Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Colobus Monkey goes to Vermont!

I am very pleased and honored to announce that my drawing "Kutokua Na Hatia (Colobus Monkey)" has been selected for the Art of the Animal Kingdom XX exhibition at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington Vermont.

Art of the Animal Kingdom XX

The Bennington
Bennigton, Vermont
June 6 - August 2, 2015

Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper
15 x 6

This years anniversary exhibition of Art of the Animal Kingdom XX will feature approximately 70 pieces by invited artists and will have over 15 pieces by past Special Guest Artists. The special guest artist are Greg Beecham, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, Michael Coleman, Luke Frazier, Nacy Howe, Laney, Terry Issac, Jan Martin McGuire, Rosetta, Sandy Scott, John Seerey-Lester, Dan Smith and Morten Solberg.

In Swahili, “kutokua na hatia” roughly translates to “innocence/free of guilt.”
I spent the last day of my African adventure in Arusha National Park, which boasts many different animals than those I observed in the earlier part of my trip in Tarangire. The park’s habitat is almost jungle-like. I entered the park knowing that it served as home to black-and-white colobus monkeys, and I will admit I was really hoping that I would have the chance to see them.
Arusha National Park lies on the side of Mount Meru, an active volcano. As we made our way up the edge of the crater wall, we could see Mount Kilimanjaro through the tree canopy. As we came around a bend on the path, we spotted a grouping of colobus monkeys. The dense trees made it tricky to capture reference material. It wasn’t until we were coming back down from the top of the road that I saw a glimpse of white. My guide, Jeremy, very excitedly turned to me and said something in Swahili and pointed up at the monkeys. Even though I had been in the country for more than a week at this point and I felt like I was getting a grasp on the language, I had no idea what he said but I looked up and saw this little innocent face looking down at us. Baby colobus monkeys, I learned, are born with pure white fur but don't stay that way for long so I was extremely fortunate to have seen this little guy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fresh Graphite!

Presenting two new drawings!

I managed to finish up these two drawings around the holidays just in time for the opening last Friday, 1/9/2015, at glave kocen Gallery in Richmond, Virginia!

Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper, Hot Press
4 x 14

Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper, Cold press
6 x 9

Both of these drawings are available exclusively at glave kocen gallery gallery in Richmond, Virginia USA. Call 804.358.1990 or visit them online at

“Size doesn't matter”

Glave Kocen Gallery

Richmond, Virginia
January 9-31, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015


In case you missed the invite in your inbox...

“Size doesn't matter”

Glave Kocen Gallery

Richmond, Virginia
January 9-31, 2015
Opening reception Friday January 9, 2015
6 - 9 p.m.

Oil on board
16 x 8

I consider my participation in this exhibit at Glave Kocen a “homecoming.” For the first time in my art career, I will be showing in a gallery in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I have five pieces in the show, 3 paintings and two brand spanking new drawings!

“Size Doesn't Matter" is Glave Kocen’s annual exhibit displaying work that is 16x20 inches or smaller. The gallery will showcase the work of 30 artists, including gallery-represented and well-known artists from Richmond.

"Ginter Mausoleum" is a painting of a historic Richmond site and it returns back to Richmond for this event after being exhibited in several museums around the country such as the Henderson Fine Arts Center for the Kentucky National Wildlife Show in 2012. This painting also exhibited at the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve in Oklahoma, Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, and the Irving Arts Center in Irving Texas.

Hope to see you there!

Visit for more information about the show.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Minnesota and wildlife! (Part 1)

Notes from Day 1 & 2…

Capture, Compose and Create Workshop

Minnesota 2014

Day 1

What a great experience not only for myself but for the students as well, I saw smiles all weekend.  There were 12 workshop participants ranging in all skill levels and mediums. 

The first morning started off bright and early with our first photo shoot and even though it was overcast and lightly raining, everyone was excited to get several hundred images of a beautiful Grey Wolf. They overcast wet conditions really made for some highly saturated colors with great contrast. One of our other subjects for the morning was a young black bear that really pushed our limits with understanding the use of our cameras. There was a lot of adjusting of the ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings to accommodate for the darkness of the bear’s fur in the low lighting. Nevertheless there was many, many oh’s and ahh’s as each artist looked at what they were seeing on their LCD screens of their cameras.

After lunch and back in the classroom artist/instructor Jan Martin McGuire gave a presentation on her evolution of an artist and her process of creating a piece of art from working with reference material to planning the composition of the painting. Jan being a master at her technique as well as a very knowledgeable naturalist created a frenzy of pencils moving as fast as possible taking notes,  in fact cell phones started coming out so they could capture screen shots of the presentation.

I am positive that all artists went back to their individual hotel rooms over flowing with new insight from Jan's presentation and eager to finish uploading their memory cards to their lap tops.

Day 2

Rain was forecast for most of the day but that couldn't stop us.  With as bit of a delayed start so that the sun had some time to burn  off some of the cloud cover we went out with bags over our cameras and sporting large black trash bags as rain coats for those who didn't have them.  The rain did set in after only about 30 minutes of shooting but we all did have great time capturing a mature raccoon by the water with some great fall colors. 

Artists working in the rain

After a good old “country” lunch at a nearby cafĂ© we went back to the classroom for the continued presentation by Jan on creating a painting and her process of how she does it. Again all artists in the workshop were feverishly taking notes and at the same time I saw that many of them were uploading their images from the mornings photo shoot. The day ended late with my presentation on “Composing in Photoshop” after dinner that went on to about 9pm. I thought having my presentation coming after Jan’s was perfect since she talked about the actual process of painting and then I talked about using the reference that the artist where capturing at the workshop and how using Photoshop could aid them in pushing their compositions further then what they caught in one individual image.

Many artists stayed up late that night playing on their laptops!

Workshop artists composing with Photoshop

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Waterpump painting - progress

Here is a sneak peek into the current painting that I have on my easel. Most of the reference for this particular piece came from a visit to Tulsa Oklahoma around two/three years ago. I was out visiting and exploring the country side with a collector friend of mine when he told me about this old water pump he had and after seeing it I knew I wanted to paint it!

Progress to date... I am currently on the second layer of color, background is finished and I am currently working on the galvanized metal textures of the pump.

This painting will be unveiled at an upcoming show at Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the first weekend in November.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inspired by serendipity!

"Three Princes (African Elephant)"

Oil on 1/2" prepared maple
36 x 48

The painting, “Three Princes (African Elephant),” is the first painting that I actually searched for in the field. The idea and inspiration for this piece came from what I believed at the time to be the loss of the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa, for the first time in 2012 -- a loss that was soon corrected by what I perceived as serendipity.

In order to get to Tanzania, I was attempting to presell paintings and/or drawings to my collectors, which when you think about it, you are asking someone to purchase something sight unseen. The deadline was fast approaching for me to put down the deposit for my trip and I hadn’t received any bites on my advance purchase promotions. I had come to the decision in my head that my trip would not happen. At the time that I was making this choice and getting ready to end the promotion, I was working on a drawing of an African elephant from references that my friend and amazing sculptor Paul Rhymer had supplied me with in order to start stirring my enthusiasm for my upcoming adventure.

Nearly finished with the drawing and starting to put my thoughts toward what I would title it, I went out for my weekly check of my post office box. In among the standard junk mail was a simple #10 envelope with a return address that I recognized, a collector who had added several pieces of mine in their collection in the past. In that short moment of tearing the envelope open, unfolding the letter and seeing one of my advance purchase agreements filled out, everything changed. In one simple letter from one collector my dream of going to Africa was a reality! I perceived this as serendipity and I so named the drawing that I was finishing up that afternoon.

As is a habit of mine, I researched the word “serendipity” and learned of its origin and the story of “The Three Princes of Serendip.” Apparently, the word serendipity was coined by Horace Walpole (1717-97) in a letter to Horace Mann acknowledging the safe arrival of a portrait of Bianca Cappello, a 16th-century beauty and Duchess of Tuscany. In this letter, Walpole uses the word serendipity for the first time and tells Mann how he came about creating it.

“This discovery indeed is almost of that kind which I call serendipity, a very expressive word, which as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavour to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right – now do you understand serendipity?”
                                    ~The Three Princes of Serendip, by Richard Boyle

From this brief introduction to the tale of “The Three Princes,” I soon found myself reading the tale in its entirety and started to illustrate the story in my mind’s eye. Apparently, the mule in the story is actually a camel that has gone missing. When the camel driver questions the three princes about the missing camel, they describe attributes of the missing camel -- the camel was lame, blind in one eye and was missing a tooth -- without ever seeing it. I envisioned them putting their heads together and conversing, looking at the clues and discussing the evidence of the missing camel. It was at this moment that I thought of three elephants coming together, with their heads in conference.

I went to Tanzania in November 2012 on a mission to find the needed reference for the painting that I had seen in my head, which was inspired by researching a word, a word that I believe stepped in and made my trip to Africa happen. I was in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, Africa, for eight days constantly searching for the vision that I had seen when reading “The Three Princes.” On day eight, overwhelmed by all that I had seen but feeling disappointed by not seeing what I was looking for, we made our way to the park entrance where I was to be picked up and taken back to Arusha for departure to the U.S. About 500 yards from the gate, serendipity once again stepped in! A small herd of bachelor elephants were grazing on the limbs of some Acacia trees and they were grouped in a manner that their heads were together as if they were in a great discussion. That was it -- there was my painting!

Back in the studio, I took the 50-plus images that I had captured from that encounter and found the needed references and worked on my composition. The painting, “Three Princes (African Elephant),” was the first piece I composed when I returned to the U.S. and is the largest painting I have created to date.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking for a hippo...

Fresh off of the easel, not even dry yet...

"Black and Green (Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile)"
Oil on 1/2" prepared maple
12 x 24

Available exclusively through Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma -

I started this painting awhile back and it simply went off and on the easel over several months because of other commitments but last week I was able to finish it up. The reference for this piece came from a visit to the National Zoo in Washington DC where I was looking for my friend and fellow artist Paul Rhymer's Hippo sculpture that was installed at the zoo. While looking for his work I stumbled on to an exhibit that a bunch of Black-crowned Night Heron's apparently live at - no they are not zoo animals but birds that have chosen to live there. I was very taken with all of the green reeds and the herons that were creeping through them.

I hope you enjoy the painting!