Approaching Storm...8 x 10 acrylic study
I'm smitten with the effect of the sun shining through the heavy clouds, spot lighting the meadow in the distance. I've painted this effect several times.
It seems like this sketch is somewhere between Tulsa and Claremore, but it could be anywhere in Oklahoma.
Again, this painting was created using only red, yellow. blue and white.
The Blue Whale is at Catoosa, Oklahoma. This is a quick 8 x 10" study, perhaps photographed too soon, since I plan to refine it a bit (or a lot).
I've been here a few times, but never when there were swimmers. I wonder if kids still swim here? Or is not "cool" enough to compete with splash pads and water parks? I think it's the coolest thing ever. How many incredible summer days were spent here over the past 40 years?
Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale of Catoosa for his wife as a 34th wedding anniversary present in 1972. Since then, the smiling whale has greeted visitors cruising down Route 66 and has become a major hub for visitors passing through Oklahoma.
After a week or so not painting, (visiting the grand kids) it's sometimes hard to get back to the routine.
It seems like it's a little hard to make the mess, get the clean water, come up with the idea, whatever excuse it takes to get back in the saddle.
I find that when I hit that little "brain-block", i revert to the old "Still Life with a Guitar" trick, where the colors are arbitrary, the composition is arbitrary, the design is arbitrary, and to quote Drew Carey, "The points don't matter".
This little 8 x 10" study has all my "crutch" elements, and is painted using only red, yellow and blue + white.
It's a little busy ( a hazard of restarting after a hiatus), but things will simplify after a couple more.
Anyway, it's a nice little painting, I think
"Southfork Falls" 8 x 10" acrylic study
In some places south fork of the Rio Grande River hammers it's way through the boulders and pines.
Depending on the rain, sometimes it's shallow. Sometimes, It's way more noisy.
The aroma of the pines and fresh mountain water is intoxicating.
The first thing I always want to do is drink it, but fumbling over the huge boulders is a dangerous proposition. More than once, I've slipped and fallen down toward the river.
It always makes me wonder what I would do if I was incapacitated and unable to climb back up to road.
The roar of the river would definitely drown out any cries for help.
Nevertheless, I always do it, addicted to that first taste of pure mountain water.
This 8 x 10" acrylic study focuses on the fresh mountain water splashing down from up above.
"Summer Afternoon" 8 x 10 acrylic study on acid-free canvas
Really not a great narrative about this. Yes it reminds me of my grandmother's house, but no, she would never have a fancy hat like that....more likely a homemade bonnet with big bulky straps to tie under her chin.
The chair? Well actually that was her chair....I just purpled it up a bit to offset all that yellow.
Flowers? Definitely! Cat? Sadly, usually Siamese, because they were good hunters. Usually 2 or 3 at any given time.
Mouse cats for the barn, but some of the more docile ones always became favorites of the grand kids.
Bright sunlight, bright flowers belie the hard work that went on all day, working the gardens, or God help us all, chopping cotton, which I was subjected to for several years. Easy weight loss plan, back when I didn't need to lose weight.
I made a narrative after all. Now let me think about it. Maybe there's more.
Enjoy this 8 x 10" acrylic painting.
A few years ago, I wandered off to Colorado by myself. All the many times that I went before, I was with family or friends, and my wanderings were tempered by the group's need for regular meals and sleeping patterns, and semi-compromised schedules of sight-seeing, and shopping.
As I drove out the straight red line map-course of my Garmin, along the top of Oklahoma, through the panhandle, I feared that I would be plagued by loneliness, and the disorientation of being alone.
By the time I got to the end of the panhandle, I began to be excited at the prospect of doing what I wanted when I wanted.
I stopped at Alabaster Caverns, Folsom, New Mexico, Capulin's extinct volcano, and everything else that caught my attention.
I slept in a tent in a road-side rest stop close to Clayton, New Mexico, downwind of the massive cattle feed lots (not recommended), with a howling panhandle wind, and broke my lantern on the first night of my exploration.
Finally in Southfork, Colorado, I planned on camping in the mountains, but a friendly lodge keeper let me sleep in a room over the laundry, saving cash for other things. Later I camped at Silverton, and Chaco Canyon, but for now it was nice to have a bed and home-base.
To the point, on one particular day of exploration, I made it to Big Meadows Lake, a favorite place for my family and extended family to visit and fish on every visit.
Being unencumbered, I decided to hike around the lake. It sounded like a giant proposition, but having water and time, I wandered at my own pace, and made lots of sketches.
This painting is from one of those sketches.
The original path was a little less defined, but still maneuverable. The rocks were bigger, and sometimes hindered a straight line hike.
The forest hugged me in a tight embrace. I thought I saw the trees, then i looked up and saw that there were more, and looked up further to see even more, and realized that one step off the path and I would be in wilderness.
8 x 10" acrylic study on canvas
Here's another Monument Valley study, 8 x 10" acrylic.
I painted this one a little warmer than the other Monument Valley studies, but still red, yellow and blue.
All the interest is in the middle ground. Although it's a little difficult to have 1/3 of the canvas be represented by flat, featureless land, it serves to shoot the viewer's attention across the desolate land, creating virtually infinite distance.
Man, I love old trucks. I don't want to own one, I just like to see them.
I remember my Grandpa's turquoise '55 Chevy pickup. That was a utilitarian vehicle. I remember him opening the hood, and the whole engine was there, easy to work on, no extras, no fluff. Not that I was or am mechanically inclined.
This truck is one I sketched long ago. I don't remember if it belonged to someone I knew, or if I just found it in a pasture.
Yep, there was a time when you just came across these beauties just sitting out on the back 40, usually full of chickens or pigeons.
I think, looking at the sketchbook that it came from, that this was in Southwest Oklahoma, down around Mangum.
The question will inevitably come up if it was Johnny's.
I just don't know.
In Montone, partway down the hill at the back entry gate, is L'Mugnaio, the town's bakery and pizza place.
Every day I walked down there for lunch. It's a dream for a traveler on a shoestring budget. Unlike some of the four and five star restaurants up the town square, L'Mugnaio can serve you an inexpensive lunch. A slice of pizza, customized to your liking...1 euro...a delicious handmade pastry...1 euro....a glass of great Italian wine...1 euro.
Three euros for lunch...unless you make the mistake I made...and order Pepsi. Evidently American soft drinks are just rare enough in Montone to cost 5 euros, in a glass, with just a little ice. Live and learn. But sometimes you just gotta have a Pepsi.
The other hang-out for the locals is the Aries Bar, on the piazza. I hit the Aries every morning for breakfast pastries and "grande cafe' Americano" much to the amusement of the locals who think I'm chugging a huge mug of espresso. The Aries is also the go-to place for afternoon gelato, evening pizza, if Michaele is in the mood, and evening drinks. (Oh my God...the "Spritz")
Back to my painting....As I walk down the steep path to the bakery, I pass this high wall of apartments with an ancient facade and remnants of very old murals still visible if the sun is just right.
Some days, all the windows are open and the Italian women are hanging out, sharing the local news, and keeping an eye on the going's on. On wash day, that venerable old wall comes alive with colorful laundry hanging from retractable lines.
Such was the view on this day. Mostly bedding with a few errant shirts and towels. All the more personal items are modestly hung on racks inside the house.
Here's my painting of Wash Day in Montone, Italy.
Down the path, on the back side of Montone, Italy sits a church...an ancient church.
That in itself was enough to pique my interest, and I sketched it several times.
I even set up with my watercolors and painted it from the side (at the time, the most interesting angle) several times.
The area was shady, and had a bench and table, so it was convenient enough and comfortable enough to spend lots of time painting and drawing.
What intrigued me most was that the back side was in virtually impenetrable undergrowth, with old debris and rocks blocking my way.
Like I said, I was intrigued. Feeling adventurous, I managed to navigate the debris with little personal harm, and came upon this wonderful door in the back. There were pigeons warbling around. The place was magic.
Once again, painted with only red, yellow and blue.
"Oh the things a painter can do, when he's armed with red yellow and blue"
Micheal W. Jones
Thoughts and work from a mid-career artist working his ass off every day
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