Friday, June 30, 2006

Sketchbook: The Last Respects

We spent the last Sketching in the Galleries of June in the Reeves Collection. The assignment was to chose a drawing in this collection and copy it. I chose a drawing of Henri de Talouse-Lautrec entitled The Last Respects. The original was ink and gouache, and I copied it with a water soluble graphite pencil. I was reminded of Remington and Russell Drawings drawn pretty much contemporary in the Western USA with Talouse-Latrec in the France. I added page two to this drawing, with a band and mourning crowd reminiscent of a New Orleans wake.

Mares and Foals

The other day when I wandered down the hill to the lower pasture to see what the horses in the lower pasture were up to, I found the mares and foals in the mare motel/loafing shed, each occupying their own section. The Colonel Freckles mare being more social came out to visit as soon as she saw me. The other mare does not really enjoy the company of people so she stayed put. Her colt showed lots of interest but did not move either. The Question Mark filly came over to see what I was doing with the camera.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Evening at the Ranch

I have been spending the last few nights at the ranch. Evenings are the best time out there. The heat has been turned down a few notches, the color is enhanced by the setting sun passing through the layer of dust, and the horses are refreshed after a day of resting in the shade. After a day of work, I head down the hill to the lower pasture to visit with the mares younger mares and colts. The filly above is a yearling. She and another yearling filly pasturemate are fast friends and it is almost rare to see her far enough from the other to get her photo alone. The filly with the question mark on her head is this years foal. She was born in early March. She dam has raised her without fear of people so she is now willing to come up and check out my camera, and even enjoys a good withers and butt scratch. This filly was following me around, all the time with a question on her mind about what I was up to.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Downtown Dallas

Old Against New

Thursday evening before my sketching in the galleries class at the DMA I went to the Ross Avenue Plaza and photographed the 100+ year old First Methodist Church against the background of modern skyscrapers. This is a photograph I have been contemplating for the past 2-3 weeks but had been hampered by a stage that was set up for the Jazz on the Plaza concerts. After taking this photograph a friend and I took walk into the northeastern part of downtown where I took some other images. These may be seen on my Downtown 2006 Online Gallery.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Black and White Cutting Horse Prints

How would you like a print like this hanging on your walls?

This is a virtual 6x9 image matted to 11x14 with a black strip frame. I used this image as the model for the watercolor below. I chose this image because it shows one of the best power positions for a cutting horse I have ever taken. Also the grey horse contrasts so nicely against the background of the dark cows. Please visit my B&W Gallery to see four more B&W images.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Cutting Horse Watercolor

After a fiasco in rendering proportions with a cutting horse pastel yesterday, I decided to retrace my steps and try again in watercolor. This one worked MUCH better. If you did not see the pastel on this blog, it is too late, I took it off :) This time I carefully gridded my paper and the image I was painting. I carefully sketched my subject, and then moved to the painting table where I removed most of the grid lines and started the painting. This painting is on a 15x20 sheet of watercolor paper. Digitally photographing the painting really helps to see what works and what needs to be fixed or done differently next time. It is quite challenging painting a blue roan.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Indoor Soccer

Monday night I photographed a team of 8yo girls playing indoor soccer. This was one of my most difficult challenges. The lighting was poor so I had to shoot at F2.8 and I had to stay in a little box on next to the team waiting area. The game only lasted about an hour but the action was intense.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Climbing the Walls

Today was my nieces 8th birthday party and she chose to have it at Exposure - Lots and lots of walls to climb. Those little girls and boys can really climb those walls. I finally gave in and put on the harness and climbed a few walls myself. I got my dad to man my digital camera and catch a few of myself on the wall. Here is one of several he got. Those handholds can be quite small. I climbed about 3 walls and then gave it up. I imagine I will feel it in the morning.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dealing with the Crowds

After I get some house cleaning and photography chores done today I am thinking of going downtown to the monthly Late Nights event at the Dallas Museum of Art on DART Light Rail. The last time I rode DART to the Late Nights event and encountered packed cars. I felt like I was one of the cows in the photo to the left. Tonight there will be a concert by Los Lobos in addition to the many other Late Nights Events. I was at the museum last night for Sketching in the Galleries but have nothing I am willing to post so the crowd of cows will have to substitute. Last nights drawing assignment was to choose a sculpture in the Hindu or Buddhist galleries and draw. I am still learning how to draw figures and proportions and detailing features were getting in my way. Hopefully we will be in a different gallery next week as I and many others are pretty tired of those galleries.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Post-Show orders, Postcards and fence-mending

This past Saturday I attended the Rose Country Cutting Horse Show, not to photograph but to sell photos I took during the NCHA Weekend. I came home with a stack of orders which I have already submitted and are now ready to pick up from the lab. I make an effort to get my orders out within two weeks, and sometimes am able to mail out by Thursday. I have a couple of Fathers Day photos so I want to make sure they can be in the hands of my customer on or before Saturday.

This week I have also been finishing up the Annual Texas Cutting Futurity Postcard as seen in the headline photo Preparing promotional postcards is quite and effort. Design and preparation for 4-color press production is critical and requires several folks to read front and back to make sure of accurate writing, dates, and image placement. Today I will go to press office and pay for the postcard production with a quick stop at Full Color to pick up my photo orders. I am amazed at how quickly I am able to pick up photos after I drop them off at lab.

Tuesday was my ranch work day. I was in charge of a project to remove and replace 5 horse-ruined PVC fence posts. The Day was hot and the ground was hard. We spent quite a bit of time getting those old posts out of the ground, and even more time breaking up and removing old concrete. Hopefully these posts will last a bit longer than the last.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sketching in the Galleries: Lesson in Contemporary Art

The lesson for my Thursday evening sketching in the galleries class was to first pick a painting in the Dallas Museum of Art Contemporary Gallery and copy it. I chose a large black and white painting called Slate Cross which Franz Kline painted in 1961. The original painting may be seen on a page from the DMA Museum Store. At first view it would seem that this painting would be easy to draw, but the overlapping vertical lines and edges with white space was a bit difficult. I learned reading the card next to the painting that Franz Kline was trying to give equal weight to both black lines and the white space between them. After 20 minutes of drawing our instructor asked that we stop, write down the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then assign 5 words to that drawing. I chose 5 descriptive words: Dark overlapping lines Vertical Gaps.
The next step in the exercise was to close our eyes and redraw the painting in five minutes. After time was called we were to take this blind drawing and consider it an unfinished drawing and take it into the "Studio" of our mind and use the five words we had assigned to our original copy as a guide to finish it. I gave my drawing a different look but with most of the same elements of the original drawing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NCHA Weekend in Area 24

The NCHA Weekend for Area 24 wrapped up about 10:30p with the conclusion of the $2,000 LR class. The Area 24 NCHA Day(s) had perhaps the largest participation of all NCHA Day events with the show divided into two days, starting at 9am and lasting till 1:30am the first day. Area 24 directors divided this show into two days with half the classes on Saturday, and the others on Sunday. Even with this division the show went well into the late night hours on both nights. Saddles were awarded to the Top Money earning riders in the Open, Non-Pro, and Amateur divisions. The Father and Son team of Ronnie and Russell Smith of Royce City, were the Non-Pro and Amateur Winners. Lee Francois was the Top Open Money Earner for the two day NCHA Day event. I spent yesterday editing all the action photos I took over the last two days and posting them on the web. During the show I estimated that they would be ready Tuesday or Wednesday. I finally got all the images posted about 2:30a Tuesday and they are ready to view at

Friday, June 02, 2006

NCHA Weekend

All over the US and Canada during the next two days (June 3-4) there will be cutting horse shows in each of the 24+ areas. Members of affiliates of each area will gather at one central location for that area and have a huge cutting. At one time this was done on one day, but with the number of cutters that day went into a second. Now NCHA Day has been renamed NCHA Weekend and in many areas a limited age event starts the weekend on the preceding Friday. Saturday sometime during the day there will be a traditional BBQ with brisket, sausage, beans, potato salad and desert. There will be time for all cutters to get a plate, although some may be eating theirs on their horse waiting for their ride, or to herdhold or turnback for clients. I will be photographing the Area 24 Cutting in Athens, Texas over the next few days. The photos you see were taken during the limited age event preceding the weekend event.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jazz Under the Stars

Each Thursday night from May 11 to June 15 the crowd gathers on the Ross Avenue Plaza at the Dallas Museum of Art for Jazz Under The Stars. Tonight was no exception, except for a brief late start due to a shower. Everyone brings their chairs, small tables, picnic baskets and wine to enjoy two hours of fine jazz music.

Tonight the featured band was Havana NRG, a Cuban jazz group. Everyone enjoyed listening and dancing to the Latin beat. This event is sponsored by Chase Bank, and Promoted by Channel 11 and Smooth Jazz 107.5 "The Oasis."

Next week "The Official Texas Jazz Band" will play.

This Jazz under the stars series culminates on Friday June 16 with the Special Presentation of Los Lobos presented by Starbucks.