Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Texas in Winter

This winter has been one of the coldest in the last several years, but every now and then the sun comes out and the wind is calm and I have a chance to paint.  These paintings were done close to home.  The first one, Benson Crossing, is one of the many crossings along the north fork of the Guadalupe River near Hunt, TX. 
The second painting was painted in Comfort, TX.  The hill country is full of old barns and houses built by the German settlers in the late 1800's.  Every barn has a weathered dignity and makes you wonder what stories they could tell. My plein air studies are about light and shadow.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rockport Palms

This is a painting I did from a study on location and a photo reference.  When I completed the study I discovered that I should have used a different format because I ended up shortening the length of the palms to compensate for the size of the panel.  In addition the study was started when the light was overcast and at the end of the painting session the sun came out and there was a beautiful warm glow on the branches.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Art Goals for 2014

Happy New Year to you.  I never really gave much thought to my art goals in prior years as it was always just to paint more.  This year, however, I've decided to turn over a new leaf and become more deliberate about what I think it will take to become a better artist.  That got me thinking about the artistic skills that are critical for becoming a good artist?  Those basics are drawing, design, value, color harmony, and brushwork. Therefore, in order to get better I need to focus on these areas to improve: squint, do black and white sketches before settling on a design, use a limited palette and vary the colors in the palette to see what combinations are interesting and harmonious, use more paint, once you put down a stroke let it be, never more that two strokes before wiping the brush and putting on more paint, etc. All those things I have been taught.  Now if I can just discipline myself to do that every time I set out to paint.

Okay, that covers the mechanics, but I also want to focus on subject matter.  I used to joke with a friend of mine that my still life paintings look like they were done by a different artist.  That is because I painted lots of them in order to learn about value, color, etc.  However, I became an artist to be able to paint landscapes so this year I want to put in as much time on the landscape as I did with still life. I read on Robert Genn's Painters Keys blog that you have to paint at least four times a week in order to get better, so I will focus on landscape at least four times a week. 

I also want to get more active in the art community by going to galleries, art exhibitions, and museums in the coming year and really study the paintings that the best artists are doing.  I am curious why some paintings draw you in and you spend time looking at the design, brushwork, lighting, etc? Whereas, you may just walk past another painting.   

Another area I would like to focus on is to increase my participation in more paint outs and exhibits.  It is not always easy to schedule time for all these things, but I think I can commit to at least three a year.  I've been participating in two a year for the last few years so one more shouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

If I can accomplish these goals I think it will take me to the next level of becoming a better artist.  You may be wondering why I decided to publish these  goals.  Frankly it is to make a public  commitment.  I figured if I shared them with you I might actually come closer to accomplishing them in the coming year.  So here is to a productive and busy year ahead. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fulton - Rockport, TX

I spent the holidays painting on the Texas Coast.  The Fulton Rockport area is really on the Aransas Bay, which is protected by an island which parallels the coast.  It is a birders paradise as the migrating birds such as pelicans and herons spend the winter there. Somehow I had images of balmy sunny weather, but most of the time it was cloudy and windy.  However we had a great time and I was able to paint a different venue from what I normally paint.  I think I just scratched the surface of  the subjects that were available so I definitely want to do more exploration in the future. 
While I was painting, I was also thinking about my goals for 2014.  I will address that in a future blog.

Fulton Harbor 1

Goose Island

Fulton Harbor 2

Ocean View Drive

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Still Life Studies

It has been awhile since my last post.  I have been keeping busy doing still life studies.  That is mainly because it is either to cold to go outside or the mountain cedar pollen season here in Central Texas is rearing its ugly head.  I think still life is a great way to study color harmony, light, and just observation skills.  Of course some are more successful than others.  I love color and still life painting is a great way to get away with using luscious color.  The other aspect of doing these little paintings (8x8) is getting to try out different formats.  I have used the square format quite a bit in landscape painting and I'm also liking it in still life painting.  The hardest part about still life painting for me is deciding what to include in the painting to create an interesting arrangement of shapes that fill the canvas and are pleasing to the eye.  Another aspect about these setups was the subtle reflections in the surface.  Well maybe not so subtle in the apple set up.  I'm not sure it really qualifies as pleasing to the eye either, but I love red so it allows me the opportunity to play with it.
Asian Tranquility
Asian Box and Lily
Apple Trio
Asian Harmony

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fall Color

Cypress Parade - I think this is one of the prettiest fall seasons that I've experienced in Texas and I was able to get some plein air painting days in before the weather turned cold.  The Guadalupe River is ablaze with these cypress trees.  However, after the winter winds have had their way with them the leaves will be gone. 

The second painting is Autumn Cypress, which was also painted along the Guadalupe River in Center Point, TX.  Maybe the drought has stressed the trees to the point where they are answering back with the loveliest colors. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Die Kunstler Art Show and Sale 2013

Well, it has been a long time since I last posted and thought the Die Kunstler Art Show was a perfect occasion for getting back in to it.  All of these paintings have been entered into the 2013 annual show and sale in Fredericksburg, TX.

I went to an art class in September in Taos, NM and was able to do many paintings (some good some bad), but it was a wonderful time and the weather was gorgeous.  The grasses were unbelievably beautiful, which I tried to capture in this painting, "Glorious Morning."  That is one of the best things about being an artist, you get to really look at the landscape.

The second painting is also from Taos.  The morning light was shining on the adobe wall creating the most interesting shadows.  I call this painting "Light and Shadow."
 The third painting was done on location last winter in Comfort, TX.  Please note that the mercury vapor light is lighter than the sky, which happened to be very overcast that day.  I call this painting "Old Barns and Truck."  The ranch has now been sold, so my art buddies and I are hoping the new owner will let us paint there occasionally.
 The fourth painting, "The Old Depot,"  was painted on location in Waring, TX.  It is about a mile from our house and the town looks just as it did in the 1930's.
This is my cat, "Jack."  I decided to use him as a study in a limited palette and to utilize the concept that less is more.  The eye is the center of interest and I utilized lots of paint, then as you move away from the eye, it is mostly thin washes of paint.