Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Commission, Paint the Town, Special Artists

Golf Tournaments are big here in the Texas Hill Country. So are hummingbirds. A local golf course is having a tournament soon, and wanted something special as an award in addition to regular golf awards. Since their course is known for its abundance of hummingbirds, they ordered a hummingbird painting. I did the above on 8x10 gallery wrap (image surround) in acrylics using interference color for the hummer's feathers which gives it and incredibly realistic look, although it doesn't show that well in this photo.
They were well pleased.
I had never been in a plein air event until this one last weekend. It rained. Not a wash-out...but an on and off thing...enough to generate the need to hurl a few obscenities. Over 50 juried, talented artists competed...and I did, too. Assorted easels with paintbrush wielders littered the Marble Falls landscape, evoking odd looks from passerbys who were, no doubt, wondering who these fools were, standing around painting in the rain. We were challenged to do up to three to submit for judging and silent auction. I did two, pictured below.

I did this one the first day (7 x 9) acrylic on canvasboard. It got a lot of comments and sold in the silent auction for a nice amount. It depicts the storefront of The Wisteria Store on Main Street, Marble Falls.

I rushed this one the second day, in between 3 minute "windows" of non-rain. Spent more time talking to folks about Costa Rica than I did painting. Acrylic on 7 x 9 canvasboard, it is supposed to depict the wondrous grandeur of the 200+ year old oak at Old Oak Square. However, it wound up looking like the tree that ate Charlie Brown's kite. Out of 130 entries, this placed 131st.

Shannon Heep was the promoter and co-ordinator for this event. She is director of the Uptown Marble and Historic Main Street Organization. Originally from New York, after seven years in Texas, she can talk with a drawl, chunk down three-alarm chili, and toss cow patties with the best of em. For more info on Marble Falls and Historic Main Street Click HERE.

Janey Rives is the mastermind and organizer of the's fifth year. Janey was the owner of JSpace art gallery in Marble Falls and an exceptionally talented artist in her own right. She is pictured here with her painting "Spanish Madonna and Child". She is also a delightful personality with more energy than you can imagine.

A Few of the Artists
I know this is turning into a super-long blog (what's new)...but I met so many wonderful and talented people, I just have to introduce a couple of them....

Richard Bahn (and his Mom). Richard showed up early about the same time as I did Friday Morning. We visited and spent the first day in front of JSpace, painting the local storefronts. Richard is from VietNam and works in Austin as a computer draftsman. He just recently turned to art, working in pastels. He has a natural talent, and I have shown his second day's effort, Backbone Creek, above. In my opinion, it should have been in the top three. It didn't place, but it sold well in the silent auction.

Rita Kirkman I did a spot on Rita in the last blog...a realistic pastelist from New Braunfels wo has been touted in many art journals and exhibitions. She won first place in this event last year. This year she came in fourth. What I thought was her best out of the three she submitted, didn't win a cup of week old coffee. Go figure. Anyway, I snapped a photo of her, shown on the left, with her in the spotlight...where she belongs. Click HERE to go to Rita's Place.

Lisa Prosser Lisa is a hill county artist that excels in landscapes, floral and abstract works. She has quite a talent, a delightful
personality and submitted some outstanding pieces for this event. More about Lisa can be found by clicking HERE.

Valerie Walden
Valerie was next in line when we were signing in Fri
day, and her knock-out smile, well, knocked me out. Being the bozo that I am, I asked her how her pond was. Considering her vacant expression, my obscure reference to Thoreau was probably lost in the translation Valerie is from Austin, founder and member of the Austin ArtSpace Gallery. She creates some of the most delightful works and her talent is only exceeded by her winning personality. In short, she's a big sweetie. You can see more of Valerie's enchanting art and her story by clicking HERE.

And for more info on the intriguing Austin Artspace, click HERE

Debra Latham
Now Debra is a woman after my own heart...a kindred spirit, of sorts. She lives in Kingswood, over by Houston, but spends time here in the hillcountry at the family place. Her artwork is quite varied, but it is excellent in all respects. Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous, she has a winning personality, a divine talent, and she's got a neat sense of humor. If I was thirty years younger, thirty pounds lighter, thirty thousand richer, thirty degrees better looking and she wasn't already married, I'd ask her out to a picthur show. Then, if I knew the right six numbers, I could win tonight's lottery. Oh, Well. Click HERE for a closer look at Debra and her artwork, much of it done in the Old Masters' style.

Thanks for putting up with another long blog...I'll leave ya with a couple of shots of Pokey and TacoBelle in the bluebonnets and some cat and dog pictures. Cya down the road....James

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Spending every spare moment trying to get material ready and prepare for Burnet's Bluebonnet Festival, took me away from all sorts of things that needed to be done. So this blog post is overdue. And Windows to the Words is really gaining momentum with over a dozen submissions already for this month's "Flower Power" Challenge.
Angela Sullivan
James Parker

Above is my first submission for the challenge...Magnolia (my Mom's favorite subject) and Almond blossoms from Angela Sullivan. You can view these artworks on Windows to the Words Art. There is plenty of time remaining to send in your versions, and I would be honored to post them. I realize time constraints are a big consideration for all of us, but I presented some comments on challenges at the end of this month's Windows to the Words Home page that I invite you to read and leave a comment.

Burnet, Texas is officially designated as "The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas". It is no surprise that bluebonnets abound on all the roads leading to Burnet, and occur quite prolifically all around town. And they ARE beautiful. The 27th annual Bluebonnet Festival was this last weekend, a three day event with everything from an impressive air show to a weiner dog race. Over 30,000 folks attended under beautiful skies and mild temps, and I think everybody had a great time. I, and my sister, did well in the little gallery/gift shop. Only problem was I over-ate big time...but I'm still craving just one more funnel cake.

Big Parade with Antique Car ShowLots of VisitingLots of Rides and Concessions
I was gonna get some nice big blue balloons to decorate the gallery, but I couldn't find the balloon guy.
I took a jillion people picts in hopes of getting some good material for figurative painting
practice,Air Show, Weiner Dog Race, Pet Parade, Demolition Derby, and More
Here is a typical local observing one of the many events. He was overheard remarking, "Dang, seems like they'd invent something to keep the sun out of your eyes!"

Top-Notch Drawings
John & Malia Gattas

I have alway been fascinated with caricatures and portraits. John amd Malia are at the very top of this art form. Located in New Braunfels, they attend shows and festivals, and, judging from this event...are highly in demand. I think they were the hardest working folks out there. always having a line of people waiting to take advantage of their exceptional talent and reasonable prices. Click HERE to view more of their enchanting work.

Guy Morrow
Corpus Christi, Texas

I had an opportunity to visit with Guy for a while, and was truly impressed, not only with his marvelous artwork, but his attitude and strength of character. Guy is a strong Christian, and has an intriguing story on his website (click HERE). He has won many awards and exhibitions and has had his work on display in the American Embassy in Moscow. Guy took the time to come by my gallery on Sunday, closing, and was gracious enough to compliment my work...and was captured by a red-eyed tree frog painting which he purchased and took home with him. That made my week. A visit to his site is highly recommended.

Paint The Town and RITA KIRKMAN

This weekend, April 16, 17, & 18. Marble Falls will host its 5th Annual "Paint the Town" Plein Air Event with silent auction. Over 60 accomplished artists are to participate. I don't think I'm accomplished unless that refers to munching down cheese pizzas, but I'm participating. And I'm terrified. This is my first Plein Air, and I feel like a kindergarten kid in college Physics class. I'll let ya know how this goes...shudder, shudder.
One of the artists that will be in attendance is Rita Kirkman.

I first met Rita at a Georgetown, Texas show some months back. I was blown away by the skill of her realism in pastels. I visited with her a while back then, and featured her on my Georgetown blog at that time. Rita has more accomplishments, awards, and recognitions than a double fudge sundae has calories. She has appeared in International Artist, American Artist, Artist's Magazine, Pastel Journal and Southwest Art. She is pictured above doing a portrait, and her award-winning "Bride's Maid" is shown below it. Artist Extraordinaire!!! And...the best thing about Rita is... As distinguished as her career has become, she's still a friendly ole' country girl...a true treasure.
So I will be the proverbial "Babe in the Woods". I just hope I come back in one piece.

Finally (I promise to blog shorter and more frequently in the future)....I mentioned a Pet Parade earlier, so I thought I'd leave ya with a couple of cool pet shots. Cya down the road. .................James

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I won the Texas Lottery, so in gratitude, I am sending each of my followers a thousand dollars and a half-eaten Krispi Kreme Donut!!!

OOPS. Did I say I won? I meant to say WHEN I win the lottery, I'll send my followers a thousand bucks. Tsk, bad. However, if you send your name and address, I'll have that stale donut in the mail to you by next week. Any questions, check the date of this blog.

Now that's taken care of. On to the Flying
Moleskins. I have Michelle Burnett's sketchbook. Michelle's theme is loosely souvenirs, postcards, memories of youth, or whatever oddity my warped little mind can concoct. Well, I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. We had 4 channels...ABC, NBC, CBS and University of Houston Public. So I put some of my favorites in Michelle's journal. I suppose you notice that I am glued to the TV with a program that matches my I.Q.... the test pattern.

There were so many other shows that I didn't include...Mr. Wizard, Zoo Parade (Wild Kingdom later), Science Fiction Theater, Life of Reilly, Fibber McGee and Molley, Little Rascals, Outer Limits, My Little Margie, Our Miss Brooks, Superman, Wagon Train, Yancy Derringer, Cisco Kid, Rifleman, Captain Midnight, Sky King, What's My Line.... I could go on and on. I think I did OK on most of the depictions, but I definitely got the Gong Show Award on a couple of em. My sister said that was the best Obama caricature she'd she was studying The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling. And my sincere apologies go out to the Roy Rogers family....Dale, Trigger, Pat Brady, Nellie Bell, Scout and whoever. I did Roy's face 27 times and still couldn't get it. He has so much acrylic paint on his nose, it's gonna cost two dollars more to send the journal. I started to put a mask on him and call him the Lone Ranger. Oh, well. It was fun, it is colorful, and maybe Michelle will like it.
Windows to the Words Challenge
Last Month's challenge was "For the Birds" and I received over 4o exceptional submissions. A couple are illustrated below...
You can view the rest of these great artworks by clicking HERE.

And a couple more Moleskin related notes. Adebanji Alade had my sketchbook this month and created
two "Jolly Llamas"...ouch. You can see that work by clicking HERE. There are 4 or 5 ranches around Burnett that raise them. Llamas are quite the point of seeming bored to have you around.

A few days ago, I was coming back from The Llano Art Guild's Annual Show (I received a Second place in water media and a First in miniatures) and spotted these I stopped and
cameraized em. They just looked at me like they were saying "Unless You've Got Beer and Pizza, We Can't Be Bothered". Kinda reminds me or what a buddy of mine from Colorado said about Texas. He said we should put signs at the state lines saying "Welcome to Texas. Leave your money and get the Hell out". Ah, what do Coloradans know?

And, my first journal assignment was Angela Elledge's sketchbook. in which I depicted a Texas scene complete with "Bottle Tree". See it by clicking HERE. I got several comments and E-Mails from folks who had never heard of such a thing, and thought I was making it up. I wasn't....they're kinda common around here. In fact, there's this place in Llano called "Tin Lizard" that sells bottle trees and related yard decor items.

When you pass by, it's hard to keep your eyes on the road, because you think The Land of Oz has just magically materialized on the side of the road. I took several photos of the place, but none do justice. I offered the intriguingly interesting elderly gentleman who owns the place to pose in the picture, but he replied "If I did that, the next thing ya know, I'd be swamped by all them glamour magazines wantin' pictures". Yeah, I know how he feels.