Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thinking Fall... and Bow Hunting

The last few cool nights have really got me thinking about early fall archery season (like I need an excuse). Of course, today was the day I picked for a long walk in the deer woods... and it was nearly 90 degrees out. I spent about 2 hours out in the heat tromping the bush. I ended up tired and soaked with sweat. I even stumbled upon about 20 well-tended pot plants in a little clearing. That's a first!
I bought myself a new toy this year... a digital scouting camera. It's been kind of exciting thinking about locations to set up the camera for some pre-season deer surveillance. Since this is my first experience with a digital scouting camera, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Much to my delight, this sleek 8-point paused long enough for a pre-dawn photo.
I thought it was interesting that the deer was looking directly at the camera. I suppose in the darkness, the tiny red light that indicates the motion sensor had been activated is readily visible. It sure got this bucks attention, but he was comfortable enough to hang in front of the camera for more than a minute. In any case, it sure is a pretty buck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Great News!

"Middle of Nowhere" has been selected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for their Working Together For Wildlife conservation print. After placing a disappointing second in this competition last year, the committee's 2010 selection makes it all worth while.
Artist proofs will hopefully be available for Christmas. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Antelope Flats" 6x4 acrylic on board

This is one of the most remarkable places I've ever been. With the Grand Tetons towering in the background, herds of pronghorn antelope browsed along this sage-covered plateau. They followed trails worn into the arid landscape by undoubtedly hundreds of years of use. It's the kind of place that can make a person feel very small and alone. The shear scale of the vistas can leave one wondering about their relative insignificance in the world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Trouble at Gros Ventre" 5x7 acrylic on board

During a visit to Wyoming last September, I had one of those moments that never happen in the forests of western Pennsylvania. It started out innocent enough. The Gros Ventre River (pronounced "grow vont") was quite low and I was working my way through the river rocks and willows looking for moose sign and just about anything else that might make an interesting painting. About 100 yards away on the far side of the river, I spotted a cow moose feeding along and paying no attention to me. I was fairly well hidden in the willows, so I set my camera gear down and watched her for a bit with my binoculars. Actually, I was spending more time scanning the thicket behind her hoping to see the antlers of a large bull. No such luck. She was alone, so I snapped a few quick photos and settled in to watch her for a while.

It was at that point she spotted me hiding in the brush. I don't know how. I was dressed in camo, had a layer of thick willows in front of me, and stayed completely still... yet she looked right at me from 100 yards away... and headed right for me! She was only about 2 strides into the river when I realized I was in trouble. The willows all around me were too thick to run through, so I was stuck. The thought that kept going through my mind was about a statistic I'd heard on moose cows in Alaska killing more people every year than bears! And all I could do was stand there and take what fate had in store... all the while shooting photos.

I remember being impressed with how easily she plowed through that deep swift water and how her hooves sounded as they pounded across the river rocks. At less than 15 feet, she stopped, stared at me for a few seconds, then started to feed on the willows I was hiding in!

With my heart pounding in my throat, another thought slipped forward in my mind... my art would probably get into more galleries if I got trampled to death by an angry moose. HA!

Finally, she wandered away leaving me to ponder what had just happened. In the Rocky Mountain West, things can go from safe to serious in a hurry!
Now available on eBay. Click this button to place a bid.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"House Finch Study" 4x6 acrylic on board

It's fun to paint winter scenes during the summer months. For some reason, they provide me with a refreshing mental break from the heat and humidity of the long hot summers here in Pennsylvania. I much prefer temperatures in the 50s... or lower!
This painting is now available on eBay.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Broken Reflections" 7x5 acrylic on board

Lately, I've noticed my work taking yet another turn. For years, the focus of my work has been predominantly wildlife. Now I feel things shifting more toward a "landscape" genre... and I'm okay with that. There is a sense of satisfaction in knowing (or maybe more so... figuring out) how light and shadow relate to each other within the parameters of a painting. The feel of a piece becomes more about "time and place" than subject matter. I like it when people look at a painting and say, "I've been there," or "I can almost smell that water." Comments like that make my day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Uninvited Guest" 7.5x9.5 acrylic on masonite

I've been wanting to paint this scene for quite a while and finally made the time to get it done.
When I was a kid, we used to sit on the edge of weed beds in an anchored boat plunking worms for bluegills. Some of the most vivid memories of those days are from incidents when bigger fish would chase and/or steal our fish once we had them hooked. I also remember marveling at the bloody slashes from huge sharp teeth on a lifeless bluegill after a musky tired of playing tug-of-war and spit out its prize.
"Uninvited Guest" has been submitted as cover art for Musky Hunter Magazine.