Category Archives: Articles on travel

Travel articles including trips where art is a large focus. Food, travel and general interests including food reviews.

Valentines from a Starbucks

Valentines evening at a starbucks, a sky darkening with no plans for the evening, just another day for a single person.

Still, I love Valentines day, even if I’m not part of it. One day that you say something a little special, be a little more kind to that special someone, even if corporations can make a profit from it, I’m okay with it.

Artbygordon Oil on Canvas

The truth, I’d be happy to buy the right woman a gift but I would hope she wouldn’t need or expect one on a specific day. I believe we need to act this way year round and because we don’t, we have to have a day to remind us.

In my opinion, kindness and showing someone how much you appreciate them shouldn’t be limited and if it is, one night of celebrating isn’t going to make a relationship any more special.

Artbygordon photography

So I sit here, hoping this post does not sound too melancholy, I am comfortable with being alone, it is by choice as I wait for the right person to start a new relationship.

I believe timing is everything and I am enlarging my scope of social interaction and getting more comfortable with every outing. I believe my soul’s complement is sitting at another coffee shop thinking the same as I am tonight.

Evening park Artbygordon Pastel on Paper

The sky outside is deepening blue contrasting with the yellow lights of local shops and cars passing by. The workforce is hustling home for evening festivities and I am still-sipping a cup of coffee and taking it all in.

It’ a strange feeling when time is not marching behind us keeping us on a schedule. Time is more fluid, it’s a little uncomfortable as it moves without borders of weekend or end of workday-my workday never ends and the week is seamless with weekends.

Roses Artbygordon

It’s easy to become disconnected from the world and that’s why I am continuing to enlarge my social circle. It can be a bit intimidating as you watch time fly by-it is the constant of the ocean tide-adding and subtracting with each surge.

I am slowly growing in my scope of what the future looks like and it has made me feel more present in the moment.

I guess it’s appropriate to be sitting here alone, watching the moment unfold at a starbucks, waiting for no one special who could be that special one. With more confidence than I have ever felt, I wait for that possibility of the future, someone that makes an unexpected stop at a coffee shop on valentines day.

Artist Window: Back to the Canvas, Night Sky

Silence of Stars: Artbygordon 2015 Original Oil on Canvas

In the last thirty minutes, I’ve done more work on painting than I have in several months. It is just an amazing feeling to be in that place and now I know why I’ve been so agitated the last few days.

I started with a very recent inspiration of the trees reaching into a night sky. Yesterday, I pushed paint around, even the underpainting was flat and not much character or interest.

The Bus Stop 2013 Artbygordon

Today I found the spark and just immediately the clear image of the painting became crystal clear. This was actually 100% from memory but so quickly, I knew every bit and star that needed to be placed.

Suddenly a flat underpainting becomes a sky full of depth and twinkling stars. There is a house in the image which will have the one lit window for a little mystery. The sky in the distance is still a bit tinged with red from the sunset.

The Suburbs Artbygordon 2010

Next, I picked up the image of the fisherman standing on the edge of light. Again the clarity of the image and exactly what light and dark needed to be was so clear and concise to me.

After about twenty minutes on that painting I got back to a barely discernible image of “At the Fair” a painting that has been sketched and clearly in my mind for several months.

Moonflower: Artbygordon 2014

There are going to be lots of people in this particular painting and the tents and energy of the state fair-it is generic because there is an unfortunate scene in the foreground-planning on making it subtle but you’ll see when it is finished.

I finally got back to Petit Jean waterfall and I knew where to put the sheen on the water and how to make the waterfall not a thick heavy blob but a group of spaces and shadows denoting the movement. Still not completely done but getting so much closer.

It is incredible when the creative mind allows just a glimpse of creativity and how rich and perfect the view is. The artist needs to work quickly to capture all of the information that is so often cryptic.

The super moon: This will be inspiration for a future painting as well.

I just saw two more images that are going to be fast tracked-my son’s dog Ranger- I saw him in a dark background and just a small element of his beautiful markings are lit. I am very excited about this one because the image is so clear. The whole body of the dog will be in movement and blurred except the eyes and the markings.

I also have a photo of my son and grandson which I plan on painting, the reason, besides the obvious, it is a very graphic basic image and I”m excited to capture the moment. I am excited to see where this series is going and I am so excited to be in the process of thinking and seeing creatively.

Ranger-the painting will be from more recent bu this is Ranger.

Random acts of creativity: Where Inspiration meets kinetic

Spider web February 1, 2019-I celebrate the intricacies of nature and artists creating beautiful things Artbygordon copyright 2019

Creativity: Picture the most euphoric state you can imagine; the birth of a child, flying down a ski slope or a rollercoaster or the view of an awe-inspiring sunset and realize how transient that state is. This is what creativity is for me.

It is when everything aligns naturally and suddenly the strange riddle you’ve been deciphering becomes completely discernible. The riddle is inspiration-I equate it to craving something to eat but not quite able to decide what you are craving.

Honey Bee January 19, 2019-I love how light isolates and creates a moment in nature- Artbygordon copyright 2019

Photography: I have experienced this state of clarity in each medium I work with. My photography used to be, a love of landscapes which weren’t always available to shoot depending on the quality of light and time of day.

I would find an abstract pattern in nature but the image never quite meshed. In a landscape, you can plan for shapes and composition allowing lines to create depth and dimension for the viewer but how do you explain objects and make them have interest to the viewer.

Redbud February 1, 2018-I celebrate the intricacies of nature and artists creating beautiful things Artbygordon copyright 2019

So many attempts failed because I was missing the crucial aspect of the image-it wasn’t the shape, it wasn’t the color, instead it was how it interacted with light.

you just know you’ve captured something beautiful and the excitement is that transient state of seeing what’s invisible and showing it to the viewer.

Artbygordon 2019
Duck January 2019- This is from a series of images that shows loneliness and solitude-Artbygordon copyright 2019

As I continue to see nature beyond the larger scope of a landscape, the isolated image becomes more clear. I find myself noticing, even in the flattest, blandest afternoon light how something evokes an emotion or at least interest from a chaos of details.

After I shoot a landscape or an object, sometimes you just know you’ve captured something and the excitement is that transient state of seeing what’s invisible and capturing it for the viewer.

NEXT Post Creativity in Painting: Pushing Paint

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

Rediscovering the Artist Eye: Diversions are Part of the Process

This image is from a night of camping with my son at Lake Murray-we both played on the cold, hard rocks and watched the moon rise-it has become his favorite painting. Artbygordon 2013

I just started a new painting about the night sky, just did a simple underpainting of trees in the front yard with a moon and star-filled sky.

The more I get back to painting, the more I find myself seeking a graphic element, simple and more abstract. In the past it was more about mood and peripherals and now it is about the shapes and how they interplay.

Photography of light and simple shapes-probably an evolution that is effecting my paintings. I enjoy the contrast of light and shadows and the simplicity of objects. Original Photography by Artbygordon 2018

I’ve been admiring too much abstract images I guess. I’ve also been seeking how light interplays with objects in my photography, which seems to be a principle in the new/old series.

I am getting back to several images of water-they all were somewhat complete but I was never completely pleased with them. It is amazing to me how much an image literally plays itself out while you paint.

There is the first obstacle of pushing paint around, overcomplicating what you see and over-explaining a simple principle of light and shadow.

The droplets on the rose are perfect example of how it is not overcomplicated creating reflection and light-it is a very subtle, simple rendering that delivers the best image.

When the subconscious overrides the conscious and truly sees and renders simple the image as it is-this is when the hand and the brain tend to work independent of consciousness, the lines, forms and subtle detail seem to create themselves.

The Terns Artbygordon 2013: An older painting and the beginning of seeing things in shapes and abstracts

To show the progression of recent paintings, I need to go back to previous series. This is where the shape is becoming a bit more important than the feeling and depth of the water.

I feel like I am getting back to full circle, the paintings in the new series will have more detail in the water, more sharper contrasts of light and I will get back to the reason I loved the night sky and water.

The next post will be about the night sky with the newer images. I am excited about the new series and see my vision truly taking shape.

Back to the Canvas: Rediscovering water and the simple intricacies of light

Turner Falls Oklahoma Original Oil on Canvas Artbygordon 2018

To Truly See: Getting back to Details

I got back to the canvas yesterday and found my purpose for water. The problem with water or even capturing images realistically is seeing and capturing the basic element of the image.

After you’ve truly seen and conveyed the basic idea, the essence of water with temperature and depth, then you can stray from the reality of the colors and even the perspective.

Intention: What is the Basic Premise

It all depends on intention, my intention is always to see the depth and clarity of water first, after that I can express the place or time and I’ve succeeded in the whole reason I started painting water in the first place.

What has happened recently is a loss of conveying the details. Waterfalls end up looking like flows of hair or cotton and the water clarity and depth instead takes on a nondescript study of color.

Petit Jean Arkansas: Original Oil on Canvas Artbygordon 2018

The Shift: To Truly See

There is a point where I can push color back and forth without truly seeing but with any luck there is the shift, where the subconscious remembers what it knows.

This is what happened yesterday, suddenly the brush moves with little consciousness from the artist-it’s like all the forms and strokes are already there.

It is almost an out-of-body experience because the hand the brush, even the colors and the forms tend to paint themselves. I’ve experienced this with writing too and it is an amazing place that no artist wants to leave.

The Fisherman: 2018 Original Oil on Canvas, Artbygordon-work in progress

New Elements in Recent Works

I’m not sure if it’s because of shooting so much graphic photography but recently I have more intention on form and contrast of light. The actually scene is secondary to the relationship of the elements and the contrast of light.

There are many ways to show depth and perspective, this is just one more option and I’m really beginning to see a shift in my work overall as elements supersede or at least complement mood.

Lake Texoma: Original Oil on Canvas Artbygordon 2018

2019: A New Year

A new year, an unblemished calendar but what to do? How can I make 2019 a special, productive year? 

The question definitely has to do with my readers but at the same time, I can’t deliver meaningful content unless I know what my readers and subscribers are wanting or even expecting.

I have decided to break my posts into specific columns so you will have an idea of what to expect and there will be a constant theme going through my content although varied as it might be.

I used to create the blog on Blogger and than share it with multiple network channels but I am trying to localize all the content through the website.

Here are a list of the upcoming posts and what I envision for the year.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

The Artist’s Window: It’s how the artist sees the world, how we find light and what makes the ordinary extraordinary from an artist’s view. 

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

Depression for the Layman: How to live with depression and tips and tools to live a good life despite the illness. I will be putting all the pieces into a book with other self-help books in the works.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

From A Kayak: I’m trying to bring this back; it might be a view from a tree, a view from a platform-it’s just going to be different places in nature.

The Grackles 2017 Artbygordon

ArtbyGordon: New Series, new subject matter and my reactions and thoughts on art and being creative. Artbygordon and life creatively will merge into this catchall for living a creative lifestyle and breaking the boundaries of the expected.

Remnants of the Garden Artbygordon

Gardening: From the beginning to end of the garden and different aspects of life woven through a life filled with nature and gardening. On a practical note: all the winners and losers, maintaining order in a chaotic garden and other thoughts on life and creativity.

Road to Hagerman Artbygordon

Travel and Writing: This will be the travel side of my blogging. I will highlight at least one place through each month-it could be reviews on food, venues, concerts-anything travel with a little bit of nature added in for color.

The Reluctant Military Dad: This is a new piece of the puzzle-it’s about being a single dad and letting go. It’s about my son in the military and the aspects of a dad watching his son become something great. 

General parenting insights and topics about raising kids in today’s world-being a step dad to my oldest son and all I’ve learned on this journey of parenting.

The next thought, what my readers are wanting and what to add to the blog-I would love to hear what people would like to read about.

I am excited about 2019 and feel my brand and its scope is growing.  Please be a part of the Artbygordon newsletter to get up to date news on series, appearances and latest writing and photography.

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

Texas Gardening Part 3: The Spectacle of the Candlestick Plant: Senna ALata

Senna Alata: The candlestick plant has a strange and dramatic flower and is a host plant for several sulphur butterflies. You will need to give this plant some room because it grows out of its boundaries but the display is stunning. No questioning why they call it a candlestick plant as the blooms look like tall yellow candlesticks.

Another aspect of this plant is that it’s so easy to grow, very little watering and I’ve never fertilized any of my plants. After the  flowers are exhausted, the seeds are very abundant. You will see many seedlings the next season or two.

This is the visitor you can expect, the caterpillar of the cloudless sulphur. Every year I get a few of them and I’ve had this plant in my garden every year for probably the last ten years.

Another senna that looks much like the candlestick plant is the Popcorn Senna (Cassia didymobotrya). This plant also attracts the sulphur butterflies and looks like a paler version of the candlestick plant but it also smells like its name suggests.

Makes great photographs.

Candlestick plants love the heat and I don’t think I have ever watered them. In the evening they close up their large mimosa like leaves and the whole plant looks like its praying. I will always have them in my garden and am in the process of selling their seeds as well.

The whole reason I started wildlife gardening was to attract wildlife to my garden and being able to photograph the cloudless sulphurs, clouded sulfurs and several cabbage whites that come for the nasturtium, my work has been rewarded and I love to be able to photograph the plants and butterflies as well.

A New Series: Wildlife Gardens in Texas: Milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies

This is the first post in a series on Wildlife gardening in Texas.

Mexican Milkweed available at your local gardens

I have always been a lover of nature and wildlife gardening seemed
a natural connection to my writing, photography and painting. If you
build a wildlife friendly garden, they will find you.

My garden has been the subject matter for many photography posts, art and writing. There are several species of plants you need to have
in your garden and the fact that they are native will make your garden almost care-free.

Monarch on Maximillian Sunflower

You need to feed the adult birds, allow spaces for birds to
hunt for food without chemicals, raise their families and drink.
You need to feed the caterpillar young and have a place for the adults to feed on nectar, again no chemicals.

The first plant you need to have to help the monarch butterfly
population rebound is milkweed. There are all different species but try to stick with the native species.

Mexican Milkweed

Another plant that is available more than the native species is mexican  milkweed, also known as blood flower.  It’s a tall plant that can reseed and it feeds the young of the monarch.

Frostweed

For the adults, they love Frostweed and Zinnias. Both of these plants will attract them to your garden and you will not need to do much to keep these plants wild. Zinnias actually will grow well from seed and frostweed will reseed itself and feed many other species of nectar loving butterflies.

Zinnias and Sunflowers

Next post will be on Passionvine, what they attract and their ease to grow. Stay tuned. The next  post will be next week at this time.

Passionvine

Build it and they will come

For more photos of garden https://artbygordon.com/?page_id=475