Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, December 30, 2011


Winter Melody
At this time last year, i was hunkered down painting still life's with intense studies of colors, values, shapes and compositions. This Winter i have found myself drawn to nature with the intent of having the uncomfortable cold and wet show up in my work, and some interesting things are occurring.
First, due to atmospheric conditions, i am finding such wonderful colors that work together in a more harmonious way as opposed to the intense lights and darks of summer. I have limited my palette to only four colors (Ultramarine, Alizarin, Burnt Sienna, Cad. Yel. Lt.) and white. But, most importantly, i see a vibrancy showing up that i don't think was there three weeks ago. To me, the subjects are coming to life and shimmering on the panel in such a way that is inspiring and exciting.
Even though i painted this one in the studio, i used similar colors and values from a recent painting i did in the field that elicited the same vibrant results. And, i think that my Winter studies are taking me in the direction i was hoping for..... to show the life, truth, inspiration, and depth of what is right in front of us with the moody natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Surprise

One night last week, i found myself unable to sleep. In the past i would toss and turn for hours until slumber arrived; but not this time, this time was different......
I, not so quietly, lumbered to my studio and began to paint a Christmas decoration that during this season, resides on our dining room table.
I studied and painted, and studied and painted, and studied and painted some more, all the while enjoying the juicy reds and golds of the yuletide decor. Finishing the painting at 1:30am, i cleaned up and tried for sleep again, with much more success this go around.
Now, i wanted to post this for two reasons. First, it's appropriate for this week, but second, i wanted to express the importance of seizing the moment. One is not always sure about the timing an inspired moment will come, and i feel it's important to always keep your eyes and thoughts open to anything that may come your way. Now i realize that painting in the middle of the night may seem a bit extreme to some, but it was a great exercise as well as a chance to burn up some energy that might otherwise be wasted on frustrated tossing and turning.
Wishing you a merry and inspired Christmas as you seize your moment....

Friday, December 16, 2011

In Search of Depth

If we've heard it once, we've heard it a million times, timing is everything, and it holds true for my most recent work. I made the short trip to the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway, just off Andresen and 18th in Vancouver,WA. I have thought of painting there, but usually on a casual level and now i have a serious reason.....fog.
Most of the trees have shed their leaves to reveal their most interesting skeletons of beauty. Add in an early morning, fog, and some depth of field and Whoa, look out. All the makings for some great and interesting subjects to paint. So long as you can stand, like a popcicle in one spot for a few hours on a chilly morning.
Story Tree
One of my main goals in painting is give the viewer a soulful experience. This is something the late 19th century Russian painters were masters at, and they told amazing stories with their work. Not that they had a corner on the market, many great painters have told stories with their work, but i tend to gravitate to the Russian style of painting and subject matter. Much of their work was of subjects that, at first glance, you might not think would make a for good painting. But they had a knack for painting the truth about a subject in a very deep, soulful and meaningful way. And though my eyes, heart, and soul do i strive to push the pile forward.
I think that seeing the raw, beautiful, and honest shapes of trees with leaves aground on a gray and foggy day can be a moving experience; and oooooh, i can't wait to do the nocturne.
One only needs to stop, look, and listen to the thundering silence of nature.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Salute You.

Old Glory I
After painting my previous post's work, i sat in my jeep to warm up and think of what to paint next, where to go..... Just north of my ponder lied a modest building. Atop the structure, jetted a stout pole adorned by a large American flag that rolled about with the fluidity of an ocean wave in an almost non-existent breeze. I decided to study the flag, study its motions, study it's struggles to stay a flutter as the wind came and went.
As i studied the flag and its movements, i became mesmerized by its reactions to the light breeze. At times during it's dance recital, the red and white stripes flowed as if ribbons of silk were being pulled from a never ending bobbin. It was truly stunning. I decided right then and there that i was to put together a collection of portraits of our nation's flag in different poses.
On my way home last night, trying to figure out which painting to blog about, the profound remembrance and importance of December 7 came over me, and i felt my decision made. In an effort to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation on that fateful day so many years ago, known to all in two words as...... Pearl Harbor. I offer this humble rendition of Old Glory in your memory and my way of publicly saying, thank you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Texture of The Academy

Academy Ruins II
Over the Thanksgiving Day weekend I painted quite a bit, which allowed me to get into a painterly groove. I could see my vision alter in just a short period of time where i would see things in brush strokes or slabs of color and not so much as subject. I find that when i get on a roll and have some intense time with paint and brush that i start to walk or paint on that knifes edge of where things come easier. Unfortunately due to a full-time job, those zen-like states-of-mind are harder to come by than i would like.
One afternoon i went back to the The Academy and painted this scene that has been on my mind ever since the original Academy Ruins was painted. The rundown brick structure is a perfect subject for painters and photogrophers, and i will most certainly return for yet another view of this lovely building. Come to think of it, i will create a collection of Academy Ruins with various compositions of this building. Sounds like fun huh?....
Why paint something cute and pretty and clean when i can bang shoulders with something that's been around the block. Something that's tough and hard, something that's full of history and texture, and doesn't care if i put my elbows on the table as i mowe down another pizza painting. Load me up! and pile on the toppings, its time to eat.....I mean paint.
Brushes Up! Now pass the napkins....