Saturday, January 16, 2016

Shape, Value, Colour & Texture, Inc.

 Fire Brand (8x10) oil on linen

Of course Line and most importantly, Composition are part of the mix as well, but the 4 elements mentioned in the title are what these are about. The one above (Firebrand) was painted in the studio, and made up from images recorded at various locations in my sketchbook...

Gray Day (12x12) oil on linen

This one (Gray Day) was painted quickly on location on the central California coast with a limited palette. Although they are different subjects and painted under different conditions, both paintings are about shape, value, colour and texture...

Thursday, December 17, 2015


 Summer Outbuildings (12x12) oil on linen 

One of the first ever local paintings to capture my attention was many years ago in a small gallery somewhere between here and the Oregon coast.  We used to stop there as a rest point on our way to the beach and check out the art.  One day as I was walking thru the gallery, I spotted a small (maybe 6x8 or 8x10) plein air sketch called "Outbuildings". It was a small masterpiece (to me anyway) very brief, very textural and creamy; everything I like in an oil painting -- the kind that makes an artist want to head out and paint right then and there...

 Outbuildings (12x12) oil on linen SOLD

Unfortunately, I never made memory of the artist's name. Looking back, I assume they were local as it was a local scene, but even inquiring with the gallery staff months later, they could not help me identify the artist or the painting (which was long gone by then).

 Whomever the mystery artist was, they have never returned to that gallery as far as I know (I still look every time we pass that way).  I've never seen anything remotely like that little gem since, but it did leave a lasting impression; one that continues to inspire me as I hope some of my paintings will do for others... Well done mystery painter, wherever you are!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Belt of Venus, my birthday and twilight's brief moment...

Twilight's Brief Moment (18x18) oil on linen

Long before I was a landscape painter (still an artist, but just a kid) the golden hour thru dusk, especially in summer, was a magical time; I remember rushing back out after dinner to play with my friends, skateboarding around the neighborhood or riding our bikes -- time seemed more special then.

On those clear days as the sun set and the sky began to change it's hue from a peachy-green to pink, then down to a band of blue that began at the horizon, the long shadows fled away yet it would not be dark for another half hour or so. I would learn many years later that the blue band of sky at the horizon opposite the sunset, is actually the cast shadow of the earth against the atmosphere, and the pink band just above it is called the "Belt of Venus".

Astronomers and mariners have long measured twilight in 3 phases  beginning as soon as the sun is set below the horizon; Civil Twilight, Nautical Twilight and finally, Astronomical Twilight before the solid dark of Night.  This was (and still is) a magical time for me; the most beautiful time of evening, especially when accented by a full moon rise...

The best place I've experienced this phenomena is in the desert on a clear night. It is a brief moment, but tranquil in it's experience, watching bats flit about highlighted by the sound of crickets -- that transition from light to dark, signalling the close of another day.  I often pause and reflect on past memories then, and would not be surprised at all if John Lennon was inspired to write his poignant song, "In My Life" under it's spell. 

This Thursday I will turn another year older, and although the sunset will likely be eclipsed by rainy winter clouds, I will be thinking of days gone by and those yet to come, and the special allure twilight still holds over me. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Coors Western Art Exhibit

 "A Western Tradition" (12x16) oil on linen SOLD

I am very pleased to have these paintings (along with a couple of more landscapes) in the 2016 Coors Western Art Exhibit, opening January 5th in Denver. The main show will feature the painting at top (A Western Tradition) and the one at the bottom (Drifting) with set prices, and then 3 more (including "Sweetheart" below) will be up for bidding in the silent auction on opening night...

 "Sweetheart" (12x9) oil on panel SOLD

I have been wanting to do more western-themed work lately, and this venue is a great opportunity for that. I also stepped up on framing for a classy presentation... hoping these will find a new home come January!

"Drifting" (20x24) oil on canvas SOLD

"Tualatin Moon" (8x10) oil on linen SOLD

Friday, October 2, 2015

Blood Moon (but not exactly)

 Tualatin Moon (8x10) oil on linen SOLD

In anticipation of the Super/Blood Moon; a "super moon" (full moon closest to the earth) and a "blood moon" (lunar eclipse) combo a few days ago on September 27th, several artists friends set up our easels at the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge in Tualatin, Oregon where we would have a nice, long-range view. 

We waited and waited for the first glimpse of what was supposed to be a spectacular sight, but what happened was rather anticlimactic; the moon was already in lunar eclipse before anyone could make it out about three fingers above the horizon...
Pearl Moon (6x8) oil on linen

Apparently, there was just enough haze in the sky that the pink atmosphere of sundown melded with the orange shade of the eclipse and made the "Blood Moon" barely perceptible... Only the star gazers who also showed up with their telescopes and zoom lens cameras were able to get a nice close-up view. 

At any rate, the light was quickly fading and I had already sketched in everything but the moon in my two small paintings. The simple compositions were designed to focus on a prominent moon rise, but since no "prominent" moon was forth coming, I improvised and went with just the Super Moon look (much more dramatic than what we actually saw) but then only you who read this blog will know what really happened.

Still, fun was still had by all including my wife and daughter who came along with our neighbor from across the street -- it was a rare event to behold and a good memory was made as summer changed to autumn in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Northern California and Sonoma Plein Air 2015

 "Autumn Morn" (18x18) oil on linen SOLD

 Just got back from Sonoma Plein Air -- had a wonderful time painting surrounded by rolling hills of undeveloped land -- what Orange County used to look like back in the 60's...beautiful coast there too!

                                             "The Scarlet Conclusion" (9x12) oil on linen

 Had the opportunity to paint with friends, which was a real treat, and it only rained half of Wednesday but the rest of the week was perfect weather. Looking forward to going back next year!

"Blue Sonoma" (6x8) oil on linen

 "September's Glow" (crop 12x16) oil on linen

"California Road" (8x10) oil on linen

Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to Sonoma Plein Air!

Summer Dusk (6x8) oil on linen

Looking forward to participating in the Sonoma Plein Air festival again next month! The event runs September 14-19, and this will be my 6th year. I love the landscape there, connecting with my California roots and painting with friends to benefit art programs in the local schools!

Down Comes the Night (12x16) oil on linen