December 16, 2017


A Painting Party with John Palmer

John Palmer directs Shannon Watson & Cody Soutar during the Painting Party.

Regular TroysArt readers know how much I adore the blending of art, food, and booze—so it should come as no surprise that I must rave about the June Painting Party with John Palmer. I have known John Palmer since his first showings. (In fact, in the late 90s when I was the designer responsible for the restoration and conversion of the old Southern Pacific Building in downtown Houston into Bayou Lofts, I commissioned some large paintings by John for the lobby.)  Since then I have come to know that anyone who loves art loves John; and anyone who loves a fun guy especially loves this one. John …continue reading

Artists in Black History Month

William Tolliver, “The Runner”, courtesy of the Zigler Art Museum.

(As we all know, February is Black History Month. This post is a simplified and revised version of a feature article that I wrote about artists in Black History Month for the Lake Charles American Press; it was published with my byline on February 3, 2008. A version was also published on my original TroysArt blog February 2008. Photographic images were provided courtesy of the Zigler Art Museum in Jennings, Louisiana. Also, please recognize that art historians often use the description Black American in defining the group apart from Caucasians. This term embraces those of African, Caribbean, and Creole decent. While the inclusion …continue reading

The revered Rothko Chapel

Photo by Hickey-Robertson, the Rothko Chapel, Houston.

One of the first attractions I heard about when I moved to Houston was the highly revered Rothko Chapel. But back in 1987 I regrettably knew little about Mark Rothko; I was green enough to stick in the ground and grow. I studied up on Rothko a bit and looked forward to the excursion. So imagine my chagrin when, for the first time, I walked into this esteemed sanctuary and wondered where all the paintings were. But I did find the paintings, they were right in front of my face, and I have been back for many visits… “But nobody …continue reading

Naked & Afraid’s Billy Berger, and my new Cufflinks

Custom sterling & mahogany obsidian cufflinks with points by Naked & Afraid's Billy Berger.

Have you seen Discovery Channel’s hit show Naked & Afraid? And are you wondering what Naked & Afraid star Billy Berger has to do with my newest pair of cufflinks? To enlighten unaware TroysArt readers, Naked & Afraid is a reality TV show that matches two specialists in the art of survival, a man and a woman, who meet in a Godforsaken hellhole and are given the task of surviving for 21 days, naked. The participants disrobe, meet, get down to the almost impossible task of finding potable water, food, and shelter before making a journey to an extraction point where they are rescued. …continue reading

Two Guys and Rothko

Orange, Red, Yellow by Mark Rothko, 1961, sold in 2013 for $87 million, fair use via

Not long ago I was talking to Michael Anderson who now lives in San Francisco, whom TroysArt also refers to as Manderson. Manderson and I used to paint together and actually had a few public exhibitions of our work such as Two Guys Painting at the Lowell Collins Gallery. Our shtick was to both undertake the same still life, landscape, or sitter with the outcomes, as interpreted through two different artistic minds, displayed side by side. It was, to say the least, a fascinating experiment.  At any rate he was telling me about his idea to do a painting as an …continue reading

John Singer Sargent painted her Strapless

Unfinished version of Madame X by John Singer Sargent [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What does it take to scandalize someone today? Kim Kardashian has her big ugly ass plastered across magazine covers; every Hollywood starlet trying to stay relevant promotes a sex tape; Bill Clinton had sex with an intern in the Oval Office; but for a 23 year-old socialite in 1884 Paris all it took was for John Singer Sargent to paint her Strapless! Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau was the “it girl” of Paris during the late 19th Century. A wealthy  Creole from Louisiana, she was considered one of the most elegant and beautiful women in France; a celebrated personality, she powdered her …continue reading

The Rubens are Spectacular in Houston


Given 100 people picked at random, I would venture to guess that you’d be lucky to find one who could identify a painting by Peter Paul Rubens. But I would also venture to guess that a good number of those would indeed recognize the name of Rubens as an important artist. We on the Gulf Coast now have an opportunity to brush up on our Baroque because the Rubens are spectacular at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Sir Peter Paul Rubens (June 28, 1577 – May 30, 1640) was a Flemish painter known for his extravagant Baroque style. Most of …continue reading

Artist Amos Kennedy—you never know where he might pop-up

Artist Amos Kennedy

I received a notice from Facebook friend the other day announcing a pop-up art sale at Koelsch Haus Gallery in Houston. A pop-up art sale?  Of course I was intrigued. So when I arrived Franny Koelsch greeted me at the door and thanked me for attending. I told her that I had to attend, that I’d never been to a pop-up art sale before. To which she answered that she’d never had one before. When I walked into the main gallery the artist was sitting at a table stacked with cardboard posters. He was wearing blue denim overalls with a …continue reading

She WAS John Singer Sargent’s Madame X

Madame X

There are few portraits by American painters as famous and recognizable as Madame X—perhaps American Gothic or Whistler’s Mother, or even Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington. But to most art aficionados, Madame X is considered one of the best portraits ever painted; and John Singer Sargent is considered by many connesseurs as one of the world’s greatest portrait painters. I just finished a novel about Virginie Gautreau—she WAS John Singer Sargent’s Madame X. Sargent pursued the wealthy and beautiful Creole socialite as a sitter for the portrait as a way to display his talents to Parisian society, hoping to build a …continue reading

Photo Friday: Christian Heeb

Oak Alley by Christian Heeb

How about this holiday pic of Oak Alley Plantation?  It’s one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.  Today’s Photo Friday feature is courtesy of Christian Heeb. Christian, with his wife Regula, owns and operates the Cascade Center of Photography in Bend, Oregon.  The Cascade Center is a photo studio, workshop, and gallery.  They facilitate workshops and photo tours in the USA and around the world.  Check out his website  and a site to purchase pics and prints below! Oak Alley by Christian Heeb Heeb Photo