he believed in order to understand.  Henri said he painted in order to understand.  I paint in order to remember.

Thanks always for reading.

I journal because I am alone;

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Keeping the Ball Rolling in the Art Studio

April 1, 2013
Vintage Tiny Lucky 13

Vintage Tiny Lucky 13

Like all art histories, the history of American art is forged in conflict and refined by necessity.

David A. Ross

Today I came home totally wiped out from STARR testing at our school, that lasted over four hours, followed by lunch, followed by our regular classes of instruction.  Texas has this notion that students will achieve better if they are tested for four straight days, four-and-a-half hours per day, then doing class instruction afterward.  As teachers, we are wiped out, and we’re not even taking the exams.  But again, that’s another story.

Over the past 48 hours, I have drawn inspiration from the Abstract Expressionist movement of the  1940s and 50s, reading extensively from a biography of Willem de Kooning, and from some of my other art history volumes.  Though I don’t try to emulate their styles, I nevertheless love reading of their work habits.  So, today, while struggling through school, I determined I would get back into the Man Cave after dinner and roll the ball a little further.

I have learned plenty from this attempt on this vintage lure.  I still have plenty to do, hoping I can salvage it.  The background disturbs me, and I’m not sure yet how to adjust it.  There are some things with the lure’s body as well that aren’t quite right to me.  Nevertheless, it is a quick 5 x 7″ watercolor sketch done in the space of a late evening in the studio. I enjoyed looking at it, sketching it, attempting to match colors to lure, etc.

Tomorrow with fresh eyes I’ll determine what exactly to do with it before sticking it in a mat and plastic bag.

Thanks for reading.


A Quick, 5 x 7″ Watercolor Sketch of a Vintage Fishing Lure

March 31, 2013
5 x 7" Watercolor Sketch of Bomber

5 x 7″ Watercolor Sketch of Bomber

As I come to the close of a satisfying Easter holiday, I reflect on the festive atmosphere I was invited to share with some beautiful friends in north Arlington.  Marvelous friendships were formed, thanks to a remarkable student I was privileged to have in my class back in 1989, my second year of teaching.  How fulfilling to see her again, with her family, her parents, and a large circle of friends and colleagues.

Before returning to school in the morning, I wanted to try and finish this 5 x 7″ sketch I started this morning in the Cave before attending the north Arlington Easter brunch.

I like the watercolor effect of these vintage lures better on a dark background.  Until now, I had always placed them on a white field.  I think in the days ahead (before next weekend’s Art in the Park festival I may try a few more of these smaller watercolor compositions.

Thanks for reading.

When in Doubt, Paint

March 31, 2013
Vintage Bomber on Dark Green Field

Vintage Bomber on Dark Green Field

“He painted far into the night with an air of great seriousness,” said Finkelstein.  “He would go to the other side of his loft and stare fixated.  Then suddenly he would come alive and then step back again.  ‘Whoever he is, he must be one of the most serious artists,’ we said to each other.”  According to Betsy Egan Duhrsen, “Bill just worked.  He worked and worked.”  No matter how late the discussions went at the Waldorf, no matter what tensions arose in his personal life, de Kooning continued to work with the relentless intensity of one who strives always to reach the unattainable.

Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master.

After a restless night when I couldn’t shut down my brain and go to sleep until nearly 3 a.m., I awoke without an alarm around 7:00, rose, made breakfast, and brought it out into the Cave to enjoy the cool morning.  While eating, I watched a VHS tape documentary of Willem de Kooning from the “Strokes of Genius” series.  I became so absorbed with it, that I pulled my biography (cited above) that I had read in its entirety back in 2004, and began re-reading the chapter that covered his emergence in the fall of 1948.  One of the biographical notes that has stuck with me since my reading of this book concerns the drive of de Kooning that persisted for decades.  In earlier blogs, I have poked fun at his tendencies to spend more time looking at his work than actual painting, and then his constant revision (actually, erasure!) of work he had spent several hours putting together.

I rose from my reading chair, completely blank about what to do next, only that I needed to do something next.  So, I pulled out the vintage tackle box lent to me by a dear friend, pulled out this old wooden Bomber plug, and decided to put it on a dark field of green, instead of the white that I had always used before and found unsatisfactory.  Because of the layers of wet-on-wet, the painting is staying pretty soupy, disallowing me to do tight pencil work.  So I continue to read from this biography of de Kooning.

On this Easter morning, I post with amusement this illustration which has been my inspiration for over twenty years.  The illustration, known as the Flammarion engraving, first appeared in Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book  L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (“The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology”).  I have always loved the look of the inquisitive pioneer, pushing past the veil, to the primal workings of the world.  I have had this picture in my mind for over twenty years, every time I think of someone (or myself) trying to push into a new world, in discovering a new style, a new idea, a new pursuit.

I post it today, honoring the memory of Willem de Kooning’s endeavors during those late New York nights in his Fourth Avenue studio, trying to figure out what to do next in painting.  And I keep it before me today as I paint, trying to figure out what to pursue next.  When in doubt, paint.

Thanks for reading.