Daniel Burns Captures the Changing City

We took a visit to Daniel Burns’ studio to have a look at what was available.  And wow he has some amazing pieces hiding there!  Daniel is a street painter who has a unique ability to capture the quickly changing nature of a city.  Over the course of his career he has painted in New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin.  We couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of what we saw to share with you!

View from South Congress, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

View from South Congress, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

There are so many fantastic Austin landmarks in View from South Congress!  Being a street painter means that the artist paints on site.  They paint quickly and spontaneously with an incredible amount of focus.  Often there is lots of traffic, curious pedestrians, and city noise. It’s the urban version of plein air painting.

Pink Port-a-Potty, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

Pink Port-a-Potty, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

Street painting also means picking somewhat unorthodox subject matter.  To really capture a city, you have to go beyond the tourist sweet spots.

Although there are plenty of those!

Lamar Bridge, oil on canvas, 24 x 12 inches

Lamar Bridge, oil on canvas, 24 x 12 inches

Under Lamar Bridge, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Under Lamar Bridge, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

We love that he even captures the most familiar sight in Austin these days- the construction site!

Excavator at Seaholm, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Excavator at Seaholm, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

All of Daniel’s paintings have an incredible amount of texture to them.  He applies the paint quickly and liberally which leave behind texture and movement to rival Van Gogh.

Detail of Seaholm Skyline at Night

Detail of Seaholm Skyline at Night

Visit Daniel’s page on our website to see more images of his work.  And as always, give us a call at Davis Gallery to see them in person!

All pieces in this post are currently available.

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In the studio with Christopher St Leger

We love studio visits! Earlier this week, we took a road trip out to Lockhart to visit Christopher St Leger in his charming, paint- spattered studio.

20140805_154813How did you get started?

My first start at getting started went on and then off almost seasonally (in my twenties). But the beginning of what it is now, which is to say an occupation that I practice or think about daily, happened most of all when I’d resigned myself from advancement thru formal education. It was hard to make this decision.

Who or what has had a major impact on your career as an artist?

Process has had the biggest impact. I latched onto individual paintings and worked through their content and method for years. I have had a postcard from an exhibition of watercolors by Ian Potts on my desk since 1997. This mixed with deviating for periods of time by working with abandon.

Watercolor is a special beast that is less concept-based and more practice-based which is why it’s usually referred to as a “tradition”. The focus is heavy on borrowed or inherited technique, sharing tricks such as scraping the paper with an x-acto knife for snow effect. Just go to the library and count all the how-to books.

Some folks I have managed to acquaint myself with personally have also had impacts: David Leonard, Jan Heaton, Lance Letscher, Leon Alesi, visual artists working in various media who are based around Austin, all have unique success strategies and tips (though nothing on how to create wispy snow in watercolor).

Describe a typical day in the studio.

I like to leave a painting unfinished so that when I return the following day I can pick right up. And though the whole thing is kind of a flowing experience, in recent cityscape work there are tedious parts of the painting that require planning. The playful parts that my 7 yr old son says look “easy” usually involve pouring and glazing. These are indeed fun but can also be the most intense. Creating atmosphere with edge to edge pours of permanent ink requires my attention at its fullest. If I make it look easy this is ok, but internally it’s when I don’t answer the phone or remember much of the conversation if I do. I can’t stop in the middle of this. So, the day is spent mostly between planning and pouring.

20140805_161604If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Too many things. Most available temptation, however, would be to insert myself gently into the rosy field of architecture. A stable and calm work environment, congenial team members, socially responsive housing projects, … Or a classical musician, with the same fuzziness.

When (if ever) do you feel that a piece is finished?

I used to think that you can’t really overwork watercolor. Lately, I’ve pushed this a bit. But you just know.

What was your first job?

construction sites and restaurants

Single best invention in your opinion.

the USA

What item would you be lost without?

my camera

Most important question: Who would you say has the best margarita in town?

Ranch 616.

20140805_161735Thanks for having us Chris!

10 Questions with Julie Davis

We sat down with Julie Davis, plein air painter of all things sublime.

How did you get started?

I’ve always loved to draw and had a deep interest in art, but never had any formal training. I earned my degrees in Education and Law. The right combination of opportunity and challenge came one night several years ago when I won the raffle at the Arthouse 5 x 7. Allowed to choose a painting before anyone else, I chose one of the few representational pieces—a work by Davis Gallery artist Laurel Daniel. I met her that night and immediately signed up for her class at The Austin Museum of Art (now The Contemporary Austin).

Who or what has had a major impact on your career as an artist?

Laurel (Daniel) had the biggest impact. She was my instructor, became my mentor and friend, and opened the door to painting for me. The daily painting that I did for several years in the early stages of my learning was invaluable. Beyond that, Richard Schmid’s edges and brushwork, Jill Carver’s striking talent and work ethic, Scott Christensen’s breadth of knowledge and the peace that emanates from his work—I study what I love about others and their work and try to incorporate that into what I do. I read and reread Edgar Payne’s Composition of Outdoor Painting, Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit, and John Carlson’s Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting.

 

at work 2

Describe a typical day in the studio.

I’m fortunate that my studio is both the one in my home and the entirety of the outdoors. It’s never boring. If I’m painting en plein air, I like to start early and paint for a few hours before the midday sun removes shadow patterns and flattens color, or go out late afternoon and paint until the light fades. If I’m in the studio, which is more common when our family schedule is busier, I begin after my daughters leave for school and paint until they come home. The unbroken hours are rare but critical.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

When I’m not making art, I’m a wife and mother. In fact, that is my first day job and my priority while our daughters are home.

at work

When (if ever) do you feel that a piece is finished?

Paintings definitely have a point at which they need nothing more, but it takes practice (and sometimes luck) to know when to stop. Robert Henri said it well: “No work of art is really ever finished. They only stop at good places.” It’s my job to find that place for each piece.

What was your first job?

I was a summer camp counselor at Camp Mystic in Hunt, Texas, where I taught Arts and Crafts.

Single best invention in your opinion.

The internet. It’s an incredible tool.

What item would you be lost without?

My very cold pillow.

at work 3

Tell us a bit about your new work in the show.

Other than the rural landscape, edges tie these pieces together for me. I’m becoming more interested in the construction of paintings – in emphasizing some of that. It’s definitely still evolving for me, but I’m more liberal in the use of my palette knife to define edges than I was even a few months ago. Something clicked, and I’ve given myself more freedom with it lately.

And now for the most important question: Who would you say has the best margarita in town?

I’m definitely not the right person to ask . . . . I’m a red wine girl.

Studio visit with Gladys Poorte

Last week we visited Gladys Poorte at her studio in North Austin.  Gladys will be having a show at Davis Gallery with Hollis Hammonds in October 2014.  Works on paper and canvas will be shown alongside three dimensional assemblages.  Gladys was kind enough to answer a few questions for us…

G. Poorte Studio 3

How did you get started?

Since I was a child, I always liked to draw, paint and build things. However, when I went to college in Argentina I majored in English as a Second Language and later got a Master’s in Adult Education at Penn State University. It was after that, when my first daughter was a baby, 26 years ago, that I started taking art classes in the evening. At first, it was mostly a fun break from taking care of a little baby all day. But I loved it, and a few years later when we moved to Austin I went back to school and studied Studio Art at the University of Texas.

Who or what has had a major impact on your career as an artist?

I‘m indebted to Dan Sutherland, a University of Texas professor, for most of what I’ve learned about painting.  Among artwork that I consider influential, I’d mention ancient Chinese painting, Hieronymus Bosch, and contemporary artist Sara Sze.

G. Poorte Studio 6

Tell us a bit about your new work in the show

My work process typically involves building environments with all sorts of materials (fabric, paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and found objects) and then making paintings of those environments. I usually dismantle the physical construct after the paintings are done. The paintings are the only remaining record of the process.

For the upcoming show, I created a large box which contains 6 environments lit by LED’s. The inside of the box can be seen through several openings on the different sides of the box. I made six paintings of the views inside the box. This time I will be showing both the box which was the source of the paintings together with the paintings.

This new show will also include other paintings of different environments that refer to landscapes, as well as a small 3D installation.

Describe a typical day in the studio.

My studio is at my home. I work in the studio every day, often listening to music or the radio. I usually have two or three different pieces going on at the same time, at different stages of completion. One day I may spend the time painting a piece already in progress. Another day I may be building “the stage” for a new painting or making a 3D object. And yet another day I may be building a panel for a future painting or working on digital images of finished work.

G. Poorte Studio 22

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I would probably be involved in some sort of educational project or work in a nonprofit organization. Feeling that I’m making a difference in somebody’s life is very important to me.

When (if ever) do you feel that a piece is finished?

Some pieces reach the point at which I’m certain they’re finished in a pretty painless way. Other pieces linger at a point where they could be “considered finished” but there’s something about them that is not really clicking. I look at those pieces many times every day as I continue with other work until one day it suddenly dawns on me exactly what they need in order to be finished (and that is a very happy moment!) .

G. Poorte Studio 34

What was your first job?

Teaching English as a Second Language to 10 year olds in a bilingual elementary school in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Single best invention in your opinion.

The printing press. I love books.

What item would you be lost without?

If we defined “item” in a very broad manner, I’d answer my husband.

And now for the most important question: Who would you say has the best margarita in town?

I actually don’t have margaritas, so I can’t make any recommendations. I’m originally from Argentina which produces some very good wines in the Andean province of Mendoza, our wine country. I actually was not familiar with margaritas until we came to live in Austin and I still prefer wine, especially Malbec, which has recently become quite popular in the US.

G. Poorte Studio 43

Thank you for a wonderful visit Gladys!  We can’t wait for your show.

All photos courtesy of Jen Jenkins Photography