Going Grey

"Going Grey" 8" x 10"

I have been working on adding more greys into my paintings. I have four tube greys that I put on my palette prior to star, mostly to remind myself to use them. Portland grey light, medium and deep, plus Holbeins "Grey of Greys". The first three are colors that Kevin Macpearson uses frequently and the Grey of Greys is a color that I picked up from a Kaye Franklin workshop earlier this year. I try to subtly bend these shades warmer and cooler. The more grey I add, the brighter my main color will appear.


Port Aransas Shrimp Boat 2

"Old Whistler"  9" x 12"

 I braved very high winds and rough weather to get this one. I was camped out to the left of a little boat shop, trying to get some kind of protection from the wind. The whole time I was painting, I heard a very loud whistle in the background. It was driving me crazy. The pitch was moving up and down like a bad song and it wouldn't stop. Near the end of my session I discovered the sound was coming from the wind blowing through the boats rigging and nets. 

Sometimes, late at night I still hear the whistling while I try to sleep.( Fake & added for drama)


Port Aransas Shrimp Boat

"Shrimp Boat on Break"  9" x 12"

I have fallen in love with painting Shrimp Boats!  They have so many cool angles. I love the weathered paint jobs, but painting the rigging is the funnest part. 

I have more of these on their way.


Port Aransas Paint Out

"Shrimp Boat" 9" x 12"

I went to a paint out with the Outdoor Painters Society at Port Aransas, Tx. 
This was the first time for me to go to Port Aransas and my first time to paint Shrimp boats and palm trees. I was pumped to go and ended up making several new friends, but the weather tried it's best to ruin my trip. 
The wind was so strong that I used bungee straps to tie my waist to my easel and my legs to the tripod! It was pretty ridiculous feeling and I bet looking. No photos available, thank goodness!

I had mixed results painting in those conditions, but I absolutely love painting shrimp boats. They have cool angles, tons of ropes and masts and really look worn. I had to remind myself that they are the equivalent of a work truck and not made to cruise around in.


Quicker is Sometimes Better

"End of Day Glow" 9" x 12"

I wanted to squeeze out another painting before dark. This time of year it gets dark around seven so I knew I was going to have to get moving. I went straight to my default location, Nash Farms and began setting up. I  realized I only had 9" x 12" panels with me. This is my standard size, but being in a giant hurry, I thought I should have done something a little smaller. The sun was setting quick, so after sketching in the tractor shape, I went straight into the background and then established the long ground shadows. That turned out to be the right choice, because the light disappeared right before my eyes. I finished the tractor as it got dark and fought to remember what it looked like just minutes before. I used only one 3/4" wide painters brush for the entire painting.It's amazing what you can do with the right brush. 

My wife had gone with me and walked around the farm land. When she approached me she was surprised to find me finishing up. She then pointed out that from set up to take down, I had done this painting in forty-five minutes!     
I am going on a four day paint out with several other painters to Port Aransas, Tx. as part of my Plein Air Southwest show I am a part of. So I hope to come back with tons of new work!


Another very hot day!

"Blacksmith at Work"  9" x 12"

Finding  this scene was part luck and part magic. Grapevine has a local Blacksmith that I have been dying to paint, but I had never seen the doors open, let alone someone inside. I was lucky to finally have this happen, but why did it have to be 105 degrees outside when it did? I think you can see the heat in the painting!
There where two men inside, but nobody was as stupid as me to stand outside directly in the sun, so I had to move them there in my minds eye. So the "magic" came from my imagination. 
Do me a favor and don't tell anybody.


Stockyard #2

"Leddy's Boots"  9" X 12"
Here is another painting from the Ft. Worth Stockyards. I haven't done many street scenes, so it was a challenge. Like always, there are things I like about it and things I don't. I was drawn to the sign. You would think twenty-five years of designing signs like this one, would make me find a different subject.  Well, you don't see many of these on my Blog do you. :?)


Large Plein Air

"Things Are Always Brighter" 12" X16"
I painted this at my default stomping ground, Nash farm that is blocks from my house. This is a little larger than my normal size, but I had no problems finishing it. I think I will try this painting again. I would like to loosen up the barn wall and add more color shifts. I did luck into some interesting "junk" on the left side that is not normally there. This was a very strange looking tractor that doesn't have the normal large radiator up front.  I think it would have helped me render the form and make it more recognizable if it had. Next time I may magically place it in there. That is one of the perks painting has over photography.


Painting at the Ft. Worth Stockyards

"Texas Caddy"  8" x 10"

I was invited to go paint the historic Ft. Worth Stockyards with a group of painters the last couple of weeks. This car was sitting on Exchange Blvd. right in front of the Stockyards. I get asked all the time how I choose my subject. I was drawn to paint this just because I wanted to paint the horns on the front grill. Sometimes a complicated scene like this gets painted for the tiniest reasons.


A very hot day!

"Burned Out"  9" x 12"

I've been wanting to paint this old firetruck for some time now and finally did. To make it more of a challenge I waited for the temperature to be 105 degrees. If I hadn't managed to find some shade, I may not have been here to share this post. The siren on top was reflecting right into my eyes and I hope I was able to capture that.


"Getting Married" 11"x 14"
After completing an oil painting of the this same subject a few months ago, I was approached to do a watercolor version. The difficult part was the oil painting and reference photo were in a cool blue palette and the lady commissioning me wanted more warm colors and less blues to go with her home decor. Unfortunately, the church is too far away for me to paint it plein air, so I  was forced to paint from photos.
I was not able to locate any other photo references that helped me out, it seems the church is always in shadows. I ended up working from the same cool photo as before and just changed it in my head as I went along. I was confused on what to do with the sky so I ended up just de-emphasizing it. You would think painting from your mind would be easier, but for me it is very difficult and I realize why I prefer to paint on location.
In the end she was pleased and that was my top priority.      


Clouds & More Clouds!

"Cloudy Day"  9" x 12"

 Texas has been blessed with some great big fluffy clouds lately, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I painted some. The top painting was finished in a little over an hour, then I simply rotated my paint box 180 degrees, looking out across Grapevine Lake. What did I see? You guessed it...more clouds. I squeezed out the bottom painting in about 30 minutes.

I hope our big cloud  luck continues so I can paint some more!

"Smells Like Rain"  8" x 10"


Big news! I've been juried into the 2010/2011 Plein Air Southwest event. Sponsored by the Outdoor Painters Society, this event spans several months and has events at the Grand Canyon, Ouray (CO), Prescott (AZ), the Texas coast and Dallas. I have been a member of the Outdoor Painters Society for 2 1/2 years now and this will be the first time I will hang in one of their shows, so I'm very excited!
The list of participating artists includes names like fellow O.P.S. members John Cook, Bob Rohm, Ann Hardy, Jill Carver, William Kalwick, Jr., and several juried in like Steve Atkinson and Michael Chesley Johnson among many others. ( check out the photo for all participating artists )
All paintings will be Plein Air work from mid-August up until the Quick Draw at the Dallas Arboretum next April. I will have 3-4 pieces on exhibit. This is a huge step for me and I can't wait to see my work hanging with this talented group of artists. It's time to get to work!!!

The show opens April 8 at Southwest Gallery in Dallas. 
Here's a link to the show page: http://www.pleinairsouthwest.com/Index.html

Miniature Painting

"Bird w/ Flowers" 4" x 6"

This was a miniature painting that I painted for my wife for her office desk. I bought a small frame, took the glass out and sanded it and then applied several coats of white Gesso. This made for a surprisingly slick surface that I had problems painting on with my normal Hog hair brushes.  It turned into a fun exercise that forced me to lay the paint down and leave it alone, otherwise it scratched right off. It turned out kind of pretty, especially in the heavy dark wood frame, but I don't think I will be in a hurry to paint on glass again.


Blacksmith Wagon

"Blacksmith Wagon" 9"x12"

I think I made a rookie mistake. 

I changed the brand of my oil paints from Gamblin to Le Franc and my paintings have suffered. I don’t think anything is wrong with Le Franc paints. I know several great painters that predominantly use them. My mistake was to change all of them out and add two new colors to my palette at the same time! I have since read recommendations about adding new brands or new colors to your palette, one at a time. I didn’t think it mattered so much, but I found out it does. Plein air painting is difficult enough, so anything that slows you down or makes you unsure will really cause you problems. I have been struggling with my darks, never feeling they are dark enough. I tried adding Sap Green or Viridian to darken my basic Ultramarine Blue / Alizarin mixture to no avail.  Le Franc paint also feels too light and whipped compared to what I’m used to. All of this resulting in wasting paint trying to get my mixes right. Recently, just adding Gamblin U.B. back has improved my work.  I think I will go back to Gamblin as my primary brand for now and try using the other brands only one or two at a time.

Anybody else experience anything like this?

"Plein Air Artist" web site informed me they are featuring my painting "Porch light" on their front page. It's always nice to get recognition, especially from so many great artists. Thanks Donald! Go visit and join in.


Colorado Blue

"Colorado Blue" 8" x10"

A sketch from a Colorado trip last year. My family had so much fun that I wish we could return this year.Instead, we are leaving for vacation in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It is another favorite destination for my crew. I'm taking my paints!


Porch Light

"Porch Light" 8" x 10"

I spotted this house while driving around with my wife. I quickly turned the car around and took her home to grab my brushes.  ( She's very understanding. )

I loved the color of the roof and the cottage garden look of the yard. The home owner seemed surprised that I wanted to paint her house, but after a reassuring her I wasn't trying to sell her something, she made me feel welcome.

Normally I try to establish my center of interest first, but I received a little surprise myself when her porch light came on towards the end of my painting. All of a sudden I had a new focus. This is part of the fun of plein air painting and something you don't get from painting photos.



"Honeysuckles with Blue Bird"  9"x 12"

This is a still life I did with a few of my wife's favorite items. She loves her Honeysuckles and these were picked straight from her garden. The little ceramic bird is great. The glaze is all cracked and it has places on it that make it look rusty.
I have realized I can't paint outside all the time in Texas, so I started improving my home studio. I now have an area with better lighting, an area to set up still lives and I can see my computer monitor easily. ( plus a TV :?O )


Colorado Landscape

"Gold Rush"  12" x 16" 

This is a painting I did during a recent workshop with Kaye Franklin. She is a wonderful painter and teacher that has taught all over the world. It was the perfect class for me because Kaye uses the same basic color palette as I do with the addition of  Yellow Ochre and Sap Green. Kaye acted a little surprised I had never used the Ochre, but I told her I have used a basic three color palette for some time now. I do feel it's time to start adding some colors, especially ones that will make the plein air work easier and faster. I have always loved Kaye's greys in her paintings and I learned one of her tricks was to premix a few greys that she then adds to her mixes as she works. I think this practice will help me to get more greys into my plein air work.


Mothers Day Reject

"Flowers & Oranges"  12" x 16"  

I knew Mothers Day was approaching, so like the good son I am, I decided to paint my mother something she has been asking for for some time now...flowers. I don't have a ton of experience painting these, but what the heck, I love her. I went all out by painting larger than normal. She arrived at my house where I had real roses and several fancy desserts wrapped in bows waiting for her. After giving her those, I walked her to a different room, where I had this painting framed on a wall. I asked her what she thought about her new gift and after about a minute delay she said, "Can I have that one on the other wall instead?"
She left my house with two paintings that day and neither one had flowers in them.
Love you Mom!


More Watercolors?

"Pikes Peak"      8" x 12" watercolor

Here is another watercolor of Pikes Peak. I took some advice from a watercolor artist friend and worked more "wet in wet" with this attempt. I can see my progress. I retained more translucency and loosened up. I figured out what colors I have that are transparent, semi-transparent and opaque by looking at the box they came in. I'm so clever! I painted about 90% using the transparent colors and then finished up the details with the rest. The original has a glow and softness to it that doesn't  show up as much in this scan. Original art always looks better in person no matter what the medium is. This is what makes it special.

I have a couple more watercolors to do soon, but I promise to post new oil paintings next time. 

These water colors also represent the first time I have attempted commission work. I have always hesitated when approached, mainly because I like painting what I like painting. I have to admit that I have enjoyed these and a large reason for this is how great and appreciative their new owner has been to me.


Colorado Watercolor 8" x 12"

I was recently approached to do some watercolors of various locations in Colorado. It has been several years since I have attempted this, but I gave it a shot. This was my second attempt after a very non-transparent first attempt. Non-transparency is something you definitely don't want a watercolor to be. I feel much happier with this one and actually find myself looking forward to the next one. It's weird to go from painting dark to light with oils and do the opposite by going from light to dark with w/c. 

Painting is painting and that's something I enjoy.


" Boadmoor Church" 9" x 12"

"Boadmoor Church" 9" x 12"

Sorry about being gone for awhile. I've been battling a severe sinus infection and a hurt back. Even after my second round of antibiotics I'm only about 83.3% back. Texas weather is always a challenge.  I'm wearing shorts one day & snows falling the next. I'm gearing up for several paint outs and even a workshop, so I will have plenty of work to post soon.

This painting was done for an online painting challenge from my good buddy Lee Brown over at  A Day Not Wasted. Lee provided a photo of a pretty church that he says is near the Boadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As an artist, photographer and world traveler, Lee's web site will definitely inspire you. It got my brushes moving again. One of the best things about plein air painting in groups is seeing everyone's interpretation of the same scene. This provided the same opportunity and also introduced me to several great artists. Thanks again Lee. I look forward to the next one.
Make sure to check out his site and see the other submissions, the photo I worked from or to join in the fun.  


Apple Preserves Starter Kit

"Apple Preserves Starter Kit" 8" x 10"

The weather kept me indoors so I set up another still life. I had received a program from the Greenhouse Gallery and it had several paintings of "jars" by Dianne Massey Dunbar. So it inspired me to give it a shot. I worked from my own setup and approached it the same as if I was outside by painted it Alla prima style in around two hours.

I think I'm starting to like painting still lifes. 

Alla prima is a style of painting where, instead of building colors up with layers or glazing over an underpainting, the painting is completed while the paint is still wet. Strictly defined, an alla prima painting would be started and finished in one painting session, but the term is also more loosely applied to any painting done in a direct, expressive style, with minimal preparation.

Alla prima comes from Italian, literally meaning "at once". The French term is premier coup.


“Walking To Texas”

“Walking To Texas”  9" x12"

This sculpture and fountain is a tribute to the pioneer families who came to the Grape Vine prairie seeking a bright future and new life.

A real photo of this statue and more info can be found at "ilovegrapevinetexas.com"

This is my first painting using Lefranc brand paints. My first thoughts were how buttery they are. The white was very soft and easily mixed. They definitely have a different feel and they seem to take longer to dry. This was also my first attempt on an Oil Primed Linen board so it is hard to pin down the paints exact nature. I did fall in love with the board!

Off for more experimentation.


Troublesome Wind

"Party Wagon" 9" x 12"

A farm next to my house was giving free rides with a tractor and wagon. This farm is always my default painting location when I don't feel like going very far. The wind was very troublesome that day and my pochade and painting ended up taking a nose dive face down into the dirt. Broke my tripod and sent turp all over me and my car. I was mad for a minute and then realized a bad day painting is better than a good day at my 8 to 5.

I plan on trying out a new brand of paints I just bought..."LeFranc". I have heard many people rave about them, especially their White. They are very affordable. I also added Viridian Green and Yellow Ochre to my palette. Common on many peoples palette but new to me. I will let you know.


Granny's Biscuits

"Granny's Biscuits6 x 8

    My wife was very excited to find this flour sifter at a yard sale that was identical to the one her Granny used. It filled her with so many memories that she had to have it. Her Granny is responsible for teaching her to cook. They were making cream gravy and biscuits together by age three. I never got to meet her Granny before she left us, but I would love to thank her for making my wife a wonderful cook.


Botanical Garden Gazebo

"Botanical Garden Gazebo" 9 x 12

I recently spent a fun day at the Fort Worth Kimball Art Museum with several painter friends. I was able to see paintings by artists like Guercino, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Monet, and Renoir, among others. They even had Michelangelo’s first known painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony on display. After a few hours  a couple of us actually pulled ourselves away to do some painting. This was a little Gazebo at the Botanical Garden. The light left me quickly and I was pretty beat up from the cold and windy conditions, but I was very happy to be outside!

I am also happy to report I am now a featured artist on "I love Grapevine Texas" web site. I am proud to help represent Grapevine and too have this opportunity. Please visit  the site and learn more about our great city and see more of my fellow artists.