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.
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.
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!
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.
This was a warm-up for the plein air session in my last post. The subject was a heuchera that had just come home from the garden center. This variety is called “Champagne”, so I’m going with that for a title. I love the colors in these leaves – they emerge a combination of pale orange and magenta, and age to a subtle green and buff.
Champagne – 6×6 inches, acrylic and gouache on panel SOLD
North Haven Gardens kindly invited me to do some painting at their nursery today. There was a gorgeous abundance of blooms, as you would expect. I thought I’d better hurry up and paint the poppies first, before they are over. I’ll be going back again for more blossoms.
Poppies – 6×6 inches, acrylic and gouache on panel. $108 plus $10 shipping and handling.
Available for purchase from my Daily Paintworks gallery. Click here