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
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.
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.
Faded Star – 21×14 inches, gouache and watercolor
I’ve neglected my website and blog even though I’ve been posting on Facebook and Instagram. It’s high time to do a little catching up.
Lately I’ve been doing some water media work where the removal of paint is just as important in the process as putting it on. Faded Star is a good example. The paper support was primed with acrylic gesso before sloshing on a combination of watercolor and gouache paints. Then portions were blotted away to create the image. The gesso and method of applying the paint introduces more unpredictability and encourages intuitive working. Starting with a mess and reacting to it has always been a favorite way of working.
This old oil station is one I encountered on one of the Watercolor Society paintouts. I believe it is located in Jefferson, Texas.
This show at the TVAA gallery recently concluded. The work came from members of my sketch group. We showed some of the work we have done on location during our weekly get-togethers, but primarily our studio work.
Here’s a portion of the statement I wrote for this show:
For this exhibition, Robyn has chosen paintings that depict the landscape and details of infrastructure in the East Dallas neighborhood where she lives. The sources of these paintings are all located within three miles of her home.
By purposely focusing on views that are insignificant in themselves, she avoids appeals to emotion and
sentimentality. Instead, in this mundane subject matter she finds poetry of light and geometry that elicits a meditative sense of timelessness and calm.
These paintings were all created in her studio, but Robyn is also active as a plein air painter, enjoying the exercise of her observational skills by working directly from life. It was this interest in working on location that led her to the Urban Sketching movement and the friends that form her weekly sketch group.
Last blog post I was planning a personal 30×30 challenge and here are the results. The intent was to experiment with watermedia every day, and I did a little of that, but mostly I ended up with studies for things I intend to paint again in a more considered way – those are the suburban landscapes.
The ones that are more experimental are numbers 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 19. There is a lot to consider in them about what worked, what didn’t, and why. Experiments are heaps of fun because they are done purely for the experience. If they end up being worth presentation, that is a rare bonus. Usually they suffer from “too muchness”. Too bright, too design-y, too incoherent, too unresolved. However, they are excellent dress rehearsals for do-overs that can take me in a bit of a different direction.
I always struggle with color because I always seem to end up going overboard even though I want to keep the color subtle. #18 and #23 are the closest to the way I want to use color right now. I’m glad that a few got close to the mark!
Number 10 has about the right amount of looseness. That is another difficult target.
There were a couple of do-overs within the 30 because I just couldn’t walk away from a motif when I missed the mark. And the one figure piece because that was the only watermedia I had worked on that day. It was included even though it didn’t really fit with the rest. Even the food court still life has more in common with the landscapes than the figure.
Putting them all together like this really helps in evaluating the individual pieces. I have got to get a wall in the studio fixed up soon so that I can view things side by side in real life!
Juror Kelly E. Mara has invited two of my portraits to be included in her upcoming show, “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”. I was unsure about submitting these, because both women are roaring quietly. But both of them are showing strength, in my opinion. I titled the watercolor on the left She Persisted and the oil on the right Sure in Silence. The show will hang for the month of August in the TVAA’s Plaza of the Americas gallery, 700 N. Pearl, Suite G-207. Reception is August 6 from 2-4.
Friday nights I almost always attend a figure drawing/painting session. Both of these portraits were done during one of those get togethers.
Last November I did a daily plein air project, going to the Arboretum every day. One day the place was full of containers of the most brilliant chrysanthemums. This piece captures some of that clear autumn light and the fiery color of the flowers. It is painted in gouache, which is a kind of opaque watercolor and a favorite medium of mine. The completed painting was waxed for protection, which means that this gouache can be framed without glass like an oil or acrylic painting.
Fall Chrysanthemums – 5×7 inch gouache on panel, $105 plus $10 shipping and handling.
Available for sale through my Daily Paintworks gallery – click here to purchase.