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.
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.
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.
My very first drawing of myself. Warts and all. Am sure it won’t be the last. Had a feeling it would be challenging, but it was much more than I thought it would be. I’ve been obsessing about doing this for a few weeks, so when my wife was at an event last night, I grabbed a small art deco mirror from our dining room wall and propped it on the sofa. I sat with my drawing pad on my lap and a stick of soft graphite in hand. On second look it’s a tad distorted but I think it captures a certain something about my personality. Certainly my sense of humor! An Alice Nealish quality; don’t you think?
I did this sketch while waiting in the customer lounge. Earplugs installed as not to hear the incessant blather on the TV and a nice hot cup of free coffee. Time spent doing otherwise boring to-dos always passes quickly when I’m doing art.
I sketched this woman on the bus last month. As with all the pen and ink sketches I’ve done while riding to and from my former job, I had about 15 minutes to create the image. See more here.
A few years back I went on a watercolor “paint out” to a dairy goat farm outside of Houston called Blue Heron Texas. There a young couple make wonderful goat cheese from Nubian goats and sell it regionally at farmers markets. It was a great experience. There were just about every species of barnyard critter you can imagine. Cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and a giant male turkey by the name of Dory.
As I stood at my field easel, painting away, Dory sauntered up to me and began humping my leg. Not a little. A lot. This was a big turkey, and he just about knocked me off my feet. I was greatly amused, as was the young lady who was hosting us, and besides being somewhat embarrassed, decided to record the event for her blog. Dory followed me around for the rest of the day. I made a few sketches, but didn’t get much painting done. Alas, I found out a few weeks later that he ended up in a frying pot.
Sketched on the bus. See more here.