Sunday, May 30, 2010

As A Jazz Player Plays

Pete, the subject of my Jan 8 post, returned to sit and play for our Monday painting group.  The title comes from my comment to him, which is still true, that I'd like to paint as a jazz player plays.


Jacob is the son of a friend who is part of a group with whom I paint on Monday mornings.  Despite changing my photo procedures based on help from Qiang Huang, a fellow Daily Painters of Texas artist and new Signature Member of Oil Painters of America, I still am having difficulty getting my paintings to photograph accurately and translated to an image that uploads well.  Today I substituted several images in previous posts for better ones, but still they are not were they need to be. Perhaps I have not implemented his suggestions correctly.  Any advice from readers will be appreciated. 

Jenna Napping

The challenge here, as in the next post, was to place the figure in the landscape which was mostly in the shade with occasional spots of dappled light.  Although I could play on an area of sunlit grass in the background for variety, I had difficulty muting the intensity of her orange skirt and white shirt to effectively place her in shadow.

Jenna Resting

Jenna is a four-time National Champion equestrian rider and trainer so we were lucky to get some of her time to model for us.  In this and the previous post, the opjective was to integrate the figure into the surrounding shady, sometimes dappled landscape.

Paris Bistro

This small (6x12) study was a good opportunity to experiment with an extreme format I don't use often and with high intensity modern pigments I don't use much either.  I do find the scene reminiscent of bistros I recall in Paris.

Pow Wow Dancers

This is the second painting I have done from some else's photo of indian dancers who gather in events known as "Pow Wows" across the West and Southwest.  It is usually a puzzle to figure out how the spots of varied color relate to one another in describing the figures and their costumes.

Getting Ready

I recently had an opportunity to paint with Lesley Rich, a California artist known for loose, expressive brushwork with thick paint applied often to figures in landscape.  These are qualities I have been working to attain in my work so it was good to focus on them in unfamiliar subjects.  This was from a photo of Lesley's from Venice, and I imagined the fellow getting set up for the afternoon patrons.

Local Dominance

This is the second plein air acrylic painting I have done - finished the same morning as "Livingstone Shore" in the next post.  Actually, I was in the same spot, just looking more to my left.  Somehow, I felt more free painting in acrylic for some reason, perhaps the novelty or the sense that it was an experiment.  I liked the feeling, so either I'll learn to bring it to oil or continue with acrylic.  Not sure.

Livingston Shore

Usually, I paint in oil, but lately have been exploring acrylics, partly because I have a supply acquired over the years, and partly out of curiosity about the differnt working properties.  This is my first attempt with acrylic outdoors on location. 

Ready for Spring

At a recent trip to a friend's lake house, we did some plein air work by the marina where I found this small sailboat.  I am afraid my title is overly optimistic since I painted the same boat in the same position last year so I suspect it, like many boats, will go untouched this season.  I hope not.


Spring is bluebonnet season in Texas.  Paintings of bluebonnet fields abound in all sorts of styles.  I had never done one so I used a recent plein air trip to Brenham to gather some information.  My study was somewhat helpful in coming up with a larger painting which began as a demo at the Woodlands Waterway Fine Arts Festival which has become a well attended event on the national schedule.

Object d'Art - 2

The blue vase was the second object passed around for the Object d'Art Exhibition mentioned in the previous post.  The olive and the lemon added counterpoint color as well as movement in the peel.  The light through the transparent glass was an interesting challenge.

Object d'Art -1

Over the last year, I joined nearly twenty artists in an effort to have an exhibition limited to compositions including the same object.  The object was passed around and each person did his own interpretation.  This was my effort with the white pitcher.  Still life is not something I do often, but I found the experiment interesting and useful.  The exhibtion was last weekend and was well attended and fun.  Both my entries were sold so I'm happy they have new homes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Santa Elena Canyon is a deep cut in the Chihuahua Ridge on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and a featured spot in Big Bend National Park as well as a dramatic trip for river rafters.  On this day, we stopped at this overlook rather than proceed to the point where the canyon merges with the river.  Soon we were joined alongside the road by several other members of the Outdoor Painters Society who were with us on this trip.




Late afternoon is a more  challenging time than  morning for a plein air painting because the shadows and colors must be anticipated.  Luckily, James Black had scouted this site and knew what it would become.




The road to Chisos Mountain Lodge has many painting opportunities throughout the day, but one has to be careful (or lucky or both).  Yesterday, the road was closed because of snow and ice - and its's the only road in and out.  Later, we found the road closed because someone drove off the road and was being towed out.  Luckily, we were able to stop at this site long enough to get an impression.  The green on the cactus is wrong, but this 11x14 can serve as a study.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chisos Snow

On Tuesday, it snowed in Big Bend National Park and guests in Chisos Mountain Lodge were advised the road in and out may be closed due to icy conditions and the absence of snow management equipment.  In Terlingua, where I was, it snowed in the morning and rained in the afternoon.  Snow did not last there, but in the higher elevations of the Chisos Range, it stayed for several days so we caught a glimpse on Wednesday when this 11x14 plein air  study was done.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Hill Country Highlight

This 9x12 study was painted last year on a creek North of Fredericksburg.  I was able to stand on a spillway behind a six foot dam in the river so that the water was at my eye level as the reflections from the cliff in the late afternoon reflected directly to me.  It’s unlikely I’ll find that sort of vantage point in another location.  This painting was recently part a group exhibition of Nomadas del Arte at Southwest Gallery in Dallas.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


On a recent painting excursion, I found myself in the town of Navasota in front of a beautiful stately home on Main Street.  The light and shadow pattern caught my eye so I set up for this painting.  After a while, a lovey woman walked out the front door and came over to see what I was up to.  After offering me lemonade and cookies, she informed me I was painting the entrance to The Red Door B&B where this painting now resides as part of its collection.  I am not so fortunate on all my plein air excursions, so this day was special.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Our son Todd came back from a trip to the Bolivar penninsula with a shot of his two boys trying for a last bite of the day and playing with the colors in this scene was just too tempting.


Pete was discovered by a member of our Monday painting group. Rediscovering the saxophone after many years, he played jazz hits during the break.  I've often said I'd like to paint like a jazz player plays, and Pete helped me find inspiration to do that on that day.