Thursday, February 24, 2011

So focused that I might of missed it!


Presenting “Magnolia (Brown Thrasher)” …..

Finished this one up late last week and it will be going to Lovetts Gallery for my Solo exhibit and painting demonstration next week.


One of my favorite birds is the brown thrasher, a bird normally seen on the ground foraging as it sweeps the leaf litter and soil layer for insects, fallen seeds and berries. It’s always a nice surprise to see a brown thrasher perched somewhere other than the ground. I was walking down a main street in Richmond, Virginia, taking photos of the large majestic magnolias when I heard the repetitive call of the brown thrasher. I looked down but then realized the call was coming from overhead. Just then, I turned my attention to a brick pillar ahead of the tree and spotted the bird sitting atop the concrete finial. I was so focused on the magnolia that I nearly missed what was sitting right in front of me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live from the studio today!

Streaming LIVE from the studio, on my Ustream channel, in preparation for my Solo exhibit & painting Demonstration next week at Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I will be painting in the studio Wednesday to Friday from 1-6pm and on Saturday from 10am-5pm. During the whole time that I am in the gallery I will be streaming the painting demonstration live over the internet and you will be able to ask me questions, through the chat box and I then will answer your questions while painting. You will also be able to hear the questions from the gallery visitors.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A walk on Richmond’s Canal Walk




One of my favorite places to visit — for fun and inspiration — is Richmond’s historic Canal Walk. Last spring, my family and I spent a Sunday afternoon downtown, meandering along the 1.25-mile historic pathway and found ourselves sitting along the water’s edge at the Turning Basin where the canal cruises begin. As we waited for the next boat, we had the joy of watching several groups of geese with their goslings swim by, mixed with the occasional mallard duck and her ducklings. After about five minutes without seeing any more waterfowl, we started to get up. That’s when I noticed this one solitary little duckling. We watched it swim along the edge of the canal wall, exploring its surroundings and moving along at a leisurely pace as if it didn’t have a care in the world. As it disappeared around the bend, I thought to myself, “That little guy isn’t going to make it.” Then, all of a sudden, a mother mallard with a trail of older ducklings swam around the corner at full speed, quacking up a storm as she searched for her missing duckling that had obviously broken away from the flock.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A simple moment with a friend


Presenting “Charleston Roadside (Grackle)”


“Charleston Roadside (Grackle)”
Oil on maple panel, 5 x 8

For several years, I exhibited at the Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina. I fell in love with Charleston and its southern beaches the very first time I visited the city in 2004. During a trip five years later, I was excited to show my work and visit and meet new friends, but couldn’t wait to see the beaches again. One afternoon before the show opened, Dustin Van Wechel, a friend and fantastic oil painter, and I found ourselves traveling down Palm Boulevard on the Isle of Palms. We ended up at the parking lot just over the bridge of Breach Inlet and were astonished at how many birds were there. I can remember sitting on the boulders along the roadside, watching the flocks of grackles fly up out of nowhere and then land on every visible surface, rest for a moment and then fly over the inlet and disappear into the distance. I shot as many photos as I could get of the birds and when they were all gone, I remember thinking, “Wow, that was a lot of birds,” and then looking over at Dustin with a big smile on my face and him saying, “Um ... I think you missed one!” I turned around and behind me was a female grackle perched perfectly on the “no parking” sign.

Dustin moments before he said “Um … I think you missed one!”

This painting is headed off to Mentor, Ohio for the Masterworks in Miniature exhibit at Gallery One. The exhibit opens March 11 and runs through March 26th, 2011. (Read more)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It’s what's behind the paint & graphite

Pictorial Composition.....

The foundation of any successful creative endeavor is a well thought out composition. There is so much more evolved in creating a drawing or painting than just scratching some graphite onto a piece of paper or throwing some paint onto a canvas. Simply put Composition is an orderly arrangement of the elements of art using the principles of design. The principles of design help you to plan and organize the elements of art so that you can hold interest in your painting or drawing.


I have been interested in the theory and insights behind composition since I was in college and have dug for years for information about it. I found a few books about composition back in college and got a pretty good understanding of it but it wasn’t until recently that my friend and fellow artist Terry Miller shared his insight on composition. Terry is a master at composition, each of his pieces are well thought out and visually interesting to look at. He has a saying that I love, it’s so simple and yet so accurate… “Composition Stupid!” Yes it’s that simple if you are good at the craft of applying paint to a canvas or graphite to paper and you compose the shapes in your picture plane thoughtfully then you should have a really nice finished piece when you are done.


One of the books that Terry turned me onto was “Geometry of Design” by Kimberly Elam which has introduced me to the “golden section rectangle.” Fascinating in a completely art geeky way! 

In this series of postings I plan to share what I know and what I continue to learn about the underling structure of making a great image also know as pictorial composition.