Welcome! This online journal will share my news of new paintings and upcoming exhibits, tips and notes with friends, collectors and other artists. Please visit often and enjoy!

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- Latest sketches

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Keeping an Eye on Your Gear


Most recent plain air adventure, a rural scene off US-119 in Longmont, CO. It was a little battle with sun and wind, and I felt a bit rusty from painting indoors for so long. Acrylic on canvas, 9x12.

This occasion reminded me why it is important to keep an eye on your gear. Whenever I paint in town, I try to position myself so that access to me and my gear is partially blocked, by a fence, railing, post or even a wastebasket, but out on a trail or in the countryside I don't take as many precautions. When I stopped by this scene, on a remote bike path, I decided to walk up the hill a bit to check the view from that higher point (which is where eventually I painted this from). From that vantage point I could still clearly see my gear bag, which I had left at the bottom of the hill. All of a sudden a cyclist appeared, and stopped by my bag. I yelled from the top of the hill that the bag was mine. He waved back and stood there for a while. Had he taken off with my bag, I would not have been able to catch up on foot. Fortunately, it seems that he had merely been curious to see a bag unattended, and enjoyed a short brake from riding... after a minute he proceeded on his way. I walked down and picked up my gear and returned to the hill to set up to start painting, very relieved that the situation turned out well but suddenly more aware never to take chances.   

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Longmont Artists' Guild Members Show Opening Reception

at the
430 Main St., Longmont, CO 80501
October 9 – November 7, 2015

Artist's Opening Reception
Friday, October 9th
Free parking in the back

Come join the fun! Refreshments! Wine cash bar!
Meet the artists! Beautiful artwork for sale!
Vote for your favorites!
Award ceremony at 8pm!

Friday, October 2, 2015

PAAC Annual Paint Out in Grand Lake

I returned on Sunday from three days of painting alongside 39 other artists in my first participation in the Plein Air Artists Colorado Annual Paint Out. The event was very well organized, and took place in the town of Grand Lake and the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The weather was perfect and the Fall foliage was beautiful. My family came along and had a great time with campfires, swimming in the lake, hiking, and painting too.

I feel very encouraged that I was able to test a new easel and new paints (acrylic), sell one of my paintings and win Artists' Choice Award at the exhibit! This came as a total surprise, as I was trying a new medium and working hard to simply produce a painting that would not look too shabby alongside the work of all these experienced, talented artists. To win the vote of professionals I admire was a great honor. 

More details on the paintings, the event, and the lessons I learned, in upcoming posts...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Painting Parenting, or Making Time to Paint

Being a dedicated father is taking time on Saturday morning to go with my sons on a longish bike ride and then treating them to cookies and juice at their favorite coffee shop, where they love to play with their toy cars at the low coffee table...

Being a dedicated artist is finding time in my busy schedule to paint, even if it means bringing my paints and easel with me on the bike ride to the coffee shop so I can add a few more touches to my painting in progress in the 15 minutes the kids take to play...

Painting parenting is not rare: Carol Marine painted while her child napped; Ali Cavanaugh painted while her baby played in the playpen. I have sketched my children while they played in the sandbox, or rode their bikes around me or tried the monkey bars. I started sketching construction machinery after I discovered the boys would be quiet for a long time observing the constructions site on weekend mornings. At times the boys will pull out their own sketchbooks and doodle alongside me.

Sometimes there is enough time to do some work; sometimes I barely get started before the kids need to move on, need to use the restroom, get hurt, or somehow need assistance. Persistence pays off though; those little sketches done at these opportunities keep my visual mind and my hands nimble for more serious work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sandstone Ranch in Acrylics

Sandstone Morning, acrylic on board, 8x10, plein air

This is only my third attempt at painting in acrylic, and the first acrylic done en plein air (done on location at Sandstone Ranch park in Longmont on Friday). It was quite a departure from working in watercolors, but the same challenge of rushing against the hot, dry weather.

I used Golden Open acrylics in five colors: Titanium white, phthalo blue, transparent red iron oxide, yellow and naphthol red light. I covered the board with a thin warm orange layer, drew the main large shapes with red oxide, blocked the darker shapes of color before applying the middle and light tones. I must say I really like the Rosemary & Co brushes from the Ivory line that I am using.

I wish I had done a thumbnail value and composition study but I was concerned about the time and wanted to start right away... it would have helped me improve the design, by avoiding lining up the foreground rocks with the cliff, and making the grass line at the bottom less repetitive with the one farther back. Well, working my way through a new medium is hard enough, I think this ended up pretty nicely all things considered.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

A Gate of Opportunity, watercolor on paper, 12x9

This week I painted on site at Harvard in Cambridge, MA. I set my tripod easel in a tight corner in front of the tourist information office, about the only spot protected from the rain and from the groups of tourists. I painted directly, without a preliminary sketch or any drawing in pencil.

Many artists and students have concerns about using M Graham and other honey based watercolor brands in plein air work, especially those who have folding palettes with wells on the lid... But I used a folding palette and M Graham colors on this painting and even though it was a warm, very humid day, the paints did not run or spill. I stored my palette vertically in the bag, and kept a wet brush inside it, and it did not cause any problems. The paint was tacky in the wells when I reopened the palette at night in the hotel, but there were no spills. One reason is that the paint had been poured in the pans much earlier; if I had just added fresh paint the night before I may have had problems. At any rate, the only M Graham colors I have tried which have cause spills at all have been cobalt teal and cobalt violet--I no longer carry those colors in my plein air kit for that reason.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A snapshot of me with my two pieces at the opening reception of the Plein Air Artists Colorado National Exhibit last night in Boulder. 
The Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery was packed with artists, guests and collectors. It was exciting to see so many friends and get to meet so many top level artists, whose work I had admired in magazines, books and videos. In fact the whole experience was that of walking through the pages of the Southwest Art magazine. It is such an honor to be included in this show. The exhibit is open until August 30th and is well worth seeing--and prices are very reasonable too!