Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pictures of Pictures

Good morning, hope this is a start of a great weekend for all of you. I see Ben is off to New Mexico. Have a good trip Ben and hurry back.

Ever since I can remember, I could pick up a pencil and draw a picture of something. I wasn't great but you could recognize what I was drawing. As I got older, that skill seemed to get better. I remember once when I was in grade school, I had an assignment to draw some insects. I got an "F", because the teacher thought that I had traced them. Same thing happened later that year (or the next, memory fails me) when I was assigned for homework to draw a certain bird.

Drawing with a pencil was easy, but never pursued it. I made my living at engineering design which is nothing more than drawing pictures of mechanisms or structures. Doing that for long hours every week, there just didn't seem to be any reason to "draw" anything extra.

OK, I am semi-retired, which means that I am only tired 80% of the time and closing in on 90%. Anyway, I have some free time now and decided to take up painting. After checking out the different media available, I found out that oil is the easiest, acrylics next, and water color the hardest. I don't know where finger painting fits in. . .

So, I decided to take up oil painting. I did a couple of so, so paintings and found out that putting acrylics under the oils helped fill in the details. Anyway, my oil painting days were numbered. My wife could not stand the smell in the house. OK, I solved that problem by switching to acrylics. That is when I verified that it was definitely harder than oils. Of course, that could be just for my style.

I am not a very good painter, as you will see. For example, I am now working on a painting of the Texas south west desert with a longhorn cow (Benita?) in it. I pencil sketched the cow by looking at a picture that John Wells had posted of Benita. The pencil sketch looked just like the picture I was using as a model, but when I tried to paint it, it did not turn out to well.

Another thing I can not do is people and animals. People are impossible for me and animals are a little better, but I am sure you could find better animal pictures hanging on elementary school walls drawn by first graders.

I have done, I think, about 14 acrylic pictures. I am going to show you 6 of them today and would like for you to be critics. Also, let me know which one you like best and which one you think is the worst. That will help me with future paintings. In a future blog, I will post some more for you to judge. All of these paintings were done with acrylic paint on 11" x 14" canvas.

This painting I call "Dock on Lake". It was inspired by memory of the Appalachian Mountains:

This on is titled "Mimosa" and is a view from my yard this Spring:

This one is titled "Mushroom-Morning Glories" and was from my property. Do you notice that my titles are short and sweet?:)

The title of this on is "Road to Dawn" and is a figment of my imagination:

Do you think that you can guess the title for this one? Will tell you what it is below the picture.
The above picture is titled "Mushroom". Complicated names aren't they?
OK, the last picture is my favorite of all I have done. It was from a pictures that I took of a field in North West Pennsylvania. A trip back in time. When I was a young kid, fields like this were common.

Those small bunches of hay (or straw) at the bottom of the stack were on every stack in the field. I wonder if that is just that farmer's design or trade mark of if it serves a purpose?
I will post some more for your critical eye. Please vote on the best and the worst.
Well, I did some wondering and wandering today. Some paintings were from my wandering around and some just from my wondering. . .


  1. Boy howdy, me 'n you got lots of stuff in common. Maybe I'll just put it on my blog and let the whole world see. See ya over there.
    By the way, I like your blog better than mine. Gonna have to do something bout that.

  2. You and Ben are my idols in blog land. Neither of you need to change anything. You could post more often, I miss it when you don't.

  3. Dick,
    First of all, I had to look several times to be sure the top painting was not a photograph the details are that fine. My favorite is the hay and pumpkins with the Mimosa coming in a close second. I think the hay reminds me so much of fall which I never look forward to, but this year with the heat we've had, yes, bring on fall!!!
    Thanks for posting these, they are all wonderful, it was difficult to choose just one.

  4. Kathie,

    Thanks for the kind remarks, but you didn't say which one you liked the least. If you want my opinion, I like the hay the best and the "road to dawn" the least.

    Did you get your computer problem solved so you don't have to click so much?

  5. You have alot of talent..I have tried watercolor..I think it is easier. I do not have the ability to not mess with oil while it dries!

  6. I really like road to dawn the best. It amazes me how so many men who have blogs also paint. I just started painting it looks like youve been painting a while. did you take classes or anything?

  7. Ok, you asked for critique. The first one, the detail is amazing but the dock looks way too big for the size of the lake and the hills beyond. The attention to detail with the strange (to me) perspective is kind of jarring.

    In the next two your perspective seems to lean oddly, which again I found a bit jarring. By the next one, the odd perspective came together to make it more of a style or atmosphere. Road to dawn it especially worked well with. So, the last 4 look pretty much professional to me, with a 'style' of painting that is similar. I wanted to like Mimosa, but it seems just too muted, like it hasn't found it's voice yet. Road to dawn, on the other hand, is sharp and clear to me.

    Did I mention I know absolutely nothing about art. I'm a techno-geek. So, take the comments for what they are worth (not a lot...)

    Keep painting. You truly have talent. And an identifiable personal style, which I think is the harder to come by.

  8. OK, basically like them all. But my absolute personal favorite is Mimos, and I also like Road to Dawn, Maybe cause I like sunrises.
    Keep it up.. You man not know it but Ann was a licensed all level Art Instructor for the Texas School system, but never did it as a living. She instead went into graphic illustrator. I have copies of a lot of her stuff while at Lockheed during the Apollo flights and a lot of her stuff went into space.

    Me? I can't draw flies on a hot day!

  9. Fran, thanks for the comment. I still think that water color is the hardest. These are all in acrylic, so they sometimes dry too fast.

    "I", thanks for the comment. I just started painting about a year ago and did two oils first, then switched to acrylic because of the smell in the house and have painted a dozen or so of theses 11x14's. No I never had a lesson

    Shadowmoss, thanks for the critique. Now that you mention it, that dock does look too big. As far as the other ones, if I have some straight lines somewhere on the painting, it is easier to get perspective lines drawn to work to. But you are right on the #2 & #3. They don't have any perspective. Kind of flat, wouldn't you say. Thanks, I needed that. Maybe I will put the rest of them on tomorrow and you can critique them for me. I would appreciate it.

    Ben, glad you made it to New Mexico. Isn't it something, the painting I liked least was liked the best in the last three comments.

    Thank you all, let's do it again tomorrow.

  10. Dick, #1 Hay and pumpkins
    #2 Mimosa
    #3 Dock on Lake

  11. I use to draw all the time when I was young. As I got older, I drew less but got better. These days I spend a bit of time when I have some time to spend with a friend of mine who is a sculptor and we sketches to get ideas. I sketch as a creative outlet when music isn't doing it for me.

    I too recall a time in school when I failed something because it was so good the teacher thought I copied it or traced it or I got help from an older brother/sister/mother etc.

    I hated school for that. I still despise schools today not because of that, but because I hear the same thing being done to kids today.

  12. My favorite was the dock on lake,close second was the pumpkins. But they were all very good! Blessings jane