Friday, June 30, 2017

Texas Bluebonnets by G. Harvey now at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art

Texas Bluebonnets by G. Harvey


     A criticism often heard about bluebonnet paintings is that they contain too many bluebonnets; that the artists are too liberal in saturating their fields and the result is not realistic. A hyper colored field with more blue paint than green does not rekindle any memories of the special moment in spring when cars pull off the side of the highway to take pictures and everyone gives thanks to Lady Bird. The reverence and the beauty of those sights are somehow cheapened by what feels like the Hollywood version of the true story. In the Texas Hill Country, even at the height of bluebonnet season, Mother Nature takes a more diversified approach. Bluebonnets cluster together, but rarely stand alone. Other flowers grow beside them and they are dispersed among other year round species. What lacks in these often criticized bluebonnet representations are these other natural elements. Texas Bluebonnets by G. Harvey is the antithesis of these criticisms. Harvey embraces warm tones that mimic the temperatures of the Texas spring; he paints the heat that helps the flowers grow. Harvey also balances his landscape with other natural elements such as rocks, cacti, weeds, or other wildflowers that give the painting a more realistic feel. His perspective leads the viewer from the bluebonnets to the carpet of yellow flowers that actually are a common sight in Texas from the spring through the summer, into the gently undulating hill disappearing into the horizon. Harvey captures the quaint and unique beauty of Central Texas. Painted around the 1970’s it is typical subject matter of his early work. However, in this piece Harvey shows the attention to detail and the mature techniques that imbue his later works. For a collector or investor, this is a valuable find.  

     Gerald Harvey Jones was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1933. His grandfather was a cowboy during the trail-driving era. A graduate in fine arts at North Texas State University, Harvey taught full-time at UT in Austin. The landscapes and peoples of Central Texas, the Panhandle, New Mexico, and the Border provided the inspiration for most of his early work. Eventually he would leave the teaching profession to paint full time.  His portraits of the country became popular and he had multiple sell-out shows including a series of one-man shows in Washington, D.C. in 1991. The first was at the National Archives featuring his paintings of the Civil War era, next a selection of paintings of notable Washington landmarks was exhibited at the Treasury Department, and ultimately, a one-man show of 35 paintings at the Smithsonian Institution during their exhibition of "The All American Horse." In addition to the shows, The Smithsonian Institution chose Harvey to paint "The Smithsonian Dream," commemorating its 150th Anniversary.

     Themes of nostalgia similar to that of Norman Rockwell and stylistically influenced by Édouard Leon Cortés, Harvey took his talents and made a prolific career as an artist. His collectors include Lyndon Johnson, John Connally, Red McCombs and T. Boone Pickens. Harvey lives in Fredericksburg. Texas Bluebonnets is currently at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art on Broadway in San Antonio. Stop by the gallery to view or purchase.

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