Showing posts from 2013

New Painting in Cool Scheme

House Call 12" X 18" Oil
This scene is from one of our journeys through England. I embellished it, of course. Turned the day into early evening after a rain, brought in the horse and turned a light on. The colors are predominately cool; greens and blues. I kept the warmest accents for contrast in the window light and the brown horse. Looking at it now, I am thinking of going back to darken the line of trees on the upper left. It seems that I am never done completely with a piece of art.

Art and Architecture

In the last MAC publication they mentioned this web site, CODAworx.  From their site: “What is a collaborative project? A project demonstrates the successful integration of art into an interior or architectural space. It highlights the collaboration of the design + art team and may be submitted by any participant.”
If you want to feast your eyes on some fabulous artwork integrated into architecture you will want to browse the projects.
Here is the link;
I captured a very small sampling of photos below.

Paintings of the Nativity

Going through 'Leonardo's Notebooks', I came across this sketch of the nativity.

In my search for a completed painting of the nativity by Leonardo Da Vinci, I found another sketch but no painting.

Never-the-less, I found some wonderful nativity paintings by other master painters. So, all of that lead to this blog. Just thought of doing something to fit in with Christmas and what it is all about.

Nativity by Caravaggio

Holy Night by Correggio, 1528-1530

The Mystical Nativity by Sandro Botticelli, 1500

Nativity by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1732

The Concept

Concept1. A general notion or idea.2. An idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars; a construct.3. A theme or image. The concept is the most important element in the art piece. Technique alone will not make the art piece. All of this was drilled into us in art school. Sometime I begin a painting with what I think is a good idea/concept, only to get half way into it to find it is just not working. Is this because of the concept or the methods and procedure I am using to carry out the concept? The answer to that question varies which each piece.
My technique is constantly evolving as I grow in art. Each artist is different in his or her methods and procedures in creating. Cheng-Khee Chee wrote in a recent article, (‘A Crinkle in The Works’, Artist’s Magazine, Nov 2013) “The differences between traditional Eastern and Western approaches to landscape painting go beyond materials and techniques. It’s been said that the traditional Western lands…

Softer Style

My technique is changing to one using more layers and glazes. This is leading to a softer style. This way of working requires more patience to wait for the paint layer to dry before adding more. Consequently, I find myself working on 4 to 5 paintings at a time. Well, it also keeps me from getting too bored. My sketches are also softer as I concentrate on laying down the shapes in gray tones.

Below are sketches for paintings I am working on.

I have begun to place more animals in my works. Using my neighbor's farm animals as models.

A closeup of the start of paint layering.

'Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter'

This is a newly published book, fresh off the press. It is an oversize book that richly catalogues Anders' life and work. The back section of the book is all colored plates, 85 of them. If you are into his artwork, it is the book to get.

I scanned these paintings from the book. First is the smaller study and then the final piece. I find it interesting how he went with a lesser emphasis on the light reflecting off the water in the final.

Study for ‘Summer Vacation’ 1886 Watercolor, 12 ¼" X 7 ⅜ "

‘Summer Vacation’ Watercolor 1886 28 ⅞" X 22 1/16"

Third Time is the Charm?

Art is a progression from start to finish, layering color after color. The whole process tries my patience as I just think, is it ever going to come together. I build on self- discipline to keep going at it, not to give up too soon. Patience is key; I tell my dog the same thing. He looks up at me with those doe eyes trying to decipher what I am saying. ‘Blahh, blahh, blahh,’then he cocks his head in confusion. ‘Wait!’ is the command he gets all too often and wait he does because ‘wait’ he understands. So, I wait for the various paint layers to dry. Perhaps I should slowly switch over to painting with acrylics.

The painting you see below has gone through 3 renditions of finished. I did receive a good critique from a fabulous artist who lives in the Seattle area. Maybe it is finished, but when are you through with a painting? Some say when you sign it. I have not signed it as yet. 

12" X 16" Oil

World Museum of Mining Art Auction Benefit

The World Museum of Mining will be auctioning off one of my oil paintings at their auction November 9th. Here is a link to their web site: . It is interesting to read their blogs and newsletters as well. Butte Montana has quite a colorful past.

Walk in the Light 18" X 24" Oil

Kleffner Ranch

Last Friday we took a ride up to Helena on a lovely fall day. Actually it was a gorgeous fall day, about 60 degrees and sunshine. Today and yesterday are a contrast, snowy with a high of 14 degrees. Oh well, we will take what God has to give. So, I took lots of photos of various landscapes for painting ideas. The Kleffner Ranch is on the east end of Helena. It sits on the banks Prickly Pear Creek. It was built and established as a large cattle ranch in the 1800’s. Now on the National Historic Registry, it is a marvelous setting for special events and weddings. Check out their web site for more photos.

Barns with Atmosphere

Currently I am working on 5 paintings. They are fairly small in size. If all goes well I will paint one of those in a much larger version. The main theme of this series is 'Barns with Atmosphere'. The barns are situated in all kinds of weather and lighting. The first painting below depicts a snowy day. It started out looking too much of a cliche. While working on it some more I made improvements. It is not complete.

12" X 9" Oil

Endured 9" X 12" Oil

The Challenge

To me every piece of artwork I care to create is a challenge. There is always something not quite right with it. I finish a piece and keep going back to it to add this or that or just sand it down to begin again. I doubt if I will really get to that place of satisfaction in my work. The only satisfaction I find is in God's creations as I walk through the beautiful snow covered forest. But, as I try to bring these imagines alive on canvas I continue to struggle. My sister, who is working in pastel and acrylics came up with a challenge for the two of us to share.  The potential work seemed so simple. Simple; was the challenge in and of itself. So, we embarked on painting in our separate studios miles apart. I have not seen my sister's results yet; can't wait to see her marvelous approach. My first attempt is not worth showing. I began again with more composition thumbnails and then building texture on the canvas. This work and the other shown below, has moved my style into …

First Snow of Season

Last night we had about 8-10 inches. Now I can begin to think about painting that snow. Just something moody about painting the grey sky and shades of white covering the ground. Monet captured it well, I placed a few of his painting below.

Here are some photos I took this morning.

Center of Interest

Start with your center of interest and really nail it. Work out from there blocking in the largest shapes first. This I found to be the best approach especially out in the field, "alla prima".

The sky went from a few clouds to over casted in a short period of time.

Here I did some pencil sketches to get an idea of compositions. Then I went to water color starting with the center of interest knowing what my composition was going to be. Making color notes and photos for reference, I will go from here into the studio to work in oil paints.


Edges come in all the variations in between sharp and blurry.  Most of the edges fall somewhere in that intermediate range of soft and hard. They are the boundaries of shapes. The way the light reflects off the shapes defines its edge.  Our eyes adjust to objects near and far to be equally in focus. So then, our minds impression is everything to be equally clear and sharp. Using edges effectively will help communicate the sense of depth. When looking at your center of interest, that is where you want to apply your hardest, strongest edge. This stroke should be deliberate and precise. Try not to weaken it with many additional strokes. Too many soft edges can make a painting just look blurry where you cannot focus on anything. While manipulating edges, avoid using too thick of paint until the final stages. The key is variation while leading the viewer through the painting to the center of interest.

Morning Fuzz 8" X 8"

Take Heart 8" X 7"

Wild Fires, Storms - Lighting Opportunities to Sketch

There are 10 fires going on in Montana. One of the largest is just west of us, luckily far enough west by many miles. So, the smoke has been awful. Relief last night came when a violent thunderstorm came through. The cold and rain slowed down the fire a bit. There was some real damage elsewhere, 2 towns southeast had power out, still out and damage to homes and historic buildings. Gallatin County had millions of dollars of crop damage, the worst they have seen. Our little weather station we have on the back corner, measured 1.27 inches of rain downpour as a max at 12:00am.

Storm over crops
'Moose Meadows' fire
Then there is the opportunity to paint some of these atmospheric conditions. I set up my smaller easel next to the windows to paint. I started with sketches as I see nice 'moody' lighting. Here is one such triad composite. The bottom sketch has just the block in; I plan to return to it next opportunity. These take just about 30 minutes plus more as I go back to …

Nearly Complete

I might have managed to pull it off with the fog effect. Between my mental notes, quick oil studies and photo taking; the painting didn't come out half bad. It is at the stage of putting it aside for a while, only to go back to it later. This is the same for the sunset painting. We had fog just a few days ago after a heavy evening rain. The day before I set up my easel to look out over the divide. On the canvas I set up so far I have 2 oil studies completed. There is room for a 3rd study on the same canvas. After I completed the 3rd I will share on a blog post.

Walk in the Light 18" X 24'
Find Grace 16" X 20"

Lewistown Art Center Exhibition - Aug. 16 - Sept. 28

I am excited to announce that these 4 paintings were accepted into the Lewistown Art Center Exhibition August 16 - Sept. 28, 2013.

Gentle Whisper 16" X 16"
Refuge 24" X 18"
Living Water 12" X 16"
Pastel Sky 16" X 20"
The painting below will be in their gift shop. Harvest of Peace 11" X 14"
Harvest of peace, Hebrews 12:11