Monday, December 20, 2010


"Red Canyon" 8" x 10" oil/c

My second painting from Canyon De Chelly.
Canyon De Chelly is an inspirational place
to paint and well worth the trek to Northeast
Arizona. Painting from the base requires hiring
a Navajo guide but it is worth the expense.
To paint from the base as Edgar Payne and
many other notable American landscape painters
have is an awesome experience. There are
paintings everywhere you look.

I spent three days painting from the base with
William Kalwick, Jr., Kaye Franklin, Fran Ellisor
and Steve Atkinson. It was a trip of a life time and
I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Color Change in the Canyon" 8" x 10" oil/c

With this painting I start a new series
called "Canyons and Badlands" based on trips
I have taken over the past two years
to Big Bend, the Grand Canyon and Canyon
De Chelly. I finally had to admit to myself that
I went into a semi-funk after my one-man show
last month. After working so hard over a
period of months to create 35 worthy paintings
and then there was the high of the show weekend,
I guess it is only natural to feel a bit down
after such an event.

I took a couple of weeks off from painting (big mistake).
I sat around FaceBooking and blogging about the show
which was an important thing to do, but it kept
me away from the studio. I think my outdoor gear
hates me now. So, yesterday I started going through
pictures of my recent trips looking for something to
paint and that's when I realized how much great reference
material I have on the three canyons I've been to recently.

I did two small paintings yesterday just to see if I
still knew how to paint. Today I'm starting a larger
painting (20" x 24") and next week I hope to go even larger.
Don't know how many paintings there will be, but hey,
it gives me focus and that is apparently something I need.
Otherwise the social media thing takes over. Ironic
that I'm sitting here blogging when I have a blank
canvas screaming at me to get off my butt and start
slopping paint. Gotta go. Bad Karma to have a canvas
mad at you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

35 on 35 ONLINE

"Cargill Grain Eelvator" 10" x 20" oil/c

Standing several stories tall just north of Temple
is the Cargill Grain Elevator.
Those who
follow my work know I have a thing for
grain elevators. I like the old wooden
ones which are very hard to find these days.
For my "35 on 35" show I was looking for something
in the Temple to Waco area and this caught my
eye. I don't know how many times I've
driven past it and never taken notice.

On this particular day it stood out because
the sky was clearer and bluer than usual so
I ventured off the highway set up my easel
and did a quick color sketch. Something about
the composition kept bringing me back to
the sketch. I liked the way the railroad tracks
take your eye into the painting and the way
the trees on the right balanced the tall buildings.
This studio version made the show based on the
strength of the design more than anything else.
All-in-all not an overly inspiring piece but a good
documentary painting of life in central Texas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

35 on 35 ONLINE

"City Lights Reflections" 8" x 10" oil/linen

I should have named this one
"Cloud Chaser" because that's what I was
doing in order to capture this one. You see
these types of extra large cloud formations
in New Mexico and Arizona all the time but here
in Texas it may only occur a few times
a year.

I had spent most of the day south of Austin
painting. I had two in the box I felt good
about and was settling in for the four hour
drive home to McKinney. This lone large
cloud mass began to form on the east side of
the highway as I came through the
Austin/Georgetown area. I couldn't help but
notice it and decided I should try to capture
it as a painting. The problem was I couldn't
get far enough away from the city to see the
bottom of the cloud.

As I came through Round Rock the highway
access road on the west side is elevated so I went
through town, made a u-turn and finally
got high enough to see the bottom of the cloud
and it was lit up like a Christmas tree from the
rising dust and city lights. It was amazing.

I set up behind a dumpster near the Rudy's BB-Q place
and by now the sun was setting fast so I had to
work fast. There is no way to feel this kind of rush
working in the studio. Twenty minutes later I had the
basics of what I needed for the painting. I put on a
head lamp to light the canvas as I finished the piece
on the spot. I made up most of the landscape at
the bottom of the piece. My apologies to Best Buy
and Walmart for not including them in the painting.
Just because its there doesn't mean I have to paint it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

35 on 35 ONLINE

"Yearling" 6" x 8" oil/c

Sometimes the simplest paintings are
the most fun and rewarding. I have
watched this herd of herefords on
many occasions. Their reddish brown
coat in stark contrast to their white
faces, socks and collar make them an
appealing subject to paint.

This was a late afternoon and the white
underbelly hair was being lit from the
reflected light off the ground mixed in with
some dust. What caught my eye were the shots
of teal and purple on the faces. I picked out
this one calf who didn't seem to be in much
of a hurry to go anywhere and after a few false
starts with the pose I settled in on this one.
Dropping him in front of the herd gave
him a sense of place.

Of the 35 paintings in the show this little one
is one of my favorites and I'm happy to
report is now in the care of a beloved collector.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"Seeking Shade" 8" x 10" oil/linen

This painting is actually the second of the
day from the same location. I had stopped
along the access road in Buda, Texas to paint
a series of barns. A group of about ten cows
made their way across the field in front of
me and had began to settled in under the one
tree that was providing the only shade.
The problem was the tree was not very large
and, consequently, was not throwing a large
enough shadow to provide enough shade
for all the cows.

One by one they backed into the shade, found their
spot and settled in. Bringing up the rear was this one
yearling and by the time he got to the shade all of
the spots had been taken. He tried to
muscle his way in but none of the other cows
would budge leaving him no choice but to blop
down in full sun. I found the whole process
quite comical. I finished my barn scene, turned
my canvas and knowing the cows weren't going
anywhere for a while painted this scene.