Reflections on the coming year

Every artist dips his brush
in his own soul,
and paints his own nature
into his pictures.
~Henry Ward Beecher

This is the time that so many of us pause for reflection on what went right or wrong in 2010 and set goals for 2011. As an artist, we are continually trying to understand and reflect in our art the world as we see it or the world that could be. It doesn't matter whether it is the dead of winter on December 31st before the new year or the middle of a hot July. At any time of the year I find myself trying to rationalize the making of my art and place it on a scale to measure the worthiness of this painting or that, the merits of making art that attempts to re-interpret a place of beauty, to bring serenity to the viewer. Making art solely because I want to express the beauty I find in nature is quite an idealistic aim but one that I gravitate and aspire to. I'm not trying to change the world, make a political statement or bring to light a social injustice.

So the simple truth is that my artistic goal for 2011 continues to be to create paintings that stir the soul to a place of rest and feeling of peace and tranquility for those who view my paintings. I'll strive to continue to develop my skills, trying to paint spontaneously with fresh, color loaded strokes. Oh, and of course, it would be great to find another gallery that would provide the perfect collaborative atmosphere for my work :) 

Guess I better get to work and quit talking.

Happy New Year to all!


Visited my favorite gallery, Around the Corner Art Gallery in Montrose, CO, and dropped off this and another small cradled panel painting.  "Rustic Rico" is an original oil, 6x6 with 1 1/2 inch sides that are also painted as you can see by the 2nd image. It sells for $85, a great price for an original. I love these old mining shacks that are so common through the Colorado mountain mining towns. The waves of golden aspens in the background were so incredibly intense when I saw them, I am still in awe.


This thing called social media

It's winter and although not as cold here in Colorado as these winter hares huddled under the tree, with the short days and cold nights it's difficult some days to feel charged up and creative in my cold studio. So while not creating, I'm trying to wrap my non-technical mind around blogging, twitter, and all the many ways one can now share their art on the internet. How overwhealming is that?!

For those of you who discovered this blog and enjoy my paintings, I've added Subscribe options on the Upper Right of this blog. You can either receive an email when I add a new painting/posting or you can subscribe to an RSS Feed. I promise to never send you postings too frequently ... that might cut too much into my studio time! Hope to hear from you soon.


Today is the final wrapup of all the loose ends for this weekend's "Art on Trout Road" show in
Montrose, CO. It's exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Too easy to fill in the time with details I think I need to complete but may not be important at this late stage. I do need to title the new paintings, make labels, get together with my fellow artists to move furniture and hang the show. Then tonight, make cookies... All is good & will surely come together. Just hope the weather holds out through the weekend!

Here is one of the 6x6 original oil paintings. The house is in Rico, CO, where I took a landscape painting workshop with Jill Carver during the San Juan mountain's most magical time of golden color at September's end.


Art on Trout Road

It's been a hectic couple of months gearing up for the Art on Trout Road show. I've been busy creating paintings in a new size for me... 6x6 inch cradled canvas. I've shown a few of the new ones previously on here and Facebook. What a fun size to try new concepts, different compositions, and enabling a freedom to experiment and try more palette knife work, more abstracted works and to play with those images that have been on my mind but I haven't wanted to commit to a large painting. I have learned so much and have created little slices of the western and southwestern landscape in an affordable size. Some of these may evolve into larger paintings.

So next weekend, November 20th & 21st is the Art on Trout Road weekend in Montrose, CO with Bill Wilson, ceramics and Kurt Isgreen, watercolor landscapes. Should be great fun and as always, enjoyable to visit with all and talk art.

Here's the link for more information:  Art on Trout Road


I unveiled this new painting at the Beyond Words Library show a week ago in Montrose, CO. It was fun playing with thick paint using a palette knife. I like the way the light reflects on a luscious thick layered painting. I hope to do more! "Pathways" is 24x18 and now displayed at Around the Corner Art Gallery in Montrose. I've been exploring using the palette knife to paint with on some of my little 6x6s I'm working on for the next show, "Art on Trout Road". Will be posting some of them soon!


I've been a little quiet on the web lately while painting my little 6x6s for upcoming shows. Here's a glimpse of a few of my little originals. I will be posting more as I go along. These are promised for 3 holiday season events so I hope to complete a few each week. Each is painted on a "cradled panel" which is frameless and painted on a board that has 1 1/2 deep sides so they have contemporary look hanging on your wall. It's been a great project for me exploring the many exciting images I've been gathering to paint. I'm having alot of fun playing with the immediacy of quick and spontaneous brush strokes. My painting hand has become looser while I explore some palette knife work, thicker paint and the graphic qualities of painting the image directly to the edge. Painting to the edge of these panels breaks away from the traditional method of enclosing a painting within the frame and allows objects on the panel to push out from it's bounderies.

Let me know what you think, I'm a little bleary eyed from staring at them too long!


Twin Lakes View through a Pinon

Started this painting plein air (on location, outdoors) of a view where we were fishing in Twin Lakes, Colorado. I then finished up the painting in the studio. As is so easy to do, I found myself fussing over the colors, tightening up the painting, & spending too much time on it so that it lost some of its freshness and clear color that plein air paintings usually have. I still like the painting but will continue to strive for looseness and intuitive strokes in my paintings.


San Juan Serenade

Around the Corner Art Gallery in Montrose asked me to paint in front of the gallery during our popular Main in Motion summer event. Main Street is closed off to traffic and all can stroll through the downtown visiting friends, shopping, listening to the street bands, checking out the arts and crafts booths and get a bite to eat from street vendors. I stood in the middle of the street with my sketchbook, plein air setup and reference photo and tried to focus on painting through the commotion of passerbys, live music and some very enjoyable art conversation breaks with those who stopped by to visit. It was fun and great practice for painting in public places. This painting of the San Juan Mountains and Mt. Sneffels was the result. I finished 3/4 of it that night on the street, then a few days later in the studio, refined it to completion.


Ouray Paint Out

Last week I greatly enjoyed participating in the Ouray Paint Out that was part of the art goings on for the "Artist's Alpine Holiday" 50th Anniversary celebration of their annual juried art exhibition. Such an inspirational old mining town with most of it's historic buildings & charming victorian homes preserved. The day was cloudy with the threat of rain as we rushed to finish our paintings within 1 1/2 hours. I am not used to painting so quickly so it was a great exercise in focusing on quick and painterly strokes. I started with a red toned panel and my previously completed line drawings of my subject. I sketched in the composition with a mixter of burnt sienna, ultramarine blue & alizerin crimson, as I often do, to lay in the foundation. I then quickly blocked in the large shapes, simplifying the details down to the core lines and shapes that I wanted to emphasize. I had barely enough time to add some detail to the courthouse and surrounding vegetation. The red toned background was left to peek through the painting.

I was thrilled that the painting was successfully auctioned off that afternoon in spite of the rain that started just as the auction began and with the buyers that remained thinned out considerably once we relocated out of the rain.


Another for the Raining Cats & Dogs Show

Delivered my puppy paintings of our favorite guys in the house for the show that opens next week at Around the Corner Art Gallery in Montrose, CO. Was great fun painting the bright colors and personality of little Jack Russell, Levi. I was so excited that I ended up with a couple of optional entries. This one is a little 8x10 oil titled "Suspended Animation". Was tempted to call it, "Reclining Nude" for fun!


Striations in Blue & Gold

This painting may be a finished one. Been staring at it & tweaking it. This scene was captured as we were riding the motorcycle between Gunnison & Crested Butte. What an incredible day it was with cloud filled majestic views as we skirted between the thunderstorms getting only a sprinkle along our journey.

As on this painting, I start out by laying on a quick ground of an orange or alizirin crimson wash. Then I sketch in the composition developing a monochromatic tonal layer that helps me define the darks, lights and hopefully lays the foundation for a dynamic composition. Once that foundation is laid, in the same painting session, I begin to layer on heavier paint and build in blocks of color. It is an intuitive process for me. I don't get analytical about it until the painting is nearly finished and I am adding the final touches.


Salida Art Walk

A view of a side alley in old town, Salida, CO. Last weekend I took a jaunt up to Salida for the annual Art Walk and joined up with a couple of fellow art lovers and explorers. We had a great time seeing all the tremendous talent, visiting with the locals and enjoying the carefully restored turn of the century homes. Great little town with lots of character & charm, although a little pricey with their real estate. The Arkansas river flows through town. As we enjoyed our lunch at the BoatHouse Cantina, kayakers were playing in the water below. I may try to show during the next year's art walk, a different venue for me.


Finished my little Heeler last night. Not sure what to name the guy. I'm hoping he doesn't look too fierce but just serious about his job on the ranch. Hopefully this will be accepted into the "Raining Cats & Dogs" show that Around the Corner Art Gallery in Montrose is hosting in August. It was a fun painting to complete, full of juicy strokes and bright colors.


I'm thrilled and honored that Public Art eXperience (PAX) has chosen my oil painting, “Last Light on Little Cimarron” for this year’s raffle fundraiser. Get your tickets now for a chance to win this large 24"x36" original oil painting and support public sculpture in Montrose! Tickets can be purchased at Around the Corner Art Gallery, Montrose City Hall, or the Montrose Act offices! To learn more call 240-1420, or visit PAX online at www.cityofmontrose.org/art.

I found the inspiration for this painting while traveling on highway 50 going east from Montrose, CO towards Gunnison, CO through part of the Uncompahgre National Forest. The light on the foothills was incredible and gave the sheep a golden glow. It was a challenge painting even a small herd of sheep and striving to give each sheep individual attention and charactor.


Distractions away from painting

I've been engrossed in our gardens... at least that was the case until the recent heat wave. Here's a couple pictures of our pond refuge. Just saw our big resident toad at the edge a couple of nights ago. Soon he will be crooning to all the lady toads in the area. We can hardly wait.


It's Raining Cats & Dogs, but mostly Dogs

My gallery, Around the Corner Art Gallery, in Montrose Colorado is hosting a fun challenge for the artist members to create small paintings for their upcoming show: "Its raining cats & dogs". I'm looking forward to charging into bright and whimsical paintings based on my jack russells now and also our loveable passed away black lab/newfoundland mix and our border collie who we also said goodbye to last year. Look here for upcoming pictures as I progress to the final creations.


Finished this little 9x12 oil painting last weekend. It was a struggle. Some paintings come together magically then some are labors of not so much love. They often go through ugly duckling stages where if you are patient and tenacious enough, they will often, not always resolve themselves into a finished painting.



First experience at this blogging thing. Herein I hope to verbalize the reasons and methods of my approach to oil painting, share my recent painting explorations and struggles. The aim will be to both enlighten readers as well as further develop my understanding of why I do what I do!