Fresh off the easel as of November 19, 2013 is my latest painting called Blue Staccato. This bluebonnet oil painting is available at Folger Gallery in Midland, TX and will be included in their Fall Show Saturday November 23, 2013. Gallery Phone number: (800) 706-0569 (This painting didn’t last long. It SOLD!)
You may click on the image for a larger view.
If you’re familiar with the term staccato you will know it refers to a musical note that’s quickly and sharply played. I remember playing such notes over the 5 years of piano lessons when I was young. It reminded me of that as I painted all those bluebonnets of playing staccato notes with short quick strokes. I built a rhythm as I painted but was sure to slow down as needed so as not a hit a wrong note so to speak. However, the real musical drama in this painting is in the wonderful back lighting streaming across the scene!
Something I try to avoid in painting bluebonnet scenes is not to make the composition a cliche. What do I mean by that? As an example I’m using the image below from an artist that was prolific in painting bluebonnet scenes. This painting I believe dates back to the 1970’s. I’m not saying anything negative or derogatory, either of the painting or artist. I like the painting, it brings back a little nostalgia from my many back road treks through central Texas. Yet at the same time, I have seen this same basic composition over the years emulated by other painters to the point of excess. Of course if you’re painting bluebonnets growing in the Texas Hill Country then obviously certain elements are going to repeat themselves, such as oak trees, barns, country roads, rolling hills etc.
I too have painted these very same features as shown in this painting that I did a few years back. It has the oak tree, road, barn, hills etc., but despite that the composition is not what I call typical or a cliche.
Early on in my painting endeavors a well known artist named Wilson Hurley in a letter to me offered some advice that was true. He said in part that paintings solely done from imagination can become repetitive and weak. Taking that to heart I have tried to find my own voice when dealing with a popular subject such as the state flower of Texas. Therefore I try basing my work on reality by actual observation. The above composition existed and was not solely a product of my imagination. When I first saw this scene the bluebonnets were not there but a field of sheep were. However, I wasn’t in the mood to paint sheep.
Sadly those dirt country roads are getting paved, beautiful old barns are disappearing and being replaced by metal buildings, land is being sold and bought with housing developments altering the terrain and making such scenes a thing of the past. Some years after having photographed this scene I returned to this same area and to the right of the old barn was a brand new metal barn. Ugh. That was several years ago. I wonder if the old barn is still even there?
In a future post I may discuss a little about the technique of painting bluebonnets.