Category Archives: review

The Artist’s WIndow: Isolating Light


Honeybee on winter jasmine: Original Photography by Artbygordon 2019

Light separated glistening white blooms of winter jasmine this morning. The image was beautiful as a whole but it was difficult to simplify and accentuate details that could explain what originally inspired me.

Finding light amidst darkness and chaos is a privilege I never take lightly.

Artbygordon 2019

This is a problem the artist often has with separating the ordinary from the extraordinary. We are bombarded with details and often a beautiful image of nature can be quite overwhelming to the viewer.

It is the artist’s job to separate light and shape from the background where the viewer is often left with a chaotic mass of line, form and color. The essence of beauty is often just simplification of the whole.

I have always been a landscape artist but often a flat afternoon light does not offer anything dramatic, this is why I have learned to not only see light but to isolate it and allow it to be the main focus in my photography and art.

As a painter, in the past, I was more impressed with the whole or the peripherals to evoke mood. Now I tend to see shapes and how light accentuates them creating drama.

Light becomes its own object in an artwork and much like you don’t paint water, you must paint that which interacts with the clarity of water, light is not easily defined, it is more it’s reaction with objects that is important.

Because of a growing passion for photography, I have learned more about seeing objects and painting objects. Much like writing teaches us how to think and explain our experience such is photography to the artist, it teaches us how to see and describe the intangible.

Yesterday I made a trip to Daingerfield Lake; it was a wonderful trip with my brother and nephew. Lately I miss the electric hour and either capture the sunset or afternoon light but we had two things, time and shared interest.

I haven’t enjoyed photographing quite like it, it’s amazing to share seeing with others, I love the solitude and introspection but having family to share that passion was an incredible experience for me.

The light as the sun dipped into the horizon created a spectacle on the landscape. The blues were cold and rich, the green reflections were charged with depth and intense green color.

Almost 400 photographs later, I was able to capture Lake Daingerfield in a way I’ve never seen it before. Usually we kayak and fish but this time it was solely a photography trip and a memorable one at that.

To complete the perfect trip, my son called from Oklahoma, although I wished he were with us, it was the next best thing. We will definitely get back for more photography and kayaking, it is truly a beautiful lake to visit.

Daingerfield State Park is 150 miles east of Dallas. Texas. It is a small intimate lake for kayaking and offer a wide variety of fishing opportunities including pickerel which is what we go for.

It is quiet and perfect for the get away from the city without feeling too far remote. For more information go to https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/daingerfield

Capturing mood in Photos: Finding Inspiration

There are several elements that lend themselves to a mood in a photograph. I used to look for abstract patterns but my final image never added up to my passion or interest.

You can’t fake the inspired image, you can do well with textures, composition, colors and shapes but if the photographer has no interest in his or her subject neither will the viewer.

There are several elements that always find themselves into my work, whether it is painting, photography or even writing.

Dragonfly on Zinnia Artbygordon Original Photography

Nature: Always the center for most of my work, nature is where I get my peace and inspiration from. Nature has always been a comfort and my strength.
Recently I have learned not only to find beauty and peace but also the isolation of light and the abstract patterns that continues to interest me.

For more on abstract images for home and office go to https://artbygordon.com/?page_id=1006
Photograph of Redtip Photino-Abstract image Artbygordon Original Photography
To see what other prints are available https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/steven-linebaugh.html

Abstract Patterns: This is a recent motivation for my art and photography. I am continuing to find where light creates patterns or abstract images out of nature.

I have also learned to find light in the midst of a flat landscape. I isolate nature at it’s simplest form.

Duck at Sunset Artbygordon Original Photography

I like to keep the image simple and as iconic as possible.
The clean empty space is what creates the atmosphere of solitude.

Florida during a storm: Artbygordon Original Photography
The Artist Window Series: Artbygordon Original Photography

Simplicity: Isolating nature has become a trademark of some of my most recent images and I’m planning on expanding with still life indoor and out.

Blue Sunset with Duck: Artbygordon Original Photography
Sunset Duck in Rowlett Artbygordon Original Photography

2018: A Productive Year in art and Photography, Part 2 of 6

East Texas in early March, just as the redbuds are blooming Artbygordon 2018

In the beginning of 2018, with a little bit more freedom, I began to explore more places to find nature. Some of the places I visited are the Cedar Ridge Preserve. I began to seek out any place I could find even a hint of nature and mapped out several wonderful hikes very close to Dallas. For  more information on the Cedar Ridge Preserve.

Plum blossoms isolated Artbygordon

February and March found the artist seeking colors and light and instead I began to discover patterns in nature. I aimed to isolate light and shape even when the light was flat.

Screech owl from the Backland Prairie Raptor center first Saturday Artbygordon 2018

I made my regular visit to the Backland Prairie Raptor Center and learned more about the Backland Prairie and its importance to Texas and the DFW area. They open to the public first Saturday of the month and I always try to visit.

Pond near Parkhill Prairie in Blue Ridge Texas Artbygordon 2018

Talking with the naturalists I learned about another favorite place of mine, the Parkhill Prairie in Blue Ridge, Texas. It is like going back to a place in history where the wind cries across the pristine planes. I watched hawks sore and songbirds in the native environment-it was a wonderful trip and a need grounding for me. It is a wonderful remnant of the backland prairie.

Passionvine isolated Artbygordon 2018

 I finally got to the East Texas Alligator Farm and Park. It was an enjoyable visit and something I have been planning for many years on so many drives out East. I plan on finding those out of the way places and writing and photographing about them.

A Productive Year: 2018 Part 1 of 6

2018 started off with my decision to quit selling insurance and start doing creative projects full time. It has been a very productive year and the elements of this year will shape the future look and feel of all of my work.

Original Oils on Canvas for 2018

My oils have been a collection of snapshots of the road as I put 50,000 miles on my new vehicle. The images are of the hawk surveying a field and mallards along the side of the road. There are actually 4 or 5 more images that I haven’t even started but are on the list of paintings to create. The images include a tractor, cattle and other country road images.

I finally finished the series of swallows. There are 3 in the series and this final image is the celebration. It is the smallest of the group and yet the most birds, the  name of the painting is the celebration because the drought is finally over, it looked as if the swallows were swarming in celebration .

The colors a bit more vivid than in the past as I bridge the gap between realism and impressionism. Future paintings will be more about light and darkness than the image itself. I am also trying to get back to water and the reason why I started painting it in the first place. Back to the basics of clarity and the richness of colors.

I showed for the first time in Opa in Rowlett as of September. I sold one painting and there are 6 paintings still showing until the end of the month. All the new paintings will be included on the website as I move some of the older ones to archive. 

Original Pastels on Paper for 2018

I created these pastels again from snapshots on the road. Each one was created within one sitting both from memory and preliminary sketches.

My style has become a bit lighter and more comfortable with details in some places and relief in others. I also blur the image a whole lot less than I used to.

I am excited about finishing up some of the older snapshots and the immediacy of the pastel promises quick rewards. Some of the pastels will probably become larger more defined oils.

Photography for January-February 2018

January began with a feeling of freedom and exploration. Multiple trips to local nature places brought photography of all different aspects of nature.

Many of these photos have become the initial inspiration for the artist window, which is a collection of objects from nature.

I am more aware of light than I ever have been. On a flat day of gray light with little character, I have learned to isolated objects and find beauty from the bland afternoon sun.

I am also getting more interested in the still life which also lends itself to the artist window series. I have become a collector of leaves, pine cones and even a magnolia seed pod I found.

I am more interested in patterns and colors and the way they react with light. I have also grown more excited about abstract images and am continuing to see abstract patterns in nature.

This is the first installment of 5 more posts that will include travels, writing, contests and more months of photography.

The Garden Becomes its Own

I love gardening, something I’ve been writing about for quite a while. It is the act of dissolving into the silence and intricacies of nature.

Every bud and seedling is a glimmer of hope. I enjoy tending the soil, being active and watching this natural work of sorts become its own.

The garden starts out with seeds and a general idea and from there it becomes what it will be. I used to be a lot less enthusiastic about the summer garden than the spring garden.

The spring would come with ideas and grand hopes for wildlife and a garden I could photograph but once the summer heat kicked in, the garden would go its own way.

All of the weeding and planting would turn into a garden of brown shrivelled up leaves. I think depression has a big thing to do with it as well, all intent and excitement dies with its crippling effects.

This year is different. I’m looking at raising milkweed to sell, yes a weed but the only hope for future monarch butterflies. I am collecting passionvine and dutchmans’ pipe as well and with the addition to the family of a dog named Ranger, suddenly I am outside even in the heat, still plucking weeds, still planting.


It’s amazing how a puppy can take you out of yourself. It’s not about you, it’s about him and the garden is better because of it. As he chews on sticks and rocks, I continue to weed, water and protect.

I’m not sure how long this will last, but I’m excited to see the garden become its own even after the second hottest May. I hope you enjoy a bit of a walk through my garden.

 

The Watchman: Red Tailed Hawk

This image was inspired from the East Texas Roads, I was selling insurance. I got to enjoy a lot of mileage and gathered a lot of inspiration for paintings.

I finally got a chance to paint. It was a stormy afternoon as you can see from the remnants of a swollen stream in the distance.

I got more information and sketched more on a trip to Hagerman where there are always hawks patrolling each fence row. There are a  lot of red tailed hawks and I consider them the watchmen of the meadows and fields.

Oil on Canvas 2018 ArtbyGordon

Finishing Paintings: A New Series Finds Closure

This painting was inspired by a ride in East Texas. I liked the grouping
of the drakes and the females looking on. It was a quick snapshot that turned into a long process of capturing a cool autumn day.

Since I started the painting, there have been many starts and stops. I have also had several times studying mallards at a local park to get the personality and eyes right on the males.

I aim to capture that relationship between characters in nature. When I go and study the ducks, they always know I’m there, they just keep their comfortable distance.

I was also aiming for the dark colors of autumn but the warmth of light on the reeds and the shiny green heads of the males. This is the first in the series, tomorrow I will have another I just finished: A hawk from a fence near Hagerman Wildlife Refuge.

Drakes

Wildlife Gardens in Texas Part 4: white veined Dutchman’s pipevine /Aristolochia fimbriota Vine

This is the amazing butterfly that will visit your garden when you plant Dutchman’s Pipe or Aristolochia vine. Even without the welcome visitor it is an easy and very interesting vine to grow.

This is the Caterpillar that will devour every bit of the plants you have but they grow back quickly. They look a bit like slugs but if you study them closer they are quite beautiful in their own right.

Let’s get back to the plant which has its’ own unique qualities. The reason they call them Dutchman’s Pipe vines is because the flowers are very strange and exotic and look much like a dutchmans pipe.

This is the White-Veined Dutchman Pipevine-it is a ground cover that will come back every year in Texas and reseeds itself quite easily. The smell of the leaves are very strong.

There are several different types of vines but be wary of the Aristolochia Gigantea-it is a beautiful flower and dramatic bloom but it supposedly will kill the caterpillars, if you grow them just make sure you keep them away from butterflies seeking to lay their eggs.

The next plant is the sunflower which is not only a host plant but easy to grow from seed and a dramatic addition to any landscape.

 

Nature photography of the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center birds of prey

Every visit to the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center in Lucas, Texas is  a chance to learn more about raptors and the Blackland Prairie. What always strikes me is the fact that young children already know about terms like diurnal and nocturnal and are interested in learning more about the birds.

It makes me hopeful for the future that the youth is already interested and engaged in wildlife preservation. Families walk the prairie with naturalists and are taught the significance of the Blackland Prairie and why it needs to be preserved.

You learn about each bird and their stories and you see how each has their own personality.  Today was a particularly beautiful sunny spring day and I can’t think of a better place to spend an afternoon.

If  you get a chance, you need to visit on the first Saturday of each month and if you can volunteer, I’m sure they could use an extra set of hands.

Unfortunately a common theme is human imprinting. People mean well but most don’t know how to take care of wildlife and usually the consequences are not good for the bird.

If you find an injured bird, leave it to the experts. If you are in doubt leave the bird where it is and allow nature to take care of itself. 

Wildlife Gardens in Texas: Part 2 Passionvine

Citrine, the yellow passion vine

The second plant I would highly recommend is the passion vine. There is so much  about this plant to love and it attracts Fritillary butterflies that will lay hordes of caterpillars to devour it.

Gulf Fritillary

I have become somewhat of a collector having raced 9 or tend different species over the years and continue to be amazed by its ease and beauty.

Hybrid Flower

The plant is named Passiflora after the passion of Christ, there are a lot of symbolism with the parts of the flower, the stigmata represent the three nails and the 5 anthers below them the wounds.  The sharp tips of the leaves, the lance, the tendrils the flagellation of Christ and the ten pedals and sepals the loyal apostles. Read more

Lady Margaret

They won’t overtake your yard or destroy a fence.
I have had the blue variety come back every spring with a heavier base, I would think if it grew well enough it could destroy a fence but I’ve never had any problems with them.

The smell of the flowers.
The blooms are not only dramatic and odd, they smell like sweet candy and each species has its own unique flavor. The thorny larvae of the gulf and variegated fritillaries will devour the stands of the plant but that’s why I grow plants for the wildlife.

They are Good for Bees. Attracting bees could be a good or bad aspect of raising a plant. I always welcome them and never have been stung while treating them with due respect.

Cerulean

The abundant flowers are many different colors and they will cover an area in the yard with beautiful blooms through the summer. I would highly recommend this plant because its easy and needs little care. The native purple, (incense and incarnate), blue (cerulean) and some hybrids will come back after a mild winter and will grow in most places with an abundance of light.

I will have a whole new collection this year and many more photos.
Next is the Dutchmans Pipe-be patient if you plant it, they will come.