Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Great-Horned Owl Triptych"

"Great-Horned Owl Triptych" oil
Since my return from the Birds In Art exhibition at the Woodson Museum in Wausau, the paint has been flying! The trip this year was especially inspiring and I'm riding this wave of productivity as long as it lasts. These little 8x8 studies were a lot of fun. I wanted to concentrate mostly on the brushwork and getting some big juicy blobs of paint down. One of the most difficult things for me is putting down a big fat brush stroke and then leaving it alone! I have a compulsion to fiddle with the paint until all the brushy painterly freshness is gone. I might have to start wrapping myself on the knuckles if that continues!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"Shiras and Sage"

"Shiras and Sage" 46x30 oil
This piece has been on and off the easel for over 4 months! It's by far the most adventurous (and largest!) oil painting I've attempted.
I wanted to convey the feeling of being in the Rocky Mountain west in the presence of unpredictable and dangerous wildlife. If you've spent much time in places like this, you'll eventually have an encounter when the outcome is in question for a moment or two. It could happen while hiking or maybe following a game trail through a willow thicket from one fishing spot to the next. Stepping into a small clearing and something out of place catches your eye. In an instant you realize you're already too close and this could end badly!
The wild look in the moose's eye helps to define the animals unpredictable nature. What will happen in the next instant is anyone's guess!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Grizzled Veteran"

"Grizzled Veteran" 30x15 oil
Reserved for the 2016 Southeastern Wildife Exposition in Charleston, SC.

Friday, August 28, 2015

In Memory of Otis the Wonder Dog

It was two days ago when I took Otis to our favorite fishing spot. We never catch much to speak of at this place, but there is a big rock where we can both sit and watch the carp swim by. This time we were not fishing... just watching... and Otis' tail was wagging with joy, as it always is when we come here. Otis leaned hard against my leg as if to comfort me and I scratched his ears.
A drizzling rain started shortly after we arrived and neither of us cared. The rain actually helped to hide the tears that were now flowing freely. It would not be the last time the tears would come. We both knew the day was fast approaching when he would have to leave and we were spending every moment possible doing things he loved.

So today I lost my best friend and my heart is heavy. For the past 12 years Otis the Wonder Dog has been my constant companion. He was given the title of "studio assistant" when he was old enough to pick out a toy and drop it on my foot. This of course was the signal I needed to take a break and do something fun... which we almost always did.

His illness was short and he did not suffer. For that I am grateful. Somewhere during that time I came to realize just how quiet and lonely this house would be without him. He has slept beside me on the bed since he was a puppy and I will miss his reassurance of his muffled snoring and the occasional twitch of puppy dreams in the dark. If I would get up during the night, he would always steal my spot and pretend to be asleep when I came back. Of course he loved to ride in the truck and the regular trips to the post office will never be the same. In his later years he came to love going out on the lake in the kayak even more. It was impossible to be anything but happy when we did things like that.
A sweet boy to the very end, he was always quick with doggy kisses (whether you wanted them or not)... especially if I was having a bad day. If I was sick, he would refuse to leave my side. Once when I managed to injure myself, he slept for three nights with his head on my neck and chest. It was the only time he ever did this.

This sweet nature seemed, at times, to be the glue that held our family together. I jokingly said to a friend once that because of this, I should have named him Elmer.
"Otis" however, was the name that fit. The first days of our partnership, when he was only 6 weeks old, his tiny legs had some trouble negotiating the terrain of my yard. He staggered from side to side and often took a short tumble before resuming his playful romp. So Otis it was, his namesake being the happy harmless town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show (many of you are probably not old enough to remember that!).

Our sweet boy lead a happy and playful life. Now that he is gone, there seems to be a void in the world that can never be filled. We were lucky to have him with us as long as we did.
Miss you bud.