We decided to pick up a frame order in Arizona, and while my mother-in-law had visited Arizona, she had never seen Saguaros. We decided to combine efforts: she'd fly home to Florida from Arizona, and my wife and I would pick up frames. My mother-in-law is 80 going on 60 and hiked with us, providing a wealth of knowledge on plants. Although this was to be family time, I was surprised by the amount of reference gathered.
My interest in animal life is varied, but the desert has beckoned me since my first trip to New Mexico as a teen. This trip I studied the desert perhaps more intimately than on previous trips. Putting some meat on the bone, so to speak, with new paintings was a goal. As a professional artist, I wanted to cast aside thoughts that restrain creativity.
I began with inspiration as a driving force, and the desert did not disappoint. I saw more mule deer on this trip. While this wasn't as in-depth as a typical research trip, it panned out with some good reference and more so in inspiration and knowledge. I was able to catch this little rabbit taking a break from the heat of the day. The cottontail was such a good model, he demanded to be painted. Fortunately, he was quite content to rest in the desert shadows while I took some pics and made mental notes.
The trip taught me I can become too comfortable in the studio, but more surprisingly in the field as well. I can't force inspiration. There is something always more interesting. Sometimes it is as simple as a little cottontail.
Available: Legacy Gallery
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.