On Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17, about 30 members of the Outdoor Painters Society traveled to Glen Rose, Texas to paint. For most of us, this was the first opportunity to paint on location since May or June - it has been too hot here in Texas to do much of anything outside! It was also the first opportunity in several months to "meet up & catch up" with each other. It was a great weekend - I completed 3 nice oils - The foliage along the Paluxy River, although dry & parched, was showing early signs of Fall colors. I completed 2 paintings along the river; one on Friday morning & another on Saturday morning.
September on the Paluxy - 9x12 Oil on Linen
Paluxy River Reflection - 8x10- Oil on Linen
On Friday afternoon, everybody packed up their gear & traveled south of Glen Rose to the private property of Dina Gregory, an OPS member, for an afternoon of painting on her hilltop and a great BBQ dinner.
Live Oak South of Eulogy, Texas - 9x12 oil on linen
This grand old Live Oak had a stand of Prickly Pear cactus all around it....and the distant hills showing through the branches made for a wonderful view; it was a painting waiting to happen!
All 3 paintings are available for purchase - send me a quick email for price and shipping information.
On October 13, I'll be traveling down to Port Aransas, Texas to join 16 other plein air painters for a coastal paint out sponsored by Port A Gallery. This is the 4th annual artists invitational and I can hardly wait to get back down to the coast.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
"Saturday Market" - 11x14 watercolor -
Nothing ever stays the same....except for a moment in time captured by a plein air artist. I painted Saturday Market during the farmer's market 2 years ago. In the background is a "pocket park" (trees within) & left of that (the green building) is the 1879 Chisolm Grill. I love the home-town feel and energy that is always present in our downtown. Saturday is one of my favorite days to paint "down on the square".
I've always been an advocate for the importance of working en plein air, especially in historic districts. Documenting local landmarks by an artist offers an interpretation and visual reference that no camera can replicate. I don't mean studio work....this is about painting on location...on a street corner.....oblivious to the elements, on-lookers and the sting of sunburn. For several years, my outdoor studio has been on all 4 corners of the Waxahachie courthouse square and points between.
"Oma's Jiffy Burger" - 7x10 watercolor
Oma's is a favorite hangout in downtown. Located just a block off the square, "regulars" gather early for breakfast and then show up later around lunch time for the best burger in town. I was commissioned to paint Oma's by a loyal patron with a special fondness for the little cafe. It was difficult to concentrate with the distracting aroma of burgers & fries wafting across the street.
"Waxahachie Depot" - 8x10 watercolor
This little plein air is in my sketchbook painted last summer. The depot had been empty for several years and was in serious disrepair. Anticipating deterioration to the point of collapse, I painted it; and, for me at least, suspended the march of time. The building has since been purchased and completely restored by the City. I love the "new" old depot building and look forward to many hours of painting it from every angle.
As I said at the beginning of this post...nothing ever stays the same. Several months ago, our community awakened to the charred remains of 3 historic buildings on our beloved historic courthouse square. The tragic fire destroyed a restaurant, attorney's office, antique store, and a barber shop. The "pocket park" on the corner of College and Franklin received extensive damage from a collapsed wall. In the background of Saturday Market, the painting at the beginning of this post, are the buildings that were lost in the fire. I'm thankful for the countless hours spent painting along that street. Even though the skyline on one side of the square is forever changed, I have the memory (and a painting) of it....and look forward to the new skyline that will take it's place. The rebuilding process has begun and my sadness is replaced with an excitement and anticipation of painting new "landmark" buildings downtown.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
"C.M. Millican Blacksmithing" (click here to enlarge)
12" x 12" Alla Prima Watercolor
140# Arches on Panel
The past couple of days, I've been "iced in" by the Arctic blast of winter that has Texas (and most of the U.S.) frozen solid. What a contrast in temperatures! January 29th - only 4 days ago, the thermometer hit 80 degrees here in North Texas! On that glorious day, I joined 30 fellow members and guests of Outdoor Painters Society in downtown historic Grapevine, Texas where we spent the day painting en plein air.
In the morning I set up my En Plein Air Pro watercolor easel across the street from a working blacksmith shop. In the 3 hours of painting, there was a steady stream of people in and out of the open barn-type doors amid sounds of metal being "pounded" into shape by the blacksmith. I spotted the building about a block away and as I approached, I noticed a set of 50's-style blue metal lawn chairs in the entrance. As a teen, my family had a set of chairs exactly like that...they were even the same color! That settled it...this was the perfect place to paint!
Later that afternoon I went to Nash Farm, a short 1/4 mile drive from downtown Grapevine. This was the Nash family's farmstead that is now a historic landmark with antique farm implements, the farmhouse and outbuildings including a huge red barn.
I wasn't able to complete the painting on location, but I was able to get a good color study and composition for use to do a larger studio piece. The photograph doesn't reveal a lot of detail in the shadows but there's some gorgeous 'bounced light' inside as well as an old tractor parked midway between front and back doors.
By the way, this photo gives you a look at my favorite watercolor easel...the En Plein Air Pro! To the right of the painting is a 5x7 sketchbook with my 'thumbnail' drawing. Note that on the same page as the drawing, I sometimes test color and value before I commit a brush load to the painting surface.