I never know how or when I'll start a new series but it generally comes with some sort of inspiration. Our travels to higher elevations and mountainous areas of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, for example, led to the Aspens series that I've enjoyed adding to off and on over the last few years. While we may not have Aspens or Pines where I live in the Texas Hill Country, they speak to my soul and painting them brings me joy as much as owning the work brightens the hearts and homes of my collectors.
With my teaching and studio schedule I've had, and David's job managing our gallery, we haven't had a chance to do much traveling this summer. But there have been many late evenings and early mornings that just stepping out on our deck is like taking a trip to an exotic location. You see, we have had some of the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises this summer. Every chance I get, I grab my camera and click, click, click to capture the moments... the color... the drama.
And that, my friends is the inspiration for this new series. However, there was something else that happened earlier this summer that also played a role in this new direction. And honestly, I'm still trying to understand exactly how and why, but I know it did.
Playing with a different medium
If you follow me at all, whether it be through my newsletters, Facebook posts or in person, you know that I started dabbling again with watercolor a few months back. That led to the creation of several small works that I like to call "studies." They ranged from still life scenes to landscapes and even some animals and a person! Most are really small for me, from 5x7 to 8x10 in size.
There was something about the process of painting with watercolor on small pads and blocks of paper that let me go both tighter with my style and expressive in the choice of colors. As I gained my confidence, I decided to challenge myself with a large painting on a full sheet of watercolor paper (22x30). With an entry in mind for the Texas Show at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery, I wanted to create a painting that captured the spirit of the theme. I started with a sunset, added a windmill and an oak tree and then decided it would not be Texas enough without some longhorn cattle. I completed the painting, which I titled "Texas Heritage Sunset," and was able to get it matted and framed just in time to enter it and a couple other paintings in the show the end of June.
And the winners are...
Lo and behold, I got a call to be sure to come to the reception because I had "won an award." It turned out that I won three. I had also entered one of my signature paintings of bluebonnets in the oil/acrylic category and it placed in the top 5 with an honorable mention. That painting also sold within a few weeks!
Meanwhile, "Texas Heritage Sunset," which measures 24x36 in the mat and frame, was awarded second place in water media by the show's judge. In addition, the representative for the show's sponsor, Capitol Wright Distributing, chose that same painting for the Sponsor's Choice Award.
This leads to that...new works!
Even as I played with the watercolor I was thinking about my next large canvases and what direction I might want to take. The images of the sunsets and sunrises kept coming back and I decided I needed to let that inspire me. Of course, there would still be wildflowers. But I wanted to let those colorful Texas skies dominate.
So far, I've created 6 paintings in the series, two 24x30, one 30x24, a 24x36, a 24x48 and a 36x36. They are shown below but you can also CLICK HERE to see these and my other newest additions.
I do hope that you've enjoyed reading a little about what goes on sometimes "behind the scenes" for an artist. Thanks for reading and for your continued interest in my life as an artist.