Friday, December 11, 2009

Morning on the Grotto Trail

I’m continuing my short series with a limited palette using reference photos from my trip to Southern Utah.

This is the view that I was greeted with one morning when I arrived at the Grotto Trailhead in Zion canyon. Shortly after I got there the clouds started moving in and this ended up being the only sun I saw until the next day!

9 x 12 oil on linen panel

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Taylor Creek #2

I’ve been thinking about ways to “punch” up values so, I thought I'd start a little series of higher contrast paintings just to see how far I can push things.

This was also done with a more limited palette than I've been using. Just the split primaries plus white.

I did this one from another of my images from Taylor Creek in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion NP.

9 x 12 oil on linen panel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Early Morning on the Trail

Yep, I'm still wading through my Red Rock photos. This was actually started on location but I just got around to working on it again.

It's an odd size (square) for me but I really think I like the format. I'm definitely going to try some more!

10 x 10 oil on linen panel

Original sketch

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Watchman #2

I’m continuing with my series of studies of Zion NP. In fact,  I probably have enough material to go for a while!

On my last day I took a hike down the Watchman trail, near the visitors center. Every direction produced a heart-stopping view!

So little time…


12 x 16 oil on linen panel

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taylor Creek Trail

Here’s another small study from my recent trip to Zion NP. This is actually from the Kolob Canyons section of the park. A trail runs 3 miles along a delightful creek, ending in a spectacular red rock grotto. But that’s the subject of some future paintings!

Because of the dense foliage, I decided to start with an under-painting of hard pastels washed with mineral spirits.

8 x 10 pastel on Pastelbord



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More from the Zion Trip

I’m still sorting through the studies and photos from my recent trip to Zion N.P. I have enough material to keep me in a Red Rock frame of mind for quite a while.

Here are a couple from that trip.

The first one is a study from one of the shuttle bus stops. It was 38 degrees that morning and this was some of the first sun to make it’s way into the canyon. It felt so good I didn’t want to move.

5 x 9 pastel on Wallis paper

This one is from the next morning. Mid 60’s. Much nicer! These are part of the Temple of the Virgin formation. Some weather was coming in creating some wonderful light over the mountain tops.

12 x 16 pastel on Pastelbord

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zion – The Watchman

My third day in Zion NP and really the first day I could do much painting. Day one - rain. Day two - 45 mph winds. Today - perfect (well, it was 38 degrees this morning so not quite perfect).

I have several pastels that I couldn't finish due to the weather so I'll work on them in the studio. I was feeling bad about not getting very far so I stopped by the visitor center parking lot on the way out and dashed this off.

8x10 oil on linen panel

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Zion Monolith

With luck, I'll be heading to Zion NP next weekend. Can't wait. I haven't been to Red Rock country in a while so I thought that I'd try to tune up a little with some practice.

Here's a quickie I did this afternoon to get in the mood. This is from a photo I took several years ago in Zion at the end of the road - just before the narrows trail. It's not the best photo but all I have today is my little digital point & shoot. 

9x12 pastel on Uart 400 paper

Here's some detail and the initial drawing after washing with some alcohol:



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tenaya Lake Hillside

I took a long weekend and drove up to the Eastern Sierras – around Mammoth Lakes. Saturday, on a whim, I decided to head up Tioga Pass and drop into Yosemite NP. I haven’t been there in years.

I didn’t really want to drive all the way down to the valley but I did spend some time in Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. Beautiful!

After a nice lunch on the lakeshore, I took my kit down the shore to find something to paint but ended up facing the opposite way – enchanted by a granite hillside with a huge fissure running across the front.

9x12 pastel on Wallis paper



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

China Cove

Got up and decided to go out and paint. Wait! It's Labor Day - In Southern California! After driving around trying to find a place to park - anywhere - I decided to just come back and paint in the studio.

So, here's one from a photo I took way-too-many years ago at Point Lobos. I’m still amazed at the color of the water in this cove.

11x14 pastel on Pastelbord


Here’s one of the thumbnail sketches that I did in preparation.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hidden Lake

Last summer, while on a fishing trip to Mammoth Lakes, I took my camera on a hike up into the high country. Somewhere along the trail I stumbled on a small, gorgeous lake. I never did get out the map to find out the name of this little lake so I just like to refer to it as Hidden Lake.

I’m trying different under painting methods with the pastels. On this one I scratched in some local color with some hard pastels and then washed it in with mineral spirits. Next try… watercolors.

9x12 pastel on Wallis paper

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sedona Sunset

I’m still working on the pastels. I really like the immediate results you get from these little sticks of pure color. The colors you lay down stay without changing values or shifting color like paint can do after it dries. Still a lot to learn, though…

This is form a photo I took many years ago in Sedona, AZ. One of the challenges of red rock landscapes is all the warm light that bounces around in the shadows – making them much warmer than you would normally expect.

9x12 pastel on PastelBord

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Desert Storm – Salton Sea

We don't get a lot of rain during the summer here in the Southern California deserts but sometimes the thunder storms come up from down south. When they do it's often worth braving the heat to see something like this.

Late in the day, as I was leaving the Salton Sea, I thought there might be a nice sunset so I stopped to set up and wait. The sunset was somewhat disappointing because of a sudden buildup of thunder clouds. I was thinking of packing up but as the sun disappeared, the light came back up under the clouds and it started to rain over the mountains. This was what I saw… and how I painted it. Nature never ceases to amaze me!



9x12 pastel on PastelMat

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Into The Sun

I'm still on my green kick after my trip to Michigan. I can't seem to get it out of my head. All you Eastern and Northern folk probably don't think it's a big deal but here in So. California everything is brown, dead and yuk! We do get a little green around early spring but I missed it last year - I was in the shower!

9x12 Pastel on Wallis Paper

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tawas Bay

Here's the next installment in my short series of scenes from Michigan in Pastel. This is still in progress so I'll update everyone on it's progress.

I'm trying a lot of new papers and sanded boards. This one is on the Ampersand Pastelbord.

9x12 Pastel on sanded panel

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Michigan Wildflowers

Here's my first study from the photos I brought back from Michigan a few weeks ago. It appears that I better make sure that I'm stocked up on green paints and pastels!

I've decided to work back into the pastels again. It's been a while and I'm still figuring them out. I'm thinking of doing a series on my trip using pastels. Stay tuned....

9x12 soft pastels on sanded paper

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Au Sable River Overlook

Just got back from Up North Michigan. Beautiful! Got lots of photos to keep me busy for a while.

Didn't get to paint out as much as I would like due to some rain and the ever-present, cruise missile sized mosquitoes. Yikes!

Anyway, here's one I dashed off between thunder storms from a lookout over the Au Sable river.


9x12 Open Acrylics on board

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Little Studies

Here are a couple more little quick studies. I'm staying small and quick to avoid getting sucked into all those little details that I like so much.

These were also both done in acrylics. I'm trying to get more comfortable with them before I head back to Michigan this summer. Flying the airlines with oils is becoming such a drama that I want to try a trip with acrylics. We'll see how it goes...


5 x 5  acrylic on board

8x10 acrylic on board

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fisherman's Cabin #2

I came across a photo that I've painted before and decided to paint it again using the new Golden Open acrylics. I'm still getting used to them but I think they could be an advantage outside so I'll keep at it.

8x10 acrylics on Gessoboard

Monday, June 8, 2009

Highland Valley Studios Festival

I stopped by on Saturday to this year's edition of the Highland Valley Studios Music and Arts Festival. It was nicely done in a beautiful setting and I believe a good time was had by all.


Highland Valley Studios is a growing center for artists here in San Diego County. They're offering a number of good looking workshops over the next year.

Check it out by clicking here.

Click here for some photos from the festival.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Website is Up!

Boy! It takes forever to build a new website. Especially if you do it from scratch - by yourself! What was I thinking?


Anyway, it's officially up and running now. I still have a lot to do on it and I'll be adding a number of new features and pages over the next few weeks (and months). But the basic framework is there.

Please stop by when you have a chance and let us know what you think....


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Palms in the Fog

All this Southern California fog (we call it May Gray - soon to be June Gloom) is making me nuts. So as they say - if you can't beat em.....

These fan palms are everywhere here so I found a place out of the drizzle and tried this scene. Sure hope the sun comes out again soon...

8x10 acrylics on board

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Palomar Mountain Lookout

I just couldn't get out to paint today - such perfect weather! Oh well, at least I had a chance to pull out some photos I took about 2 weeks ago at Palomar Mountain here in San Diego County.

This is one from the very end of the road looking east of the Palomar Observatory. This was probably the last of the spring green so I got a little heavy-handed with the greens. I just couldn't resist! 

8x10 oil on canvas panel

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dusk in Pala Valley

This is from a photo I took a few weeks ago when things were still a little green here in Southern Cal. The sun was down but there was still a lot of light left. Thank god for cameras because I never would have gotten enough paint on a canvas before it got dark!

12x12  oil on linen panel

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pala Valley Trail

Well, spring is almost gone here in Southern California. Everything is starting to dry out and the green is going fast. So, I decided to head out to the Pala Valley here in north San Diego County to look for a little remaining green.

This is a trail that I found a few weeks ago. A little bit of a hike but, so nice. And quiet too!

9 x 12  oil on linen panel

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Abandoned Barn

Another beautiful day at Daley Ranch here in Escondido resulted in this attempt of an old barn that's been on my list to visit for a while.

11x14 oil on linen panel

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More from Highland Valley Ranch

Local San Diego painter Patrick Korch hosted a paintout today at Highland Valley Ranch here in Ramona, Ca. The weather was incredible. There's still some green on the hills and the light was very nice.

This is a small study looking north from the ranch house.


8x10  oil on linen panel

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One More.....

I'm still working on little 30 minute studies to keep me honest - and things simple..

This was done at one of my favorite spots lately - Daley Ranch here in north San Diego county. I used a basic 3 color palette again but this time I added black. Just for fun.


 _MG_0103 - Version 2
6x8 oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Little Studies #5

Here's another quick study with a twist - I cheated! OK, I used 2 brushes and took about 45 minutes instead of my self imposed 30 minutes. What can I say - a moment of weakness....

This is another view from Joshua Tree NP. I might do this larger and change the direction of the light as this was at noon and the light was pretty flat.


8x10  oil on board

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Little Studies #4

Yep, I'm still working on the 30 minute, 1 brush, 3 color studies.

This was done at Joshua Tree NP last weekend. This has been fun so maybe I'll keep at it for a while.

6x8  oil on linen panel

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Little Studies #3

Here's another 30 minute, 1 brush study. I'm still trying to cut down on the fussy stuff and simplify the brush work.

This is nowhere in particular. Just something I remembered from somewhere...


5x7  oil on canvas panel

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Little Studies #2

Here's another quick study. I'm not only playing with limited palettes but I'm also putting a 30 minute time limit on these to help prevent excessive doodling.

This is the northeast corner of Convict Lake in the Eastern Sierras.


6x8 oil on canvas panel  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Little Studies #1

I'm trying out some new limited palette combinations by painting some small 6x8 panels. This is the first one using just 3 colors plus white. More on the way...


6x8 oil on canvas

Monday, February 23, 2009

High Lake Sunset (colorist version)

I've painted this image before but in a limited palette of colors. This time I decided to bring out all of the colors and get "colorful".

This lake is up above the community of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra. It's situated on a little plateau overlooking the bulk of the mountains in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. It's almost like an island sitting on top of a detached hill. Great Place. (Good fishing, too!)


8x10  oil on board

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Elin Pendleton Workshop

I spent this last weekend (3-day weekend, actually) painting at a workshop presented by Southern California painter Elin Pendleton. It was my second from her and, as expected, very well done. Elin is a great teacher and an fantastic artist. Visit her website or blog for a treat.

Elin has a color management system that's very helpful in maintaining consistency and harmony in a painting. As a series of exercises, we painted several studies based on different times of the day. Here are a few:

Mid-day light

Back lighting

Morning light

Fog / overcast

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bow Willow Wash

This is from a photo I took a couple of weeks ago in one of my favorite desert washes out in Anza Borrego State Park. Many of the better known palm groves have burned in recent fires or been damaged. This canyon still has several small groves scattered along a spectacular canyon. Can't wait to go back!

 _MG_0069 - Version 2
11x14 oil on linen board

Here are a couple of steps I remembered to photograph:

- This is the initial thumbnail sketch for positioning

- After a quick drawing, I added some transparent washes to establish the values.