Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Edge of the Field 
8 x 10

This little painting was done about two years ago and posted on this blog around this time in 2010, I think. Recently, I decided to tweak it a bit, adding some cool notes and also the movement of the birds in the sky (click for larger view). It still says a lot about how I feel about the landscape around my home in the fall and winter months -something starkly, simply beautiful and melancholy at the same time. And it also speaks to my place in the scheme of things.

Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Trees

Winter Morning

A student shared this poem with me today and so I am sharing it with you. As a lover and painter of trees, I find it touches many things that I think about them. Enjoy!


by Linda Pastan

Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.
And since we will be
horizontal ourselves
for so long,
let us now honor 
the gods
of the vertical:
stalks of wheat
which to the ant
must seem as high
as these trees do to us,
silos and
telephone poles,
and skyscrapers.
but most of all
these winter oaks,
these soft-fleshed poplars,
this birch
whose bark is like
roughened skin
against which I lean 
my chilled head,
not ready 
to lie down.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stocking Stuffer!

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

There's still time for delivery before Christmas!

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 twenty 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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Can You Become a Poet?


take the leaf of a tree
trace its exact shape
the outside edges
and inner lines

memorize the way it is fastened to the twig
(and how the twig arches from the branch)
how it springs forth in April
how it is panoplied in July

by late August
crumple it in your hand
so that you smell its end-of-summer sadness

chew its woody stem

listen to its autumn rattle

watch it as it atomizes in the November air

then in winter
when there is no leaf left

invent one

~ Eve Merriam (1916-1992), American poet and playwright

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Small Works, Great Wonders

This past Friday night was the opening of the Small Works, Great Wonders show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. This is an invitational show which includes Prix de West artists as well as other invited artists. I had not thought I would be well enough to go, but at the last moment decided I just did not want to miss it. So Steve and I made the 4+ hour drive up Friday. 

The Museum was packed, the show was beautiful and sales were brisk, including one of mine! I am back home and exhausted, but so glad I went. I have written before about this museum and also its connection to my friend and mentor Hollis Williford. So, it was a very special evening and I think Hollis would be proud!

 Aspen Sunrise
16 x 20

Aspen Sunrise found a new home. Steve loves this piece but I almost didn't send it, fearing it was too subtle and would not be appreciated. Well, it got six bids- shows you what I know!

Summer Song
20 x 16

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Autumn on My Mind

Due to illness, I have been away from both the studio and the field for about seven weeks. This is the longest hiatus away from creative work that I have had in the last fifteen years or so. I don't like it one bit, and particularly during this, my favorite season. So today I thought I would post some images from other autumns which were more productive. Just looking at them makes me long for a nice long tramp in the woods. Soon.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Online Classes and Spring Workshop

I've just updated the schedule for online classes for the remainder of 2012 and for winter/spring 2013.  Due to a reschedule of classes this fall, I still have a couple of spots left in the Composing the Landscape Class which starts on November 16. You can get more information about all the classes and register here.

I am happy to say that my spring workshop scheduled for April 6-13, 2013 is about half full.  The Landscape Atelier is an eight day workshop designed to provide students with a start to finish methodology for creating luminous landscapes, based on observation of Nature, drawing and sketching in the field, design and composition, to underpainting, and indirect painting techniques in the studio. Information about this exciting workshop opportunity and registration is here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A "New" Inness in Dallas!

Stream in the Mountains
George Inness

Exciting news for Inness lovers!  The Dallas Museum of Art has recently"discovered" a work in their collection by American landscape master George Inness.  This painting, which has been in the museum's collection for many years and thought to be by Hudson River School master Asher B. Durand, has now been reattributed to George Inness based on research conducted by the Museum's American art curator, Sue Canterbury. 

The painting is now back on display with its updated attribution. Canterbury found a pen and ink drawing by Inness which closely resembles the composition of the painting. This painting is thought to date from around 1850, making it an early Inness and one that shows the influence of the Hudson River School and Durand. However, to my eye, it has those essential Inness qualities- mood (that dramatic foreground shadow!) , atmospheric effects- and a more painterly style than Durand. Here's an article about the "discovery".

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feature in American Painting Video Magazine!

I am very happy to say that my work will be featured in the fall issue of American Painting Video Magazine! APVM is a quarterly video publication founded and curated by artist Michael Klein. It features realist artists and their work. The upcoming fall issue will include features on many wonderful artists such as Julio Reyes, John Morra, ACOPAL's exhibit in Beijing, Douglas Fryer, and others. I am honored to be included!

The issue should be available on the APVM website around October 15. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Drawing & Painting Trees

Tree Study
Charcoal on Twinrocker paper

I have just a few spots open in my most popular online class Drawing & Painting Trees. Class begins on October 26 and you can register here.  Not sure if an online class is right for you? Check out student comments here.

Summer Pond
charcoal on Strathmore laid paper

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lennox Woods- Work in Progress

This is a painting I have had on the easel since early this year. It is the first of the larger works I am completing for my Lennox Woods solo show in 2014. At 48 x 64 it is the smallest of the six or seven large paintings I have planned to anchor the 50 piece exhibition. I completed the underpainting on this one early in the spring, but other things kept me from making any more progress on it until recently.

All of these images can be clicked for a larger view.

This is one of the value studies I did when working out the idea of the piece. This is graphite. At this point I am working out the design in the proportion I plan to use for the large canvas.

After deciding on a design, I did a monochromatic study in oil (again using the same proportion, 3:4)  Not a great image, a little glare. 18 x 24
Here is a grid on tracing paper. I laid the tracing paper over the oil study and drew a simple grid. This gave me some measuring points for placing the horizon and main forms on the larger canvas. I didn't draw a grid on the larger canvas because I really didn't need it but also because parts of my canvas will remain transparent in the final piece and I didn't want the grid to show. So, I just used the distances indicated by the grid (each 3" square would translate to a 8" square on the larger canvas) eyeballed it and measured using the proportions from the smaller study.

Here are the grid and the study on the easel next to the larger canvas.
Here is one days work on the larger canvas. 48 x 64. I lightly indicated where the horizon line was, the main tree shapes. Then I started using a wipe out method in the background using transparent paint (Vasari Shale) which was applied with a rag. The trunks will eventually be darker but at this stage I just wanted to get the placement organized. I started on the dry brush in the foreground before I stopped for the day. The toned triangular area in the foreground will eventually be covered with some opaque paint, then glazed (suggestions of leaf litter and forest floor clutter).
Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the progress on the underpainting, but here it is completed. At this point I was beginning to change the direction of the light. Initially I had planned to have the light coming from the left and illuminating the main tree trunk. While I was working on the underpainting, I decided to change that plan and create a softer backlit scene. I also decided I wanted to open up the woods a bit more, creating more distance between the trees in the foreground and the trees in the distance. The underpainting is really the last opportunity to make those sorts of changes so I take my time and try to pay attention rather than just slavishly following my studies. 

Here is the piece after I have put a first layer of paint on the tree trunks in the foreground, a couple of layers of paint on the foreground, and also put in a first layer of paint in the sky and carved out some negative spaces in the distant trees

A detail of the near trees on the left side. These are American Hornbeams which abound in Lennox Woods. They have a distinctive fluted sort of trunk and are part of the understory trees throughout the Woods. This is just a first layer of paint. Many more to come.

Here is a detail of the sky and distant trees.

A detail of the main tree trunk, a white oak, in the foreground. Again, just the first layer of paint.

This is the foreground area depicting the forest duff- which is sometimes several feet deep in Lennox Woods!

I hope to have this piece finished by year end. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Exhibitions

I am pleased to say I have been invited to exhibit in the Small Works, Great Wonders Invitational this November at the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Museum is the home of the prestigious Prix de West exhibition and has a wonderful permanent collection of representational paintings and sculpture.  My friend and mentor, Hollis Williford (1940-2007) was a two time Prix de West winner and his monumental sculpture stands in front of the entrance to the Museum. I would like to think he'd be proud of me. Also here are the monumental triptychs by Wilson Hurley, all of which I wrote about here. Here are the two pieces I will exhibit. The opening is November 16th.

Aspen Sunrise
16 x 20

Summer Song II
20 x 16

I am also happy to say I have been selected to exhibit at the Heritage Village Show & Sale  which benefits the Dallas Heritage Village in October. The fourteen artists for the show were selected by Michael Duty of Heritage Auctions, Dallas, and the show will be judged by Ron Tyler, former director the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth. Opening for this show is October 12 . More information can be found here. Here are two of the four pieces I will have in the show.

 Autumn Woods
20 x 16

Winter Morning
18 x 14

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Morning in the Oak Grove

Morning in the Oak Grove
36 x 48

This is the finished painting. As always, my photography leaves something to be desired. The atmospheric quality of the sky and the distant trees and field just isn't captured in this image. I am hoping for an opportunity to get this one professionally photographed. Steve delivered it to Galerie Kornye West in Ft. Worth last Saturday. Paula Tillman, the gallery owner extraordinaire, called later that afternoon to say it would go out on approval to a client's home on Monday. And this week it sold! It will be hanging at the Fall Gallery Night show on Saturday, September 8 at the gallery, so if you are in the Metro area, stop in and say hello!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Work in Progress - The Oak Grove

It's been hot as a firecracker here in northeast Texas since I got back from Colorado, so Luna and I have been staying in the studio working on paintings for fall exhibitions. This is a 36 x 48 which I wrote about here. I did the underpainting before I left for Colorado. 

Since returning home, I've done a quite a bit of work on it, but there are still many painting sessions to go. One of the challenges has been balancing the amount of information needed for the nearer trees and those in the distance, and of course making sure the sense of atmosphere and mood is not lost.

Here's a detail of the main large tree in the foreground.

And here is Luna- exhausted from a hard day in the studio.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I am back home after two + weeks in the cool mountain air of Colorado. I had intended to post while I was on the road, but my iPad doesn't play well with the Blogger composing function. So, I didn't have a way to post images. 

Temperatures had been dry and warmer in Colorado in general and in Telluride prior to our arrival. However, soon after we arrived, the summer monsoons arrived with lots of moisture and cool temperatures. My morning walks were wonderful and I was able to get in about a half day in the field before afternoon rains would start.

Here are a few of the paintings from the week.

Aspens & Oxeye
16 x 12

The Hidden Pond
12 x 24 triptych

Twilight at Leopard Creek
12 x 16

While I was waiting for underpaintings to dry, I managed to get in some field sketching too.

graphite in Moleskin sketchbook

dip pen & walnut ink, wash

dip pen & walnut ink, wash

While I was sitting by Fall Creek working on the drawing above, I noticed a butterfly which had landed on my sleeve. I looked up to see a whole flock ? herd? of butterflies all around me. It was magical!

After the show, I taught a five day workshop at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride. This was the view outside the school! The San Miguel River runs right behind the school with a great walking trail that runs its whole length through town and then out into the valley floor.

It was a fun week with enthusiastic students.  I was sad to leave Telluride but it was lovely to be home again and back in my studio with Luna.