Showing posts from 2017

Zoot Art Gallery

Come and see my solo exhibition at the Zoot Art Gallery  August 11 - October 30, 2017   
Gallery Hours:  9:00am - 4:00pm
Opening Reception:  August 24th, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Zoot Enterprises, Inc.
555 Zoot Enterprises Lane
Bozeman, MT 59718

Artist Statement  - Water, Water, Water
We take water for granted to always be there in abundant supply. We expect it to gush forth pristine from our faucets. This precious resource God has blessed us with, is my muse. I find a mesmerizing beauty in the reflections and patterns of waves on a mountain stream or lake. Painting is my language to express my feelings about the moment. As I progress in a work, I check for technical soundness at the same time trying not to lose the inspiration that brought me to create. With my works I want each scene to show it has a vital life of its own with emotions attached. I use oils for their inherent luminosity, building up transparent layers and finishing with bits of opaque…


There is a doe, white tail deer, sleeping in our barn. Why is this so, we do not know. It is peculiar that she finds the very dark corner between the wood pile and tractor so comfortable. If you should get too close she comes leaping out and stops just at the edge of the forest. She looks back from behind a tree waiting for the all clear to return to her sanctuary. There is her quiet place where it is cool and free of nasty, biting flies and bugs. A few times during the day she awakes from her napping to forage around the yard and field. Soon the flies get to her and she trouts back to her calming spot in the barn. Sometime around dusk she is off, down the hill to her overnight meadow. The next day, just after dawn, she returns to her place in our barn.

That Elusive Confidence

Confidence at what I am creating on particular day varies. What makes you have confidence one day where you are singing along and all is going swimmingly. The next day all that confidence seems to be elusive, hiding in a box, on the shelf where you can not find it. You ask yourself, as if looking for that item you think you still have, “now where did I put it”. Usually my confidence is still there the next day if I left the creation with satisfaction and nothing changed with other issues of life. If incidences come up with family members, my health is in malaise, disorganized, or just bored, these are the biggest deterrents to chasing away confidence. If I straighten up , cleanup, and get my ducks in a row the disorganization goes away. The boredom is usually solved by doing something different whether it is a change of scenery by taking a trip or just switching to another hobby. Everyone needs a hobby. Then, coming back to the studio with a different attitude makes confidence reapp…

Lighter Shade of Pale

Switching medium and doing some experimenting on this drawing. It is 22" X 28" on watercolor/etching paper, which I have a stash of laying around. The value chart shows my range of greys is all high key. This white faded building is from the 1860's. I loved the way the reflection of the sky and landscape mixes with the bottles set in the window. The reference is from a photo I took at Bannack (Montana ghost town). For the line work I mixed my own 'ink' and used a fine pen nib. The ink which is really a powered metallic silver water color with a small amount of black ink and water. Some lines I mixed a light blue watercolor for inking. I used color pencil mostly in the windows.

Leonardo da Vinci - Drawings of Inventions

"Science is the observation of things possible, whether present or past. Prescience is the knowledge of things which may come to pass, though but slowly."  Leonardo da Vinci

Weekend Warrior

In my childhood a favorite family weekend pastime was to pile in the car and drive to a spot along the road that bordered the Naval Air Station. There, from a good advantage point, we could view the weekend warriors practicing take offs and landings. Occasionally, the rumor would spread through town that the Blue Angels were going to be flying from the base. That was the big treat. The Air Station is long gone, only to be replaced by a brand new town.

Lately, I feel like a weekend warrior with artwork. Most of my time is spent getting ready for the Zoot show. I have finished the last painting that will be in the exhibition, so now I am concentrating on planning the opening event. As I plan the layout of the installation, I probably have too many paintings. Best to have too many, rather than not enough. Only my top picks will be there and I want those to sparkle.


After setting ‘Tomorrow’ aside to let the paint dry, I went back to it. The background and falling rain needed lightening. The technique of scumbling is a good way to achieve what I was looking to do. I used a cool grey mix of undiluted oil paint and lightly brushed over the dry layer in the background. Using that same mix I tinted it with yellow and brushed in the rain and on the trees enhancing the glow.
Below is a detail of the area I worked on.


It is always nice to know what is coming, like the snow storm last night, this time the weatherman got it right. We anticipate an outcome, conjuring up a picture in our mind. Then, as it happens, it is not what we expected. I will take different approaches to a painting. To workout a composition I will do a very abstract under painting. From this, the painting’s shapes and images slowing emerge. A colleague of mine suggested I work that in the reverse. Going from a realistic approach into abstraction. The approach was a bit more difficult than I expected. The really nice benefit of this brain explosion was that it empowered the bolder side of me. I went back to look at a few paintings that have been bothering me. Each of these paintings needed something. A good example is this blue heron wading in the water painting was crying for help. I courageously made the stroke of orange. Can say for certainty that it was unexpected.

Pine Scent

Overhead The Tree-Tops Meet - Poem by Robert Browning

Overhead the tree-tops meet,
Flowers and grass spring 'neath one's feet;
There was nought above me, and nought below,
My childhood had not learned to know:
For what are the voices of birds
—Aye, and of beasts,—but words—our words,
Only so much more sweet?
The knowledge of that with my life begun!
But I had so near made out the sun,
And counted your stars, the Seven and One,
Like the fingers of my hand:
Nay, I could all but understand
Wherefore through heaven the white moon ranges,
And just when out of her soft fifty changes
No unfamiliar face might overlook me—
Suddenly God took me!

The forest is constantly changing and renewing itself. The fir trees reach the end of their cycle and with the help of the pine beetle, die off. They start to fall, littering the forest floor. My photos just give you a glimpse of the pick up sticks piles that they form. You never know when a tree will drop. Sometimes a strong wind isn’t necessar…

Rain Work

On cloudy, foggy days such as it is this morning, I revert to computer work. So, here I am blogging one of the paintings I am working on. This painting started out as an experiment in the abstract. It evolved into a landscape from my imagination and actual scenes. I still have the abstract idea if I want to create more of the same; leaving it as an abstract.

Is It Spring Yet?

It is typical this time of year to get all excited about spring plantings when the temps are in the 50's and the sun is out. Just as the sun goes behind a cloud we have yet another round of 30's and snow. The wave pattern continues through May most likely. The snow is still covering the ground at 7000 ft elevation. There are some spots that are bear ground, but frozen. I tried to rake out the little of the garden that was showing, however, the rake would not scrape the frozen mulch. Such is mountain living. So I bundle up and take a hike through the woods and it is invigorating.

Leonardo da Vinci - Botany Drawings

"Hope through the resurrection...'
Peter 1:3

Fly High

This particular hawk is Hyla. She resides at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson. Hyla is one of many raptors in the Raptor Free Flight. There birds of prey can be observed from behind metal gates while they swoop over head going towards handlers for feed. Hyla is a ferruginous hawk rescued after falling from a nest in Montana. The ferruginous hawks live in a habitat of native shrub land and grassland which is shrinking.

A friend of the family took the hawk photos which I used for reference. I used other photos of mine to compose the hawk over water. My aim was to keep with a high key color scheme and, as always, keep it simple. Painting high-key is to hold back on the darker values. I did use dark values sparingly, mostly on the hawk. Still in progress, but close to the finish.

Spring Forth

In our forest along the streams and wetland areas grow willows. Most are Booth's willow, to name this particular species. This I ascertained from the Montana field guide. The willow family includes aspen and cottonwood as well, over 50 species. Booth's willow branches have a nice deep red color in winter standing out against the snow. Moose, elk and deer, in particular, love to munch on their top tender branches. As they bloom out in spring they put on a show attracting lots of butterflies.

Blue and Yellow

So far this painting shall be untitled. But the color scheme, blues and yellows, bring a certain country to mind. I really can not name it 'Swede', can I?  Or perhaps, 'Shifting Shadows'. My attraction to this scene was the mass of fallen aspen leaves floating and half floating along the stream banks. I went through my fall photos and pulled together the composition using bits of several photos and my imagination. The colors came easily enough.

Depth of Field

When you look at a photograph you will notice that there is just one plane of the distance in focus. This is do to the inherent ability of the camera lenses. Our eyes adjust naturally to what we are observing by focusing in on the objects they settle on. Everything can not be in focus at the same time. To make your painting believable you must not make all of your edges sharp. Decide what the center of interest is and really get it down with the sharp edges being concentrated there. Use the soft/blurry edges effectively also. Sometime I get carried away with what I think should be cleaner and crisper objects only to see that it just doesn't work.

Monet's Blues

Cataracts and glasses seem to be a fact of life especially if you are over 40. Research is under way on eye drops that would dissolve the cataract, hence no surgery necessary. However, this potential treatment for humans would be years in the making. For artists the clouding of lenses and color changes makes for an inconvenience when creating artwork, to say the least.

Monet, (1840-1926), was not immune to cataracts, by 1912 he had them in both eyes, age 72. His eye sight grew progressively worse to where he could hardly see. He remarked in a letter (1922), “I’m hard at work. I want to paint everything before my sight is completely gone”.  In 1923 he under went surgery in three stages. After the surgery he experience cyanosis or blue vision. He wrote, “I continue to see green as yellow and all the rest is more or less blue”.

Here are a few of his paintings starting with the year 1914. Some are detail images.