Friday, January 22, 2010

Stress of the "Quick Draw"

With the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) right around the corner, I've got plenty to keep me busy. Yet there is a constant gnawing in the back of my mind over the "Quick Draw" event during the show. These events give artists an hour to complete a painting as the crowd looks on. Then the paintings are framed and auctioned. The event is certainly not mandatory, as there are, in this case, about 30 artists participating. So, yes, I chose to do this! An hour to complete a painting?! Speed is not exactly an outstanding characteristic of my art... and now, with SEWE only a couple of weeks away... I'm feeling as though my decision to participate in the "Quick Draw" should probably be filed under "What the hell were you thinking?!" What will I paint? Has anyone ever had a colossal failure or a meltdown during one of these events? What if the painting is just awful? How many people will be watching? Will my hands be shaking so bad I can't paint? Sheesh! I just hope I don't end up with an ulcer by the time this is done.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Thaw

I decided to take advantage of the afternoon sunshine today and spend some time outdoors. I visited a new bald eagle nest nearby, but the eagles were nowhere to be seen. I waited a while for them to return, but I was not in the proper frame of mind to sit and do nothing. With the eagles firmly on the back burner, I concentrated on smaller... more manageable subjects. Woodpeckers and nuthatches were seemingly everywhere. The flurry of activity made me wonder if they were enjoying the sun as much as me.

I was hoping to get some good shots of chickadees as well, but they always seem to know. I've had them literally land on the bill of my cap while standing near a feeding station... but once the camera is in my hands, they prove quite elusive for me. Even when they are in camera range, they never sit still long enough for me to frame a shot and fire the shutter!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Muleys and Sage" 12x10 acrylic on masonite

As you may have noticed, since my September '09 trip out west, I've been working mostly with western subjects and compositions. I love the Rocky Mountain west (though I don't get to visit near as much as I'd like) and the recurrence of this western theme will be a staple in my art for years to come.

A variation on the same idea used for "Mountain Meadow", this painting includes the additional element of a young mule deer buck as the main focal point. The placement of the deer in the upper portion of the composition and the vertical format add a feeling of height. I've found that sagebrush is easily manipulated to enhance composition and relatively easy to paint. The subtle blue-green color makes the small splashes of accent color really pop. I almost wish I'd have painted this piece a bit larger.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Personal Assistant

It's not easy spending day after day grinding away at the easel, but I love it. Fortunately for me, my studio companion has one job and does it very well... he entertains me. Today, as I set my palette up, got my cup of coffee, and started to work, Otis the Wonder Dog took up a position where he could watch my every move and occasionally lean forward and lick my face! I couldn't help myself and after a while, simply started to laugh. That's usually all it takes to send Otis on a romp around the studio. Today he grabbed "Clyde Frog" (his giant floppy stuffed frog that grunts when he squeezes it) and took off running and wagging his tail. He taunted me... daring me to grab it... and when I'd try... zoom! He'd take off running again. Thanks buddy... for adding a little levity to my world.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Website!

To kick off 2010, I've installed a new website for my art. It's easier to navigate than the old one and all my newest work from the past year. Click on the logo above to check it out.

Happy New Year everyone!