Thursday, December 17, 2015


 Summer Outbuildings (12x12) oil on linen SOLD!

One of the first ever local paintings to capture my attention was many years ago in a small gallery somewhere between here and the Oregon coast.  We used to stop there as a rest point on our way to the beach and check out the art.  One day as I was walking thru the gallery, I spotted a small (maybe 6x8 or 8x10) plein air sketch called "Outbuildings". It was a small masterpiece (to me anyway) very brief, very textural and creamy; everything I like in an oil painting -- the kind that makes an artist want to head out and paint right then and there...

 Outbuildings (12x12) oil on linen SOLD!

Unfortunately, I never made memory of the artist's name. Looking back, I assume they were local as it was a local scene, but even inquiring with the gallery staff months later, they could not help me identify the artist or the painting (which was long gone by then).

 Whomever the mystery artist was, they have never returned to that gallery as far as I know (I still look every time we pass that way).  I've never seen anything remotely like that little gem since, but it did leave a lasting impression; one that continues to inspire me as I hope some of my paintings will do for others... Well done mystery painter, wherever you are!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Belt of Venus, my birthday and twilight's brief moment...

Twilight's Brief Moment (18x18) oil on linen

Long before I was a landscape painter (still an artist, but just a kid) the golden hour thru dusk, especially in summer, was a magical time; I remember rushing back out after dinner to play with my friends, skateboarding around the neighborhood or riding our bikes -- time seemed more special then.

On those clear days as the sun set and the sky began to change it's hue from a peachy-green to pink, then down to a band of blue that began at the horizon, the long shadows fled away yet it would not be dark for another half hour or so. I would learn many years later that the blue band of sky at the horizon opposite the sunset, is actually the cast shadow of the earth against the atmosphere, and the pink band just above it is called the "Belt of Venus".

Astronomers and mariners have long measured twilight in 3 phases  beginning as soon as the sun is set below the horizon; Civil Twilight, Nautical Twilight and finally, Astronomical Twilight before the solid dark of Night.  This was (and still is) a magical time for me; the most beautiful time of evening, especially when accented by a full moon rise...

The best place I've experienced this phenomena is in the desert on a clear night. It is a brief moment, but tranquil in it's experience, watching bats flit about highlighted by the sound of crickets -- that transition from light to dark, signalling the close of another day.  I often pause and reflect on past memories then, and would not be surprised at all if John Lennon was inspired to write his poignant song, "In My Life" under it's spell. 

This Thursday I will turn another year older, and although the sunset will likely be eclipsed by rainy winter clouds, I will be thinking of days gone by and those yet to come, and the special allure twilight still holds over me. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Coors Western Art Exhibit

 "A Western Tradition" (12x16) oil on linen SOLD

I am very pleased to have these paintings (along with a couple of more landscapes) in the 2016 Coors Western Art Exhibit, opening January 5th in Denver. The main show will feature the painting at top (A Western Tradition) and the one at the bottom (Drifting) with set prices, and then 3 more (including "Sweetheart" below) will be up for bidding in the silent auction on opening night...

 "Sweetheart" (12x9) oil on panel SOLD

I have been wanting to do more western-themed work lately, and this venue is a great opportunity for that. I also stepped up on framing for a classy presentation... hoping these will find a new home come January!

"Drifting" (20x24) oil on canvas SOLD

"Tualatin Moon" (8x10) oil on linen SOLD

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Blood Moon (but not exactly)

 Tualatin Moon (8x10) oil on linen SOLD

In anticipation of the Super/Blood Moon; a "super moon" (full moon closest to the earth) and a "blood moon" (lunar eclipse) combo a few days ago on September 27th, several artists friends set up our easels at the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge in Tualatin, Oregon where we would have a nice, long-range view. 

We waited and waited for the first glimpse of what was supposed to be a spectacular sight, but what happened was rather anticlimactic; the moon was already in lunar eclipse before anyone could make it out about three fingers above the horizon...
Pearl Moon (6x8) oil on linen

Apparently, there was just enough haze in the sky that the pink atmosphere of sundown melded with the orange shade of the eclipse and made the "Blood Moon" barely perceptible... Only the star gazers who also showed up with their telescopes and zoom lens cameras were able to get a nice close-up view. 

At any rate, the light was quickly fading and I had already sketched in everything but the moon in my two small paintings. The simple compositions were designed to focus on a prominent moon rise, but since no "prominent" moon was forth coming, I improvised and went with just the Super Moon look (much more dramatic than what we actually saw) but then only you who read this blog will know what really happened.

Still, fun was still had by all including my wife and daughter who came along with our neighbor from across the street -- it was a rare event to behold and a good memory was made as summer changed to autumn in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Northern California and Sonoma Plein Air 2015

 "Autumn Morn" (18x18) oil on linen SOLD

 Just got back from Sonoma Plein Air -- had a wonderful time painting surrounded by rolling hills of undeveloped land -- what Orange County used to look like back in the 60's...beautiful coast there too!

                                             "The Scarlet Conclusion" (9x12) oil on linen

 Had the opportunity to paint with friends, which was a real treat, and it only rained half of Wednesday but the rest of the week was perfect weather. Looking forward to going back next year!

"Blue Sonoma" (6x8) oil on linen

 "September's Glow" (crop 12x16) oil on linen

"California Road" (8x10) oil on linen

Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to Sonoma Plein Air!

Summer Dusk (6x8) oil on linen

Looking forward to participating in the Sonoma Plein Air festival again next month! The event runs September 14-19, and this will be my 6th year. I love the landscape there, connecting with my California roots and painting with friends to benefit art programs in the local schools!

Down Comes the Night (12x16) oil on linen

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thru rose-colored glasses...

"Rose Colored" (12x16) oil on linen

The smoke from recent fires in the Pacific Northwest drifted over our area creating a filter for a couple of days, colouring everything pink and orange. Anything in sunlight seemed more intensely warm, while the corresponding shadows were cooler and more colourful than usual. I noticed the effect on our (white) fence that morning as it had an amber tone to it and the shadows were a soft, warm pastel was a very unusual, but beautiful and eye-catching effect.  I never before said, "Hey, look at the colour on that fence!" or, "Wow, check out the shadow on that driveway!" Everyday objects suddenly had a superficial interest they never had before...

It was kind of like what I imagine a colour-blind person seeing full-spectrum colour for the first time would feel -- as if a new hue was suddenly added to the natural range we're used to; yet this wasn't a new hue, but one short range of hues (red to yellow) being turned up above the others... While the sunlight was more unifying, it was also weaker (or limiting) in it's range because of the filtering smoke; much like a photographic range is unified or limited by adding a filter to a camera lens...

I imagined a "colourist" like Henry Hensche (1899 - 1992) and his students appreciating such exaggerated hue, and went to a nearby park to paint the effect I was seeing. It was hard to not overstate the candy-coloured bubblegum effect and keep the intensity in check, but I did like the fact that the filter was making colour choices easier by limiting the range of both hue and value.  Local objects were tinted as well as middle-distance objects, while the furthest forms seemed to have a bit more colour than usual (or at least they appeared warmer than normal) and contrast was reduced as well... 

Interesting conditions,  but considering the cost of what caused it, I'd rather things go back to normal ASAP.  God bless those who have lost homes and land to the fires this year -- for them right now, life is certainly anything but "rose-colored"....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Old School Waterman

 Old School Waterman (24x20) oil on linen SOLD

This year at Plein Air Easton I decided to find a model to pose for me for a figurative piece... After spying a "waterman" with this epic beard, I knew that was the local subject I needed; waterman are the fishermen, crabbers and oyster harvesters who have worked the Chesapeake for decades. They have lots of character and everything an artist desires to make an interesting picture. 

Painter, Charles Hawthorne was the subliminal inspiration for this one. The model (who chose to remain nameless) sat for about two and a half hours, after which I tweaked it a little more from memory. The buoys I found down the road hanging on a shed and sketched them in my sketchbook to add later in the background, as I did also for the crab baskets at the bottom which were painted from life on a fishing dock close by.

Boat House Nocturne (16x20) oil on linen

This shed was located in Claiborne, not far from my hosts house where many folk reside who make their living on the water. I added the small boat on the side, but everything else was there. I have come to really love painting the rich history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay and it's residents and hope to return next year for more...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Plein Air Easton 2015

 Point Pleasant Poem (16x16) oil on linen SOLD

Had a wonderful time returning to Plein Air Easton last month (my 4th time) and the beautiful landscape there. Surprisingly this was NOT the hottest week of the year as is usually the case; still there were plenty of bug bites and lots of humidity, but that gets forgotten in the midst of all the camaraderie and great events the PAE organizers put on...

Made in July (9x12) oil SOLD

I was able to stay with a painter friend afterwards for a few days and tour the Smithsonian Museum of American Art where they have several Thayers, Benson's and Tanner's that were all amazing to see in person (especially the Thayers)! We even stumbled upon a William Wendt that was being cleaned in their restoration room. Good times again in Maryland -- hope to return next year!

Monday, July 6, 2015

There Was a Crooked Man...

"There Was a Crooked Man..." (16x20) o/l

This is a recent plein air painting done in Yamhill County, Oregon... Nice old lady was out tending her garden and gave me permission to paint her dilapidated barns. Everything looked old there -- might have been a "century farm" but before I finished my painting and could inquire about it, the old lady disappeared! 

Sometimes it's that way out in the country you know; folks are a little skittish (and indeed it was a 'crooked' mile to get there)...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fall Workshop Announcement:


Registration is now open for a Studio Landscape Painting Workshop this November  (2015) at Sequoia Gallery in Hillsboro, Oregon. 

I will be teaching an in-door 2-day class, sharing what I know via demo and lecture regarding painting the landscape in oil from photo reference, while exploring and developing your own style... Class size is limited to ten -- hope you can make it!

Please visit the link and scroll down to Event #134 for more details:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille...

Country Barn (9x12) o/l

Just finished participating in the "Where in the World Is" live, online plein air event! For 3 days each artist painted one painting a day and video recorded their work, posting the videos on the WITWI web site -- you can view the videos and paintings here:

Jubilee 53 Ford Tractor (8x10) o/l
It was rather distracting and a bit of a hassle to video record myself (especially when I just bought a smartphone the week before specifically for this event) one told me the the phone is actually smarter than you are, and I still have yet to figure out how to use it correctly.

Under the Hydrangea (12x16) o/c SOLD
 At least the weather was nice each day, and I felt like I did some decent work, despite my awkward on-camera appearances... (Spielberg himself couldn't have made me look good). All-in-all it was a fun experience, and I hope it will be successful at the gallery... Oh, and did I mention the gallery hosting this event, the Illume Gallery has invited me on board as their newest artist? Not bad for a Hollywood has-been that never was!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Super Moon (6x8) o/p

Tomorrow (Wednesday) June 10th thru Friday the 12th I am participating in the "Where In The World Is" three-day live plein air video event! Each day 3 videos will be posted of me painting (one at the beginning,  one half-way through and one of the finished painting) then posted on the gallery's web site for viewing and purchasing. Over 100 artists are participating in this event, some as far away as Australia!

Please tune in via the link above starting tomorrow and see where in the world I am painting!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day Dream Believer

The Fairy Dress (16x12) oil

We have a large backyard on a slopping hill where our daughter often plays, and every so often I'll catch a glimpse of her through our window entertaining herself, unaware of my presence.  Of course playing alone can be boring at times, but it can also yield important life benefits; the old adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention" was never more true than when a young child is left to her own devices and must reinvent her world through imagination... 

I watched as she danced and pranced around the yard in her fairy dress imagining only who-knows-what in that special place where grownups can never go. I can remember having to entertain myself on lonely summer afternoons too when friends were not available, but I never knew just how important those moments of creativity were, or how they would enrich the rest of my life.

With a painter for a father and a musician for a mother there's no telling how far our creative girl will go, but beginning at the boundless universe of imagination is for sure the very best place to start...never stop dreaming my sweet little fairy!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Girl Crazy.

 Summer Time is Near (12x12) oil

I've been sketching my daughter lately, and wondering why I've waited so long to do so. Of course when she was a little younger, she had neither the interest nor the discipline to hold a pose for me, but we could have been collaborating sooner that now had I been paying attention.... Remember John Lennon singing, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"? Well, that's a truism for sure! 

The Asian Parasol (12x12) oil

I am very observant when it comes to our daughter and how fast she is growing and changing, but my notion to paint her was somehow subliminally shelved until just the other day....sure glad I woke up in time! I have 2 more of these in progress on easels right now with more ideas to come; I just have to negotiate compensation with my entrepreneurial mini-model (and of course my wife's opinion on which ones are not for sale)...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Batter up...

 Mixing (12x12)

I've been doing some small baker/chef paintings lately...haven't settled on titles for them yet, but they are heading to the Howard/Mandville Anniversary Show opening May 16th in Kirkland, WA.

 Chopping (12x12) SOLD

The gentleman above is a student at the Oregon Culinary Institute, and the girl is from the Gluten-Free Gem Bakery, both located in Portland, Oregon.
Many thanks to these folk for allowing me the privilege of photographing them as they worked. I hope to do more of these culinary pieces -- lots of fun and of course something everyone can relate to!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Palm Springs show!

Ancient River Light (8x10)

Excited to be a part of "Portland Paints the Desert: A Plein Air Exhibition" opening at Brian Marki Fine Art in Palm Springs, March 13 thru April 8, 2015. I will have 4 pieces in the show that were painted on a recent trip to the California desert...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

 Hot Potato Rock (10x12) o/l

 This January I had the opportunity to go painting with my friend, Saim Caglayan (pronounced, "Shallion") in the Anza Borrego desert. This desert in Southern California is the largest national park in the United States full of colourful mountain vistas, winding slot canyons and sun-bleached dunes. While I was fortunate to stay at a friends vacation home in Borrego Springs, the small local town there, Saim and another artist from Laguna, Terry Thornsly camped in Glorietta Canyon (the area pictured in the painting above). 

 Indian Head Sunrise (10x12) o/c

Although a little chilly at night, the weather was consistent in the low-to-mid 70's with clear sunshine every day -- a welcomed retreat from the cold grey northwest winter!

 Smoke Tree in Ella Wash (10x12) o/l

 I have always had an affinity for the desert ever since I was very young when my grand parents kept a trailer in Palm Springs where we used to go in the 1960's and early 70's. There's a mystery about Borrego, especially when the population is scarce (unlike Palm Springs) and if you love the sunshine and open spaces, it's the perfect place to escape during winter months. Hiking, exploring and just enjoying the sun on my face was a treat in between paintings...

 Above Rose Canyon (10x12) o/l

 Back in Orange County (near Laguna Beach) where I stayed with my brother and his family, I was blessed with good weather after rains just the week before; I painted in and around O'Neil Park in the foothills of Saddleback Mountain and on the cliffs in Laguna Beach where I met with local 418 Gallery owner, Vaness Rothe. She invited me to show there with her small group of west coast artists and Russian painters, and I left behind several unframed studies for sale as well as a framed piece for the current "Winter Collection" show she is curating...

 Split Rock, Laguna (8x10) o/c

 Laguna Beach is also a special place I have an affinity for -- our family visited there often thru the years, starting in the early 1960's where my mother's best friend who passed recently had settled to raise her family. For several years I lived right next door in Dana Point, renting studio space in North Laguna when I was a graphic artist in the 1980's. Although it has changed and grown over the years, Laguna Beach still has the beautiful charm and atmosphere that hosted artists such as Edgar Payne and William Wendt a hundred years ago...

  Shady Mountain Trail (8x10) o/c

 At the end of my stay, I was able to spend time with my artist friend, Tim Solliday and see his new studio in the tower of an historic church in downtown Pasadena where we also caught the LA Art Show...Tim is big in the western art scene and was instrumental in opening my eyes to outdoor painting in the late 1990's.  

All in all it was a very productive and encouraging trip,  and now I am back in my northwest studio, energized and happy to be with my loving family and back at the easel!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Drawing, the not-so-secret ingredient....

 Soup Kitchen (12x12) oil on linen

Last summer when I was shopping for a gluten-free cake for my wife's birthday, I came across this great little bakery in NW Portland -- it was kinda hidden away in an industrial area with no signage outside, just a little sandwich board on the corner sidewalk that read, Gem Bakery...

 Bakery Girls (20x24) oil on panel

While inside ordering a delicious custom cake, I was taken with the look that all of the girls working there had; the scarves in particular.  I explained I was a painter and asked if I could come back with my camera to shoot some reference shots while they worked and they graciously consented...
 (detail) Bakery Girls

To transfer my photo reference into paintings, I first needed to go thru a "sketch phase" to interpret what I had shot rather than going straight to canvas. Painting requires drawing, and drawing requires exercising the thought process that a camera is incapable of... I had ideas of what I was looking for when shooting the photos, but I then needed to remove my ideas from the photos in order to recover the original intent...sketching out various poses was the best vehicle for this.

 Gesture sketch

I could then use this third generation information to influence my painting (along with) the photographic reference.  Every artist has a particular drawing style that influences their painting's look (if they let it)... I prefer to work from life whenever possible, but if I can't,  I never want to refer solely to the photograph -- I need the separation and go-between of my drawings as a jumping off point. The photo can keep me on track, but the drawings will always retain the edited (and thus more original) concept and look...

Gesture sketch

I hope to return soon to Gem Bakery to gather more information for future paintings...and maybe a gluten-free goody or two as well!

Friday, January 2, 2015

HAPPY 2015!

 Goodbye Summer (48x60) o/c

Late in the year I painted "Goodbye Summer" -- it was a large canvas (for me) and actually the first painting that our daughter, Lily posed for.

Evening Garden (8x10) o/c

I had been visiting this large community garden near our home over the summer, doing several sketches (like the one above) to get the colour I wanted. Although it's not easy transferring information from an 8x10 inch sketch to a 4x5 foot format, I think I captured most of it... The biggest challenge is transferring the loose and spontaneous brush strokes; it's not just a matter of using bigger brushes and more paint...

Study for "Goodbye Summer" (8x10) o/c

There is a comfort zone that is in direct ratio to the size of your arm that dictates the application and execution of paint. Brushes can only hold so much pigment and pull only so long of a stroke; once you go beyond those limits, you have to then "patch and section'" larger areas to develop that scale in a style that reflects your smaller, looser plein air sketch... Pretty hard to do unless you go thinner with the pigment and/or break up the information into comfortable portions, using broken colour to convey the looseness on a large scale. 

I also came back over areas of the painting with a 'dry-brush' (thin pigment with no medium or solvent) to drag on a rougher effect -- this too helps convey looseness...

At any rate, it was good practice and reason to pursue more large canvases in 2015...thanks again to Lil for being such a trooper for daddy!

Happy 2015 everybody!