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.
A blanket of white snow on the ground makes for exciting graphic compositions, but we don’t often have such scenes to paint here in Texas. The Monahans sand dunes offer similar opportunities, though. There’s a storm brewing in this watercolor. Just as I set up to record my view en plein air, a sudden windstorm blew through – my easel and kit were blown off into the dunes, and my eyes, ears, and car were filled with sand! This painting was done from the vivid memory, safe home in the studio.
Monahans Sand Dunes – watercolor SOLD
There might have been a post about this piece previously, before I added the background. It began as a botanical study of a dried branch from my jimpsonweed that echoed the shape of a calla lily, and remained in that state for a few months as I debated whether to keep it as a botanical or turn it into something else. I began thinking of the branch as not just resembling the calla lily, but as actually changing into the lily form through the process of death. The lily also put me in mind of brides and nuns.
The background was added to associate my subject with the 12th century abbess, artist, and composer Hildegard of Bingen. In Hildegard’s thought viriditas, or greening, shows the power of the divine in creation. I decided to have my withered branch levitating in front of a background pattern of acanthus leaves.
This piece was juried into the 53rd Southwestern Watercolor Society Membership Exhibition, where it won the Watercolor Artist/Creative Catalyst 2 award.
I’m happy to be included in the Botanicals show at the Georgetown Art Center, along with some other wonderful artists.
The show runs from March 4 – April 10. Anyone in the Georgetown Texas area, be sure to stop by! These are the four pieces in the show.
This is another rose that is blooming like crazy right now, named Louis Philippe. It looks a lot fuller and darker now than it does during the heat of summer. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the bush for this one.
I am really enjoying doing these botanical studies.
Louis Philippe, about 6×6″, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico hot press
In 2016 I’m hoping to do a series of portraits of roses. We are having a very mild winter and several of my roses are still blooming, which means there’s a great opportunity to do some warm-up paintings. I’m especially fond of the old garden roses and this is one of them, called “Old Blush”. It’s often much paler, but in cool winter weather the color is more intense.
Old Blush, about 9×7 inches, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico Soft Press.
Here’s a photo of one of my Old Blush bushes. Nice and cheery on a December day, isn’t it?
About three years ago I was doing some botanical studies and lately have returned to them. I enjoy the close observation they require and as a gardener I am of course interested in all types of plant life. Seed pods are nice because they don’t change over the time it takes to draw or paint them and I can work from life without any photographs. Flowers and leaves change from hour to hour.
This is a study of Mexican Buckeye, I think. I’m not a super botanist, although I do try to pay attention! My subject was gathered from a shrub growing in a wild area not too far from my house.
6×8, graphite with touches of gouache on cream colored Stonehenge paper.
Lately I have gotten interested in botanical artwork, the result of realizing that work based on direct observation has always been an important part of my work, even when I was painting large abstracts. I’m also committed to finding my subject matter wherever I happen to be. For these two pieces I didn’t have to look any farther than the back yard.
I also prefer to paint my subjects as I find them, that is, not idealized, in the tradition of memento mori works. Sometimes I find things in fresh and full flower, but in November that is usually not the case. In the autumn, things have been through long hot summers and have been chewed on by insects, and are all the more interesting for it.
Here are a couple of recent pieces, some native Texas plants. Both of these are about 8×10 watercolors.
The first is turk’s cap, aka Malvaviscus drummondii. In the fall they form fruits as well as new flower buds. – SOLD
This second shows the leaves and acorns of some sort of oak. I’m not sure what kind it is that we have around here. Their leaves can vary so widely.
Happy Autumn to all!
Saturday a bunch of my illustrator buddies met at the zoo to sharpen our animal drawing skills. It was a challenge! It is hard to even do quick gesture studies when you are not familiar with an animal’s particular anatomy. I had my best luck with slow moving subjects, like the elephants here.
An exception was a particular lion. This guy seemed to know what was expected of him….a dignified, majestic pose that he maintained for hours and hours. I think if I go back tomorrow he will still be there reveling in all the oohs and aahs.
Also noteworthy was a very friendly giraffe. This critter did not hold still at all, but made up for it by sticking its head in amongst all the people from time to time and allowing itself to be petted on the nose. What a wonderful animal!
Thanks to Cindy Rodella Purdy for organizing! It was big fun. Can’t wait for the next crawl!
The daily painting has been an internet thing for awhile now, but I had never tried it since it seems like an easy thing to fail at. No one needs extra failure in their life. But last month on a whim I took on a challenge to give it a try. The fact that February is the shortest month of the year made it seem like it could be done.
It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done for my work in a long time. I learned so many things: that I like painting alla prima, that a square format really works for me, and that it’s really satisfying to complete a piece in one sitting. The time constraints meant that I had to approach each piece with a strategy. That was new. I tried new techniques and materials, which kept things fresh and exciting.
Some of the pieces were painted en plein air, some from models, some were from my photos, some were based on watercolor studies. Some are real clunkers, but some hold promise or are fine just the way they are.
I would absolutely do this again.