Monday, December 31, 2012

Slow Fall Into the Bog, Oil on Linen, 9x12 (SOLD)
This was painted in fast fading afternoon light. Within minutes of setting up my easel, the sun was obliterated by a thick bank of clouds. I knew I had only a few minutes to capture the light before it faded to beige. There's a special look to a painting that is painted fast and furious. It has the look of  adrenaline.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Calm Before the Storm, 24 x 36, Oil on stretched linen (SOLD)
Revised 1/8/13
Please come to my exhibit at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin. I have been working towards this show for three years. With thirty some paintings, this is my largest show to date. I'm calling it "Treasured Places" because they are. The opening reception is this Friday, January 11, 6:30 - 8:30pm. There are 5 other artists also having their opening receptions at the Phipps that night. You'll find me in the Commons Gallery on the upper level.  I would love to see you there. The show runs through February 10, 2013. I will also have a few paintings hanging in the Hudson Public Library for the duration of the Phipps exhibit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Railroad Bridge, 14x18, Oil on Linen
I thought I posted this over a month ago. I guess I didn't. You have a few more days to see it and a whole lot of other paintings by some really good plein air painters at FrameWorks Gallery in Saint Paul. It's part of the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota Members Show.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Progress, 16x20, Oil on Linen
It so happened that the Union Depot was celebrating its grand opening while I was a few blocks up the street painting the construction site of the new Lafayette Bridge. Just as the sun dropped below the old bridge, the skylights went on in the newly renovated depot. The building in the right of the painting is an old commodities warehouse that was turned into living workspaces. This building is dear to me because it's where I lived and worked when I moved to Saint Paul in 1990.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lonely Beach, Oil on Canvas, 20x24
Unity Federal Credit Union in downtown Saint Paul asked to hang a few of my paintings in their lobby. This is one of the ones they asked for. It's a painting I did 2 years ago, so of course I had to do a little work on it before I brought it to them. Actually, I have fresh paint on about 90% of the surface. This is one of those paintings that I knew exactly what I wanted to do to it for months but a thousand other things kept me from it. I finally feel like it's done.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Park Bench, Oil on Linen, 16x12 (SOLD)
I was quite surprised to see that it has been so long since my last post. August and September were busy months. For a short time in September my paintings were in 7 different venues. That is an all time record for me. Thank you to everyone who came by during Art Crawl last weekend. We had a really nice time visiting with all of you.

 You have a couple more weeks to see the Project Art for Nature show at the Stillwater Library Gallery.

My goal this month is to launch my painting web site. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fog at Dawn, Oil on Linen, 16x12
One of two paintings that will be part of the Project Art for Nature (PAN) exhibit Earth, Air, Water, Life at the Stillwater Public Library Gallery September 8 through October 29. Each painting is accompanied by a label written by the artist. The label for this painting reads: The wide expanse, so beautiful to look at while dawn's fog has not yet burned off, Lake Pepin’s natural flora are threatened by the increased rates of sedimentation from upstream sources, leading the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance to call the phenomenon a “wet desert.” The lake is filling in at a rate ten times greater than pre-colonization, due largely to increased run-off from farms along the Minnesota River.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Receding Fog, Oil on Linen, 18x24 (SOLD)
This studio painting is based on a 9x12 study I did a couple weeks ago at the Parley Lake Winery Paintout. I got there about 6:30am just as the fog was starting to lift. I painted fast and furious to try to capture the effect. Yesterday I painted this larger studio painting quite quickly as well. There is something you capture when you don't give yourself time to second guess what you are doing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Members of Project Art for Nature will be showing in the Stillwater Library Gallery September 8 through October 29. We each will have two or three pieces in the show. This show is different in that it has an environmental learning component built into it. Each of the artworks is accompanied with a label written by the artist that addresses issues concerning a geographic area that artist has focused on. My focus has been the Lake Pepin area. There is a reception on Thursday, September 13 from 5:30 to 7:30. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Loring at Dawn, Oil on Linen, 16x12
It was kind of cool  showing up for the Basilica Block Party 5 hours early. Of course I was out of there 2 hours before the festivities began.
Bay City Bay, 14x18, Oil on Linen
The fact that I haven't posted in over three weeks does not mean I have not been painting. In fact I have been painting more than ever, getting ready for a 3 person show at Grand Hill Gallery in Saint Paul during the month of August.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Saint Paul at Dawn, Oil on Linen, 12x16 (SOLD)
After 23 years of living in Saint Paul, I still get a thrill from its old buildings and bridges along the mighty Mississippi. The bluffs surrounding the city on three sides afford the viewer unrivaled panoramas. When I first moved here, many of these views were choked off by buckthorn and weed trees. In recent years, there has been an asserted effort to get rid of these and plant native ground cover. Once again many of the panoramic views the cities founders were so careful to preserve, are enjoyed by all.

I arrived at this location right at sunrise while it was still cool. Later in the day the thermometer made it up into the mid nineties.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wash, Oil on Linen, 11x14 (SOLD)
20 minutes before sunset I saw the light in our back yard and I had to paint it. I had enough strong notes to be able to paint until well after dusk. Still I came back the next evening and fixed some values.

This is one of 8 paintings I've painted in the past week. It's been a huge week for me, since some of them are 16x20s and 14x18s done on location. Depending on the weather, I've been getting up around 4:30am to be set up by sunrise painting. Sooner or later, I'll get around to posting some of them. I will also be going live with my website in the next few weeks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Picking Up Two, Oil on Linen, 18x24 (Sold)
(revised 1/9/12, 1/12/12, 6/14/12)
As  a plein air painter, I have to admit I am not a purist. A purist starts and finishes a painting on location. The original field study for this painting was done two and half years ago. This is the third time I've worked on this studio version. The way I see it, is that if I think I can improve the painting, i'm going to try. 

The field painting was more of a mid day painting. The sun was over my right shoulder at an angle that obliterated just about all the shadows from the rocks and there was no tug boat. The tug came as I was finishing up, so I snapped a reference photo. On the original studio version, I wanted to get more of a late afternoon feel with long shadows on the rocks. So I put the sun over my left shoulder and reversed all of the shadows and warmed the colors from the previous painting. 

This time, I needed to deal with the fact that the barge is at a different angle than the tugboat and back barge. They are at a different angle because they have not been tied together yet. I have attempted to capture the moment that they make contact. I remembered that there was a barge hand at the fore ready to untie the cable as soon as another hand tied the two together. I felt it was important to put this deck hand on the painting so the viewer would understand what is going on. The barge is "picking up two" more barges.  So I took a photo of myself posed the way I remembered the deck hand looked and used that as a crude reference to paint from.

And of course, you can never fix one thing without fixing a few dozen other things, like warming up the sky, rocks and water and generally repainting the painting.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where Night and Day Meet, Oil on Linen, 20x16
That fleeting moment in time when the trees are still shrouded in night but the sky is illuminated with morning light. The day has not yet begun to heat up and a cool breeze freshens everything. Later in the day it will be 93º and humid with strong southerly winds. I'm grateful to beat the heat and to witness the beauty that is sunrise in Minnesota.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Rooster Crows, A Crow Caws, Oil on Linen, 14x18
Another dawn painting, this one was also painted over the course of two mornings at the same location. It's a great time of day to see wildlife. I saw deer, turkeys, hawks, an unidentified yellow bird that was not a goldfinch or an oriole, countless herons, and the reason for all the hawks - rabbits! Lots of rabbits. Did I mention I saw all this within the city limits of West Saint Paul.

The shadow across the foreground was a very fleeting effect. It lasted for only a few minutes. I used the second morning to verify my values. It's easy to second guess oneself. I turns out, I was pretty close the first morning and so I mostly added details on the second outing. Please forgive the glare in the photo. For some inexplicable reason, this painting was exceedingly hard to photograph.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dawn of a New Summer, Oil on Linen, 18x24 (SOLD)
revised 8/25/12
This is a studio painting roughly based on a plein air painting I did in March called Dawn of a New Spring. For me, a painting is successful if you get the sense of the temperature and humidity of the day. The Spring painting was done on location while we were still in a drought. There was no snow and the grasses showed no sign of life. The clouds burned off minutes after sunrise and everything faded to beige. I wanted the studio painting to feel much warmer and wetter than the earlier painting. To me, it looks like it's either going to rain, get really hot, or both.
Dawn of a New Spring, Oil on Linen, 12x16
March, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Restoration at Dawn, Oil on Linen, 16x20
This prairie restoration is close to where I live. Judging by the height of the plants, I'd say there was a controlled burn less than two weeks prior to when I painted this. I'm looking forward to visiting this site throughout the growing season. 16x20 is a pretty large plein air painting for me so I painted on location for 2 short sessions on consecutive mornings. The first morning, I covered the canvas and captured the strafing light on the hill crests in record time. The second morning, there was a haze in front of the sun but I was able to witness this beautiful sunrise sky and work on the shadowy foreground detail. Still there was more refinements needed in the studio.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Relief from the Heat, Oil on Linen, 16x12
I've never been a big fan of  paintings of posed models. I prefer paintings of people doing natural things. You'll see people as small components in my paintings because that is what I can capture quickly on location. A couple little dabs and viola–a person off in the distance. I am working on my first studio painting in quite some time where people are the focus of the painting.

Who's Your Friend? Oil on Linen, 9x12
This was painted a couple months ago, but I got busy and never documented it. I love the colors of winter. The sun is low in the sky all day, giving off those golden rays that in the summer are limited to dawn and sunset.
Bottoms Floral, Oil on Canvas, 11x14
Yet another painting from several years ago with a complete overall. I'm really having fun with these old paintings.

Thank you everyone who stopped in for a visit during the Saint Paul Art Crawl. If I didn't get an opportunity to talk with you, or you'd like a chance to see the work without distractions, send me an e-mail. I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Calming Waters, Oil on Canvas, 10x20
(revised 4/11/12)
This is painted from a field study I'd kind of forgotten about. The study was painted 2 years ago half way between Grand Marais and Grand Portage. Quite by accident we found this very isolated point just about a half hour before sunset. I painted a 9x12 in record time as the light faded.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flat Irons Meadow, 16x12, Oil on Canvas
I've been missing the mountains lately. Going through old paintings, I came across this one from a trip to Colorado a few years ago. Again, I liked the composition but not the brushwork. So I painted right on top of the original until there was not one square inch of the original painting showing. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feeling Their Oats, Oil on Linen, 12x16
(Revised 3-29-12)
On yet another 70º March day we ran across these two horses yucking it up. First one would whinny, then the other. Then they'd both stomp around. At one point, while they were out of view, I heard what could only be a horse kicking the barn door. I'm going to assume they were just having a good time, but one never knows.

Originally I painted the horses running , but for some reason, it didn't feel right, so today I straightened out their legs to make them appear to be just standing. It seems to fit the peaceful feel of the scene a little better.

Friday, March 23, 2012

James at High Water, Oil on Linen, 9x12 (SOLD)
Anyone who grew up in Jamestown, ND knows exactly where this was painted.  When I was in my teens, you would find me somewhere in, around, or on this lake most days during summer. This was painted last year. That wasn't that long ago. Still I got it out today to fix a couple minor issues and ended up basically repainting the whole thing.
Cows with a View, Oil on Linen, 9x12
Another one going to North Dakota next month. I should say it's going BACK to North Dakota. I painted this one a couple years ago outside Katherine North Dakota. I reworked about half of it this morning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Off the Preserve, Oil on Linen, 12x16
A rarity in the winter of 2011-12, snow. Still, I took advantage of every opportunity to paint it when it was around. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dawn of a New Spring, Oil on Linen, 12x16
I don't get out painting before dawn nearly enough! I had this canvas pretty well covered by the time the sun broke over the trees. Good thing too, because minutes after sunrise, the clouds moved off and with them the golds and pinks I love to paint.
Not Quite Gone and Forgotten, Oil on Canvas, 12x16
This is yet another painting from the past given new life. the original was painted in the Sheyenne River Valley of North Dakota several years ago. I pulled it out the other day and basically repainted it right on top of the original. I doubt very much that this old shed is still standing.

I have a show in Unison Bank in my hometown of Jamestown North Dakota during the month of May.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

 March Morning, Oil on Linen, 12x16
 Saturday morning in March
up before dawn
a blank canvas
looking for something to paint

March Afternoon, Oil on Linen, 12x16
Same day
afternoon sun
snow is almost gone
standing in a deer bed

Thursday, February 23, 2012

River Flats, Oil on Linen, 12x16
In a location better known as a great place to watch the big jets take off and land at MSP, I was treated to a sunset chorus of coyotes howling. Overlooking the Minnesota River, I had to remind myself how close I was to the downtowns of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Bloomington. You are looking at the results of decades of sedimentation; sediment that, in all likelihood, once covered farmers fields.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Early Morning Melt, Oil on Linen, 16x12 (SOLD)
It's feeling very Spring-like for the middle of February. I hiked up to the top of  a bluff just as the sun was making its entrance. Low and behold I was not alone. Who can resist mid 40s in February. Still I found myself drawn to the last lonely fragments of snow. Two to four inches are expected tonight. I hope they're right for a change. We could really use the snow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Snow Pass, oil on linen, 12x9
(revised 2/22/12)
You don't expect to get overheated when you go out and paint in the middle of the winter in northern Minnesota, but that's exactly what happened on our second morning out. Lee Englund and I had all our winter gear on when we started up the trail to this overlook on West Bearskin Lake. By the time we reached the pinnacle, we had shed layers and were sweating profusely while carrying half our clothing as well as all our gear. We learned a valuable lesson about winter painting. Have an extra bag for extra clothing. Carry your gear to your location and THEN put it on. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rendezvous, Oil on Linen, 12x9 (SOLD)
We've been back from the Winter Paint Out on West Bearskin Lake for a couple weeks now and I am just now getting around to posting this painting from that trip. I was struck at how small the people appeared beside these ancient behemoths. This trip to the north woods was an excellent reminder to keep a proper perspective.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So Warm for February, Oil on Linen, 9x12
(revised 2/16/12)
The only true blue sky painting of the week was painted after we had left Menogyn and took a little side trip up the Superior coast. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Superstition, Oil on Linen, 12x16
I no longer feel guilty about working on this one for 3 days. The painting is a lot better than it was 3 days ago even though I thought it was done then. I've sort of made up the rocks based on a group in the Superstition mountains of Arizona. You would think that would give me a lot of latitude in shaping them, but this is really not the case. The forces that shape mountains do so in a very specific way, and if you try to reshape them without considering how they were created, you will end up with mountains made of Play-Doh. 

Another challenge with this painting was shooting a photo of it. Months ago I thought I had figured out a technique to shoot my work, but recently I've changed how I apply the paint to the canvas, and as a result, there is more of a sheen to deal with. This is my best shot of this painting to date but I'm still not satisfied. The learning goes on.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tea Pot Rock, Oil on Linen, 11x14
Again, this is painted right on top of one I did three years ago while on a painting excursion to Sedona, Arizona. "Why not just start a new canvas?" you might ask. Because, besides the fact that I don't like to waste resources, I don't like to have bad paintings around; especially ones I painted. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Arizona 1, Oil on Linen, 12x16
(revised 1/17/12)
Three years ago we were in Arizona painting. The other day I was going through the reject pile and pulled out several from the Arizona trip. My goal this week is see if I can bring them to life. 

The original painting underneath what you are seeing here was kind of washed out and lackluster. I hadn't really captured the day and the rocks looked kind of loaf-like. This is a complete re-do of the original.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dan Patch and Lafayette, Oil on Linen, 12x16
Another reworking of an older painting, this one is from July of 2010. I was not satisfied with the sky in the original painting. I've since learned a bit more about making less go farther.
Ice Break, Oil on Linen, 12x16
(revised painting. The original was painted in February of 2011)
They had not yet begun construction on the Lafayette Bridge in Saint Paul when I painted this on location last winter. Yesterday with yet another snow storm avoiding us and with nothing to look at but barren frozen ground, I got out some older paintings that were crying for some touch-up work. This one was high on my list. It needed some color adjustment and got it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spring Melt, Oil on Linen, 18x24
(revised 1/12/12)
Happy New Year. We finally got a coating of ice and snow over the New Year's weekend, followed by strong cold winds. So I decided to stay home and do some studio painting. Spring Melt is based on a smaller field study that I painted in March of 2010. Every now and then it's good to check your progress as a painter. Although I did a fair job on capturing the day on the previous painting, it lacked a bit in anatomy. Perhaps it's just that this is a bigger painting, or that I took my time getting the drawing right, but I tend to believe that the reason it is better than the painting I did two years ago is that the lessons of four and five years ago are finally starting to sink in.