Friday, January 26, 2007

Watercolor, Front Range

Front Range
4 X 6 inches

I recently took my first crack at doing a watercolor. (Well, not really the first. I did do some in grade school.) I did this as an exercise to loosen up my brush strokes and just let the paint flow. I enjoyed doing it and plan on doing more.

The Blue Vase

The Blue Vase
4 X 6
acrylic on wood panel
My daughters work in a flower shop at a prominent hotel in Denver. They bring flowers home quite often. I have always like this blue vase and I thought it would make a good subject. I can't remember the name of the flowers. Will have to ask them, and will add that later.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Front Range

Front Range
4 X 6 inches
acrylic on wood panel

I decided to switch to acrylic for this one, just to get a feel for that medium. That quick drying time is both a blessing and a curse. Overall, I prefer oils, but may try a couple more acrylics anyway.

A closer look.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Resting Before The Party

Resting Before the Party
8 X 10 inches
oil on wood panel

We're going inside for this one. I like lovely women, so painting them is fun. I plan on doing much more of that.

I liked this one because of the pose and the colors.

I'm disappointed with the photo of the painting, because it doesn't really capture all the richness of the colors and the brush strokes.

Front Range Near Standley Lake

Front Range
8 X 10 inches
oil on wood panel

A view of the Front Range, from Standley Lake, near my house.

My wife Anne and I go hiking here quite often. If you look at the clump of trees on the left side of the painting, in the tree farthest to the right, this summer we spotted two great horned owls, sitting side by side. What a sight!

Great Horned Owls. Photo by Bill Brauker

Following are three close-ups of the painting. I like to do this to take a look at the brushstrokes. I still feel I paint somewhat conservatively, and would like to loosen up some.

The original photo of this painting could have been better. Sometimes it is hard to get the color to show up correctly and shoot it without getting reflections on it.

Beach at Dusk

Beach at Dusk
8 X 10 inches
oil on canvas, 2006

My second painting of the new era, was also a scene close to my heart. We lived in Hawaii for a little over six years, 1991-98, and I spent many evenings with my family on the beach at dusk, watching the waves grow darker.

It is a magical time of the day and I loved doing this one.

Once again, I mainly used my trusty palette knife.

Painting Life, Part Two

Dusk, Front Range
8 X 10 inches
oil on canvas, 2006

After a lay-off of over 25 years, I have picked up the brushes and started painting again. For years, every time I was out in the garage and saw my old paint box, I swore to myself that I would begin again. Finally, after my usual bouts of procrastination, I have done it.

My first subject is a view that is very dear to me. The mountains at dusk. As I stand here typing, (yes, I stand a lot while typing) by my second floor window, the view out is quite similar. I can see the tops of the blue peaks of the front range of the Rocky Mountains, peaking through the trees. The actual scene of the painting is about a half mile away from my house in Westminster, Colorado.

I used both brush and palette knife for this one, mostly the knife, which I love. We get the most beautiful skies here, so the pink is not unusual.

Detail of Dusk, Front Range.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Couple of My Older Paintings

The Cabin
15 X 19 inches
Oil on Wood Panel, 1973

This was painted on a hot hazy August day in the summer of 1973. It was my father-in-law's cabin in the woods in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. I guess you could say I was under the influence of Vincent on this one. That is sand in front of the cabin as it was located in a sandy, piney woods area.

Grapefruit and Oranges
12 X 18 inches
Oil on Canvas, 1972

This was my take on a grapefruit and two oranges. I had a fun time with this one, especially the table.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Information About The Painting, Waiting

Waiting, 1974
45 X 55 inches
oil on canvas

I was enthralled when I first saw the 1933 photograph by Dorthea Lange, of the White Angel Bread Line. (So called because a wealthy San Francisco woman paid for it.) I loved the shapes and imagined what they would look like in vibrant colors. I was so taken with the image that I thought it had to be large and am real happy with the way it turned out.

Dorthea Lange, Photograph
1933, San Francisco
White Angel Bread Line

I often would paint at night. Here is a photo of me painting, Waiting.

Painting, 1974.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The History of My Art

I first started painting in the 1970s, then life interrupted. I got married, (twice) had three children, worked as a reporter, as the Press Secretary for a US. Congressman, newspaper editor, public relations executive and chief information officer for the City and County of Honolulu.

Over the years, I traveled extensively, to some of the great art museums of the world. I've been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on two different trips. It was like going to heaven each time. I love discovering new paintings and painters, it's like finding treasure.

I was born in Coldwater, Michigan, and lived in the state for over 40 years. After living through countless brutal Michigan winters, my wife Anne and I decided it was time for a change. We packed up our daughters, Margaux and Chelsea, and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, for six years. We discovered after a while, that 84 and sunny is not all it is cracked up to be, and wanted to go back to the, "real world." Leaving Hawaii in the late '90s, we moved to Colorado, in the foot hills, half way between Denver and Boulder. With the beautiful Front Range of the Colorado Rockies looming out the window, my thoughts drifted back again to painting and those first paintings in the 1970s.

I began in 1971, encouraged by my first wife Chris, who is a good artist. I really enjoyed doing it, but by late 1974, I had stopped painting. There was little room in the small house we lived in with our son Bob. I was very busy, first taking graduate school classes, then as the co-owner, with my best friend, Larry, of a weekly newspaper. My days and nights were filled with reporting and editing, and the paint supplies went into the garage. So did almost all of my paintings.

Two years later the local college had a juried art show, which featured paintings from the students and was also open to local artists.

My wife and my sister-in-law, Shirley, were art students, and they were putting pieces in the show, so I thought, what the hell, I might as well take my big painting, Waiting, which was hanging in our house, and I also went out in the garage and dug out another painting I really liked, Seated Nude.

Waiting, 1974,
45 X 55 inches,
oil on canvas

The nude had been tossed up in the top of the garage, and had spent three frigid Michigan winters in the rafters. It was covered in dust and needed some tender, loving, care. After a good cleaning, it was placed in the show.

Seated Nude, 1973
21 X 25 inches
oil on canvas.

The judge, an art professor from Detroit, wasted little time when he saw the painting. Standing in front of it, he turned to the local college art professor and told him, "It is vibrating with energy, and it draws you right in to that face."

He paused and then said, "This painting should be hanging in the Detroit Institute of Arts ."

The nude was named the best in the show and, the large canvas, Waiting, was second.

Well, unfortunately for me, Seated Nude, never has hung in the Detroit Institute of Arts, or any other museum. One can always hold out hope, however. Once again, because of space issues, it went back into the garage for awhile. It now resides on an honored wall in our house, where it should be.

Just recently, I dug out the old paint box (boy was it ever difficult to get the tops off those 25 year old tubes of paint) and started in again. I promise that my paint box will never go into the garage again.

To see some of my other older pieces go to my temporary art page. (I am in the process of building a more complete painting site.)

I will be adding my recent paintings as I get a chance.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Welcome to the Brauker Art Blog

I have recently started to paint again after a lay off of many years. I will be featuring my new art here as soon as I figure out how to use this blog properly.