Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas

It snowed in Dallas, Texas on Christmas Eve for the first time since 1926, certainly the first time in my lifetime. The snow remained Christmas morning, but had melted away by the afternoon. Still it was a pretty cool event.
A few years ago I had been commissioned by the Dallas Morning News to create an image for their Christmas Day issue, based on what would happen if it did snow on Christmas Eve. Obviously that wasn't such a far fetched possibility, since it has snowed as early as Thanksgiving some years and we usually get winter storms in January, but the odds of a snowstorm of any significance on December 24 itself were not that high. In this case the temperature had reached the high 70s on Wednesday the 23rd. Snow the next day is what we call "Texas weather".
Above is the piece I created for the Morning News. Who knew it would be prophetic?
I hope everyone reading this had a great holiday (whichever it may have been) and will have a much improved 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy holidays

This was commissioned last year by the Dallas Morning News for their Christmas Day issue. The Flying Red Horse is the unofficial symbol of Dallas, mainly because it adorns the top of what once was the tallest building in the area, and its neon shape could be seen from miles away.
In some circles there is a lot of sensitivity about the use of the term "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" as a greeting but the fact is the association of holidays at this time of year originated before the birth of Christ. Winter Solstice has been celebrated since Man first realized the sun would return after the darkest and longest night of the year. The Romans celebrated the feast of Saturnalia and the early Christians attached their celebration of Jesus' birth to that festival in order to discretely observe their preferred event without being fed to lions more regularly than they already were.
Of course Hannukkah predates Jesus' birth by a century and a half, and Kwanzaa, created in 1966, is observed in the African American community in honor of family, community, and culture.
Anybody reading this probably knows all of this, and the point is all of the nonsense about a "media war on Christmas" and whether or not a decorated indoor tree (the concept of which dates back to the Druids) is called a "Christmas tree" or a "holiday tree" or any of the rest of the manufactured controversies and victimhoods we read and hear about are irrelevant to a time of year everyone can find something to appreciate and celebrate. So do it, already.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Still Life with Birds

This was for another one of those "draw names, exchange gifts" holiday things. The recipient described herself as liking anything "girly" and that her favorite color is pink. I did this piece with those qualities in mind. I had a good time with it. It's another use of Sharpie pens and watercolor. I think I may have overworked the vase a bit, but overall I'm pretty happy with it, and I hope it's soon-to-be-owner is, as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crested Butte

These are pictures, taken with my very ordinary camera, of the process of painting a commissioned piece, "Crested Butte".
The clients have a house there and supplied reference photos.

I start with a stretched and primed canvas, this one 30 by 40 inches. Since I work from dark to light I apply a base coat acrylic wash. Sometimes it's pure Dioxazine Purple, sometimes it's this color, a mix of Red Oxide, Cadmium Red Deep and Dioxazine Purple. This is the first coat.

After adding a second coat of the previous color mix I draw the image with white pastel pencil. Obviously this shows up better than charcoal or a standard graphite pencil against the dark base coat.

I work from the foreground back, so here I've painted the wildflower area in front. Just over the hill are the four pines, and a more distant stand of trees to the left.
I'm layering the different values of color, starting with the darkest and adding the lighter ones until it has the look I want.

Here I'm working on the more distant meadows leading to the mountain. The next darkest color, after the base, is a mix of cool blues and greens. Then a more pure Phthalocyanine Green layer is painted, topped with a mix of that green and Cadmium Yellow.

The pine trees on the mountain side are Phthalocyanine Blue and Phthalocyanine Green.

The trees in front of the mountain are topped with a lighter value of Permanent Green Light (easily the most optimistically named color of them all). Then the mountain's layers of color are applied.

The mountain completed, I begin to block in the clouds. These two are Dioxazine Purple lightened with Titanium White.

Another layer of lighter Dioxazine Purple and a finish of pure Titanium White completes the larger clouds. The smaller ones start with two layers of Cobalt Blue, each one lightened with White more than the previous one.

Now the sky is being applied. It starts with Purple, then a mix of Cobalt Blue and Purple with White to lighten the next layer.

The sky is finished with layers of Phthalocyanine Blue and Turquoise Green and White.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monte Wade 1951 - 2009

Monte Wade, owner of the Monte Wade Gallery in San Antonio, which has represented my paintings since 2003, died on December 9.
As I was splitting company with a gallery in Taos, which closed shortly thereafter, Monte moved my work to his own gallery there, managed by his daughter. After that gallery closed he exhibited my work at his San Antonio location. He was always supportive and encouraging, open to just about anything I wanted to show, just about the perfect art dealer.
His wry sense of humor and way with a story will be missed by everyone who knew him. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Illustration Friday - "Hatch"

This was done for a poster for my buddies The GilmerMetcalves, promoting a Spring concert in Texas. The jackalope is a classic Southwestern example of cryptozoology. It's as likely to hatch from an egg with a Texas flag pattern as from anything else.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dallas Arts Revue Member Show

Here are some photos from the opening of the "Dallas Arts Revue 30th Anniversary Member Show", as well as the companion exhibition "Back Room Invitational". It's at the Bath House Cultural Center, Dallas, Tx, through January 30, 2010.
"Caligula" and "Augustus" were included in the show. I wore my black hat and in these pictures one of my more forced smiles.
I've labeled some of the images with the artist's name, if I knew it. I'll add more labels as I figure whose work is whose.

"Caligula" and me

"Augustus" and me

Kathy Boortz

Rebecca Boatman

Diana Chase

Laura Abrams

David Hickman

Jerry Dodd

Wednesday, December 2, 2009