Friday, April 27, 2012


    "Ennis Tractor"   12" x 16"   oil/linen

Along Shadow Ridge Road in Ennis last weekend I got all caught up in capturing the last remaining bluebonnets when I came across this beautiful piece of machinery. Old tractors are a lot like old barns in that they stir up all kinds of thoughts about the person that used this tractor, probably for several decades, tolling away in the Texas heat trying to scratch out a living and support a family. Many times a tractor like this is passed down from one generation to the next. 

The challenge in doing a painting like this en plein air is there is a lot of drawing involved and knowing how to draw perspective is important. And of course after just having gotten rid of a very bad case of chiggers a couple of weeks ago, standing in tall grass to do this painting made me a little nervous. I was feeling scratchy before I even finished the painting.

Monday, April 23, 2012


   "Farm Pond and Bluebonnets"    9" x 12" oil/liinen

Made a day trip to Ennis, TX on Saturday for some serious plein air work. I produced five paintings in about six and half hours which means the paint was flying and I wasn't laboring much over any of the paintings. I do not consider myself a very good bluebonnet painter and if you make your living as a landscape painter in Texas it just seems like its expected that you do bluebonnets.

A good friend of mine and one of the best painters I know, Bob Rohm, gave me some sage advice a few weeks back when I was lamenting to him my disdain for painting bluebonnets. Disdain may be too harsh a word, but I just haven't had any success producing paintings of our state flower. Bob said the key is to paint the bluebonnets in the same value as you paint the grass. Most painters paint the flowers too dark because all they see is the deep blue of the flower, but to make it sit in a field of grass or wildflowers you have to paint them the same value as the surrounding grass. Well when I set up my easel on Saturday to tackle my first painting I remembered Bob's advice. I painted everything in the scene except the bluebonnets purposely avoiding them until they were the only thing left to paint. Then after mixing a pool of blue paint in the same value as my pool of grass color I laid down the bluebonnets. OMG! LOL! Slap me silly. Bob is a genius! 

    "Along Shadow Ridge Road"   9" x 12"  oil/linen

After my first painting I was off to the races and I couldn't pass a filed of bluebonnets without wanting to stop and paint them. What a rush?! A 9" x 12" painting normally takes me from an hour and half to two hours and I was cranking them out in an hour or less. No energy drinks for me...just give me some fresh paint and a field of bluebonnets. 

Friday, April 20, 2012


    "Diver's Cove"   11" x 14"  oil/linen

First let me say I haven't posted a blog in two weeks and Blogger has completely changed its design template so I have no idea how this is going to look. 

I'm planning a painting trip to California for late June to meet Jonathan and Lucinda at Mountainsong Gallery in Carmel. I've been in the gallery a few months so I think its time to see the gallery in person, visit with the owners and spend time painting along the California coast. It is my custom when planning a painting trip to practice doing paintings from that area so it is not a total shock to the system.

Colors and values change greatly from one area to the next. Even in Texas the sky is much bluer in the Hill Country than it is near Dallas. This is also the first Friday I've had in the studio in over a month so it feels really good to paint. I did two 11" x 14" paintings in about four and half hours. 

The painting above is at Diver's Cove near Laguna Beach. The painting below is Point Lobos near Carmel. I understand in June I can expect a lot of fog in the early morning, so this is feeling I was going for in the Point Lobos painting.

   "Point Lobos in the Mist"   11" x 14"   oil/linen

Friday, April 6, 2012


"Azalea" #13, Par5 22" x 28"

The final hole of "Amen Corner". Originally just a cow pasture all course architect Alister MacKenzie had to do was stick the green on the other side of Rae's Creek. From the tee golfers aim at a towering 100 foot pine tree at the top of the hill 295 yards away then hit a slight draw. A favorable bounce places the player with an easy approach to the green in two.
Players walk across the Byron Nelson Bridge as they exit the tee box.

My painting is from the angle viewers get if you are lucky enough to score a seat in the grand stand just off the right side of the fairway.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Amen Corner got its name in a 1958 Sports Illustrated article penned by Herbert Warren Winn. Winn named holes #11, #12 and #13 "Amen Corner" when Arnold Palmer received a favorable ruling that led to his first major victory and decades later was still being challenged by runner-up Ken Venturi.

"Golden Bell" , 312, Par 3 22" x 28"

The official version:

"Saturday evening in 1958, heavy rains soaked the course. For Sunday’s round, a local rule was adopted allowing a player whose ball was embedded to lift and drop it without penalty. Sunday on No. 12, Arnold Palmer hit his ball over the green and the ball embedded in the steep bank behind it. Being uncertain about the applicability of the local rule, the official on the hole and Palmer agreed that the ball should be played as it lay and that Palmer could play a second ball which he dropped. Palmer holed out for a 5 with the original ball and a 3 with the second ball. The committee was asked to decide if the local rule was applicable and if so, which score should count.

"At No. 13, still unsure of what his score was at 12, Palmer sank an 18-foot putt for eagle 3. When he was playing No. 15, Palmer was told his drop at 12 was proper and that his score on the hole was 3, leading to his first major victory."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The best week of professional golf is upon us. Its Masters week so this week I will feature four of my paintings from the best golf course in the world, Augusta National. Today's feature is the starting hole of "Amen Corner" (more about this tomorrow). The hole is a long par four where a drive of 285 yards is necessary to even have a chance of reaching the green in regulation. Ray's Creek is to the left of the fairway and 100 foot pine trees are to the right.

"White Dogwood" 22" x 28" oil/canvas

Monday, April 2, 2012


Every once in a while...not often enough, but every once in a while I will get a hankerin to do a still life. I'm still looking for a way to express myself the way I have in my landscapes. The painting below is what I call a
"style sketch" means it is a painting done in the process of searching my stylistic approach. There's a lot to like about this painting and that's why I have hung onto it for a couple of years. Time to let it go. I have just posted it on Dailypaintworks for auction. You can click the link below to bid.

"Tea and Apples" 8" x 10" oil/linen

click here to bid

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I have the pleasure of being invited to participate in a show called "Artist of the New Century" being held in June at The Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont. Some of the other artists include Amery Bohling, Stephen Datz, Josh Elliott, Daniel Gerhartz, Logan Hagege, David Hettinger, Qiang Huang, Daniel Keys, Robert Lemler, Jeremy Lipking, Charles Muench, Alexey Steele, Scott Tallman Powers just to name a few. I am extremely proud to be showing with such a group of outstanding artists.

Even though the show isn't until June our images are due now for promotion so I thought I should get to it. I had a painting brewing in my mind since my trip to the Grand Canyon a couple of summers ago. Anyone who paints there knows that a thunderstorm can roll though at any given second and then be gone. It can happen several times a day. So my idea is to paint Moran Point on such a day. Unfortunately I had no photo reference of such a weather pattern on Moran Point and had to rely on photos of Moran Point on a perfectly clear day.

To add to my concept I decided I wanted it to be late afternoon right before the sun goes down. This is where painting on location pays off. During my trip we had such a day with storms rolling in and out all day. I produced two paintings that day between storms so I am using them for my color reference.

Here are my two photo references. I will be using the top photo as my main image. From the second image I will be using the distant canyons and horizon line.

Here's my initial block in. I apologize for the glare on the right side. Painting famous landscape structures like Moran Point or the Teton Mountains is a lot like doing a portrait. If you get the main structures wrong there will be plenty of critiques to let you know just how bad your painting is because you have a bolder out of place. So I decided to paint the corner first with as much attention to detail as possible, then from there on it is just my general feeling of how I want the rest of the painting to feel. Plus if I don't get this right I can wipe it off and do something else without a great deal of lost time. Plus I had to stop to go out of town for a few days.

Detail of brushwork. The gloss is from the Liquin I covered the painting in to start the next phase.

Satisfied with the main structure I move on to the background and painting the storm.

"Storm Over Moran Point" 24" x30" oil/linen

And here's the finished painting, storm and all.