I live with a painting before it's sent off, the longer the better. I turn it away from view to later return to it, flip it upside down, study, review, only to live with it a week or two more. The last review before delivery usually loops through a process of me pondering a myriad of what-ifs.
I intensely study ways to unjumble thoughts and impulses. Simply saying what one wants to say is a baffling pursuit. With paint, it can be a rabbit hole.
Early last summer we noticed a particular fawn. Short-legged, a little gawky, she seemed to prefer us to her peers. If we sat on the porch to enjoy the evening, "Lil Bit", as my wife named her, came to visit. Her mother's grunts were useless as "Lil Bit" scampered up unabashedly. With no other deer in-sight, she disregarded chainsaw activity, and burning brush to graze alongside us during chores.
When we took to a hotel during our February ice storm, we left a supplement of corn nearby for the wildlife. Two does and a variety of birds were lost, but Lil Bit appeared unscathed.
If this little doe has anything, she has moxie. Although she is becoming more doe-like and visits less frequently, her trailblazing style is infectious.
The great people at Sporting Classics were kind enough to include my painting "Gillespie Gold" in the January/February issue.
The painting is featured in the short story by Robert Ellis, "Sermon from the Mount".
I'm honored to have "Hondo Honcho" as the cover for October's issue of Texas Outdoors Journal. TOJ is the go-to publication for game and conservancy in Texas.
"Heads Up" could well be the theme for 2020. Much maligned, the year will go down in the history books as a heck of a tough year to get through. However, when things go awry, opportunities are born! I won't sit and cry in my oatmeal, it's time for work and as my wife says, "At least we don't have a skunk in the attic". Well said.
These thoughts stem from a commission destroyed in freight shipping. Other artists told me it would happen eventually. Yep, Murphy's law caught up to me. I had to adjust plans, create a painting to surpass the original, order a new frame, and negotiate reimbursement for the original with the shipper. I'm one to believe that no experience is without a reason and I'm stubborn enough to not allow this experience to eat at me.
Let's keep our heads up, get out there and get after it! In response to the change of schedule I painted "Heads Up" for The Museum of Western Art, Round Up Show and Sale. Always wary this buck has raised his head from a quick graze. I hope it is a scene many can relate to!
The 37th Annual Roundup at The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, TX will be held Sept 26 -Oct 31.
Back in early 2019 in planning paintings for the 2020 show at InSight Gallery, I decided I wanted to paint a moonlit longhorn scene. I got inspired after seeing such a scene after a long day of reference gathering.
I waited for well lit nights to do some plein air color studies. As I designed the piece I realized the size needed to be substantial.
With my sketch on paper, I begin sketching on the gessoed board with paint. Diagonal lines in pencil make it easier to scale.
After the initial sketch is in place, I pay closer attention to anatomy. I continue to refine.
Now I begin to put a wash down. This will give a warm undertone.
Jumping forward I begin to refine in color. I continue this process until completion. Although the scene is serene, I wanted a shimmer and movement in the light. Western history and cattle lore often centered around the night watch. The stars are bright on this night, but the longhorns take center stage.
The West & The Wild
Brian Grimm & David Griffin
Reception May 1, 2020
A strong fall cold front arrived bringing an early freeze. Ideal weather for our whitetail, they appeared oblivious to the frigid temperatures. Our kids visited with their blue heelers and the deer made quick game of these two porch dogs. The does came to taunt each morning casually bounding over the fence when time arose. This went on each morning until a buck interrupted with more pressing issues.
The bucks made fast haste of the cold snap. The rattling of tines were heard most evenings echoing across the valley. It's the timeless, sweet music of nature that feeds the soul.
I'm reminded of what fuels me. The new windows overlooking our valley have made the studio a joy to work in and I'm eager to get painting with each sunrise. Much like the blue heelers, I have never been one to let go of a chase.
Art collecting has similar sensibilities. A collector may chase the piece that got away, the one that sold out from underneath them or engage in a marathon hunt for that perfect piece of art. That too is part of the sport of life and I'm told it is thoroughly enjoyable.
"Stickers & Stones" will be included in a two man show I'm having along with artist David Griffin, April 2020 at InSight Gallery. I'll select 6 - 10 paintings for the show.
I'll have more on the remodel, which has been a great journey, and what's on the easel. Stay tuned!
We made the move! I hope it is our last! We moved back to Fredericksburg and closed on our home last week. Some remodeling of studio space should give plenty of north light and room to work. I am eager. It may take longer on landscaping and living space, but our contractor is on the same page that the studio takes top priority.
Fortunately, I have found space to work until the studio is completed.
In the midst of the move, I was commissioned to paint a steer painting. I'm doubly honored as the couple is new to collecting western art.
"Trails that Lead to Water" 36" x 48"
I wanted to play with the light on the bluff with the blue tones of the shadows on the main longhorn. He could have been bathed in light, but I wanted to steer away from the obvious, (no pun intended). The painting is a large 36" x 48" and I wanted it to echo the rugged beauty of the west.
I hope to update soon with our move -in and finished studio!
"Rio Grande Casanovas" 24" x 36"
"Spanish Dagger" 24" x 40" Briscoe Western Art Museum Auction 2019
I aimed to muster up the best of the Texas brush in "Spanish Dagger". Each year the lure of the whitetail increases with each passing day as fall nears. Bucks can be monsters in the brush and this guy was a brute. It is all about the buck and the yucca, both of which are aptly nicknamed "Spanish Dagger".
In South Texas, seasonal colors vary from year to year depending on temperatures. I've been there when barely a sprig of green is evident and then other years, like the one in the painting, summer hugs winter allowing for extended growing season creating a thick yet airy lushness as rain allows.
"Spanish Dagger will be at the Briscoe Museum of Western Art, live auction March 29.
"Horns at Honey Creek" is reminiscent of scenes throughout Texas, however, this is set west of San Antonio. Love of family and land kept this second painting close to home. My grandparents arrived as children in Galveston, TX from Germany in the 1880s. They met, married and purchased 239 acres, not 10 miles from where I grew up in Central Texas. We all have stayed in Texas since.
Longhorns captured my imagination early on. Self-reliant, rugged and the mascot for the University of Texas in nearby Austin, longhorns dotted the landscapes of ranches throughout Texas and were accessible subjects for me to paint.
"Horns at Honey Creek" is in the Hill Country. I'm unsure if the creek got its name from the color or the taste, but I imagine it's probably a little of both. The dappled light of the shade play on the pattern of the longhorns. Summer is ending with cooler days on the way.
"Horns at Honey Creek" 24" x 32" Briscoe Western Art Museum, Night of Artists 2019
The nemesis of every artist is deadlines. Yet, thankfully we have them as it is really hard to call a painting completed. Art is not usually effortless, nor should it be. We are to dig deep and bring something thoughtful and moving to life. Lofty goals, but to succeed within a given timeframe is like catching lightning in a bottle. It's emotionally and physically draining but when everything comes together, and it does on occasion, well, there is nothing like it.
I try to get ahead of schedule; I'm getting better. I try to create a custom Christmas card to mail to collectors each year, but I was shocked that according to records the last one I created was in 2015! Are you kidding me? Time can get away from me and I couldn't let another year escape me.
Going through the past cards, I remember the events leading up to their creation. I have been told the same is true for collectors. They remember the art purchase from their favorite gallery or show, the trip they were on, the friends and family they were traveling with at the time. Gathering and adding to one's collection is very personal, in many ways recording memories of milestones and events.
This year has been an all-out love affair with the nature and woods that surround us. From the colors of spring to fall to the resident wildlife, everything seemed to put on a show for us. Two of our neighborhood foxes nap on the hillside behind our home and this is the inspiration behind the 2018 holiday card. The colder the day the tighter they curl into a ball and bask in the sunshine. They are so peaceful in their slumber that they barely lift their head when we walk outdoors. If we do interrupt them, they reluctantly stretch, give an extended yawn and then traipse no further than is required. While I yearn for a balance of easel, family, and the holidays, these critters exhibit pure peace. It is a lesson to relax, quiet the heart and enjoy.
May this season find you and yours with such peace and contentment!
Painter of western wildlife and landscapes, constantly seeking to balance impressionism and realism sans trickery. Brian works as a full time artist in Central Texas. Exhibited at Rockwell Museum, Briscoe Museum, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Western Art Auction
April 10, 2021