entirely different than usual, I attempted
the following paintings and drawings.
They are from some round-upsthat I
attended and photographed. The
situation during the actual event was
virtually impossible to draw or paint
on site. So, I photographed as much
as I could to get the essence of
what was going on as the cowboys
roped and branded the cattle. I have a
lot of experience drawing from life,
humans that is, but not much exper-
ience drawing cattle and horses. What
I wanted to portray was the speed, the
constant action and interaction between
the animals and the cowboys.
this action. I am sure as a novice western subject painter
that I made lots of mistakes, but you have to start
somewhere, right? Taking clues from my experience as
a plein aire painter I wanted to give importance to the
heat and dust that filled the air. My viewpoint of a lot
of "western art" is that it is too realistic, too often
almost an illustration. Often such subjects are painted
beautifully, technically superb, but lacking immediacy.
I wanted the colors, textures and process to match the
action that I was witnessing. The only way to find out
if I was successful is to see how someone else besides
me views the paintings. So what do you think? I would
love some input and criticism. These paintings were
kind of like stop-action photography, but I did not want
them to feel stop-action.
Some to the first attempts were in pastel. I have seen a show "Tough by Nature" by Lynda Lanker
www.lyndalanker.com at the Cowgirl Hall if Fame in Fort Worth Texas. It was an incredible exhibition. Her work was done in oil pastel. The paintings where monumental. The subjects were cowgirls and ranching women, lean and whipped by many days in the sun working on their ranches. Every chiseled stroke dignified the lives of these "tough" women. Sometimes in the background there were hints of their surroundings, but mainly the paintings were portraits with their life stories etched on their faces.
I am not a fan of oil pastel, but I love pastel, so I used traditional pastel for the first few paintings.
Lynda Lanker's paintings shimmered with the close juxtaposition of colors and while her models were mostly sitting or standing still, the paintings pulsed with life. This exhibition opened up the possibilities for of of using figures and ranching subjects.They had authenticity and modernity, they were not paintings of a by gone age, but the faces of people working today expressing their individual
histories. Powerful statements of real people.
It is sometimes hard for n artist to know if something works or not. I find myself thinking something is just great sometimes when everyone else thinks it not. Sometimes while watching another painter do something I will think it is just great and the next moment they have wiped it off the canvas. Often it is hard to judge.
So if you read this give me some feed back.