Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Patience - Texas landscape by Kirk Witmer

18 X 24" - Oil on stretched canvas
This one came from three different source photos and it seemed to take forever to paint. I'd thought of titling it "What's Taking Him So Long?" but realized that "Patience" tells the story just as well.
$400 + $24 s&h

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Typical Texas Series #1

16 x 32" - Oil on stretched canvas
I've decided to work on some landscape paintings of the Texas Hill country for my upcoming solo show in September and October in Georgetown. Well those, among other things. This first one was inspired by a Google maps street view image from along side FM 1174 between 1869 and 1431. Whew! Sounds like a bowl of Number Soup, doesn't it? I say "inspired" because after I got going I thought of all sorts of ways to make it more interesting. So the water, the large boulders and the distant hills were all from imagination.
$ 750
+ $38 s&h

Visit Kirk Witmer Fine Art to learn more about the upcoming show
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Self Portrait

9x12" - Graphite on Bristol vellum

The local art association that I belong to chose "Self Portrait" as the challenge project for this month, and I've done so many portraits since I started drawing last summer, that I kinda sorta felt like I had to get in on it. If you'd like to order a portrait done in this style (it's all with graphite pencils) click here to visit my website and get more information on sizes and pricing.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pipe Dreams in Mason Texas

Some of you know that I was on a field trip to Mason county this past weekend for my first attempt at plein air painting; painting outdoors in natural lighting. I've been resisting it for a long time (do I really need to torture myself with wind, insects and Texas heat?) but I've heard so many artists talk about how wonderful it is that I felt I had to at least give it a try. Turns out ... I was right to be reluctant. Outdoor painting for me on Saturday was pretty much a disaster. The sky was so cloudy and overcast there wasn't much light, which means the rock outcropping that I'd chosen to paint was pretty much all the same values; no highlights, few shadows. I've painted from photos that were more interesting. And then the winds started and got progressively stronger until they blew my panel right out of the easel. I caught it but my thumb wiped out much of a tree that was the only feature in the painting that had gone well. So that's why there's no example of a plein air work to show you today.
If I ever decide to try it again, it'll be from my patio, in the shade, and where I can plug in a fan if it gets too hot, (there are limits to what this artist is willing to endure for his craft) and I'll paint the waterfalls that feed into my koi pond. Enough said about that.

What I really want to tell you about is what a gem the town of Mason Texas is, and the gem that I found there. No, I'm not talking about topaz, the state gem of Texas which (in Texas) can only be found in Mason County. I want to tell you about the friendly, small town atmosphere, and from what I'd heard that day, I got a sense that along with its rich history, the community leaders were working together and working hard to promote Mason as a "go to destination". But the gem that I found particularly brilliant was The Seaquist Home. A tour guide took us many places of historical interest in and around Mason and stopping at this home we were told it was put on the Texas Historical registry in 1974. But what really caught my interest was learning that this grand old home was on the market. My mind gradually started turning to flights of fancy about starting an Artist's Academy there. This is a three story home with the third floor being a 30 x 60 foot ballroom. What a great classroom that could make! And there are plenty of teaching artists within easy driving distance that I believe could be attracted to such an art mecca. Depending on who you talk to and what you read, there are anywhere from 17 to 22 rooms in this place. Not that we'd want to provide B&B facilities for student artists because there are plenty of B&B's within a short walk and many more within a few minutes drive.
I was told that it needs some renovations inside but I've read in my internet research that some were probably started a few years ago but discontinued. Also heard the last person to live there had about 70 cats before the SPCA hauled them off. Couldn't get a look inside because of the No Trespassing signs but on the outside she sure looks sound and grand. And what a great gathering place this could become for artists!
There's only one problem. The tour guide told us the current asking price is $775,000.
Oh well. That's why this post is called a pipe dream. Who has that kind of money? I sure don't. But it's been fun dreaming about it.
If you're interested in reading more about this grand old lady, click here, here or here.
(Google map coordinates: 30.751444,-99.231648 )

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Solo Exhibition - Sneak Preview

The Fiddler's Boots
oil on canvas - 24" x 30"

It's the morning after the square dance and as the sun slips in through the bunkhouse window, we can see that the fiddler must have gotten a bit tipsy on his way home and just pulled off his boots, piled everything on the floor and poured himself into his bunk.

This work was going into my central Texas solo exhibition in September and October, but someone bought it at a special pre-show price. You just never know what you'll find here in the way of affordable art, so be sure to subscribe your email address at the top of the right hand column if you want to keep up to date on what's new.
But that's the nice thing about art. No matter how much you sell, you can always make more!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

View of Antalya

8 x 10" - oil on masonite
Click the image for a larger view

I'm lucky enough to have a son and daughter-in-law who were lucky enough to have been able to vacation last year in the resort town of Antalya, Turkey on the north shore of the Mediterranean Sea. I painted this from one of the photos they sent me from their trip. I used their photo because I liked the way the morning light was just beginning to rake down across the hillside.
Well, that, and I thought "this might be as close to Turkey as I'll ever get."

I changed it up a bit to improve the composition a little and to eliminate the lounge chairs that were lined up on a deck that was carved into the stone down at the bottom of the hillside, just above the water. I thought they spoiled the natural beauty of this view. So you can see, I'm finally remembering .... "Don't be a slave to the photo!"

Click the button to buy this painting
US$79 + $8 s&h

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Still Life - The Martyrdom of St. Dunkin'

The Martyrdom of St. Dunkin'
16" x 8" - oil on canvas

This was a tough painting to do. Not the actual painting part, but staring at that doughnut! Who would have thought that one little cinnamon doughnut would make my whole studio smell like a bakery??? I kept wanting to rip it off the string and gobble it up!!! The set up in my shadowbox was looking quite boring until I added the napkin. Once I'd hit upon the title, picking the color of the napkin was a slam dunk. Ooooh. Bad pun, sorry.

A gallery owner told me about a collector looking for artwork with coffee related themes. I suppose I could have painted a quick cuppa coffee, but you know me. "If it's easy, anybody could do it." So I had to think for a while to come up with something really unique. There's even some symbolism included here, like the red for the martyr and the 13 coils of "rope" in the hangman's noose.

So, what do you think?
Did I succeed in creating something unusual?

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Scene - landscape, ice

16" x 20" - Oil on masonite

It seems like it was a long time ago that I got an idea to paint a scene that would be appropriate for having printed up for Christmas cards. and before I knew it, it was too late to get the cards made up. "The best laid plans of mice and men .... " Who said that anyway?
Ah well, the painting is done now. Maybe use it for next Christmas?

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If you'd like to get advance notice of my upcoming works before
they're even listed at auction, click here to submit your email.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


9 x 12" - Graphite on Bristol 300 series vellum

Amelia Campbell Arkin is a stage, television and feature film actress. She's also my niece.
Click these links to learn more about her.
Link to Wikipedia:
Link to Internet Movie Data Base (filmography)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gary P. Nunn, singer and songwriter

Here's my latest pencil portrait, just finished this morning.
Gary P. Nunn
8x8" - Graphite on Strathmore Bristol series 300 vellum

Gary is a popular country music singer that lives not too far from me here in central Texas.
I've been to his home and I gotta tell ya, for all his fame and celebrity, he ain't stuck up at all. ;)
If you'd like to see the photo I took this from, visit his website at You can even enjoy some of his music whilst you're there. And if you're anywhere near central Texas be sure to check out his schedule of upcoming performances.
If you'd like to have me do your portrait in this syle, email me at:
I won't promise that it'll help your singin', but it's sure to be a nice portrait.

Catching up on Last Week's Work - pencil portraits

Whew! I'm a little outta breath! I spent most of last week focusing on my pencil techniques. These three portraits are of other artists that are members of another website that I belong to. The images are all done with just graphite pencils on Strathmore Bristol 300 series vellum.

6x9" - John Stuart Webbstock

9x6" - Peta Stacy Wainwright
The photo I took this from was very grainy and I did this one just because I wanted to see what it might take to recreate that grainy look.
Naty - 6x6"

If you're interested in having your portrait done, email me at:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

From Italy

A trip to Birmingham Alabama in the spring of 2010 found me at the Birmingham Art Museum where I took a picture of a very large landscape that was painted a long time ago. I've removed the figures that were bathing in the pool at the bottom. I'm just not ready to show the world my efforts at figure painting yet. Unfortunately I can't remember the title or the artist and I can't find it on the B-ham Museum's website. So I can't give you any names for the inspiration for what I've done here. If any of my artist friends might know ... HELP!!! :)
Oil on Canvas - 9 x 12"
Next time I paint something with this many details I'll choose a larger canvas!!!

I pulled out a lot of stops on this one to get better effects. Including the use of glazing to correct the values of the architecture to make them recede visually and to add in the mists rising from the waters. That was the fun part! :)

Click the button to buy this painting
US$160 + $8 s+h

Email the artist at:

If you'd like to get advance notice of my upcoming works before
they're even listed at auction, click here to submit your email.

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