March, 2008

Mar 08

Drawing on what you know and feel

Vanishing California, pastel, private collection

Sketch of Redlands Citrus, drawing, 8′ x 10′

I was searching through a drawer of drawings recently and found this sketch created some years back while out painting with a buddy, Dr. George Riday. The quick sketch records a scene that is vanishing from Southern California: citrus groves; residential and commercial construction have been encroaching over the years. George and other good friends have joined me on many occasions to enjoy and render the patterns and rhythms of the citrus groves in and around the City of Redlands.

Months after this sketch was created I used it to create a demonstration painting before an art association in the City of Upland. That painting (top image) began with me composing the subject in a few loose brush strokes and simplified shapes on a tan-colored Museum Board. (See the top, shadowy part of the palm on the right for an idea how I applied the watercolor to describe my subject in rough shorthand).

Next, over this (dried) watercolor I applied soft pastel in colors to convey the quiet intensity of a hazy morning’s sun and the warmth of adult and childhood experiences growing up in California.

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Mar 08

Coffee Hounds

Soulful Sarah, sketch in pastel

The last blog was about how Starbuck’s has inspired me. This blog acknowledges a four-legged inspiring Starbucks subject.

Sarah, a Basset Hound who comes with her owners on weekend mornings. She’s a favorite of mine, a good subject in shape and demeanor. Sarah is the quiet-type, sitting at her owner’s feet. From that place she takes in the world through those sad (and sweet) Basset Hound-eyes. The drawing of Sarah was created using one black and one mid-gray Holbein pastel stick.

Another regular at ‘Buck’s is Art and his three Labs. Art and his wife train dogs for the blind. He’s a quiet and easy-going fellow, like canine pals. Usually you’ll see his ‘boys’ comfortably stretched out on the patio at his feet.

The aim of this pastel sketch was to describe the gestures of Art and his buddies, not their details. However, getting the gesture right almost insures the subject’s identity and the artworks interest.

Hound of the Bassetville, pastel

Art & the Boys, pastel

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Mar 08

Life at ‘Buck’s

Tropical Brew, pastel, 13″ x 15″ (print available)

Year’s ago I got into the pleasing habit of heading over to the local Starbuck’s early in the morning. The routine involved sitting by the window with a hot cup of Earl Grey and The Nation, or The New Yorker magazine in hand. Watching the world stir with a steady flow of customers coming through the door made for a rewarding experience, one that continues to inspire expressions like Tropical Brew.

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Mar 08

Inspired by the city our Constitution built

Nuts! pastel

Washington D.C. is a fascinating place. The White House and grounds are impressive. The home and grounds of  ex-slave and statesman, Frederick Douglass impresses in a very different way; how much that historic place has been ignored and neglected! The city is alive with references, good and bad, to the great ideas our nation was founded upon.

Our Constitution has been under attack from its birth, more from within our borders than from outside, truth be told. In recent decades Old Glory has been reduced to a logo by marketers of consensus and corporate hucksters, drained of meaning, barely the emblem of the higher ideals it was designed to be. No society should aspire to empire, but fear moves mankind in that direction, nonetheless.

A few years ago I stood in front of the White House for the first time. I was surprised by the sudden swell of pride and fascination I felt for the place. Without Gettysburg and Antietam, FDR and JFK I doubt it would have stirred me so. This nation has gone through a lot to preserve the foundation of its common voice, if not always its common sense. Standing there with Washington’s tall spirit nearby, I looked past the stone and iron fence to the iconic, pillared façade in the distance. A couple squirrels played on the expansive lawn, their semi-private, manicured park, I thought. I wished I could be one of them, just for a day. That was the landscape painter in me talking.

The Good Life; Study for Nuts!, pen & ink

Mar 08

The reward of the surprise

I demonstrated at the 48th Annual Hillcrest Festival of Arts not long ago and as with most ‘public’ events my painting process was punctuated by lots of conversations. People are full of questions and comments for artists and I enjoy discussing the creative process: subjects, materials and methods.

Painting before the public is really painting ‘for the public.’ It demands a different kind of attention than I exercise when I’m working in solitude. In public my focus is necessarily split between a personal desire to express a thought in visual-terms and entertaining others. For those watching, as with the artist, the greatest reward is in the surprises.

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Mar 08

Painting courses

Shadowed Bunker at Riviera C.C., acrylic o/ canvas

Golf became a subject of mine in the late 80’s when I was commissioned to paint a portrait of a high school golf phenom, Bob May. (Years later Bobby and Tiger Woods played a thrilling sudden-death final at the 82nd PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club.)

Andy Thuney’s Swing, pen & ink

The portrait of Bobby led to recognition and opportunities for me in the golf world, starting with an offer from Andy Thuney, Golf Professional at Hacienda Country Club (now Professional Emeritus at Hacienda) and golf broadcaster on Fox Sports. Andy invited me to visit Hacienda to find subjects that would inspired, which I easily did. It’s a lovely place! A similar offer soon followed from Eddie Merrins, Director of Golf at Bel-Air Country Club, author of Swing the Handle, and now Director Emeritus at Bel-Air.

Painting at these two beautiful and distinguished Southern California golf courses–both born in the boom of oil and Hollywood–led to other opportunities and more artwork. Among my subjects: San Francisco Golf Club; Riviera; PGA WEST; Redlands Country Club; Newport Golf Club; The PGA of Southern California at Oak Valley; golfers Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Sam Sneed, and another high school golf phenom, Tiger Woods.

“The Little Pro”, Eddie Merrins, pen & ink

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art