Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, and Home.

Where the Path Takes You
8 x 10
Oil on Canvas
This morning I woke up at six and watered my gardens before heading to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens to paint. I painted today with Tosca Engish, T. K. Riddle, and Robbie Clemmer. We found shady places to paint and even though it was very hot today it was not too hot where we were.
The inspiration for my painting.
There was shade, a breeze and thanks to the water sprinklers, a little extra coolness in the air. Tosca, T. K., and I painted in the same area. It was nice being able to visit as we painted the morning away. Around noon we were ready for lunch so we decided to go to the Swiss Pastry Shop for lunch, ( and air conditioning.)
Tosca painting with watercolors.
Tosca's husband John, and two other painters Dan Spangler and Hai Chi Lee joined us for lunch. It is always nice to have lunch and visit with fellow artists. You can learn so much from the experiences of your friends.
T. K. painting in oils.
After lunch I came home. I am inspired to paint in my own gardens but it is not nearly as fun as painting with others. I water it every morning and evening and still things look too dry.Besides, I'm actually working on a painting of some bison that  I began at the Fort Worth Nature Center for the Preservation is the Art of the City show. When I finish this, I hope I will have time to finally paint some at home, and hopefully there will be green things left to paint.
One of my roses.

Sunflowers near my cucumbers.

Some of my Roma tomatoes. Next to Porters, they are my favorites
Right now there is a lot of color from the flowers, fruits and vegetables in my gardens. My biggest problems are the squirrels. They eat everything and are especially destructive  to the sunflowers which they love, and show that love by shredding to the ground. I have a live trap and have relocated so many of them and put nets over my trees and grapes, but it feels like a losing battle. In the mean time though I have lots of photos I can paint from if I choose to, but of course that is not the same thing at all, is it?.
My Bell of Georgia Peaches.

My doves

Some of my miniature oranges, I also have full sized oranges, lemons and limes.

A coneflower.

Some of my succulents, cacti, and an owl statue.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Bronze Lady
8 x 10
oil on canvas
 Thanks to my friend T. K. Riddle, our group has a new and very interesting place to paint. We went to Chandor Gardens in T. K'.s town of Weatherford, just west of Fort Worth.These gardens were at the home of a well known portrait artist Douglas Chandor. He painted the wealthy including several U.S. presidents, Eleanor Roosevelt, and a coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth that hangs in the British embassy in Washington D.C. He and his wife lived half the time in New York and the other half of the time in Texas. While in Texas he spent a great deal of time designing and planting the gardens of his estate.

This was the view that inspired my painting.

Chandor was inspired by British and Asian gardens. The grounds have a bowling green, ornamental trees and flowers, pools with koi, one with a stone Chinese junk, a large waterfall, streams, bridges,  arbors, European boxwoods, cacti, fountains, ornamental stonework, etc... Chandor designed his gardens to be like outdoor rooms so that wherever you are there are interesting and beautiful views. These gardens are now maintained and owned by the town of Weatherford.
Arbors and flowers at the garden.
I had never been to these gardens, and in fact I knew very little about them. When I arrived it was almost overwhelming. There were so many views that were inspiring I had a hard time deciding what to paint. As many of you know I love working in my own gardens and was inspired to paint and plant.
An entrance to the house over an oriental bridge over a stream.
In the end my love of sculpture dictated my choice of a subject, a fountain with a beautiful sculpture of a lady. I loved all the greens of the background along with the blue greens of the sculptures patina. Also the temperatures were in the 100s and I had shade where I painted, that helped me make my choice too.
Another view of the house and grounds.
In addition to T. K. being there, Olivette Hubler, Joyce Thomas, and Leslie Talty were there painting. We ordered lunch and had it delivered, most of us had chicken salad sandwiches, chips, iced teas, and homemade cookies, from a place called Yesterdays. The food was great, and it was a beautiful place to eat.
Another view of the gardens.

After lunch we painted several more hours. Olivette, T. K., and I enjoyed painting there so much that we all joined the garden so we can paint there any time. The lady who ran the gift shop invited us to show and sell our work in the gift shop which I am sure we will do.
 It was a very nice day.

An interesting character statue in the garden.

Koi in one of the ponds,

The Chinese junk statue.

A beautiful blue green pool with the Chinese junk.

T.K. painting the ferns.

Olivette painting near the house, the north windows of Chandor's studio are behind her.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hot Morning in the Garden

Hot Summer Morning
oil on canvas panel
8 x 10
  I went to paint in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens this morning. It started out hot and it only got hotter. Of course the fact that I set up in a place that was in full sun after about 45 minutes did not help.
T. K. and Olivette painting.
  I met with my friends T. K. Riddle, Olivette Hubler, and Dan Spangler . The three of them all set up in the shade. The gardens are looking pretty good. We were in the perennial garden. There were plenty of blooms, butterflies, and lots of really colorful dragon flies.
Me painting, while I still had shade.
  I had to leave early, I forgot to leave money for my cleaning lady. They kept painting while I ran home to pay her. Then I met them for lunch afterwards, at the Swiss Pastry Shop, where we often eat after painting
. A special thanks to T. K. who sent me some of these photos.
Olivette and Dan looking at his painting.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Painting in Prison

Old  Outbuilding
8 x 10
oil on canvas panel
Today I went down to paint in Waxahachie with my friends Kent Brewer, who lives there, and Olivette Hubler who lives in Dallas. We decided to go paint at the old Ellis County Prison Work Farm. In the old days, the prisoners were taken out to the farm to work and I believe they were housed there. Today the old buildings are in ruins. I know there is a big new jail in town where the prisoners have television, air conditioning, and basketball courts. I think working on the farm would probably be more of a deterrent for repeat offenders.
The building I painted from the cell.
After looking around I decided to set up in one of the cells looking out at one of the outbuildings. I don't know how long the buildings have been abandoned, most have only the foundations left. I think I would not have felt very comfortable being there, if I had been there by myself. It had the look of a place that horror movies could have been filmed in.
Me painting in the cell.
The good thing about painting where I was, was that I was in the shade, the thick walls had kept it fairly cool and the insects other than a few flies were not too bad.
Me painting in the cell, I thought it interesting that the windows were so large.
 Both Kent and Olivette painted outside views of the prison. Both created interesting paintings of the abandoned buildings.
Kent painting the prison.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sculpture on a rainy day.

My Indian sculpture (in clay) on my patio.
It was Father's Day today. I went out to lunch with my parents, sister, brother in law and four nephews. Then came home to work in my garden and on my art. It has been a nice day today. Pleasant temperature and light rain. Good weather for sculpting outdoors provided the mosquitoes don't eat you up.
My sculpture of a Plains Indian on my patio.

I did a bit of work on my second Indian sculpture. This Indian is a Plains Indian wearing a buffalo robe and with a feather in his hair. I have not spent a lot of time on this one but I am enjoying it. I am working on this one more from old photographs and imagination, not from a model and so it has been more challenging ut also more freeing in some ways..

My two doves
When the mosquitoes are not so bad my patio is one of my favorite places to paint or sculpt. I have two doves and several finches that coo and sing non stop. I enjoy them a lot. I also have several lemon and orange trees on the patio and lots of other blooming things. Altogether, it makes a great place to work, with wonderful northern light for painting.
Some of my oranges, these are miniatures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Concho, (Indian Bust) - in progress

Concho, work in progress
Side View

The Model in Profile
 Today I worked on trying to make my sculpture look somewhat more like the model, Connie. I focused on the profile today. I was fairly satisfied with how this part of the sculpture is going. Of course the difference in his hair makes a huge difference. It is more of a challenge working from photographic reference than from life, and a lot less fun.

Concho, work in progress
Frontal View

The Model facing forward
The front view still looks very different from the model, To be honest I have not decided how closely I want the sculpture to look like Connie. I wanted it to look a little older and like he has had a harder life than the model and to an extent I think I achieved that (the eyes look a bit older and the nose a bit wider), but now I am also feeling a desire to face the challenge of  trying to make it resemble the model more. I will have to decide pretty soon which way I'm going to do it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prix de West

Me, my sculpture and my friend Connie, the model for this piece.
I finished my sculpture workshop today with John Coleman at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I have learned so much. It has really been an incredible learning experience. To day I worked on my sculpture of our model Connie, a Seminole/Pawnee. It still needs work but I am pleased with how it is progressing.
My sculpture and the model.
I said that this is a sculpture of Connie, but it really is not a sculpture of him, it is a sculpture that I used him as a reference for. I have made him as a Pueblo Indian with a bandanna and buffalo skin robe.Of course I made him look older and like he has had a harder life than the model.
John Coleman telling our class about one of his sculptures.
 We toured the Prix de West Show today. It is really incredible. John has three sculptures and a sketch in the show. The show overall is one of the best ones that I have seen in several years. I will try to come up here and see it again before it ends.
John telling our class about another of his sculptures

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sculpture, paintout, and workshop

Arab Spring
bronze on granite
I finished my Arabian horse and am pleased with the way it turned out. I had a lot of help and input from friends and other "horse" people, especially my friend Sabine Higgins. She really knows her horses.
Kent doing a pastel of one of the houses on the  Gingerbread Tour of Homes.
The Paint Historic Waxahachie paintout finished up Sunday. I finished nine paintings. It was a really great event. I saw and painted with so many great friends and so many great paintings were produced by them. My friend Ted Clemens won best of show, Kent Brewer won first place, and Olivette Hubler won second place.
Five of my 8 x 10 paintings done during the week

Three 4 x 6 and one more of my 8 x 10s

The sculptor John Coleman doing a demo at his workshop in Oklahoma City.
 I attended a great workshop with the sculptor John Coleman in Oklahoma City at the National cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.It has been a really great workshop and  John is a super teacher.
One of the sculptures I started, an almost life size bust of an American Indian.