Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Lost Lake" 7x5 acrylic

After a great week in Charleston, it's good to be back in the studio. This small landscape study was an interesting challenge. I love the weather-bleached logs along the shoreline.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SEWE 2012 Wrap-Up

Another Southeastern Wildlife Expo has come and gone and I feel like things are looking up. It’s funny how the collective attitude of the show-goers changes from year to year. There was a happy energy throughout the venue that built to a crescendo Friday evening during the Quick Draw auction. Congratulations to my good friend, Lyn StClair for executing such a masterful painting in the Quick Draw event. It whipped the auction crowd into a frenzy and achieved an appropriately high selling price. This year’s featured painter, Dustin Van Wechel set the show “on fire” selling 25 of his 29 paintings… each done with Dustin’s flare for drama and remarkable style. It was exciting to see him do so well. Sculptor, Don Rambadt continued to wow the guests with his new work. He told me he had fun creating the pieces for this show and it was apparent in each of them. As for yours truly, it was my best show to date. A total of 9 originals found new homes and I couldn’t be happier. I felt my body of work was my best yet and a few of my favorites struck a chord with collectors as well. The entire Charleston experience… the food, the music, and the friendly people… keeps me looking forward to my next visit J

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

Reworking a Painting

My good friend James Coe once told me, "I never consider a painting finished until it sells." Now I don't rework a lot of my paintings, but it's something I keep in mind. After a year or so, if I think I can make a piece better, why not? I've always liked this small painting, but it never had much public appeal. As I get ready for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston next week, I decided to rework the background to add some drama. The original version seen here with the blue sky and tree tops has been spiced up a notch or two with a lot more color and an abstract setting. We shall see if it makes a difference in how it's received by the folks in Charleston.
"Graceful Exit" is 5x7 and painted in acrylic.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ringnecks and Gun Dogs

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

Visual Editing at the Easel

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.