Thursday, December 31, 2009

Passing West of Ft.Sumner, NM_Great Plains, grassland, sky

Passing West of Ft. Sumner, NM__6x8 oil on linen panel__reserved for 2011 exhibit

Returning through the southwestern Great Plains, I have this last painting of 2009. It is my 1,006th daily a few days I will GIVE AWAY #1000, a painting I did a few days ago. Click to see it, then email me if you want to be in the hat to win it!
2010 looms, and here is what I will be up to, in brief:
Passing America: the Great Plains...I am preparing 150 new works for exhibit in the fall of 2011. This extensive project will take me through the Great American Plains a number of times. I will blog along the way and will also present some opportunities for folks to join me and follow the progress. You can start following the early stages NOW at I will post some neat photos and new thoughts about this recent trip in a few minutes. Please go see!
I also will do my usual 3 or 4 shows, a few workshops, and pay visits to the great galleries that represent me.

MAINLY, though, I will stay near the home front as much as possible.
It is a little bit too soon to mention this, but I have a new web site in the works. I cannot wait to "open the doors" to let you see it! My target date is January 4, the same day I will draw for the free painting! Remember to sign up! ...and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Still Shines__mountains, night, snow

Christmas Still Shines__6 x 8 oil study on linen panel___$150

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I snatched some of our "family vacation time" to paint a little bit, but the family drove off in the van and I left my brushes there. So yesterday's painting was done with a palette knife. This one above I painted right afterwards with a paper towel. I painted it from my memory of the night we drove in. It was just getting dark and the details on the mountain were gone, but the little cabin lights sparkled like diamonds on the snow. I especially liked the Christmas lights...
A word to you artists...LOWER your expectations when trying new things, like paper towel painting...some of you are still new to painting, so the advice applies OVER ALL...Keep expectations LOW and you will always enjoy yourself! I teach this in my workshops. Join me at the next one in Fredericksburg, TX in about 5 weeks, Feb 5-7. I will bring the Full Moon :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Trees__snow, landscape, mountains

Winter Trees____6 x 8 oil study on linen panel___$150
When the family drove to town, I took the opportunity to paint a little study of the view out our side door, her in South Fork, Colorado....Only thing was, I left all my brushes in the van, so I painted it with a palette knife. I am no expert in that, but ist was a fun exercise! Immediately after painting this one, I did one from memory as we drove in the other night...I will post it tomorrow.
Big news in our family today! I became a future "mother-in-law"! My son had a wonderfully planned proposal to the girl of "our" dreams :) Everything that could have gone wrong DID, but somehow the good Lord provided wonderful memories for this great young couple, and it was a PERFECT time for them! We love you Tanner...and Ashton!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Passing Outside Muleshoe__red barns, snowy, landscape, plains

Passing Outside Muleshoe, TX__8 x 10 "drive-by" study ___
In a few days I will update some info and photos of a trip I am taking right now...Passing America Trip #2. Please see my other blog about the project, and I will let you know when you can read the latest. We are on the road, and connecting is always a hassle. I have been trying for 2 hours with no success...except if you click on the BLOG image you will see a WAY HUGE version...ooops...the painting isn't half this size...but the brush strokes are interesting this big :)...this little painting above was done one the move, pasing through the High Plains of Texas. Happy New Year! Be sure to sign up for a free painting from I will give away next week. See the blog post from a few days ago for info :) Be sure to send an email that you want to be in on the drawing. To

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bearing Gifts_6x6

Bearing Gifts__6 x 6 oil study on linen__$100
Agh! Computer monitor problems again, and I cannot tell how this one will come out on your monitor, but it's awful on mine!...Here is a couple of pack mules...bearing gifts, of course! Merry Christmas! Please e-mail me if you want the free painting I posted a couple of days 1000th daily painting will be given away to a lucky collector...January 4th. Here is my e-mail if you want to be in the running. (You will get an auto reply, because we are doing Holiday stuff and will be in and out) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Color of Quiet__Cypress, pond, reflections, fall, trees

Color of Quiet__24 x 36, a painting for Christmas from Steve to BRV___Merry CHRISTmas!
All those cypress studies lately were preparation for this large painting commissioned by my brother-in-law, Steve, to honor his parents at Christmas. Whenever I posted the studies, I had to be rather cryptic in my description of the work, because I knew they read the blog. Steve was great at reading between my lines as I posted comments about those little cypress studies, but refrained from details that might give it away!
Yes, my brother-in law is "Steve Vaughan" (not to be confused with Stevie Ray...) and, believe it or not, he is married to "Sarah Vaughan" joke! (You music lovers are now amused!)
MERRY CHRISTmas to all, on this wonderful night!
PLEASE see yesterday's blog post and respond if you want the chance for that free 1000th daily painting!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My 1000th Post_sunrise, city lights, landscape, farm, barns

My 1000th Post___email me if you want to be "in the hat" to win this one!___winner to be determined on Jan. 4, 2010 click image to see larger
Boy have I been thinking about this a lot. This is my 1000th post since I started doing a painting a day. I am giving away this original oil painting - a "THANK YOU" to many friends who have been along on this journey with me. I decided to paint what I MOST LIKE TO PAINT: My farm...I looked through MANY files (I have over 10,000 shots from the farm.... one day, my dream is to produce a BIG BOOK with the farm paintings, lots of these photos,and some writings....) So I chose to paint a NEW DAY...a sunrise...full of color and HOPE! I want the painting to be a reminder and an encouragement to whoever wins it! I want it to be meaningful and as I thought about it I kept remembering something I was taught a long time ago. It is from the ancient writings of a wise King named Solomon, in a book called Ecclesiastes." Even if someone lived a thousand years—make it two thousand!—but didn't enjoy anything, what's the point? Doesn't everyone end up in the same place?"...the book ends with this "solution" to how to spend your life: fear God (revere and worship), do what He tells you, for this is the whole duty of mankind....
Sorry, I tend to think too deep sometimes...this is, after all, just a little bit of color on a canvas! I will take names of those interested until the drawing on January 4...Merry CHRISTmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cypress Fall Study 2_cypress trees, fall color

Cypress Fall Color 2__6 x 8 oil study on canvas__$90
I painted fall color on some rivers this is one I forgot to post, but I noticed some cypress trees by my mom's place today...still loaded with "fall" color, though here we are on the second day of winter! Our fall color usually stays till about Christmas, here in south-central Texas, then we have about 3 weeks of winter...speaking of Christmas, my niece sent me a link where you can watch that great secret Disney movie I told you about a few days ago. It is an old classic animated cartoon. There are three parts, here is the link to part one. (parts 2 and 3 are there, too) Find someone to share this with's GREAT!
TOMORROW is my 1000th post, which I have decided to give away! I will leave the art up for folks to see for a few days and will have a drawing for it on January 4th. If you want to be in the "hunt" for it, please click here to e-mail me and let me know. THANK YOU to all who have followed me from the farm to here! Merry CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Regalos_Espiritu Santo, mission, crescent moon, night

Regalos de Espiritu Santo___8x6 oil study on linen pane l___$150

I often paint the Presidio in Goliad, La Bahia. Well, across the San Antonio River is the mission which was one of the First in Texas. It is the place where cattle ranching got its, what HISTORY in this part of Texas, going back into the 1700's! This is a study for a larger work I am making of Mission Espiritu Santo Regalos de Espiritu Santo means Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and if you look at the bottom right, there are a few shadowy figures bringing gifts to the mission...common, this time of year! Merry CHRISTmas!

Eric R., and Linda just pointed out to me that this is ALMOST my 1000th daily painting Blog Post! I am amazed by that! This one is 998 and on Wednesday, I will post my 1000th. I have never given one away before, but I think I WILL give #1000 away. How about I let you see it first, and if you want to be "in the hat" for it, drop me an EMAIL at . I will put all the names in a hat and have Linda draw out the name on MONDAY, JANUARY have till then to drop me an e-mail..this will be fun!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Pony_paint horse, oil painting, snow

"Snow Pony"___6 x 6 oil study on linen___$150
Plenty of horses are having to graze under the snow these days...I hear...but not here in central Texas. I painted this from a photo I took last winter. Pretty soon I will be taking another trip through the plains, hoping to see some snow and livestock on the little farms there.
Merry CHRISTmas, y'all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lowing 3_black cow, cattle, white face, small oil painting

"Lowing 3"___6 x 6 oil study on linen___$150
The cattle are still lowing...I have revisited the farm lately, via photos and a few small studies. Compare this "Low-er" with yesterday's. It appears that it is the same cow, and I think it is. Funny, as an artist paints, our eye records MANY things each time we look up. We take note of proportions, and negative space and lights and darks and all the art terms you can think of...These things stay in our memory bank, stored up to use later on another painting. While painting the "bangs" on this cow's forehead, I remembered painting similar shapes and textures in yesterday's work....same cow! To you art students: THIS IS WHY carrying a sketchbook is SO IMPORTANT. I worked from two different photos that I had taken, but did not remember or notice the similarity in the photos of the cows. Shooting pictures really does NOTHING to improve your art technique...but sketching does! Do you agree?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lowing 2_cow, cattle, white face,oil, small original

"Lowing 2"___6 x 6 oil study on linen panel___$150

The cattle are's Christmas time and I always loved this "theme" when I lived on the farm. If you haven't looked at the 365 small paintings from my "Last Year on the Farm" (which is the name of the exhibit which traveled the USA in 2008), please go look! Especially take a look at the December paintings and read those field notes...there is a lot about "lowing" in those paintings. It was a cold December, as it's turning out to be this year, and our cows huddled up together a lot....Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lowing 1__cow, calf, small oil painting

"Lowing 1"___6x6 oil sketch on linen panel___$150 soaking wet!
"Away in a Manger" is one of the best Christmas songs. The first line in the second verse is "The Cattle are Lowing..." so that's where I got the title for a little batch of lowing cattle I painted today...Like that movie I mentioned yesterday (The Small One),the song is a creative work which takes the real Christmas story and embellishes some of the facts, giving your imagination a moment of wonder. This is a season of WONDER!...Merry CHRISTmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Couch Look__sketch, dog, Great Dane

"That Couch Look__from my sketchbook _5.5 x 8.5 ebony on paper... $90 if you are first to ask for it!
Our "Good Dane" Romeo is not allowed on the couch...I just made life more difficult for myself for the next month or so by allowing him there, just now. Ah well, it's Christmas time...and my daughter's little dogs were on the couch in my lap and Romeo was just aching to join us..."well, OK, just this ONCE!"
I scanned it after my first 5 minute "scribble-in" (below). I think it's a good look at another way to sketch! Most of the time we start with LINES...but WHY? I will teach this "scribble-in" method at my workshops in 2010. It is a great intro to impressionism! Get out of the cold! Join me at the next workshop in Fredericksburg, TX, Feb. 5 - 7. email for info
"That Couch Look_State 1, the 'scribble-in'"

Small One_Sketch, donkey, Christmas, Mary, Joseph

Small One___from my sketchbook

Here is a little donkey sketch I made the other day...a donkey at a nearby ranch. When I got home I decided to add a couple of shadowy figures in honor of The Season! When my children were little, out favorite Christmas video was a certain Disney movie that NO ONE ever knew about. It's a story of a little donkey that played a big part in the First Christmas. It is a classic Disney production, complete with original songs and that heartwarming story line which is GUARANTEED to bring a tear to your eye...happy tears, by the way. If you have never seen The Small One, go get it NOW, for some great Christmas's short, maybe 20 minutes...then tell me how you like it!...Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tall One__Sketch, cowboy, roper, Texan

"Tall One"___from my sketchbook
I am still sketching a lot these days, finding it easier to grab the pencil than the brush...and waiting for a shipment of linen panels I ordered...they arrived, so expect a little more color to come :)
The focus of my recent workshops has been DRAWING...Drawing does not always mean "pencil work". ANY painting must be drawn first, whether you use line or shapes to draw is up to you! I teach all aspects of drawing as we workshop is February 5 - 7 in Texas! Join us if you can! E-mail me for details ...yes, Barbara, this is a sketch of Frank :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beehive Ms.Santa_Christmas, soul, Gospel singer, sketch

"Beehive Ms. Santa"__a memory sketch on a happy day___for my mom
I will try not to ramble, but...
Today is my middle child's (son) 24th birthday. After a big feast (my first attempt at crab legs...I forgot the utensils to crack them, so we set the table with hammers and scissors...worked just fine, thank you!) we all loaded up and went to my mom's nursing home and their great Christmas bash! Entering the door, we were met with one beautiful Gospel singer, Judy Arnold, in the middle of a lively version of the Christmas spiritual "Children Go Where I Send Thee" . Judy is a performer in Austin and is amazing. She has a voice so loud and clear that it feels like it's coming out of the deepest part of your own lungs! My mom was in the background, beaming and she and Judy had a little "connection" going on. I saw tonight where my emotional attachment to the arts comes! Mom falls in love with great talent and boy is she a fan of Judy's now! After the song, Judy came and held mom's hand and thanked her for the "love" she felt. It was a real sweet gesture by a talented artist toward a humble little lady in a wheel chair who cannot move her arms to clap, but cheers with her eyes. ..I want to grow up like my mom!
(Oh, yes, that is a beehive hair-do...part of a great act!...I drew this from memory...apologies to Judy Arnold.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christina 2_woman, sketch, Indian, pencil drawing

"Christina 2"___from my sketchbook__$90
Again, no "boundary lines" or "outlines" or "contour lines" to start this sketch. ..I learned to draw the hard way...trial and error and LOTS of erasing. After MANY YEARS as a busy artist, I now SELDOM use an eraser! It is my opinion that ANYBODY can be proficient with drawing...while teaching art for 19 years, I saw MANY students who approached every drawing with contour lines, or the "outline"...this SEEMS easy, but is the worst way to get a good drawing, unless you have a GIFTED eye, and can naturally solve problems of proportion, scale, perspective, and all those difficult things. Since not many are THAT gifted, I teach PRACTICAL lessons for ANYONE who wants to draw better! THERE REALLY ARE SECRETS and SHORTCUTS!...I will be teaching a FEW workshops next year...not as many as I have in the past. First one is Feb 5 - 7 at Fredericksburg Artists School, in Texas. Click the link and scroll down for info...MERRY CHRISTmas! (Happy Birthday, Tanner :)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sun Warmed Wiener_dog, Dachshund, old dog

"Sun Warmed Wiener"___5 x 5 gallery wrapped canvas, original oil, ready to hang___$190

Max is our neighbor at the family place in Colorado. Fred owns him, but Max owns the canyon. As soon as we are up moving around, here he comes for a treat (my mother-in-law started all that and Max depends on it, now). After his treat, he hangs around. When I was up there painting a couple months ago, Max spent every morning with me while I painted....speaking of my morning painting, I found the image below, which I have not posted till now. I put down the main color notes in this one, then moved on to another painting as rain came up the canyon. Somehow I never went back to this one till the next morning. The canvas had been out all night and a little mouse visitor came and tromped all over it. See his toe prints all over the left side and on the white part of the right side? I was really tempted to leave them on this canvas, but decided to photograph and fix the painting.
Mouse Toes on the Landscape(unfinished)___6 x 8 oil on canvas___This one is now cleaned up and finished and available at Act I Gallery in Taos, NM

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christina_sketch, woman

Christina Sketch___8.5 x 5.5 ebony on paper___$90 includes shipping if you remind me!
It's good t sketch a lot (I say that because I have been sketching a lot :) As a young artist, I DREW a lot, and my objective was PERFECTION: scale, perspective, proportion values...I LABORED HARD over, I take on every sketch with a freer hand, usually just scribbling in mid values and then punching in some dark values at the end! I save those "commitments" for last. Her hair was really black, but I wanted her eyes to have those darkest darks! I can always go back and make the hair darker later if I want, but haven't committed, yet.
We sketch a lot at my workshops, ...Next workshop is in Fredericksburg, TX Feb. 5-7 Email me if you need more info

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Couple of Chicks__chicken sketches

Boggy Creek Chicks____from my sketchbook
I went out with our painting group, Plein Air Austin, this morning. We met at Boggy Creek Farm, a small organic farm in the middle of east Austin, not too far from where I grew up. The most amazing thing this morning was when I first stepped out of the car and walked up their path, the smell of tilled earth met me and BOY did it feel like home! I had a whole lifetime of memories in that one little breath, and realized that not only did it smell like my childhood, but also those 30 years on the farm. You see, the farm I just moved away from was within 6 or 7 miles of my childhood home, and it's all in the same 10 mile radius of Boggy Creek. Huge century old pecan trees, black dirt, crisp air...ahhhh!!! I was a bit overwhelmed by it all and ended up chatting with the artists and doing a few sketches of the local chicks. I still have my clucking skill and kepth the poultry interested in me while I sketched them.
Speaking of agrarian things, I was recently interviewed by It's a nice take on my farm story. click link way below to read it!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Full Howl_Romeo, Great Dane, Dog, sketch, howling

Full Howl__from my sketchbook, ebony on paper__$90
After a couple of days of Romeo sketches, I found a great photo of him at the farm. Here is my sketch from that photo. He is in "full Howl", but I forgot what he was howling at. It was either a far away ambulance or some coyotes...A great feature of Great Danes is their big jowls...they blow in the wind and flap around when they shake their heads. In the past few days I have sketched what I call "woo"...when the dog "talks" to you by making a growly "woo, woo" sound. When a Great Dane does it, his "lips" pucker up, sort of and it's the only time they don't flap around. The "full howl" is an extreme version of this. ...I know...This is more info than you wanted on our "good Dane". If you are reading this on my blog, please scroll down to see yesterday's post. I forgot to hit "publish" yesterday. If you get my daily mail, then you saw it! If you would LIKE to get the daily mail please EMAIL ME at and I will sign you up.
IF YOU LOVE DOGS, you will LOVE this sweet video<>