Posts Tagged ‘Waxahachie’

Looking Forward to Fall Colors and Plein Air Watercoloring

September 18, 2011

Looking Forward to Fall Colors and Plein Air Watercoloring

The cool, autumnal temperatures that lightly kissed the four-day Grapefest have left me yearning for the changing colors that announce the plein air season for passionate watercolorists.  Though the art festival season will be extremely heavy from September through October, I am of a mind to commit my weekday afternoons to plein air watercolor sketching.

This is an open meadow across Business Highway 287 on the north side of Waxahachie, Texas.  I had stopped by Zula’s Coffee House late one autumn afternoon in 2010, and enjoyed my coffee outdoors at a picnic table while watching the sunlight sweep across the field across the highway.  I took out my watercolors and made quick work of this vista.  Now I’m ready to chase autumn colors with the brush again.  They cannot come soon enough.

Thanks always for reading.

 

90 Minute “Quick Draw” en Plein Air, Waxahachie, Texas

May 28, 2011

90-Minute Watercolor Sketch of the Ellis County Courthouse

The winds were fierce this morning, but the Quick Draw was fun.  The event lasted 90 minutes (8:30-10:00) and I was pleased that this painting brought a fair price at auction.  The winds and the 100-degree heat got to me after lunch, so I chose to make the 40-minute drive back home, and return in the late afternoon to attempt a second painting.  I’ll post that one next.

Thanks for reading.

A Close Second to a Parisian Sidewalk Cafe

February 24, 2011

Sidewalk Cafe Life at Eureka Springs

Texas temperatures are getting better–80 degrees and sunny today.  My garage has turned into an art studio/man cave for me, with a portable TV/VCR playing an assortment of tapes for my listening pleasure while I paint–lectures on Friedrich Nietzsche, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams to name just a few.  I feel myself entering this composition that I’ve tinkered with for several months now.  I can almost hear the voices around the table discussing poetry, philosophy, theology, books–all the artistic elements that keep us alive and alert.

This setting is in downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where it was my profound privilege to teach a week of plein air watercolor classes for the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.  It was my first time, and I have an application pending there now, hoping with all I have that there will be a class again this year.  My two favorite towns so far are Waxahachie, Texas and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for on-site watercoloring.  Both towns boast streets lined with Victorian architecture, flower beds, cute shops around the downtown district, and compositions for painting in any direction one looks.

This particular painting is huge by my standards–30 x 22″–and it involves elements that are outside my comfort zone–people and a myriad of details.  I have avoided genre painting for a number of years, realizing that there are countless artists “out there” who do it so exceedingly well.  But I recently read something from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau that convinced me to go for this: “There is always room and occasion enough for a true book on any subject, as there is room for more light on the brightest day, and more rays will not interfere with the first.”  All I had to do was substitute “painting” for “book,” and I got his point.  My contribution to this genre of painting will in no way diminish what has been done by others, and yes, there is room in this world of art for me to contribute as well.  So . . . with that in mind, I was liberated to go after this composition.

Today was quite a full day–high school classes by day, a trip to the veterinarian this afternoon, and a college class tonight.  But there is still time to engage in the arts, and I so love returning to my studio, even when the day has been filled with “work.”  Thoreau said (I believe in Walden) “To effect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”  That I must remember.  Though packed to the rim, today has nevertheless been “artful.”

Thanks for reading.  Talk to you again tomorrow . . .

Let the Madness Begin!!! May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

Plein Air Watercolor of 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery

Tomorrow begins the “madness.”  I’m going to join the company of Captain Ahab in search of the white whale, or Dean Moriarty in search of kicks, or Jack Kerouac On the Road, or Claude Monet chasing the fleeting light, or Paul Cezanne seeking a solid form beneath the changing colors.  Tomorrow begins an eight-day plein air extravaganza in historic Waxahachie, Texas.  Tomorrow afternoon I will set up and paint somewhere near the courthouse.  On Saturday morning I will participate in the Quick Draw inauguration (90 minutes to produce a painting that is then auctioned on the courthouse square).  Following the eight-day event, I’ll set up a booth for the Historic Mansfield Art Festival.  Two days later, I’ll begin teaching a one-week plein air watercolor class at the Eureka Springs School of Art in northern Arkansas.

To all my readers–I’m sorry the school schedule buried me once again.  But I assure you, I will be posting daily throughout this plein-air event that begins tomorrow.  As to the picture posted, I’m not sure when I’ll return to it in the studio.  I’m glad watercolor doesn’t have a shelf life.

Thanks for reading.

Re-visiting my first serious Plein Air Attempt, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010

First Waxahachie Plein Air Attempt

One of the most important painting moments in my life is captured in this photo.  In May 2009 I had signed up to participate in the “Paint Historic Waxahachie” Plein Air Event–an 8-day painting extravaganza of a magnificent historical Texas county seat town.  This would begin on the first week of June.  For over a decade I had worked in watercolor exclusively in my studio, depending on photographs I had taken.  This Waxahachie event would include about 50 artists working directly from nature.  The event was to begin on the courthouse lawn on a Saturday morning with a 90-minute “Fast Draw” competition, involving any subject visible from the courthouse square.  The paintings would then be auctioned live at the courthouse steps.  Feeling very intimidated (I don’t watercolor fast!) I drove to the site on Friday afternoon the day before, as soon as my classes let out for the day, sat down beneath the trees on the south side of the lovely Ellis Country Courthouse, and knocked out this “quickie” of the Chisholm Grill.  I had just purchased a Winsor & Newton watercolor field box (pictured) and was ecstatic at the saturation I was achieving with new colors on my palette that  I had never used before.  What a sublime afternoon!  People continued to approach me and visit with me, asking what I was painting, and following up with every imaginable question.  I was energized by the conversations, worked quickly in the fading afternoon sun, and just felt myself swelling with liberation at the realization that I could actually do this!  That afternoon changed my life–May 29, 2009–the day I got out of the indoor studio and ventured into the plein air.  The friends I would meet that next week would mean that painting would never be the same for me again.  As Monet marked his turning point by connecting with Bazille, Renoir, Manet and Degas, so also my art fortunes turned with meeting Tina Bohlman, Kent Brewer, Steve Miller and many other dedicated professional outdoor painters in the Waxahachie circle.  Thank you, my dear friends.