"Waxahachie Lake View" 9x12, oil
This week, I'm teaching in Waxahachie, Texas, for the Ellis County Art Association. Waxahachie means "fat wildcat" in the Wichita language. I haven't seen any wildcats, fat or otherwise, here in this beautiful country. The town sits just south of Dallas, and is nicknamed "The Gingerbread City" for all the old Victorian homes here. The ECAA is a vigorous, vibrant group that keeps the local arts scene hopping.
It's a nice time of year to be here. A touch of autumn color is in the oaks, but you can still see roses blooming. The temperature has hit the mid-80s each day, but it's a "dry heat" as they say, and quite comfortable. In this three-day oil workshop, we've had the opportunity to paint a nice variety of subjects - rustic storefronts, barns and even lakes.
Some of the ECAA members are avid knife-painters, and they challenged me to do a little knife-painting. When I paint with a knife, I like to tone the canvas first. This time, however, I first used a brush to lay down a monochromatic underpainting in brown - something like a "bistre," but opaque rather than transparent. I did this to cover up the white of the gesso, which would be difficult to cover completely with a knife, and to establish a foundation of correct values. I used my knife to then apply color over this brown underpainting. Because using a knife is rather like frosting a cake, it didn't stir up this still-wet layer of brown. It kept the color clean.
The Sedona Plein Air Festival starts this Saturday. This will be my fifth year participating as one of 30 invited artists from across the US and Canada. I'm honored to be a part of this, and I'm very much looking forward to it. For more information, visit www.sedonapleinairfestival.com. I hope to see you there!