Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bare Naked Trees 24x12, Thought of You 24x24, For The Love Of The Marsh 12x24

Simple compositions, strong contrasts and muted tones of vibrant colors...these are a few of my favorite things.  Also, watching a dog run on two legs.  I had our little black lab Sunny out in the desert the other day chasing birds.  There are a lot of stickly and prickly cactus-like thorny pokers all over the desert.  It seems every 5 minutes she is lifting a paw for a few steps. Every ten minutes she needs to come over to get unstuck from an unwelcome tenacious hitchhiker.  The cholla cactus are the worse 'cause as soon as you get them out of one toe they're back on you and they sink deep and hurt and make blood to flow.  Anyway, a slight limp or raised foot ain't too much to be concerned with usually but when Sunny was all of a sudden lifting two legs (on the same side) and starting running I believed I was witnessing a miracle...kind of like I feel when watching the sunset on my favorite marshland (bottom picture). These will be available soon on auction forever to be reminders of the two legged dog.
Happy new year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

...a merry little Christmas

A wet Christmas morning for Sunny after chasing ducks through water and wood. No one stirred at the pre-dawn call to watch the sunrise and look into the stockings hung with care on Christmas morn so Sunny and I had to answer. We were home before the cock finished crowing and no one was the wiser (till they went to the larder and spied the Christmas goose (ducks in this case). I have turned down the thermostat on painting the past few weeks to get some cabinets built in the old shop.  Sawdust and slivers have been the fashion around here lately but come middle of January I think I will get crackin' on some backed-up commissions and get some new work posted for sale on the bay and etsy.  Here's just a little heads up to let you know I'm still alive and wallowing in mighty grace from God.  I wish a merry Christmas and happy holiday to all my friends and patrons...looking back on this year I see that wallowing has put me in good stead. The Savior is kind and full of promise and old legs full of titanium still kick, eyes still see for hands to still paint.  Mighty grace from God in like manner to you and yours.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Fall Paintings

Fall is here, there's a crispness to the 78 degree air that's circulating 'round the old studio this week and pictures come over the news feed of snow and tornadoes in far away places. (How else could Tucsonans appreciate the seasonal dissidence?) As well as shaking up the palette from time to time with new colors I continually add new brushes.  This practice is brought on by necessity as much as inventiveness.  Brushes wear out and got too nasty to use. So, I experiment with new tips every so often, having my old stand-byes waiting at the ready in case something fails with the news ones and there's an explosion. The precipitous drop in temperatures this past month and new paint brushes are responsible for the paintings shown here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


There are things you are born with. They are as inescapable as your own DNA and love for your mother. That is how it is with my fondness for ducks. One would think you could take the boy out of the swamp, place him in a dry desert land for thirty years and the marshyness would dry up right out of his blood. Well, not so. The dynasty band has jumped on my wagon and I'm not too happy about it. I have been bog slogging once again (not to be confused with blog sogging which is what I'm doing now) and the wetlands are awash with wannabee fowlers and they are testing my patience. The true love of the duck is an inherited trait passed down from generations of royal blood imbued with the rankness of rotting cattails, mud, and  muskrats and a heart that beats in rhythmic syncopation with the wingbeat of every wild goose flying south for the winter. You do not become a waterfowler by watching uncle Si on Wednesday nights. I need to paint a bird or two to get this out of my system. The tire swing pictured here is part of my therapy...also I am selling off part of my duck herd.  I have too many beautiful Black East Indie ducks.  Seven are for sale.  If you're interested in either you can find more info. here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sailing Pheasants

Beautiful brace of ring neck pheasants.  Ahh, reminiscent of days gone by.  It has been too long since the savoryness of upland game from the north country has graced my table.  These two fellows were persuaded to sit as models for my still life painting sometime back in 1995.  As I recall, these were hanging just outside my shop door in Billings, Montana. Of course it must have been in October or November of that year...the founding of my unsuccessful catch-and-release hunting club. I came about this long lost painting through a series of unfortunate events. But like a faithful boomerang it came back to me...one of my very first oil paintings. The long painting of slippery sloops is a brand new effort. It will be made available for purchase here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fearsome Foursome. California/Arizona

The weather change has been nice.  Warm days with dry cool breezes and fresh evenings make for open windows, no air conditioners or swamp coolers and... happy paintings.  We went to the Getty museum a couple of weeks ago, swam in the surf, and thoroughly enjoyed Los Angeles'  traffic-filled freeways.
I've picked up a new tube(or 2) of pricey oil paint and, as I've mentioned before, it's always nice to change things up with a new color on the palette.  Two of these are sold but the others are presently available here.
With the recent inspiration from the J. Paul Getty and my near-death-drowning in the surf at Huntington beach stay tuned for some fall colors.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Scorpions, Spiders & Art

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have a guitar once owned by Roy Rogers and an original water color painting by Edgar Payne. I think that wraps up the list of stuff I own that once belonged to famous people. A scorpion (a large one) greeted me as I entered the shop two nights ago. I don't know why I was carrying a flashlight but I was. I was barefoot and almost stepped on him but since the episode with the parachuting spiders I've been a little leery of just traipsing into the studio at night with my mouth open. My first thought was that I should be wearing something on my feet. My second thought was; "Oh, there's my flip-flops, I'll just grab one and use it to smash the little death-tailed monster".. I did, he's in the trash ...next time I'll throw him to the chickens. Here's a couple more paintings that remind me of famous people and spiders and scorpions.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Windy Point 28x24, Repose 24x8, Tarantula

A nice eery illumination cast blue flickers of light as I sat staring at the computer screen late one night. Oftentimes spiders will dangle from the basement ceiling, silhouetted in the monitor's rectangle limelight.  They put on a little show till a quick squeeze between my fingers puts them out of sight. This night however there were a number of the little parachutists dropping in for a midnight invasion. I could see their streamers soft and white glowing in the half light and then...I could feel them all over me. I pulled at the thin strands of web, for by now they were many. When I attempted to brush them off it seems to have dislodged a whole nest of thousands of  mite-sized eight-leggers. They fell to my right and hit the ground with an audible thump... But not before half landing on my right shoulder and hand. They would have nested in my hair or carried me off had I not thought fast to produce an always-at-hand trusty bottle of spider spray. We do indeed have a lot of creepy creatures around here and especially this time of year.  The tarantula pictured above is a new friend. Him and his pal come out every night on the pool deck to creep us out as we go for an evening dip. I found their nest and dug this guy out of the ground yesterday to take a picture of him. They vary quite a bit and this little beauty with his rich colors reminds me of the paintings pictured here. I hope you enjoy them...and that they don't give you nightmares.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt, Cloud Craft, Mist

My coolness factor just plummeted...or I've just been given another goal for my life. I'll decide later. I've read most of TR's writings and several biographies about him. Lofty ideals abound in this studio thanks to Teddy but the evasive masterpiece still looms somewhere out there on the horizon.  These two new ones incorporated the use of a palette knife and some new tube colors. They are available for purchase here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Three's Company

My brushes with celebrity are only rivaled by my brushes with death at the fang and claw of dangerous creatures (and rivers). Twice I've fallen through crystal ice into frigid waters up to my neck, far from warmth and rescue; once into current that nearly swept me under its icy coffin lid into darkness and the watery nether-world. Actually, I've really not encountered celebrities as much as I've come into contact with their stuff, ...stuff of legends mind you.  You can see below in ancient blog-posts references to Elvis' sunglasses, Bod Dylan's furniture, Eric Clapton's guitar picks and Janis Joplin's rock-n-roll hall of fame trophy. This, not to mention that BD is my adoptive uncle from the Iron Range where I spent many a youthful hour picking thimble berries (almost always while avoiding a mild mauling by black bears) and courting a girl (girls) from the north country.
None of this compares, however, to the magnitude of joyful delight and drama that the daily routine of a hot cup of tea early am brings me.  I sit outside watching the ducks hop around their pen, splashing away with nary a care and I contemplate the Scripture passages laid open on my lap ...and the next attempt at a masterpiece.  This sunrise view of each day never fails to portend something new and exciting.  THE masterpiece hasn't been achieved yet and the mouth of a big-mane lion has yet to clamp down on my right thigh. Until then I will keep seeking the lost chord (the Moody Blues really didn't find it) and the other lofty goals mentioned here. The paintings pictured are another feeble attempt...but they're coming along.  Available here on eBay.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Elvis' Sun Glasses, I Miss You 18x24, Lake Glow 18x24

My friend Jack is a Hungarian, German actor/musician (famous in Europe). He has these cool shades that were given by Elvis to his body gaurds and band mates. This pair was found in Graceland shortly after his death (not long after I saw him in concert)  I can't quite remember the story on how Jack came to acquire  them but they were from one of the band members. They are gold and make you feel like a king...kind of like how I felt while making these latest two paintings available here for your viewing and purchasing pleasure. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Split Earth 10x8. Rolling By 20x16, Over The Grain 12x24

Three new ones. The 20x16 might go to the Colorado gallery...They're all available here for purchase consideration. I have been using the same old, chisel-on-stone (cuneiform) technique for years now, both for my studio uploads and landscape / sky photography. I think with the onset of monsoon season a new camera is in order...something that will take great sky shots.  I'm sure there will be a marked improvement in the work to come so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

As the storms move in so do the desert bugs. Apart from time in the studio my life is now occupied with keeping crawling creatures at bay. The left foot was attacked, is riddled with black ant bites.  The tiniest of critters these little mites climbed my leg as I watered the ducks the other day.  Sudden pain and swelling like you can't believe with a burning and itching sensation that i thought were only reserved for wasps and red ant stings coursed up and down my titanium-filled foot and calve.  I was wearing thin flip-flops that present their own problems.  There's a lot of thorns around here and I'm always having to fix a flat, as it were, by pulling out a barbed twig stuck to the sole and poking through to my tender underfoot. I shook off the rubber thongs and leaped and yelped and tried to rub the little blighters off as they stuck fast like chicle on hot tar. Today (three days later) the swelling is down but there are still red welts that itch from my big toe to above the ankle. All this helps me paint; the ducks, the thorns, the bites, the stings.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bomb Cloud 30x24, Sidelong Glance 9.5x 24

This is what I listened to on my morning run today; Jakob Dylan, Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss and The Cars. I almost never listen to music when I paint anymore. I thought of that as I chugged along drooling and shuffling to Just What I needed (The Cars). I don't like to take the dogs on a serious run either. They are both good companions but times have changed and so has my metabolism. In reality, if I take along just the one the other mournfully drools at the door til we get back...and I feel bad.  If I take the two of them, well, all heckification breaks loose as they vie for position and attention and try to chase every feathered and furry creature that comes in sight (something they almost never do solo) So, I plug in the ipod and let my mind drift and hope for a good tune that matches my rhythm. I think I will try to paint by "Prancersize" and see how that works. I'll post some pics of the first painting I do while prancing. Paintings available here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thinderbird calls Your Name When You're Not listening

The drag marks ran about 75 feet heading toward the wash. The dry river bed (yes, we have riverside property) is wide and forested with lots of desert flora (cactus, thorn trees etc,) Eddie blasted through the studio door huffing and wincing and holding up blistered palms. Turns out that while he was walking Liberty, (the chocolate donkey) the bad dog (Billie) thought it was time to play. The burro had other ideas and hauled the boy kicking and screaming and skidding into the desert. He finally had to let go of the lead and both donkey and dog went running wild downstream trailing about twenty feet of rough rope... off into the sunset like so many old cowboy movies made here in Tucson.
I was able to employ my legendary tracking skills for the first few hundred yards then the trail went cold. Eddie found Libby hiding in the long purple shadows of a stand of dead cottonwood trees about a half mile off. So was this, another day of peaceful painting brought to an abrupt end by the antics of careless, cavorting canines and wild and reckless runaway rascals. These paintings are available here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It Never ends...New Summer paintings

Here's a pile of new paintings. Dogs have litters, lions come in prides and cookies are made in batches. Well, my paintings are found in piles.  I really don't want to overwhelm with high-brow, artsy lingo so I'll keep my techno-chatter to a minimum and let this little "chorro" of pieces small and large speak for itself.
I have great stacks of photos of trees and clouds scattered about the studio. Sometimes I'll take a glance at a picture and let my imagination run wild. Making art from memory and mental telepathy can be hazardous. I find that paintings made like this really only work if the subject is something you're very familiar with. A good practice is to take a sketch book along with you and take notes of stuff. So, even if you don't have time to go outdoors and paint you're making progress in observation and that goes a long way for both art and transcendental meditation. However, regarding meditation, I don't recommend "emptying" your mind as you meditate...it's bound to be filled with something and if you don't direct it that something might not be good. Just a little free tip for the day.
"...Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Aeolian Harp, Winter's Glow, Narcoleptic Chicks

Speaking of narcolepsy, once again I fell asleep at the movies. Granted, it was nap time (2:15 pm) and the action wasn't all that but really, did I have to go a-snoring during the discounted matinee once again?  However, in my defense, I am not as bad as the new chicks pictured huddled under the heat lamp in their cozy brooder above.  They frantically run hither and thither and all of a sudden drop over as if shot dead.  Two minutes later they are up and running helter skelter again like nothing ever happened. I think this is a micro-metaphore for life. I'm not sure how it works itself out in every detail but there is a gem of insight somewhere in there. These new paintings were designed to put you to sleep and encourage happy dreams only.  Available here for sale.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mike Mahoney, mountain artist extraordinaire is opening a new gallery in Crested Butte, CO. There is talk of the possibility of me doing a workshop at his place in the future. I will have to get my ducks in a row for this to happen as well as ol' Mikey figuring out scheduling etc. but if we can pull it off I think it will be a smashing good time.  It will probably be a two day affair with studio time, painting from photo reference (which is what I mainly do) and maybe some outdoors painting.  I hear there's some pretty scenery up in them mountains but really...can anything compare to the barren wastes of the desert in June? I'm doubtful but we will try to give it a shot. I'll let the blog know as info. comes available.  For the time being, enjoy these new little gems fresh out of the oven. If you paint or are just starting, feel free to contact me with questions or just to chat. Sharing from the little bag of painterly knowledge that hangs off my belt is what I like to do. More often than not though, I steer folks to the painters that have large sacks slung over their backs that overflow with precious stones of hard-earned and gleaned wisdom from years of driving brushes through canvas.
These new ones are available here.