Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lair of the Bear    8x10    oil on panel
I have painted at Lair of the Bear probably a dozen times and never made a painting I liked or even thought was OK. I tried the only viewpoint there that I had never been to, and this time I finally made one I like. Glad to get past that road bump!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project Gemini

Gemini in E Minor    20x20    oil on canvas

I finished this painting a few months ago but have waited until now to post it because it was a commission for a CD cover. The musician I did it for, Jeff Goebel, had a release party for this CD this past weekend. I met Jeff a number of years ago in Anaheim at the NAMM convention. NAMM is a convention for the music industry and is a really amazing show to attend. We hit it off pretty well and soon Jeff and I and our wives were vacationing in Florida. While there, he mentioned that he was thinking of making his own CD and asked if I could paint him a cover. I agreed and several years later here it is.

The painting went through a ton of changes along the way. The original ideas were nothing like the finished painting. We both have a strong interest in the space program, so the basic theme was easy to do. One thing I wanted to try to do with this was show the sound of music. Since you can't hear music in space and this was a music CD is seemed like that was something that should come across with the art.

This painting is painted pretty thin for me, especially compared to my plein air work. It was a lot of fun to do this and a nice change of pace from all the landscape work. It brought me back to my comic book roots a little bit, so it is a bit of an illustration rather than fine art. It came out unexpectedly cool as many of the things in this I had other ideas for. I'd start going in one direction and Bam!, something else would pop out. I tried to keep as much of that as possible and toward the end I just let those little things happen without attempting to change them.

Jeff's 'group' for this is called Project Gemini and the Space Donkeys. Jeff plays guitar (and lots of other instruments) and he 'borrowed' band mates from other bands to help contribute parts. The music is modern instrumental rock in the vein of Joe Satriani-Steve Vai-George Lynch and is pretty kick ass stuff. I know it was a ton of work for Jeff and I'm glad that he finished and released this CD. You can get it and/or listen to samples on iTunes, Amazon.com and on his Facebook page. Tell Jeff I sent you there!  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dawson's Butte PAAC Castle Rock Paintout

Summertime Blues    8x10    oil on panel

Another beautiful summer day in Colorado! Thanks to Lee McVey for joining us. We had a great time chatting and I really enjoyed watching her paint. She got 3 paintings done in the time it took me to this one! Also thanks to Leslie for joining us this time. Hopefully she can join us again! Some of the other painters in this group are really growing fast. There has been a nice jump in skill and quality since the beginning of the year. It's great to see others painting well outside.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Eastern Wyoming

Stuck in a Rut    8x10    oil on panel

Souls Depart    8x10    oil on panel

Summer - July    8x10    oil on panel

These three paintings were done on a recent trip to eastern Wyoming. I have been to these places in years past and have wanted to paint there. The first painting was made at the Oregon Trail Ruts near Guernsey. The second at Register Cliff, also near Guernsey. Pioneers would pass by Register Cliff on their way west and engrave their names into the rock. There are many names from the 1800s in the rock. The third painting was painted at Ft. Laramie. Ft. Laramie would have been the last place pioneers would have stopped for provisions before going any further west. It was super hot at all these locations, over 100 degrees, and I have no idea how people would have handled it in 1880. By the time I painted the third painting, I just wanted to convey the heat and the sunshine and how there was no escaping it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meeker Plein Air 2012

Cool Mountain Breeze     8x10    oil on panel

Independence    9x12    oil on panel

Rio Blanco    8x10    oil on panel

These are from the Meeker Plein Air event I participated in last week in Meeker Colorado. In my haste to get them into frames for the auction, I forgot to take pictures of some of them without the frame. Had a good time in Meeker, everyone there was really nice. A lot of great landscapes there as well. Way more than I could paint in 2 days. Cliff and I painted together one day and that produced the first painting shown here. It looks real similar to Cliff's painting because we were standing about 25 yards apart, and both wanted to paint the same thing. It was pretty cool to see two of the same compositions by different people. This painting was the one that was sold in the auction. I didn't even get to paint west of town which has some really great desert scenery. Maybe next year! Thanks to everyone involved for the event and thanks to Patricia Sheeran-Daggett for judging!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Suddenly.... Summer!

Summer Morning    10x10    oil on panel

Another great morning to be outside. Not many showed up for the PAAC paint out this morning. There wasn't a whole lot down by the creek, but this view of the Rock was hard to pass up. I'd like to try this view again with a different size panel. Not sure I really like the square shape. Came out O.K. in the end though. Spring sure did seem to end fast this year. Now, it's on to summer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

South Valley Rocks    8x10    oil on panel

The rocks in this painting are the same ones in my other South Valley painting called "January Morning". This view is from the other side of the rocks. I thought the light from this angle was very striking and I liked the angles and shapes. The scale of things is difficult to tell without a reference. The green bushes just below the main rock, center of painting, are a little under twice the height of an average person. This painting was a little difficult to do. I was not really sure where it was going until the very end. Cliff came over and pointed out some things that helped me along. It was a fantastic morning with great weather and light. Here's hoping the rest of the summer is just like today!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hidden Mesa Wildflowers

Spring Wildflowers    8x10    oil on panel

Today the PAAC Castle Rock group met at Hidden Mesa. It's become an old haunt of mine as I've been going there for years to paint. It was really nice to have some other painters there this time. We got a lot of rain the day before and a few days before that and the wildflowers have really popped up. I don't remember there ever being that many flowers at this part of Hidden Mesa before. As I have painted a lot of the trees and rocks many times, I decided to try the flowers. The weather was fantastic with a nice breeze and it made it easy to finish this painting. Some of the other painters stopped by near the end and we debated adding the purple flowers. Those flowers were way off to the right of this shot, and I was not sure if it would 'break' the picture to add them in. In the end I added them anyway and I really like how it came out. It was a great morning to be outside painting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And now for something completely different....

Rio Grande Rides Again    8x16    oil on panel

Today's PAAC paint out was at the Colorado Railroad Museum. I've never been there, but have wanted to go for years. I never was quite sure where it was so I was glad Cliff put it on the schedule. It's a small place considering how many engines and train cars they have there. Tons of stuff packed into a small area. Since it's a museum and the trains aren't moving I thought the challenge here would be to make the trains seem like they were moving and hopefully come alive. So that's what I shot for. The light wasn't great but this old Rio Grande engine was. I saw several other engines that would make nice paintings also. My perspective and the train cars got a little wonky, but I'm happy with it. I took tons of photos so I'm sure there will be more train paintings in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In The Garden    11x14    oil on panel

Yesterday the PAAC paintout was at an iris garden called Iris4U. There were a lot of nice views and a lot of nice flowers to see but it was a little overwhelming artistically. They smelled great when the wind blew too. I was really drawn to this dark hedge and post with vines on it more than the flowers. This particular bed didn't have a lot of flowers in it, but I liked the design so much that's what I went with. This is one of only two plein air paintings I have touched up at home. The flowers needed to be more saturated in color and a few of the darks need to be darker.
I don't like to rework outdoor paintings at home because I lose all connection to the place and my feelings there when I get home. I feel it makes the painting look stiff and lifeless so I try never to do it. This was a pretty easy fix since I already had the information down, it just need to be boosted a little bit. I'm glad I did it because it felt too unfinished when I left the garden and I'm really happy with the final result.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Years Light 2nd Place Overall 2012 PAAC Show

New Years Light    9x12    oil on panel
2nd Place Overall 2012 PAAC show

This past weekend was the 2012 show for the Plein Air Artists of Colorado. I got juried in this year and sent 3 paintings. The one above won 2nd Place Overall. I'd like to thank PAAC for all the hard work getting the show together (Leslie and all the volunteers for the show) and Joe Anna Arnett for listening (she'll know what I mean). Congratulations to all the other painters who won awards. It was a great show, I met quite a few new artists and had fun in Taos. Hope to be in the show next year! 

A Walk in the Park    8x10    oil on panel

Today PAAC was painting at the Carson Nature Center in Littleton. Only Cliff showed up besides myself. I think everyone was too tired from the Taos Paintout to show up. It was a little cool this morning but overall a really nice day. I did some heavy editing on this scene. The South Platte River is actually in the foreground below the edge of the picture. All along the river are tons of willow bushes and small trees. There are a few tall trees and those are the ones I painted in. Since I started this around 11:30 AM, the light was not revealing any form on the willows and small trees. It was just a wall of sage green color with no value changes. As I was sketching out the painting, I realised it looked more interesting to me with out the willows and trees.  So I cut everything out down to the bare essentials and this is what was left. I was a little afraid to strip so much away, but I like how it came out.

5-5-2012 Rio Grande Gorge

Rid Grande Light - Midday    8x10    oil on panel

This was painted midday in the Rio Grande Gorge. I was down in Taos for the 2012 PAAC show, and took a little trip down to the town of Pilar. Next to Pilar, down in the gorge is Rio Grande State Park. These rocks are across on the other side of the gorge way up high. It was a nice warm May day and I liked how the shadows faded away to a purplish color in the midday sun. I'm still using a limited palette of Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue. It was a bit hard to get some of the rock colors the way I saw them with this palette. If I paint there again I will change up the palette to better capture the color. Too bad it's so far away, I could spend weeks there painting non-stop.

4-24-2012 Ruby Hill Park

Denver Skyline - Ruby Hill Park    9x12    oil on panel

I've never tried a city scene with buildings in it and the view from Ruby Hill was nice. I love looking at buildings and even photographing them, but for some reason when it comes to painting them I'm just not interested. So with that in mind, I picked this scene thinking that I could make the buildings more of a 'landscape' and less of a 'city' scene. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun to do. At first I was overwhelmed with all the buildings in the foreground, but after squinting down a lot it became fun to just see color spots and paint them in. The only parts that needed to look building-like where the ones silhouetted against the sky. Despite being fun to do, I don't know if I will do something like this again.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Waiting on Spring    8x10    oil on panel

Painted on a windy, warm day in Castle Rock. Spring has come a little early elsewhere, but the grass was just starting to peep up on this day. I have been painting thick as of late and it is turning out to be quite difficult to photograph the paintings. So much glare and shadows, but it looks really pretty good in person. This painting is for sale, as are all my other paintings on this blog. I always forget to mention that! It is currently hanging in the Colorado Mountain Art Gallery in Georgetown. I hung another painting the same day and forgot to take a picture of it! When I get a picture of that one I will post it too. It's a nice view of downtown Georgetown, the same size as this one. Be sure to scroll down as I made several new posts below.

Mountain Study, Afternoon Light, Early Spring    8x10    oil on panel

This was a quick mountain study done from a photo I took near Frisco, Colorado a week or so ago. I was there to go skiing, but I saw this view from the side of the road and couldn't let it go by (again... I see this view every time we go skiing). As with all my other paintings this year, this is the dead palette plus Ultramarine Blue. I was in Georgetown at the Colorado Mountain Art Gallery working with Cliff Austin and he pulled out a magazine that had a painting in it that was very similar to this one. He commented that we all make at least one of these compositions (usually a lot more than one) and I said I haven't done one. At the time I hadn't, and when I started this one I really didn't intend for it to come out this way. I think Cliff put a subliminal suggestion in my brain that day, and guess where it came out? So I guess I can say that I too have one of  'those' paintings now! 

Spring Advance    8x10    oil on panel

Sorry for the long delay in posting. I have been painting away on schedule, just not posting. As you can see above, I am still painting with the dead palette. I added a Cadmium Yellow this time to bump up the greens in the middle of the canvas. This limited palette (Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, Payne's Grey, Ultramarine Blue, and White) has been fantastic for winter and early spring. It makes it really easy to accurately match so many colors outside at this time of year, very quickly. I struggled for years trying to match certain colors that are a snap with this palette. Another nice bonus is that now that I can do them with this palette, I know how to make them with my regular palette. It will take a lot of grief away when I switch back the my regular palette.

Great News!
Three of my paintings were selected for the 2012 PAAC show in Taos, NM on May 5th. The show will be held at the Wilder Nightingale Gallery, right next to the old square in Taos. The paintings I have going are Sun and Snow, January Morning, and New Year's Day. These paintings can be found elsewhere on this blog. For more information about the show, click HERE . To see all the paintings in the show click HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sun and Snow    9x12    oil on panel

    This past Tuesday I went down to a favorite haunt, Gateway Mesa Open Space. The difference this time was that it was also a PAAC paintout, so it would be one of the few times I wasn't painting alone there. I've been here a lot and good amount of the paintings on my website are from this open space. It was a little cold, not too bad, and very bright and sunny. For some reason I caught myself referring to the snow as 'sand' while painting and again later while talking to another painter. Very strange, I have no idea where that came from. Anyway, that's where the title came from. Maybe I just wanted to be at the beach!
    I did this with the dead palette, except I used blue instead of Payne's Gray. The shadows were very blue and I originally wanted to capture that. I've gotten so used to Payne's Gray as my blue that I subconsciously dulled down my Ultramarine Blue and it almost looks like I didn't use the blue at all. I think I may stick with this modified palette for a little while because I really like the blue better than the gray. As we get closer to summer it will be interesting to see what else I need (or want) to change on the palette. Maybe a brighter yellow? Guess I'll find out soon enough!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Path    9x12    oil on panel

I went down to join the Castle Rock PAAC group yesterday. We had scheduled a paintout at Palmer Lake and quite a few people showed up, including a few I've seen only once or twice. It was quite a bit colder down there and more windy as well. I didn't like the subject matter there too much (it's really nice in the summer) and there were other locations nearby that I wanted to check out for future paintout spots. So I went with Janice and another painter, Jennifer, to a nearby Open Space called Spruce Mountain. It had much more appealing scenery (and less windy) and I decided to paint there. We had intended to go over to Greenland Open Space and check that out too, but wound up painting where we were.
I was originally attracted to the blue mountains behind the tree in the middle of the painting. For some reason though they did not come out blue as I had hoped. I had made some nice 'blues' on the last painting (see below) with the dead palette and figured the same would happen here. But it didn't, and I am not sure why. I painted this one a bit faster than normal and that may have something to do with it. I am happy with this though and will do a few very minor touch ups to this when it is dry.
In any event, it was a nice day to be out painting and a great location. I spotted at least 4 other paintings waiting to be made and I had barely walked 100 yards from the parking lot.  Looking forward to going back to this place!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another warm January day..

South Platte Willows    9x12    oil on panel

On Thursday I met with a couple of real nice painters from the Castle Rock group (part of PAAC). We painted at the south Platte River in Littleton and it was a really nice day. 65 degrees, bright sunshine and no wind is a great day in January.
Still using the 'dead' palette and enjoying it quite a lot. Sometimes I wish I could saturate the colors up a little more, but I try  to resist the temptation to add anything as it will break (kinda) the harmony of this palette. As I mentioned below, I used a lot more paint this time. A whole tube of white went into this painting. I had a little trouble getting it into my panel carrier and the carrier scraped off some of the paint. When it dries I'll do some small repairs to it and it will be finished. Just need to go buy some more paint now! Both of the other painters made nice paintings and it is always fun watching others paint.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pueblo Peak    20x30    oil on canvas

Earlier this winter, I was lucky enough to be in Taos, NM. Every day I was there it snowed. In the late afternoon when the sun set, it would peek out briefly before going below the horizon. It made really spectacular sunsets and on this occasion, the sun produced just a thin slice of light as it went down. I didn't have my paints with me so I took a lot of photos and made a bunch of mental notes. I made this studio painting from that information. I tried something different this time and that was trying to use much thicker paint than I am used to using. The surface of the painting looks really cool. I think I will go thicker next time and see how far I can go with that. The colors are a little off in the photo... there was a lot of glare because the paint is still wet. The photo is a little darker than the painting and a little more saturated.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

South Valley Sunlight    8x10    oil on panel

Today's paint out was supposed to be at a different location, but it was crazy windy and cold. I'd guess the wind chill was well below zero. No one was there when I got there so I hiked around a little bit and decided it was just too windy to paint there. Ted was there before I got there and felt it was to windy also. I wanted to get out of the wind so I drove downhill to a small open space called South Valley Park. It's the same place I did 'January Morning' below. It was not windy at all and a lot warmer there.
Like the last 3 posts, I am still working with the 'dead' palette of Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, and Payne's Grey (plus white). I am always amazed at how blue Payne's grey looks when lightened and against other colors. Unlike the last few paintings, I did not add another blue to the palette (or any other color), and strangely this looks 'bluer' than the ones that actually had blue in it. This was a quick little sketch and I am glad I got one done today!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Light    6x8    oil on panel

On Thursady I went down to Hidden Mesa. I did two small paintings there, this was the better of the two. Still using the 'dead' palette and this time I added Pthalo blue. I didn't use it that much, mostly to punch up a few of the grey colors. The shadow on the right side tree looked all wrong without any blue in it since the real shadow was very blue. The first painting I did took an hour and a half. This one only took forty minutes and came out a lot better. Probably because I didn't think too much. Just saw stuff and put it down. Wish it happened like that every time!

January Morning    11x14    oil on panel

Our Tuesday morning paint out was at an open space near Morrison. It sits right next to the foothills and is a little higher than the surrounding area. Because of the weather, it was kinda cold and windy. It was a little too windy for me up on the exposed area so I went (and so did almost everyone else) to a nearby open space/park called South Valley. It's a little like Garden of the Gods there. The same kind of rock formations made out of the same kind of rock, just a lot smaller. The rock in the painting is right next to the north parking lot. I have been here before and thought the rock looked pretty cool but never really wanted to paint it. Leslie pointed out the great looking sky to the south (to the right of the painting) and I moved it over behind the rocks. It made the composition pretty dramatic and I thought it looked really cool. Still working with the 'dead' palette listed below, but I swapped out Burnt Sienna for Venetian Red. It was almost impossible to get any nice reds or oranges with Burnt Sienna so it had to go. Plus the rocks are almost Venetian Red right out of the tube, so that made things simpler for me. Wasn't sure where this was going while painting it, but it came out nice in the end.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

New Year's Light 2    9x12    oil on canvas

It's been a while since I posted anything, sorry about that. I've been painting on my regular schedule but just have not been very happy with anything I've done recently.  Today was the Second Annual New Year's Day PAAC Paintout. It was a really nice day to be outside and it give the new year a really nice fresh start. Wasn't too cold, unlike last year at 8 degrees. Because it's winter and everything is pretty grey, I decided to go back to basics and use a limited palette of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Payne's Grey (with a little Davies Grey too) and White. I accidentally dumped my turp right at the start of the painting, so I did the whole thing with a knife. One thing I like about knife paintings is they happen a lot faster. It's nice not to linger too long and over work any part of the painting. It's also a lot easier to correct mistakes.
Since it's the new year I'd like to thank a few people who really helped me last year. First, I'd like to thank my wife April for supporting me while I get the whole painting thing off the ground. Thanks to PAAC for being a great group, and special thanks to Cliff for picking all the paintout spots, taking the time to discuss Art, free advice, and the gallery. Also, thanks to Leslie for her work with the group and for not giving up despite adversity. Thanks to Nancy for her advice and very helpful critiques. Thanks to all the artists who have come to (or run) the paintouts.. I love looking at all your work and it is greatly inspiring! Lastly, thanks to Dr. Brad O'Neill for offering his office walls to hang my art!  Happy New Year!