Sunday, February 26, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I forgot to mention... the painting "Graceful Exit" featured in the previous post was the first to go at the VIP Preview Thursday afternoon! After reworking the background of that small piece, it became quite popular and I probably could've sold it to more than one collector. Who knew?
Monday, February 6, 2012
"Graceful Exit" is 5x7 and painted in acrylic.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
As working dogs go, my Otis has pretty much always known exactly what his job is…keep everybody smiling and laughing all the time and make sure nobody drops anything on the floor in the kitchen. He’s damned good at it too! Though not really showing much of his age, at 8 ½ he’s getting up there in years. I’ve always wanted to put Otis on some ringnecks, but was beginning to wonder if I’d ever get the chance. He’s a springer spaniel for cryin’ out loud and it’s exactly what his heritage intended. He can sniff out a Blue Dog peanutbutter cookie hidden in tall grass and thoroughly enjoys flushing the birds from the feeder in the back yard, so I’m thinking his instincts for hunting are awesome. Finally, the right opportunity presented itself and we were invited to a private hunting club to hunt for half a day.
Our hosts were my good friends Ben and Terry and their nephew, Steve. Top notch bird dogs Oscar and Pete were there to show Otis the ropes. Over the next few hours, we bagged several beautiful birds (thanks mostly to Steve’s good shooting) and the dogs worked as hard as I’d ever seen. Otis had a grand time, managing to find and flush a couple of birds on his own and getting more than one mouthful of feathers after they hit the ground. As you can see in the photos, he looks pretty happy J
When we got home, Otis drank his water bowl dry, climbed up on the couch, and was asleep and snoring quite loud in less time than it takes to tell about it… no doubt dreaming of birds on the wing and the taste of freshly plucked feathers. After cleaning the ringnecks we brought home, I joined him. I leaned my head back, closed my eyes and something Ben told me a long time ago came to mind. “As you get older, the things you’ll remember about your days afield will have nothing to do with how big or how many. It’ll be about who you spent them with.” Good advice my friend. Spot on.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I’m often asked if I use photos for my work. Absolutely. I shoot thousands of photos every year studying my subjects and their environment. That being said, I find myself working beyond what is seen in most of my reference photos… pushing colors, simplifying shapes, adjusting contrast, and adding (or subtracting) elements to visually balance a scene. “American Remnant” (10x8) is a wonderful example of what can be done with a reference photo that is lacking a bit for quality. After studying both images, the first thing you may notice is the sky. In the photo, the sky is pretty washed out and uninteresting. I darkened the clouds to add a bit of drama and emphasize the “grayness” of the fall day. The barn was a little too well-kept for my liking, so I eliminated the windows in the loft and removed a few boards (I can only imagine the dismay of the barn’s owner after taking care of the structure for so many years, then I come along and push it to tattered abandonment with a few brush strokes!). The overall scene has been warmed considerably which seems to bring everything to life. I added the goldenrod in the foreground to help with this warmth and separate the brush and flowers from the middleground. I drew on my plein air experience to work the goldenrod blooms into the scene. Most notably, the flowers in the foreground are larger and brighter than in the photo, giving the composition some depth. Adding to this effect, the overgrown trail leading the viewer into the scene completes the illusion.