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Back In The Saddle

June 10, 2019

For some reason, old cowboy songs started playing in my head when I sat down to type this.  There’s an old Sons Of The Pioneers song (yes, I’m that old) titled Tumbling Tumbleweed.  It popped into my head as I was trying to think of what I would say about being away from this blog for so long.  I could say I’ve been “…drifting along like a tumbling tumbleweed…” but I figuured most of you have never heard of the song.  Then I decided that since I’ve gotten started on a major painting project the old Gene Autry song Back In The Saddle Again was appropriate.  (Yep, Gene Autry… google it)

If you’ve followed along, (and bless you for waiting) you know that my wife Nell and I live in a Fifth Wheel RV in a nice RV park northwest of Austin, Texas.  And you know that I draw, paint and create books in the RV.  For those of you who are new, here’s what that looks like:

ralph painting 700

I came out of hiding to share this project with you because it’s something I’m pretty excited about.  Now in my 75th year, I was beginning to lose a little artistic steam.  This work came along at exactly the right time.  It started out with someone saying “I’ve been thinking I’d like to have a mural on the upstairs game room wall.”  My response was “I’ve never done a mural.”  I wasn’t counting the Egyptian mural we did on the wall of my grade school classroom one year.  As I recall, we used an overhead projector for that.

As we discussed the current project over several conversations, the client accepted that a mural painted on a wall of his house wouldn’t move with him and his family.  The solution we came up with was a collection of large paintings hung close together on the wall.  There will be eight 30″ x 40″ paintings on a wall that is 9 feet high and 18 feet long.  I looked it up.  It’s called an octaptych.  The subject matter in the paintings will represent the family’s wide range of interests.

The first painting (below) is at the 80% stage.  That, of course, is the stage where all the little details and cleanup wok still need to be done.  Here’s that first painting:

brown star wars paintingThe client is obviously a huge Star Wars fan, so I chose to do it first.  The painting below is very much still in progress, but it’s coming together.  It’s intended to be placed  to the left of the Star Wars one.  When finished, it will reflect some of the family’s special travels.

brown travel painting

I’m really enjoying this for several reasons.  First, it’s the largest painting project I’ve ever done.  Second, while there has been some collaboration, I’ve pretty much got a free hand.  And third, almost all of the subject matter and the styles are very different from anything I’ve ever done.  (I can’t imagine when I would have ever painted the Roman Forum or the Coliseum.)  I’m looking forward to seeing all this come together.

I’ll try to do better at posting.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jerrie permalink
    June 11, 2019 7:01 am

    Glad you’re back. I’ve missed you. I started following you back when I was trying out gouache. You had a lot of good information.

    • June 11, 2019 10:29 am

      Thanks, Jerrie. I appreciate you being here.

      • Jerrie permalink
        June 11, 2019 10:40 am

        I can also relate to Gene Autry and living in an RV. Not the best studio but you seem to be able to handle it better than I did. Love your work.

  2. June 11, 2019 12:05 pm

    Great stuff, glad to see it and looking forward to the finished work! 🙂

  3. Roeleen permalink
    June 11, 2019 1:56 pm

    I am glad you are back

  4. June 20, 2019 6:46 pm

    I know of Sons of the Pioneers, and several of their songs. You aren’t that old 😉

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