The weather is cooling off in Texas and it's time to get some plein air work done. This is my favorite time of the year. I have to admit that I have done less plein air painting this year than when I started painting about seven years ago, but that doesn't mean I haven't been painting.I have ramped up my studio work and have been painting larger too.
I am finally in a place in my mind where I want to find more representation. I have been putting this off to get my work up to a consistent level and I think I'm ready. I definitely have been my biggest collector so far and that's not a good thing. Wish me luck!
So much is involved in making a painting, good drawing skills, color mixing etc., but most of the time a good painting comes down to your subject matter and finding great subject matter has suddenly moved to the top of my wish list. I often find myself having to settle because of time restraints and a limited painting window and the need to get something done. I recently bought myself a professional camera and have started to get much better photo reference from it. Now I need to go explore and find these great subjects and that is easier said than done.
Another way I have found subjects to paint is to ask photographers if they would allow you to paint from their images. So far, I have been extremely lucky and the photographer has been excited to allow me to do that. I still try to crop the image or emphasize what interests me most when I paint from these photos. This painting is one of those shared images and has become my wife's favorite that I've done because it reminds her of her step father that passed away years ago. I have found adding figures adds so much life and welcomes the viewer. I shared this painting on my Facebook account and had comments like
"I enjoy paintings that put me there and tell a story"
"Reminds me of my youth. That truck looks a lot better than the ones I drove,
but the hood being up was typical!!"
and "I really like the people...the rumpled shirts & jeans! It's real. Great work!"
I'm not sharing those comments to toot my own horn, but it does make me realize figures can raise a simple painting of a truck into something much more.
This was a very fast sketch. I wanted to get some painting in so I gave myself an hour from start to finish. It was a fun subject. I'm not even sure of the size, since I just taped some cut canvas to a large panel and started painting. It's good to test yourself like this because you never know how long your subject will remain the same painting outside.
Painted this using primarily a "Egbert" bristle brush. ( pictured below )
This brush has really long bristles and no matter how hard you try it's tough to do really tight overly rendered work. I like to start paintings as loose as possible and feel like it helps to add energy to the piece when it works out, but I don't always use this brush. Sometimes, I use a 1" wide flat that has worn bristles to block in my start. I don't have any set method and I love to experiment.
The start of a painting is my favorite part because drawing is fun to me and one of my strong points since I've been drawing far longer than painting.
I have spent the last twenty-eight years or so designing signs for a living. The truck pictured above has become a very familiar view. I took a picture of this install truck while I walked into work one early morning and I thought it would be a fun to try and simplify all the details and to try and create something pretty out of a subject most people wouldn't find that way. I took my time drawing this out because any drawing issues would be very obvious. I started painting in my darks and linking them together to give weight to my subject. The truck was back lit, so I tried to paint a lot of the reflected light and to soften up the edges in my darks because I didn't want them to overpower the color and become a distraction. I saved the hardest edges and the brightest colors for the areas I wanted you to look. This painting became about the implied details and when viewed up close becomes more abstract in appearance.
This is a scene from Fredericksburg, TX . I painted this for a good friend that has been vacationing with her family at this same spot for the last twenty something years. I'm happy to say I will be relaxing in this river with my family this weekend, but I hope I can squeeze in some more painting!
I had the greatest of times at the Oil Painters of America National show and convention.
I was worried that I would be by myself during the week and possibly bored, but that was far from what happened. I wouldn't have changed five minutes of the week. I want everyone to know the artist, gallery and collectors where all very welcoming and giving with their time. I went to breakfast, lunch and dinner with large groups of people and asked all kinds of technical and personal questions about painting and the art business and I feel renewed in my desire to be a full time painter. I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip and my new friends.
InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX was the site of the
Oil Painters of America 22nd National exhibition
I was very excited to be included in this prestigious show and I became overwhelmed
emotionally when I walked into the gallery and caught my first glimpse of the amazing
artwork filling the walls from top to bottom.
Notice my badge with the "show participant" ribbon...
I had a tough time taking it off.
Found myself a cool little red truck on Main St to paint the first day.
I don't have a great picture of it, because I sold it there.
I made several new friends at the sponsored paint outs including
This is going to be a big week for me. I had my painting "Train Crossing" chosen for theOil Paintersof America National show! The show happens to be in my home state of Texas in Fredericksburg, so there was no way I could miss this. I was estatic when I was accepted into the OPOA, but my jaw literaly dropped to the floor when I learned I was accepted to the national show and on my first attempt! I'm not taking this blessing lightly. The talent in this group is outstanding and the compition for the show is unprecidented. I know literaly hundreds of incredible painters that didn't make this particular show and it left me wondering "why me"?. I'm trying to get past those thoughts and just accept God's gifts and try my hardest to get the most of this opportunity.
I am attending the national convention starting this Wednedsay and it kicks off with a "Pampered Paint out" hosted by Southwest Art magazine. Among other events and classes there will be demos by the likes of Kenn Backhaus, Scott Burdick, John Michael Carter, John Cosby, Elizabeth Robbins and Sherrie McGraw!
22nd Annual National Exhibition Opening Reception
Location: InSight Gallery — Saturday, May 18, 2013 — 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Collectors, artists and art lovers are cordially invited to attend the opening of this year's 22nd National Exhibition at InSight Gallery featuring over 200 of the top artists from the United StatesandCanada. Come enjoy complimentary wine and celebrate the beauty of representational work at its finest. The exhibition will be on display from May 18 to June 17, 2013.
Wow! One of the top 200 artists from the U.S.! How cool is that?
GOD is GREAT!
Here is a link to view all of the outstanding paintings that I have been blessed to be included with.
One of Texas best galleries, the Insight Gallery is the host for the show. This is a drop dead gorgeous 2 story gallery that until now, I could only dream of hanging in.
I was trapped in my studio, looked around for some inspiration and found this vintage trade figure from Big Boy restaurant chain that my wife had bought for me. I wanted to try something different and went for it. This came together really fast and it was pretty fun.
My wife thinks it looks like me, but I don't see the resemblance. ;?)
This was my first attempt at an oil portrait and I had a lot of fun. I applied the paint thickly and loose and wanted to give the painting a sketch feel instead of overly rendering the piece. Being one of my first attempts at skin color, I was a little surprised at how much color it took to actually create the skin tones. My mind wanted to just mix a big batch of pink and tan and have it, but I just took my time and really tried to emulate what I was seeing.
This was a ton of fun and I see more in my future. In fact, I've already done a self portrait that I will share soon.
My painting "Cow & Calf" is on display at the 28th Texas Neighbors Regional Art Exhibit in Irving, TX. This is a five state show that is open to many different medias. The opening reception was today and the show runs April 20 thru May 26th.
This is a plein air painting from a recent roadside excursion. I painted earlier that day and had a poor outing, so I was hesitant to pull over and try another with it so late in the day, but I'm glad I did. This painting is available at the Southwest Gallery in Dallas as part of Plein Air Southwest Salon.
Sorry I haven't posted much lately, but I promise it's not because I haven't been painting. It's actually the opposite. My plein air work has slowed down mainly because of the time of year, but my studio works have picked up. Also, I seem to be entering a different stage of my career. I have entered more shows this year than ever. I have four paintings accepted into the Plein Air Southwest Salon, April 6-May 4, a painting in Texas Neighbors Five State Exhibit April 20 - May 26 and a painting in the Oil Painters of America 22nd Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils May 18th - June 17th. I also have a book that I'm working on. Things are moving forward for me, so stick with me as the true plein air season is upon us.
A fellow painter, Tony Hilscher, sent me this photo reference and said it reminded him of me. Tony lives in Minnesota and is really used to painting snow, but this was my first real attempt and I'm happy with the results. The interesting thing for me is all of my social media attempts seem to be working and that I'm starting to hear from people referring to me as the "Truck & Tractor Guy".
A few years ago, I would have never thought of myself as that guy, but I have to admit I keep going back to those subjects. Looking for more gallery representation, I talked to several gallery owners and the common response was gallery's want to know what to expect out of the artist, quality wise and subject. I decided these subjects are what I paint best at this time and hence the "Truck & Tractor" guy was born. I'll wear the title with a proud smile and see where it takes me.
I was invited to do a demo for the Associated Creative Artists art league. This was my second attempt at a demo. Painting is never easy, even in a studio, so standing in front of a large group of artists, talking the whole time and having my painting projected onto a large monitor within my view was a challenge. I was curious myself how it would turn out. lol
I had learned a few things from my first attempt. I choose a subject that I had painted before ( see video ) with a simple background so I could use most of my time to create the form and shadows. I used a small palette of colors, but added some premixed grays to help speed me up. I think it went very well and was glad that it was well attended considering it was a very rainy, bad weather night. I want to thank the A.C.A. for the opportunity and for the chance to make some new friends.
This is my first attempt at filming myself creating a studio oil painting and it's shown in very quick time. The painting took 80 minutes and I've speed it up to 4 1/2 minutes. I've watched many of these types of things, so it was very interesting to see myself. I also figured out some things to make my next one even better.