Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sam's First Calf

Sam's First Calf
20X24, Oil on Canvas
This is a little bit different for me.  This little guy's dad, Sam, is a Hereford bull owned by my high school math teacher.  When she posted the picture of him to Facebook I was struck by the shadow pattern and really wanted to give a go at painting it.  I haven't painted an animal in several years so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.  I surprised myself!  This is one of my entries in an upcoming Arkansas League of Artists juried show.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bank of Heber Springs, Cleburne County

Bank of Heber Springs
8X10, Oil on Panel
I started this one as a plein air at small festival in Heber Springs a couple of months ago.  A steady drizzle was falling and I had nice little beads of water all over my panel giving it this very interesting look.  I got a good enough handle on the architecture and put it away.  When I finally came back to it in the studio, I quickly realized this painting was going to be a fighter!  I finally got it pinned down and completed to my satisfaction.  This building is no longer a bank but houses other business.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hazen Bean Field, Prairie County

Hazen Bean Field
8X10, Oil on Panel
I started this classic Delta scene en plein air on the same trip where I painted the Prairie School House.  I put some finishing touches on it in the studio.  A crop duster was working in the field next to this one while I painted.  I made sure I checked the wind direction and thankfully I was upwind.  I made sure I got some pictures of the crop duster and that may wind up as a painting.  Also just down the road was the place in De Valls Bluff where I had my first real BBQ sandwich.  That place will make a great painting for sure!
This painting makes 47 out of 75 counties complete and 5 done this year.  I'm way behind on my goal of 20 for this year but maybe a good weekend trip when the weather turns this fall will change that.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Prairie School, Arkansas County

Prairie School
8X10, Oil on Panel
A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip out to the Delta for some plein air painting.  At the time, I thought I was about to get to go out to Idaho for some mountain biking and painting so I wanted to get some easel time before that.  The Idaho trip didn't pan out but I did get a couple of great little paintings from this trip.
I was walking through the town of Stuttgart, looking for something to jump out at me and taking pictures when I saw a sign for the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.  I knew there was a Grand Prairie Arts Center in town so I thought this might be it.  The sign told me to go 7 blocks away from downtown so I got back in the car and headed that way.  When I found it, I knew immediately it wasn't the Arts Center.  There were several pieces of antique farm equipment fronting a highway which looked to be good painting material.  I knew none of them would be things I would want to tackle en plein air right then due to the complexity so I photographed instead.  When I turned to the head back to the car, an old church steeple caught my eye.  On the other end of the museum grounds were several period buildings, the aforementioned church, a pioneer log cabin, this red schoolhouse, and a seemingly more recent fire department building.  I really wanted to paint the church but with limited time, I decided on the red schoolhouse.
Sometimes, things work out in strange ways.  I had decided before I laid down a single stroke that I would ask permission.  The lady inside looked a little bewildered when I asked if I could paint one of their buildings.  After I explained better that I was an artist painting en plein air, she asked if I would bring it in to see when done.  Long story short, this painting will be going to the museum as soon I get a frame on it to hang in the gift shop!

Monday, July 8, 2013

20 Favorite Paintings, #1: Moonlight Wolf by Frederic Remington

Frederic Remington was a master of the nocturne.  For many years he lamented that he just could not get the color of night correct.  I believe this one was completed after he felt he got it right.

One of the things I most like about this piece is how the main subject is so close to dead center!  Also, check out how that diaganol line of the shore cuts right to the lower left hand corner.  Here we have a Master who breaks two cardinal rules at the same time!  And yet this painting works.  It does more than merely "work," it's stunningly brilliant.  So much for those rules.

Remington centered his subject reasonably often, especially in his nocturnes it seems.  In a lot of the others, though, the subjects take up much more area and are of more variegated shapes so it is less noticeable.  I think this works here because he has divided the space up into essentially 3 regions of value with the sky and water occupying roughly the same value range.  Each triangular swath of value occupies a different amount of surface area, darkest has the least, the lightest has the middle amount of space, while the mid value occupies the largest area.  This variegation of the value pattern creates a unbalanced backdrop which allows the subject to be centered without seeming static.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University, Craighead County

Dean B. Ellis Library, ASU
11X14, Oil on Panel

This painting was supposed to be ready for my show last week but I found I had varnished it before signing it!  Uh oh.  I use Gamvar exclusively these days and it is a super easy varnish to remove.  I few wipes with some OMS and I had a place to sign it.  Now it will be heading into the Arkansas League of Artists Signature Members show.

Arkansas State University is in the Delta town of Jonesboro in the northeast corner of the state.  My son was thinking about going to school here so we took a trip up there to tour the campus.  It has been many years since I had been to Jonesboro and I was very impressed with it.  Unlike so many other Delta towns, Jonesboro seems to be thriving and I imagine ASU has a fairly large contribution to that.  ASU is the home of the Red Wolves, who play Division 1 football and basketball.  The football team has been to a few bowl games in recent years.  Interestingly enough, ASU and the University of Arkansas never play each other at least in football.  The University of Arkansas system sees no gain in playing a cross state rival.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Flat Iron Building, Eureka Springs, Carroll County, A Show Opening, and a Mountain Bike Race!

Flat Iron Building, Eureka Springs
16X20, Oil on Panel
Here is the last piece that made it into my solo show at Cantrell Gallery that opening last Friday night.  Not a whole lot to say about this one.  It's the Flat Iron Building in Eureka Springs, one of my favorite towns in Arkansas.  Obviously, this building is modeled after the NYC Flat Iron.  If memory serves, this actual building is the second Flat Iron in Eureka.  The first one burned to the ground at some point and was rebuilt.
My show opening on Friday night was an awesome success!  I was extremely pleased with the turnout.  There were times when the room was about as full as it could reasonably be!  I apologize to the people I that I know who I wasn't able to say hi to because I was busy talking to other people.  I received a whole lot of support both from coworkers at my day job and the local cycling community.  The cyclists came out in droves to see the show including some who were in town for a mountain bike race the next day.  The opening also made the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Top Ten List of things to do that weekend, coming in at #7!  Wish I could find a link to that.  I was asked about several counties and when I was going to get around to them so this concept is very well received in the local community.  I sold eight pieces on opening night with at least two of them going to a large medical facility.  Yes, a very successful show for me!

Some of the many fellow cyclists who came out
I also followed up the show by doing my first ever mountain bike race the next morning!  That was also a great success except for the fact that I somehow managed to lose my wife's brand new cycling glasses before the race even started.  I got 2nd out of 13 in my class.  It helped that I really knew the trails well.  Check out the writeup about the race from a very popular local outdoors blog, Arkansas Outside!  Looks like I'll be heading back up to Eureka Springs in a couple of weeks for another mountain bike race called the Phat Tire Festival.  I won't be racing this time but I will be taking some pictures for painting references!