Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Fall Colors Coming on EBAY

"Fall Colors Coming" 8" x 10" oil/linen

This gem of a plein air piece was produced last fall on a drive along IH35 to Austin. It was one of those paintings that most would pass up and, in fact, I had done just that several times on this trip when I didn't think I really had the time to stop and do a painting. I kept passing these fields with the trees changing colors and the sun lighting up distant patches of mowed fields.

I spotted this field, took the next exit, made the u-turn over the highway and came back to it. Then I sat and watched the light move in and out of shadows and after a few minutes of this I told myself, "Now or never" and the next thing you know I'm slapping paint to canvas as fast as I can to capture the scene before the clouds totally obscure the sun and ruin the light effect. And in a nutshell, that's what plein air painting is all about, capturing little gems in paint and spending an hour or so being thankful that Mother Nature has given you this gift.

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Friday, September 23, 2011


I am very pleased to announce that I have been invited to join RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX. I met with gallery owners Shannon and Thad Hanna last weekend and was impressed with their new gallery and the artists I will be joining.

I've known Shannon for several years through her work at Whistle Pik Gallery. Fredericksburg has always been one of my favorite art stops in Texas and to be able to continue to work with her and Thad on a more personal level is exciting. I look forward showing my work along side other great painters like Dan Beck, Kevin Beilfuss, Lindsey Graham, Gene Constanza, Peter Fiore, Frank Gardner, Marc Hanson, John Austin Hanna, Hodges Soleau, and John Poon. Check it out at

Friday, September 16, 2011


"Baler" 8" x 10" oil on linen

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This plein air study was done for my "35 on 35" show last year. The whole process of baling hay fascinates me for some reason. The gentleman driving this baler actually drove over to me to see what I was doing. Turns out he and his brother have been baling hay year round all over north Texas for 27 years and are now teaching their sons. In a single year they
will harvest 30,000 bales and he says they sell every one of them.

Apparently there was a drought in south Texas six years ago that ranchers are still trying to recover from so Roy and his brother have job security. At the time I did this painting a single bale of hay was $25. Multiply that by 30,000 bales a year and I'd say the brothers have a nice little business. This year hay has been so scarce that a bale of hay cost $100. Now they have a real good business because supply has been low and demand has been high...the perfect business model.

One last fact about baling hay. They would prefer to bale the day after a heavy rain. You can get more bales out of a wet field than a dry one. Interesting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


"Flatland Cloud Burst" 24" x 30" oil/canvas

One of the side benefits of putting up with 100 degree weather all summer is we get these incredible late afternoon cloud formations. I'm sure my artist friends in New Mexico see these things all the time so it is no big deal, but here in north Texas they are a bit rare. In the past I have chewed myself out (you know, when you slap yourself on the forehead and walk around saying "stupid...stupid...stupid") for not carrying a camera with me at all times because I used to see the clouds and rush home to get a camera only to have it disappear or it would get too dark to take the shot.

Well thanks to modern technology and these nice little cameras in our cell phones, I no longer have that problem and the flat spot in my forehead has healed. I shot the cloud for this painting with my iphone while filling up with gas. The landscape at the bottom is mostly made up and became a design more than a real location. The rain dropping from the clouds gives the whole painting a little drama.

The funny thing is as I stood there at the gas station, with my hands on my hips staring at the clouds, I suddenly realized that other people who had been walking by had stopped and were looking up into the sky to see what I was looking at. I had a bunch of people rubbernecking at the clouds. I left the station with a little chuckle knowing I had just improved the quality of life around me with a little appreciation for the beauty of a cloud formation. In celebration of nature, that's what I'm talking about.


Monday, September 12, 2011


"Goat Barn" 9" x 12" oil/linen

I am so happy to be blogging tonight. After losing my blog yesterday and then spending a couple of hours tonight trying to recover it and then to actually see it reappear...well I'm speechless. Not really, haven't been speechless since I learned to talk or so says my Mom.

This little goat barn is right around the corner from my house right in the middle of the suburbs. I keep waiting for a strong wind to blow it over, but it just keeps on keeping on so to speak.

Anyway, glad to be back. I am shipping this painting to Pitzer's Fine Art in Wimberley tomorrow.



Sunday, September 11, 2011


 "Shady Parking"  12" x 16"  oil/linen

Next weekend I will be delivering five new paintings to Riverbend Fine Art in Marble Falls, Texas. A reception from 5-7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17th will be held in the gallery to introduce the new work, share some good wine and enjoy visiting. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please stop by.

The above painting is a plein air piece of the Round Rock grain elevator. I actually saw this elevator during my "35 on 35" travels. You can see it on the east side of the highway off in the distance past downtown. I only saw it because I was going through town late in the afternoon and it was illuminated. This is the first time I've tried putting a vehicle in one of my paintings. I think it adds a little life to it and makes the painting a little more interesting.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


"Hill Country Trail" 9" x 12" oil/linen

I am shipping two new paintings to Pitzer's Fine Art
) in Wimberley, Texas tomorrow. The one above is a plein air
piece done just outside Georgetown north of Austin. The one below is from one of my trips to Big Bend National Park in south Texas. The morning I painted this scene a black bear had been spotted about 300 hundred yards from where I was painting. Just a friendly reminder to always check with the park service when painting in a national park where animals have free roaming rights and to always be aware of your surroundings when painting.

"Near Panther Creek" 9" x 12" oil/linen

This has been one of my favorite plein air pieces of the last couple of years and makes me want to head back to Big Bend. As outdoor painters we all struggle with values and creating a sense of depth in a painting. I think I got it right on this one.

Monday, September 5, 2011


"Hay Bale Nocturnal" 10" x 20" oil/canvas

This is a painting I've been mulling over for a couple of months. I saw the scene earlier in the summer during a full moon. Painting a nocturnal scene is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. So when I saw these hay bales one night along the highway, it just seemed natural that my first nocturnal painting should be hay bales.

The design is from four different photos and a plein air study. I like the wide format because it gives you the sense of a lot of hay bales spread out over a large field. I don't think you can see it in the photo but along the distant tree line is a farmhouse with the lights on. This painting will be available at Riverbend Gallery starting September 17th when I take five new pieces to the gallery.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


"Canyon Reflections" 8" x 10" oil on canvas

"Canyon Reflections Redo" 8" x 10" oil on canvas

From time to time I have shared how I put paintings away in a closet or just turn them around against the wall so I can't see them, then pull them out, stick them on the easel and give them a fresh look. If I deem them worthy I will look for weaknesses and strengths, mix up some fresh paint and give it another go.

The painting on top "Canyon Reflections" is the actual plein air study done on a trip to Canyon De Chelly three years ago. Upon my return I framed it and sent it off to one of my galleries. It sat there for a year. I then moved it to another gallery where it sat for another year. I recently received it back in a box with another canyon piece with the explanation from the gallery that they just weren't getting any interest in the painting. At least I didn't get it back with a note that says "This painting sucks. What were you thinking?"

The short of all of this is and the purpose of today's blog is to demonstrate the importance of good photographic reference shot during outdoor painting trips. When I decide on a scene I will shoot three photos. One normal exposure. Then I'll shoot one overexposed and one underexposed.

The overexposed one will give me a look at things sitting in the shadows. The underexposed one gives me a better look at things in bright clouds...that are usually washed out in the normal exposure.

So today I took the canyon painting and decided with a few tweaks it could be better painting. I put the three photo references up on the TV screen, covered the painting in Liquin and reworked the painting from top to bottom. The most dramatic change is in the distant cliff. I felt the first one was just too boring to be occupying so much space. So I changed its color, its value and its shape. The rest of the painting was reworked to go with the distant cliff.

Without the photo reference I would have been stuck. I would not have been able to rework this painting. What if it had been a 24" x 36" or larger? I'm lucky it was just a small study. Now that it is done it is going to a good friend of mine who was actually painting just a few feet away. We have decided to trade paintings.


"Bosque Ranch" 8' x 10" oil/canvas

This ranch house sits on the eastern outskirts of Clifton, Texas. It is on the main road as you come into town from Waco. I was on my way into Clifton to drop off a painting for the Bosque Show when I noticed it. After dropping off the painting and on my way back out of town I found a shady spot under a large mesquite tree and did this quick study.

The house is very typical of the type of homes built in the 30's and 40's throughout the Hill Country. I was just going to photograph it and move on down the highway, but now I'm glad I did the painting. I am making this painting available though Ebay today.

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