Showing posts from 2012


Notan is from the Japanese word, meaning dark-light. In art, it is a pleasing value contrast in design. The japanese call this expression in beauty and harmony of darks and lights 'visual music'. The concept is to have dark shapes against light shapes and the converse in an interesting pattern. So, if you were to compose your painting using pure black and white; with harmony and balance, the finished results will also be successful.  I scanned in some thumbnails which I started playing around with for compositions.  From these I pick the best to further develop into a painting. For the fun of it I took photos of completed paintings and used the Photoshop Stamp filter to see what they would look like in pure black and white.

This one seems the most successful.

Below are thumbnails sketches

Signs Everywhere

When you look around, you can find signs everywhere. My sister-in-law discovered some really nice antique pub and inn signs. Here we took some photos of antique building signs. These are all in the 'Uptown' area of Butte, Montana. This historic district is the largest west of the Mississippi. All kinds of buildings with the original signs painted on the buildings as advertising for the proprietor that was occupant, back in the days. There are lots more, but that is another day. So, more to come.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from
all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from
a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
::: Pablo Picasso :::

Snow and more

How beautiful it is! Starting on Wednesday we have about 18" on the ground of fresh, stick to everything, snow. It was a fog, misty sunrise that I just had to run out and take some photos of. They bring to mind lots of painting ideas. Could not stay out too long, around -10 degrees.


That artist style of 'Tonalism', I have a certain fascination with. The out of focus and minimal detail lends more to the imagination. That bit of mystery draws in the viewer. In a more current painting I have been working on below; I was thinking of tonalism. Not sure it falls in the category but, the influence is there. My colors are more muted. This is actually a make-over from an earlier version of the same scene. I was not happy with the sky colors and rendering. The other area that bothered me was the foreground, so I added greater detail. The barn took on some patina on the roof. What I found to be the most challenging was the silohette of the bush on the left against the brightest part of the sky. The painting has been put aside for later evaluation.

'Skies Proclaim' 12" X 16"  Oil on panel

Now take a look at the master tonalists work.

By James McNeill Whistler

By James McNeill Whistler

By George Inness

By George Inness

By George Inness

Monet - Haystack series

Looking out my window I was inspired by the Claude Monet series of painting images in my head. You must be familiar with them. With this first snow fall, I took this photo in morning sunrise light.

So, my project then, is to do a series throughout the seasons and various lighting conditions. What a challenge; must stick with it. The canvases will be smaller sizes, keeping it simple, but taking a couple of years.

Haystacks - Monet      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaMonet noticed this subject on a casual walk. He requested that his stepdaughter Blanche Hoschedé bring him two canvases. He believed that one canvas for overcast weather and one for sunny weather would be sufficient.However, he realized he could not demonstrate the several distinct impressions on one or two canvases. As a result, his willing helper was quickly carting as many canvases as a wheelbarrow could hold.His daily routine involved carting paints, easels, and many unfinished canvases and working on whichever ca…

New Landscape Paintings

These are 2 oil landscape paintings I recently completed. In both paintings I inspired from the fall colors this season. The one titled, 'Pine Scent', I went for the ephemeral lighting passing through the tall lodge pole pine forest. Perhaps the olfactory memory recalls the pine scent when looking at this scene.
'Pine Scent'  22" X 18"
The forest is constantly changing. When you are able to observe it on a daily basis the subtle changes are very apparent. Trees and plants die off as new ones take their place. The world goes on and on. Such is life. 'Shadowing' is a very small example of the changing forest around me.
'Shadowing'   20" X 16"

Gesture Sketches

In this little sketch book I have been creating quick character sketches of our dogs. It is great exercises for the hand eye coordination and getting it right the first time. I use as few lines as I think is necessary to say what I need to say. As I was scanning them in, I kept some of the quotes that are in this sketch book. It is fun to read along.


Muse: the inspiration that motivates a poet, artist or thinker. Assuming you fall into one of those three; what is your muse? Mine changes when I see it. Right now it comes from the images in my head and camera where I just came back from a walk. Fall colors and the change of season is a big muse for me. It is this season that is depicted in my paintings often. The color change around here are the aspens and willows mostly. The smaller wild roses and ground cover has some really beautiful bright color changes. Let me share with you some of the images I am talking about. There is still some green that has not changed fully yet and some leaves are brown and falling.

Painting Candlelight, Firelight, Moonlight

You will notice when observing objects lit by candlelight the light on them falls off quickly receding from it. The ‘inverse square law’ comes into effect. This is where at twice the distance the light is only ¼ as bright. Or the same light rays must cover 4 times the area.
I came across the National Gallery of Art exhibition on Remington’s works. This particular exhibition focuses on his nocturnes. Worth a perusal, here is the link: You should find it interesting.
Painting by Frederic Remington (October 4, 1861 - December 26, 1909), Shotgun Hospitality from 1908, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

On the Easel: Jackleg

This is a painting I am currently working on. It is a section of our Jackleg fence we had put up to divide the pasture for the horses. In researching the history of the Jackleg fence I came across constructing fences that are 'healthy' and friendly for wildlife. There were some disturbing graphic depictions of wildlife that had gotten caught up in some nasty fencing. Along with that were some great set ups for fencing that aloud wildlife to pass safely while keeping cattle in or out, whatever the case might be. Did not find a 'history' on the Jackleg fence. Just that it is use were Lodge pole pine is prevalent and on rocky soil were driving posts are difficult. We kept our's easy for wildlife to pass through, crawl under or jump over.


Yesterday I went mining for some good subject matter to paint. We live on an old mining claim. Back in the day, they dug for silver. I did not find silver but some rusted mining relics. These are mostly buried and grown over. As you can see in the photo of the mining cart, a tree and bush are growing out of it. The wheels to the cart are buried quite well.
These artifacts sit by a spring, the flow from which is a bit low this year.
The mining cart is just visible but well buried

Kilian Zoll- Swedish artist

This other menu from my mother and grandmother's boat trip, below;

Kilian Zoll's painting
'A Traveling Journeyman'.

Wikipedia write's about him as follows;

Zoll studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm 1835-1839. Within the Academy, Zoll and his fellow students mostly treated mythical and historical subjects, but as soon as he became independent he devoted himself to genre painting. He travelled and made sketches through Sweden; Skåne, Halland, Småland and Dalarna. He participated in the academy exhibitions 1850, 1853, 1856 and 1858 with a total of 19 oil paintings. His paintings from this period address topics such as Children playing with a cat, Grandma's joy, Old Woman at the Spinning Wheel. In 1854 he traveled to Düsseldorf in the company of a fellow artist Bengt Nordenberg. In Düsseldorf he studied art together with another Swedish artist Marcus Larson - together they executed several paintings. He returned to Sweden in 1855. He and Nordenbe…