Sunday, December 20, 2009

Painting Commissions

I have a like/dislike relationship with accepting commission assignments for "home portraits".

I dislike: ....that I impose the stress of a deadline on myself.

I like: ....and am flattered to be the artist selected to capture their "special place" suspend time and provide a lasting remembrance for generations.

I dislike: ....the mental anguish and composition decisions I go through during the drawing and design phase. I'm reluctant to,(and usually don't), accurately depict the subject "exactly" as it is. I begin a list of mental complaints: I have very little to work with; it's a bad photograph; subject hasn't any character; the season is wrong; trees are growing in odd places. This dialog with myself can go on for several days.

I like: ....when I discontinue my "negative dialog" with myself and start to make a "connection". About half-way into the drawing and design phase, I begin to develop a "feel". When this happens, my composition and color decisions become easier; I'm working as if it's my own "special place".

I dislike: .... when I have to make decisions about certain elements in the final composition. Although I've been given full creative license, I want to honor all the important elements that may be important to my client.

I like: .... when I begin painting; it all comes together; composition, color, values, and the most important element of all....a sense of place.

I LOVE: .... that moment when I lay my brush down and consider my day's work as "well done".
I LOVE: .... the moment when I deliver the painting and see the joy on my client's face.
I LOVE: .... being an artist. painting. for others, for myself. It's what I do. It's who I am.

Fortunately, there's many more "likes" than "dislikes". Or I'd be doing something else with my life.

I completed this commission yesterday. I'll contact my client tomorrow and make arrangements for delivery. I think they'll be pleased.

"Brumley Boulevard" 9" x 12" Watercolor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Facebook Blog Feed

I've spent the last 30 minutes configuring my Facebook page to import posts from this blog. This post is basicly a test to see if I've accomplished that feat! We'll see.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Merit Award for "Little Devil River"

The year-long paint out "Plein Air Southwest", sponsored by Outdoor Painters Society, culminated last weekend with an exhibition consisting of about 150 paintings submitted by more than 40 artists. The show opened with an artists awards reception on Friday night. My Painting, Little Devil River, was recognized with a merit award by juror, Gaye Faulkenberry, President of Plein Air Painters of America. This is one of 4 paintings I have in the show at Southwest Gallery in Dallas, Texas. The show will continue until January 2010.

"LITTLE DEVIL RIVER" - 11" x 14" - Watercolor.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Murals

Well, Jill Parr and I finished the Christmas mural panels today about noon - they will be placed "under" the tree on the Ellis County Courthouse lawn Wednesday morning, Nov. 25th. The Mayor will officially light the tree, Friday, November 27, at 7pm. The City of Waxahachie, Parks & Recreation Department, purchased all the materials....Jill and I donated our time
It's been a long time since I have painted "big" and I really had fun! Here they are:

The panels are 2' x 8' and took a combined total of 60 hours. After the primer dried, we each took a small brush loaded with yellow and began to make "loose" line drawings of the elements; drum, truck, trike, glass balls, snowman, decorated gifts and ribbon...until all 4 panels were "blocked in". Then we began painting the base colors; mid-tones using red, yellow, blue,green & purple. That took about 2 days. then we began to build up the shapes with shading & highlights. This is when we began to "get excited"....the panels were almost glowing! What fun! Did I mention that I love my job? What a way to begin the holiday season!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Different Media and Process - Christmas Murals

The past couple of days, another artist, Jill Parr, and I have been painting four 2'x 8'plywood panels that will be placed around the City of Waxahachie's Christmas Tree on the Courthouse lawn. To give the tree more importance over all the other trees on the lawn, it has been elevated and placed on a metal frame, 2' high x 8' square. The panels will be attached to 4 sides of the frame...if all goes as we imagine, the tree will appear to be "surrounded" by colorful gifts, toys, and decorations. We have about 6 more hours' work to do, mainly involving touch-ups,shading and highlights. What fun I have been having! this is waaay out of my comfort zone and Jill has taught me a lot about "painting big", working out of 1-gallon cans of latex paint!

On Friday night, November 27, citizens of Waxahachie and Ellis County will gather around the tree as the Mayor "flips the switch" to light the tree and officially open the Christmas Season in Downtown Waxahachie, Texas. I'll post photos of the panels in the "almost done" stage, then later, I'll post photos as they're being attached to the frame under the tree... then post the "final photos" when the project is complete. What a way to begin the holiday season!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Awesome Autumn" wins again!!!

"Awesome Autumn" 20x24 Watercolor

Even though I haven't posted anything lately, doesn't mean that I'm not working! Since returning from Hawaii, things have been jumping around here!

The next several days after my vacation, I served on the committee for the ECAA annual membership show - taking in entries, hanging the exhibition and preparing for the opening reception and awards presentation November 14th. I'm excited to announce that my painting "Awesome Autumn" won 1st place in the Professional Division! The exhibition is available to view during regular building hours through December. It's a great show; our membership is loaded with talent.

I've been preparing for an OPS sponsored "Paint Southwest" event...ordering frames, etc.
(more on that in a later post) I teach a weekly watercolor class (more on that later too) and I'm very involved in the administration-side of Ellis County Art Association and Fine Art Museum...the association is facing financial decisions revolving around our historical building that needs considerable foundation repairs. We love our 100+year old building but it sure is difficult to maintain. All the rain this year after a long serious drought took a toll on it. The cost will be substantial which means pursuing a grant. Anyone involved with non-profits and grant-writing are aware of the amount of time the process takes. I'll be working with the committee on that; we have a professional grant-writer, but she needs help with research, estimates, etc.

As I said, even though I haven't posted anything, doesn't mean I'm not immersed into art & art-related projects! Stay tuned - I feel a need to disappear into the studio for a day or two ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 4 - Maui, Hawaii -

Today, I went back to Lahaina town....there are so many paintings just waiting to happen! This is a little park behind the library that's on the seawall. Looking north from the park, the seawall walkway goes for about a mile with shops and restaurants lining the street. It's a favorite place for the locals to eat lunch, relax and just "hang out". Several came over to see what I was painting. I met some very nice people today. One of the "perks" of working on location!

Lahaina - Maui, Hawaii

"View from the Sea Wall"

12x16 Plein Air Watercolor

Only 2 days left before I must return to the "mainland"....I'll be painting tomorrow near our condo on Ka'anapali Beach.....I love my job!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DAY 1 - Maui, Hawaii - Plein air

Here I am in Maui, Hawaii! I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful island for the 2nd time in a year. Last year, I left my plein air gear at home, and traveled only with my sketchbook. This time, I brought all my gear with the intention of doing at least 4 good plein air paintings. On Tuesday morning, I drove to Ma'alaea village and boat harbor. The trade winds were blowing about 4o mph, and it was a challenge just to keep my easel upright! My whole setup blew over twice...but no harm done to equipment or the painting!

"Old but still Floats" - 9x12 Watercolor

This old teakwood sailboat caught my eye right away! the lovely brown weathered deck and bright blue sails in a harbor full of 'shiny new boats' just needed to be painted!

DAY 1 - continued - Maui, Hawaii - Plein air

After painting in the Ma'alaea Harbor, I loaded up my gear and drove back to Lahaina town. This is an old whaling village near where we are staying. There are probably 100 places to set up and paint and it's hard to make a decision....fortunately, the available sunlight helps me to decide. The late afternoon sun put this ice cream store in "backlight" and the main street in bright light....a great composition that didn't need any "tweeking".

"Ice Cream Store" - 9x12 Watercolor

I nearly out-stayed my available light! I was so intent on capturing some of the detail of the ice cream store building and the time got away from me....I looked up and it was nearly sundown! By the time I got my gear packed up, it was almost dark! A long painting day...the harbor in the morning and the Lahaina in the afternoon - great start to my "plein air vacation"!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DAY 2 - Maui, Hawaii - Plein Air!

Today, I wanted to paint in the "upcountry" of Maui. A local artist, Julie Houck, told me that the "upcountry" was a great place to paint! The drive time was almost an hour and I got a late start. (Breakfast on the patio of our condo was so nice! Chatting over coffee with my husband, his brother and wife was so relaxing....and I AM on vacation.....!)

9x12 - "Downtown Makaweo" Watercolor

Makaweo is called Maui's "Cowboy Town" - historically, it was the center of the ranching and farming area also know as "the upcountry" on the island of Maui. I was tempted to stop several times and set up my easel (the sugar cane museum & factory really caught my attention) but I was "on a mission"! I drove around in the town of Pa'ia (I hope I'll have time to go back before I go home) for about 30 minutes then continued on up to Makaweo. The "main street" (Baldwin Ave) is quaint with turn of the century, historic store fronts. Local art is popular here and there are several galleries. What a great day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painting in Paradise!

Here are two paintings in my sketchbook from a visit to Maui September of last year. I'm so excited to be returning to this location again this Sunday - staying for 7 glorious days!

It's a beautiful island with mountains, farms, beaches, and plenty of subject matter for an artist. I'll try to meet up with Julie Houck, an island artist and fellow member of International Plein Air Painters. Can hardly wait! I'm standing on one foot, then the other, just like a little kid....doing my "antsy-dance". :-)
I have my gear all laid out, checking it twice before I stuff it all into my carry-on backpack. I'll begin painting Monday or Tuesday, depending on other's schedules.
....better go back in my studio; can't remember if I have enough tubes of turquoise.....I'm painting in paradise, you know, and there's a lot of that color there.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday was a beautiful day for an art festival! Downtown Waxahachie, Texas was wall to wall people during the Bob Phillips Country Reporter Festival. I painted this 11x14 watercolor amid all the hoop-la! Plenty of distractions, but I managed to remain focused and turned out a nice one.
"A Booth Full of Buyers-a Festival Artist's Dream!"
11x14 Watercolor

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Plein Air - Downtown Historic Cedar Hill

This was one of the nicest days we've had this Fall in north Texas. Taking full advantage, I went to Cedar Hill to spend the day and paint en plein air with Visual Artists of Cedar Hill.

The subject of my painting is a building on a downtown corner...named "Southwest Corner Gallery". Owner of this cute eclectic gallery and gift shop are Bill & Vicki Watkins. Bill spotted me painting and came over to see and to show me a book with some photos of the building back in it's "heyday". Originally the building was a bank and it's now a local "landmark" famous for being one of the banks Bonnie & Clyde robbed.
"Southwest Corner Gallery" 9x12 Watercolor

Below is a snapshot of my plein air setup with painting almost complete. Right after I took this photo, Bill came back over with his camera and took a photo of me as I finished up the last couple of strokes. Great day on "the Hill"......

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Outta Gas" - Placed into private collection (re-post)

Outta Gas, one of my recent paintings and a multiple award winner has been retired and placed in the private collection of Doug & Ginny Field.

It's a favorite of mine, with fond memories connected to it. The "inspiration" for the painting is an old gas station & some old pick-up trucks on a corner in New Zulch, Texas, about 30 miles south of the home of my high-school best friend, Ginny Field. Gin and I "go back" almost 55 years. We get together often, only living a couple hour's drive from each other. Last year, during one of our "girl-friend days", the two of us took a shopping trip down to Bryan and this station was along the way. Gin had been telling me about it and said it would make a great painting. I learned over the years, that when Gin spots something she thinks needs to be painted, I need to pay attention. Sure enough, the old gas station was a Texas landscape artist's dream; all the elements were there. We stopped and took photos....Gin pointing here & there saying, "get a shot of this...and the old trucks...and the rusted gas pumps...".

Back in the studio, the painting came to be and I began to enter it in area competitions and exhibitions. First time out, it won a first place award, and another 1st place a couple months later in a different show. Gin was right about the subject DID make a great painting, and I may paint one or two more; we'll see.

In July, Ginny was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and is struggling through the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. The treatments have been rough on her; the only time she leaves the house is to go to the clinic for another treatment. So, to bring some outside to the inside, I hung Outta Gas in her den. The "show venue" is much smaller than the painting is accustomed to, but it's being viewed daily by my greatest "fan" and best friend....can't ask for a painting to have a better audience than that!
(Note: this post was first published last October 15. Since that time, my friend has discontinued treatment and entered Hospice)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

1st Place Award - PAINT CORSICANA

Last weekend was spent doing my favorite activity...painting en plein air! Corsicana is about 40 miles south of Waxahachie so it was an easy day trip to participate in this fun, fun event. What made it even more fun is winning the 1st place award. About 20 really good painters competed in the 2-day event. The 1st day I completed 2 paintings: : Corsicana Skyline and Navarro County Courthouse. It was a long day; didn't get home till about 6pm. The next morning, decided to paint in the downtown area; the light was just right and completed painting #3: Saturday in Downtown Corsicana.
"Corsicana Skyline" 9 x 12 (sold)

"Saturday in Downtown Corsicana" 11x14 (sold)
Honorable Mention Award

"Navarro County Courthouse" 11x14 (Available)
1st Place Award

This is the 2nd year for Corsicana Art League to sponsor a paint out and the event was a great success, with a well attended wine & cheese reception, nice cash awards, and a few sales (I sold 2!). Plans are already underway for next year and expanding the painting period to a week! WooHoo...can't wait! The exhibition will be on display at the Corsicana Visitor's Center until the week of October 19th.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Outta Gas wins 1st Place

"OUTTA GAS" 16"x20" Watercolor
Here's a photo taken with my phone camera at the Artist's Reception. Grand prairie Arts Council Open Juried Art Show. This is the second 1st place award "Outta Gas" has won. So excited! The exibition and sale will continue through September 25th at the Grand Prairie Library, in Grand Prairie Texas.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Awesome Autumn continues to get judge's attention

Here's a photo taken with my phone while attending awards reception for Navarro Council of the Arts 24th Annual National Juried Art Show in Corsicana. This is a great show with entries from across the US. Juror of awards, Bob Rohm. It's an honor to have received Award of Merit (3rd place) recognition in this field of excellence. Best in Show awarded to Ted Clemens for his painting "World Famous" . The exhibition will continue through September 26 in the Warehouse Living Arts Center, Corsicana, Texas. For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The business side of & sales

I always check email at end of day because it's a time burner-upper! Email sessions can last more than a couple of hours. A nice surprise arrived in my email tonight! I've been contacted by a new gallery in Pennsylvania (an active internet presence really works!) and I'll be shipping "Cottonwood Valley" within the week!
"Cottonwood Valley" 11x14 Watercolor

Many times I've wished for a little "genie" to pop out of my bottle of beer and take care of "business"; updating my website, blog, 3 online portfolio galleries, facebook and twitter... checking and answering emails...taking inventory and ordering paint, paper and frames....balancing the checkbook.... the task list seems to get longer than shorter. Today was one of those "business" days at the computer and in the studio that paid off! Making contact with a new "brick & mortar" gallery is a result of "taking care of business". It's not nearly as much fun as painting...but making a sale? ranks right up there!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two New Paintings....

This painting has been a long time began several years ago on a trip through Lost Maples State Park in the Texas Hill Country. I didn't have my camera, so I made several color studies in my sketchbook. From time to time, I'd look at the sketches then set them aside to use on another day. The "another day" finally came 3 days ago. I recall that the colors were gold, yellow, burgendy and "hill country green"....and the river in most areas was deep and slow moving. A short hike from the low water crossing revealed a little stretch of rapids and shallow clear water.

This is painted mostly from memory stimulated by the's been my experience that a memory is much better than a least for a painting that is......
"Along the Sabinal River"
20" x 24" Watercolor

After a 3 day watercolor session with the Sabinal River painting, I need a little recreation; today I played in the oil paints...this little 6" x 6" is a simple composition with lots of color and depth. It's small, but big on impact!
" Hill Country Summer"
6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

Tomorrow is Saturday and the Farmer's Market is on the courthouse square.... haven't painted there in a few weeks, so I think I'll load up my gear and see if I can capture some "small town atmosphere"~ Look for a new post soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This 'n' That....and a new painting!

The past 2 weeks have been mostly spent doing "non-painting" tasks....such as laundry & housework. Ugh! That's my price for spending 2 weeks on vacation...painting! The past 3 days, I've been re-arranging my painting setup in the studio so I can take advantage of today's technology and work from my computer monitor rather than a printed photograph. A photo just doesn't give enough information to the artist, especially in shadow areas. A computer-enhanced digital image and the "zoom" feature is a tremendous tool for an artist in the studio.

"Cottonwood Valley"
11" x 14" Watercolor

So, working from my computer monitor, today's painting is "Cottonwood Valley". The image I worked from was one that's been in my "digital files" for more than 5 years. In times past, working from a print-out, I've used various "bits & pieces" from this image, but today was the first time I've worked directly from the computer monitor. Eureka!!! It's ALMOST like being there. What a fun day at work. Have I mentioned that I love my job?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oil Study - San Gabriel River

Back home from our 2-weeks down on the coast. On the way back, we stopped for a couple of days in Georgetown; John played golf with his son and I went down on the river and painted all afternoon.
Oil on Canvas
This is a view of the San Gabriel River, about 3 miles east of downtown. I decided to paint the scene in oil and it turned out pretty good. Mixing my own greens and earth colors, the only colors on my palette were Bright Red, Cad Yellow Lemon, Ultramarine Blue, Naples Yellow and Soft Mixing White. I'm still struggling with brush-handling but my paint mixing and values are getting better with the limited palette, I think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last day in Rockport - well spent!

"Roxana Marie"
11x14 Plein Air Watercolor

The art gods were kind to me this morning...barely a whisper of wind and I was able to complete the painting I started yesterday. Actually, today was the better day for light; something yellow on the deck that I couldn't see was "bouncing" onto the front of the cabin and also on the back. Colors were vibrant and the water in the harbor was beautiful. I photographed this painting 3 times trying to get the subtle reflected yellow. It's still difficult to see in the digital image, but there's a hint of pale yellow. I'm glad I went back to finish; it made a much better painting today than what was happening yesterday.
I can't believe how quickly the time has passed and it's time to go home. My husband and I both agree that it would be very easy to live here full time; maybe some day......
We're going to stop and stay 2 days in Georgetown. John's going to play golf and I'm going to get one more painting done; we'll be camped along the San Garbriel River. Should be plenty of subject matter, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Still in Rockport...continued....

Another great day on the pier in Fulton Harbor! It was very windy yesterday; wind gusts at 35 paint was literally drying in the brush before I could apply it to the paper! I managed to find a shady spot but the wind was relentless and if you look closely, some of the strokes are a little "shaky" :-) I didn't even attempt to paint in the rope lines until I returned to our RV. 99% of my paintings are completed -all in one go- on location with no finishing touches in the studio. That little 1% had to happen yesterday; the wind just made my easel too unsteady!
"Noon-day Shrimper, Fulton Harbor"
8" x 10" Plein Air Watercolor
I talked to several people while working on location yesterday and if they checked this blog and found nothing, I apologize! I fully intended to upload yesterday's painting last night, but the wireless internet connection where we're staying was down most of the evening. Finally gave up and went to bed. So, here's my painting...a little late.
I only have today and tomorrow to paint so this post will be short; gotta get out there while the sun is shining!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The past 2 days have been fun, fun, fun for me! Rockport and Fulton Harbors have subject matter everywhere...the trick is to find shelter from the wind and sun. Today I painted in the parking lot across from "Mom's Bait Shop". Sun was a little strange today; not bright, but not "hazy" either. I was successful in getting my umbrella anchored to the truck mirror and managed to get all set up.
My view from across the it with the painting below; it's ok, I think!

"Mom's Bait Shop - Rockport Harbor"
9"x12" - Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press

Yesterday I painted in Fulton Harbor...the painting below is the Fulton Bait favorite plein air thus far....sometimes a painting just goes together effortlessly; this was one of those moments.
"Fulton Harbor Bait House"
9"x12" Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press

Later this afternoon, we're going to take a walk along a fishing pier...John wants to fish; I'll take my sketchbook along just in case that "perfect" composition jumps up in front of me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rockport, TX - Gulf Coast

My hubby & I have been on the coast for about 5 days now...sitting under the awning of our travel trailer, enjoying gentle Gulf breezes. It's "hot" by thermometer readings, but the wind off the water is delightful...if you're sitting in the shade. Speaking of shade, I found a little shady spot in our RV park that overlooked a small water channel, set up my easel, unpacked my oils and after 2 sessions (2 hours yesterday..... 2 hours today) I completed a nice 9x12.

"Inlet near Fulton Harbor"
9x12 Oil on Masonite

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oil Painting???

This has been a week for taking care of business that was pushed to the back burner during the paint out last week; paying bills, ordering painting supplies, doing laundry....and the list goes on. None of these things are very "creative" but must be done none the less. I've been getting in some studio time a couple of hours a day and finished a small 6 x 6 oil painting.
Yes, you read it right....oil painting.

Evening Glow - Oil on Canvas - 6" x 6"

For years I've been a closet painter in the medium; I think it's time I came out. This is titled "Evening Glow". A little different from my watercolor style....but also similar in colors, use of lights, darks, and contrasts. The thought process is opposite from watercolor and, to me, a bit easier...being able to apply the light source last. Color mixing is much more difficult for me though; I like for colors to "make & mix" on the watercolor paper and that doesn't happen with's a deliberate mixing process from palette to canvas. Working in another medium gets me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to experiment more. A good week in the studio, don't you think?

Saturday, June 6, 2009


The weather this week couldn't have been better for the paint out in Waxahachie!  50 artists submitted 223 paintings completed in the 10 day painting period.  Below are 4 more paintings completed since my last posting.  The event was judged yesterday afternoon by Mr. Bruce Peil, and I'm delighted to announce that I was awarded 1st place!

"114 E. University" - 6" x 8"
This little "gem" won 1st Place in the paint out competition! It was late afternoon and I only had about an hour left to paint, so I decided to paint a small one.  The colors in the brick columns contrasting with the planters & greenery caught my eye first....then I noticed the porch steps were ceramic tile of various reds, browns and siennas with glorious sunlight splashed across them.  Everything was there and ready for me; color, sunlight, contrasts, & shadows.  I loved it, painted it "as is" and entered it at the last minute into the exhibition.  Sure glad I's a winner!!  I'm pretty confident this little painting will find a home soon!
"Texas Theater" -  11 x 14 
This landmark building was originally built in the late 1800's and has undergone several "face-lifts", the most recent in the 50's.  It sits on the north side of our courthouse square and provides great entertainment including live musical reviews. I painted it about mid-day so the shadows were more downcast rather than slanted.  It sold the next day.

"Looking down College Street" - 9" x 12"
I see this scene almost every day as I'm returning home from errands.  In my mind, I've been putting this composition together for more than 6 months and finally got it down on paper day before yesterday.  It sold today.
"Waxahachie Depot" - 11 x 14
This is an old railroad depot building that was purchased and restored by Nay Corporation and their offices are now located within.  It was quite a challenge with all the brick detail, windows and various angles; not a long straight wall anywhere! It sold today.
It's been a very good 10 days work!!!!  ............Did I mention before that I love my job?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Gallery in town!

Last weekend myself and 3 other painters (Linda Schindler, Carol Cull, Mary Rabien) opened a little gallery! It's in an antique mall just off the Courthouse Square.....we named it "Downtown Gallery"....with the tag line: "Art by Local Artists". The focus is to offer original work in a small format (no larger than 16 x 20) that is affordable.  The inventory will include plein air paintings- depicting familiar local landmarks.  All 4 of us are participating in "Paint Historic Waxahachie" so our time to hang and arrange the art work was limited to about 3 hours on Sunday afternoon. Even tho' we were rushed, the gallery space really looks nice and is getting some traffic.  After this hectic week of plein air, we're going to finish out the "decor" a little better.  I'll post photos later.

Waxahachie, Texas - Paint Out

Beginning last weekend, more than 50 artists gathered for a 10 day paint out in my home town of Waxahachie! Thus far this talented group of painters have produced 60 paintings, and we're only midway through the event.  Here are two that I completed over the weekend. 

"Sundown at the Sign of the Texaco Star"
11" x 14" Watercolor

"Boyce Feeds"
11 x 14" Watercolor

I have 2 others plus a "quick draw" painting that still need to be uploaded from my camera....been too busy painting to do the "techie stuff" online.   Maybe tomorrow or the next day I'll get them all posted. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

TAOS STEPS - A Work in Progress

TAOS STEPS  12" x 16" Egg Tempera

I've been working on this painting, off and on, (mostly off) for about 6 years.  The medium is Egg Tempera; a mixture of dry pigment, water, and egg yolk. The technique is tedious, at best, if the artist mixes the formula from "scratch", then paint is applied, in thin transparent glazes, layering one color over another using a cross-hatching stroke. That's the "old method"'s modern technology has helped the painter by producing the medium, premixed, in a tube so there's no guess work on the formula....but the process still takes a while.  Painting on a specially prepared rigid board (Masonite), each application of paint dries in about a minute and another layer can be applied over it.  A painting session of 4 or 5 hours is about all I can do at a time.  I work on it for a day, maybe two, then set it aside allowing for the paint and colors to "shift" in value as they dry.  Currently, I have approximately 100 hours in this painting.  It's almost done; I have a little more foreground work, and will touch up the sky a little in a few places.....another 15 or 20 hours ought to do it :-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Painting - "Down Rush"

Last summer, I purchased several tubes of "open" acrylic paints. The term "open" meaning that they don't "set up" or "skin" over as fast, giving the artist more painting time.  I'm used to quick drying paint....nothing dries any quicker than watercolor :-) . However, my "issue" with acrylic has been the shift in value after it dries; it drops down about 3 shades darker.  Watercolor shifts "up" (lightens) about 3 shades when dry. So, switching between acrylic and watercolor is a real "brain-drain"..taking me waaaaay out of my comfort zone.  So, having said all that, I played around with them for a few days, then set them up on my shelf.......going back to my favorite medium...watercolor.

Looking for something different to do during some rainy days, I decided to give them a try again.  All week, I've been "practicing" with acrylics, making color samples and testing for the shifts in values from light to slightly darker ....and "Down Rush" is today's result. 
"Down Rush" 
Acrylic on Linen 6" x 8"
 I had so much fun that I've started another one...stay tuned!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another day at Kocian's Corner

Kocian's Red Tractor

A few weeks ago, I spent the day painting at James & Melinda Kocian's country estate. My subject that day was the red tractor parked in front of their implement barn.  The day was pretty windy and I had one hand on my shade umbrella and my body braced against my easel. All in all, the painting was pretty successful, I think.  Another paint out is planned there in May. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

On Location in Fredricksburg, Texas

I love ALL of Texas...but the Fredricksburg area in the Hill Country is one of my favorite places to paint and last week, I spent 3 glorious days there working on location (en plein air).  My cousin Connie Bernhard and her husband Dennis have a 500 acre ranch just west of Harper (22 miles west of Fredricksburg) and they provided "room and board" during my stay. (am I lucky or what?)  Their ranch is beautiful with rolling hills, a creek, sheep, cattle, and 2 llamas; "Tony" llama, and "Dolly" llama. Dennis' old home place is on the creek and I want to do several paintings of that location with the original outbuildings later on this year.  The painting  of the red barn is a "shearing barn" on their ranch.  The next one is a scene on the banks of the Little Devil River, north of their property about 8 miles.



The next is of a building on a historic site just east of Fredricksburg.  I liked the wagon under the overhang with distant hills.  The next painting is out on Grapetown Road.  I have no clue exactly where it is; The small rock structure out in the middle of a pasture with distant hills in the background made a nice composition. I'm planning on making another trip in the Fall when there's a lot of color all over the area.  My cousin's home is on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley; I have the perfect spot already picked out! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blue Ribbon for "Outta Gas"

Great news!!!! My painting, "Outta Gas" won First Place in watermedia category Friday night at the Visual Artists of Cedar Hill, TX annual open exhibition.  What a great way to finish up the week! 
"Outta Gas"
16" x 20" Watercolor

Saturday, April 18, 2009

October In The Valley

This has been a good week in the studio.  My favorite month is October and nowhere is it more beautiful than in the Colorado Rockies! Using several of my photographs for reference, this composition came together rather quickly; Aspens from one photo, a valley farm from another, a stream, and  mountains.  The rainstorm in the distance adds mood and atmosphere.  

October In The Valley
20" x 24" Watercolor
The past several days have been rain. rain, & more rain....perfect weather for studio work...(I have a difficult time staying inside when the sun is shining!)  Right now the Bluebonnets are blooming all over North paint gear is packed & I'm out the door first thing in the morning! The forecast is blue skies & temperature in the 70's.There's a perfect place waiting for me; a barn up on a hill covered with Bluebonnets! My weekend's going pretty good!

Saturday, April 11, 2009



Whew! 2 long days in the studio, but it was time well spent, I think. This painting is one I've had "in my head" for about 10 years. The waterfall is well hidden in the back country of the San Juan mountain range in southwestern Colorado.  I love that part of Colorado; it's the least traveled and affected by tourism. 

While I'm "on a roll", I think I'll get back to the my mind's eye, there's another painting that's been waiting for me; it's time to begin the journey.  I need to get all the studio time I can right week I'll be 4 days in the Georgetown, Texas area with family.  I'm taking my painting gear, hoping to get in a little plein air time.