Monday, July 27, 2009

Chance of Rain

Chance of Rain, 8 x 10

Wish this had been a plein air painting--it would've meant the possibility of rain today, but it seems everyone but Austin is getting wet these days! I'm charmed by fencelines lately. And barns. This was from a photo taken near Llano, not far from the Llano River.

-julie davis

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daybreak in the Pasture

Daybreak in the Pasture, 8 x 10

My favorite part of  the day--when the sun has just come up and you're grabbing that first, precious cup of coffee, and things are still quiet--even outside.  To be honest, I had a bit of a challenge photographing this with so many greens--the dark ones are definitely the least cooperative.  I can't ever seem to get a away from this issue, even if I change the time of day, direction the painting is facing (I take all my photos outside).  Anyone have any suggestions on this topic of outdoor photography?  Other than setting up lights, etc. indoors?  I'd love to hear them.  I take my photos usually after 5 or 6 o'clock, and set my work upright against an east-facing wall in my backyard.  Is it all just trial and error?

-julie davis

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shall We Stop?

Shall We Stop?   6 x 8

A sure sign of summer in the Hill Country is a roadside peach stand open for business.  My husband wanted to name this one "Pitt Stop," or "Stopped By the Fuzz," but I refrained. Perhaps I should've gone with one of those, but inevitably, the words that come out of our mouths when we see a peach stand coming into view this time of year is, "Shall we stop?"  

-julie davis

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cattle Guard

Cattle Guard, 8 x 10

The cattle must have been elsewhere--their food lay baled in the field, but they were nowhere to be seen--maybe the cattle guard wasn't so effective after all?

I'm painting at least two or more a day this week--trying to complete what I can before I sign, frame, and ship pieces to Oregon for the show next month. Today I gathered many of the pieces in one room and leaned them inside their frames against a was great to see it all together.

-julie davis

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blue Skies

Blue Skies, 8 x 6

Who can resist the red barn? I always get a kick out of a freshly painted, real red barn, like this one outside of Johnson City. They stand out, and have innate appeal.

-julie davis

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Winter Reserve

Winter Reserve, 6 x 8

A lesson for us all--planning ahead. As hot as it is right now, it's hard to imagine winter, but ranchers have to plan ahead, and storing hay to last through the winter is part of that. This is a view from Highway 16 south out of Fredericksburg out into the hills.

-julie davis

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Noon Siesta

Noon Siesta, 6 x 6

This is the only place for cattle to be during the heat of a Texas summer--in the shade of an oak grove. I'd assumed these were taking a nap as well. Sometimes, that's the best way to handle the heat....just ignore it until it goes away.

-julie davis

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Roadside Barn

Roadside Barn, 12 x 12

Barns are compelling to me. For so many reasons. This one is along a country road off of Hwy 71 somewhere between here and Houston. Part of the fun of plein air painting is getting to follow these little roads....unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to follow this one, but did have time to stop and get a photo.

-julie davis

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hillside Road

Hillside Road, 5 x 7

California has the most compelling hills often with trees sprinkled atop them; I snagged a quick photo of this winding road as we drove along--I'd love to find out where it leads...

The PAA show last night had a great turnout, and looks fantastic. I even met blogging friend Camille LaRue Olsen who came to see all the work, and enjoyed seeing all the fantastic art that Austin plein air artists produce. Laurel Daniel, Quaing Huang, V....Vaughan, Trish Seigel, Stephen Parker, and so many others have work showing. Stop by if you have a chance--it's in the Corridor of Arts in the Chase Bank Building at 700 Lavaca, in Austin.

-julie davis

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Warming Up

Vineyard Study, 8 x 10

It's interesting to me that not painting for 6 days would make me rusty, but I sure felt that way. So I'm painting to make up for it--4 yesterday, 1 today.  I'm headed shortly to our Plein Air Austin show, should be a great gathering.  I also want to say thank you to Barbara Muir, who gave me a blogging award on her site yesterday.... the Bella Sinclair Award for "friendship, sisterhood, sharing, and caring."  Barbara is an amazing painter, and an equally amazing source of encouragement!  Thank you, Barbara!

-julie davis

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Road to the Winery

Road to the Winery, 8 x 10

I couldn't pass up this tree.  We were in the wine country around Santa Barbara last weekend, and I took as many photos as I could, since I didn't have my paints with me.  This tree was so elegant, and hung over the vines in one area in such a majestic way.  What a beautiful part of the country--and so cool--coming back to 105 degrees was hard!

And for those who asked, I now know the web address for the "poachpod" that I wrote about a few days back.  Go to  They even have a terrific video showing you how it works as intended...I look forward to trying some to poach eggs rather than clean brushes soon!

-julie davis

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Grapes

Summer Grapes, 6 x 8
I've missed a few days--it's been difficult not to paint, but my husband and I took off for cooler weather after dropping the kids at camp and enjoyed a long weekend where folks actually thought 85 was hot! Ha!

So I painted this one before we left--same as the last piece but in a 6 x 8 format vs. square. I'm very much looking forward to diving into painting with the Ashland show in mind over the next two weeks. I'll be taking some of my studies larger, and won't be posting as many for sale because I'll need them for the winery show , but if you're interested in a particular piece, please email me. This Thursday (5-7) is the opening reception for Plein Air Austin's annual show--stop by if you live here--over 100 pieces of art by Austin plein air artists will be up.

And to Mitzi who asked where to find the "poachpod" I talked about in my last post...I found them locally at Zinger hardware on Anderson Lane; I thought the poachpod people would have a website I could refer to, but I couldn't find one!

-julie davis

Monday, July 6, 2009

Between the Vines

Between the Vines, 6 x 6

My last post drew votes from both camps: about half of you liked the yellow and green version of the foreground, and about half liked it all green. I think they both work, though I tend to agree that I like the contrast that both the colors provide.

Today's painting is from a snapshot taken at Weisinger's Winery in Oregon. I'll be up there in August for a show (thank you, John!), and will try to play around with some vineyard subject matter between now and then. I like the way this one turned out, but have a tiny issue with the long green diagonal brushstroke--think I could've broken that up.

I also wanted to show anyone who ever washes brushes the way I do (Master's Soap and warm water) something I've found to press my brushes into besides my hand (since keeping paint off your skin is a good practice). I recently found these little green silicone things called "poachpods." They're perfect to hold in my hand and press the soapy brush into as I wash most of the paint out. (I believe they're intended to poach eggs in....must try that with another set!) I do the last cleaning bit with my fingers, but when the paint is really coming off initially, I keep one of these poachpods in my hand instead of rubbing all that paint into my skin. Seems to work for me now. I know Carol Marine at one point was using a tennis ball cut in half in the same manner. Haven't tried that yet because I found these and they're so easy to keep clean and I can still feel the brush in my hand because the pods are so thin and flexible.

I put the (size 4) brushes in the image for scale reference.

-julie davis

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Storage

Summer Storage, 12 x 12

So what's your vote? The foreground in this one, or yesterday's post? I'm somewhat ambivalent, though I might actually prefer my initial attempt....... 

I should have found a way to do some fireworks--hopefully you all were able to see some great ones tonight.  We had a fantastic evening, and the fireworks here in Austin were amazing. Happy Fourth!

-julie davis

Friday, July 3, 2009

Quick Study

Destined for Change, 12 x 12

This piece didn't get the attention it deserved--but here it is.  I wanted to take a smaller piece larger again, but today was hectic........a fantastic day, (my 40th birthday) but I didn't have the time I needed to finish this the way I wanted, so the bottom third  you see actually has been wiped down.  Thus, the "Destined for Change" title.  I was trying to squeeze too many things into one day, but...I painted, and had a great day on top of it.  Happy Independence Day, tomorrow, all!

-julie davis

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Country Bale Out

Country Bale Out, 12 x 12

I did this larger version of the 8 x 10 "Fresh Cut Hay" this afternoon in a square format in anticipation of the winery show. I'm trying to get to a few "larger" ones for that show, and I enjoy translating rectangular format to square and vice versa. I'm really having a hard time with my greens and light reflecting poorly on them for my photos lately--this photo isn't what I'd like, but it had to do. This field is near Briggs, Texas, and was brimming with beautiful freshly baled hay in late May.

-julie davis