Sunday, June 22, 2014


Recently, I did a Google search for old gas stations and grocery stores in Texas, and then did a street view of the results. That way, I'd be able to tell if there was a place to park and set up my easel. One of the places I found that fit the bill was the old Chudej Brothers Store in Engle, about 90 minutes from my home. Engle (from the German Engel, or Angel) and the surrounding area was settled by German and Czech immigrants.

As I was setting up, an artist named Terry (I've forgotten her last name... sorry, Terry!) drove up, excited to see that someone was going to paint. I also met the current owner of the building, who stopped to say hi on her way out for the day.

Chudej Brothers Store, Engle TX.  9x12" oil
Terry asked me to stop by her place up the street to show her my finished painting. She drove me around the area, showing me some terrific old buildings to paint, including the 1800s era Freyburg Methodist church. She also gave me some information about the store I painted, including the fact that the old Czech lady that ran the place once told her that a particular stain on the floor of the building was from when a guy was shot years ago...

I will definitely make the drive out there again, once the weather cools off. It was in the mid 90s and humid on Saturday. Hundreds of paintings waiting to be made.

Freyburg Methodist Church

Terry introduced me to her chickens and gave me a pair of fresh eggs.

On the way home, I drove through Smithville, a town that has been featured in several films. I parked in a bank's covered area and painted an old Mobil station, now a retail shop. There was a brief downpour, which made me very happy about my choice of a sheltered spot.

Smithville Mobil Station, 9x12" oil

Thursday, May 15, 2014


It makes me very happy that peaches and cherries are back in season, because I like them, both as a snack and as a subject for quick sketches made during my lunch hour. I set up a little cardboard box and lamp in my office at work again.

The background for these first images is a navy blue reusable grocery bag that I turned inside out to hide the store's logo. Thinking about it, maybe I should do one with the logo showing. These are all oil on canvas panels that I made.

7 May, 2014 Peaches 8x10"

12 May, 2014 Cherries 8x10"

13 May, 2014 Cherries 8x10"
 I wanted to use a different background color, so I raided my wife Leslie's supply of quilting fabrics for a piece of yellow cloth. She'll never know I took it, because she hasn't worked on a quilt in several years. And she never reads my blog. Then again, no one reads my blog.
14 May, 2014 Cherries 10x8"

On this last one from May 15, I tried to soften some of the edges in the receding cherries a bit more. I was reminded that I had too many sharp edges in the May 14th study. (Thanks, Bruce!) I should probably revisit the May 14th one to play with the edges before the paint dries. I like the look of the red fruit on the yellow background.

15 May, 2014 Cherries 10x8"

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Some of the most recent quick sketches in my watercolor moleskin, using casein paint. The images are each about 8x5"

I didn't know I was doing a rotting fruit series, but the 3rd image indicates that apparently I am... I really need to eat my apples before they get to this stage, but they do make interesting subjects when they look like this.

I've also been doing small studio still life studies in oil:

clothespins 8x10" SOLD

Clay Pots 9x12"
Floral Still Life 11x14"
The dark green background for this 11x14" oil of an enamel coffee pot full of flowers was my windbreaker! 

I was unhappy with the way I painted the background for this Chianti bottle. Although it was an accurate representation of the color and shadow as I saw it, I thought it was too warm and too distracting; it drew your eye away from the focal point. I revisited it a few weeks later. I was much happier with it once I made the background cooler, and darker overall. It made the bottle and grapes pop .

On the left is a jar full of dark home-roasted coffee beans, and on the right is one of the last remaining bottles of my late mother's homemade tomato juice. Both are 10x8" oil.

Before the weather got cold, I did a few field studies.

Bull Creek 8x10"

Boggy Creek Farm 9x12"

Antique Rose 8x6"

Falls at Bull Creek 12x9"

Rustic Farmhouse 9x12"

 Chevrolet at Michaelis Ranch 8x10"
I seriously hate the way the Blogger interface works. I can never get the image layout to do anything close to what I want it to do.