Saturday, May 31, 2008


Here's a little study of a couple of trees on a hillside close to my home. I liked the way that both trees were so similar, complete with matching bushes in front. I decided to keep everything in the center of the frame of view. It's fun to break the rules now and then!

 _MG_0110 - Version 2
6x8  oil on linen panel

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oak Creek White Water

One of my favorite places to be is anywhere in the Southwest red rock country. I've been sorting through some old 35mm slides from Flagstaff and Sedona in Arizona. I found this image taken from a big rock right in the middle of Oak Creek and I had to try it!

 9x12 oil on linen

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Foothill Storm

We had a little late season rain last week. I was getting cabin fever so in between rain impulses I dashed out to the foothills close to my home and charged through this quick little study. I got back to the car just as it started to rain again.

6x8 oil on linen panel

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mill Creek #2

Another crummy day. Overcast, light rain and kinda windy. I was going to go out to the desert to paint but the winds were gusting to 30 mph. Hmmm...not!

So... I pulled out the photos again and tried this view of one of my favorite fly fishing creeks in Paradise Valley, Montana. It really is this green there! I almost used my whole tube of Cad Yellow!

12x16 oil on linen panel

Lake Cabin

I have several photos of my wife's family cabin on Lake Huron. It's very special to her and her siblings. I've made several attempts to capture the mood of this get-away.


_MG_0092 - Version 2
9x12 oil on linen panel

Photography and Painting - Part 1

So, what good is it?

When I made that fateful decision to start painting I did so under some delusions that my years as a photographer would flatten out the learning curve. Hello?!! Yeah, right. Having learned and taught photography I can now say that learning to paint is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I’ve got so much yet to learn!

When I was just starting to paint, everything was such a struggle. Well, everything is still a struggle. But the first things I began to feel comfortable with were the concepts of composition and framing. These are definitely skills that are common to both disciplines. Selecting a subject and eliminating the clutter is always an important requirement. Developing an “eye” for photography is one of those important yet difficult skills that often makes the difference between a good photo and a great photo. I’ve been working on it since I was 12 and it’s still elusive. What I have learned about composition as a photographer has been a priceless aid in learning to paint. Photographer or painter, here’s a skill that will improve all of your efforts.

Sadly, that’s about all that my photographic skills had to contribute to the “painting madness”. Don’t get me wrong, My cameras play an enormous role in painting. But not as you may think. More on that later. But otherwise, This has been like learning a new skill from the ground up.

Now, here’s the fun part! What I have managed to learn about painting has had an incredible, positive effect on my photo skills. How? Well, learning to create a focal point and simplify in a painting has spilled over to the way I approach my photo subjects. I’m finding it easier to frame my compositions and my photos are becoming less complicated and a little more to the point. If I don’t want to paint all of that detail, maybe it doesn’t need to clutter up my photos either? Go figure.....

Flower - Anza Borrego State Park

Also see:


Photography and Painting


I’ve been an avid photographer since I was 12. That means I’ve been at it for over @! years (Whoa, frightening! I’ll let you do the math). I've been painting for a fraction of that time. I often stop to think about the relationship between the two and how one can benefit the other.

I was recently asked a seemingly simple question on the WetCanvas forums about if and how I apply any of my approach to photographing a subject to the way I paint. I started to peck out what I thought would be an equally simple answer until I realized that it was turning into a small thesis. I figured that there was probably a size limit to the forum messages so I decided to move my answer over to this blog. It quickly started to grow even further out of control so I am going to split this up into a few different entries. What will follow are some thoughts about photography and painting.

Here are a few points that I will attempt to tackle:

    1.    Has it helped me learn to paint?
    2.    Has it effected the way I paint? Has painting effected   the way I photograph?
    3.    Painting from nature vs. painting from photographs
    4.    Photo equipment - what works best?
    5.    Photo processing - getting the best colors, values and details from your image.
    6.    Using a computer to paint by.

This is definitely a work in progress and will unfold over time. Please check back occasionally for new additions....


DS-ZN-0010 Zion National Park                                                  Nikon D200

Also see:

Part 1

Sunday, May 18, 2008

After the Storm

This was done in Zion NP in November. It rained all night and through the morning. During a break in the rain I ran out and found the valley cliffs covered with low clouds and mist.

12x18 oil on linen

Ke'e Beach, Kauai

Boy, I wish I had just done this Plein Air but, alas, it's from a photo that I took there several years ago.


8x10 oil on board

If I remember right, It rained like crazy about 10 minutes after I took this photo.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Along the Sunrise Highway

Took a drive up to the local mountains. Wow, everything is still green and the wildflowers! There was way too much to paint in one day so after I tried this scene I took lots of photos for later.

This view was right off the road that runs up to Laguna Mountain.

 _MG_0086 - Version 2
6x12  oil on board

I had an odd sized panel so I tried this as a wide format. Fun, actually. I want to try some more....

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vernal Pond | Daley Ranch

I keep forgetting just how much rain we had in Southern California this past winter. No, not a lot my other people's standards but for us... a lot.

This point was driven home last Sunday when I took my gear with me for a hike through Daley Ranch, a regional park here in northern San Diego County.

As I descended the trail into a small valley I saw something I've never seen in that location in the 10 years I've been hiking this trail. A pond complete with fresh cattails and a new resident population of frogs. Since I knew that it would probably be gone in a few weeks, it was an easy decision to stop ad paint it.


8x10  oil on linen

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Capistrano Spring

I took a short trip up the coast to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano. The good news? Everything is in bloom. Bad news? May gray! Lots of fog and dull light. Oh well. I took a shot at it anyway.


11x14 oil on linen board


Here's some detail: