From a black and white reference photo taken before her devastating accident. Enjoy.
Kind of like drinking, the funny thing about painting is that you never really get the hang of it. I say this with all seriousness aside, for this is not really a good comparison, nor is it true. My college mates and I had many a laugh about how we failed at drinking most all the time.
The thing is, when it comes to painting, often one’s expectations are explicitly clear but results vary, and this keeps us in the painting game.
Once you have 10,000 hours in, the question still arises, “what to paint?” And, “How shall I paint it?” “What art movement or style am I most closely related to?” But why do we pay attention to such reductive talk? It is because we we are often asked such questions by galleries and collectors.
In the end, one must choose how to make the greatest impact, paint your most astonishing art, give birth to your most honest contribution to the vitality of any art form or style. This is what we are charged with delivering. Like they ask in the business world, “what is your deliverable?” In the case of painting, it’s your honest self.
Late in 2021, I began to study the methods and approach to painting of Paul Cezanne more intensely. Here was a man who proclaimed “With an apple, I will astonish Paris.” This attitude struck me as the very attitude necessary to face a blank canvas every day. To choose to paint, to make the sacrifices, one must work very hard to do the very best work one is capable of, and one must believe that a serious contribution can be made to the very vitality of the art of painting in our time. This is what I am attempting to do. I cannot let any part of history escape me in order to fortify and support each brush stoke I choose to make. I know this probably all sounds so serious, and it is, for the work one does with the mind, the heart, and the hand together, is the most profound work one can do.
Having said all that, I had some fun in attempting to focus on the muses of Cezanne with this effort. I found an old black and white photo of this historic couple to practice some of the aforementioned methodologies, and this is where I shall stop on this one and move on to a new blank canvas. This is my first painting of the year 2022. Cheers.
2021 has come to a close with this last plein air study. Here I now stand, after following the rules of classical form for five years of painting, at the precipice of knowing that what lies ahead is toward the abstract. In order to avoid painting another ho-hum landscape, albeit ones with sound harmony and sensibilities, I’ve realized, from recent in-depth studies of the principles of Cezanne, that true art comes from the corruption and violation of nature. One is otherwise making a replica or a copy of her. The picture is the thing. It is its own thing. A two dimensional thing that must be created in its own right. I’m setting out. Wish me luck.
This is, most likely, my last signed painting of 2021. A little 11×14 house commission. Next year, I intend to turn a corner, instilling some new painting direction into my work. Stay tuned and Happy New Year!
Occasionally, I accept commissions, some random image strikes me, and I accept instantly. This was the case with “Howard.” This is, most likely, my last painting of 2021. A year in which I signed 45 paintings, with a goal to paint and sign 52. I fell short, but oh what a year it has been. My world changed a bit for the better when I acquired a new downtown studio in early March of this year. That north light has served me well. Mark my words here, 2022 is going to be a fantastic year of painting. As Cezanne is quoted to have said “with an apple, I will astonish Paris.” Stay tuned!
The north view looking out of my studio in downtown Des Moines at approximately 4:00 PM on a misty Friday night. I had been reading Erle Loran’s book on Cezanne, and it has influenced me. The color planes, the open palette, the lines, and the means, which were his own, by which he created depth.Continue reading
I lived in California for five years in the early 90’s. As a school age kid, I was a California dreamer. Volkswagen beetles and flower power seemed very alluring to me. The entire west did. I eventually discovered it all and, the west and its beauty became my inspiration to paint. The Golden Gate Bridge represented the entire promise of what the west had to offer. Today, it is a vastly different cultural and political climate but, the beauty remains. This painting will most assuredly find a home.
I started this air show painting last week, from a reference photo of a Colorado friend who attended the show earlier this month. Though the scale was a bit daunting at only 11×14, I finally got around to finishing.
This is the result of a two-hour plein air excursion in Des Moines. Though it is not finished, I am hesitant to paint on it again to guard against altering its freshness.
I have just a few adjustments to make, and then I’ll sign this one. Edit: you are now looking at the updated and final version. Thx!
I’ve been driving around the surrounding farmlands this summer and fall, taking photos of future paintings. I just got around to facing, and finishing this one, after starting it a month ago, and being intimidated by the light in it.
It’s rewarding to knock off a small painting of, say, 12×16 but, I’d like to increase my production of larger paintings such as this one. This is still a work in progress and I’ll only fix a few small details.
Farm life subject matter is something not to be overlooked in Iowa. In fact, it’s a challenge not to consider when looking for striking compositions here in the prairie.
Took a nice trip to Odebolt, Iowa to see some farming friends, play some golf, do some grilling, with a side trip to Boyer. Breaking trail with that one.
To quote, and borrow a phrase from baseball, “I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” I’ve got 10,000 hours invested in getting to where I can execute this sky and palette. If you go out early in the morning and look, meditate, on the color in the atmosphere, you will soon see that, starting at the horizon, all six colors (the three primary, the three secondary) are there. Follow me: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. From bottom to top. So fun to paint. Enjoy.
I am beginning to drive around the state of Iowa more often, scouting for those special places that may be painted in the early or late light of day. This was a barn just east of Adel, Iowa that I found interesting enough to sketch out. The light, however, is the thing I am after.
Trying to build a remuda of skies. This is a rather precarious one we often see here in Iowa.
The fields of Iowa have been in the news as of late. For us Iowans, we live, every day, with the idea that, if you build it, they will come.
This year, in many ways, is a moving year. One major change in my orbit is to get outside and paint more plein air. Here is a little one hour sketch, in order to begin to stretch the plein air muscles.
Three night paint out in Des Moines, in association with Mainframe Studios, Salmagundi, and the Polk County Conservation, began at the Lauridsen Skate Park downtown. This was my Friday night entry.
I was asked to paint a portrait of this guy as a gift and, could only find a few photos where he is looking at the camera. I settled on this one, which was black and white so, I had to invent the color palette. Happy with results.
I’ve lived in the State of Colorado twice in my lifetime. Loveland Co. for one year in 1975, before returning to Iowa to attend University. (ISU.) Then again for six years throughout the late 1980’s in Colorado Springs Co. I knew the state well and, often miss the open range feel of the West.
I painted this very view only a week ago at 12×12. Here is a larger version. I enjoyed the sky and clouds from this vantage point during an early morning rain shower skirting by to the east.
This is a work in progress of the walking bridge that spans Grays’ Lake in Des Moines, Iowa. Currently tacking up a bit so I can add the rest of the bridge structure and railing. Stay tuned for final.
Clouds have inspired me lately and, there is every color in the sky. Ultramarine, Cerulean, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, and Alizarin are all used, though very highly tinted, with Titanium White. This, excluding Burnt Umber, is my entire palette.
Something about this little calf I can’t let go of. My attempt, however, was to capture the ethereal quality of the summer Iowa air and landscape.
This is a Work in Progress. Des Moines is, or was, home of the Travelers Life Insurance Company and, this rooftop sign is an iconic part of the downtown cityscape. I’ve still to add the letters under the Umbrella and, it is basically all the farther I intend to take it. Cheers.
Since first posting, I’ve updated the painting to include the letters of the classic sign.
I loved the photo of this little newborn calf I captured a few weeks ago and, had done a little study in oil previously. Here it is again, in a 12×12, painted for a second time and, a precursor to a large format piece.
Just outside of Odebolt, Iowa where a newborn calf made his debut to life.
This is a field study for a larger painting but, fun to do quickly with a palette knife.
I was asked by a friend to paint a portrait of their dog, Remi, who passed away recently. It turned out nicely and they are delighted. RIP – you are free now.
Fourth in a series of who knows how many. I’ll be looking for the proper gallery sometime this summer.
I’ve finally settled on a series of paintings that are related to one another and, it is this group of leftover floral arrangements. Welcome to “Memento.”
12×12 oil on canvas
12×24 oil on panel. Sold
Feat. Barry Flanagan’s “Thinker on a Rock.”
9×12 oil on canvas – Sold
Sculpture “Back of a Snowman” by Gary Hume in the Des Moines Pappajohn Sculpture Park,
12×12 oil on canvas. – Sold
11×14 oil on canvas w/knife. – Sold
I took the liberty to paint a scene from the wedding of John and Christina Klisares – McGreevy.
24×24 oil paint on mounted wood panel.
This too was painted in its entirety with a little piece of hard plastic. Almost akin to a little trowel. It’s rather exciting and allows one to go extremely short (thick) with the paint.
12×16 oil paint on wood panel
12×24 oil paint on wood panel.
This was painted entirely with a little piece of plastic.
18 x 24 oil on canvas – Sold
8 x 24 oil on panel
9×18 oil paint on panel –Sold
done “en plein air” from our home on Park Point, Duluth Mn. July 12th, 2017
8×12 oil paint – Sold
done “en plein air” from our home on Park Point, Duluth. July 7th 2017