Flor del Sol @ KCOS Auction

Flor del Sol_rachel_murphree_watercolor

I’m very pleased to announce that my painting Flor del Sol won a Juror Award for Still Life and Landscape in this year’s KCOS Auction!  You can view the award winning paintings here.  I’m honored to be in such good company .  https://www.kcosartauction.org/about

Globe Mills plein air_rachel_murphree_watercolors

I will let you know what times this painting, and my other donated painting, Gone but Not Forgotten (Globe Mills), will be auctioned to benefit our wonderful public TV station.

Art Auction Air Dates
Saturday, April 22: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 23: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Saturday, April 29: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 30: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm


Plein air painting and a birthday surprise!

Globe Mills plein air_rachel_murphree_watercolors

I recently joined an energetic vibrant group called the Plein Air Painters of El Paso, and we were painting last Friday at Globe Mills, a building that will be torn down in April to make a freeway exchange.  Such a shame.  The link on the name takes you to a page describing its role in history.

Most of the group was on one side of the building, and I was on the other side, getting a different look (and considering going home because I was freezing!) but I had my easel set up, completely blank, when the newspaper photographer came around the building.   He was happy someone was on my side of the building because of where the sun was in relation to the building and to the easel.  When I said, I don’t have anything painted yet, he said that it didn’t matter but what he was documenting was community involvement in the buildGlobe Mills plein air_newspaper_rachel_murphree_watercolorsing.

So I just started sketching loosely and then once I put on the first wash of blue for the sky, I was hooked!  It was such fun to watch the bead of pigment roll down exactly to where I wanted it, and then to pick up the quinacridone burnt scarlet and quin burnt orange and start to define the rest of the building.  And it didn’t matter that he was shooting photos. I was just having fun, and so was he because the light was working out.  We talked briefly about how much we love what we do and what a shame it was to have this cool building destroyed.  Later in the morning several of us went inside the building and took photos.

I learned several things from that day:  I can paint under pressure.  Paint dries slower in cool (humid) weather — remember I live in the sun and heat of El Paso.    It’s always better to try…not to give up and go home.  oh yes, and to bring along a ruler when painting  buildings!  Ha ha.
So whether the plein air paintings can stand on their own, or are studies for studio paintings, or just because I want to document the day (and remember the sounds, breezes, cold, hot, and conversations) of the time.  Life is good.

And then the next day I was surprised to see my photo in the paper, and so big on the page, and it was my birthday!  so what a cool thing to have happened.  There’s also an online gallery that shows other painters in the group and inside the buildings.  Take a look! File Feb 07, 4 12 29 PM

And here’s one of my photos from inside the building looking over the freeway to the UT El Paso campus.

Thanks for stopping by!


St Francis on the Hill Day 9

Today’s painting of the day is a watercolor value sketch from a photograph of a nearby church, St. Francis on the Hill.  I see this in the distance on all of my dogwalks and it has a European feel to it, nestled in the foothills of El Paso mountains and looking into the mountains of Mexico.

st_francis_on_the_hill_value_sketch (2)

Photo and several pencil value sketches

First I started doing several pencil value sketches choosing a point or several on the photograph to audition.  One of my presents this year was Powerful Watercolor Landscapes: 37 tools for painting with impact by Catherine Gill so I followed examples in there on finding your “what” that grabs you.  For me it was the light on the distant mountains and the dark foreground with some of the church.

Isn’t it funny how simple things become clearer?  when she was writing on how to do value sketches quickly, she said make everything that’s NOT white a med shade and then add the darker values.  Simple, huh?  it works!

st_francis_on_the_hill_value_sketch (3)

Values not quite right!

Of my three sketches I liked the bottom right and did up a painted sketch to get the values right.  But it wasn’t quite right. My eyes were drawn to both the lighter church and the mountains, and there was no clear point of interest smacking you over the head.  Going back to the sketch, I saw that I had the church too light.

st_francis_on_the_hill_value_sketch (1)

Painted value sketch of St. Francis on the Hill

I think this final preliminary sketch works much better because the focal point is much more clearly defined.  It’s quite useful to do these exercises because when you read them in the books, they seem clear and easy, but it’s in the actual DOING of the work that you learn…or at least I do!

So that’s my offering for today’s challenge in the 30 in 30.  While not a finished painting, it’s working and keeping the brushes wet daily that’s the goal! thanks for stopping by…