These small cloud paintings depict the all too rare sight of rain. Finally a series of storms has delivered much needed relief from this prolonged drought. As summer turns to fall, it is a reassuring sign of a healthy planet. These are a series of three images that I have posted as the first paintings to appear on the new Baron Wilson Fine Art page on Facebook; and I have been overwhelmed by the response in the first 24 hrs. It is also a new venture to merge the Blog which has been dormant for far too long here on my web site. The next level of posting traditional artwork in the digital new age has begun !


Westlake Beach

Westlake Beach   5x10
Yesterday in Austin was one of those amazing late fall days with near perfect conditions for painting outdoors. The "made to order" day was also, appropriately, the end of year party for Plein Air Austin painters group. The turnout was great and it was really something to see the lakeside park and marina covered with fall color and dozens of artists all out painting ! What a fun group. I have really enjoyed being a part of this diverse and talented group of artists since joining at the beginning of the year. As is typical  on these plein air paintouts, it all went by too fast. Before I knew it, I had spent over an hour taking reference photographs, so I finally set  up to paint and focused on a fairly simple composition in the late afternoon sun. The watercolor study above is of a poplar tree near a wood trellis on the banks of the marina that  took about 45 minutes to complete.


Fall Leaves 11.30.10


Fall Leaves 11.30.10 One-Four   5x5


This series of four miniature paintings are similar to ones I have painted before. I did many small paintings like this several years ago, only they were painted in gouache on paper with a gessoed surface. Here I wanted to try  it again in watercolor as an exercise in creating these textures. The gouache method tends to have more contrast within each color when applied, as it is more opaque than watercolor, so I needed to build up several layers of colors to establish a similar appearance. These leaves were collected yesterday with my daughter on our walk home from school. She especially liked several we found near a bradford pear tree.



Still Life 11.23.10

Still Life 11.23.10   5x10
This piece is similar to the small still life paintings I was doing about ten years ago. It is really from an illustration technique of lifting pigment from a non absorbent surface. I first learned to do this using gouache on paper prepared with gesso. The brushed gesso left a texture to the paper surface that is visible through the pigment. This painting however is on Strathmore  140 lb cold press paper, which seems to have a slight coating to the surface that allows the lifting of the color similar to what I described. It lends a mottling to the washes that are, not flat areas of color, but have a variation when applying the pigment with the color defining the edges. It works well for creating these reflections.


Still Life 11.22.10

Still Life 11.22.10   5x10
One of the subject matters that has been missing to date are still life compositions. I  have wanted to start working again with this subject for a while. We have a collection of small  colored glass bottles & here I have place these two with one of our recently cleaned and varnished copper mugs.  This small painting is on a piece 90 lb. watercolor paper. It is a blend of wet on wet painting with flat washes of color. This particular paper does not allow for lifting the pigment, rather it is absorbent and holds the color by staining of the pigment into the paper.


Upper McKinney Falls Study

Upper McKinney Falls Study  5x10"
This watercolor study is based upon one of the photographs taken recently at McKinney Falls State Park. I sketched out the composition from viewing the photo on a large monitor in the studio. It had been several days later after drawing the initial composition  before I was able to start painting  on this piece. Instead of working from the photographs for color reference, I painted from memory. I recalled a basic palette and kept this study relatively simple by starting with four colors; Payne's gray, hookers green medium, burnt sienna, and  quinacridone gold. Some shadows have violet t hues, as well as areas of the limestone rocks.Ultramarine and cerulean blue were used in the foreground water.


Deep Pool Shadow Study I & II

Deep Pool Shadow Study I & II  5 x 5
At McKinney Falls State Park near the Lower Falls where Williamson Creek and Onion Creek converge, is an area of interesting rock formations. Just below the bluffline of terraced limestone, you can peer into a labyrinth of stone pools that are deep and mysteriously dark. The entire formation is currently only a few feet from the surface, but the bright sunlight, when at low angles, casts these intensely dark shadows into the clear water. When we first saw them, our daughter of course wanted to know "what's in there?", "how deep is it?" and "how far does it go?" All good questions that could only be answered by fully exploring with scuba diving gear. As for the image above, I was inspired by the contrast of shade and shadow but also to the formations that were worn smooth yet created sharp hard edges that are anthropomorphic with a resemblance to animal bones. I did these studio watercolor studies to work with an abstract quality of the compositions and variation of hues in the colors.