Friday, July 30, 2010

Ready To Pick Up

Ready To Pick Up, 10x8

Furey Motors, an auto repair garage opened by my Uncle Louis Furey, has been in Malvern, Ohio for a very long time. Since it predates me, I never even thought to ask just how long. To me, it's been there forever. My cousin Tom now owns the garage and while the car designs have changed, everything else looks virtually unchanged from the way I remember it during our family visits of my childhood. 

The garage was a special place. One reason was that Uncle Louis always made sure I had a clean mechanic's rag ready for my back pocket when I showed up for "work." That was cool. Even cooler, however, was that Uncle Louis had one of those old bottle-dispensing Coke machines at the garage AND the keys to go with it. To me this meant the Cokes were free, not just for me, but for Uncle Louis, as well. This being my perception, at even the slightest twinge of thirst, I would hit up my very patient elder for one frosty beverage after another. 

In hindsight, I don't know how Uncle Louis weathered this brazen tendency toward self-gratification so magnanimously, but he always did.  Louis and my Aunt Alta both passed away several years ago, now. But their seven children, and the two generations that follow them are remarkably similar in their kindness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home for Dinner

Home For Dinner, 8 x 6

My recent visit to the small town of Malvern, Ohio and the surrounding area was very nostalgic. We used to visit relatives there in the summers and spend time on the family farm about twenty five miles away. The afternoon before returning home, I had a chance to drive around and get plenty of reference photography of Malvern and some of the surrounding farms. I was amazed how much things have stayed the same there. The residents have done a great job maintaining the old homes and buildings. This back porch in the warm afternoon light is emblematic of the comfortable and friendly nature of this place and its people. I'll be posting more new art in the coming weeks, recalling this trip.

Monday, July 26, 2010

San Marcos Gazebo

Veramendi Plaza Gazebo, 6 x 8

Saturday morning Plein Air Austin met at Rio Vista Park in San Marcos. I was glad to find the solitude of this gazebo a few hundred yards upstream from the park's waterfront recreation area. With the river up and the summer heat on the rise, the park was crowded by 9:00 a.m. with locals ready to cool off in the San Marcos River's spring-fed waters.

Friday, July 23, 2010

St. Philip Neri Church

St. Philip Neri Church, 12 x 9

Last week I accompanied my mother to eastern Ohio to visit relatives and the area near the farm on which she grew up. At eighty-eight years old, she was glad to be able to make the trip and had a wonderful time. The church above is special to my mother. She, along with most of her direct American-born ancestors, on both sides of her family, were baptized in this church. She attended the church, built in 1849 in the village of Dungannon, until she left the area to become a Navy nurse during World War II, where she met my father. The painting is a gift to my mother, Ruth Wernet Parker.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Minnows Anybody?

Minnows Anybody? 5 x 7

This was painted from a photo I took at Stony Brook Harbor on the North Shore of Long Island over Labor Day weekend, 2008. Typical of kids this age, this brother and sister were excited to be the owners of a big bucket of minnows. As young entrepreneurs, I think they were even more excited about the prospect of turning a tidy profit off their sale.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bungalow with Blue Trim

Bungalow with Blue Trim, 8 x 10

I passed by this bungalow while in Marble Falls in April. There was nothing really unusual about it, other than I found everything about it inviting. I always loved the porches common to houses of this era.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Staying Put

Staying Put, 6 x 6

This spring, Plein Air Austin had a paintout at the Michaelis Rance, south of Austin. On this particular day, feeding the cattle and mowing a pasture were enough to keep the hands busy. Happily, that meant this aging trailer was around to be admired, photographed, and finally today, painted.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cotton Warehouse

Cotton Dock, 8 x 10

This dock once was the loading point for the cotton grown on the historic Boone Hall plantation in South Carolina. Barges transported the cotton from here down the tidal Wando River to Charleston Harbor for export.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Power In Repose

Power in Repose, 6x8

This is one of four bengal tigers at the Austin Zoo. When the first two walked out from their shelter, I was amazed at their size. Then this one appeared and it was huge, in comparison. It was obvious by the size difference that this was a male, which was confirmed. He weighs nearly 400 lbs.

Having never painted at a zoo, I wondered from the outset whether it would even be worth trying. I eventually tried quick pencil sketches of a couple goats nearby, but the exercise was less than satisfying.  Then this magnificent cat climbed up on a rock to sun himself after taking a swim. I came over and was able to get a quick sketch of him in this pose, which was very fortunate. I took a couple pictures later but none had as good a head position. With a sketch I liked, I spent the remaining time mapping the composition on my panel and blocking in main color, before heading home. I used the photos back in the studio to reference accurate color and shading.

Overall, I found painting at the zoo a little nerve-racking. But in the end, the one pencil sketch made the trip worthwhile. I managed to get the pose I wanted from probably the most beautiful animal I've ever seen.