"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding watercolor, metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Colors, "Renaissance"

"The Colors of Renaissance," 10" x 14" watercolor, 140 lb. d'Arches cold press paper
"Renaissance." Much is made of that word in OKC these recent years, as the city has emerged from the doldrums of mediocrity. It is perhaps overused, a little snobby, and blind to the poverty and social diseases infecting the rest of Oklahoma.
But there has been a rebirth of energy and spirit, to where OKC has almost become a city state.
One symbol looms over everything, including the skyline--the Devon tower. It is a constant subject of paintings and photographs.
I guess I had to join the crowd, but was stymied by the need to be somewhat original. It's finally come together in this painting, my first in over a month, as is this post on my blog.
During that time I've been digesting a creative-bending watercolor workshop, trying to meld what I learned with my painting abilities. 
The painting grew in stages. First, I noticed there were not northerly views of the skyline, something I see silhouetted when I drive south of Broadway Extension. Then I had to experiment with photography and composition. Then with color, and failed attempts. Eventually, the skyline and colors came together, but it sat for more days till I fit the sky to the feeling of the rest of the subject.
So this is also a renaissance of watercolor for me, though there is much more to learn and try and fail and succeed.
Thus, "The Colors of Renaissance," which is not architecturally accurate,  not constrained by chamber of commerce sugar sweet PR demands, and hints at the darkness we all know is still there.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Not dead yet, and there will be lots more color in my watercolors

Tom Lynch and I with one of his dynamic watercolors
This will be the only post this month and it's not writers' block--I've shied away from the keyboard, given circumstances, and just not wanting to spend time here.
It's all part of my Do It Yourself Art School. 
It began with five great days in New Braunfels, just north of San Antonio, studying watercolor with the internationally known Tom Lynch. http://www.tomlynch.com/
I've got 47 pages  of notes and many exercises from someone who really knows how to teach. Hosted by the classy New Braunfels Art League, which owns a building and gallery in this Germany town, it was a treat of inspiration, practicality and good German food for this Okie in the midst of 16 Texan artists.
Tom at the head of our "classroom"
Tom's intense 9 to 5 sessions were the equivalent of a three-credit hour upper level course crammed into four days. 
So many stories. So much to learn. So much to paint.
Back home, there was a lull after the storm of ideas and learning, and almost everything I've tried to paint has  been more of a lesson than something to exhibit.
Tom critiquing a student's work, always encouraging, demonstrating
And now, other events will occupy me including continued learning. But I had to post just one thing so the blog would not skip a month. It's been active since May, 2009, though this is the only month since then with just one post. So there is that challenge. 
Next month, more painting, more stories. And the experience will change the way I paint--there will be lots more color in my watercolors.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Exploring the universe

"Aurora," 9 x 12, watercolor, 140 lb. Fabriano Artistiico cold press
Abstract art increasingly attracts my attention, but I don't seem to be able to think or feel that way very often. I suppose that's because there's too much journalist and type A in my personality.
"Big Brother is Watching," 5 x 7
But every once in a while, when I'm stuck, things happen, perhaps out of desperation, or of just a need to play, to explore possibilities.
I want to be able to do more than just paint pretty pictures. 
Yesterday's watercolors are the result, the large one a creation of nature's nighttime palette.
The small one an unintended big eye, perhaps a reflection of this country's slide toward fascism and dictatorship?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Creative drought relief

"Sunset Storm," 8 x 10, 140 lb. d'Arches cold press
When creativity seems to dry up...drought can be an obscure or ill-defined mood or feeling. And finally, after frustration and dissatisfaction,  relief arrives for different reasons.
To break a drought, you need to get out of your comfort zone, take risks and attempt anything, because what has worked in the past isn't working, hence the drought.
Thus it is for me, today's watercolor, the first I've really been satisfied with in quite a while. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Color in action

"Verb," 5 by 7 #watercolor, 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press paper
Perhaps the most moving force in creation and the universe is the verb. Consider this Spanish translation of John 1:1, more accurate than the English, but you have to know your theology to fully comprende:
"En El Principio, era El Verbo, y El Verbo...."
On a gray rainy day, color stands out, the product of light, of light. Thus yesterday's unicorn, full of color and action and creation.