"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, January 23, 2021


"Passion," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press paper

do you picture "Passion"?

In teaching, and in work, I've often said, and my colleagues have agreed with me, a person with passion  will stand out, over those perhaps smarter or richer, and certainly those who don't have passion.

I think that is true also in art. "Paint what you feel," "paint the emotion," and other advice basically says, "Paint with passion." I was watching a cellist play during the inauguration, and the little poet recite, as well as the other artists. They excelled because they were creating with passion.

It is no accident that red is a color of passion either, and as I try to get ready for our February red-themed show at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paso Arts District, I've recived lots of comments about my paintings featuring red. 

The best ones have been all exercises in fun, and some frustration and failures, but still, discovery and passion.

While red always catches my attention, scientifically because of the long wavelength, so does an attractive woman wearing some type of hat,  because of emotions. 

Thus today's watercolor, suggested by a recent photo I saw of a beautiful woman wearing a red tam. This isn't good enough to frame and sell, but it was discovery and fun and worth another try. Passion indeed.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

West Texas Red

"West Texas Red," 5 x 7 birthday card

in the Texas Panhandle, or elsewhere on the Great Plains, where the horizons are long, and the land vast, the skies are even more dramatic and colorful in all kinds of weather and seasons, and especially near dawn or sunset.

When I get cooped up on a cloudy day or in urban life, I often think of the freedom of that landscape and skies.

Thus, today's watercolor, keeping with the red theme for February's show. But this is just a birthday card for someone who has grown up out there. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Red head

"Red head," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb d'Arches cold press paper

I just have to keep trying, and so it is with today's watercolor, another attempt at a cowgirl holding on to her hat on a windy day.

The previous one is ok, but turned out to be too large to fit in my 5 x 7 mat, and I wanted to work on the "red" theme again, for the February red-themed show in our Gallery, In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in paseo Arts District.

This one's better, than the one eight days ago, but I might try again, as I keep learning and seeing possible improvements. Besides, it's a treat to paint a pretty woman.

What about her other arm and hand? It's probably clinched on the handle of her .45 revolver in her holster!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

End of the line

"End of the line," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb d'Arches rough press paper

"Paint what you feel, not the subject. " "Paint your inspiration," not what inspired you." "Paint shapes, not things." "Paint values, not colors." Plan long, paint fast."

The list of advice in painting, and watercolor, from my teachers, and readings--my do it yourself art school late in life, keeps growing.

They're also intimidating, but I keep trying to learn, to apply, and to be myself, not others.

Today's watercolor reflects some of all of that, and while I'm not completely happy with it, it is presentable.

It's another in a series paintings for our In Your Eye Studio and Gallery  February-themed "red" show for February, in the Paseo Arts District.

Yes, it'll be framed and for sale.

Oh, what did I feel, what was my inspiration? I've been captivated by cabooses ever since I was in first grade or before. I've painted and blogged about them many times.

This one, titled "The end of the Line," is metaphorical and very personal  now that cabooses are sidelined, and old, in the winter of their years. But there is still beauty, usefulness and memories.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Seeing red

"Seeing red," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb. d'Arches rough press paper

a walk in the woods or parks, almost anytime of the year but especially in drab winter months,  and when you catch a flash of red out of the corner of your eye, you know what it is.
The brightly colored, aptly named male cardinal brings color to a sometimes drab landscape.
Later in the year, in mating season I assume, you can often hear their distinctive  call even if you can't see them in thickening foliage.
We have lots of birds in our yard, especially with feeders in winter. robins have recently arrived. Soon, there will be cardinals, and later in the year still drab young ones.
It's good to be seeing red.
Today's watercolor, soon to be framed and for sale at our galery, In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo, for a February show, them: red.