Pam and Ken on The Process of Creating Original Paintings

Original Paintings for Sale by Texas painters Ken and Pam Arthur

Pam: A while back I saw this photo of a new arts center in Senegal. (Saudi Aramco World, January/February 2001) I was stunned by the collective beauty of the colorfully striped columns, beams, and decorative poles. The article reported that architects combined traditional and new local Senegalese art for the project. I visited the photo again and again. Over the next several years, it would pop up in my mind ---and pop back down—pop up, pop down. One day, sitting at a red light, at the intersection of MoPac and Enfield, the image popped up---and stayed. I knew I had to do something---or continue being mentally assaulted by these columns. I came up with the idea of making a much smaller version of them---like buying wooden clothes rods at the hardware store and painting colorful stripes on them. I did---and for the next two plus years I painted wooden dowels just like the colors and patterns of the columns and placed them in and around our home---standing in corners, nailed in an interesting pattern to the wall like pick-up-sticks, nailed to either side of the kitchen door jamb, standing guard over the cactus garden, etc. I never tire of looking at them---and the process of measuring off the stripes, choosing the colors, setting the dowels in two end-holders my husband crafted so they could turn easily as I painted stripe after stripe—was mesmerizing. A form of meditation. I forgot all else while I painted the poles. I call my pole collection the Dowels Te Ching.

Original Paintings for Sale by Texas painters Ken and Pam Arthur


From borrowed ideas to original art---and often times, from original ideas to original art. A process.

Here are the steps involved. First: research, inspiration and excitement; then second, let the ideas percolate, aka letting the unconscious do its work (the popping up and popping down). Third, planning and gathering supplies. Fourth, doing the actual work. Fifth, reflecting and perfecting, akin to rewriting draft after draft---and then finally, the sixth step: feeling the glow of the final creation.

Pam: It Takes a Village---Another Example of How I Create an Original Painting

For the following explanation of my working within the creative process, I begin with Step 4: doing the actual work. At this point in the process, I usually take my work to a local artist’s studio where several Austin artists gather a few hours each week to receive critiques and suggestions from the artist, Phillip Wade, and from each other. When White Tulips was at the stage when the sketch of the tulips and vase were still unpainted but the window scene and adjacent wall were full of colors and brush strokes, I took it to Phillip’s studio.

First, an overall look at the progression from sketch stage (on its way to Phillip's studio) to final stage. Then, a step-by-step explanation follows.

Original Painting by Austin Artist Pam Arthur Original Painting by Austin Artist Pam Arthur

One suggestion was to leave it just like that---because the combination of unpainted sketch and painted background was interesting---maybe interesting enough to pronounce it finished. So, leave it alone and reflect upon it awhile. Another suggestion was to use heavy gel medium tinted with a little zinc white to paint only the flowers and pears---as heavy gel dries clear and zinc white is translucent, the background would remain visible---and that could prove interesting. After reflecting, I chose this latter suggestion---and was quite pleased.Then, my husband entered the process---not satisfied with my results. Usually he thinks I need to push the values (light and dark) of colors more. I felt slightly annoyed, thinking I had done that---but I went back to the easel and did as he suggested since he is an experienced artist with a BFA. OK, I thought. The painting is better.

Original Painting by Austin Artist Pam Arthur Original Painting by Austin Artist Pam Arthur

Still, though, not satisfied, he picked up my brush, took over my spot at my easel---and applied the paint his way. At the conclusion of his hands-on instructions, we did get a much more effective, interesting piece of art---I’ll have to admit.

For me, it takes a village to complete what I begin---kind of like raising a child---all over again.

Ken: From Original Ideas to Original Paintings

Original Paintings for Sale by Texas painters Ken and Pam Arthur  

 Always inspired by Nature’s beauty and danger, I painted this painting from a photo I took while on a photographic safari in Kenya in 1986. The canvas had to be large, 6 feet x 4 feet, to capture the grandeur of the hills—and their stardom from appearing in the movie, Out of Africa---as well as render my respect for such an environment. I added the Masai warrior to my painting to show how in spite of his small size compared to the hills and woods, the warrior is at home in his hostile surroundings. At any moment a lion or Cape buffalo might come out of the woods and threaten him. The tourists would not know what to do, but armed with his spear, the Masai warrior would. I and the members of my safari group were instructed not to leave the vehicles for any reason due to the dangerous animals, snakes, and scorpions---a stimulating environment for someone like me. Such excitement definitely activated my creative process---and several other paintings emerged---like this one of Acacia trees on the Serengeti:

Original Paintings for Sale by Texas painters Ken and Pam Arthur

Ken: From Borrowed Idea to Original Painting

Original Paintings for Sale by Texas painters Ken and Pam Arthur

A recent painting, Mosasaur: I found this idea in photographic form in a local newspaper---and liked the effect of the colors, the light and dark, the fact that it was a dinosaur, something I have been interested in since childhood. I still have the clay dinosaurs I made in elementary school. My library also retains the childhood books from which I would draw dinosaurs, especially the predatory T-Rex. Now, I have newer books and National Geographic magazines on the “terrible lizards.” And, from time to time, I even dream of dinosaurs. One dream was about a T-Rex who lived in a local park and was harassing my maternal grandparents. I grabbed a 30-06 deer rifle to hunt it down---but never got a shot. Another version of St. George and the Dragon! I have plenty of inspiration for future dinosaur paintings.

Visit Our Gallery to See Original Paintings and Artwork for Sale

Paintings by Ken ArthurSculpture by Ken Arthur
Lanscape paintingsBronze sculpture
Nature paintingsAluminum sculpture
Ocean paintingsSteel sculpture
Figure paintingsDistreesed Steel sculpture
Still Life paintingsMixed Media sculpture

Paintings by Pam Arthur
Lanscape paintings
Nature paintings
Still Life paintings
Floral paintings

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