Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Whistler (and me !) at BYU

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a curator at the BYU Museum of Art. They are having an exhibit of prints by James McNeill Whistler at the museum and were looking for images to demonstrate the process of making a drypoint. They asked if I would be willing to let them use some of the images I had posted on this blog explaining the technique. Of course, I said yes!. Today I received these images showing the photo credits (including an image of one of my prints!) and how they are displayed at the exhibit. You can click on them for a larger view.

The last image is one of my drypoints.

Here's a link to more information about the exhibit. http://cfacweb.byu.edu/departments/moa

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Forest Floor

Forest Floor Study
14 x 11

Lately I've found myself looking down a lot. The textures, colors and patterns of the forest floor are endlessly fascinating. You can click on this study for a larger view. This is just one very small aspect of a big new project that I am very excited about. I can't say more just now, but stay tuned!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Autumn, Farewell

Autumn Road
16 x 20
Available at Hildt Galleries, Chicago

One of the many things I love about fall in northeast Texas is how long it lasts. From early October right through December, there is a constantly changing show of subtle autumn color, increasingly mixed with bare branches and set off by the dark greens of the pines and cedars. This year, despite the drought and perhaps because of it, the color has been a bit more saturated. The wonderful rains that finally came provided enough moisture to turn all the fields an emerald green, creating a delicious color harmony.

This little side road runs off the main route I take on my morning walks.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stocking Stuffer

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for an artist friend or just a holiday treat for yourself?

Studio & Business Practices for Successful Artists

Success can mean many different things- so this book is designed to help both professional artists as well as those who don’t want or need to make a living from their art, but do want to be better artists, sell more work and achieve more recognition. I share what has worked for me- and what didn’t, and why- over the last fifteen years of building a career in art.

No nonsense information from a working artist.
Here’s what is included:
~ The Three Keys to Success
~ Studio practices that make you a better artist and sell more art.
~ The Pipeline
~ Go Where the Collectors Are
~ Pricing
~Choosing the Right Venues- Pretty Is As Pretty Does
~ How to Approach a Gallery
~Self Promotion

For Successful Artists
By Deborah Paris

Monday, November 21, 2011

Studio Improvements

For the longest time, Steve has wanted to build me a drawing table. I resisted and I really have no idea why. But, finally I relented and of course he made it bigger than we discussed- but I am so glad!

The surface is 38" x 72". I use a sketchbook in the studio for thumbnails, so there is room for that plus now I also have a place to make my more finished drawings, work on my drypoint plates, and a place to lay out drawings and color sketches that I use as reference for studio paintings. The other nice feature is that it will fold down flat against the wall when I need more room.

He also made this handy taboret that holds my drawing supplies and room on top for an ink/watercolor palette.

Next up is my flat file which I am really looking forward to having. But, for now, I love my drawing table!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dusk Study
6 x 12

Last week was my birthday. We took a day trip to Ft Worth to see the Caravaggio show at the Kimbell Museum and delivered a painting to my gallery in Ft. Worth, Galerie Kornye West, which is just down the street from the museum in Ft. Worth's Cultural District.

As we headed home, we saw a beautiful dusk fall over the landscape. With the intensity of the sun below the horizon, the sky took on a beautiful glow and the reflected light into the clouds was magnificent. I painted this little study from memory.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grudge Match

Summer Song
25 x 21

Some paintings just seem to fall off your brush effortlessly. From the first whisper of an idea to the last little tweak, they proceed as if the conclusion is forgone and inevitable, gracefully coming to fruition just as you imagined in your mind's eye. This was not one of those paintings.

This painting came kicking and screaming every step of the way. It started as the demo piece for my workshop in Taos. After bringing it back, I decided I didn't like the composition or the color harmony. I chopped it- from a 30 x 24 to its current size. Now, this is something I never do. But, it needed it, so I took a saw to it. I glazed it, reglazed, it got too dark, I scumbled it, and glazed it again.

More glazes, and then some glaze impasto. Too warm, I glazed it with a cool transparent blue on the left side. The top foliage wasn't right. I painted it out and scraped it back a half dozen times. Some velatura passages in the foliage. Glazes on top of that. I gave up on it. I came back to it. I hated it. Then I liked. Later the same day I hated it again.

Finally, there were little glimmers of hope. I kept at it, finally getting down to a few small adjustments. And then it was done, or I called it so. I've made my peace with it. But, I still hold a grudge.

All images can be clicked for a larger view.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Class Schedule for Winter/Spring 2012

Evening Meadow
10 x 12
Available at Isherwood Gallery
Newport, RI

A new lineup of online classes is now posted for Winter/Spring 2012 including a new class- Composing the Landscape. Information and registration is here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Field Sketching

Lennox Woods Canopy
pen & ink/wash
6 1/4 x 9 1/2

This week in my online class Field Sketching for Landscape Painters we are using pen and ink and wash techniques. This has been a favorite sketching medium of artists for centuries and it is ideally suited for landscape work. Both Rembrandt and Corot used it to great effect and we've studied examples of their work as well as 19th century American artists like William Trost Richards.

This was done in an area called Lennox Woods, an old growth hardwood forest about 6 miles from us. It is one of the few remaining areas like this in the state and this one is particularly diverse given our location in the far northeastern corner of Texas. The Lennox family preserved it and gave about 300 acres to the Nature Conservancy. The forest is part of the Pecan Bayou watershed. I am working on a series of paintings inspired by Lennox Woods so I am over there a lot sketching.

I used a dip pen with a Hunt #512 nib, india ink and a small brush to apply the washes. The drawing is on Arches cold pressed watercolor paper. All images can be clicked for a larger view.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Field Sketching

We are in week 2 of my online class Field Sketching for Landscape Painters. The idea for this class came from two of my students who expressed concerns about their drawing skills and the challenges of working outdoors. One of the things I have noticed over the many years I have painted plein air and taught plein air painting is that most students are not really ready to take on the rigors of outdoor work. Most do not have the drawing skills, but those who do, fair much better. That combined with my interest in 19th century landscape painters and their working methods, led me to design a course which would give students some basic skills in drawing the landscape as an important prerequisite to painting it.

Our text for the class is John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing which was so influential for American landscape painters in the 19th century. Combining Ruskin's drawing exercises with other assignments, students are building drawing skills for creating form, understanding value, and learning to slow down to appreciate and understand Nature as artist/naturalists. Here is some of their work.

Caroline Simmill, Moray, Scotland

Ash tree- Ruskin exercise
Caroline Simmill

Brian McGurgan, Astoria, NY

Ruskin exercise
Bea Lancton, Fredericksburg, TX

Ruskin exercise
Jamie Kirkland, Santa Fe, NM

Ruskin exercise
Jamie Kirkland

Jan Delipsey, Dallas, TX

copy of Wm. Trost Ruchards drawing
Phoebe Chidester, Clearwater, FL

Ruskin exercise
Phoebe Chidester

Kathie Wheeler
Viroqua, WI

Sara Lubinski
Brownsville, MN

Friday, October 7, 2011


8 x 10

My infatuation with morning light continues. I have several larger pieces on the easel right now, but I actually did this little study before we left for Taos.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ten Days in Taos

We got back home about a week ago and have feverishly been trying to get caught up and back down to earth (literally, from 9,000 ft to about 400!). It was an exciting trip with lots of wonderful interludes- seeing old friends at the PAPNM show, the workshop, meeting new friends, and visiting with family. As usual I failed miserably at taking enough photos. No photos of Steve's "gumbo night" party, Kyoko's tempura feast, and a dozen other things. But, here are a few.

first sunset

PAPNM awards ceremony

class photo


field sketching on the Rio Grande

visit to the Millicent Rodgers Museum & my work

family fun

last sunset

Monday, September 12, 2011


Salt Marsh Moon
10 x 12

Moonlight is really the subject of this little painting. Our eyes adjust to the darkness, peer into it, searching. The cool light envelops and softens the nighttime world, revealing and hiding it from us at the same time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Gallery Night in Ft. Worth

Meadow Moonrise
12 x 10


Tomorrow night, Saturday September 10, is the annual Fall Gallery Night event sponsored by the Ft Worth Art Dealers Association. I'll be showing some new work at Galerie Kornye West, conveniently located in the Cultural District. If you are in the Metro area, stop in to visit!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Morning Light

Morning Light
24 x 30

As readers of this blog know, I am drawn to transitional times of day as the subject of my landscape paintings. For the most part, the evening hours have been my favorite subject. I love those brief moments when the day surrenders to the night. Although I walk at all times of the day, evening walks have always been my favorite. For the last four months though, I've been walking around dawn each day. I have to say, this time has inspired a new appreciation for the morning twilight hour.

This painting is based on a field about a mile from our property. The foreground shadow is mysteriously transparent, something which doesn't really show very well in the photograph. I've included a couple of details. You can get a larger view by clicking on them.

I used many many glazes on the foreground, creating suggestions of form within the shadows by subtle shifts in value and temperature. The road was laid in with thin opaque paint and then glazed over with the foreground glazes to bring it together and keep the value relationships correct. The lightstruck areas were created with thicker, lighter opaque paint.

The trees were laid in with several layers of transparent paint, then form was created with passages of velaturas and glaze impasto passages. Dry paint was dragged over some areas, and in some places the underpainting was left undisturbed.

The sky was painted with several layers of opaque paint and scumbled heavily in some areas. Scumbles were pulled over the trees in the distance to create atmosphere and the illusion of distance.