26 June, 2020

Where It Became Clear - step by step

I thought I'd share some process shots of a recent Big Bend painting. My use of watercolor is a little different and people are often curious about my process.

 Here's the first stage. On a piece of archival paper primed with acrylic gesso, I've flung and splattered  some watercolors. You can see that I have a general idea where certain colors and darks are going to go, but there are no defined edges and I encourage the paints to flow into one another the way watercolors do. This part is pure fun.

Here I have begun lifing out light areas. Because I'm painting over gesso, all the watercolor is sitting on the surface, not absorbed into paper. This is a two-edged sword. On the plus side, it is very easy to lift the paint. On the other side, the surface is so delicate that it is easy to lift paint even when you don't want to.

Now the pace slows way, way down and work becomes more meditative. I'm considering the edges and adjusting the lights and dark areas very carefully. With this piece, I'm striving to keep the lights and darks within a narrow range.

Here's the finished painting, Where it Became Clear, 9x18 inches, watercolor on gessoed paper. I reworked the the shrub on the left considerably, and made the distant mountains less distinct. The foreground also needed a lot of consideration to get the right color temperature and amount of detail definition.

People always ask how long it takes for me to complete a painting. I never really know. Usually I have 4 or 5 all going at once. Being able to switch from one painting to another keeps my eye fresh and also allows for drying time. It's critical that the painting dries completely between stages. And then there's thinking time. So really the only answer I have is that it takes as long as it takes. Some come easy, and some are slower and more difficult. In my mind, a painting that required a lot of labor is not necessarily more valuable than one that just flowed effortlessly off the brush.

20 June, 2020

Botanical Art Collective Show at BRIT

I'm very happy that both Live Oak Twig and Jester were accepted into the Botanical Art Collective's Summer Show by curator Erin Starr White. The exhibition would have been held at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, but alas is only online and you know why! See all the other work  here.
Addendum - I'm very happy to report that both of these works sold! I'm also excited that the collector who purchased lives near enough that I can deliver them in person.

01 March, 2020

Mesa Verde AiR

Big news! I will be the Artist in Residence at Mesa Verde National Park the first two weeks in May. I'm so excited for this wonderful opportunity to spend some real time in this environment steeped in culture and history. Mesa Verde is not only a US national park, it is a World Heritage Site.

I'm extremely interested in the connections that people, or a people, form with specific places. So being able to explore a place such as Mesa Verde, home to the ancestral Pueblo people, holds a lot of promise for me. I have a lot of learning and research to do before the residency, and am looking forward to my time there.

Let me say how much I love our national parks. Not only do they preserve and protect areas of great natural beauty and cultural significance, but the national parks service makes these wonderful places accessible to all. That is such an important mission. But there is another thing they do for us as a nation that I have never seen mentioned: the parks are outstanding ambassadors for the USA. Every time I have been to a national park, I meet people that are visiting from other countries. I'm so pleased and proud that these visitors know us as a people who value our special places enough to set them aside for preservation. Thanks, NPS....long may you serve.

The image for this post is from the Mesa Verde Museum Association. I haven't been there yet to take my own picture. https://www.mesaverde.org

03 January, 2020

Happy New Year

2019 was a little exhausting, and I am glad 2020 is here! Last year I had two solo exhibitions and participated for the first time in the White Rock Lake Artists' Studio Tour. Those three events really kept me busy, and I had to stay on task even though there were so many bright and shiny distractions. In addition, I participated in several other juried exhibitions.

So it was a very good year, but I didn't have much time for play or experimentation. Both of those things are important in my art practice, and I have missed them.

Already there are two or three group shows in the works for 2020, and I am the organizer of the first one, coming up in March. I'll be returning to Big Bend soon to sketch and gather material for the series of old adobe homes I started last year. Other local urbanscape ideas are percolating as well.

Even so, I'm looking forward to a little slower pace and especially to having more time for play. I hope you have some playtime, too.

White Rock Elder 2

There are some very old trees around White Rock Lake in Dallas, which is not far from my home. They have all been through a lot of bad weather and droughts. Many were sadly destroyed by storms in 2019. I'm doing portraits like this of some of the ones that are left.

White Rock Elder 2
acrylic and gouache on panel
8x6 inches

This painting is varnished and can be displayed without glass.

click to purchase

02 December, 2019

Clear Day

This is a view of the formation in Big Bend that is called The Window. Sometimes the sky is such a bright and intense blue that it is darker than the cliffs and rocks. This was a day like that, crisp and clear. I'll be going back to Big Bend soon and am itching to make some new studies there.

Clear Day
watercolor and gouache on gessoed 300 lb. rag paper, matted

click to purchase

18 October, 2019


I picked this leaf up when I was taking photos of some trees for larger paintings. Brought it home and painted its dramatic portrait from life.

watercolor and graphite on panel
6 x 6 inches

Artwork is varnished and can be displayed without glass.


click to purchase