Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mille Lacs lake 24x18

Most of us have at least a few devastating weapons in our verbal arsenal. We toss them out from time to time to fend off would-be adversaries or simply to inspire awe and respect. For example, I can basically trump any argument with any person who grew up south of the 45th parallel by this simple statement- I have skated on thin ice...literally. Actually, there is a whole passel of northernisms I keep handy and I do use them whenever I'm feeling the need for attention here in the desert. I use them sporadically and usually to great effect. (especially in Mexico where 30 degrees Fahrenheit is a known killer) I have found that any reference to 50 below zero while ice fishing on Mille Lacs lake is enough to dumbfound and benumb any would-be teller of tall tales. It's kind of like a concussion grenade...leaves 'em momentarily deaf and blind. However, the Mille Lacs lake of my sub-zero yarns of yesteryear has a gentler side. The pictures above show a placid pool; backdrop to our tranquil summer idle. The slooping sail boats slipped slowly by and the big walleye winked at us as the far away shore gave us this blossoming orange-cloud ...and a bunch of mosquito bites! Here is the sale page for this painting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rio Grande 24x18

Method #2. - This cool scene, looking west-northwest of the rain-swollen Rio Grande and its little playmate in the sky, was captured by my handy mega-zoom camera. It's pretty much a direct representation of the scene as we viewed it two weeks ago. Correct range of values (light to dark) is the main difficulty painters have in making art from photos. That's where plein air painting comes in. I try to approach photographs with a plein air mentality, knowing that I can push the saturation of color and the value scale more than I'm typically perceiving by just looking at a picture. A super good (mac) and very large computer monitor helps for this but nothing replaces getting out there and painting directly from life...rain and all. This is available on auction now. Feel free to bid here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

House On A Hill 36x24

I'm trying to drag myself to do this magazine article. I have to describe my art process and take pics of the work in various stages. I will get to it. It is a nice honor after all and we do love International Artist magazine so it will be worth the effort I'm sure. Also it should be a handy reference for the few cyber-painter friends we have that would be interested in cracking open the jello-filled cranial vessel that houses my inner artist psyche. Typically I follow one of three, check that, four routes to finish a painting. House On A Hill is an example of a method I use painting "alla prima" with no reference photo or previous sketch/painting to go by. Sometimes I get great results with this. And even though I don't use a reference photo there are a few thumb nail drawings either on paper or canvas I do beforehand to work out the composition. With these I get to spend a lot of time on color mixing and painting technique/experimentation. I'll be sure to post more info. on the three other (secret) methods to my madness and the up-coming article so stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hawkins' In Yellowstone Flitting By 30x40

I was in the ER the other night at Northwest Medical Center in Tucson. I have pictures. They're not as gruesome as I had hoped. If they were of blackened and swollen-ten-times-their-normal-size limbs you can be sure they would have replaced the pics of the dowdy family at Yellowstone's hot sulphur springs above. As it was, my neighbor and good friend Brian was lying all too comfortable and chatty and smiley after being tagged by a desert demon (rattlesnake) while pruning a hedge. With an initial infusion of 6 vials of anti-venom and some morphine to boot he really had no reason to wake me up at 9:55 pm as far as I could figure. Then again, what is someone of my youthfulness doing in bed at such an hour? Well, Brigid (Brian's wife) needed a vehicle and it had been a while since the local hospital needed my expertise so I obliged them their request. Just for good measure and while no one was looking I whipped out my pocket knife, cut two small X's over the fang marks and sucked out any remaining venom. (No, it wasn't on his behind...) And just for double good measure Brigid drove over (three times) a big ol' rattler as she pulled into her drive later that night. This is the season when a lot of little snakes are out. They give hardly any warning and will strike at anything so beware.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Marissa!

A grand total of 4,891 miles. That was how far we travelled. We were on the road for 17 days. We ate mass quantities of questionable road fare. We saw deer, elk, dogs, porcupines, 'coons, muskrats, armadillos, snakes and one possum dead on the side of the highway.(did not eat any of those) We spent one night in the car, only three in hotels, listened to an audio book twice (Treasure Island) and still were able to brush and floss at regular intervals. All this with six grown people in one mini van. The kids were, as usual, their normal noble selves. Better travel companions I couldn't ask for. Carmen spelled me from time to time at the wheel and the nomadic days just clicked by in happy procession as we ate up miles like so many Mike & Ike's at a Saturday matinee. We arrived home just in time for Marissa's birthday. She is twenty one today! Her mom and I took her to a movie last night. Unfortunately we had to sit separated. I in an aisle seat next to a middle-aged couple and Carmen and Marissa a few rows back, together. I hear it was a good movie. All I know is that it was loud and long. I woke myself up snoring several times and finally realized how unfortunate it must have been for the lady seated next to me. Did I ever tell you about the time I spent a whole night on a crowded bus in Mexico with a 400 lb. man snuggling on my shoulder the whole way? Well, I was getting back at him vicariously through my row mates. Yes, I am quite the pathetic movie goer and had the occasion not been such a special one I would have refrained from such a night out. ( I know myself) A lot of new, humidity-charged paintings should be coming up soon. The playdoe fun factory will be up and running this week and I can hardly wait to get oil paint all over myself once again. Stay tuned for more glorious clouds too. I got some sketching in (Montana) and a lot of snazzy photos to work from so the next tear should be a good one. They'll call this my "blue" faze in years to come.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jesse McReynolds smash hits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had the very great honor of making the album cover/painting for Jesse McReynolds' latest effort...a tribute to Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead. Check out the links to his web site and music. Good music worth listening to.

Jesse McReynolds has been added to the lineup of the Philadelphia Folk Festival!
His show is at 9pm this evening (Saturday, August 21st) and he will do a workshop on Sunday at noon!

Jesse will have advance copies of his new project,
"Jesse McReynolds & Friends: A Tribute to Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter ~ Songs of the Grateful Dead"
and will be performing a few songs from it.

We are honored to have so many of Jerry's friends join Jesse in making this historic recording.

The official release date is October 5, 2010!
Special advance copies will be available Sunday, August 22, 2010 on our website, http://www.jimandjesse.com/

Please visit our website for more information on our Tribute to Garcia & Hunter!

or contact
Jesse & Joy McReynolds J&J MusicPO Box 1385
Gallatin, TN 37066 (615)452-7321

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Desert Sage Lane 24x12

Eight states and counting. So why write about another desert adventure when there has been so much Americana sucked through our radiator fan the last 3500 miles? Why, you ask? I'll tell you why and you'll be the better for it. But let me digress a bit before I broach a subject that might seem a little, well, unsavory for typical table conversation. Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota all greeted us with temperatures that made us want to crawl back to the cool comforts of home in Az., no kidding. As to the much vaunted fishing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, well, let's just say that we learned once again why it's called fishing, not catching. The surface-friendly mid-westerners that keep the tobacco companies rolling and Wonder Bread cranking out truckloads of pasty white fluff greeted us with toothless grins and predictable questions about Arizona's immigration law (you people watch way too much television) and our dry heat, but they have endeared themselves to us with their quaint farm-country charm and Swedish accented linguistic oddities. For that and for some wonderful life-long friendships we give them a A+ ...After all, I was once a Viking myself don'tcha know. My kids see the north as an exotic place of legends and mystery, much like we imagined the tropics or the desert to be when we were their age. And since I do hale from said Land-O-Lakes my somewhat obtuse observations might ring a bit hollow I know. However, I need to show off the place of my most infamous exploits from time to time and the giant statues of Paul and Babe that greeted us as we rolled into Brainerd just helped solidify my place in Northern lore.(in the kids eyes) Suffice to say that we have had our fill of bratts, dill pickle flavored potato chips, high humidity and chlorophyll. It's time to head south via Montana. But before we do let me tell you about the giant toad that was fed the palo verde beetle pictured below...with a Black Cat firecraker taped to it.

It's not as bad you're thinking so read on. We did succeed in taping a firecracker to the back of the beetle and in getting the toad, the size of a softball, to gulp it down in typical fashion. (remember the video we made of the one that ate the tarantula?) The long green fuse hung out the corner of his mouth in perfect position. He even sat still (after the third match) long enough for Eddie to light it. The fuse sparkled and smoked as we sadistically giggled and chortled our diabolic approval. I'm actually glad to say the bomb was a dud, the toad belched smoke for a half a minute and proceed to eat more June bugs and shiny green beetles...none the worse for wear. Three days later I spied a black iridescent thumb-sized toad turd on the shop floor. We dissected it to find a wadded up piece of scotch tape and half the firecracker and a piece of fuse. The moral of the story?-You might have to dig into a toad turd to find what you're looking for.