Sunday, May 30, 2010

After the Storm, Daddy Welcome Back and Greenhouses

A new challenge/collaboration blog was originated by Angela Elledge and nine Texas artists have thus far, joined in... Some Texas Artists Like to Paint. This month's (June) theme is "Texas Stuff" and a second theme has been added, "Oil Spill Sorrow" in which our group can submit artistic commentary on this tragic incident in the Gulf.

The above is "After the Storm" an acrylic on 12 x 30 canvas (image extended around gallery wrap. It is a departure from my usual style, and I kinda like it. It is my contribution to the Texas theme of the new blog.

POE"ART"RY... A New Series

I have been writing poems to fit the reference photo/art on the fascinating blog "Every Photo Tells A Story" for over a year now. And I write a little intro poem for each month's Windows to the Words Challenge. I like to write simple poetry. Every now and then, I actually write something halfway decent. So, working with an idea from a couple of friends I did the first of what I hope will become a successful series. First, I pick one of my better poems, and work in reverse, painting an image that is inspired by the poem. This first one I finished for Memorial Day, but it's actually more appropriate for Veteran's Day. I painted on a 10 x 20 canvasboard. Then I printed out the poem, trimmed it, and gave it an antiqued and stressed wash. Then I glued it to the canvasboard and Kamar varnished it. A decoupage...and I guess it's a mixed media.
Click images to Enlarge

"My Daddy, Welcome Back"
Acrylic, Mixed Media, 10 x 20 canvasboard

Back to the Shack...And into The GreenHouses

For most of my adult life, I've been a nurseryman and horticulturist, specializing in tropicals and greenhouse production. Located just outside of Blanco, Texas is a tremendous floral greenhouse operation... Klepac Greenhouses. They are introducing some new lines and have been looking for experienced personnel with technical growing knowledge. So, I'm starting June 9th, and we'll see what we can come up with. I'll still be painting and blogging, of course...but doing another labor of love for the benefit of my bank account. I'll keep ya posted.

I got a lot of stuff going (new Windows to the Words challenge coming and a "dog portrait exchange") and so I'll make this post a bit short. Besides, I got a tummy ache. This new Oriental restaurant opened up and I tried this chicken dish. However, when I got my fortune cookie...this message kinda got to me.

Cya down the road..................................... James

Friday, May 21, 2010

TripTych and Butterflies

I've been a bit snowed under trying to finish up several projects in progress, including a few commissions. The following painting in three one of those commissions.

The family that commissioned this live on a ranch outside of Blanco, Texas. They wanted a scene above their breakfast nook that was colorful and interesting, and suggested incorporating elements of their landscaping and yard decor. This is the result. The two end pieces measure 24 x 24 and the center, 24 x
48.They positioned and hung it right away, and it does look spiffy... colorful, interesting and a conversation piece. I hid little things inside it for the grandkids to enjoy.... like the scorpion above and left of my name, and the eyes peeking out of the broken pot on the center piece. This was a fun project, but I'm happy to be finished.

The theme for this month's Windows to the Words Challenge is butterflies. And it IS a challenge trying to get the symmetry of a butterfly depicted and retain your sanity too. Above is my first submission, a White Admiral. Below is a Purple by Bonnie Heather, and you can see the rest of the artworks by clicking HERE.

My two cents worth. People love to disagree. They usually disagree because they look at the same thing from different viewpoints or perspectives. Whether it's Arizona laws or health care reform. attitudes change in relation to the angle in which we look at the situation. The inviting swimming pool below becomes a menacing wall of water with a simple 90 degree turn. Same picture...two drastically different perspectives. Maybe folks would agree more if they would look at a problem from every angle, before putting on the boxing gloves.

My next blog will be Wednesday or Thursday (May 26, 27). I will have two new art directions to show ya and details on a new career move. I sure hope you will drop back by.... Cya down the road ...James

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dominque's RainForest - Texas Wildflowers

Dominique Eichi's sketchbook theme for The Flying Moleskins project is forests, back roads, and stuff like that. Dominique first made contact with me while I was living in Costa Rica, and before I had a blogspot. So I chose to depict a Costa Rican rain forest. Actually, it's just so neat to paint the colorful wildlife.

7 x 22 Acrylic (Click to Enlarge)

When I posted this on The Flying Moleskins site, I later notieed I had forgotten to give the toucan feet or the butterflies antennae. The above images have the little critters with all parts attached.
I loved living in Costa Rica, and spent a lot of time in the rainforest there, and in Panama. I studied the wildlife and was very for
tunate to actually encounter much of what I have depicted. I've had howler monkeys throw seed pods at me (which I threw back at em), I've kissed a hummingbird....actually, I was showing some friends a trick I learned,,,I put a hibiscus flower in my mouth and within a couple of minutes, a little rufous hummingbird came to visit. I could feel the wind from his wings on my nose. I collected a handful of the little red and blue "blue jeans" poison dart frogs.,,they're of the lesser potency, but can stll be an irritant to sensitive skin. I've held scarlet macaws, baby toucans, and had my loyal 5 foot iguana, Darwin, frequently perch on my shoulder. And I've been awoken in the middle of the night by visiting Mexican free-tail bats and, once, by a six foot boa constrictor. I've held an 8 inch Blue Morph butterfly and watched a glass butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. And more. So I thought I'd share a bit of the memories with Dominique.
I received another commission...this time, a small (5x7) painting of Texas wildflowers. So I did this one, below, which is similar to another I had done some months back, except I gave more attention to realistic detail and used a toothbrush spackled background (which I really like).

And lastly... I have a friend out in West Texas who says they developed two new breeds of chickens. One, a 3-legged variety to meet the growing demand for drumsticks. However, they don't know how it tastes because they haven't been able to catch one. And two, a super smart chicken, and he sent a photo to prove it... below. Hm-m-m.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Gary Keimig recently began a monthly wildlife art challenge called Wilderness Art Challenge. He launched it in March with a reference photo of a bighorn sheep. Last month, it was a Shira moose traipsing through a meadow.......
Not being one to pass up an opportunity to paint a Shira moose traipsing through a meadow, I painted the one below with acrylics on a 5 x 7 canvasboard.
Sometimes Free is the Best Price There Is
Next door to my little studio gallery here in Burnet, is a older, established gallery/gift shop called ArtHaus. It is owned and run by a former German beauty queen...Heike Yost. Heike sponsors many workshops and instruction courses...particularly for the younger artists. From paints to clay modeling to scrapbooking, Heike does it all. Helping her from time to time is a young lady named Krystal Cates. Krystal has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She rides the KARTS bus into Burnet twice a week, arriving at Arthaus about an hour before it opens. I'm always up and open, so Krystal comes to my shop to visit and spoil my dogs, Pokey and TacoBelle, with lavish attention.
Recently, the family dog of many years, Greta, passed away. A constant companion to her father, Greta's parting was a big blow to him. Krystal asked if I could paint a portrait of Greta that she could give to him. The photo she gave me wasn't too good...very little definition. I did the 8x10 acrylic below. I didn't charge anything, of course, but I guess I got lucky on the likeness, because I was met with tears of joy and praise from her and her Momma....and a gigantic piece of the best chocolate cake I've ever had. A million dollars couldn't buy those marvelous expressions of gratitude.

The Windows to the Words April Challenge, "Flower Power" wound up with some remarkable submissions...including ones from Canada, Russia, The Phillippines, and India. You
can view them, like this lotus bloom from Faith Te of The Phillippines. by clicking HERE

Cya down the road....James