Friday, May 2, 2014

Apples, peaches, pears, plums...

North Texas Blue
11 x 14
oil on canvas
    Spring is a busy time in the  gardener  and the outdoor painter. There is never enough time to do everything. But I have always remembered the words of a preacher that I saw on television. He said that we always have time for what we put first. I try to follow this and group my priorities where they should be . One of the things I always give time to in the spring is painting the bluebonnets. The smell alone is worth going out to a big field to experience. But the pleasure of being outdoors painting with friends in great weather (or even not) is the best part of it. This spring we have painted in the Corp of Engineers Parks around Benbrook Lake on weekends and after work.
Scout in front of one of the rose bushes.
     The other demand of my time, this time of year, is my yard and garden.  We had a hard winter and some of my shrubbery is still looking very grim, but the roses have been incredible. I have so many colors and different sizes and they have all put on a show. The peonies were really nice also.
Roses and peonies in the background.
    Every spring my garden tempts me to get out and paint in it but the pull of the country and the wild flowers always wins out. I do take plenty of photos for later use.

A bloom on one of my yellow roses.
    We had some VERY late freezes and frosts this year. They took there toll on the plums. But, the apples, peaches, and pears are covered with fruit as are the grapes and raspberries. The trick will be to keep the squirrels and birds away later in the spring.
Apples on one of my two apple trees.
     I don't think of apples as doing really well around here but my great grandmother had a tree that produced large crops of green apples. So with that in mind two years ago I purchased two trees and they have grown well. This year they have lots of apples on them.

Belle Of Georgia Peaches
     The peach trees, I have two, are Belle of Georgias. They are covered with peaches this year. This is a white peach and one of the varieties my grandmother grew. They are covered with peaches.
One of the pears on my tree.

      I have one pear tree. It was planted two years ago and has several pears on it. There are three plum trees but they have  no plums left on them.

Part of my vegetable garden - tomatoes, peppers, beans , squash, pumpkins, and raspberries
   Besides the fruit trees, I have vegetables and herbs planted in a couple of different places. It takes a lot of watering and weeding to keep it all going.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Two Plein Air Events In One Day

Tandy Hills Morning 2014
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    Saturday was one of the most exhausting and rewarding days that I have had in a while. The days events started for me at 7:00 when I left my house to drive east to Tandy Hills Park. When I got there my friend Carol Ivey was just setting up to paint. Today was Prairie Fest and a group of us were painting there for part of the event.
    The weather was great. We were joined by several other artists including Claudia Davis, Janice Weaver, Olivette Hubler, Jeff Ott, Dan Spangler,  and others . We turned in our paintings to be auctioned off. (Mine sold.) Then four of us had to head on to the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge for a second event, Fort Worth Wild a VIP celebration of the 50th anniversary of the nature center.

Fort Worth Bison Herd
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    The great weather continued at the nature center. The four of us were joined by the rest of our group including T. K. Riddle, Mary Rabine, Sheri Jones, Tina Bohlman, and Steve Miller. We had painted out there a few weeks earlier so we already each had one painting for the show and were there to paint a second one before the auction that evening. I chose to paint the bison but in a much looser style.

Me working on my painting along the trail to the tents.
    This event was held for the 50th anniversary of the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge as a fund raiser to restore the parks CCC structures. Everyone painted wherever they wanted. Then before the start of the event they set up their easels along the path to the tents where the event was going to be held, and finished their paintings there as the guests walked past.

Me painting along the path, Tina Bohlman is painting across from me.
    It was a little windy but not too bad. There was a huge turnout, over 300 people who each paid $275 to attend. So from the point of view of the artists, exactly the sort of people you want at an art show.
The tents were set up on the site of the CCC structures, on a large hill with great views of the park and lake. There were several tents set up with tables in them where we were going to be eating as well as a tent where the paintings and other auction items were displayed and an area where the caterers were set up. Bonnels of Fort Worth catered the event. The food was delicious. Besides the artists painting along the path my friend Vince Villafranca  did a live sculpture casting in front of the tents.

One of the tents before the event.

    The location was just perfect for this sort of event.  I saw so many people I knew. It was sort of a whos who of Fort Worth. There was a table set aside for the artists but I was invited to join several groups of friends at their tables. Everyone I talked to said they thought this was a first class event.

Marty Leonard and Mayor Betsy Price
    The mayor was one of the first speakers. Other guests included local and state politicians and the head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (who was a very funny guy.)  All of the speakers did a great job .The nature center is such an amazing place, over 3600 acres, and they all were effective in expressing what a treasure the nature center is.
    As the night went on the tents were lit with colored lights. And the views of the sunset out of the ends and sides of the tents continued to just get nicer and nicer. Hal Jay from WBAP  was the master of ceremonies and he was so funny as well as incredible in getting the guests to bid more and more on some live auction items including the right to name the new bison bull which went for $10,000.

Spring Bison
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    Almost every piece of art we created was sold. I sold both of my paintings. The event lasted until after 9:00 . I didn't get home until after 10:00 and I was pretty tired. It had been a great but long day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bluebonnet Time

Spring in North Texas
oil on canvas
8 x 10
 As a painter this is one of my favorite times of the year. Many of our wildflowers, including the bluebonnets are at their peak. Plus, the temperature is very nice to be out painting and the mosquitos and chiggers don't seem to be out yet. Like all great times in life, you are aware that it won't last, so the only thing to do is appreciate it while we can. So today after work my friend Sheri Jones and I met to paint near Benbrook. ( Sheri is a real trooper, she is up painting an hour before most people are awake in the morning and today after working all day she was out painting in clothes that looked like she was headed for church; and not a speck of paint on her.) Besides bluebonnets there are so many other wildflowers in bloom. There are also prickly pear, yucca, and mesquite and oak trees with fresh foliage. There is so much to appreciate and enjoy. Hopefully we will have more great days like this before the heat sets in,
Wildflowers and Cacti

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Texas Blues
8 x 10
oil on canvas
     Today was Easter and a very beautiful day. I woke up early and went out to Dutch Branch Park to paint the bluebonnets. I didn't see any turkeys this morning but I did see lots of deer, ducks, buzzards, and song birds. The bluebonnets are Getting prettier every day and the other flowers are coming along too. I finished this painting and worked on two others. I didn't paint long but I enjoyed it.

Bluebonnets (and light bluebonnets)

      I worked in my yard and then went over to my sister's for Easter lunch with our family. We had a very good dinner, played some games and watched some sports. Then I came back home and did a bit more in my garden before the rains started.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Caught up as of today!

Mustang Spirit
bronze on granite
    March 7th was the Texas Masters Show at the Insight Gallery in Fredericksburg. As always it is a tremendous honor to be part of the show. This show features some of the very finest representational artists working in Texas. This year my newest sculpture in the show is a running mustang called Mustang Pride.
     One of the most enjoyable things about this time of the year has been the Sorolla exhibit at the Meadows museum in Dallas. This has to be my favorite show of any artist''s work I have seen. It really gives a complete view of the artist, his process, and his work. By the time the show ended this weekend I had seen it six times. Each time I went it was with  different groups of friends and each time I saw different things and in different ways. Some of the pieces were from private collections and so there was a certain feeling of sadness in thinking that I would never see some of them again.

Bison in Spring
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    I had two big events on March 29th. The first was a paintout with ten of my friends at the Fort Worth Nature Center .I painted one of the bison. These paintings will be auctioned off at a dinner and fundraiser on April 26th at the Nature Center. The show may be viewed online on their website.

Spring in Texas
8 x 10
oil on canvas
      The second event of the day was the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association's Spring Gallery Night.I had paintings and sculptures at a place called Portfolio on Camp Bowie. My friend Margaret did a sculpture demo and I did a painting Demo. I did a painting of bluebonnets and cattle. This one was started from photos and finished in plein air.

Dutch Branch Park
       The last two weeks I have discovered a new place to paint, Dutch Branch Park at Benbrook Lake only a couple of minutes from my house .It is a beautiful place with wildlife, hiking trails, horse trails, and nice views. ( I used to take my Labradors here to practice their retrieving in the lake.) Last Saturday a group of seven of us went out around sunrise and painted there. I started two paintings there and also worked on my painting from Gallery Night. I had to leave early to take some sculptures to David Dike Fine Art to replace several that had recently  sold there. Then I went back to the Meadows Museum to see Sorolla for one last time with some more friends. I ran into several other fellow artists there. I think almost every artist I know who saw it went more than once.
      Today I met my friend Linnea back at Dutch Branch Park to paint again. It was a beautiful day, not nearly as windy as last Saturday. We saw a flock of six wild turkeys and several deer. I worked on my two paintings from last Saturday, started a new one, and finished the one from Gallery Night. I would have liked to have painted longer but my nephews had baseball games today. In the evening I worked on several sculptures and watched a movie on Theo and Vincent Van Gogh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting caught up

Frog Princess
     One of my new sculptures from this winter is a horned toad with a tiara that I call Frog Princess. My horned toads continue to be some of my most popular sculptures as well as among my best selling pieces.

The Shed on the Hill
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    This winter was a mixed time of very cold days with snow and ice as well as some weekends of very nice painting weather. We continued to paint in the Five Points  area near Waxahachie as well as other areas close to there. I revisited some of the same locations and painted them again as well as venturing Into some newer areas like Maypearl.

Memories of Fort Worth
acrylic on guitar
   Some of my friends and I, who helped out the North Texas Alzheimer's Association last year by painting stars for them to auction off last year helped out this year by painting guitars. I was not horribly enthused about painting on a guitar and I struggled with what to paint. In the end I decided to paint a sort of collage of scenes and symbols of Fort Worth. Once I started however I really enjoyed this project. I hope it will raise a lot of money for a very worthy cause.

     Another event that I was involved in was called All Out Trinity. I was on a committee that helped to organize a days worth of outdoor activities along the Trinity River in Dallas. My part was to bring some local artists out to paint in plein air near the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Poster for All Out Trinity
     This was  not so easy to do as several other events were going on at the same time and the weather started out very unpromising. In fact, most of the time that I was there it was  so foggy that I could hardly see the bridge let alone the Dallas skyline, but I actually wound up enjoying the effect of the fog and the way it softened everything.

Foggy Morning in Dallas
8 x 10
oil on canvas

Monday, April 14, 2014

A lot of catching up to do.

Draft Horse #1
oil on canvas
8 x 10
    I have been away from my blog for several months, but not away from my art and art related activities. So what that means is that I have a lot to get caught up on. Going back several months ago some of us went to the Fort Worth Stock Show Parade. We went to the area where the parade assembles and took lots of photographs there as well as along the parade route.

Draft Horse #2
oil on canvas
8 x 10
   I placed my horses in fields rather than in the parking lots but I really enjoyed painting them. The first two paintings were draft horses who pulled the carriages and wagons in our all horse drawn vehicle parade. The third painting below, was of one of the riders from the Mexican clubs and groups that come up for the rodeo and parade. These are some of my favorite groups with their traditional clothing and style of riding, (the ladies all ride side saddle.) This particular lady was an Indian from Zacatecas, I think.

Senora in Red
oil on canvas
8 x 10
     The parade was really good this year and after that a group of us went to the Kimbell Art Museum to see the exhibit called The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Chicago Art Institute. My friend Beatriz Welch gave us a great tour of the exhibit. This takes me through the end of January. In my next blogs I will try to get through February and March. I have many new paintings and sculptures to post.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Beautiful Winter Day

The farm in Winter
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    Today was a beautiful day and much appreciated after this cold and dreary week. Ten of us headed back to Five Points to paint outdoors. I chose to go back to the old farm and hay field on Anderson Road. I went out a few hours earlier today and the light was a bit different.
Steve Miller painting with an audience at the cotton gin.
   Several of the group went back to the cotton gin to paint the gin, old store, and the sheep. The son of the owner took us to see inside the gin and the old cotton office and scale. A pair of barn owls live in the gin but vacated the building when it was invaded by artists. This site appeared in the movie Places in the Heart.

Barn on the Hill
8 x 10
oil on canvas
   After doing our first paintings five of us went to another farm on a hill on Anderson Road. The house was over 150 years old. I painted one of the barns on the hill.  It was interesting how different all five paintings turned out. We started painting around 10:30 and stayed until after 4:00. It was a beautiful day and all of us had a very good time.
    A day like this, spent out doors with friends,  is always a good day!
Some of our cars parked on Anderson Road

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Back to Five Points to Paint

The Pink Barn
8 x 10
oil on canvas
       Yesterday the temperatures were fairly pleasant. The winds however were only somewhat less than a small hurricane. If one drove down farm road 876 near Waxahachie he or she would have seen several vehicles parked along the edge of the road, and if one approached from the opposite direction he or she would have seen that at the side of each vehicle, crouched out of the wind, an artist was painting. The barn we painted was not one of my favorites, being small, narrow, and painted pink with tin structures on each side of it. However the greatest thing in its favor was there was room on the sides of the road near it to angle park our cars..

A barn. not the one I painted, in the area,
     Before deciding on this site my friend Kent Brewer and I drove around the area in search of things to paint. We found a lot of things that on other days will be great, but were not right for this day. We drove around until we both were almost out of gas, We were joined to paint by Olivette Hubbler and Nancy Bozeman. (Olivette came out despite having a cold.) Our friend Tina came by and visited and scouted around a bit herself but didn't paint. I took another way home and saw horses, donkeys, cattle, sheep, and even a herd of elk (behind a game fence.)

Some of the local cattle.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Merry Christmas and a Fitting End of 2013 and Start of 2014

My dog Scout and I
    This has been a very good year. My family has been blessed with health and happiness. The end of the year came and went very quickly. We had an ice storm that kept our roads frozen for days. The roads were so bad that I had to miss the opening of the Christmas small works show at the Insight Gallery. I wasn't able to get my car out of my driveway for four days, but I did get some nice photos of the Christmas lights with all the snow and ice. on the lawns and trees. Christmas was wonderful. Christmas Eve we were at my sisters and Christmas Day at my parents. We had delicious meals and played games and enjoyed each others company.

Round Bales in Winter
8 x 10
oil on canvas
     After Christmas the weather has been somewhat erratic with warm and cold days but my friends and I have made good use of our time. Last Friday, Dec.27th a group of six of us went down near Waxahachie at a place near an area called 5 Points. It was a beautiful day. There were so many interesting things to paint including an old cotton gin, farmhouses, out buildings, and barns with rusted tin roofs, round bales of hay, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and chickens. On this day I began a couple of paintings and finished the one above.

Texas Farm and Field
8 x 10
oil on canvas
 On the next day Saturday even more of us, around 10 or so, converged on this small community. The locals were intrigued to find artists painting their farms and livestock. They were all very welcoming and hospitable. We received invitations to paint on peoples ranches and even had an offer to cook hamburgers for us. I painted a hay field with the farmhouse in the background. The following Sunday was going to be cold and windy , so no painting, but a group of us used this day to go to Dallas to see the Sorolla exhibit at the Meadows Museum. This is an incredible exhibit. I can not say enough good things about it.

Winter Sun
8 x 10
oil on canvas
    On Monday it was a little cool again, no painting. I had lunch with my parents, two of my nephews, and some cousins. Then in the evening we went to my sisters to watch the Alamo Bowl.
    Tuesday it was still somewhat cool, but it was New Years Eve and I wanted to get one last painting in during 2013, so I went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The scene I painted is one that I have painted before .  I like it because when almost all the leaves are gone, this tree still has glowing orange leaves.

Winter Greens
8 x 10
oil on canvas 
    Today on January 1st, 2014, I wanted to get the year off to a good start. I went back to the 5 Points area with my friend Kent Brewer. We were joined by our friends Tina, and Mary. We were painting an old barn beside the road when the owner showed up. She unlocked the gate and invited us to park and paint on the property. She was on the way to another ranch and just told us we could close the gate and put the lock on when we left. The hospitality of the people of rural Texas is so amazing. It was a very nice day for being outdoors and painting.