Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 Art and Conservation: Our Hidden Treasures 3rd Biennial – Post #2

April’s purple verbena and yellow daisy-like flowers contrasted against the burnt wood. This small painting, “After The Burn III” at the end of my day is the most abstract from the series for the show. I love the freedom in this painting that was breed from hours of viewing and experiencing the site. My setup was unusually luxurious for plein air. It was almost like a studio with my Explorer’s hatch open to extra gear, supplies at my side, and the preserve’s remote tranquility full of life urging me on to creativity.
Exciting news! I am honored to be featured along with Davidson Nature Preserve on Cibolo Nature Center’s website as well as the monthly magazine “Explore”. Click here to read Cibolo’s website article.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011 Art and Conservation: Our Hidden Treasures 3rd Biennial - April 2011

Controlled burn areas acrid and crunching beneath my feet was the attraction on my first visit to the Davidson Nature Preserve. It was the promise of better things to come. Growing up on a farm that now is under grassland/wetland restoration made me want to see what would sprout from the burn. Painting on location would prove to be a special experience here. April came and the scarred earth seen in January bloomed with wildflowers and grasses. The flowers were outstanding in stark contrast to the nearby burnt logs.

Sponsored by the Hill Country Council for the Arts and Cibolo Nature Center, “Our Hidden Treasures 3rd Biennial” assigns conservation land to each of the juried artists to paint throughout the year. This plein air watercolor titled “After The Burn II” is from the series of paintings I created for this show opening April 7. I will post several pieces over the next couple weeks, including the show pieces.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

“A Trickle of Water” and Plein Air Easel- Classic Julian French

“A Trickle of Water” was painted on a ranch full of pinkish granite crushed by the creek and standing in boulders and mounds. The water at times can pick up almost tropical colors there in the late afternoon. One time at this ranch I was so engrossed in my painting that I neglected to notice a large rattlesnake coiled a few steps away under a bush. Early spring is a forgiving time for people focusing on other things. He was still cold and sleepy, so I finished my last bit of the painting and packed up.

The classic Julian French easel. You ask if anyone still uses these heavy weights synonymous with the artists’ authentic look when on location. I treasured mine till it finally gasped its last breath and became a wobbling, unsteady disaster. Heavy and hanging from the hand while on a long hike, it can create a sore wrist and unsteady strokes when you arrive on location. Painting next to your car, it provides a very sturdy and luxurious painting experience. Large umbrellas can be used. Extra storage and palette surface are available. **Artists beware… not all French easels are created equal.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

“Creek Dreams” and Plein Air Easels- Artwork Essential EasyL

Hiking out of this canyon, I blew out my old hiking boots like a set of well-worn tires. I wondered why my legs felt so funny, but painting buddy, Jill Carver, and I kept trudging upwards and I never knew till I took off the boots in the parking lot. I love these colors in winter when the leaves are off the Sycamores. This 15” x 22” watercolor is titled, “Creek Dreams”. Jill’s work can be seen at at Wally Workman and InSight Gallery.

**Note for Artists. Artwork Essentials’ EasyL manufactures some of my favorite plein air easels. I own two different sizes. The Versa, shown here, is their largest easel and is great for large panels and windy conditions. Having your easel dump over fully loaded not only messes up the painting and gear, but can break an expensive piece of equipment. This is my steadiest set-up. A large palette will fit inside the Versa beautifully. Their smaller box, the Lite, lives up to its name when needing to pack smaller and lighter for longer hikes. I love their umbrella as well!