July, 2014


31
Jul 14

High Flying



In 1999 I was part of an exhibition of rail art at the California State Railroad Museum. At the event the director of the San Diego Railway Museum introduced himself and invited me visit their museum, suggesting I might get inspired to paint something there. I did, creating, “Shaking The Desert Floor” (see it on my website in the Print section). Last week I created a second painting that incorporates an exciting feature of that museum, a tall trestle. Naturally, I took liberties with the subject, but then I always do. It’s the challenge and reward of being an artist: creating things you first must imagine. In this case I added a vintage circa 1930s passenger train into the setting and adjusted all the elements to tell the most engaging story possible. 


24
Jul 14

Canyon Exposition

This work-in-progress pastel is my rendition of the pre-WWII Exposition Flyer, a scenic passenger train that cut through some of Colorado’s most beautiful terrain. I have it powering its way through a deep Colorado canyon. I’m still working my way through the scene–which is to say I’m working to create a convincing and dramatic view of canyon, fast-moving steam train, and smoke trail. I’ll blog the finished work in the days ahead.


23
Jul 14

Making tracks

I painted this late-day scene of a train crossing sometime back in the 1990s. Painted with acrylic colors using a watercolor technique on 300 lb. watercolor paper, I came across this work in a flat file last year. It had never been framed and exhibited. Evidently at the time I created it I thought it lacked something. I don’t see it that way now. In my loose brushwork I can easily recall the inspiration: a warm day transitioning from afternoon into evening. Such experiences are important, daily reminders of mortal conditions we can’t stop, only embrace. 


21
Jul 14

All aboard on the idea

 

In this small pastel study I’m playing with a colorful idea for a future railroad scene. The plan is to open up the cool, shadowed thicket of trees and show a warm, open meadow with a pre-WWII passenger train passing, receding in the direction of the sun.


21
Jul 14

Holding on for dear life

Rodeo is a competitive mismatch of size and explosive power among animals. Notice how the backward, arched contours of the bull rider’s pelvis, legs, and spine describe action, set in motion by the force of the bull’s forward charge. The painting’s power is in the effectiveness of the “kinetic chain’s” description, that energ- transfer from the explosive thrust of the animal’s hind legs through its body to the rider’s, here arrested for our safe appreciation.