The Southwestern Watercolor Society’s fall paintout was held in Gainesville this year. I did a few small plein air paintings and also did an on site sketch of their restored movie theater. This painting was done in the studio, using the sketch and some photographs for reference.
The making of this painting was documented as a tip on the Society’s website. If you’re interested in my painting process for these, you can read about it here.
The Gainesville State, 14×11, watercolor and gouache on gessoed paper
It seems like half of the old theaters in Texas are named “Texas” or “Texan”. There are two wonderful old theaters in Kilgore. One of them, of course, is called the Texan. I wanted to choose an angle that also showed the downtown oil rigs…and questioned that decision every time I had to repaint them.T
The Kilgore Texan – 10 x 20 inches, watercolor and gouache on paper
I especially enjoy painting the theaters when there is a contrast between their original slick high style and their current neglected state. That’s the case with the Forest, which is pretty close to home.
The Dallas Forest – watercolor and gouache, 21 x 13 inches
This is another in a series of dogwalk landscapes. You can see a nine patch quilt pattern from underlying layers in some areas.
Little Shrine – 10 x 10 inches, acrylic on panel.
I’m very grateful to Juror Bob Burridge for selecting my painting for the Naomi Brotherton Award out of an exhibition that included many outstanding and respected artists. Being recognized as Best of Show is a real honor. I found out about a week ago and still haven’t stopped smiling!
The painting is based on an old oil station in Jefferson, Texas, where the watercolor group had a paint out in the spring. My plein air effort was a failure, but the light and shadow shapes were so compelling that I tried it again in the studio. This painting was the result.
Faded Star, 21 x 14 inches, watercolor and gouache on gessoed paper.
So far my theater paintings have been at least partly gouache. This one, however, was done with watercolor only, using a wipe out technique. I really like working in a reductive way, so that the paint I take off is just as important as the paint I leave on.
This theater had a Zumba poster on the marquee. I’m not sure whether it is out of use or if they really hold Zumba classes inside.
The Garland Plaza – 18 1/2 x 11 inches, watercolor and gouache on gessoed archival paper
Another of the theater paintings. In this one I concentrated the saturated color in a small area of the sign, and let the rest dissolve into neutrals. This theater is still in use in Garland, Texas.
Shoo Fly – 9×12 inch acrylic on panel
This piece continues the series of houses in my neighborhood, ones I see every day walking the dog. This one happens to be right across the street from my front door. I embedded a patchwork quilt pattern in the early layers of this one, a reference to the kind of home life that might have been anticipated by any of the people that have ever lived in the house. Shoo Fly is the name of the patchwork pattern.
The Daingerfield Morris – 14×10 inches, watercolor and gouache on rag paper.
This is the start of a new series – old classic movie theaters. They are interesting to me for a number of reasons:
First, they are relics of a time when our community had more shared experiences than we do now; they are places where some of that sharing actually happened. The current show might have been an action film, and you might have preferred comedies, but you would go anyway because it was the entertainment being offered and everyone would be talking about it until the next show opened.
Second, I’m getting interested in signage and letterforms, and how little specific visual information is required to communicate because the shapes are so recognizable.
Third, the buildings are so highly stylized, and the ones that have not been restored have wonderful texture. When I shot the photo reference for this piece, I thought maybe the theater had been closed. However, the internet says no – they are still showing films here at the Morris.
The first theater I painted was in my sketchbook. This is actually the second one, but it is the first full size painting.
White Rock Elder 1, 11.5 x 8 inches, watercolor on gessoed rag paper
Here’s another piece done with the same technique as the previous one. It’s all watercolor, even though it doesn’t look like it. It’s the acrylic ground that makes the paint behave so differently.
White Rock Lake is close to my house, and I have in mind a series on the older trees that ring it. This one is the first.