Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Portrait Society of America

At the Portrait Society of America conference a few years ago, Robert Liberace critiqued my portfolio and changed my life. My beloved friend Kay was hiding in the bushes taking pictures and so I have a memento of that very important day.
I'm off to DC for another PSofA conference so I will be gone from my blog post for awhile. I will come back better for it, I'm confident.

Monday, April 20, 2009

teaser ad

You think I'm cheating, but I'm not. This is the teaser ad for Workshop magazine, currently on the last page of the June issue of American Artist magazine. I have been working on this article, sometimes during my painting time, since March. It features Qiang Huang, whom I have mentioned to you before and whose link is right here to the left of this box! Go see him. He's a wonderful painter and a great teacher and I hope the article and photos do him the justice he deserves.
Sometimes you can Write Your Joy, too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Red Roof Barn

This scene will not be around a lot longer. The barn looks like it will welcome a change; so tired. There are working farms all over this area, tractors moving, workers working, animals grazing. But all around them are very busy earth movers, bulldozers, tree haulers. In place of vegetable patches, strip malls are popping up here and there. While we were painting, an enormous power company truck turned down the dirt road we were next to with a load of telephone poles in tow. The drivers got out and watched us paint for a while, smelling the roses before they're gone. The little barns and farm houses seem vulnerable and threatened and really crying out for documentation. So we documented with love. And, you know... paint.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


This is the site of the morning painting of Tuesday's paint-out. Judy and I were in a field beside a busy road and were plagued by drive-by honkers. Many jerks of brush reflected on canvas due to jerks of road. They could not lessen the sheer joy of our morning, though.
The barn in the distance was falling apart and I thought of painting it newer, since that would be easier. I just loved it's faithfulness, though: the stalwart sentinel, still watching over the field... I thought I owed it to the barn to give it a go.

If I'd gotten this shot just a hair lower, all the lines would have lined up. I could not actually see the scene on the screen of my camera, so I'm lucky that it came out at all.
Just behind us was the quaintest operation going on: a young man and an old woman were hand-picking a crop of some sort, stacking and crating it, while an old man worked from his tractor. If it hadn't felt so invasive to do so, I'd have faced them and tried to depict their work. I did take pictures of them so maybe someday...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Japanese Bridge

This is the product of my paint-out yesterday afternoon. I was being harassed by mosquitoes and had several kamikaze gnats fly into the painting, preferring it to the real thing obviously. About now they're wishing I were a watercolor artist.
It was so serene, painting the water and the bridge, listening to the trickle of a fountain, in the 74 degree shade... As a Houston plein air painter, let me tell you, days like this are to be treasured; right around the corner is SUMMER.

Painting a Bridge

I came so close to making it under the wire by midnight! but alas, 2 minutes short.
I spent the day with a dear friend of mine, Judy Crowe, painting down in Houston. In the morning we were in a field and in the afternoon we were in a Japanese garden place with fountains, koi, lilies, statues... It was not easy to settle on a vantage point.
My little pond here was affected by the netting draped over the top of it. We decided that it must be to keep the egrets and herons from dining on the koi, which were cleverly hidden underneath.
The painting is not finished in this pic but it was before I left. I shall post it after I photograph it for you.

Monday, April 13, 2009


This is a very harsh picture of my painting of Lauren. She is the girl who sat for us last week, and since we did not meet today (Easter Monday), I will bookmark this work in place of today's.
I can see things when I blog that need to be improved in a painting much more easily than in real life. Perhaps because the digital image takes liberties with subtle nuances, basically eliminating them; it forces the imperfections into recognition. I learned a lot from the process of painting this one. I plan to paint over it and reuse the canvas: satisfying. 



Saturday, April 11, 2009


This is part of the view from Jakey Ranch in Wyoming. It was the beginning of autumn and in the 6x8 format, I wanted to show the massive mountains standing guard over the little man-made dwellings. It seems bigger when you click on the image (get it?).
I now want to try again with a bigger canvas.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

East From Wagon Box

I painted this little 8x6 on a very, very windy day at Wagon Box Ranch, WY. I was with my friend, Jeanne Mackenzie, backed up against a barn door to keep from being blown away. Still, Jeanne's easel blew down and we both had plenty of Wyoming dirt and straw on our paintings: landscape on our landscapes!
The clouds were dramatically marching over us with their black bottoms and white tops. I picked them over all the beauty of the ranch, which was not such an easy choice.
As I look at this digitized version of the painting, I'm thinking that I may make some late-date changes to it. If I do, I'll post the results.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monday Painting

This week we painted a young woman who has modeled for us before. Her mother's a painter so she has had plenty of modeling practice. I will show you my start but the finish will have to wait till later. And I'll show you the painting that I did of her 3 years ago, too (see 13 April entry).
At this stage of the painting, I have toned the canvas with ultramarine blue and cadmium orange and wiped down the highest lights with a piece of viva paper towel. Then block in the darks with the same mix I used to tone the canvas.
Next comes the color...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Waterway Demo

Here is the finished painting of the Ancient Mariner of the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival.

Man of the Sea

I participated in a portrait demo at the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival on Saturday, painting this wonderful model. When he saw it, the model said that my interpretation of him should be named, "Old Man of the Sea" and that we should sell the image to a fish and chips company. I thought he should be in a slicker instead of a button-down for that idea.
We worked from 10 till 1 but I talked for at least half of that time.