Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Baby and Texas Pearl - A Re-Do

 "Baby and Texas Pearl"  (pastel, 12x12 inches) private collection

Have you ever fantasized about being able to get a hold of an old, unsatisfactory commissioned work and completely re-doing it? Most of the time this is just not possible. For one thing, aside from the delicate strategy of getting the old work back from the client, as professional artists we tend to be occupied with current work or looking ahead to what's next; most of us would like to leave all the old work behind as quickly as possible, or at most, use it only as a guidepost to see how far we've come! And from a business standpoint, one simply doesn't want the client to have any hint of an artist's discomfort with their own work. Every piece we do is our very best, right?!

Well, I happen to have a truly wonderful and unique client who is quite an artist herself - with interiors. She has decorated all her homes throughout her life, and this last one in Fredericksburg TX has been in a magazine - she's that talented! She first purchased from me two large canvas prints and a mid-size painting before commissioning a portrait of her first cow and calf several years ago.

Her photo (typical of most client photos) left much to be desired. All I had to work from was the sweetness of the pose and the little hint of early morning light coming in from the left.

photo - original
At her request, I evened up the horns and ears of the mama (who's name was "Baby" - the baby was "Texas Pearl"!) .
original painting, 8x10 inches (now available!)
 But my weakness at that point in my career was that when working from a client photo, my habit was to go into "copy" mode. Though I tried to lighten up the background and add the vibrant colors that I was known for, I completely missed it on the flower color (She had first given me only a paper print of the photo - which had printed much bluer in the flowers) and by keeping the background fairly dark I ended up with a painting that really didn't match the look of any of the other pieces she had of mine. She went on to commission her donkey and a couple other small pieces, which all had my signature light, bright colors.

Whenever I visited her this painting stuck out like a sore thumb!

Finally, as we were discussing her favorite subject - her ongoing decorating of her home - and since by then we knew each other much better - we both came to the unanimous agreement that this painting of Baby and Pearl needed a serious upgrade!

Intending to move the new painting to a different position, we settled on a 12x12 size. My first step was to get the original digital photo file, and to clarify the flower color, which turned out to be quite a bit more fuchsia! I then set out in Photoshop to make adjustments to the photo, adding a bit to the top of Baby's head to fit the square, and really lightening up the background to give more of a daylight feel. I must admit I was surprised I was able to get so much color out of that darkness. Photoshop is fun!

photo - adjusted

Voila! I will deliver the new painting this weekend on my way through Fredericksburg to Lubbock.

Thanks for watching, and please share!


Friday, October 27, 2017

Artists 4 Rockport Fundraiser Event

"Adolescents" (pastel, 24x24) donated

The Art on 12 Gallery, at 13811 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley TX, and other local galleries will be offering artworks at the bargain price of $100 at a Friday evening reception and on Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29 only. All proceeds go to Rockport recovery. 

 Find some of my paintings at this generous event. Don't miss it! Click the image below for a closer read, or visit www.arton12.com or the Artists 4 Rockport facebook event page!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

"X O" Wins Award!

"X O" (pastel, 12x6 inches)

I'm thrilled to brag that my latest small figurative painting, X O, has won the CPS Memorial Award at the Connecticut Pastel Society's Renaissance in Pastel 24th Annual National Juried Exhibtion.
The show runs October 4 — November 5, 2017 at the Arts Center East in Vernon, CT.

Thank you to Jurors Maria Marino, Eileen Casey and Paul Leveille for selecting my work for inclusion, and much appreciation to Judges of Awards Jean Dalton and Jane McGraw Teubner for choosing my painting for this awesome award!

I was rather happy with this painting, as I intentionally placed the reflective sunglass lens smack dab in the middle of the image, yet there's an optical illusion (from the dark hat, the red X, and the white beard I think) that makes it at first appear to be slightly higher than center. Nope. Measure it! It's in the middle! I love breaking traditional rules of composition and getting away with it. My job is so fun!

Here are some progress shots:

Thanks for watching! Please share!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017


"Gypsy"  (pastel, 8x6 inches)  $950

You are Invited to
The Gallery at Round Top
203 E. Austin - In the Heart of Bybee Square - Round Top, TX
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 21st from 3 PM to 6 PM

The Second Annual FUSION - Music for the Eyes 

Fusion - A mixture or blend formed by fusing two or more things. 
Enter the hearts and minds of the artists who, while creating, are stimulated by the words or strains of music.
The rhythms, the strokes, the colors flow as the artist disappears into the music.
From traditional works to non-objective paintings, you are invited to immerse
yourself in each piece. May the artists' creative pieces fuse with your
hearts and minds.

The show continues through November 16.
My painting "Gypsy" is included!

Preview the show at

Friday, October 13, 2017

Big Daddy

"Big Daddy" (pastel, 36x36 inches) $5180

Big Daddy is sort of a sequel to last year's Big Mama. He's my newest big show stopper for the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston, this weekend October 14-15, 2017. Find me in booth 612 on Bagby Street. Come on out and support the recovery of Houston!

Some progress shots of Big Daddy:

Thanks for watching! Please share!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cow Lick

"Cow Lick"  (pastel, 18x24 inches) $1730

I'm getting good mileage out of a photo shoot of these two young Herefords grooming each other. This will be my fourth painting from the several darling shots I caught.

Cow Lick will be with me at the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston, this weekend October 14-15, 2017. Find me in booth 612 on Bagby Street. Come on out and support the recovery of Houston!

Making sure it will look all right in the frame

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Park Trail #43

"Park Trail #43"  (pastel, 8x8 inches) $300 framed

One of my favorite scenes for landscape demos, I've painted this one several times. I love the light and the simplicity.

This one will be with me at the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston, this weekend October 14-15, 2017. I'll have new work in booth 612 on Bagby Street. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 9, 2017


"Bugsy" (Pastel, 10x10 inches) sold

Bugsy will be with me at the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston, this weekend October 14-15, 2017. Yes, downtown Houston is back on its feet and working hard to make this nationally recognized annual fine art festival a great success! 

I'll have new work in booth 612 on Bagby Street. Hope to see you there!

Bugsy is from a fresh batch of photos taken of the adorable bunnies of Fry's Fun Farm at the 4th of July Celebration in Georgetown Texas. She started as my opening demo at my Ohio workshop last month, and I just got around to finishing her. My video team (my daughter) is working on a full length demo video of Bugsy. Stay tuned to my YouTube channel!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Park Trail #42

"Park Trail #42" (pastel, 8x8 inches)  click here to bid or buy

I discovered this and another little landscape hiding among my unfinished demos in the workshop stuff, so I tweaked them both finished today. This one was from the early August Kerrville workshop.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunset #56

"Sunset #56" (pastel, 6x6 inches) click here to bid or buy

My last demo in Lewisburg. This one had no underpainting, just straight pastel on Art Spectrum black pastel primer. I used one of my pre-primed boards, and I had to apply 3 layers of the black primer to cover up my usual gold. But this was a fun painting to do after all those little mini sunsets from last month!