Search This Blog

Friday, April 24, 2009

Painting at the Aquarius Trail in Louisville

Here is the little farm house I painted yesterday. I paid such attention to the values. I know there is some adjusting that can be made, but overall I was rather pleased. The propane tank behind the truck bed is the only thing that really is weak and I think I may just paint it out. I don't believe it adds anything to the overall composition.

Finding Direction

Last night, close to the end of class, Mark came by and showed me what he wants me to concentrate on. I think one of the reasons I am so ready to not go to paint the model since my return from painting in Fredericksburg is I feel like I am rudderless. Floundering. I don't know where I am going or if I want to go there and so I end up frustrated. Last night, I got direction. He painted over what I had started on her face to illustrate the concept he wants me to pursue. and that is to keep the shapes simple using only 3 values plus the highlight. I am not to worry about getting the color right. So, I will see if I can do this. At least it is something to aim for. He commented that I should have learned something about value doing the color charts, so to show him. I showed great restraint in not painting his nose with whatever color I had on my brush only because he was facing the easel and I was behind him! only kidding.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to normal?

Here is my value study from Monday night. I know I am not moving fast enough, as I probably should have also had a start on a color study, but I must admit, it is hard to come back to the model after painting outside for a week. I started back to class a week ago, but I am just not getting into the swing of things. I just love being outside and painting. I feel like I am starting all over again with the model. ie a novice. If Mark were to see this studyI think he would say a few things not the least of which would be that my values are not allowing the highlight to "shine." We will see if do this will help me tonight with color.

I was out painting today with PAAC near Lafayette; Aquarius trail head had a beautiful view of the mountains, but it didn't get to be that beautiful until mid-day; with no toilets for a break, it is hard to do another painting; too bad, as I would have stayed otherwise. I did a 12x9 of a little farm house...which is still in my pack. The comments from the other artists who saw it were positive, but I am reserving my own til tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Windy Series from Fredericksburg

Above is a Live Oak (14"x11") I painted on Thursday morning; so one of the last paintings I did; as is alwasy the case, I just get warmed up and it is the end of the paintout! I did a 20" minute after this one, as two bulls had come and taken up residence under the tree as I was finishing this one up. I did not want to add them in case I blew it, but I think I captured the bulls pretty well, all things considering in my sketch (12"x9").

Below is the afternoon painting from Wednesday at Sally's Spread. This was the incredible ranch that looked like a mini French village. Most everyone did a long landscape to capture all the buildings. I decided on this square format (12"x12"). The morning painting is being worked on. I was unhappy with it but resisted wiping it off. I have been playing with it today in my studio. It had a good foundation so I think I can make something presentable.

The watering cans are from Tuesday morning. I really want to play with the shapes on this one. It was meant to be a study for a larger painting, but I ran out of time. I also smeared it but I had fun painting it. Below is the token Bluebonnet painting (12"x9") from Tuesday after lunch. There were not many Bluebonnets to be found as this area of Texas is in drought conditions. It is not one of my favorites from the trip.
This is the third painting of the day from Tuesday; it is 16"x8". I sat out in the middle of a field for this one. I haven't decided if it needs anything done with the foreground. The unfinished look of it doesn't bother me at all.

And finally, the last painting of the trip (16"x10"). This is the place Barbara and Chuck rented while their house was being built. I am not sure, but I do think this painting was done under the windiest of conditions of the week, which is saying something. One of those hold on to your easel or it will fly over kind of days. I worked really fast and I have done some touch ups in the background as I laid out good shapes to finish later. The fence is also incomplete. But for a two hour painting I am good with that. I really liked the colors and odd angles of these buildings.

That completes the "Windy Series," minus the one already posted and the one being reworked.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Last day of the Paint Out

Thursday morning we met at another privately owned ranch; this one has one of the longest stone walls in the county, and it was long!. There is alot of stone in this part of TX and the walls are amazing, as well as the homes built of it. Anyway, I set up my easel next to a fence with a couple of different views I was interested in doing. One held bulls (now I know that more than one bull is not normally in an area with other bulls, but I looked, and every "cow" I saw did not have udders, and that is all I know). I was not sure if wanted to paint them or the field or the hay, etc. so I sat down to start sketching to figure it out and my back was to the fence. Doesn't the horse look bucolic and perfectly peaceful? She is on the other side of the barn I am taking about. Well, animals are curious beings, and I was just too close to the fence and I am not paying attention and the next thing I know my hat has been lifted from my head and she is playing with it. I was able to retreive it, but she took it two more times out of my hands before I actually was able to keep it. It was a sad hat to begin with, and it has now entered into the "donkey hat" stage of its existence, as in only fit for. Llama kisses and horse thieves; who would have guessed?

Here is the photo I took of the "bull" pen. I hope I am not some ignorant northerner, but they still look like bulls to me.

I ended up doing a landscape in the morning of the fields with a live oak as the center of interest, from my spot by the fence, but I removed myself from close proximity and the horse lost interest. I think it is one of the better paintings I did this trip. Since I still had a half hour before we were heading to the Hilltop Cafe for lunch, and I had a lot of paint on my palette all ready to go, and two "cows" were now under the tree I had just painted, I did a quick study of them before they moved, so that if I wanted to put them in my painting, I had the reference to do so. It helped that I had just painted the tree.

After lunch (which was very good-Cajun fare) we headed to the "goat" farm, but truthfully, I don't know that anyone actually painted the animals. As has been the norm of the week, the wind was up, and it was hard to find shelter, but a few of us hung in there and painted anyway. I was under a tree with Kay and Louise at least trying to get out of the sun, and we all painted different scenes. I did not take a photo of the scene I decided to paint; I think because once we set up our gear, we had to paint holding on or else it would blow over. I am not kidding. My hat flew off and I could not retrieve it, because it was not worth loosing everything else for. I do have photos of the scene Kay painted as that was what originally drew my interest. Too funny.

Dinner was again hosted by Chuck and Barbara in their lovely home. Barbara not only made dinner but 5 fresh pies, cherry and apple. I had to try them both, as it was too hard to pick, and there were both excellent. We all had our paintings out for show and tell in Chuck's studio, and believe it or not, I didn't think to take any pictures. I had every intention of taking a group photo. Darn it. I am hoping that Leslie or Chuck took some photos that they will share.

Cynthia and I drove all day today, but we did go check up Palo Dura Canyon as was recommended by one of the artists yesterday. It was beautiful but again, too much wind, and I am quite beat up from all the wind so we did not stay to paint as we had planned to.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday in Fredericksburg

This morning we drove about 15 miles from town to an amazing old spread. From the road up to the "complex" it looks like a small European Village. Sally, our hostess, was so delighed to have us and said we could come "any time." Her llamas greeted us as we walked up the drive, and Chuck and I were each treated to a "kiss" from the boldest of the bunch. I think he (the llama) kissed everyone who would let him, but since I was at the head of the group, we got in first.

We painted here all day; I painted one of the barn's in the morning from the hill above the buildings looking down on it. I painted a section of the scene above in the afternoon. I painted "large" today (it is all relative), doing a 16x12 in the morning and a 12x12 in the afternoon. I am behind on taking photos of my work. Tonight we are dining at the brew pub in town.

Tuesday in Fredericksburg

We started the day out at Ruby Lee Clark's house, a descendant of a German settler, she still speaks German fluently. (I found out that many families here speak German and have a heavy German accent.) Her house has been in the family for generations and is like a museum. We were supposed to paint the house for its architecture, but her yard, which was on a large corner lot, was a museum of its own for garden accessories of all kinds. There was so much to pick from it was hard to decide! I could paint there for a week and never run out of things to paint.

There were two choices for lunch, Hilda's for burritos or the Herb Farm for healthier fare. I went with the local crowd to Hilda's. My chilie relleno burrito was $3.99 and it was good.

After lunch, I went with Barbara Bush (in black) to the one field of bluebonnets known to exist around town; Up close I discovered that bluebonnets are lupine, but don't dare call them lupine in Texas. We painted there for awhile and then went to another private property (below) for the rest of the afternoon. So, I started small in the morning and grew bolder as the day went on.

Cynthia drove to Austin to see her daughter and grandchildren after Ruby Lee's in the morning, so I found lots of willing new friends to haul me and my gear around.

Monday, April 6, 2009

First Fredericksburg Paint Out day

This morning we met in town and drove out to a private ranch, Stone Castle Ranch on Willow Creek Loop. I wish I could tell you which direction from town (I want to say North). It was a beautiful spread with a majestic view for miles, with only two homes dotted in this vast panorama. I do not remember the names of the owners, but they opened their "castle" home to us, to use as needed, left coffee out for us and gave us the run of the property, all 250 acres or so. There were llamas (or alpacas?) and the cutest little burros. I saw scats from deer, cattle and want I think is wild pigs, if my memory serves me well. I did two wipe offs in the morning, as I was just not getting to where I wanted to go; I broke my cardinal rule: to keep it simple. It was windy and bitter cold with a steel gray sky until mid-morning when the sun started to play peek-a-boo. Most everyone struggled to some degree, although everyone was game.

After lunch in the car, we drove back up to the house and barn area; I set up in the shelter of the outbuildings and Cynthia went to paint another vista through trees in the foreground. I did not wipe this one off. I was starting to warm up.

This evening we had a lasagna dinner at Barbara and Chuck Mauldin's home. They are the couple behind the Plein Air Event here in Fredericksburg and they have done an amazing job. Turns out they were heavily involved with BSA for 17 years, so they know how to keep all of us wayward artists herded, fed and happy. We are probably very easy compared to adolescent boys. Leslie Allen showed us all up by going out on the deck after dinner and doing a quick sunset painting.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday drive to Fredericksburg

Stan and Ginny were so gracious it was hard to leave Dallas and their company. Here is Ginny before the guests arrived last night at the counter in the newly remodeled kitchen, a wonderful room filled with light. We left with a year's worth of reading material, wine, bread, fruit, shoes and shirts! Stan gave me a 2 volume set on Winston Churchill and a book I have already started called Blood and Thunder. I can't remember the book he gave to Cynthia.

The hill country of south central TX has drought conditions and this is not a good year for the Bluebonnets; but there are some and they grow along the banks of the highways as witnessed above and the wildflowers, that I know not what they are, below.

After unloading at the Comfort Inn we went to town and found the Markt Platz where we are to meet tomorrow morning for our first foray to the hinterlands to paint, and then we walked up and down Main Street (HauptStrasse) looking for the Whistle Pik Gallery, which we did not find. But we did find this wonderful building which is a new gallery set to open the first week of May, which such notables as Quang Ho, Scott Burdick, Pam Ingalls and other familiar names.

Weekend in Dallas

Add ImageIsn't this a beautiful dog? This is one of Ginny's and Stan's dogs, and his name is Deuce, a Polish Shepard; and Travis is also a beauty, but I did not get as great a shot of him. He is a 12 yr old German Shepard, and didn't get up to let me get a better angle on him. I did not want to go out there on my own, so I shot these through the window.

We were treated to a lovely dinner party last night, with food brought in from Maggiano's. Michael Ennis and his wife, Ellen were part of the party. He is an author of two historical novels. He and his wife were quite entertaining and full of amusing anecdotes. Marty was also there, and he is a long-time family friend who just "retired" and is moving to NY.

Cynthia and I also went back to the gallery after lunch and I did take some photos this time. Below is one I think I would like to paint at some point in time. I would think to title it "A True Artist." She is one of the artists meeting down in Fredericksburg this week, lives in NM and organizes the PAAC Plein Air event in Taos.

This is why you want to be the artist doing a demo at a big event like this; There were two artists with easels set up on Saturday and though neither of them had sold a painting Friday night, both of them had sold their paintings on Saturday and I bet you dollars to donuts that this woman had bought the painting that was being painted as she was involved every step of the way.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Road Trip to Dallas

The drive has been going great. It took Cynthia and I 14 hours, all totalled including stops for lunch and stretching our legs. Thursday night we made it to Amarallio about 5 p.m. Because that was 4 p.m. our time, we weren't ready to eat dinner and there isn't much to do in a cheap motel off the interstate. So we found a park on the map and drove over for a walk. Here are some interesting waterfowl that were being fed by the edge of the lake that we walked around. Thompson Memorial Park was deserted for such a lovely afternoon and it is a nice park. It includes the zoo, which I did not see, a golf course, an amusement park and baseball diamonds.
These geese had a very distinct stipe down the back of their neck and an interested top knot.

Below are some mighty ugly waterfowl, geese I am thinking as they were so big next to the ducks, but way smaller than the geese above.Below is a photo I took once we hit traffic outside of Dallas in Denton. Notice how green it is here already.
I can't believe I did not take any pictures of the opening at Southwest Gallery last night. I got back to Ginny's house (Cynthia's sister graciously invited us to stay) and realized I didn't even take one of my art on the wall. There were alot of people by the time we got there at 7 p.m. but it had thinned down considerably by the time we left an hour or so later. One of Cynthia's paintings had sold! And it was the one she wished she hadn't sent in. Too funny. I found out that there will be @ 27 artists from 5 states going to the paintout in Fredericksburg.