Friday, July 31, 2009

Buckskinner portrait

Buckskinner, 16X14, oil/canvas panel



Hi All,
I got back last week from my one man show at the Bosque Arts Center. Needless to say, it was a wonderful time. I got to meet a bunch of new people, reconnect with some old friends, and sell some work. One of the most memorable parts of the trip for me was getting to meet Rusty Jones, who is a wonderful painter and now a good friend. Rusty, bless his heart, drove several hours to come to the show from his home near Dallas. It touched me deeply that he would do this and I want you to know how much that meant to me Rusty. Be sure to check out his blog, which is linked here from my page. Unfortunately, I didn't think to run around with my camera and take lots of pictures of the reception. Something I'm sure I'll regret.

I also was fortunate enough to be invited to George Hallmark's 60th birthday bash the next night. It was a party of George and Lisa (his beautiful wife.....ya done good George), and 200 of his closest friends. George and Lisa are two of the most generous, giving people I've ever met. People came from as far away as England to celebrate with the master painter. One of the evening's highlights was getting to meet Martin Greele and have my picture taken with him and George. These are two of my painting heros, and I'm blessed to have gotten to know them a bit. In addition to being two of the best painters working today, they are just nice regular guys.

My latest painting is of a buckskinner named Frank. When I first saw Frank, he was being painted by artists participating in the Quick Draw for the Phippen Museum's Art Show on the grounds of the courthouse in Prescott, Arizona. Frank is a great character and makes the perfect model to paint. He's part Native American and can tell a story with the best of them. And he has lots of stories to tell. So many of the people who get involved in reenactments are like that. He offered to take me around the area, next time I'm in town, to show me the scenic sites. and to model for me. I always appreciate it when people go out of their way to make my job easier. Thanks Frank!

I loved the reflected light on his face in the shadows. With the sun hitting his grey beard and deerskin tunic, it was bouncing up into the shadows of his face. On portraits like these, I like to keep the edges soft. It keeps him from looking cut out on the background. Speaking of the background. I put him in front of one of my favorite backgrounds for these kinds of subjects. A textured plaster wall. I can use the colors that compliment what the subject is wearing, while still giving a bit of interest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wildflower Hill, plein aire

Wildflower Hill, 9X12, oil on linen panel

Hi again,
I painted this one on Monday, July 20, 2009. I had participated in a paintout with the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota on the previous Saturday. The location was beautiful and I stood on a hillside covered with wildflowers. Two problems. First, I chose to use a pochade box that was new and when I started setting up, I realized that I hadn't put the quick release mounting plate on the pochade box. So I wasn't able to mount my paintbox onto the tripod. Ugh!! So I spent the day painting with one hand while I held the box on top of the tripod with my other. I would paint till I needed to clean my brush, set the box on the ground, clean my brushes, balance my box onto my tripod and repeat the process. Absolute rookie mistake and one I don't plan on repeating. Second problem was the heavily cloudy day, and the wildflowers on the hills just looked so dreary. When I had finished painting for the day, I decided to return on Monday, if it was sunny, and paint the wildflowers. I'm really glad that I did. It was a beautiful day to paint, and other than a strong wind that threatened to blow my box over (normal stuff for plein air painting), I had a ball. Rapids Lake, which is part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, is located along the Minnesota River. Along with all the wonderful wildflowers and trees, I was treated to small aircraft flying over head performing aerial stunts. Loop the loops, barrel rolls, stalls and other stunts that were nice to watch when I took a break.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Painting, "King of the Hill Country"

King of the Hill Country, 30X40, oil on linen

Close-Up of brush work

There is no better fitting symbol for Texas, in my mind than the longhorn. An imposing animal and fiercely independent, the longhorn seems perfectly at home here today. Probably because the longhorn and Texas have such a proud history together. You could even say they've grown up together. Naturally, I placed this small herd in my favorite part of Texas, smack dab in the middle in Texas Hill Country.

Many thanks to Wally Penberthy, for taking me on a tour of his ranch in his jeep (all the bumps and bruises were worth it). The landscape is based on a hill on his place which we climbed one beautiful morning. The longhorns are owned by a nearby rancher which we drove out to see. They were happy to pose for me, at least till the truck came along and dripped off the new salt blocks in a distant field. I never knew they could runs so fast! And that was the end of the photo shoot.

"King of the Hill Country" is an idealized painting, complete with fields of blue bonnets and live oaks. At 30X40 inches it's one of the largest paintings I've done to date, but because it is an idealized view, it benefits from it's bigger size. I've included more detail in the foreground and reduced the amount of detail as it gives way to the middle ground then to the background. Just as the eye sees things.

This painting will be included in my upcoming one man show at the Bosque Arts Center, in Clifton Texas. Show opens on July 21 and runs through August 8th. I will be there for an artist's reception on Friday, July 24th, from 6-8 PM. It will be hot, but we'll have wine I'm told.....and dancing girls.....and cirque de soleil....annnd. Alright, maybe not, but we will have wine. And lots and lots of paintings and drawings. Thirty or so in all with prices to fit just about any budget. Limited time offer while supplies last.

Lunch Line, 24X40, oil on linen

I've also reworked "Lunch Line" a bit and will also be at the show. I've settled down the sky and distant mountain a bit, knocked down the intensity of the colors, and added dust with floating bits of hay, lit up by the sun. All in all a much better painting.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Simple be featured in Southwest Art's Art View, Feb 2010

Simple Beauty, 12x9, oil on linen panel

Hi All.

OK, so I've been told my those in "the know", that I should never paint those things that are obviously beautiful. That it's like throwing an underhand softball pitch to Hank Aaron (I'm definitely not Hank Aaron in this analogy). It's waaay too easy. To which, I respectfully say....Fooey! Why not paint beautiful subjects? These kinds of picturesque scenes are the very essence of what makes the west, and, the landscape, so alluring. That argument is like saying, don't listen to beautiful music, because it's too easy, there's no challenge in the listening. It all comes down to why you listen to the music, or why you look at art. For me, it's always been about the way it makes me feel....the enjoyment. Personally, I would much rather look at a painting of fall aspens than a city alley. And I believe most people would too.

I've just learned that "Simple Beauty" is to be included in the February 2010 issue of Southwest Art's column "Art Views".