Saturday, February 28, 2009

Going Bigger

Occasional Breeze 2.0
16 x 20

You may recognize this scene from a few days ago--this is a larger version I painted yesterday. It's interesting to me how, when painting the same subject, the results can vary so much.  It shows you just how human we are.   While I really like the first one--the initial impression, I feel too much like I overthought this one.  I'd really appreciate any comparison feedback on this one and the other!

-julie davis

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Gentle Giant, 9 x 12
There is a certain simplicity to trees, not in painting them, certainly, but in their very nature. They have a spirit about them, and as I paint them, I'm learning they can even seem to have a personality.  If that can be discovered, and then captured, then you've done the tree justice.

-julie davis

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Day of Class

Sunny Side Up, 16 x 16

Today was the last day of my 6 week still life class with Laurel Daniel at AMOA's art school, and I painted the sunflowers in it this morning. I always hate it when class ends, but fortunately, another in plein air begins in three weeks. I'll keep my Wednesday mornings reserved at home for larger paintings. I have to again! I decided I may as well keep on with it. I didn't quite know how to handle these complex flowers, but just went with what felt right and wound up with something I like again. Whew!

-julie davis

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Bastrop View, 8 x 10

I painted this this morning at 6 am--needed a little more coffee, but plowed ahead anyway sustained by the results of Monday.  Shortly after painting it (while checking emails), I recalled something I read recently in Robert Henri's book The Art Spirit.  In discussing trees, he offered that a painter should "Give the tree its gesture," and that in a tree "there is a spirit of life, a spirit of growth and a spirit of holding its head up."  Laurel Daniel's blog post this morning about trees brought that quote to mind; the next time I tackle trees, I'm going to remember Henri's expression, because the "gesture" does convey it all.

-julie davis

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reminders of Home

Occasional Breeze, 9 x 12

I have to admit, I really like this one. It reminds me of home, West Texas. Windmills have always had an appeal to me; I've taken countless photos of them, and I finally gathered the courage to paint this one, and I really love the way it turned out. It's a relief after having painted flowers for days. Speaking of that, I made it 16 days in a row! Today was a Monday (read: very hard to find time to paint) AND my husband and I have tickets to see Willie Nelson at an Austin City Limits taping tonight! So, I'll have to break the streak for Willie, but will pick up at 5 am tomorrow.

-julie davis

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Backyard gatherings

Pansie Posers, 6 x 6

As I've said before, I'm not a fan of panting flowers.  I can get lost in them.  Sometimes that's good--painting every blossom and leaf leads to an effect I don't much enjoy--a painting where nothing is left to the imagination.  Our eyes and minds know to interpret what isn't there if the artist gives us just enough information.  Hopefully, I've done that here!

-julie davis

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Substitute

Houses On the Park, 12 x 12

This marks my 15th straight day of painting! I didn't paint this one today, because by the time I got around to painting, it was dark, and I couldn't photograph what I'd painted, so I've tossed in one from this summer (I'll get today's on the blog tomorrow). I painted this last summer on our vacation in Watercolor, Florida, from our 2nd story porch that overlooked a park. The park is a gathering place for kids playing soccer, tag, looking for frogs, you name it. Watercolor is mainly a beach retreat, but backs to a beautiful little lake, so between the park, the beach, and the lake, I had plenty to paint!

-julie davis

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Headed for the Dinner Table

Hanging Out, 6 x 6

First, sorry if anyone subscribing to my blog received more than one email from me last night--I'm still not sure what happened; I thought it was still a draft, so I hit the publish button again and ended up with not one, but three emails in my own inbox. Second, a huge thank you for all the kind words about the tulips! I hope I can achieve flowers like that again soon--it's very satisfying to feel like I'm getting the hang of them. Third......I love the color combination of this painting--there is something very calming about this orange and this blue--and these heirlooms don't have much of a future, I'm afraid--they're headed to the dinner table tonight!

-julie davis

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Classwork / Homework

Just Home from the Market, 14 x 18

I painted this one in class this morning.  I actually steered immediately away from the tulips as I walked in; on Tuesday I'd painted a small group of tulips at home and wiped it off just as I finished--it wasn't clicking.  Those who paint with me know I am terribly fearful of painting flowers--so no surprise to me that I nearly ran from them in class.  Because Laurel challenged us to do something "unexpected" with the composition, I chose to confront that fear, and was rewarded with a result I'm really happy with.  It may be the one I donate to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Art Auction.  I can't think of a name for the life of me, so it remains--untitled.

One and Only, 6 x 6

I took a souvenir home from class and painted it this afternoon....

-julie davis

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rough Drafts

No Fences, 6 x 8

I really like these tiny landscapes. Friends keep urging me to go larger--time is the enemy! The way I see it, painting small landscapes is a great "rough draft" for a larger one when I do have the time. And I'd better get the time soon--I promised to donate to two upcoming auctions, and I don't think 6 x 8's will do!

-julie davis

Sunday, February 15, 2009

7 for 7

Fresh Coat of Paint, 6 x 6

Talk about a little landscape!  This is the first time I've tried a landscape this small--the subject is smaller than in the 6 x 6 still lifes I've done, so it was a challenge to stop myself from overworking it.  I definitely fought the urge to make more brushstrokes--it doesn't take much to convey what needs to be conveyed on a tiny canvas.  The 7 for 7 title refers to me painting the last 7 of 7 days--a new thing for me; such a gift!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Night Painting

Clear Night, 9 x 12

West Texas Moonrise, 9 x 12

I did this pair of night paintings recently from two photographs I had taken on a beautiful, clear night on the way to my hometown of Abilene. I finally felt ready to take them on, and once I did the first, found that I enjoyed working with the deep blue so much that I tackled the second one right away. They seem to be quiet landscapes, and in the craziness of day-to-day life, they appeal to me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

5:00 a.m. painting

The Outlier, 6 x 6

So my new thing is getting up at 5 a.m. to paint on the days that are going to be crazy (before the kids get up and I move on to being breakfast chef).  I'm really giving daily painting a try, and so far I'm so excited about the idea of being able to paint every day that I've had no trouble jumping into it so early.  I did this one this morning, and I really like the color combination. Grapes are a challenge--I'm learning blocking them in is key--but I like the little guy in the front--I see him as out there intentionally, stubbornly on his own.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Single Stroke

Preppy Pear, 6 x 6
This pear was done about 1/3 of the way through Carol Marine's workshop; she made us paint one painting with single strokes: we could only put paint on our brush, make a stroke, then go back to the palette and mix or pick up paint again. No more than one stroke on the canvas at a time. This was more of a challenge than any of us thought! The temptation to keep touching the canvas was enormous, but on this piece, I did it, and I think it lends a purity and sense of thoughtfulness and to a painting that we often lose sight of as painters.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A "Little" Landscape

Bend in the Pedernales, 16 x 20

I'm drawn toward landscapes--I guess because I love the outdoors.  I painted this piece from a photo I took in the Texas Hill Country, near Fredericksburg.  It's a little larger work for me; the smaller ones are easier to do more often, so those may be the ones you see the most, but I'll always try a larger one when I have the time. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Simple Pears

Cold Shoulder, 6 x 6

The more I learn, the more I realize that painters seem to like to paint pears. I'm guessing it's because they have an appealing shape, a variety of color, and make a decent snack after you finish painting them! When I arranged these, their stems were pointing in a direction that seemed to reveal one of them giving the other two the cold shoulder, thus the name. I like naming a painting before I paint it if I can, that way I keep the concept in mind while I paint. It gives it a personality from the "ground up."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Time for Everything

Private Conversation, 6 x 6

Bell peppers are harder than you'd think to paint well. They have so many points of reflection, and so many sides and angles. This was my first attempt at them--I loved these like I loved the cherries; and when I arranged them they seemed to be engaged in a private conversation. I also really like the red and green--green with a twist toward avocado, and the red with some orange and even pink. It's a cheerful combination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In the Show

Lean On Me,  8 x 10

These cherries looked so adorable at the grocery that I had to paint them.  They are now going to be in the Austin Art Space "For the Love of Art" show that opens this Friday.  Stop by the opening reception (6-9 pm)--there are 16 local artists that will be represented.  The show will go through February 21st.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Workshop Work

Come On In, the Water's Fine, 6 x 8

I painted this one this weekend at a workshop I took in Salado, Texas, at the Andreeva Academy. Carol Marine led the workshop--I learned TONS and had a terrific time with the fabulous group of painters that attended. Wish I had one of those every weekend!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ranch Looking

The Road, 8 x 10

This was from a snapshot taken while my husband and I were in the Hill Country looking at ranch property....we've been looking for five years now and are hoping to find something escape and a place to paint!