Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Daily Painting of The Jefferson Theater Marquee in Beaumont

The Jefferson Theater was designed by Emile Weil and built in 1927.  It cost a million dollars and was praised at the time for its Old Spanish style architecture and romantic charm.

After four decades of entertainment splendor, the Jefferson finally closed as a movie theater in 1972.  A few years later the Jefferson Theater Preservation Society formed with the goal of preserving the Beaumont landmark and in 1976 the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation deeded the theater to the JTPS. 

The following decades found many starts and stops and changes and multiple renovation efforts. Altogether more than six million dollars went in to returning the Jefferson to glory.  The theater reopened it's doors in 2003 and serves as a focal point of the performing arts in Beaumont. 

There's a great history of the Jefferson Theater at

This is a 5" x 7" oil painting on oil primed linen board. I didn't get as much time as I wanted on this but it's coming along nicely.  I started with a pretty detailed pencil sketch. Drawing straight lines was never really my thing, but I've always been fascinated with the details of older architecture.  Seems everything had so much more character back then.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Daily Oil Painting "Tibideaux's Truck"

Tibideaux's Truck
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Board
5" x 7"

I'm a sucker for Cajun seafood. Growing up in SE Texas so close to the Louisiana state line it's hard not to find yourself filling your belly with gumbo and catfish.  If you're in the mood for some Cajun grub, Tibideaux's on Calder will hit the spot.  

The atmosphere is rustic. It almost feels like you're outside at a backyard swamp party. I've been there a couple of times. We always sit at the bar to chat with our friend and favorite bartender Alicia. It's a great place for a casual get together, and I will vouch for the shrimp 'n grits. Yum!

This old truck is parked outside. It's rusty and best up to say the least. There's a few holes here and there, flat tires, and the headlights point different directions, but I love the character of this old Plymouth. 

I drew this a couple of days ago but just got around to painting it today. It's a 5" x 7" oil painting on an oil primed linen board and was painted alla prima in a couple of hours. It's the first truck I've ever painted, maybe the first automobile of any kind. I think I'll have to some more. 

Tibideaux's New Orleans Kitchen is located at 5555 Calder Ave in Beaumont, Texas. Stop by and treat yourself to a taste of Lousiana, and check out Tibideaux's Truck while you're there.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monsieur Gator -- New Daily Painting with Step by Step Photo Montage

"Monsieur Gator"
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas mounted on Board
5" x 7"
 I posted the pencil drawing for this yesterday.  I started painting a little on it during my lunch period, and managed to get in ten minutes here and there throughout the afternoon.  Altogether I worked for about two hours on this little gator.  He turned out to be quite a colorful critter!  Maybe he has a little Mardi Gras in him. One of my friends dubbed him "Monsieur Gator" and that seems like a perfect title to me.

While I painted I took several pictures on my phone of my progress.  Here's a little montage of the different stages of "Monsieur Gator."  I started with a fairly detailed drawing, then worked from the darks to the lights.  Hope you enjoy my little excursion to the swamp.

Step by Step Painting Stages of "Monsier Gator"

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Art Studio, Inc. 30 Bodacious Years!

For 30 years The Art Studio, Inc. has been a fixture in the Southeast Texas arts community.  This Saturday, November 16, 2013, from 7PM - Midnight, they're celebrating this impressive milestone with a blowout bash for the ages.  It'll be an evening of art, music, food, drinks, and more! Several bands will be performing and the gallery walls will be full of art for the annual art sale.

As a young art student at Lamar University, the Art Studio was one of my sanctuaries.  I spent many nights there huddled over my drawing board in the life drawing room trying to perfect my trade.  I'm not so young anymore and I'm still trying to hone my skills, and the Art Studio is still there and going strong despite hurricanes and economic downturns.

Let's all turn out this weekend and make sure TASI is around for another 30 years! I'm donating two paintings to the sale, "Bolivar Flats" is a 12" x 16" oil painting on canvas of one of my favorite local beaches, and "The Fallen" is a 24" x 36" oil painting on canvas inspired by a trip to Lake Mineral Wells.  All proceeds go to support TASI.

The Art Studio, Inc. is located at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont. Hope to see you there!

The Fallen
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
24" x 36"

Bolivar Flats
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pencil drawing for new daily painting of an alligator

Since moving back to SE Texas, I've had some ideas floating around in the back of my mind about incorporating more regional aspects in my painting. I've always been attracted to the Big Thicket pinewoods and the bayous and swamps of the area. 

A few nights ago my friend and I went for a walk with her dogs. The apartments where we live are on a lot of land with some woods and a canal along the back. While we were walking we heard what sounded like a gator's distinct groan. 

This morning I had that gator on my mind and made this quick pencil drawing on a 5" x 7" canvas board for a small oil paint study today. I have a lot of images and ideas about the distinct landscape and habitat of Southeast Texas swirling around in my head, kind of a primordial ooze. Maybe this will be the start of fleshing those ideas out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Get Your Foot (and Your Artwork) in the Gallery Door

Submitting artwork to galleries has always seemed like a bit of a crap shoot to me.  Even in the best economic times, art is a highly subjective market.  Everyone has their own tastes and it’s not always easy to pick the right galleries to approach with your artwork.  Submitting your work can be a time consuming process, and depending on the type of submission (mailed images on cd vs. email, etc.) it can also be expensive.
I’ve been spending some time lately looking at galleries in the Houston area and have kind of developed a checklist I keep in mind when deciding which galleries to approach with my work.
1.       Do a little research. Find galleries that show artwork in similar genres to yours and start making a list.  This seems like a no-brainer to me, but there are lots of artists who just fire off submissions to seemingly random galleries.  Galleries often have a very specific focus.  Sending your abstract oil paintings to a gallery that only deals in B&W Photography is probably just wasting everyone’s time involved.
2.       Once you have a few galleries in mind that seem to be a possible fit, dig a little deeper.  What stage are you at in your career compared to the stable of artists the gallery is currently representing (emerging, established, full-blown art world star, etc.)?  If the gallery mainly represents artists with work in large, prestigious museums and institutions and you’ve only shown at the local bake sale, then it’s probably not a good fit.  Ideally you should find galleries that deal with work similar to yours and artists at similar stages of their careers.
3.       Now that you’ve whittled your list down, make sure you know the submission guidelines for each gallery.  Some only take submissions by mail, some prefer email, and I’ve recently run into a few that would rather just take a look at your website.  Some galleries only review submissions from new artists at certain times of the year, and some might not accept submissions at all.  Sometimes this information is listed on the gallery website (often on the contact page or on a page specifically for artists’ submissions.) If it’s not then pick up the phone and call or write an introductory email.  I prefer phone calls because it’s harder to ignore the phone than the email box.  Make sure to ask if there’s a specific person your submission should be addressed to.
4.       Now that you’ve done your research and narrowed your list down you’re ready to prepare your submission.  Make sure you follow their guidelines to the letter, and whatever you do, be professional.  Galleries receive mountains of submissions from artists.  A little respect and common courtesy can go a long way towards getting a response. 
Of course the first and most important thing should be to make strong artwork.  None of this guarantees a gallery will give you the time of day, but in my experience it can help increase your odds.  Even the best of us will face our share of rejection, but that doesn’t mean your art isn’t good, just that it wasn’t a good fit.  Keep plugging away, do your research and you’ll find a home for your work.
Good luck!  If you have any other ideas or suggestions about gallery submissions please share them in the comments section.  I can use all the help I can get too!