Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Ginter Mausoleum" goes to Kentucky!

I am very happy to announce that my painting "Ginter Mausoleum (Morning Dove)" has been selected as part of the 2012 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit.

Henderson Fine Arts Center
Henderson, Kentucky
October 13 - November 26, 2012

Oil on board
16 x 8

My painting “Ginter Mausoleum (Morning Dove)” will be one of 81 works on exhibit during  the 2012 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit held at the Henderson Fine Arts Center in Henderson, Kentucky.

The Ohio Valley Art League (OVAL) was founded in September 1991 to promote the visual arts in Henderson, Kentucky and the Tri-State. OVAL organized the first Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit in 1994 with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as the co-sponsor. This biennial exhibit attracts top wildlife artists from across the nation and is now considered one of the top wildlife exhibitions in the nation.

“Ginter Mausoleum (Morning Dove)” is a 16 by 8-inch oil painting that captures a beautiful mausoleum in Richmond, Virginia’s historical Hollywood cemetery. Strolling through the signal lane roads and walking among the tombstones you can really encounter an abundant amount of history. This cemetery is the resting place for two United States presidents, the only Confederate States president, and many Confederate generals. It was designed in the rural garden style and its name came from the many holly trees on the property. Also nestled among the tombstones is the final resting place of prominent businessman, army officer and philanthropist Lewis Ginter.

It was one morning while walking in the cemetery that I approached the mausoleum where Lewis Ginter rests that I saw the light playing off the ribs of the top of the mausoleum. It was such a beautiful and peaceful moment. Then as I was admiring the lighting, textures and the character of the structure this mourning dove lands for a brief moment completing the scene. I quickly pulled out the sketch book, did a rough sketch, made notes and captured the needed reference for the painting “Ginter Mausoleum (Mourning Dove).”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Explore. Dream. Discover.


Graphite Pencil on Arches 300# watercolor paper
6 x 10

This drawing is the second one I created in preparation for my Africa 2012 trip, the first one was “Serendipity (African Elephant).” I have been spending many hours studying the most likely animals that I will encounter and of course Zebras are among that list.

As I get closer to my departure I am having apprehensions about my travels, for those of you who do not know I have a healthy fear of flying. As my anxiety rises I like to look back at quotes I have written down over the years and the one that helps me moving forward at this junction is one from Mark Twain.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What is the bird perched on?


"Weighted (Carolina Wren)"
Oil on 1/2 Maple Panel
18 x 24

You may find yourself asking, “What is that bird perched on?” 

This painting was inspired by my travels to Oklahoma, particularly my 2010 visit to Tulsa when a friend of mine took me out into the fields looking for pumpjacks. Ever since my first visit to Oklahoma I have wanted to somehow incorporate a pumpjack into a painting. Now you may be asking what is a pumpjack?

A pumpjack is the overground drive for a reciprocating piston pump in an oil well. It is used to mechanically lift liquid out of the a well and is very common in oil rich areas like Oklahoma. The prime mover, commonly an electric motor, of the pumpjack runs a set of pulleys to the transmission which drives a pair of cranks, generally with counterweights on them to assist the motor in lifting the heavy string of rods. The cranks raise and lower one end of an I-beam which is free to move on an A-frame. On the other end of the beam, there is a curved metal box called a Horse Head or Donkeys Head, so named due to its appearance.

So “what is the bird perched on,” the counterweight of the pumpjack that rests on the back end of the pumpjack. I found this object very intriguing not only because of what it is but also due to it’s character, the aging and peeling paint as well as the rust creates a varying amount of textures that I wanted to paint. This particular pumpjack was in the same field as the oil collection drum that I painted in “Shadow (Scissor-tailed Flycatcher)” the sister painting to this one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dirty emotional laundry

Like a bad smell that just won't go away...

WIP: "Weighted (Carolina Wren)" Detail image,
Oil, 18 x 24

The current painting on my easel is the same one that has been off and on it since April. I don’t usually have a negative “emotional” response to my paintings but with this one I do.  Don’t get me wrong I love all the pieces I create and my favorite piece is always the one that I am currently working on. Normally when I look at a piece that I have created it conjures up a piece of music that I listened to frequently while working on the piece but more often than not it will bring the story back that I was listening to  when I see the painting or drawing.

The painting in question is the painting that I started back in March and used as my demo piece at my gallery exhibit. Not many people know it but I was very sick while in Oklahoma this year and I did my best to hide it and move forward with the opening and demo. It’s funny how you will work extremely hard for months preparing for a major event and all of a sudden the week before you leave members of your family start getting sick. The “Red Flag” immediately went up and I basically quarantined myself from the family as much as anyone can. My wife 4 days before I left found out that she had the Flu and I got worried and started taking whatever I needed to take to safeguard against getting the flu myself.

The morning to leave for Oklahoma was upon me and I was still feeling fine and I thought to myself “Yes” I dodged it! Nope...... I got to Arkansas that night and started to not feel very well and by the time I got to my friends Jan & James house in Oklahoma I was feeling terrible. What was I to do but push forward and persevere. Jan and I had made plans to go to the Oklahoma City Zoo so I could get some reference of the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers they have and I didn’t want to miss out on that.

The next day I was feeling even worse and I can remember sitting in Jan and James’s kitchen working on my demo piece getting it ready and thinking to myself, “man I just want to go lay down.” I must have been running a fever because as I am sitting there drawing out the under drawing I was sweating like crazy and I thought it was funny that here I am pushing through, mopping my forehead every 15 mins and Jan takes a picture of me working and posts it on Facebook. Dedication or ignorance?

Anyway because I was not on the top of my game and not able to think clearly while at the opening and demo this painting has come to represent a moment in time that I wish I had had the ability to do better which is completely silly but nevertheless it has been hanging out in my studio lingering like an awful smell that just won't go away.

Now that I have aired my “dirty emotional laundry” I can happily say that the stink that this particular painting  has had is now gone and I am in the process of finishing the piece. As you can see above  the background and foreground are pretty much done except for some final tweaking and I basically just need to paint the second layer of color on the bird.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Serendipity and Elephants


Graphite pencil on watercolor paper
7 x 10

Fresh off the drafting table and inspired by my recent studies of African Elephants coupled with a few incidents of serendipity that have happened recently I present my newest drawing “Serendipity (African Elephant).” You can see from my last posting, “60 gallons of water a day!” that I have been studying Elephants preparing myself for my upcoming trip to Africa and from the posting before that, “Serendipity and the 3 Princes,” I wrote about my recent encounters with serendipity. It was these two events that inspired me to draw my newest drawing and title it “Serendipity.”

In my previous post, “Serendipity and the 3 Princes,” I wrote that I hope to find three young bull elephants while in Africa and compose a painting based on this story. Until then this drawing will have fill that desire.

“Serendipity (African Elephant)” will be on exhibit at the upcoming group show with the Gallery of Artists at the Irving Arts Center in Irving, Texas on September 14-16, 2012. Please visit the events page on my website for more information. (Click here)


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

60 gallons of water a day!

Africa 2012 Journal/Sketchbook Entry:


"The first animal on my list to study is the Elephant! This is one of my favorite mammals and it is such a magnificent animal."

Africa 2012 sketchbook/journal entry 7/19/2012

In the hopes of being completely prepared for Africa I am working on studying a list of mammals and birds that I will most likely see while in Tarangire Park, Tanzania, Africa. Many of you may think that birds are my favorite animals and although they do hold a special interest to me alas they are not my favorite. Elephants, now that is a beautiful animal!

They are the largest land mammal with males weighing up to 13,200 lbs standing 11’ tall and ears that can be 6.5’ x 5’, just incredible! They can drink up to 60 gallons of water a day, 26 gallons at once. They have an ambling walk and move from 3.7 miles per hour to 8 miles per hour and when charging up to 25 miles per hour, that is amazing. Stay out of their way!

This is all incredible but I am really excited to witness their social interaction. The cow herds have a very strong bond and all in the herd will help to raise and protect a calf. Their cooperative nature can be witnessed by all of the elephants in a herd trying to raise a fallen member of the herd by other members standing on either side and trying to push the fallen elephant up.

A great video about African Elephants!
One of the most important issues that I came across while studying is the population loss of the African Elephant. In 1981 there was a continental population of 1.3 million Elephants and in 1986 the population dropped to 750,000! This is mainly due to the illegal ivory trade and to man’s insistent desire to populate, pave and own every part of our planet. I believe myself to be very fortunate to have this opportunity to go and see one of my favorite animals in their own habitat and I will do my very best to create work that captures these magnificent and grand animals!

Soon after I wrote this journal/sketchbook entry I started a new drawing, a drawing of an African Elephant. It is not yet finished as of this blog posting but below you can see a progress image.

Work in progress, African Elephant, graphite pencil, 7 x 10