Monday, July 27, 2009

Small Oil Studies

I'm really enjoying these tiny experiments in oil. They move fairly fast and I feel like I'm learning.

This little fellow was perched on the fire pit behind the studio one morning. Once Otis the Wonder Dog alerted me to his presence, I grabbed the camera and got several good shots. "Juvenile Starling" is 7x5.

I've always liked wild iris. Someone once asked me why I painted so many wildflowers... well... they don't run or fly away like most of my subjects! "Iris" is 6x4.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I had to take a break from the duck stamp today and work on something else. This was a fun little piece (9x12) and I think it was just enough to recharge my batteries. Now maybe I can finish that damn duck this week!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Under the Old Apple Tree

Fruit trees and bushes are teaming with life and the chance to shoot wonderful photos draws me and my camera throughout the year. Interesting compositions are everywhere in the tangle of branches and leaves. The trick is to simplify... easier said than done!

This sparrow seemed to enjoy the opportunity to torment Otis the Wonder Dog. It seemed to know Otis was no threat as it flitted and bounced from one low-hanging branch to the next. Otis was in serious "bird dog mode" making sure to point out the sparrow's location every time it moved.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Duck Stamp Tedium

I’ve spent the last few days working on an entry for the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s 2010 Waterfowl Management Stamp Contest. It’s been a few years since I’ve done one of these paintings and questioning my sanity for doing it this time. Good grief!
I don’t like the restrictions of stamp art. I don’t like the unyielding direction judges always take… leaning toward over-painted cartoon-like detail and unrealistic color instead of solid composition and accuracy. Heaven forbid any artist that might set forth on a painting outside the established norms of “typical” stamp art. Often some judges are barely qualified to jury a coloring book contest… let alone something to be considered fine art! It’s enough to make me pull my hair out (if I had any).
The winners of these contests are usually much more in line with illustrations than art… and no… they are not the same thing.
So I struggle… trying to keep some balance between solid artistic integrity (whatever that means) and the tedious detail and saturated color that always seems to pop the judges’ cork. Hopefully it will be near completion by the end of the week. I will post the image when I feel comfortable with my effort.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back in the Groove

Sometimes I just need to get the oils out and sketch. The last few days have not been easy and I've struggled to accomplish anything worthwhile. But late yesterday, I set up a small (10x8) canvas and started to work from a few photos I shot last winter. I worked quickly and the piece came together very well.

I really like this one.