My studio morphed, it was only temporary with Creative Waco in the lovely building at 712 Austin Ave in downtown Waco. We had a fabulously wonderful month. As incredible as it was there was a black cloud of doubt about the future hanging over us. Then this precious couple Rebekah and Jeremy Hagman stepped into the building and fell in love with it. They took a gamble and have bravely stepped into the Art scene of Waco and said into the night, “We want to light a candle here.” September was a month of hard work, elbow grease, paint, and fumbling steps giving birth to Cultivate 7twelve. A place to display and celebrate local Waco Art, hand crafts, food, friends, and many more days of joy. I will be there at the top of the stairs, and I hope you will find us.
Photo taken by Abigail Wilson at Six Flags over Texas of San Antonio
A study in negative space. I wanted to challenge myself and see if this would look as cool as the photograph. Looking up at this angle throws the balance off ever so slightly and gives me the slight feeling of the whirling ride. The mind is allowed to fill in the blanks where the cables should be giving the viewer that sense of freedom and fear we love so much about these rides.
Burned on Strathmore Bristol board paper with the Walnut Hallow versa tool.
A now defunct and derelict building sits beside the Brazos River. At one time it was a restaurant and a gentlemen’s club of some reputation. now just another lonely structure almost immediately beneath a bridge, but it has these amazing architectural elements. There are six of these cement pillars in front by the stairs to the main entrance. And this window sits up at the peak of the roof with its twin on the opposite end of the building. A train caboose sticks out of the building on the street side completing the picture. Hopefully these elements will not be lost to decay and will be resurrected into a thriving business. Until then I will continue to stare as I pass by and make the effort to visit when I can.
When I first moved to the Waco area I fell in love with the architecture. Not a subject that I know very much about, but it seems that Waco’s style has been preserved through the years instead of updated. That suites me just fine. Everywhere you go there are hidden gems and interesting elements. In search of some of the history of Waco a friend pointed me to the Sanborn maps online. The Sanborn company mapped cities back in the day and may still do for the fire departments. I found the maps of Waco from 1899 and this fancy Waco font was their front fly leaf cover. I knew I had to imitate it for my Waco Board. More about this board later.
I burned this piece over a year ago and it is still one of my favorites, as you can see because it is the opening image on my website. Originally a Portuguese motivational poster, I have no idea what it said, Google’s translation was more confusing than helpful. I just love the playfulness of these children. It makes me happy. I had a bunch of cousins that enjoyed getting together and we always had fun, this reminds me of those times.
On the technical side, this is burned on Strathmore Bristol board paper a kind of very thin slick card board like poster board, using the Walnut Hallow versa tool, a shading tip. As I worked the piece, I started with the boy on the right and worked across to the left. The face on the child to the left was my greatest challenge. something just did not look right at first. While burning on wood its possible, not easy, but possible to scrape the burn off to some degree and start over, but not on paper. Paper gets burned all the way through and I was afraid I would have to start over completely. Then I realized why my first pass was not working out, the problem was easy to fix and it saved the piece from the trash bin. So not only is this one of my favorite images, it is also a personal success and very satisfying when People come up and admire it.
I burned the full view of the Waco’s historic suspension bridge over the Brazos river first. It is one of those sights around Waco that begs to be photographed. How many cities can brag that they have a walking single span bridge over such a well known river right next to down town? In it’s day it was the longest single span suspension structure in the United States. The foundations had to be built well back from the sandy banks of the river so they wouldn’t collapse.
I was entranced with its steel and rivets, angles and shadows, I couldn’t capture the sound of footsteps on the boards, but I could give the sense of walking across that space into the openness of the other side.
The second piece is much smaller, only a tiny piece of the original, still trying to do those angles justice. This one was for the series “Sights around Waco”. One day I will do another view of the bridge, I hear rumors it is due for a makeover.
My first week in the building of 712 Austin street, the Waco 52 Pop up Gallery is finished and here is the result. I burned a piece from Mineral Wells, not Waco. I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been working in this wonderful space. It is quiet, almost too quiet. I got so much work done! There were visitors coming through, interesting people to meet and visit with, the quiet was never overwhelming. I share the space with some fantastic other artists, whenever I hit the limit of my concentration, there was someone to go watch doing their thing. You should come see all the work going on, you will be delighted I promise.
About my piece, The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Tx sits empty now. Once it was the beating heart of the town, but times and economies change, buildings get left behind sometimes. This photo was taken by my good friend Heather Vessey on her vacation stop, on the porch looking out at the bright sun lit sky. I fell in love with the mason work and wrought iron decorations, as well as the texture of the brick. My grandfather, Hubert Preston Fletcher, Sr. was one of the masons laying these very bricks.
Notice how the bright sun makes the iron work in the middle of the window appear more narrow than the edges. To me, it speaks to how the sunlight of love and hope can make all of the bars that keep us prisoner easier to bear and even disappear when we change our focus.
Its official, I will be one of the Artists in Residence for the month of August at the Waco 52 Pop up Exhibit. Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM I will do my best to be there making smoke and Art. If your near Waco, in Waco or dreaming of coming to Waco, be sure to come see all our fantastic 52 pieces of Art and much more. Waco has more to offer than just the Silos, not that they are worth seeing. 712 Austin Ave.
The very creative people at Creative Waco have done it again. First they gathered 52 artists from Waco and McLennan county, selected a piece of art from each artist to show the diverse talent and incredible love they all have for Waco. Austin’s capitol Dome was the perfect first showing of all that energy. Now its coming to Waco proper! I’m so excited!!!
712 Austin Street is this fabulous old building with sky lights, doors on the ceiling, unexpected twists and two stories of interesting space, it will be filled with Art and Artists, music, Luna Juice Bar, Creative Waco, prints of the art, and Me.
Opening Night is Friday, August 4th, 5-10PM. If you can’t make that, don’t worry it will be open Monday through Saturday, and I will be there to demonstrate wood burning, follow the smell.
Angie and Steve Veracruz came to me and asked if I would participate in an Art Exhibition here in Waco as a fund raiser for their very new organization. It was to be called The Birds. I knew immediately that I wanted to do this piece for that event. The original photograph was of a bird flying over the water getting a drink from its mirror image. Only in my mind I saw it standing up this way as if they were kissing in mid flight. The shading was a challenge, how do you make a white subject show up on white paper? I had only burned a few on paper it was definitely a challenge. To compensate for my poor skills at making a white subject show up on white paper, I decided to darken the background. Of course I waited until the whole thing was finished. So there I was trying to figure out how to darken the background without ruining all my hard work. Watercolors would have been the natural choice because it was water color paper, but the only time I remember trying to water color it was messy and runny, too much of a risk. Then I remembered how as a kid my sister and I would lie on our mother’s linoleum floor and make pencil rubbings of the pattern, these were often the beginning of an ant farm drawing tiny little ants in between the weird shapes left by the linoleum bumps. So I tested graphite shading on a scrap to see how well it would erase if I messed it up, thankfully it did. That is why the background on my “Birds” piece, which was used in the brochure they printed for the exhibition has a graphite background. I still have it and it is available to purchase.