Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fall 2009 Arts Goggle

Fall 2009 Arts Goggle has come and gone. Despite minimal publicity and intermittent rain, we had a good turn out at the office of Courage and Renewal North Texas.

I got there about 3:00 in the afternoon. The rain at that point was fairly light and we already had small but steady stream of visitors. As the rain picked up, traffic fell off. Because the rain cooled things off we were able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze.

Joy and Cindy of the CRNT get ready for the throngs of art lovers.

As afternoon drifted to evening, the rains slacked off and the visitors picked up. A number of friends from Broadway Baptist came by, though a competing event (that I would have attended myself, should I not have been otherwise committed) kept a number of folks away. Quite few old TCU cohorts and work friends made their way over.

Dorothy and her friend Julie discuss something other than the art.

Catching up with old friends was probably the most enjoyable part of the evening. Usually I do that at other people's art events; it was a nice change to have my art on the walls. If I'd bothered to price things I think I would have sold several pieces (I've got a couple of people I need to get back to on that topic).

We finally closed up shop around 9:15. I stopped off at the venue my brother was volunteering for and ended up giving their evening's guitarist a break by playing for about 15 minutes. The audience consisted of the other volunteers who didn't seem to mind one way or the other whether I was there. I go home about 10:30 to discover the neighbors had "pigged" me (local joke) -- part of the pigging included a bottle of Tanquery gin.

All in all, the evening was a success. The CRNT people were as nice as could be, the space (an old converted house) was well-suited to my rather domestic scenes. I've taken the show down (this was a one night only event) and am now in search of my next venue.

Thanks to all who came by or made this possible.

Mailing list for updates

I've set up a mailing list to send out updates about shows, blogposts and the like. If you're interested, send me an email and I'll add your address. If, perchance, you grow weary of hearing about me, just send me another and I'll cheerfully remove it.

For more information, see the updates page on the Ralph Art website.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recent Paintings - Fall 2009

On view October 3, 2009, 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Offices of Courage & Renewal North Texas
1229 7th Ave. (Corner of W. Magnolia, just west of Benito's)
Fort Worth, TX 76104

I'm showing a handful of new (and maybe a couple of old) paintings next week during the Fall 2009 Southside Arts Goggle. This will be the first time I've exhibited in around 10 years. About time, you might say.

These will be on display at the offices of Courage & Renewal - North Texas,  located at 1229 7th Ave. (Corner of W. Magnolia, just west of Benito's). In addition to my work, C&RNT will also be showing photographs by Donna Bearden and sculptures by Wayne Martin.

In years past Arts Goggle has coincided with Fort Worth Gallery night, but this fall takes place on October 3, 2009, from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I'm intending to be there most of the time (with a little break at some point for dinner).

For those who've never done it, Arts Goggle is basically a street festival. There will be lots of art in non-traditional venues, music, food and general good fun. It's the sort of thing you can park and wander from venue to venue quite easily.

For those who are directionally challenged, here's a map to the office of C&RNT (click to pull up the full Google map):

Sunday, September 06, 2009

50 First Dates vs. Same Time, Next Year

A friend, responding to a recent Twitter post, asked me the difference between the mindset of working in acrylics vs. working in oils. Before I start, let me say I've worked in both, and both can be very satisfying -- so this is not an endorsement of one over the other.

The short reply I gave was that acrylics were 50 First Dates, and oils were Same Time, Next Year.

In 50 First Dates, the character of Drew Barrymore has no memory of the day before, placing considerable challenges on Adam Sandler, who is courting her. Likewise, with acrylics, the paint is dry in an hour; there is no direct interaction between each layer of paint. Once the water evaporates, you're done.

Which can be good, especially for smaller pieces. There is a clean freshness to working in acrylics; you can (almost immediately) overpaint without having to think about how underlayers are going to react. I tend to work in layers of thin transparent paint, building up layers and gradually working more thickly.

The movie Same Time, Next Year chronicles a 24 year affair, consummated once a year. And so it is with oils: nothing is every truly forgotten. Each time you take the brush up you continue the previous conversation. Your past is always waiting to catch up with you.

You can go back in and rework, remove and repaint anything. On the other hand, doing too much results in a jumble of mud. Many's the time I've gone in after a session, disgusted with the day's output, and wiped it down with a turpentine soaked rag. I've done this to work I've done two weeks ago.

The funny thing is, it is not really erasing. A ghost of what you did, what you learned and how you failed remains: to haunt you, to guide you. And that layer of wiped paint somehow retains some sort of psychic energy. Some of the best painting I've ever done was on top of a wiped down canvas.

As acrylics dry, they become sticky, and impossible to rework. Because they are water-based, they more strongly resemble working in watercolor or gouache. Most (not all) of my acrylics are works on paper.

Oils continue to be slick and workable for a long time (unless you use an alkyd painting medium). Because of the longer drying time, one has to consider thinking of how to manage the paint layers. With enough turpentine, you can work back into almost any paint film, whether you intend to or not.

Not sure if this answered any questions, but if all it did was generate more questions I've succeeded on one level.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New oil painting and website update

I decided I was finished with the oil painting I'd been working on. You can see it below.

People occasionally ask me how I know I'm finished. My stock answer is it's when I realize that there is nothing I can do that will improve the painting. Unfortunately I've continued well past that point in numerous paintings.

I also spent the greater part of this evening scanning old slides to go up on the Ralph Art website redesign. I'd tried this earlier with an old UMAX scanner I've had for too long. I ended up opting to use a much older Nikon LS 1000 slide scanner, which did a much better job.

Upon reflection, I've decided to do a rolling relaunch of the site, which means it may not be finished, but it will be finished enough. Part of this was predicated on the fact that the current site is largely unfinished and the new site is a vast improvement, especially when it comes to maintenance.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The updated Ralph Art Website - sneak preview

I've spent most of the weekend working on the updated design of the Ralph Art Website Project, which is, though functional, pretty dog-ugly in my estimation. Need an excuse? I was in a hurry when I switched web-hosting providers.

This one makes extensive use of the JQuery library, which lets me bolt on some functionality (menus, slideshows and the like) that would take me forever to code manually. As befits my station in life, I've made extensive use of CSS to control the look and feel of the site. No tables and spacer gifs!

I've gotten the basic shell coded out (along with the homepage). Now I've just got to create the rest of the pages for the shell. Simple, right? I've got a lot of scanning to do to feed the image bank of art.

My goal is to get this thing on line before Fall Gallery Night 2009. And yes, I'll have a handful of smaller pieces up during Arts Goggle.

And now your moment of Zen....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two more restaurant paintings

Here are two more restaurant paintings, one just completed, the other from last year. Both are 22 x 30, acrylic on paper.

First, just completed...

And from last year...

After shooting these it became painfully obvious I needed a new process for shooting photos of art.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fort Worth Guitar Guild Music Festival at the Modern

We went to the first concert of the 2009 Fort Worth Guitar Guild Music Festival at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Tonight's performance featured Elliot Frank playing pieces by J. S. Bach,  Isaac Albeniz, Agustin Barrios and contemporary composer Andrew Zohn. The second half of the program featured Guitar Guild founder and Festival organizer Mitch Werverka, who played pieces by Guiliani and contemporary composers Jorge Ritter Navarro and Ernesto Garcia de Leon.

What a great concert. More music at the Modern on Thursday, July 30 when Marko Feri performs, and Saturday, August 1 when Richard Todd and Jeffery McFadden and Andrew Zohn are on stage. Check the Fort Worth Guitar Guild Music Festival site for more information. All performances are at 8 PM. Admission to the two remaining concerts is $20.

There are also Master Classes being offered in conjunction with the Festival. Check the Guitar Guild website or stop by Ft Worth Orchestral Hall on Trail Lake Drive, Wednesday through Friday, 9 AM to 3:30 PM.

The Guitar Guild has also, for the last eleven years, sponsored a recital series at the Fort Worth Public Library, featuring young performers from the area. I've gone to quite a few of these -- well worth the trip. Admission to these is free. Note: if you've gone to these in the past, this year they will be held at the FW Central Library downtown rather than at the Southwest Regional Library.

Updates -- and Twitter!

I figured out how to make it a little easier to update blog entries, so hopefully I'll be updating this site more often. I've also set up a Twitter account, which you can see at (be aware that "RalphArt" is case sensitive).

In the next day or two I'll try and post some photos of some paintings I've finished this year.