Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Love Of Art

Over the years I have had people contact me to let me know what a piece of my art has meant to them. Art is very personal, when I talk to people and hear them say I don't know anything about art. I respond with art is what you love. If it speaks to you that is all you need to know.

This week I received an email from a woman that purchased a dragonfly pastel that was at Mountain Lake Lodge Gift Gallery. It was a emotional purchase. She wrote to tell me that the dragonfly was a symbol for a loved one she had lost. 

I did write back to thank her for sharing this very tender personal story. I love knowing where my art goes to live and how much it means to those that make the purchase. 

Another reason for loving my job.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


The National Park is celebrating it's 99th Birthday! I have spent many hours - days - weeks at National Parks. It is not only an influence on my work but my life.

Walking among the giant redwoods, standing beside waterfalls, rivers, lakes and watching the moon-rise over mountains, hoo-doos and snowy valleys. These moments remind me I am but a small part of our beautiful world. 

Help celebrate our National Parks, go out for a walk today. If you can't get to a National Park how about a neighborhood park? Go on, hug a tree!!

Here is the web site so you can go find your park.

Zion, Utah

Emerald Pools Fall, Zion, Utah

Grand Canyon, North Rim

Tonto National Forest, Lower Salt River, Wild Horses

Bar Harbor, Maine

Half Dome, Yosemite 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hue's There

Blue - one of my favorite Hues. Color names: Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber.To an artist these are some of the sensual names. The primary colors/hues are Red-Yellow-Blue. From these three colors come all other colors. 

Colors have a order: R-O-Y-G-B-I-V (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). There are families of colors Red and Yellow make Orange, Yellow and Blue make Green, Blue/Indigo and Red make Violet. These are the colors the eye perceives, the rainbow.

This is the very basics of color, not even getting into what makes black or white. I do not think of myself as a colorist. When I think color in my work I think under-painting. The colors that peak through but are not something you really see. The Impressionist painters did it well, they put colors side by side, causing the eye to mix the color. I do not work in an impressionist style but I do think about what colors work well with each other. 

As I moved back to working on a tree pastel it was feeling dull. I seem to be in a phase of re-working pieces that have been sitting unfinished for too long. Not just finishing what I started but adding whole new layers. I re-applied the sky, added trees to the background, re-applied the under-colors for the main tree. What next, guess we will both see, I know there will be some lovely gray tones and black line work. With a little luck this piece might be finish before next week.

Hue's Your Favorite?

Work In Progress, soft pastel on Rives BFK paper 22x30

Friday, August 21, 2015

Artists Takes A Mulligan

A mulligan, in golf a second chance, a do-over for when something didn't go right. 

The last couple of days I gave myself permission to take a mulligan. I had a pastel painting that I never was crazy about the background. It was too dark and the color was off. I pulled as much of the dark out as I could, reworked the background, the tree and eagle in the front. It is 99% done want to pull out the front wing of the eagle just a little more. 

It is not often that I take a mulligan. Some works won't allow additional layers to be built up, pastel does reach a point where it can take no more and it is done or ruined. The ones that don't make it go into the recycle bag to be re-pulped into new paper at a later date.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Follow The Sun

Nature, trees, battle gently to reach the light. They too need the sun to grow tall and strong. This summer as we were on our road trip you could see the trees pushing out towards the sun. While along the coast of Oregon the wind and sun played a push me - pull me game in nature. The trees cling to the sides of mountains, the wind pushes them back and they again lean into the sunbeams.

Walking through the tall woods, I love seeing the sun filtering its way down and in-between the tree trunks. Going though all the hundreds of photographs I have taken of trees today. I have two tree pastel paintings in process. The plan is to have them done and frame for the upcoming Fine Arts in the Valley show in October.

Sometime soon, this afternoon, tomorrow, soon, I need to take a walk in the woods. Might even bring my easel and supplies along do a little plein air painting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Black and White = Gray

Gray Fox that is, with little bits of rusty colors to help hide in those red Arizona rocks. Common Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) Spanish name zorro gris, they are in the same family as coyote and kit foxes, Canidae. They weight between 5-9 pounds and have a black stripe that runs down the tail. Gray fox prefer rocky canyons and I read that of the three, coyote, kit and gray fox, they can climb trees. They sometimes are found sleeping in trees. 

I took a photo of this guy at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It took me a few trips there to get one of him/her with eyes open and facing me. Most of the time you would see him/her curled up sleeping. Guess my timing was a bit off on those days or I spent too much time taking pictures of the mountain lions. Speaking of mountain lions I have a small one in process in pastel that may become a larger oil. Back to the easel!

Gray Fox, soft pastel image size 6X9.5, framed to 12X16

Monday, August 17, 2015

Moments In Time

As an artist I think of my work as capturing moments in time. I try to document those things that are here today and may be gone tomorrow. Sometimes I am surprised at those moments I catch via the camera, even the camera on my phone.

While we were in AZ I sat one night watching lighting strikes. I did not go get my 35mm camera, I just pulled out my cell and tried a few shots to see what I might capture. To my surprise I actually caught one of the strikes. It is not the greatest shot in the world but something to keep in the memory.

With both cell and digital cameras at hand I would sit outside in the morning with my coffee. The birds were abundant. On the east coast I don't recall many birds going for the hummingbird feeders but out west the more the merrier. The gila woodpeckers are smart. The little yellow flower that is part of the hummingbird feeder, making the opening smaller, well they just pulled them off some time ago. This makes it much easier for a number of birds to get their becks inside to get to the sugar water - funny birds.

I did catch a few interesting photos of some of the birds that came to visit along with the hummers. Although the single shot may not be all that interesting. I will use some of them as reference, the angle of the body, details, turn of a head to combining for a more interesting composition in a future painting.

lighting in AZ - monsoon season

great horned owl that sits at the top of the mesquite tree

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wrapping It Up

Wrapping up the end of the week. Got work ready for upcoming shows and jury processes. Trying to stay a step ahead in preparation. Got mats cut for the works done and close to complete that will go east for fall shows. Even printed out a few new references pictures. Calling this week a wrap!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Art Of Music

Finally got to MIM - Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. When you get a chance to go plan for a day. We spent 3 hours and did not go through all the rooms. The art of the instrument is enough to keep me coming back. The history of music, of instruments, the connections of us all through music. I look forward to going again and again.

The MIM is a little pricey $20 per person less for children but I believe it is worth the fee or even becoming a member. You get headsets to listen to the displays, talk about the country, the people and hear the music. It can be overwhelming there is so much information.

Sections of the museum have original hand written sheets of music, collections of instruments from well known musicians. We did not even get to the featured Artist Gallery which features most of the special collection of instruments.

From a visual artists point of view, loved the displays, the way the shadows played on the walls and the older instruments got me thinking how to incorporate these beautiful shapes into my work. The ideas are endless.

Here is the link if you want to find out a little more and go visit for yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Day For The Elephants

It is World Elephant Day, a day to give some love their way. As we all know the elephant, other wild animals from Africa and other countries are in decline. Today there are laws in place to help protect these wild creatures but they are always in need of review and revising. Currently there is one from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that you can comment on before September 28th, 2015. Here is the link for more information and if you wish to comment. Warning, as with most government forms it is long.!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091-0001

There are lots of ways to help the orphan elephants, one is to foster one of them. Here is a link to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust programs.

Many artists donate works or money from the sale of a work to help wildlife remain wild. I have been one of those artist. We all have causes that are near and dear to our hearts. I have volunteered, donated to many different causes over the years. My belief is we are all connected and we need to take care of each other, be it two legs, four legs or more.

Here are a few of my elephant works and you know there will be more to come. If you are interested in purchasing any of these works please email me and 50% of the sale will be donated to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Thank you

oil on canvas "Up Front" 

oil on wrapped canvas "never forget" currently on display at The Manheim Gallery

Monday, August 10, 2015

All In A Row

While in Arizona I have had time to be in my studio at the drawing table. I have been traveling around with pastels sticks, pencils, prepared paper and photo references for most of the summer. I get these ideas in mind and sometimes I work up a small piece to see if it will also work larger. 

Got a couple done and working on a third. As I move to the next piece I get my pencils all in a row. I sharpen each one I think I might use for that particular piece. I have lots of black and white charcoal pencils in waiting. The newest piece is a little fox from the Sonora desert. It will require a sharpe point to put in all the fur. Sometimes these small pieces take a few days to finish because of the tiny details.

Now that things are progressing as we near fall and many shows we'll have lots of new works to display. Just need to keep those pencil sharpened and in a row.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Smell The Rain

Even before my coffee was done brewing  I heard the thunder and could smell the rain in the air. The desert has it's own special fragrance during monsoon season. 

The clouds and sun rising behind the mountains got my attention. But it was what was coming from the west that told me to take cover. The rainbow before the storm. In AZ there are times when it is raining but it evaporates before it hits the ground. That is not usually the case during monsoon season. But the rainbow seem to appear before the rain. It is currently thundering and the rain is hitting the ground. 

Still have clouds on my list of paintings to do - so many ideas - so little time.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

At It Again

We are back in Arizona. I have filled the hummingbird feeders and it did not take long for them to arrive. There are two large Anna's that are at it again, battling for the territorial rights. The first night Rick and I see the hummingbirds, then hear a thump noise. We thought one of them must have run into window. The next morning they are still going at it and the thump noise turns out to be body blows. These little guys are literally banging into each other. This action is too fast for me to get a picture, not that I really want one. It is interesting behavior, I know they are tiny warriors but I enjoy when they hang at the feeder or flowers over battle.

Here are a few non-battling photos.

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...