Friday, February 22, 2013


"Tahoe Blues"  18" x 24"  oil/linen

"Tahoe Blues" was inspired by my recent trip to Lake Tahoe. I was one of the participating artists in the first annual Tahoe Summerfest. I was in Tahoe for four days and had a little down time between events to do some painting and a lot of photography. The thing that struck me most about the lake was the clear water and the bright greenish blue tint. 

Upon my return I reviewed all of my photographs and none of them captured the water the way I remembered. So the painting "Tahoe Blues" is from one of my photos and a small field study. 

This is my photo reference. As you can see the glare from the morning sun kept my camera from recording the elements in the water so I will have to rely on my sketch and my memory to paint the water. Plus the mountains on the horizon are boring so I will punch this area up with better mountains.

A quick sketch before I start painting. A technical note...I usually do the sketch using burnt sienna which is a reddish brown color. Because this painting is going to be predominantly cool in nature I sketched in the elements with a blue color. If I had used the burnt sienna it would have mixed with the paint I put on top and muddied up the color.

Because the foreground boulders are going to be the main focus of the painting I decide to put them in first.
I paint them almost to completion thinking I may need to adjust them once I get the water painted in. Then I begin to block in the underwater rocks. I have no specific pattern in mind and I can't see them in the photo so I am just making up patterns as I go.

 Detail of the rocks.

I paint in the underwater rocks out to the point where they disappear under the surface. I think now I need to go to the distant mountains and put them in then work these two areas of the painting towards each other until they make sense spatially.

After completing the mountains I work the water back toward the mountains, even throwing in some buildings and sailboats right where the water and mountains meet. I begin painting the third design element which is the bank on the right side. I like the way it emerges from behind the foreground elements, then juts out into the lake and points at the mountains. Now I have a really nice "S" shape design that move the viewers eye around the painting.

I have completed the middle ground element, touched up the colors on the the foreground boulders and added some underbrush to the foreground area. Painting complete.


Sunday, February 3, 2013


"Morning on the Point"  12" x 16"  oil/linen

Following on the heels of having two paintings rejected for the Oil Painters of America western show comes my rejection from the Salon International show held at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio. I do not handle rejection well. In fact, it makes me a little crazy as I quickly go through the five step process of rejection recovery...
Step 1. Anger

Step 2. More anger
Step 3. Blame game...what's wrong with them? Do they not know good art when they see it? Are they on medication?
Step 4. Self's not them so it must be me. My art is just bad and I should just find something else to do.
Step 5. Forgiveness. Usually comes in the form of a check from a gallery because one of my paintings sold.

The painting above, "Morning on the Point" was one of my entries and I thought it was a very nice painting. I posted it on Facebook and got over 100 "Likes" so I thought it had a good chance of getting into the show. The painting below "Tahoe Blues" also got favorable reviews on Facebook but I thought it had an "iffy" chance of acceptance and would not have been upset by its rejection.
"Tahoe Blues"  18" x 24"  oil/linen

But when I got the email this morning from Greenhouse Gallery listing the accepted entries and saw my name was not on the list....well all I have to say is *^*%^&*$*$*&%(&%(&%)!  

There's got to be a mistake. I scan the list again. Nope, there's no Rusty Jones anywhere on the list. There's no freaking way! I close the email, reopen the link to the Salon accepted entries figuring it was just a bug in the system. Rusty Jones. Crap! Well they have just lost their freaking minds. So I click on the link and start going through the accepted entries to see what dogs they chose instead of mine. Dangit...they've done a really good job. Dangit...this is really strong stuff, beautiful work...its going to be a great show. Not as strong as it would have been had they just chosen my work to be in the show. But hey, their loss. Until next year when I get the call for entries and I put myself through this same torture again.
What is it they say about insanity? Oh yea, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I will be doing demonstration paintings next week at two locations. The first will be Monday night at the Ellis County Art Association monthly meeting. The demo will start at about 7:00 and go about two hours.

Date: Monday, February 4th
Location: 501 Main Street
Waxahacie, TX 75165
Contact: Tina Bohlman at 972-741-6154 

The second one will take place in Marble Falls at Marta Stafford Fine Art starting around 2:00 and go until I'm finished.

Date: Saturday, Frebruary 9, 2013
Location: Marta Stafford Fine Art
112 Main Street
Marble Falls, TX  78654
Contact Marta Stafford at 830-693-9999