28 February 2009

New Painting - In the Studio

Well, I've got the initial drawing finished for my next painting. I got the idea from a Taco Bell commercial. In the background of the restaurant that the characters were in, sat a sign painting with the letters "El" on it. It looks like an old neon sign. So, I went out on my search for images that looked similar for my painting. I found tons of ideas. Above I have posted a few ideas and also the drawing I came up with. I'm thinking I'm gonna go with a bright red background with white letters and black trim. I've got a feeling that I may do an entire series on this image. I'm really excited about the possibilities. I first need to redraw the image on to a canvas. After that, I can start painting.

27 February 2009

Favorites on Friday - David Imlay

David Imlay is an artist that I discovered while I was visiting California two years ago. We were walking down the street in Los Gatos, California and a painting in the window of an antique store caught my eye. I went inside to investigate. It was the painting that is posted above. I looked it over carefully and then called on a store worker to tell me more about this artist. She did not know much about the piece but she did give me the artist's name. I jotted the info down on the back of a business card and went on my way. I looked up his website once I got home and was blown away! David Imlay does beautiful oil paintings of many different subjects. I prefer his suburban and urban scenes. On some of his paintings he lays down a base of cut newspaper strips for the background and then paints on top of it. I have done the same thing with old book pages on some of my paintings....it just makes it more interesting in my eyes. David Imlay is definitely an artist that I admire....sometimes I think that if I could paint like anyone...it would be him.

26 February 2009

Thursday Tacos

How can such a simple food like tacos, make me so happy inside? You take two corn tortillas fill them with the meat of your choice, add some diced white onions, sprinkle with cilantro, and finish it off with some salsa verde (green sauce). Man those are good! It's the authentic Mexican style taqueria taco. Meat choices usually include, but are not limited to; barbacoa (beef), carnitas (pork), and pollo (chicken). You can put whatever you want to in them. Why all the talk about tacos today you may ask? Well, I am hungry at the moment for one, and secondly, I got a new painting idea from a Taco Bell commercial last night. I am in no way promoting or recommending Taco Bell. I'm a San Antonio boy, and everyone knows that San Antonio boys eat at Taco Cabana if you need a quick Tex-Mex fix. You can't compare the two....they are not in the same league. Anyway, I'll be doing some research in the upcoming days for this idea I got from the TB commercial. I'll share it later when I get it finalized. In the meantime, go out and support your local taqueria and get some "real deal" tacos....or make some yourself like I do from time to time.

25 February 2009

Work In Progress - Water Tower #2

I added a few touches to the water tower painting. I'm gonna look at it a while and make any adjustments I feel necessary in the coming days, and then call it done. Overall, I'm happy with it. I really like the red peeking through in the tower legs. I may play with the clouds some to give it a little more depth.....I'm definitely still trying to find my own style in these recent paintings, but it's hard for me to cut loose from my technical realistic ways.

24 February 2009

Alamo Siege Tuesday - "If My Heart Was A Car"

On February 24th, 1836, Santa Anna and his troops began to bombard the Alamo. They had arrived in San Antonio the day before and given the Texians a chance to surrender. Col. William B. Travis sent his message back in the form of a cannon blast. It would mark the beginning of a 13 day siege by the Mexican army on the broken down mission. On this same day, Jim Bowie becomes very ill and is forced to stay in bed. In remembrance of the siege and the brave Texians and volunteers who stood their ground, I thought I'd list my favorite song verse with the word "Alamo" in it. It comes from my favorite band- Old 97's. The song is "If My Heart Was A Car" The verse goes a little something like this:

I remember the Alamo, I don't recall who won
They had swords, they had horses, I hear we had mighty guns
Like the ones from Navarone last night on Channel 21
It's a long way back to El Paso.
It was early Monday morning in the Central Standard Zone
You were quiet like the TV, hung up like the telephone
You were sleeping next to me, I might as well have been alone
It's a long way back to El Paso.

This might be my favorite start to a song ever!

23 February 2009

La Kiva - Terlingua , Texas

When you leave Marfa and head down to Big Bend National Park, you've got to stop by La Kiva in Terlingua. It is a little "hole in the wall" joint..... or should I say ground? It basically is a bar / restaurant that looks like its in a cave. You descend down the narrow cave opening to enter. Once you are inside you enter a dim lit bar area with some stools and tables. There are some skulls and fossil type images in the walls. The kids will love it! They have great food and cold drinks! You can step out of the cave and enter their patio for outdoor dining and live music. It's a great place to hang out and let the kids run free. One of my favorite aspects of La Kiva besides the great food and drinks was the men's urinal in the restroom. It's basically a large iron bucket hanging on the wall.....reminiscent of a witch's cauldron. My son thought it was the coolest thing. So if you are down there near Terlingua check out La Kiva......one of the coolest bar atmospheres in Texas.

22 February 2009

Sunday, Almost Done Day

Here's a peek at the current painting I've been working on for a week or so. Today, I went ahead and put a few layers on the water tower. I'm intentionally going to leave some of the red-orange background showing through in certain places to add a little extra interest. I may set this one aside for a while and see if any other ideas for this one come to me. I also may finish up the Del Mar sign that I shelved for a while. I guess I've been putting it off because all that is left is some small detail stuff. I'll show the progress on it once I get started again.

21 February 2009

Saturday - What I Did Today

Some of Allison V. Smith's Marfa Photos

Too cool! Marfa's Thunderbird Hotel Neon
2-21-09 Daily Log:
5:45 am Wake up
6:00 am Cereal with sweet 2 year old daughter. Why is she up so early on a Saturday?
6:30 am Leave for school
6:50 am Arrive at school
7:10 am Load school bus with 30 students and 3 other art teachers and leave Frisco.
7:45 am Arrive at Plano Williams HS for Regional Art Competition
11:00 am Eat PB&J, granola bar, and 7up.
12:15 pm Leave competition - All 4 of my students receive top scores on artwork!
1:00 pm Arrive back at school
1:30 pm Go to Nike Outlet in Allen - Pick up some running shorts.... RHS 5K in 2 weeks!
2:15 pm Arrive at brother's house in Lakewood
2:45 pm Eat at Matt's Rancho Martinez Tex Mex - Tacos al carbon are off the hook as usual!
3:45 pm Arrive at Barry Whistler Gallery to see Allison V. Smith's Marfa Photos and meet AVS. Cool pics above! Nice to meet you AVS!
4:30 pm Back at bro's house to hang out for a while...
6:30 pm Back on the road to go back to art competition in Plano to pick up artwork
7:00 pm Listen to the end of the Tech vs. aTm game on radio......poor Raiders
7:55 pm Pick up artwork - I have 1 student qualify for state competition!! Outstanding!
8:40 pm Arrive back to the friendly confines of mi casa. Kiss the kids goodnight & visit with wife
9:30 pm Start writing this blog post

20 February 2009

Friday Firsts - 1982 AMC Spirit

Here is an image of my first car. It was a 1982 AMC Spirit with mag wheels. I got it my senior year in 1990. We nicknamed it "The Hammer" after the high school mascot the Yellow Hammers from Rotan, Texas. Don't ask...my dad came up with it....I didn't go to school there. My actual car was not this glamorous looking, but it was in fact the bright school bus yellow color. It had brown fake leather interior and the driver's side door didn't open....so at least if I was on a date I remembered to open the passenger side door first....what a gentleman. It was a a 5 speed and it had a little get up and go...which was fun. If you looked at it from a distance.....a far distance, you might actually mistake it for a Porsche, or at least that is what I told people. I took it to college and then we parted ways after my sophomore year....when it became unreliable.

19 February 2009

Sun and Sand Motel Scratchboard

Since I live in Texas, I've gotten used to driving long distances to get places. I love road trips. Ask me again if I love them in about 4 weeks and I may change my answer...that is if I survive the family road trip to the Southeastern part of U.S. for spring break.....but anyway, back to my point. One of my favorite places to road trip to is Santa Fe, New Mexico. The art galleries and the food are world renowned. If you've never been, book your trip now. I've been going there since my college days and my wife has family there so we get out there when we can. On the way to Santa Fe via highway 84 from Lubbock, Texas sits a small little road stop called Santa Rosa, New Mexico. It is on the old Route 66 or current IH 40. Santa Rosa still has a few remnants of the old Route 66 hanging around. One in particular that I like is the Sun and Sand Motel sign. I've done numerous drawings and prints of this sign that I may share at a later time. The image above is of a scratch art drawing that I did of the Sun and Sand Motel sign. It measures 5" x 8". It was all scratched off with an exacto knife to expose the underlying white paper. So on your next road trip to Santa Fe from Texas....stop in Santa Rosa for a Slurpee and some photos before you make your last leg to Santa Fe....you're bound to find something to inspire some future artwork.

18 February 2009

Water Tower Progress

I started another painting on Sunday. Last week I showed you a couple of possibilities that I was thinking of doing. I went ahead and went with the water tower with the sky in it. All I have done so far is lay down the first layers of clouds. I do like the way it looks on the red orange background. I will probably let some of that show through in certain spots. Anyway, I have a ways to go, but I wanted to show the progress of the painting. Hopefully I will be able to knock this one out in a week or so......if I can find some time.

17 February 2009

Tuesday Tunes - Lone Star Music

Where is the best place to buy your favorite Texas artist's new CDs? Lone Star Music of course! This place has everything you could ever want in the world of Texas music. It's a great place to discover new acts and find all the back albums of some of your current favorites. If your looking for cheesy pop Nashville bubblegum country then this is NOT your place. LSM only carries the heart and soul of the Texas Music scene in their inventory. They have a store in Gruene, Texas outside New Braunfels if you would like to shop in person. It's a great place to browse and buy a CD after a long day tubing the Guadalupe River......one of my favorite activities I might add. Check out the TOP SELLERS under the SHOP tab on the website to see what is currently hot on the Texas music scene. You'll be the talk amongst all your friends when they see your eclectic music collection.

16 February 2009

President's Day - James K. Polk

James K. Polk was the U.S. president when Texas was annexed with the United States in 1845. He was also very adament about where the border between Texas and Mexico was....the Rio Grande. Polk stood his ground and led the U.S. army against Mexico in the coming years under the direction of General Zachary Taylor. The Texas border was cemented with the outcome of the war. The Rio Grande it would be. I kind of wish it was still the old border from the late 1840's. That way Texas would include Santa Fe, Taos, and my favorite fishing spot- Creede, Colorado. That would be cool.

15 February 2009

Lakewood Landing - An Upscale Dive

One of the best bars, if not THE best bar in Dallas is the Lakewood Landing or "The Landing". It's got all the requirements for a good bar. The Landing is dark, has real cold beer, awesome jukebox, wood paneling, great burgers, and mirrored glass on the exterior windows. My brother introduced me to this place 10 years ago or so. He lives 2 blocks from it now......less than a quarter mile walk. I can't think of a better place to listen to some Old 97's on the jukebox, drink a Shiner, and hang out. Above is a picture I took a few weeks ago while I was down there. I have also included a colored pencil drawing I did for my brother's bachelor pad.

14 February 2009

Valentines Day - The Brady Bunch Files

My wife and I usually keep it simple on Valentines Day. We usually exchange books, CDs, or gift cards. This year was no exception. My favorite show growing up was the Brady Bunch. My brother and I used to watch it like it was going out of style.....I'm sure it was already out of style....but who cares? We've seen every episode multiple times. We can usually tell what episode it is within the first 20 seconds or so. My 6 year old son discovered the Brady Bunch over the Christmas holidays. He loves it! We now set our DVR to record every episode on TV. Greatness! Finally a show I can stomach to watch with my children. As a joke, but kind of not, my wife bought me the book The Brady Bunch Files for Valentines Day. It has 1500 Brady Bunch trivia questions of various levels and a synopsis of all 115 episodes. I didn't realize there were that many.....but I'm guessing I've seen every last one. So, enjoy your roses, chocolate, and stuffed animals......I'll be brushing up on my Brady Bunch trivia. Let me know if you want to have a Brady Bunch trivia throwdown..........I'll get Alice to make some snacks.

13 February 2009

Friday the 13th Favorite - Susan Bennerstrom

Many of you know that I have a thing for oil pastels. I think they are fun to paint with and also I enjoy looking at them. There is just something about the layering of bold colors that draws me to them. A few years ago I discovered the oil pastel artist, Susan Bennerstrom. Her work blew me away! She has the ability to capture light, highlights, shadows, and colors like no other. I'm really a huge fan of her architectural paintings. She paints very simple views but uses bold colors and value ranges that make these simple views pop off of the panel. Susan's work is a great inspiration to me. Make sure and check out her website and let me know what you think.

12 February 2009

San Francisco de Asis Ranchos de Taos Watercolor

This is an older watercolor painting that I did of the San Francisco de Asis at Ranchos de Taos in Taos, New Mexico. It is a beautiful church with a history of being one of the most photographed churches in America. I painted this image based on a photograph I took 12 years ago. This is an image of one of the large adobe buttresses in the back of the church.

11 February 2009

New Painting Possibilities

I did a little prep work this last weekend for a new small 12 x 12 painting. Inspired by Veronica Funk, I decided to gesso over an old painting and paint the canvas red-orange as a base. I'm going to start on a small water tower painting on this canvas. I'm still debating which picture to do. I'm leaning towards the Marfa tower because I think I'll like the blue sky on the red-orange background. These are some photos that I took and then photoshopped them to get a different look. I may change the colors some.......I guess I'll just see how it goes. Any suggestions are welcome.

10 February 2009

"Bloody Mary Morning" - Willie Nelson

You know, I don't even like bloody marys, unless Willie is singing about them. The song "Bloody Mary Morning" on the 1974 album Phases and Stages is one of my favorite Willie songs of all time. In the middle of the song during the guitar and fiddle solos on a live version....Willie busts into Bob Wills "Take Me back To Tulsa".....it's awesome. So when your having a bad day and need a bloody mary.....either make you one or put some Willie on.

Here are the fine lyrics:

Well it's a bloody mary morning
Baby left me without warning sometime in the night
And I'm flyin' down to Houston with forgetting her the nature of my flight
As we taxi toward the runway the smog and haze reminding me of how I feel
Just a country boy who's learning that the pitfalls of the city are extremely real
All the night life and the parties temptation and deceit the order of the day
Well it's a bloody mary morning cause I'm leaving baby somewhere in LA
Well it's a bloody mary morning...
[ guitar - steel - piano ]
Well our golden jet is airborn flight fifty cuts a path across the morning sky
And a voice comes on the speaker reassuring us flight fifty is the way to fly
Now a hostess takes our order coffee tea or something stronger to start off the day
And it's a bloody mary morning cause I'm leaving baby somewhere in LA
Well it's a bloody mary morning...
Well I'm flyin' down to Houston with forgetting her the nature of my flight

09 February 2009

Marfa Book Company

Down the street from the courthouse sits the Marfa Book Company. It seem a little out of place in a town like Marfa......well maybe not. The MBC is great bookstore with a wide range of Texana, new releases, and old classics. They specialize in art and architecture books. Two of my favorite subjects! The decor of the bookstore is very modern and hip. It is a great place to sit quietly and sip a cup of coffee while looking over a new book. In the back of the bookstore is a small art gallery. There are rotating art shows that are on display....check out their website for current shows and openings. On our visit, we found the staff to be very helpful and friendly. I picked up some books about Big Bend NP on my visit. The MBC is a great place to spend a couple of hours reading and relaxing.

08 February 2009

Sunday Funday - Stuffed Jalapenos

So I finally gave my new pepper cooker a try last night. I've been making these stuffed peppers for a few years now and using tin foil on the grill.. I received an official cooker last summer as a birthday gift.......so now I will be making stuffed peppers in style. It is the shape of Texas with the Texas Tech double T in the middle....pretty cool if you ask me. Here is my favorite recipe for these delicious peppers:

Cut off the tops of the peppers
Core out the seeds and membrane
Stuff with cream cheese and wrap in bacon
Stick a toothpick through it to hold it all together
Cook on grill until bacon is done or in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

These are money! They lose a little heat because the seeds are out and they cook a while.
Give them a try.

07 February 2009

Inside the Studio Saturday - Ticket Stub Display

A few years ago, I decided to do something with the hundreds of ticket stubs that I have. I had a double matted frame that I needed to put to use. I came up with the idea of collaging them onto the mats as a display that I could hang up. These are just a select few. I have a shoebox filled with others that maybe I'll display later. Here are a 10 of the more notable stubs in this display:

1) Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic in Luckenbach - 1996

2) Dallas Stars vs. NJ Stanley Cup Game 2 - 2000

3) Robert Earl Keen - Lubbock, Texas - 1995

4) John Mellencamp - Starplex in Dallas - 1999

5) Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49er's - 2000 (TO dances on the star)

6) Texas Tech vs. Colorado - 2003 - Wes Welker breaks punt returns for TD record.

7) Old 97's - Trees - Dallas - 1999

8) Jerry Jeff Walker - Pike Fest - Lubbock - 1993

9) Kelly Willis - Gypsy Tea Room - Dallas - 1998

10) Cirque de Solei - Quidam - Fair Park - Dallas -1997

06 February 2009

Friday Favorites - Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend is one of those artists that just blows me away. His subject matter is right down my alley. He focuses on bits and pieces of Americana from days gone by. His attention to detail is incredible. He usually does most of his paintings in oil or watercolor. Watercolors are tough enough to paint with in the first place.....Robert Townsend make his watercolor paintings look photo realistic. Check out the Michael Hollis Fine Art Gallery website in the link above for more incredible paintings by Robert Townsend. He is definitely one of my favorite artists.

05 February 2009

Creede, Colorado Mines

As I had mentioned in some earlier posts, my family has been going to the Rio Grande river near Creede, Colorado every summer since 1980. We stay for a week in a cabin alongside the Rio Grande. We basically just fish, hike, and relax. Just past the town of Creede are the old Creede mines. It is a really beautiful drive up through the mountains looking at all of the old mines or what's left of them. This is a picture I took about five years ago while we were up there. It is one of my favorite images of the Creede area. I'm counting down the months until our trip this summer.

04 February 2009

Wednesday Works - Aztec Motel Sign

Here is a recent pen and watercolor drawing I did of an Aztec Hotel sign. I enjoy doing these small scale drawings because they are quick to do and they have a nice postcard quality after the wash is done. When I want to create something but I don't have a lot of time, I'll usually do a quick couple of pencil drawings from photographs that I have. I trace them in sharpie and add a watercolor wash. These can be great mini projects to do while you are on a trip or vacation.

03 February 2009

Tuesday Tunes - Phil Pritchett and the Full Band

Who's one of the hardest working musicians on the Texas music scene? Phil Pritchett! This guy rocks the house. I first saw him at Bill's Records and Tapes in Dallas, Texas years ago. He put on a nice little set in the record store. I think I was there to see Jason Boland, so I didn't pay much attention to Phil at the time. The next time I saw him was at the Crawfish Festival in Spring , Texas about 5 years ago. It was a rainy afternoon and most of the crowds had left or headed for cover. Phil came on stage and played to about 20 people....I knew I remembered his name but didn't remember much from the Bill's show. Wow! I was floored. He played with so much energy and excitement. His songs are catchy and he has a way with wording and lyrics that few can match. I was hooked. I went out a bought a few albums. My favorite is Cool and Unusual Punishment. It is a live recording and it captures the true feel of a Phil Pritchett show. Since then, I have seen him numerous times around the state. I strongly suggest you get out and check Phil out. He plays all over Texas, and his motto is anytime....anywhere....and he'll be there. His MySpace is here.

02 February 2009

Marathon Monday - Gage Hotel

North of Big Bend National Park rests the small little town of Marathon, Texas. Marathon is home to the historic Gage Hotel. This hotel was built in 1927. Our family stayed there a few years ago on our trip to Big Bend NP. It was a great hotel. I recommend it to anyone going to the Big Bend area. We chose to stay in the older section of the hotel.....it was a little less expensive. Our room had a cowhide rug and an old iron bed and no TV.......truly old school. The lobby is really cool. It's a great mix of Texana and western designs. The Gage Hotel also has a newer area with more updated rooms. The new rooms surround a beautiful outdoor plaza that is perfect for an afternoon drink or quiet place to read. Adjacent to the hotel is Cafe Cenizo and the White Buffalo Bar. The White Buffalo Bar has great drinks and is a great place to unwind after a day of hiking in the park. Cafe Cenizo is top notch! Check out their menu on the link above. It is truly a five star restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Delicious! We truly enjoyed our visit to the Gage Hotel. We wished we could have stayed longer! We will be back though.....that is for sure.

01 February 2009

Super Bowl Sunday Funday

As many of you know I'm an estate sale junkie. I'm always looking for deals and items to keep, items to make art from, or items to sell on Ebay. I thought I'd tie together my estate sale find from a few years back with the Super Bowl. I'm not real interested in pro football...so I don't care about the Super Bowl. College football is a 100 times more exciting to me. But one one Saturday morning in north Dallas I made one of my greatest estate sale finds ever. I was the first person to enter the house that morning and noticed tons of sports collectibles....which I love. Nothing was too appealing to me though in the house itself.....but in the garage is where I found my treasure. Stuffed away in a box on a dusty shelf lay a stack of old programs from numerous football games and other prestigious sporting events. My heart began to pound as I hunched over the box so that no one else could see what I had discovered. I knew I had hit a gold mine. I took the box to the old lady running the sale and she said " $1 a program and $5 for the 3 Super Bowl Programs" I couldn't get my money out quick enough. I think I picked up all the programs for like $35. In the stack were mint condition programs from Super Bowl V, VI, & X. I haven't sold any of them yet....and I may never sell them. On Ebay, Super Bowl V programs go for over $350........they are apparently rare because the program supply truck crashed in the swamp near Miami and the supply was limited....not everyone at the game even got a program. Long story short....my $5 purchase can be turned into $350+ if I so choose. Some of my other programs that I got for $1 have sold for up to $170. This was a great day for me and my junk collecting! You NEVER know what you can find!


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