Monday, August 31, 2009

Mars at the Door__10 x 8

"Mars at the Door"__10 x 8 oil on linen___for T if she likes it!
Here is Mars! A beautiful Chow mix, belonging to my friend, who probably thinks I forgot about her! I Had started this a long time ago, and last week I thought I would look again at the photos and e-mails from T....Good thing I did, because the painting I had started had the wrong dog in the painting! See my first draft, below....YIKES! WHO IS THE BLACK DOG?!!! I know T told me the story, but my delay caused me to forget....SO>>>Here is the REAL draft of Mr. Mars, and pending approval from T, it's her painting...
To you artists: So many of you tell me that you wish you had my energy...THANK YOU, but I wish I did not make so many mistakes that REQUIRE me to spend more time (and energy)at the easel, FIXING things! haha Honestly, the best way to be a good problem solver is to be nearly perfectly organized and smart...the SECOND BEST way is to make so many mistakes that you get good at problem solving, because you have a lot of PRACTICE!!!
Mystery Dog....oops....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bienvenido Rain_study_6x8 oil

"Bienvenido Rain"_study_6x8 oil on linen____$150 after I'm done with it, next week!
I am preparing a couple of paintings for a show coming up here in Austin. The theme of this show is "Bienvenidos", which means WELCOME in spanish. Here is a study...a painting from the other night when some rain came REAL close to us at sunset. I was on my way to the little drugstore for some Advil and Icy Hot for Mr. Football Player and this BRILLIANT sky loomed over the nearby ranch....The poor, sore football player had to wait a few extra moments, because lucky mama had her camera....I used the pics as reference and painted this welcome sight as soon as I got home....I will post the final painting next week...
*NOTE to are fine, really, but use them RIGHT AWAY, before the impression of the REAL light fades from memory. As I occasionally judge art shows, I can TEL when someone only works from is a very obvious distinction..use your God-given appreciation for REAL LIFE LIGHT in your paintings. If you struggle with this, do more little studies outside....I DO!

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28 on the Farm___

"August 28, 2006__Last Year on the Farm"__giclee available soon
This painting was one of my most requested ones of my "Last Year on the Farm". It sold FAST! I painted it THREE YEARS ago, today. I saw a similar scene at a nearby farm, today and it remined me that I promised myself (and a few collectors!) that I will soon paint a large version of this small study. I have the canvas ready, and a frame to put it in! The large original

will be 24 x 30 (or maybe 30 x 40...I can't decide!)...but, I also want to print a small edition of canvas giclees....My "farm work" remains my BEST work, I think. I published a small book with LOTS of pictures of the paintings. Order info is below...
A thought for my artist friends: Use your good studies as reference for larger works....this is what they are for! So many of the little "daily paintings" I do end up being re-created as larger works. Half the fun is trying to re-capture the freshness and brushwork of the study....the other half of the fun is selling the little study!

"Last Year on the Farm : A Story of Change..." THE BOOK IS HERE!

$29 plus 5 to ship. Total : $34

This exhibit of 365 small plein air paintings toured the country on exhibit in 2008. All of the paintings are up on my web site, and many are available for purchase NOW!

I put together a 50 page book, measuring 7" x 7", which is just FULL of some of my favorite images from my "Last Year on the Farm". There are two paintings for each month and a section showing two complete groups of "24 paintings in 24 hours" : "Fall Day...." and "Winter Day....". The book is available in paperback or Hard boound and includes a few of my thoughts and a short story about the project.

It is a WONDERFUL story of the end of a way of life in America. It's a story that touches MOST Americans as we say goodbye to small time farming.

Use the Paypal Button below, or CONTACT ME via e-mail if you wish to pay with a credit card. Or mail a check or money order to:


2606 Starling Dr.

Round Rock, TX 78681

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mission Concepcion__6 x 4 oil study

"Mission Concepcion_Study" 6 x 4 oil on linen with a really beautiful special frame! $220
Sunday after church my son and a pack of his buddies went to Schlitterbahn to say goodbye to summer. (If you ever come to central Texas in the summer you MUST spend a day at matter how you look in a swim suit!)...I drove my son there after church and then went on to San Antonio by myself to visit the missions with some tiny canvases on hand. I have been working with some special framing methoods for these tiny canvases, so that I can send these little gems to my great galleries. I will tell more about these frames tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grapes in Florence__14 x 11 oil on linen

"Grapes in Florence"__14 x 11 oil on linen
Everyone knows that Florence is in TEXAS! But not everyone knows there is a beautiful vineyard there!. I painted at The Vineyard, today, with a buddy artist and here's what happened....They are just about to harvest these little beauties.
I shared this painting thought with someone in my workshop lately, and it came to me, again today:

Approach your painting time with NO idea in mind about HOW it ought to look….
Any thought you have about what it ought to look like is just you IMAGINING SOMEONE ELSE’S PAINTING, anyway…”grown ups” tend to do this more than youngsters, because we KNOW good art when we see it. The reason why we WANT to create is because something impressed us “out there” and we want to do it, too! ….after a lot of brush miles, good complements, and helpful critique (even if unwanted, it’s ALL helpful), we become our own artist. And it is THEN that we can approach a painting with an idea in mind….So, I no longer think of my teachers…like “How would Kevin paint this”…or “….Rick Howell”….well, I STILL wonder how Rick would paint it..!
...any comment?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Egret Landing_6 x 4 oil study on linen

"Egret Landing"_6 x 4 oil study on linen______$100 if you are the first to ask
When I lived on the farm, I spent a lot of time sneaking up on the cattle egrets as they grazed alongsidr the cows. They always saw me, but I could take a seat and sit still and they would come back after a while. Their head and neck feathers would change to a yellowy color at certain times of the year (spring, I think). Here is a "lesson": Study the birds and animals before you create a composition, especially if you plan to change the setting. You might put Spring plumage on a winter bird, and that would be embarrassing if one of your collectors noticed! Just remember: the reason someone will buy your art might be because they JUST LOVE or are VERY FAMILIAR with the subject. They will be the first to notice if you haven't done your homework.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Through The Uprights_ A giclee, 18 x 18_3 left

"Through the Uprights"__18 x 18 framed limited edition giclee, only 3 left $450
Football is in the air. My favorite team happens to be the Texas Longhorns of the University of Texas in Austin. It's a GREAT TIME to be a longhorn fan, right y'all? I have been around long enough to know that these glory days will be gone soon enough (just like the last time!) so I am enjoying the heck out of them for now! One day we will be looking back saying,"remember when?", and it will all seem so's "just a game", right?...but, having football playing sons teaches you that, though it IS a game, nothing is closer than the struggles of real life than the sport of longhorn paintings all have football jargon titles. This one shows beautiful cattle egrets, backlit and flying around the "uprights" of the young steer, I could ramble on and on about the symbolism of beauty through the uprights....but I won't. I only have three of these left. They are pretty big, at 18 x 18 and have a great black frame...let me know if you want one of the last three...first 3 to ask...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breezy Palm_8x6 oil on inen

"Breezy Palm"__8x6 oil on linen___$250 image for juicy details
Sitting on C and D's deck over the bay, I enjoyed hearing the rustling of this palm so much, I decided to paint it.
The trip to the beach went too fast. Another good reason to paint on location is that a painting actually lasts longer than a photo…REALLY! Taking a photo does not place the thing in your memory. It’s a “mechanical” exercise. Whereas, sketching or drawing engages every part of our “learning” ability. We make visual judgments of space, perspective, scale, color…not to mention the deeply personal exercise of brushwork! There is PLENTY of loaded brushwork in this little sketch!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Imagining Rain___8 x 10 oil

"Imagining Rain"...8x10 oil on linen, click image to see detail__Available
I am staying at Caro and Don's place while spending a little time on the coast. The mornings here are irresistible to paint. I LOVE the BIG, low clouds on the Texas Coast this time of year, and keep imagining rain!!.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Port A Beach

"Port A Beach"____11x14 oil on linen panel____available
Click the image to see juicy details. It was windy on the beach today, so I did not feel the sun too much. Am SO GLAD that I have a faster hand than before, because this painting could have caused some serious sunburn! I will be in Port Aransas, TX for a few days of painting and, actually fishing with an dear old high school buddy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Colorado River, Texas Sky

"Colorado River, Texas Sky"____24 x 30 oil on linen____available
We have our very own Colorado River flowing right through Central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. I walked alongside it last week with my friend, and this pretty bend caught my eye. This time of year there is a never ending spiral column of buzzards riding the thermals above the treetops. I like that. It LOOKS LIKE TEXAS!!!
I found out today why the Colorado River was flowing so hard that day....they are releasing water from the lakes near Austin to send downstream to the rice farmers who desperately need it. This is why the Colorado River was dammed up in the first place, ...for FOOD, y'all....the boating and water sports are a "new idea" and way down on the list of priorities....Our lakes are terribly dry, but one good tropical storm will bring them back in a hurry!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Questa's Heavy Sky_6x8

"Questa's Heavy Sky" ____6x8 oil on linen panel____$150 if you love fall
North of Taos, NM is a little town called Questa. There are some tall mountains and open fields there. When I drove through last fall, clouds hung heavy over the mountain tops. This is another study for a larger painting that I will start soon. I prefer to paint on location, but photos work just fine since I have spent a lot of time paintig in the area.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Anticipating Fall Near Taos_6x8

"Anticipating Fall Near Taos"__6x8 oil on linen__$150
YES, it's still hot in Texas, but a little farther north, the season is mellowing out and fall color is about a month away! I am getting ready by working from my many photos (I trekked through the Taos and southern Colorado area last fall and have been dying to paint there again!)...A note to ALL artists who plan painting trips or workshops...whether you teach them or take them: PAINT before you go! Working from photos is NOT a criminal offense! It's a good way to "polish" your eye to see forms and color. It warms up the painting muscles and stretches those art ligaments!...and when you finally get out "en plein air" you will NOTICE the difference between real life and photos, and making adjustments is easier. ...The little painting above was painted quickly, and I noticed a "broken art rule" that WORKS! See the "sky holes" at the base of the tree? Where the grass is seen between the trunks? Well, the "rule" says that sky holes should be darker than the color of the main area of grass. Well, you can plainly see that these specs of grass are brighter than the field of grass, but I LIKE IT that this case, IT WORKS!...maybe because this is a bright sunny scene and the sun might be shining on that patch of grass?, go break some MORE art rules!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fall in the Canyon_6x8

"Fall in the Canyon"__6 x 8 oil study on linen $150
In a few weeks my favorite place in Colorado will look a lot like this. I am working on some Fall paintings right now, and going through some photos I took last year...Fall would feel pretty good right now, after a few weeks of 100+ degree days...Good news, though: FOOTBALL SEASON started today for the Round Rock High School son had his first scrimmage and his mom survived! Bring on Fall!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer's End - Taos__6 x 8 oil

"Summer's End - Taos, NM" 6 x 8 oil study on linen panel____$150 if you like thick paint!
A few weeks ago we left Taos as the day was leaving town. I love the time of day where shadows are long, and in Taos, they are always crisp and COOL shadows!...speaking of cool, we FINALLY got our A/C fixed...just as the clods came and it got below 100....whew!...NEXT WEEK, I will be on the Texas coast....heading down to paint for a few days. Any suggestions? SERIOUSLY! If you tell me what to paint, and I paint it, I will let you have first "pickin's" on the small studies! ...hit the comment button, and I will get my colors ready!!! Be sure to leave your e-mail address!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fourteen Mules_30 x 40

"Fourteen Mules" 30 x 40 oil on linen____not available
All of the individual studies I have posted lately, were used as reference for this painting. After I frame it, I will send it out to it's "home" at the Fourteen Mules Ranch on the East Coast. Of course, the "focal point" of the painting, is the group of mules and their reflections. See the detail of them, below....and see if you can find all fourteen mules! (I will let you know when it's on the way, M. :)
...I bet I can paint a mule with my eyes closed, now!

Detail of "Fourteen Mules"........copyright V....Vaughan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mule 7 of 14 Mules

"Mule 7 Study for 'Fourteen Mules'"__6x8 oil on linen
Here is mule #7, a study for the seventh mule on my big painting, "Fourteen Mules". I will FINALLY post the BIG ONE, tomorrow, and you will be able to see all 14 mules "in context" :). Now that the painting is done, I can FINALLY let the studies go, to whoever asks for them "second". I am permitting the patrons who commissioned the BIG ONE have first "pickings" of the studies. If they decide to NOT take them, then they are available to anyone else who wants them. Please let me know your preference! See all the painted studies on the blog this week, and see the sketches on the blog archives in November and December of 2008.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mule 6 Study

"Mule 6 Study"___5.5 x 4.25 oil on linen panel...see #5 below
Yesterday I posted Mule #5 from the real painting, so I am posting the STUDY of Mule #5 below. Take a look and compare will see the difference :).... While painting Mule 6, I decided to hold the canvas in my hand while painting. I OFTEN just hold the canvas in my hand, even en plein air, or teaching. I like the flexibility of being able to turn it upside-down or sideways to get a better brush angle or to check composition. But for this one, I was just being lazy, because I wanted to sit on my high chair while painting. Well, when I leaned back, the back-rest part of the chair broke and I fell straight back. All I thought of was "don't hit your head", and "save the painting!" (not in that order). Since I accomplished both. I was pretty relieved!
Mule 5 Study....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mule 5

Mule 5 on "Fourteen Mules"____detail from the "REAL" painting
I forgot to photograph the STUDY, "Mule 5" I cropped Mule 5 from the REAL painting for today's post. I have been working on a big painting called "Fourteen Mules", and posting the studies one by one....I think the painting is mostly DONE, but I will not post it till I have posted all the studies...There is a catch, have to watch for the surprise, which you will see when I post the whole painting...THURSDAY!....stay tuned!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mule 4 Study_6x8

"Mule 4 Study" 6 x 8 oil on canvas image to see the juicy details!
4 mules down...10 to go...actually I will show 7 mules one by one, and then the rest of the "14 Mules" I will show in a group...These individuals are studies. The "real mules" are together in a group on the BIG painting. By the end of the week, will post the big thing...inless I melt. The AC is still out (upstairs...we have another unit that cools the downstairs, so please do not feel too sorry for me. Texans used to survive entire summers without AC!)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mule 3 Study_8 x 6

"Mule 3 Study_8 x 6 oil on linen
Mule 3 of 14...only 11 to go! ...If you watch this blog, you already know, but I have been working on a VERY large commission. A painting for a client in South Carolina. I even posted an early version of the final painting and some of the sketches. The paintings I am posting for the next few days are individual color studies of the various figures in the larger work. I am JUST aout ready to finally let these little studies go, as I wrap up the big painting after working on it WAY too long!
I like to break down a large painting into small bites. Here is one I hope you like!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mule 2 Study

Mule 2 Study __5 x 5,75 oil on linen panel
I will never gloat about Colorado, again.
I will never gloat about Colorado, again.
I will never gloat about Colorado, again.
It is 105 here and our air conditioner went out. It's OK, though....they can fix it on Tuesday.
If I move only very slowly, I hardly sweat at all.....oh, yeah, and I have a computer problem, too... :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mule 1 Study

Mule 1 _ 5 x 7 ___available soon
Back from Colorado now, but I have been busy the past few days....mostly missing the mountains and moping! Am finishing up some important paintings so will be posting the studies and sketches for these this week. I have to hold the mule works for a few more weeks to make sure my work is done, then I will have them available for sale. If you want me to remember you for one of these, just drop me an email

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cottonwood Droppings__6 x 8

"Cottonwood Droppings" 6 x 8 oil on linen panel__$150 worth of paint on this one :)

While we were in Colorado, I needed to scrape my messy palette and put on some fresh color squirts. Rather than throwing out the "palette droppings", I used them to paint the cottonwoods below our place. There is about $150 worth of paint on this one, so that's the price! Click the image to see the details!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rain on the Canyon Wall

"Rain on the Canyon Wall"___6x8 oil on linen___$150 without the rain
This canyon wall is across the river from the house, and looms over the river. I like to sit on the porch and paint, so this was my challenge earlier in the week. When I started this painting, some visitors came by so I left the porch and got distracted for a few hours. A big storm came in and rain and wind blew hard and I forgot about the painting!. When I went back to it, the raindrops had made an interesting pattern on the blocked in canvas, that I just HAD to take a picture of it!! Take a look at it below. THIS is why I am an oil painter, and thankful that oil and water don't mix!!...I left it alone, the Colorado air dried it out in no time, and finished the painting above.....I will miss the rain. Hoping it follows me home as I am travelling home to Texas this weekend.