Friday, March 16, 2012


I have a serious case of Big Bend on my mind. I recently made the eleven hour drive to south Texas for a four day paintout with seventeen other members of the Outdoor Painters Society. I have already posted most of the paintings on Facebook but thought I should post them here as well. Big Bend is a magical place with the Chisos Mountains as the backdrop. Throw in the ghost town in Terlingua and you have the makings for an exciting painting excursion. I could spend a month there and never run out of things to paint. Below are some paintings from the trip and a few pics.

"Dry Wash" 10" x 12" oil/linen

This painting was originally a 10" x 20" but I was never satisfied with it until Chase Almond suggested cutting it down. It works much better this size.

photo courtesy of Kaye Franklin

Painting with Morris Reese and Chase Almond

You couldn't ask for two better guys to spend a few days with painting. I've painted all over Texas, Colorado , Arizona and New Mexico with Chase. Any guy who can open a beer bottle using the bumper of his truck is a friend of mine. Morris and I painted together in a workshop so this was my first time to paint with him on location and I really enjoyed his company.

Painting with Fran Ellisor and Kaye Franklin

Fran and Kaye are my dearest friends and two of the most talented artists I have ever had the pleasure of painting with. We have served as board members for the Outdoor Painters Society for the last five years and have painted all over the southwest together.

photo courtesy of Jim Rogers

(l to r) Back row: Jimmy Longacre, Chase Almond, George Covington, Jeanne Reavis, Alice Broughton, Me, Fran Ellisor, Ann Rogers, Marchita Priest, Kaye Franklin, Ann Hoffpuir, Frank Gabriel, Barbara Haviland, Susan Neuman, Edie Collins, Finis Collins

(l to r) Front row: Morris Reese, Laurel Daniel, Julie Davis and Roy Murray

"Santa Elena Canyon" 11" x 14" oil/linen

No trip is complete without stopping by Santa Elena Canyon. These two towering formations are split by the Rio Grand River. This was my first painting of the trip and I was off to a good start.

"Gulley Wash" 9'" x 12" oil/linen

We woke up the second day to 30 degree temperatures and a lot of wind. We took refuge in this rather deep gulley that had ten foot walls to block the wind. This was a fun piece.

"Rio Grande Entrance" 9" x 12" oil/linen

Late on the second day I was looking for a painting to do to end the day. I could see the tops of these red trees from over a half mile away. I packed my gear and headed down this riverbed and the closer I got the better I liked it. Having done three paintings already I didn't know if I had enough energy to crank out anything worthwhile. Boy was I wrong. As the sun began to set behind the mountains, they turned all sorts of purple. The top half of the red trees were being lit up and the bottom half was dropping into shadow. I think this small study is my favorite from the trip. The title refers to the fact that this is where rafters put into the river for float trips.

Typical day for a plein air painter...on location and alone. That's why The Outdoor Painters Society is such an important part of my life. It provides friendship and time spent with people who share the passion of painting outdoors. It also provides the opportunity to fall into cactus. I picked thorns out of my leg for three days.

Not one of my prouder moments.

"Along the Rio Grand" 9" x 12" oil/linen

On the final day we painted on a movie set. The property is dotted with adobe style buildings, a church and saloon that have been used in several Hollywood movies. I chose this scene down the river to paint instead. On the left is Mexico and on the right is Texas. This was a good painting to end the trip on. I really enjoyed the trip and can't wait to go back.

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