Thursday, July 26, 2012

Botanical Gardens Painting and the Breckenridge Show

The Girl in the Garden
oil on canvas
11 x 14
 Again it has been a great week of art activities so far. Yesterday morning ten of us went to go paint in the Fort worth Botanical Gardens. It was a super morning, there was a great breeze and we had shade. It could not have been nicer.(For some reason my painting photographed lighter than it is.)

Linda Reedy and Tom Kelley painting in the garden.

The artists who came today were Sheri Jones, Olivet Hubbler, T. K. Riddle, Linda Reedy, Dr. Tom Kelley,Margie Whittington, Connie Michaels, Dan Spangler, and Beatriz Welch.  It was really neat seeing all the work created. Some people painted in oils, one in acrylic, one in water color, one sketched and one took photos.

Dan Spangler, Margie Whittington and Sheri Jones in the garden.
At about 10:30 some of us went over to another artist's (but not a plein air painter) house for lunch. Maryann White had created an incredible lunch for us including sandwiches, guacamole and other dips, chips, brownies, watermelon, and iced tea. It is always a treat seeing her house. You can really tell it is the home of an artist.

Mother and Child
bronze on granite
edition of 25
Today I had to drive across a few counties to the west, to the town of Breckenridge to drop off one of my sculptures for an art show at their art center. It was a nice drive west. First I passed through Weatherford, the county seat of Parker County. It has a beautiful courthouse with a clock tower. I took a photo but it didn't turn out. I'm not sure how that happens with a digital camera.

The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells
I continued west to Mineral Wells. One of my favorite sights there is the Old Baker Hotel. This was quite a grand hotel long ago when movie stars and the rich came to enjoy the mineral waters. Many well known people stayed there including the Three Stooges. The hotel has been closed for a long time and is in bad repair. I hope some time it will reopen in some form or other.
One of the old houses in Mineral Wells

Like many of our older Texas towns and cities there are some grand  houses, so it is always worth while to drive around a bit if that sort of thing interests you. There are also some old businesses too like the Crazy Water bottling company.
 I had lunch at the Black Horse Bakery and Deli. I have to really brag on the desserts. I had the French Coconut Pie. It was so good, I bought a slice to bring to my Mom and Dad when I came back to Fort Worth.
Crazy Water Bottling Company

 Past Mineral wells the land changes and becomes rougher with larger hills and Mesas. It is one of the nicer parts of our state I think. There are lots of farms and ranches, but not the really big fancy ones like you see in the hill country west of Austin. You don't see as many cattle, sheep, and goats or exotics as you do down there either.

An old barn I thought would make a nice painting
 The land is big and open. Sometimes it is flat but other times the road goes up and down or is cut through rocky hills.. I was surprised how green it was for this time of year. This area reminds me of some parts of New Mexico. There are lots of cedar trees, prickly pear cacti and yuccas.

Highway 180  Winding Through the Hills

Mesas Along the Highway.
As I continued west I came to the town of Palo Pinto. This is the county seat for Palo Pinto County. It is  a fairly small town. Many of these towns once had beautiful old courthouses with clock towers built in the late 1800s. But, a lot of them tore down these in favor of larger more modern looking court houses. Palo Pinto used some of the stones of their old courthouse in the new one. (Not that it is really new, I think it was a WPA project during the Great Depression.)

The Palo Pinto Court House
 From there I continued west to  Breckenridge the county seat of Stephens County. The town itself like most west Texas towns has a certain feel to it. The people I met at the art center and in the post office where I dropped off a letter, could not have been any nicer. From them, I was left with a very favorable impression of the town.  Sadly like a lot of these older places, many of the local businesses appeared to be closed in Breckenridge.
Breckenridge, Businesses and an Old Oil Well
 The court house is a nice looking building that was built when oil was discovered in the area.Oil was very important to this region and  in fact it looks like there was an old oil well right across the street from the court house.
The Stephens County Court House
The court house at Breckenridge

 One of the neat things they did here was leave a bit of the old courthouse. The new one looks nice but I think I would have liked the old one better. Many of the county seats  around Fort Worth  including Weatherford, Waxahachie, Granbury, Glen Rose, and Hillsboro still have their old court houses and they are very beautiful. Our own Tarrant County court house in Fort Worth is really special. I have shown photos of it and the Waxahachie and Glen Rose court houses on some of my other blogs.
Remains of the Old Stephens County Court House on the Grounds of the New One.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Buffalo, mustang, and a topiary cowboy.

Plains Thunder
work in progress
 I have not posted since last week but that does not mean that I have not been really busy with art.  I have sculpted, painted, received a new commission this week to sculpt a blue heron, . sold several pieces, and got into another show. I also went back up to Oklahoma City to see the Prix de West show with T.K. and Olivette. This was my third trip up, but it is a great show and we had a great time.
Mustang Pride
work in progress

This week I have sculpted on several pieces, including a running bison, a running mustang, a couple of Indian sculptures, and a block in on the blue heron. I really don't sculpt the human figure much so it has been fun working from a model to sculpt my Indians. Working from a good model makes all the difference.
 I didn't take a photo, but I took a new sculpture I did to the foundry this week. It's a horned frog with a football. Hopefully I will have it soon in bronze. This year TCU plays in the Big 12 so I sure want to have it ready by the start of the season.

Me painting the topiary cowboy
 One of my painting outings this week was with my friends Olivette Hubler, Steve Miller, T.K. Riddle, Hai Chi Lee, and Robbie Clemmer. We painted in downtown Fort Worth in the Sundance Square Area and around Bass Hall. We had a great time painting and then had lunch downtown before some of us went to life drawing at the Fort Worth Community Art Center.
Me painting on Main Street
 I wanted to do something that represented Fort Worth. I chose to do a painting of a topiary cowboy on a rearing horse. This sits on a corner of Main Street in front of a jewelry store. There is a topiary of a longhorn steer on the opposite corner.

Topiary Cowboy
8 x 10
oil on canvas
The show I found out that I got into this week is the Breckenridge show (Texas, not Colorado.) I'll have a sculpture in it. I have several shows coming up in September including  the Preservation is the Art of the City Show, where I will have about eight  paintings. On Sept. 8th ( I hope that is the right date), I will have sculptures and paintings at Teskies, (I hope that's spelled right) for Fall Gallery Night. I'll have two of my newest sculptures at the Insight Galleries fall show in Fredericksburg too.
The Tarrant County Courthouse in fort worth

Friday, July 13, 2012

Log Cabin Village

work in progress
The Picard Cabin
8 x 10
oil on canvas

I joined three friends (Linnea, Moira, and Dan) to paint in log cabin village today. This is a park in Fort Worth where many of our areas oldest buildings dating back to the 1850s have been relocated. I first came here when I was on a field trip in third grade.
The Picard Cabin

The buildings are in wonderful condition for their age. They are furnished from the correct time period. There are also costumed docents in period costumes working on crafts and occupations from the 1800s. I chose to paint the Picard Cabin today.
Inside one of the cabins
A one room cabin

Most of these cabins are small and the families that lived in them were  large. The ground floor was the kitchen, living area, and parents bedroom. Most of the children slept in upper story lofts.

The grist mill

One of the  most unusual building is the grist mill.This is one of only three working grist mills in the state. The other two are in San Antonio and near Waco.
The Foster Cabin

The Foster Cabin is one of the largest cabins in the state. It was a cotton plantation home. It was built in the 1850s by the slaves on the plantation and the craftsmanship is considered outstanding. It's a very impressive building with its large porch and balcony. One of the things I was told was that these buildings are actually considered to be log homes instead of log cabins. The difference is that log cabins have round logs, are not as finely built, and were usually meant to be lived in for a shorter period of time. These homes all have squared off logs. Most of them have been added onto and expanded, and were lived in for long periods of time.

My five sedums
 After painting and lunch I went to a nursery near my house and purchased several new plants for my garden. It is really starting to get hot and I hope the plants I bought today will be able to endure the Texas heat of our summers.
The three herbs I bought,thyme, margoram, and curry

I bought five different types of sedums. One of the great things about sedums is that neither the heat or the cold usually bothers them too much. I also bought three more herbs they are perennials so they should come back each year.

Turks Cap

The last plant I bought is a Turk's cap. My grandmother had a lot of these in her yard. They were always a bright orange color. The one I bought is a new variety, it is sort of a pink color. It is always interesting to me when people create new varieties of old plants.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Art Every Day

The Garden Child
8 x 10
oil on canvas
 I have not posted in a while, but I have been really busy creating art. I have a lot of paintings in progress but I'm posting one I finished on Saturday. I am also working on several sculptures, working on entering shows, and generally staying really busy.
Olivette and I painting at Chandor Gardens in Weatherford.
Today for example a group of us went out to Chandor Gardens in Weatherford  to paint. It really was not too hot, and it always seems about 10 degrees cooler or less in these gardens. We had a good group turn out to paint, Olivette Hubler, Steve Miller, Allen and Tosca Engish, Dan Spangler, Moira McCarthy, and Linnea (I don't remember her last name.) It was a great day for painting. We also had a great lunch catered by a local restaurant called the Wild Mushroom. It was served in the  room that served as the studio of Douglas Chandor. I sculpted later in the day.

One of Dennis's great landscapes.
Yesterday I went to the Art with Artists critique group. This is a super group that I go to in the summer. They meet once a month at one of the member's homes and have breakfast and then they bring their art to critique and share what they have been working on. This month the group met at Blair and Janelle Curren's home in Aledo.

Four of John's great still lifes

Not all the members were there this time. Those present were, Blair and his wife, a friend of theirs, John Cook, Dennis Farris, Beatriz Welsh, Darnell Jones, Nancy Boren and me. Blair and Janell fixed a great breakfast including fresh Parker County Peaches.

John getting ready to share a larger painting.

There was a lot of really great art to look at. One of the things that makes it so great is that they all have very different styles but they are all very talented. John Cook brought the most paintings, two large partings and four small ones. Nancy brought five, Dennis  brought three, I brought two paintings and a sculpture, and everyone else shared one painting. One of the topics was information on painting from old art books. Nancy told about one from England, that talked about how when an artist goes out to paint they should find a "rustic" to carry their materials when painting outdoors. Blair had a great old book  from his grandfather from the 1920s. It said that  to create a great painting took two artist, one to paint it, and one to "kill him" before he over painted it. This was the author's way of talking about the universal  problem of overworking a painting.

Blair and Janell's patio, it reminds me of a view in New Mexico.
Blair and Janelle live out in the country. We saw several hummingbirds on the patio and a roadrunner in the front yard. There is a great view off the back patio. You feel like you are far away from everything. In fact they had a lot of photos of a mother fox that raised a family of six foxes under their deck. Seeing wildlife up close is one of the treats  of living in the country. At my mom and dad's they have some foxes too, as well as deer, armadillos and cottontail rabbits.
Scout on my patio where I did some of my sculpting and painting.
Sunday I worked at home on my sculptures and paintings on my patio, accompanied by my studio assistant Scout. My friend Tosca had told me about an old British mystery called Five Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers. It is about a  group of plein air painters, one of whom gets murdered,  on a painting trip in Scotland. I had  ordered this from Ebay and started reading it today. I'm also reading a book on the art of Maynard Dixon.  Lastly I did quite a bit of yard work.

Me painting the picture I posted at the top of this blog.
Saturday several of my friends went to paint in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.We had a good group show up for painting and later lunch. My friends with us today were Olivette Hubler, T. K. Riddle, Tosca Engish, Candy Clynch, Margie Whittington and her husband, who has started painting more, Hai Chi Lee, Dan Spangler, Moira McCarthy and Linnea.

T.K. painting behind where I was set up.

Tosca painting on a park bench in the gardens.

Candy painting a floral painting

A grazing bison at the Fort Worth Nature Center.
 I'm working on several bison paintings for some shows this fall so earlier in the week I took some more photos at the fort Worth nature Center when I went painting there with my friend Kent Brewer from Waxahachie.
Bison in the shade at the nature center.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I want your opinion.

The Story Teller - Concho
Work in progress in my studio.

Work in progress in my studio.
 This is one of my Indian busts I have been working on. I know that many people say that art should tell a story. I decided to call this piece The Story Teller - Concho. In the past the Indians of the Southwest had an oral tradition of passing down their stories and history. They also left beautiful petroglyphs and pictographs on the walls of canyons, caves and rock formations. These also were a form of communication.
The front of the base.
   I was trying to decide what kind of structure to place my bust on that will attach to the granite when it is cast. I decided ( I think) to create kind of an organic rock like base covered with the designs taken from the rock art of the Southwest. So this is my question. What do you think? Does it work for you? As artists I would like to hear what you think.
Side view of base.

Back of the base with my signature.

Side view of the base.

The Stars and Stripes
   Happy Fourth of July today. I got up early and worked in my gardens, picked some fruits and vegetables, had a visit from some Jehovah's witnesses traveling through my neighborhood, and played with my dogs.
Today's Harvest
Squash, peppers, tomatoes, peaches, okra, a cucumber, and three miniature oranges
   Soon I'll be going out to lunch and then out to paint with my friend Kent Brewer. I hope you all have a Happy Fourth and see lots of beautiful fireworks.
Scout in the backyard.