Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy holidays

Happy holidays form RL Caldwell studio.

"Holiday greetings (Song Sparrow)," graphite sketch, 6 x 8

Sincerest wishes for hope, happiness and peace during this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

I hope that everyone has a great holiday and happy new year!
See you in the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Behind the scenes

I haven't had any thing that I could really show the last couple of weeks. I have been working on a bunch of new compositions which you can see on my composition board below and under that is my other composition board with reference of somethings that I want to do but which I am lacking additional reference to finish the composition. I usually go on these spurts where I create a whole bunch of pieces and when I do there is nothing to show. Everything is happening in the brain and well... I don't know how I could share that with you. I am also working on a commission for a collector/friend of mine, its of her cats. Yes I know any of you who know me, knows that I don't like doing pet portraits but I have full compositional freedom with this one. And the cats are 3rd or 4th generation mix breed of a leopard and a tiger (I think) so that makes them extremely interesting.

Compositions that are ready to be started, just need to prep the canvas's.

Compositions that I am interested in doing just need some more reference.

Below is a glimpse of my show during the opening reception before everyone showed up at the Judy Newcomb gallery on December 4th. Thank you to everyone who showed up, and as always I enjoyed meeting the new people interested in my work and visiting with those who know my work. And to everyone who added something new to there collection - ENJOY!

Thank you Judy for putting together such a great reception.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A humbling sight

So I am driving to the Judy Newcomb gallery yesterday to drop off my work for my up coming show. As I'm sitting at the traffic light waiting for it to turn green I look over at the marquee for the Local mall and do a double take. After a couple of seconds I said to myself Wholly (insert explicative here) that's my name up there.

Thank you Judy.

Featured Artist Gallery Exhibition

You are cordially invited to the opening reception for

Robert L Caldwell
featured artist

Judy Newcomb Gallery
11382 Mall Drive, Richmond, Virginia
Thursday, December 4, 2008
6-8 p.m.

Robert's work, including select pieces recently exhibited at shows nationwide, will be featured at the gallery from December 4-31.

For more information on the show, please call the gallery at 804.794.6001

(Location of Gallery)

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Evelyn and Peter Haller Distinguished Young Artist Award

This was a nice little surprise. I found out this morning that I have been awarded the Evelyn and Peter Haller Distinguished Young Artist Award from The Society of Animal Artists. Evelyn and Peter Haller were notable sculptors and longtime members of the Society. The Haller award is an award sponsored by the Hallers' friends Isabel and Sheldon Sklar.

Thank you to the Society. I will try my best to continue to be distinguished and I will certainly try to stay young.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Return from the Waterfowl festival

Wow! Did that go by fast. I returned back from the 38th annual Waterfowl festival late yesterday night. What an excellent show. This was my first year exhibiting at the show and it was a lot of fun. Even though the economy is in the toilet a lot of people came out to the show and purchased some art. Thank you to all of you who stoped by to talk to me and to those of you who purchased some of my work - ENJOY!

I got to visit some of my artist friends and had the joy of meeting some new ones. Please note a new link to Julie Bender's website. When you get a chance please check it out she does some amazing work. Julie was my neighbor at this years festival and we had a lot of fun.

Well back to work and to get ready for my upcoming show at the Judy Newcomb gallery here in Richmond.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland

The 38th annual
Waterfowl Festival
November 14-16, 2008
in Easton, Maryland

Well it's off to the Waterfowl Festival. I will be in the Tidewater gallery which is in the downtown part of Easton. Please come by by and say hi and see some of my new work.

Now in its 38th year, the Waterfowl Festival is dedicated to wildlife conservation, the promotion of wildlife art and the celebration of life on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The festival has become a leader in the conservation of waterfowl and wildlife habitat, raising more than $4.8 million for projects throughout the Atlantic Flyway and, in particular, the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to world-class art, the Waterfowl Festival offers diverse exhibits and events in venues throughout the town of Easton.

Hope to see you there!
(Link to festival Map)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two small ones.

I finished these guys over the weekend, just in time for them to dry and to take to the Waterfowl festival on wednesday.

"Morning Flight (Great Blue Heron)"
Oil on board, 5 x 12

"Mud flat (Killdeer)"
Oil on board, 4 x 6

Monday, November 3, 2008

Here's an update on several pieces that I am currently working on. The First one "Reeds at Rice" has be on the easel for awhile now but slowly it's making progress. I have actually found it challenging to work on this one because of the reeds, I keep getting lost on which one I am working on. The next two pieces are small ones, I am trying to get these finished for the Waterfowl Festival next week.

"Reeds at Rice"
all color is blocked in

Heron in flight,
Color is blocked in on the background, still need to paint the bird.
When finished this one will measure 5 x 12.

Penciled in on the canvas. When this one is finished it will only measure 4 x 6.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annoucing two print releases

Just in time for the Waterfowl Festival I am releasing two new limited edition giclee prints. The release date is November 11, 2008 but you can pre-order now.

RL Caldwell Studio proudly announces
the limited-edition giclee print release of
“Behind the Shed (White-breasted Nuthatch).”

Printed from the original painting on
100% cotton, fine-art paper; Tru Giclee® certified.
Image size: 10” x 18”
Edition size: 75
Artist proofs: 5
Signed and numbered

$76 (framed and matted, $275)
Presale orders take 10% off*
*Orders must be made before November 11, 2008.

RL Caldwell Studio proudly announces
the limited-edition giclee print release of
“September Leaves (Tufted Titmouse).”

Printed from the original painting on
100% cotton, fine-art paper; Tru Giclee® certified.
Image size: 12” x 7”
Edition size: 75
Artist proofs: 5
Signed and numbered

$52 (framed and matted, $245)
Presale orders take 10% off*
*Orders must be made before November 11, 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thank you Inger Rice

Last Wednesday, October 15, I had the honor of exhibiting my work at the Walter L. Rice Education Building dedication ceremony. First off, the building is amazing -- the design of the building is beautiful and after I learned about all the sustainable features of the building, well, I was astonished. The building was constructed with a goal of achieving the highest sustainability rating possible, LEED platinum, and incorporates such features as geothermal heating and cooling, solar electrical power generation and advanced water recycling. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. There is a lot that goes into the LEED certification credit categories so I won't try to cover them here. For more information about LEED, visit the U.S Green Building Council at

I knew that Mrs. Inger Rice had donated the 342 acres along the James River to Virginia Commonwealth University, but I had no idea all of the other work that she did to make the Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences happen. In short, Mrs. Rice made it all possible from donating the land to helping with the majority of the funds that where needed to build the education building. So ... from one who uses the center to gather reference for my work I would like to thank you for all that you have done.

To Dr. Thomas Huff, Dr. Leonard Smock, Catherine Dahl, and Cathy Viverette, thank you for the honor and privilege of exhibiting my work at such an important event.

Below are some images of my work on display at the center and images of the building itself.

Some of my work on display in the administration part of the building.

Some more of my work displayed in a sitting area just off of the administration area.

"Blue" proudly on exhibit in the conference room.

"At Rest" in a corner of the sitting area.

This is the side of the education building where the doors lead to the conference room. If you look at the red arrow, you can see where water from the roof drains into the small pond just underneath it. I thought that that was just neat!

This is the side of the building where you enter the classrooms/laboratories (the shadows are hiding the doors). The front part of the building is the administration area.

This is the rear of the building that looks out onto the James River. It wouldn't be too hard to have a conference meeting here.

The view onto the James River from the back of the building.

I just had to show this! This is part of the advanced water recycling.

I hope that I have this right ... I believe that these are the storage containers for the rain water.

A view from the interior of the sitting area.

I could not cover all that the VCU Rice Center offers so I encourage you to visit the Rice Center web site at

Presenting "Heading Out (Eastern Box Turtle)"

Here is the latest completed piece from the drafting table. This piece was about 90 percent completed for the Walter L. Rice Education Building dedication last Wednesday. I brought it back to the studio and took it out of the frame and completed the roughly two remaining hours of work that it required.

"Heading Out (Eastern Box Turtle)"
Graphite Pencil, 5 x 9

During fieldwork with VCU Rice Center and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries researchers, I captured reference material for this drawing of an Eastern Box Turtle. In spring 2008, VCU Rice Center and DGIF researchers began work on developing an effective way to release captive-borne, young Eastern Box Turtles and restore them to the habitat at the Rice center. I volunteered during one trip focused on tracking the movement of the turtles and monitoring their health status. Box Turtles are the most common terrestrial turtle in the eastern U.S. However, their populations may be declining across their range. Many well-meaning individuals often relocate the turtles in an effort to rescue them from roads or areas scheduled for development. Unfortunately, upon release, relocated Box Turtles often orient themselves in a homeward-bound direction resulting in mortality from various causes. Higher rates of success have been documented in turtles penned at the relocation site for a period of up to one year prior to release. DGIF and VCU have launched a multiyear research project at VCU’s Rice Center that will attempt successful relocation of the Eastern Box Turtle. Worldwide, nearly two-thirds of terrestrial and aquatic turtle species are considered threatened due to habitat reduction. Relocation of turtle populations to protected habitats is becoming increasingly important to turtle conservation.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A bit of "good" news

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see in the Richmond Times Dispatch an article of interest. Well... I was at least surprised to the point that I didn't know when it was going to come out. You can read the article on line at or if your local on page B6.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Art at the Mill and Drawing demo

Art at the Mill Art show and Sale
Burwell-Morgan Mill, Millwood, Virginia
October 4 - 19, 2008
Sunday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Please join me at the show tomorrow Sunday October 12 for the artist reception, where I will also be doing a drawing demo. The artist reception is from 2 - 5 pm and I will be doing the drawing demo from noon to 4pm. This is another unique venue for an art show and it is located in some of the most beautiful country that virginia has to offer. Plenty of farms, old towns, and wineries. Hope to see you at the show.

for more information about the show or the mill please visit

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Reeds at Rice"

Well the piece is not finished but it already has a title, "Reeds at Rice." With the building dedication coming up quickly I don't think that this piece will be finished in time but it may be far enough along so that I can bring it with me. The image below shows the progress completed up to noon on Friday. I will now need to break from the painting and get the box turtle drawing started and have that well on its way for my drawing demo this weekend at the "Art at the Mill" show at the Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Virginia. The drawing should be completed by Monday so that I can frame it and have it ready for the dedication on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VCU Rice Center

I have been graciously asked to have my work exhibited at the Virginia Commonwealth University's Inger and Walter Rice Center's Education building dedication ceremony.

The Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences is Virginia Commonwealth University’s field station devoted to a broad array of environmental research, teaching and public service. Located on 342 acres along the historic James River, midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, the Rice Center is rich in natural and cultural resources. The center has a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that provide many research and educational opportunities.

I have had the privilege of being invited out to the center on several occasions where I have participated in gathering research and reference materials for a number of pieces that have come out of my studio. One piece notably "Out of the Darkness (Saw-whet Owl)" was a direct result of catching these little owls out at the Rice center. There is a lot that goes into creating my paintings and drawings that is not scene in the finished piece. Many hours are spent in the field and thanks to my friends at the Rice center and in VCU's Environmental Life Sciences department I spend those hours in the right spots... where the animals are.

So with the dedication ceremony coming up I am trying to get two more pieces completed in time to include with the exhibit. The first is a box turtle drawing and the second a painting of a sparrow in the reeds on the pond at the Rice center. The box turtle is in the composition sketch phase where as the sparrow painting is ready to be painted. All reference for these two pieces where taken from the Rice center. For more information about the center visit

Monday, September 29, 2008

Presenting "Solace (Feral Pigeon)"

I finished this one up last week just in time to take it back up to the Aldie Mill Art show and Sale for my second drawing demo. The finished piece could be seen by those who came up for the first drawing demo where the piece was in the very beginning stages. Thank you to all who came to the show and spoke to me about my art. As I discussed with many of you, this is one of my favorite shows because of the venue (the historic grist mill) and the fact that this particular show is the first major group show that I had ever participated in. And to those who purchased some art, as always - ENJOY!

"Solace (Feral Pigeon)," Graphite Drawing, 15 x 9

One of these times I will to remember to take some images of the show to share.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Art and the Animal Tour

I was pleased to find out yesterday that my piece "2008 (Rat)" was chosen to tour in the 2008-2009 Art and the Animal tour. This will be the first piece of art work that I have touring. Currently the piece is on exhibit at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay , Wisconsin, from there the tour is scheduled to display at The Wildlife Experience in Denver, Colorado, The Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar, Missouri, The Fine Art Gallery of The Cultural Arts Council of Estes Park in Colorado, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in Texas.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drawing in progress

I have an artist friend who told me once that it seems as though I sneak up on my drawings. They start out quiet and subdued taking awhile to see any real progress and then all of a sudden, BANG! the drawing pops to life. With the current drawing I would have to agree. I am carefully adding value to this one because of the light coming from the window. I want that to be the primary light source and for it to be subtly light from underneath. The light from the window needs to be strong with a feeling that its really bright but I am limited to the white of the paper and for that I need to sneak up on the surrounding value. For this one I even had to brush of the dust from my 6h pencil.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nuthatch painting is finished

Well, its finished. I don't have a title for this one yet so if you have any ideas please pass them on. I have also included a close-up of the bird on the plow handle to show the detail. When ever I am asked about what piece is my favorite I usually tell people that my next piece is my favorite. This piece comes close to being my favorite (at least for right now). I love the textures of the bare wood and the pealing paint and how often do you see a barn that is painted bright green. Although it took me awhile to finish this one, it was allot of fun to work on.

(Title?), oil, 10 x 18

detail of (Title?)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Aldie Mill Show

Thank you to everyone that came to the drawing demo this past Sunday. I will be back at the Aldie Mill show on Sunday September 28th, which is the last day of the show, for another drawing demo. I hope to see everyone again.

I am currently finishing up the painting of the nuthatch on a plow today and it should be ready for it's posting either tomorrow or Friday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Aldie Mill Art Show and Sale

The Aldie Mill 2008 Art Show and Sale is currently going on in historic Aldie, Virginia. The show runs from last weekend to Sunday September 28th and is open Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from 11am to 6pm. Please join me this Sunday September 7th from noon to 4pm and watch me work on my latest drawing. The composition sketch of that drawing is shown below.

Aldie Mill is located at 39401 John Mosby Highway (Rt. 50), Aldie, VA 20105. For directions or additional information, call Aldie Mill, 703.327.9777. (Map of Aldie, Virginia)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back on Track

It's been slow in coming but below is the progress on the Nuthatch painting. The background is now finished and it's ready for me to move on to the final layer of the plow and the bird. Although that final layer will have to wait until next week so that I can get a drawing started for my drawing demo on Sunday which will be at the Aldie Mill Art show and Sale.

Thank you to everyone for the kind words and patience over the last couple of weeks. Everyone is now well and recovered and my trooper has a new rear end. With school back in session I can get back to serious time in the studio and get prepared for the waterfowl festival that is approaching fast in November.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Life Happens

Let me apologize for the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks but my family and I have been dealing with some life events. Because of these events I have not had much studio time. Dealing with a car accident involving an intoxicated driver (the person who hit me) and the driver leaving the scene (life event one) and then a week later a trip to the emergency room (my wife)followed by emergency surgery (life event two) will slow you down a little.

Slowly I will be back in the studio and hunkering down to get some work done. I did manage to get four pieces up to the Aldie Mill Art show and Sale which opens Labor Day Weekend. I will not be able to be there for the opening reception but do plan on being there Sunday September 7th doing a drawing demonstration - I hope to see you there!

Everyone on my mailing list should be receiving the announcement for the Aldie Mill show in the next week along with some others announcements about other upcoming exhibitions that I am part of. Sorry that it is a bit late.

Thank you to my family and friends for all your help!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New painting

While the other painting is drying I have composed another piece and have it ready to take the first layer of color. Below are images of the composition sketch, the drawing on canvas and finally the toned canvas.

Composition Sketch

Drawing on canvas

Toned Canvas

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nuthatch painting

I started back on the Nuthatch painting this week. I have it all blocked in with the first layer of color and will know let it dry. I had some difficulties getting back in the groove with this one since it has been so long since I've worked on it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Kentucky National Art Exhibit

I am pround to announce that two of my pieces have been seleted for the 2008 Kentucky National Art Exhibit in Henderson, Kentucky. "Sewanee Barn (Feral Pigeons)" and "Out of the Darkness (Saw-whet Owl)" are two of seventy-six pieces selected from 26 states that are to be displayed in this exhibition.The Exhibition runs from September 27th through November 7th.

"Sewanee Barn (Feral Pigeons)"
Oil, 13 x 30

"Out of the Darkness (Saw-whet Owl)"
Graphite Pencil, 5 x 11

Monday, July 21, 2008

Presenting "Barnyard Goose"

I finished this up over the weekend, it is a nice little piece measuring 4" x 8". The contrast of the ruffled dark wing feathers and the smooth almost pure white tail feathers are what inspired me to do this particular drawing.

Below is the finished drawing and below that is a progress drawing. The reason I am showing this progress drawing is to show the point at which the piece becomes exciting to work on, I refer to this point as the "hook". Even with a composition sketch completed I will have allot of decisions to make and until the drawing or painting reaches the "hook" point I am in doubt if the piece is working or not. As you can see when the piece reaches the "hook" point all the foundations have been laid down and its just basically pure enjoyment to finish.

"Barnyard Goose (Graylag Goose)"
Graphite Pencil, 4 x 8

The "hook" point

Friday, July 11, 2008

Progress on the goose drawing

Below are two images in progress of the current piece on the drafting table.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A new drawing

Below is a composition sketch for my next drawing and I am going back to the paper I am used too, Arches 300 lb. cold press water color paper. You may note that on my last drawing "Cobblestones" I used a bristol board which I found challenging to work with.

Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow

I am happy to announce that two of my pencil drawings have been chosen to be included in the book titled Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow. The book is slated for publication in October of 2009 and is published by North Light Books and edited by Rachel Wolf. Other than show catalogs this will be my first time having my work printed in a book for the masses. It is really kind of rewarding to have my work excepted for this because of the fact that not too many years ago when I was going through art school and got frustrated with not being able to paint or draw something the way I wanted, I would go to the book store and buy art books. Allot of those books where published by North Light Books and the two books that I looked at the most, "Best of Wildlife Art" and "Best of Wildlife Art 2" where edited by Rachel Wolf. Below are the two pieces that where selected for the book.

"Lookout," Graphite Pencil, 4" x 8"

"Your Majesty (Black Vulture)," Graphite Pencil, 6" x 9"

Thank you to Mary Cornish for bringing this Book to my attention!