"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.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Which country is next?

Russian Rape of Ukraine, 5 x 7 watercolor

Eight years ago, March 5, 2014, I did this watercolor after the Russian Hitler invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Now it's the rest of the country. Remind you of someone back in 1939?

Which country is next? This is how WWII started. The rape of Ukraine shows history always repeats itself. Too bad the war criminal Putin hasn't been assassinated. Though his puppet pal tRump would be sad.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

When It's Springtime in the Rockies

"Spring Morning in the Rockies," 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas panel

"When it's springtime in the Rockies

In the Rockies far away...

The flowers with their colors are aflame... ."

                                                   --Gene Autry

Today it is 12 degrees out, sleet, snow. It has been a mild February so far, but I was still dreaming of springtime and travel and mountains and a cabin two days ago when I began a painting with that old song refrain in my head.

Now I'm really dreaming of the Rockies, New Mexico, travel, and a cabin, with the wildflowers blooming in the meadows between the evergreen forests, and lingering snow beckoning on the highest peaks in the distance.

I look at the weather map and see it's warmer in Santa Fe at 7,100 feet and Truchas at 8,000 feet with my favorite mountains, the Sangre de Cristos, the Truchas, covered with snow.

So yes, I have spring fever, and it helped me finish today's painting, palette knives and brushes, and remember Gene Autry's love song.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Snow Moon tonight


"Snow Moon," 5 x 7 watercolor

Snow is forecast. It was 70 degrees today, but a storm is swooping down the Great Plains.

By midnight, we could get rain, ice, hail, snow or tornadoes, or all of the above...it's Oklahoma and spring is still a month off.

But you can count on the stars coming out, and the full moon rises over the horizon----appropriately, named the Snow Moon.

Here's a little watercolor for the occasion, from my dreams and memories, after sitting on the back porch with a chiminea pinon fire.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Great Plains Drama

"Drama on the Llano Estacado" 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas panel

"Paint for yourself," advised a Taos landscape artist in an art magazine I bought yesterday.

The advice came at the right time, as I had started a painting twice and stalled. Sometimes art has to brew or stew, like good coffee or chili, needing more ingredients.

On my computer screen was a photo I'd taken a couple of years before on one of my many trips into and across the Texas Panhandle, heading west. There's always something to see out there on the Great Plains, in the sky, in the wide open spaces, in the weather, in the ever-changing light..

I've tried painting it in watercolor before and been too fussy. But I wanted use it as a reference for what I love to paint, what inspires me...the skies, the open spaces, the old buildings, the stories.

I made a value sketch, still stewing. Then I began mixing paint with a palette knife, experimenting, forgetting, or ignorant of, any rules, having fun.

Today's painting is all palette knife work, except for the two grain elevators and buildings. The sky is mixed with variations of only three colors, plus white--Ultramarine and  cerulean blue, and burnt sienna. The little foreground is yellow ochre, azo yellow, and burnt sienna, plus the blues for shadows

I took the photo driving about 75 on I-40, east of Amarillo with storm clouds rolling in, and abandoned elevators capturing my attention. Obviously I used my artistic license on composition and color.

I've noticed since trying to learn acrylics that most of my work is vertical, compared to most of my horizontal watercolors. I don't know why. This was easy though, to show the immensity of the sky, the open spaces, and the smallness of humans. 

Notes: I'm having trouble with a title that fits the painting I'm happy with, that I painted for myself. The photo darkened that main cloud a little more  than it is. This is also, I just realized, essentially a study in complementary colors, adding to the interest and contrast.It will be available soon at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Summer Dreaming

"Summer Dreams," 5 x 7 watercolor, 300 lb. d'Arches cold press paper

weather can be beautiful, but the cold gets tiring. That's when I start dreaming of lazy summer days, with lots of green, blue skies and feathery clouds, where you're not cooped up inside.

So that's the story behind today's little painting, reverting to watercolor, with memories of being outside in rural life in Oklahoma and Iowa. Composition from a friend's photograph.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Snow Moon Rising

"Snow Moon Rising," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel, palette knives, brushes

storm. Lovely. Quiet. Romantic. Thinking time. Memory maker. Poetry prompt. Art influence.  Prayer prod. 

As long as you're safe and warm inside, that is. The prayers and thoughts for those not as fortunate or who you care for...the hungry, the homeless, the cold, the ill, the lonely, and family and friends far away.

My thoughts also turn to memories of cabins, mountains, friends, special people, the list goes on.

Flakes steadily coming down outside my studio window  today took a while to percolate and inspire before I picked  up a canvas and brushes. I still wasn't sure where it would go, until I started to mix  colors.

Actually, I only mixed one color, Ultramarine blue, along with a touch of black, and lots of titanium white for grays. If it had been watercolor, the paper would have served as white, but I wanted to try acrylics.

I wanted to imply a story for imagination, given the weather, and then I also remembered the color of moonlight  on snow. Most snow is not actually white, so blue and the moon were essential. I also found that the February full moon is appropriately the "Snow Moon."

I've written about, and painting cabins many times,  and that's because they evoke so many memories over the years with family, friends and more. "Where's our cabin?" is an invitation to a journey. Thus today's painting. You imagine the story.

Soon to be framed and available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District