Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gray Days

Young Cypress, 6 x 6

When our plein air group met to paint yesterday, it was spitting rain and generally gray outside, one of those days when the shadows are hard to find and the value range is narrow. Since I'm on a tree binge, I parked myself right in front of this young cypress by the water.  I think I got a little fussy with it, but I at least wasn't ready to frisbee my canvas as I had been the week before!

-julie davis

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Single Shade Tree

Single Shade Tree, 12 x 12

I had the time yesterday to paint twice (!), so I took the one I painted in the morning and painted a larger one. Somehow, these just went smoothly, maybe because I actually had plenty of time. I'm very happy with the way both of them turned out.....

-julie davis

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Good Day

Lone Ranger, 6 x 6

You know the feeling you get when something you're working on is going really well, and then it actually ends up that way?  I guess we all have some internal barometer gauging that for us. Today I felt really good about this one--things finally came together for me--and then I did another one like it, but larger.  I'll post that one tomorrow.

-julie davis

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hot Day, Cold Water

Hot Day, Cold Water, 6 x 6

By the end of this day painting I was gritty and thought I probably smelled like a little boy who had been playing was hot, but the water was cold and perfect for wading.  I painted this one yesterday, and today's will be up tomorrow.  The week always ends up filled with 6 am paintings!

-julie davis

Friday, April 24, 2009

At the WInery

Weisinger's Barn, 6 x 6

This is the barn on the property of Weisinger's Winery in Ashland, Oregon.  My mom married her childhood friend last summer, John Weisinger, founding owner of Weisinger's of Ashland. Check out his site--it's great wine--having a glass as I type--and the winery is in an absolutely lovely setting.  

-julie davis

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Live Oak Study, 6 x 8

Tell me I'm not the only one who paints the same subject day after day.....did I mention I was struggling with greens?  I feel much better about this live oak (same one I've painted for days) than any I've done in ages--just because I think I was more successful at balancing the contrasting green values (not including the ground).  I won't speak for the rest--did this in 30 minutes this morning at 6 a.m., but I'm on the right track, I think.  

-julie davis

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Studying, studying

Live Oak Study, 6 x 8

This week has been filled with tree studies.  For those who don't paint, it may be impossible to relate, but the difficulty of getting the right green in the right amount in the right's made me want to pull my hair out over the course of the last several weeks as I've been doing more plein air painting.  I'm determined to get it, though, and feel like I've made progress.  

-julie davis

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Little Spring

Bluebonnet Clusters, 6 x 6

When you live in Austin, it's almost obligatory to go out to the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center in the Spring, and it certainly is if you're a plein air painter.  I was intimidated to tackle the gorgeous scenery on my own, but I went out anyway on Monday.  I'll admit this was my fist time to go outside painting totally on my own, no class, no group, no friend (is that initiation for being a "plein air painter?").   While painting, I overheard (many things) someone saying this was not a good year for bluebonnets, but there were plenty to be found.  I've always said if you're going to paint bluebonnets, you'd better get it right, because people are passionate about them.  I am, too, but I think of this as a "nod" to them, so maybe I got away with it?

-julie davis

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Canopy

Spring Canopy, 12 x 12

Spring in Austin is my favorite. The weather is amazing and it completely makes you want to be outside. The greens are amazing as well, and developing a broad enough range of them to mimic reality is difficult. These trees had just recently leafed out and were creating a really appealing covered path at Spicewood Farms the other day.

-julie davis

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spicewood Farms

Stable Straggler, 6 x 8

This is one I did at home this morning after our plein air class met yesterday at Spicewood Farms.  I painted one yesterday, too, just did it so quickly that I didn't get much more than a framework with color notes.  It was a little windy, but our weather in Austin right now is beautiful--creeping towards hot, but not yet.

-julie davis

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ruins of Salado College

Salado College Ruins, 6 x 8

I painted this this morning from a photo and an on-site painting done in the Carver workshop. I would've stayed all day in this location had I been able, but it was my youngest daughter's birthday and I had to leave early to make it back to Austin. I love the architecture and the colors the late afternoon sun was creating on the old stone. The photo was taken right when I got there (4-ish?)--the painting I did on-site (and that is half-finished) has all my color notes.

The cornerstone for this location of Salado College was laid here in 1860. The college was the first in Texas that was not funded by church or state funds, and it was coed. A series of fires in the early 1900's destroyed the building, but the site is now open to the public. It's a beautiful spot.

-julie davis

Monday, April 13, 2009

Salado Creek Rocks

Salado Creek Rocks, 12 x 12

It's been nice to have the time this weekend to do some "larger" work.  I've had time to think more about how I'm composing a piece, and to put some finishing touches on them.  I included the reference photo here, but I also used a piece I'd done on site as a reference for this one--just closed in on the rocks this time.  

The photo of this piece doesn't quite show all the colors I put into the rocks--warm pinks and yellows, blues and oranges.  I spent more time on the creek and greens, but the rocks were the fun part.  I think it ended up a little too green altogether, and my horizon line is too high and not dark enough, but when I stand back from this one, it seems to work, and becomes more abstract the closer I get.

Salado Creek, by the way, is in Salado, Texas (pronounced Sa-lay-dough).  Salado is a charming and artsy town between Austin and Waco, and Andreeva Academy is located there (where I took the Jill Carver workshop).

-julie davis

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Risky Business

Mom and John,   6 x 8

This is a huge diversion for me--I saw a painting in Paris recently that was a portrait of sorts, simple--and the people's faces were left unfinished.  I thought I'd try it out--portraits certainly aren't my thing, but it's interesting to me how much this resembles my mom and her husband John, without even detailing their faces.  I can't say I'll tackle this subject often, but it was an interesting diversion for me today.

-julie davis

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Salado Barn / Early Bloomer

Salado Barn, 6 x 8

Jill Carver

Early Bloomer, 12 x 12

The top painting is the first I did at Jill Carver's workshop; I guess I've posted them in reverse order. I tried to set up the focal point just to the right of center--a small path that curved between the barn and a beautiful oak. The second is of Jill doing a demo on Monday. The third is a larger version of yesterday's post. I had the time today, so I scaled the 6 x 6 into a 12 x 12 and I think I kept it intact. I had more fun doing these cacti paintings than I expected and I may enter one into a Texas-themed show at a local gallery....we'll see if they like it as much as I do!

-julie davis

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flowering Cactus

Flowering Cactus, 6 x 6

After several months of membership in Plein Air Austin I finally went out to paint on one of their Thursday paintouts and had a great time.  The photo above is my reference photo; I painted a fast painting outside, and came home and painted this one using both the photo and my first stab.  I really worked on composing this one with several of the techniques Jill Carver taught in class and others I learned recently from Laurel Daniel.   I'm pleased with the outcome.

-julie davis

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What a Week

Near the Water, 6 x 8

I haven't posted the others yet, but this is the last painting I did during Jill Carver's workshop. We were near Salado Creek (big water and tree vistas) a lot, and I gravitated toward something simpler at the end of the three days--we were all tired from absorbing so much good information, and the sun takes its share as well.  But, what a treat, and what a week!

-julie davis

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jill Carver Workshop

On Salado Creek, 6 x 8

I haven't posted in a while--I've been on a fantastic trip to Santa Fe (plenty of art to enjoy) and dove right into a plein air workshop this week led by Jill Carver.   Jill is a fantastic landscape painter--her work is shown locally at Wally Workman Gallery.   I'm learning and absorbing as much as I can.  There are some terrific professional painters in my class, and it's great to be exposed to them and their work on a personal level.    Workshop work isn't always one's best work--you're learning techniques, styles, colors, theory--much of it is new to me, and I can't wait to share what I find valuable......just not tonight.....too tired!

-julie davis

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

County Line

County Line, 9 x 12

Austin's spring weather is usually amazing.  Today we had some overcast skies, but it was generally no exception.  Add to that a beautiful site to paint, and it makes for a pretty great day for a painter.  Class met today at the lakeside County Line restaurant, known for its great bar-b-que, and possibly for it's fantastic setting as well.  One of the most challenging things about painting plein air to me, is getting the right colors on the canvas.  With the partly cloudy skies, the light changes so often I find it difficult to "see" what I've got.  I was surprised a bit when I came home and saw this inside, mostly by the competing values at the back--they were much different outside, but I'm learning!

-julie davis

And....I have to thank my mentor and friend, Laurel Daniel, for awarding me the "Passion for Painting" award.  Laurel's work inspires me every day--please visit her blog to see what she's up to--she shows locally at Davis Gallery, as well as several other galleries in the country.

The rules are that the recipient shares seven things he or she is passionate about, and passes the award to seven other deserving bloggers.

Seven of my passions in life:
1. My amazing husband, Ben.
2. Three inspiring girls I'm lucky enough to have as daughters.
3. My faith.
4. Painting, photography, being outside, and the weather.
5.   Texas.
6. My relationships with my girlfriends, whom I could not do without.
7. A clean house!

Seven artists to know and enjoy: