Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Salado Ranch

Today I went to a private ranch out near Salado which is north of Austin. I tagged along with V....Vaughan - my job was opening gates and such. Gorgeous place. I have to say that I don't think I've ever seen as many varieties of wildflowers as we have blooming now in central Texas. After such a brutally hot summer and a long drought, its a real relief. Its still relatively cool too, though I did get a bit of a sunburn.

Pretty pleased with my little ranch studies. And being surrounded by the munching angus, longhorns AND horses was quite peaceful.

I painted two scenes almost simultaneously actually. I had a 12x9 panel but wanted to paint smaller. I also liked two views so I just divided my panel in half worked back and forth between them.

Anyway - see below. I'm a little too distracted this evening. I found a tick on me and even after a shower I feel like my skin is crawling.

Ready for his close up! Handsome isn't he? :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Artists Retreat

We had a wonderful painting weekend in the Texas Hill Country. I joined about 20 other artists at a really cool little "camp" - Roddy Tree Ranch - on the Guadalupe River. I painted and sketched all around the area, some on the river and some of the cottages on the "ranch" site. There were some beautiful views... as well as horses, donkeys, old tractors and cars, and colorful characters.

It was so nice to just wake up and have nothing to do but get my breakfast and walk out to paint. I worked on site for awhile, then we headed out to explore more of Ingram and Hunt, and eventually drove further out FM 1340 which has to be the prettiest drive in central Texas. It was just lovely.

I won't blog everything, but for those who can get on Facebook, I posted lots of photos of the area and some of the fun things we saw on the way.

I have to say, I am rusty when it comes to landscape painting. And everything was such bright colors... sometimes I felt like a kid with a box of crayolas. And part of Saturday was so windy! Wow... luckily that died down and we really couldn't have asked for better weather.

Below are my paintings/sketches. I learned on the last two to stop fiddling and leave it loose and incomplete.

First painting of the weekend... one of the cottages prettily lit up with morning sun. Not exactly how I captured it though. The sun is so very bright, that judging value is hard.

I set up to paint the horses/pony/donkeys - whichever was going to pose well... but some other artists joined me then and the animals got curious and continually milled about keeping an eye on us and begging for treats and scratches. So I did this quickie of the pony with a halo of sun around him.

Trucked our things into a narrow, wet path alongside the Guadalupe river to get a view of these falls. Dropped my brush in the edge of the water at one point. No other major mishaps though! You could tell it had flooded recently... a canoe was stuck with a bunch of debris halfway up a tree.

Ok - I was wearing out here maybe. I had such great views of the other artists at work here, but the green was so bright, the water so blue, etc. that things ended up looking very childish. I almost scraped it off, but actually, it probably has some merit with another hour of work. I realized here that I quit too soon.... give up too easily.

Took ONE more stab at it Saturday evening. I saw this view Friday when we'd arrived. 24 hours later I went back to this site knowing the shadows would be long with the sun getting lower in the sky (6:30 ish) . I suppose I had thought about it long enough that I had it in my head and my hand knew better what to do. I was pretty pleased with my results here. Also decided to not define everything, but to just focus on my center of interest. I worry too much about filling in the canvas/board.

Sunday morning, we went back to "my view" and I painted a house on top of the hill this time! This hill is above the river, which flows pretty much west to east here... so we were in a great spot to paint long shadows on the ranch.

I am so glad I went - what a great group we have in Austin - now over 100 members! They have paint outs weekly in some very interesting areas around Austin - lots of great ideas and companionship come out of it. I'm going to keep my plein air set up packed and ready and get out more regularly. Its good to get out of the studio and talk to people in real life some!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Morning Out

9x12 oil on panel

I loved this subject so much that I painted another view. I will have a good opportunity to paint more painters this weekend, as well as some horses, river, landscapes, etc. Tomorrow I am joining Plein Air Austin for their annual retreat. We're heading to a camp in Hunt, Texas (a few hours from Austin) and I can't wait for a little getaway. It will be relaxing as well as inspiring I think to be around many gifted artists all focused on one thing... creating art!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Painting Demo

Last night I went to New Braunfels and did a painting demonstration for the New Braunfels Art League. I have never done one before. I am pretty proud of myself today! I think it went well and I was reasonably relaxed. They talked and asked questions and I described my working methods some while I painted for about an hour.
I had a harrowing drive down there through rush hour traffic in Austin. But once out of town, the highway cleared and I made it on time. (just)
I have to say, I think New Braunfels is one of the nicest small towns in Texas. They have a thriving downtown area, a large art community, nice landscape, and really warm, welcoming people.

As for my demo, I chose to paint something that I have done before. I actually took a large version of this which is finished and going to my show in July. I thought it might be nice to show the final product while I developed the new painting.

11x14 oil on mounted linen

I worked for about an hour so its still quite loose. I massed everything in and then just began to refine areas. I'll probably put another hour into this to complete it. I will post it again then.

Thank you to Gaye Sekula who so gently pressured me to trying this and to the NBAL for your interest and attention and a warm welcome!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

SPRING is in the air!

This month's challenge was suggested by Jeanne Illenye and it was nice and broad for our interpretation.

About a week ago I met the Plein Air Austin group for a paint out at a beautiful ranch near Kyle, Texas. The landscape challenged me, as always, and I turned my attention to my fellow painters. What can I say? I am a figure painter. My sketch there was loose at best. But I liked the idea a lot and so chose this subject as my view of spring! I wonder if Johnnie and Suzanne will recognize themselves?

En Plein Air
9x12 oil on panel
©2010 Robin Cheers

Spring Wonder
4x6 oil
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

The Lost Ribbon
8x8 oil on canvas
©2010 Jeanne Illenye

18x18 oil on canvas
©2010 Michael Naples

9x12 oil on panel
©2010 Vicki Ross

Easter Sunday
12x12 oil on canvas
©2010 Suzanne Berry

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Boating Party

11x14 oil on panel

Ask Edward Montgomery Fine Art about this painting.

I sent some new works to California last week. This painting, featuring Manet's "Boating" was among them. The scene is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art - I wish I had weekly access to it. What amazing work - and architecture - to inspire there.

I'm still working away on gallery paintings but holding back sharing the show pieces until closer to the opening in July. Since I am not painting small "daily painter" works with any regularity, I've decided to drop off the Daily Painter's Gallery. It was a hard decision - I've been with them since I began blogging in 2006! If you find my work on there on occasion and want to follow me regularly, sign up!
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