My two painting that didn’t make the cut into Archway Gallery’s juried exhibition opening tonight in Houston. Almost three hundred pieces were submitted and forty made it in. These two are is each 11″ x 14″. Graphite underdrawing and watercolor on Arches 140lb. cold press. My first entry in a juried show since 1962. Yes, 1962. I was a child; taking adult painting classes. My teacher, Mrs. Keen, encouraged me to submit a pastel still life. I got a ribbon. What kind I don’t recall.
These are inspired by my walks on White Oak Bayou about a mile from my home. The pile of tires is, or was, under Interstate 10 on the White Oak Trail. I was inspired by the shadows and light, and intrigued by the subject matter. The pedestrian bridge is very close by on the same trail. The smell of the creosote railroad pilings evokes some childhood memory, and I thought would be challenging to paint. Last year some graffiti artist spray painted three cute umbrella on the metal supports.
As a toddler. The tiny-headed “false” start on top. The final done after I had limbered up my drawing muscles. Graphite and white charcoal on brown-toned paper.
#sketching, #self-portrait, #charcoal, #graphite
I’ve always admired the art of, and particularly this painting done in 1516, by Albrecht Dürer from the National Gallery in D.C. Particularly when I read this description of the painting from the Gallery’s voluminous volume of selected works, and Dürer’s ability to:
“lay open the fine net-work of the heart and brain of man”…”to make us see deep into the soul until we understand, for example, the character of this ugly, resolute individual, whose personality, flashing out through luminous and asymmetrical eyes, exerts a powerful spell. His is the face of the Reformation”.
So I thought I would make my own attempt to capture him.
A drawing of a friend of mine, done on brown-toned paper, using soft graphite and white charcoal. She was sun-silhouetted from across a room and I rushed over to her to for a photograph, thinking it would make a good subject for a painting or drawing. A year later I gave it a shot, and after several false attempts on a white sheet, decided to initiate the new tinted drawing pad I’d just bought. Very happy with the result.
With all that’s been going down in our country lately, my sanity and peace of mind needed a total break. So I got off social media, and quit reading the news; at least for a while. Art, specifically drawing, has been my lifesaver. I was looking at a garage sale college art book and found these great black and white photos of classical sculpture heads. So I decided to try copying several of them, not in pencil, but ink. Besides being near smear-proof for this lefty, I love the challenge of trying to mimic the subtle shading using crosshatching. But more importantly, creating these detailed renderings almost totally absorbs me, and helps me forget all the insanity out there. I am very grateful for that.
As Winston Churchill said about creating art, specifically his:
Painting is complete as a distraction. I know of nothing, which, without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind. Whatever the worries of the hour or the threats of the future, once the picture has begun to flow along, there is no room for them on the mental screen.
I painted this en plein air yesterday afternoon. An abandoned rice mill and warehouses have been converted to artists studios, just a five minute drive from my home. They are now called Winter Street Studios. There’s a great view of the silo across a huge field. Whenever I drive by, I think to myself “I’d like to paint that.” So late on a very windy, cloudy afternoon, I set up my gear on a sidewalk on this quiet street and painted for about two hours. It’s not as loosely rendered as I wanted it to be, but it was lots of fun. I’ll probably tackle it again.
…I painted in watercolor.
I try to bring my sketchpad and draw whenever I have to sit and wait. It’s very gratifying and time certainly goes by quicker. It’s also like having a dog or a baby. People want to talk to you. Now, if I could only discipline myself to do this more often; for the joy of it, not just because I’m bored.
We’ve visited Round Top, Texas regularly since 2008, and regularly stay at the wonderful Elisa’s Sunday Haus. There’s lots of things to paint there. Unfortunately, when contemplating an on-the-spot watercolor, I sometimes get overwhelmed. Time and weather are not on your side when trying to capture a moment in a landscape. More often than not, I admire a scene but talk myself out of trying to capture it. This time, I was determined to paint something. So I picked a single copper planter on her front porch in early morning. I love painting dramatic shadows, and was drawn to the long but increasingly shorter one being cast by the container. I also loved painting the wood grain and how the transparency of the shadow shows through. After viewing the photograph of this, I realized that the green copper patina leaned much more toward blue than was rendered. File away for next time.
This is the final studio watercolor, along with my working sketch of a commissioned work, one of my more challenging. Final size about 18 by 13 inches. There was a lot going on with this home. I took many reference photos from different angles and spent quite a bit of time consolidating and compressing the placement of the many prominent items in the yard as to get them all in the image in a pleasing way without overly compromising their actual placement in the landscaping. I’m a bit reluctant to say that this work took many months to complete. Fortunately, the homeowner was very accommodating and understanding. It just so happened that about the time I was commissioned, my graphic design business really took off. But I should also admit that I intermittently suffered from the “crisis of confidence” that I suppose every creative person goes through. In my experience, the only way out is to go through it.