Saturday, October 18, 2014

Miles of Coltrane

Miles of Coltrane
Herman Park, Houston, Texas
October 18th
Plein Air Painting
8 x 8
Oil on Panel
Randall Cogburn

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At Herman Park today painting the above painting. Quick summary: A Sax Player, Trains, Curious lady and a light fading faster than a baby could crawl. Oh and a movie reference. 

A lady asked me while I was painting the above "Is this what's called plein air painting?" I said "Yes, it sure is!" Not to far from where I was painting, I'd say about 100 yards, is the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Recently they had an Impressionistic show of paintings from Masters such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Vincent Van Goh. Which brings up this question, how many people have actually seen a plein air painter? I've only seen one person out drawing and that was when I was into art. 

In the park run some small trains that take kids for rides around the park. The trains have a nice loud whistle to warn others of its approach. The whistles had reminded me of the Impressionist's movie the late 19th century painters Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir just a few to name of many. The trains in that period had just started to become popular and new tracks laid down throughout the countryside to link the cities together. They gave city folks the ability to travel, faster and more convenient. For artists it opened there view wide open to endless views of inspiration.

The light at this late hour was drifting fast, faster than a baby could crawl. It was definitely enjoyable to paint and there was a guy playing some of my favorite tunes of Coltrane and Miles Davis on the Sax. Which made this title all the more fun to figure out, "Miles of Coltrane". Miles as in Miles Davis, the Jazz player, Coltrane, again the music reference but also "trane" for the train reference at the park and the role the trains played in the 19th century and how it effected the artists way of exploring. It's hard to travel on foot, or wagon carrying your gear but if you have a train, your flying.  


  1. I love how you connected the references together - Miles, Coltrane, etc. and also your remarks on plein air painting...I also paint in plein air and people are always interested in what I am doing. It frightens me that the schools are doing away with the fine arts and our young people will be even farther away from the culture those before us worked so hard to achieve.

  2. Hi Barb, Thank You. It's still in full force. Lot's of people painting outdoors, more than ever before. But, "You don't have to take my word for it." - Lavar Burton.

    Sometimes I might think of a title right away but this one took a while. Some previous titles I came up with took over an hour, I kid you not. :)