Monday 28 July 2014

From Behind the Easel: Music To My Eyes

"Interlude", 16"x28", acrylic on board

Aside from nature, music is my biggest inspiration.  I am pretty sure I was a bass player in a previous life, and often dream of life as a musician.  In some ways, music is more important to me than art for the simple fact that music is always on in our home.  Even when art has to take a back seat to daily life, music is a constant.  Music lifts my spirit and helps me reach inside for creative energy. 

Although I can only imagine what it must feel like to create musical magic, I can use music and musical ideas for my own purposes.  My painting “Interlude” features a cougar drinking at a pool under moonlight.  An interlude in music is a short piece inserted between the longer parts of a composition.  It is a small rest from the larger themes and allows us to reflect upon what we are experiencing.  I have shown the cougar taking a short break from his nighttime activities.  We, in turn, are allowed to pause for a moment as we enjoy this intimate scene.

Friday 11 July 2014

The Pensive Palette: You Light Up My Life

“Water Dance”, 12”x16”, oil on board

Most realist painting includes an element of what we see.  The majority of people think we see stuff.  The reality is we see light reflecting off of stuff.  How we see the stuff depends on the quality, intensity, and color of the light source that allows us to see the object.  As a painter, it is important to remember we are capturing the effects of light on objects.  Developing a keen eye and ability to really see light is paramount.  We need to be able to distinguish subtle changes and shifts in light quality.  The more we understand the world around us, the more we can dissect and reconstruct it in our art.

My painting “Water Dance” is all about the gorgeous, fleeting time of day before sunset known as the magic hour.  The sun’s light is nearing the horizon and traveling at a more severe angle, needing to pass through more air molecules.  Short blue and violet light waves are scattered by the atmosphere and longer orange-red light waves pass through unaffected.  This produces the warm glow we see on objects near sunset.  

The observant artist can study all the light around them and make use of quality, direction, and color of light to convey time of day as well as mood and emotion.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Inspiring Image: Duck Dynasty

“Goldeneye”, 7”x10” acrylic on board (2013), Robert Steiner
When I began my professional art career I worked within the confines of the established world of wildlife art.  I love portraying the beauty of the natural world and the amazing creatures that inhabit it.  My introduction into this genre came from exposure to duck stamp art that was popular where I grew up.  Paintings were chosen each year to be turned into stamps purchased by duck hunters as proof of registration.  The proceeds in turn helped purchase and protect wetland habitat.  I am proud that a number of my paintings have been used for land conservation over the years.

My biggest inspiration in the duck stamp world is Robert Steiner.  I first met Bob at an art show in Michigan and he was very encouraging to the dreams of a then 13 year-old aspiring artist.  We met again years later at another art show as fellow exhibitors and have remained friends since.  Over the years he has continued to push the boundaries of realist painting and redefine duck stamp art.  He is the most decorated artist in stamp art history with 82 winning designs including two federal wins.  To see more of Bob’s work please visit

Saturday 5 July 2014

From Behind the Easel: Restful Rising

Restful Rising,   9”x12”, oil on board

We have safely returned from our family vacation to witness my youngest brother happily wedded.  After a wonderful week of travel and celebration it is now time to get back to our routines...  

To honor the beginning of my brother’s marriage and my return to blogging, I offer a small token of a painting.  “Restful Rising” depicts a pair of American Avocets greeting the sun as it crests the horizon to begin the new day.  Every event we encounter in our lives, monumental or miniscule, is an opportunity to renew our celebration of life.