Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cowgirl Quick Draw

Cowgirl Quick Draw_18x18 oil on linen_painted in 45 minutes_SOLD
At Cowgirl Up! on Sunday morning, I participated in the Quick Draw. Artists have just an hour to paint and frame an original piece of art, with crowds gathered around watching. Then there is a fundraiser auction, and the works are sold. It's VERY fun, and feels "competetive", though my only competition is the clock! I like the challenge and always do these with NO reference photo...this time I added some challenge by working on a BIGGER canvas than I ever have. Below you can see my first minute sketch and below that is Pat and Ellie, the wonderful folks who won the painting at auction...THANKS Y'ALL!!!!! Remember to let me varnish it for you next year!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Box_4x4

The Box_4x4 oil on Linen panel___$100 if you ask first!
Saturday Morning in Wickenburg my host, Monica drove me and a couple of other artists to the box canyon just outside of Wickenburg. Beautiful desert canyon walls with the Hassayampa River running through...pristine, except for the 4 wheelers and pick-ups and jeeps driving through the riverbed pulling skim boarders and such...I wanted to get environmentally indignant, because of the noise and all, but these young people and families were enjoying the outdoors, as I was...just in a different way, and they were really enjoying it!
But I used my artistic license and left them out of the painting....SO THERE!
I am home now...back at the ball field to watch my son's baseball team barely lose a game tonite...durn! Too many errors!!!...I will be back in Arizona in May, so look for new paintings of the area SOON!
THANK YOU to all the folks who came to Cowgirl Up!....WHAT A SHOW! WATCH for this one to become the premier show for women artists, and surely one of the best in the west. I sold my biggest painting and a couple others. My personal favorite has not yet sold, so if you are in the area (near Phoenix) go take a look! The show will hang until May 3rd.

Wickenburg Sunrise

Wickenburg Sunrise_____3x6 oil on linen panel_____$100 if you ask first
At COWGIRL UP! in Wickenburg I was greeted by a sunrise like this every morning. Simply gorgeous, and this does not do justice to the beauty of this landscape. If you ever go to Phoenix, take the short drive north to see this great Cowboy town....Shop at D&D to get your western clothes, then hit the town!
What a weekend with a bunch of Cowgirl Artists and some FINE artists, at that!....Artists work alone. What we do is TOTALLY solo, so gathering up all the paintings, frames, packing gear, etc. stirrs up the anticipation of "what now?" We wonder if our work will look right in the venue. If it will be noticed by the right people..if there will be a sale to make the effort and expense worthwhile. I did not think I would really like being with a bunch of women artists for three days...I culd just imagine my intensity multiplied by 40 ...for three days! But from the first little gathering (a "boot camp" trail ride where there was so much support and enthusiasm...ESPECIALLY if you were given a horse that matched your outfit!), I knew I would love these women. Will tell you more later, but let me tell you this...the show is WORTH viewing...it will hang at Desert Caballeros Museum through April....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Behind Vulture Peak

"BEhind Vulture Peak"_____8x10 oil on linen panel_______$150 to the first to ask!
OK, part of the attraction for me wanting to paint this one is the very name "Vulture Peak"....I can see it from my window at Monica's house where I am staying in Wickenburg, AZ for a great show called "Cowgirl Up!"....About 40 women artists (some my HEROS, like Joni Falk), are showing at the Desert Caballeros Museum here. The show runs through May 1 or so...please come by if you can. I have BIG paintings here, and we can only hang 3 at a time. It is a BEAUTIFUL museum, and a very classy show. Please ask to see my other works (I have two extras that they will hang as these three sell...MY BESO ONE, in my opinion, is NOT on the wall, yet :)...THANK YOU to all my friends who sent "sympathy" e-mails about my bad day! hahaha...tomorrow I will post a sunrise from Wickenburg!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One of Those Days

It is fitting that Blogger will not let me put up a picture....a logical end to "one of those days" !
Even if Blogger was up, I brought the wrong cord to connect camera to computer. Can't get the photo of painting into the computer :(
I have been in a remote part of Arizona, today...having a WONDERFUL time: painting, hiking, listening to the quiet. Hunting arrowheads and Indian pottery shards. Stuff you only get to do once every great while...BUT THEN...I left my friend's house (having my wonderful fill of her awesome grandbabies!)..with her hand-drawn, back-road directions to Wickenburg, and ended up seeing a lot more of the backroads than I bargained for. (Marla, did I tell you that my eyes wander on lonely stretches of road, and the steering wheel follows?... and when I "come to" I sometimes am one or two miles off course. (one year I ended up one whole state away from my destination...). So I got some great reference photos of remote places in Arizona! ...Paintings to come!
...But, the gas tank was low...below 1/2 with no stations in sight!
Then the phone jingled, indicating I as back into cell range. ELEVEN messages?? All from family...mostly mom: "Where are you, honey? Why don't you call, are you OK? OH NO!!!!" Progressively more frantic. Then the sisters and children call (similar messages)...By the time I called everyone back, my cell phone was almost dead, with two calls still to make: one to my 16 year old son, the other to my host home in Wickenburg. My call to son: "Hi Sweetie, this is your lucky day! I have no phone bars, so I can't talk to you! Just want to say HI! This WOULD BE the day that he actually wants to say more than two words: "Guess what mom! Baseball practice was cancelled because we had a tornado warning! Golf ball size hail and..." ...So, I get to Wickenburg, pull into the McDonalds looking for WiFI and LOCK MY KEYS IN THE CAR! Saying words like this **#@*%##, when the locksmith charged $65...note to my daughter, give up the design business, be a locksmith!...so, I am sitting here (at the Burger King Wi Fi Hot Spot) with some nice new little paintings to post, but BLOGGER is down (no camera cord)...SO...to make the most of thismoment, I will encourage anyone reading this, LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE to get my daily e-mail...I send it with all this info, and the daily (almost) painting, and you get to see it before the blog posts...and you get to see the photo, even if blogger is down!...now for that last phone call....Still waiting at Burger King, cell battery low, gas tank almost empty, and computer battery waning, now, waiting for my host, to call back. Why is she not answering?...stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

State One _ Fourteen Mules

"State One - Fourteen Mules"....detail of a big painting__ in Progress
I hate to call this "progress"....I am a little bit farther along on this large commission, but it's hard to tell from this photo. I am posting it, because I have nothing else to post...This is an early state, showing nothing more than my underpainting. Remember all the sketches of mules I posted a few months ago? they were the working drawings for this painting. If you are really ambitious, search the drawings and you will see each one of these figures in detail!
When I return from "Cowgirl Up!", I will finish this one and all the other commissions on my plate! I LOVE my patient patrons....THANKS Y'ALL!!!!
I will be painting the sunset in Arizona tonite...stay tuned!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Student's Workshop Work

Barbara's Masonic Lodge Painting_____available, I think!

Cecilia's Eloia Theatre Painting____available, I think
Barbara comes to many of my workshops. She is a dear friend and sometimes travels with me and helps me drive to shows! I was VERY impressed with this painting of hers....the drawing, values and brushwork (look at that curb and bold strokes in the top painting....This one is a breakthrough painting for you!...!)...Barbara, I probably did not brag enough on this one at the time, so I honor you by putting it on my BLOG!
Same to you, Cecilia (see her painting below Barbara's)...with the greens and yellows...she wasn't through, but this work also shows great DRAWING...we worked on that! She did a great job with composing this one, despite all the other interesting buildings, she included only the vital lines and has a nice composition to show for it.
Here are some more workshop thoughts...when I teach, I have a personal goal to SEE SOMEHING in each artist's work, and to improve on it...EVERY ARTIST has SOMETHING they are naturally good at. Maybe they don't even know their strength, but I will ALWAYS identify it for them, and steer them from there: for some it's DRAWING (good perspective, proportion, etc.). For someone else, it might be BRAVERY!( things like BOLD strokes or no fear of using a lot of paint), or maybe COLOR SENSE (the ability to see subtle color, but maybe not being able to mix well, dur to lack of experience)...EVERYONE who is interested enough to sign up for a class has a good starting poit. Having worked with young people a LOT, I think my teaching strength is identifying YOUR dtrength, and building YOU from your starting point...for this reason, I LOVE having "rookies" in my workshops. I often get a few who have not painted in a while or who are new to it, and they are in there right alongside the "pros", but everyone seems to do well, and learn and improve...it's my joy to give SOMETHING to your improvement....and we have fun doing it! I am not all fluffy with complements...NO ONE gets better by being told that everything they do is great (I was also a tennis and soccer coach for many years, and so I might "drill you" a bit!
See more about the recent Calvert workshop at Cecilia's blog, below. She is a great story teller, and has really documented our day well! I am amazed at all the details she recollects in about 5 or 6 of her posts. It might be more info than you want to read, but there are some good pics of our gang and stupid shots of me teaching ...go see :)
Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA
May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)
June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings! This is a comprehensive workshop...LOTS of lessons)
Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off-hours)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is, Was, Is to Come

"Is, Was, Is to Come"____12 x 12 oil on gallery wrap canvas___Alpha and Omega Opening, March 27, Austin
Every few month there is an opening and show of new works presented in a SUPERIOR art space at Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, TX. These shows are professionally presented and exhibit an amazing variety of works by over 30 artists working in ALL media: 2-D and 3-D alike. I joined this group a few months ago and feel very small among the talent and interpretations of themes represented. This season's theme is "Alpha and Omega", and the works will have interpretations on this theme....I have two works inthe show...here is one, with its interpretation...
· Title of piece: Is, Was, Is to Come
· Medium used : OIL
Creation itself is a “tri-unity” of matter, space and time. It serves as an ever-present reminder of Him who made it. Jesus is the ETERNAL Lord, the Alpha and Omega. Time, unlike eternity, has a measurement: a start, a finish, a “now”. …This painting depicts a reminder of one experience in time: is it the “Start or the End of a Day” ? or is it “The Start or the End of the Night? Our observation and study of created nature will answer this question!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poppy Problem 1

SEWE Quick Draw...the Problem Poppy_____12 x 12 oil on canvas, painted in 45 minutes.
A few weeks ago I painted this in front of a crowd at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. After some enthusiastic auction tactics, it was purchased by a nice couple. I signed the back of the canvas for them (see bottom photo)...being all proud of myself and my fancy signature, I absent-mindedly pressed down too hard and it left an impression on the painting...not on the art patron, though! I suggested they dampen the back and when it dries it would tighten and smooth out the embossed signature. Well...that did not work, so I asked them to send me the painting after it dried.
I got it in the mail, today. The top photo is hard to tell there is a problem. Click on it to see it bigger....But look below. Turning the painting sideways reveals a nicely scrawled bunch of words...NOT GOOD!!...
BUT! I immediately figured out what happened...THIS IS A GOOD LESSON!...I painted the poppy QUICKLY, and used a LOT of medium: Liquin. Liquin makes the paint flow smoothly and it dries shiny. But, when I signed the back of the canvas, the pressure lifted the front, making small "peaks" on the surface. Because the paint was juicy, I am guessing that the juicy paint slipped off the peaks, slowly, as it dried. The pigment stayed, but the liquin medium slid off the "peak" of the writing....SO, all I had to do was put another coat of liquin on the surface of the dry painting. THis made those dull sopts shiny like the rest. WHEW!!!! I am duly humbled! Note: a painting will generally dry with spots that are shinier or duller. Artists can varnish the painting after its WELL dry.
See the dull spot? Backwards words
The Back of the Canvas

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roster of Roosters

"Roster of Roosters"__various sizes, see below___$100 each if you specify first!
Well, They all seem to look alike, because they are all painted in the same way, but click on the image to see a larger version, and maybe save it and zoom in. Each one has different brush work and form....I teach a "Chicken Clinic" at many of my workshops. It is a lesson on the FUNDAMENTALS of oil painting: the properties of the medium, palette management (efficiency), the order of working with a limited palette, and MORE...like brushwork! It is a fun lesson, takes about an hour, you never have to clean your brush, and it results in a nice little painting!
The small ones (#1-2)at top are 8 x 6, the middle ones (#3-4)are 10 x 8 and the bottom one is 12 x 9... whatever one you want can be yours for just $100...even the big one!
E-mail me if you want one vvaughan8@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ah, That's Better

"Twilight Gathering_State 2"___24 x 24 Oil on linen__sent to AZ for Cowgirl Up! March 27-29
Refer to yesterday's post to compare this one with the first state. http://www.vvaughan.blogspot.com THANK YOU to all you art critics who told me what you thought was my reason for saying it was not a good painting...some of you came up with stuff that looked pretty good to me! haha!!! Be careful what you ask for, right?...
Seriously, a few of you were DEAD RIGHT. I had the little house on the lower right, with great light and shadows, but it was distracting to the overall composition...BUT IT WAS SO COOL! Still, what matters is COMPOSITION, and how "comfortable" the eye is, looking at your painting. My desire was to put ALL THE GOODIES into one painting, but my eye could not rest anywhere...that's bad! Not only were the house and light distracting, but the cloud above had some hard lines in there that also drew the eye and HELD IT there...not good....An artist wants the viewer to look and be led through the painting in such a way that they never want to leave. If folks feel uncomfortable looking at the art, they will leave, FAST!...SO....I will put that little house into another painting some day, but for now, it remains under another layer of paint. The area is too dark in this shot, but there are some nice cows and warm dark greens on the lower right now. Click on the image and adjust the values in photoshop if you want to see them....This painting humbled me, but I hope it will help some of you artists out there!...Come to one of my workshops if you can! We talk about all this stuff in depth!
Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA
May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)...almost FULL
June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings!)
Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off hours)

Friday, March 13, 2009

What Not To Do

"Twilight Gathering_State One"_____24 x 24___to be continued
I like everything about this painting...except, well, I will finish the thought tomorrow.....
It looks dark on my monitor, but those are black cows on the left, and a distant barn in the center background.....
HEre is a lesson on what to NOT Do :)
Feel free to click the comment button and contribute what you think ...if you are wrong, you will have to sign up for a workshop and let me fix you....after I get fixed :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Workshop in Action

Want to see what a sunrise demo looks like? My favorite time to do a demo is at sunrise...to greet the day with new friends and enjoy the GIFTS of creation!!...There are ALWAYS pleasant surprises, and it makes for a good beginning to a workshop....plus, at that early hour it is hard for eyes to focus and I usually can persuade the class that I have painted a wonderful demo! hahaha!!!
I have never done this before, but today I will direct you to Through My Eyes, a blog by Cecilia Conitz Heinrich. She is my Calvert contact who organized my workshops there. She is also the organizer for Brazos Valley Sketchers, and knows all there is to know about the Worldwide Sketch Crawl....she has posted a nice series of photos
....now, I have to get back to packing these big paintings headed for Arizona's Cowgirl Up! show....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pine Riders

"Pine Riders"___9 x 12 pencil on paper___$175

It's baseball season again! My son is on the JV at Round Rock High School. There will be a lot of games, so a lot of sketching to do! This, being my first one of the year, I thought would be rather "rugged", and maybe not so good since it's been a while since I did this kind of activity from life....SO....I picked a topic I didn't care too much about (the OTHER team)...and also picked the ones who were "riding the pine"....they don't move as much as the players on the field...see what tactics are involved with selecting subject matter?

I will be teaching this "tactical approach"...and LOTS of other lessons at my multi-day workshops . You might want to sign up SOON to reserve your spot. I keep the classes small, so that I can give you more personal attention...dates are below!

April 6 - 9 ...Granbury, TX (4 day - comprehensive, in-depth workshop in an elegant place, !!!)
Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)

April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA

May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)

June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings!)

Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off hours

Friday, March 06, 2009

For Bill and Susan

For Bill and Susan

My friend Bill went to heaven this week.
I am so sad!...Bill was a former boss, my art director, and played a big part in shaping me as an artist. We grew to be close friends and managed to get together several times a year for lunch and to catch up on careers and families. I always felt strengthened and encouraged after a visit with Bill. He was someone whose opinions really mattered to me...I appreciated them and sought them a lot...I will miss Bill forever!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sandy Sketch_edge lesson

"Sandy Sketch"___9 x 12 pencil on paper___an lesson on "edges"
WhiText Colorle in South Carolina a few weeks ago, I did this demo for some high school student winners of the SC Duck Stamp competition. This group is technically skilled in art, so I picked a HARD topic to demonstrate....EDGES....to me, edges are nothing more than another opportunity to put CONTRAST into your work. We have VALUE contrast (light/dark), COLOR contrast (as many varieties as the rainbow)...and then there's EDGES (soft and hard)...there are different ways to CREATE soft edges (it's more than just taking out a happy Bob Ross brush and smearing the paint :)...too much to go into here, but how about coming to one of my workshops?! The next one will be a GREAT one! for info: vvaughan8@yahoo.com
April 6 - 9 ...Granbury, TX (4 day - comprehensive, in-depth workshop in an elegant place, !!!)Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA
May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)
June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings!)
Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off hours

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Prayer of the Presidio_36 x 36 oil

Click to enlarge.
"Prayer of the Presidio"__36 x 36 oil on linen__framed for Cowgirl Up! show, Wickenburg, AZ, March 26-29.
I posted the smaller study for this one, yesterday. I wish you could see it in person. Because it is full of rich dark values, I had a hard time photographing it well...no telling how it looks on your monitor! Below is a detail of the left side of the painting. Ckick on either image to enlarge and see some detail, but, I was an awful photographer today!...
Click the link to read about Presidio La Bahia , which is not a mission, but a fort in Goliad, TX. It is the site of the awful battle of Col. Fannin and his men. 342 were killed there, and when you visit the place, you get a real heavy feeling.
I derived this painting from La Bahia, though I took artistic license with some specifics...It is a beautiful and beloved Texas historical treasure. It is listed in Fitzroy and Dearbons International Dictionary of Historic Places as one of the 186 most historic places in the Americas. It is a MUST SEE if you visit this area...beautiful and non commercial.
Located in the niche above the chapel entrance is the statue of Our Lady of Loreto sculpted by Lincoln Borglum, of Mt. Rushmore fame. You can barely see it in my painting detail below, on the right side above the circular window.

"Prayer of the Presidio"__detail...click to enlarge

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Speaking of Big Paintings

Moonlight on the Mission_a 12 x 12 study for Prayer of the Presidio 36 x 36...see it tomorrow
"Prayer of the Presidio" is what I have titled the LARGE version of this painting. It is 36 x 36 inches and I just ran out of daylight to photograph it today...durn!....I am not sure I QUITE like how it looks, yet, anyway....I decided to lighten up the sky a little bit and, to me it looks like SHERBET! So...I will rework it a little in the studio, while listening to a ball game on the radio, and will post it tomorrow....I am glad to say that this one has sold, and will be delivered soon, and I am making similar ones soon, for other shows and galleries!
The Presidio is in Goliad, TX, one of the hallowed grounds of Texas Independence. This is La Bahia, the place where Col Fanin and over 300 Texas patriots lost their lives....Happy Texas Independence Day! (yesterday)...I hope you will tune in to see the big one, tomrrow!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mountain Sparkle

"Mountain Sparkle"_16 x 20 oil on canvas....see study below
Here is another one worked up from a smaller plein air study. Yes, the one below truly was a plain air painting which I did in the dark! Ask Colorado artist Debby McAllister! she was with me! I painted one before this one, and even though it was very dark when I got around to this one, I was able to find my way around the palette, because I had already "been there" with the earlier painting....Anita sold the small one pretty fast at Act I (Taos, NM) , so I decided to work up the bigger one for the Cowgirl Up! Show later this month.
I will teach this "moonlight painting" technique at two workshops this year. First in Granbury at the Iron Horse Inn in April. A great 4 day , full time , art experience. There will be a full April moon on April 8 (and a birthday party for me that night!....and then again in Fredericksburg in June. Come to one of these if you can! See dates below:
Mar. 7 ...Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 6 - 9 ...Granbury, TX (4 day - comprehensive, in-depth workshop in an elegant place, !!!)
Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA
May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)
June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings!)
Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off hours

"Mountain Sparkle_8x10 study

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Looking Forward_24x30

"Looking Forward" 24 x 30__Click to enlarge___Painted for Cowgirl Up! e-mail for
purchase info (it's a big one :) vvaughan8@yahoo.com
Like yesterday, today's painting is a BIG ONE, created using a small plein air painting as reference. I am preparing large works for an important show in Arizona at the end of this month. Join me March 26 - 29 in Wickenburg, AZ for "Cowgirl Up!", a gathering of some great women artists in the west!...One thing that is REALLY GREAT about this big one below, is the AMAZING FRAME I have for it...if you are interested, let me know, and I will send you a picture.

In June (5-7) I will teach a workshop particularly geared to creating larger works from your plein air studies. It's called "Painting Fast...(and what to do with all those studies)". It's in the prettiest part of Texas at the best time of year. E-mail me for info v-vaughan8@yahoo.com

Saturday I will be in Rockport for a one day workshop. JOIN ME, if you can! Sunrise at 6:30 am! Other workshops below...

Mar. 7 ...Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 6 - 9 ...Granbury, TX (4 day - comprehensive, in-depth workshop in an elegant place, !!!)Apr. 18... Rockport, TX (1 day)
April 27 - 30... Gadsden, ALABAMA
May 30 ...Waxahachie, TX (1 day)
June 5-7... Fredericksburg, TX (Painting Fast - every day, and what to do with all those paintings!)
Fall ...in New Orleans (with EATING in our off hours

"Looking Forward"__ A 6x8 plein air study, Last Year onthe Farm...see BIG ONE above