Friday, September 24, 2010

35 On 35

"I35 Cactus" 9"x12" oil/linen

Here's one of the new paintings for my
"35 on 35" show. The advantage of being
forced (self-imposed, of course) to do so
many paintings in a short time frame is
it really makes you focus and I think my style
is becoming apparent to me.

When you line the paintings up against the wall
and look at the whole group of 30 paintings,
you begin to see things you like and don't
like. I can tell that the paintings I've done
over the past two weeks are stronger than
those I did earlier in the summer. I'm
not knocking the earlier work, I am just
more satisfied with the latest stuff.

The last set of five paintings will be larger.
I'm done with the 8"x10" and 9"x12" sizes.
Now its time to sink my teeth into a few
more complex and larger pieces.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"West Loop of Sedona" 10"x20" plein air

If you travel out the west loop of Sedona
in early morning you get this magnificent
view of the red rock range. I was so
overwhelmed it took twenty minutes
just to pick a scene because everywhere you
looked you wanted to paint it.

In order to clear my mind and focus on
something to paint I came in close to this
outcropping at the base of one of the
rocky groups. This scene is actually about
ten miles from where I was set up to
paint. I would love to go back and
drive out to this range and do a few
paintings close up.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

35 on 35 FINAL PUSH

"Tractor in the Shade" 18" x 24" oil/linen

With this painting I enter the final phase
of producing thirty five paintings for my
one-man show in November. I have
twelve paintings to go and six weeks
of painting time left. Of course there
is a workshop to do in Wimberely, two
paintouts in October and life in general
to deal with.

This is where being a commercial illustrator
for thirty years comes in handy. Constantly
facing unreasonable deadlines, unruly clients,
creative brain freezes and an airbrush that would
always spit at the worst possible moment.
The personal computer and Photoshop saved
my career!

My plan is to put the entire show online
November 1st which will give me time to
produce a printed portfolio. So the next six
weeks are going to getting interesting for sure.

Friday, September 17, 2010



Time is running out to sign up for my
plein air workshop in Wimberley, Texas.
The five day workshop is $550 or if you
can't stay for all five days you can pay
a day rate of $100 per day for as many
days as you want.

I have published the daily schedule below to
help those doing the daily thing pick their
days based on what is being taught on any
particular day. As with many workshops,
the first two days are the basics and then we
get into the real meat of the workshop
half way through the second day.

I am excited to be teaching and to be teaching
in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is a real
bonus. Contact Belinda Aber-Haddock at
512-722-6032 or sign up online at

Daily Schedule:

Monday, September 27-Block-In
9:00 am-Lecture and introduction to plein air painting
10:30 am-Travel to painting location. Painting demo
of a black and white block-in followed by color demo block-in.
12:30-1:00 pm-Lunch (not provided)
1-4:00 pm-Class block-in sessions, black/white with
personal instruction.This gives me the opportunity to
meet each student and evaluate their individual skill level.
Once I see a student has the ability to evaluate values in
black and white they will be asked to move on to color
block-ins. Bring plenty of 6x8 and 8x10 panels.

Tuesday, September 28-Block-Ins Day Two
9:00 am-Travel to painting location
9:30-12:00 pm-Painting demo. Taking a color block-in
to finished painting.
12:30 pm-Lunch (not provided), Group question
and answer period.
1:00-4:00-One hour timed painting sessions of color block-ins.
Do as many block-ins as time allows. Bring plenty of 6x8
and 8x10 panels.

Wednesday, September 29- Start to Finish Day Two
9-9:30am-Carpool to painting location
9:30-12:00 pm-Painting demo from start to finish. Slowing
down a bit to discuss design theory, values, use of edges
and how to bring a finished look to a plein air painting.
12-12:30 pm-Lunch (not provided). Question and Answer
period. Critique of group work.
12:30-4:00 pm-Group painting sessions, individual instruction.
Each session timed for one hour. Trying to stay loose and
see the big picture. Have plenty of 6x8 and 8x10 panels.

Thursday, September 30:Start to Finish Day Three
9-9:30 am-Carpool to painting location
9:30 am-12:00 pm-Painting demo.
12-12:30 pm-Lunch (not provided). Question and Answer
1:00-4:00 pm-Group painting sessions. Personal instruction.
Each painting will start with a block-in. After I review and have
the student adjust their block-in, the block-ins will be taken to
completion. Paint nothing larger than an 8x10.

Friday, October 1-From the Field to the Studio
9:00 am-Meet at Pitzer Fine Art for a painting demo. I will
take a field study and enlarge it into a 20" x 24" painting.
12-1:00 pm-Lunch in Wimberely. Question and Answers.
1-4:00 pm-Group painting sessions in Wimberley.
4:00-Whenever. Meet back at Pitzer's Fine Art for group critique.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I attended the 25th Bosque Art Classic
last night. The event was very attended
by artists and collectors alike. I'm seen
here in front of my painting "Eldorado Snow Day".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


"Canyon Skies" 11" x 14" oil/canvas plein air

I decided to tackle my nemesis! All
day long, at every location there was wind,
wind and more wind. If it wasn't the wind
it was the constant change in light as one
huge cloud sequence was followed by another.

In the middle of the day my choice was to sit
and wait a couple of hours for the sun to set
a little so I would at least have some shadows
to paint or find something else to paint. I'm at
the Grand Canyon for gosh sake, what else am I
going to paint?

In my moment of aimless thought, a really cool
cloud pattern came floating by. I had a blank
canvas, fresh paint and I had just eaten lunch.
"What the Heck?" A sky painting in the making.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"Mather Point" 9" x 12" oil/linen, plein air

This is actually the last painting from my recent trip
to the Grand Canyon and one of my favorites. It was done
plein air in a 30 mph wind gust. I like the simplicity
of the distant canyon and the reflected light in the
rocks. At the Grand Canyon there is so
much information to take in and it constantly
changes because of clouds moving across the scene.

This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon and my
first attempt at painting it alla prima. It took two days
painting before I came across a formula for tackling this

difficult subject matter.

Because the light changed constantly I chose to paint the
foreground structures first, completely disregarding the
distant elements. Once I had the foreground about 90%
completed I painted in the background and sky and then
made adjustments in the foreground to complete the painting.

I produced 14 paintings over five days and the last four
are the most successful of the group. I'll post few more
as the week goes on.

Happy painting everyone.

Monday, September 6, 2010


"Calf on the Move" 8" x 10" oil/linen

Painting animals alla prima is a real challenge.
Capturing a simple gesture pose and then
turning it into a painting...when it
quite satisfying. I marvel at Bob Kuhn's animal
gestures along with James Reynolds' and Bill Anton's
horses and cows.

I sat along side a pasture for more than an
hour watching this calf. Got a good case of
chiggers in the process I might add. He stood out
because all of the other cows in the field were
black. It appeared he had something bothering
his back left hoof because he kept raising it
and shaking it. Capturing this quick pose is
all I could get.

I liked the pose and decided to complete the
landscape around him. Armed with my field
sketch and some reference photos I completed this
painting in the studio.

"Calf on the Move" *' x 10" oil/linen


"Cathedral Rocks" 9" x 12" oil/linen

First time to Sedona so you
gotta paint the Cathedral Rocks.
I painted them in the early morning
in a back-lit situation and even though
I didn't wipe it off, now that I have the
painting back in the studio it really
blew big chunks.

Disappointed in my first painting we,
(me and Chase Almond) left the state
park to find other inspiration which
there is plenty of in Sedona. I dropped
Chase off at the top of the ridge
for a sunset painting and I headed back to
the state park for another crack at
the Cathedral Rocks.

I blocked in most of the painting waiting for
a particular light effect on the rocks. I waited
and waited and finally decide it just wasn't
going to happen so I decided just to grab
whatever Mother Nature was going to deliver
that day. Turned away from the rock to
grab a clean paper towel, looked back at
the rocks and holy schumolly there it was.
The exact light I had been waiting for. With
brush in hand and stomach in my throat, I
slapped paint as fast as I could and five
miunutes later the light was gone. I think I got it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Just got back from a week long
painting trip. After flying into Phoenix
I met up with fellow painter and good
friend, Chase Almond, then we
drove to Sedona. We painted in Sedona
for a day and half then drove to the
Grand Canyon.

We battled strong winds, fairly large
crowds of tourists and an occasional rain
storm, but for the most part we had good
painting weather and we were able
to produce a fair amount of work.

I'll start posting a few of the paintings tomorrow.