Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Tim at Holton Frames created this beautiful frame for this piece. I love the chiseled bevel and the gnarled oak wood with the gnarled oak tree.  Available for purchase at Holton's.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I was very pleasantly surprised and happy to win the bronze medal at the 2011 OPA Western Regional Exhibition held this year at the Lee Youngman Gallery in Calistoga California for my "June Pasture" piece. Perfect motivation to get busy painting again. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OPA Western Regional Exhibition

I submitted my "June Pasture" piece into the OPA Western Regional Exhibition this year and it was accepted. The show will run from October 8th - October 30th, 2011 at the Lee Youngman Gallery in Calistoga, California.

Sierra Sunrise

I just returned from a week-long hiking and painting backcountry trip in the eastern Sierra. This year we chose the Chickenfoot Lake/Gem Lakes area of the John Muir Wilderness, up Rock Creek, between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop. The elevation was around 10,500 feet or so, high enough to make my face puffy in the mornings. The area was amazing with a wonderful diversity of painting subject. It was a little overwhelming at first, it always takes me a day or two to settle in and not scrape everything down. There were ten of us in all -- 7 oil painters, 2 pastel painters, and one photographer: Ernesto Nemesio, Bill Cone, Paul Kratter, Jim Wodark, Timon Sloan, Robert Watters, Terry Miura, Daniel Aldana, and Michele de Braganca. We were packed in by the Rock Creek Pack Station and fed by Gene, one of their excellent cooks. Great weather, superb company, yummy food, and beautiful views. Paradise. I have posted 10 studies that I finished while on the trip. I have a few more that I didn't finish, that I may post later if I can finish them from my photo reference.

Sunrise was roughly at 6am and hit the mountain like this study at about 6:15, which meant getting up about 5:30 to be set up and ready for it. The light moved very quickly and the colors were rapidly changing; great practice for keeping things simple. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen

Morning Backlight Study

I painted this study more as an exercise than as a study for a final painting. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen

Slice Of Morning Light

I liked the way a thin swath of sunlight came through the gap between two mountains early in the morning. I roughed in this study one morning and finished it a couple of days later. When I came back to it with fresh eyes, I found that a lot of my color was way off, not sure what I was thinking at the time. Sometimes all it takes is having one off color that everything else starts keying off of and suddenly the whole piece is strange. This view was painted from the meadow by Chickenfoot Lake, a few steps from our campsite. The mosquitos were particularly fond of this time of the morning before the sun hits the meadow. Fortunately though, the mosquitos were more fond of Ernesto than they were of me. At one point I had at least 8 mosquitos embedded in the painting and about 20 on my palette. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Between the Gems

This study was painted along the creek that flowed between the Gem Lakes. I need to refine some of the shapes of the creek and boulders, but I was happy that the clouds were obliging that afternoon. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen

High Sierra High Noon

The light was very flat at noon and I was struggling to find something I wanted to paint, so I decided to try to do a quick study of one of the mountain forms and snow patterns. It was also nice to have some cloud shapes to play with. It is usually wise to have a tube of grey paint when painting all this granite or one spends a lot of time mixing greys. I was standing next to the uppermost Gem Lake, the lake in the basin above this near ridge is Treasure Lake. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen

Sierra Morning

Terry Miura and Paul Kratter had already painted this view before I did and I loved both of their studies so I wanted to try it too. The lake in the background is Chickenfoot Lake. The fields of snow coming down to meet the water are beautiful elements to paint, but are intimidating to design around. The blues tend to go a bit electric when digitally photographed, so this looks a little off in color from the actual painting. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen

Snow On Gem Lake

This one is maybe my favorite from the trip. This is the uppermost Gem Lake. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen

Shade Color Study

I painted this study the first morning of the trip, not really sure where the sun was going to shine when it rose. It was a nice way to get familiar with the local colors in shade. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen

Gem Lake Reflections

I kinda rushed this study because I was standing in a rather swampy area thick with mosquitos. I liked the nearly symmetrical composition of the scene, reminiscent of a cathedral in nature. I could almost hear the Palestrina. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen

Chickenfoot Lake Morning

One of the mornings was quite windy. I chose to paint this little scene near our campsite largely because it was in the lee of a hill and relatively calm. The sunlight hitting the jewel tones of the water was also very appealing. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Imnaha Afternoon

I painted this study yesterday late afternoon. It certainly was breathtaking to be looking down upon the Imnaha River like this. This viewpoint on Grizzly Ridge is more than 3000 feet above the canyon floor. The temperature was in the 90's on the floor and about 70 degrees on the ridge. This is the view looking north from Hells Canyon through Imnaha Canyon toward Imnaha and the Big Sheep Canyon. The ridge on the other side of the canyon is called the Sheep Creek Divide. The road up here is a narrow single lane gravel road with a few turnouts and lots of washboards on the steeper sections. The drop offs on the side of the road are impressive; if a car went off the road it may never be found in some places. I would also like to paint the view looking south if I can get back up this way again soon. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.

Hells Canyon Morning

I painted this view this morning a couple of steps from my tent while camping in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area. The elevation is about 6600 feet or so according to the Forest Service topo map. It was a lovely view to contemplate while drinking my morning coffee. The wind was howling most of the night on top of this ridge (Summit Ridge), but it was fairly calm this morning. This view is looking east into Hells Canyon; in the first draw runs Saddle Creek while the Snake River is down there somewhere in the main canyon area. The mountains in the distance are the Seven Devils in Idaho. Makes me wish I had a trail horse and a pack mule to explore the area. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mountain Shadows

This was the first study I painted yesterday while out woodcutting. There was a large wildfire in this area a few years ago, and combined with the white pine beetle infestation, there are quite a few bare areas on the mountains. It was fun to compose around the quickly moving cloud shadows. As I was walking along trying to find a view of the mountains to paint, I probably spent more time picking and eating huckleberries. It is still early in the season for them, but I probably found enough for some pancakes. I love listening to (and seeing) the goldfinches in the trees. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.

Summer Meadow

Yesterday was firewood cutting day in the mountains. I took some time out to paint a little bit. One thing about painting as a side project is that you paint what is there rather than going out and looking for something. The choices are limited, but in some way it makes the process easier. This is what the scene looked like when I started the study, but within a few minutes I was repositioning my umbrella for rain rather than sun. Then it started pouring, accompanied by dramatic lightning and thunder. I was able to keep my painting dry, but the result was the rain flowed off the umbrella straight down my back. I called it close enough when it started to hail. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Afternoon Virga

Early August summer days are some of my favorites; with the sounds of grasshoppers and crickets in the fields, and the cottonwood fluff floating in the breeze. The days are warm, but not too hot. As soon as it gets just a little bit too warm, the thunderheads build and the rain is refreshingly welcome. There have been quite a few dramatic thunderstorms lately. This was a small quick study and yes, I was good and drenched by the time I decided it was finished enough. Study 8x6", Oil on Linen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cherry Pie

The sound of a summer breeze in massive old trees, washing over in rhythmic wave sets, on a hot quiet afternoon, has a nap-inducing effect. This is a nostalgic sound from my childhood as I lay in bed at night, often accompanied by dim distant flashes of heat lightning. Walking by the nearby farms, I watch the water skippers glide like ice skaters on the irrigation ditches. I recollect many quick dips into the canals to cool off during meandering bike rides and the searches for fat pollywogs to bring home in glass canning jars. The trick was to be dry upon returning home to avoid a scolding. The pollywogs weren't particularly welcome either. The only time when I can eat a perfect cherry is when I'm visiting my mother in July. The local bing cherries are enormous, impossible to fit in a cherry stoner, deep deep burgundy, nearly black, intensely flavored and sweet; nothing like what you see in the grocery stores, not even in Whole Foods. My favorite though are the tart Montmorency pie cherries that are difficult to find unless you pick them yourself. Nothing says summer like a homemade cherry pie and hand-cranked homemade vanilla ice cream on an afternoon after a nice nap with the sound of the breeze in the trees.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Three Wipers

A bad day painting is better than a good day ________. Today was an exceptionally bad day, I wiped down three studies after laboring over them. I couldn't do anything right. I felt like I had never painted before. I won't be able to paint for a couple of weeks so hopefully it will be like hitting the reset button.

There is a large Great Horned Owl that sits on the roof of my studio every night. Lately though it has been replaced by a new owl. It has taken me a while to figure out that it is a juvenile Great Horned Owl since it generally arrives after it is too dark to see it well. At first, I thought perhaps that maybe it was a Barn Owl because it has a piercing screech call instead of the typical hoo-s and it is a little bit smaller than the regular owl. But I finally got a good look at it and it is definitely a horned owl. I'll be glad when its voice changes since the all-night screeching is much less pleasant.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hurricane Creek & Sacajawea Peak

I had a good time painting this morning even if my study is horribly overworked; but wow, it is difficult to not overwork a complicated scene when the light is moving fast. I couldn't quite bring myself to wipe it all down, but it was close. I probably need to work smaller again to keep from working them to death. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Snow Runoff

The snow is melting rapidly in the warm July weather, all of the creeks are rushing with ice cold runoff. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Hay Rolls

The late summer has meant that everything is late this year, including the first hay cutting. The air is perfumed with the scent of mown grass right now. I can't seem to drive by a field of freshly bailed hay without wanting to stop and paint it. Study 10x6", oil on linen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wheel Line

I painted this study yesterday afternoon and it is a bit overworked. Don't worry, I'll try some different subjects than snowy mountains and farms soon; I'm taking advantage of the snow in the mountains before it all melts since the warm weather is making it disappear rapidly. One of my summer jobs in college years ago was assembling wheel line movers for a farm irrigation company, and I often set siphon tubes, changed hand lines and moved wheel lines. I loved the outdoor work and the rhythmic sound of the sprinklers. Study 10x6", oil on linen.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Afternoon

I painted this study yesterday afternoon. This one is slightly bigger than I usually paint in the field, it is 10x8", oil on linen.

Mountain Veil

I painted this study a few days ago. It was quite challenging because the weather and lighting conditions changed every few seconds. In fact, my umbrella functioned more as a rain shelter than it did to shield the sun. It was pleasant though standing in a summer shower while painting. Study 8x6", oil on linen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wallowa Valley

These two studies were painted a couple of days ago in Oregon's Wallowa Valley. The second view is one I have painted before in the winter when it was covered with snow. As elsewhere in the western US this year, snow is still quite abundant in the mountains. These were painted in the same location looking different directions. As I was standing next to the fence of the field in front of me, a swather drove by cutting the rye grass hay, pelting me with rocks and cruft. I had quite a few bits of hay to pick off my painting and palette. In his hermetically sealed air conditioned cab the farmer had no idea that he was showering me with debris; and even if he did, he was only doing his job. A ready smile and a friendly wave accorded instant forgiveness. I need to get out again soon. Both studies, 8x6", oil on linen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nicasio Ranch

Today, Ernesto and I joined the California Art Club for their quarterly Paint Out at an equestrian ranch just outside Nicasio. The weather was quite windy and chilly, as we were on the fringe of the fog line. The wonderful part of it was that we had soft broken clouds to paint instead of the ubiquitous empty Bay Area skies. We saw so many ticks today that I still feel like I have them crawling on me. Still, it was great to be out painting. Both studies are 8x6", oil on linen.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Point Reyes

Yesterday, Ernesto, Bill and I went painting at the Point Reyes National Seashore. It was a sunny breezy day where the biggest challenge wasn't deciding what to paint, but finding a spot sheltered from the gale. The study above was on the lee side of the southern point of the headlands, on the north end of Drake's Bay. The cliff sides in this particular location had an intense red color, instead of the more typical pale tan, which was intriguing to paint juxtaposed with the teal water. Deer were abundant and there were also many elephant seals sunning themselves on the sand. Wildflowers were also still plentiful thanks to the late spring rains this year.

The study below was on Drake's Beach, where most of the people were concentrated into a very small area of the beach, to the right, behind the cliffs in this view. Out of the wind, up against the cliffs, it was a tiny zone of balmy summer. Both studies are 8x6", Oil on Linen.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jenner Waves

From a study painted near Jenner late one afternoon near sunset. I think that this was the time that a wave sneaked in and carried my painting pack into the surf. I managed to retrieve it but had a heavy, wet and sandy pack to carry back to the car in soggy sneakers. Oil on Linen, 16x12".

Spring Idyll

From a study painted a few weeks ago on Table Mountain near the end of the day. Carpets of miniature lupine and other wildflowers were growing in the open areas between the oaks. Oil on Linen, 16x12".

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Early Summer Tranquility

The near-symmetry and tranquility of this location was what appealed to me when I painted the study for this scene a couple of years ago. In reality, I was awkwardly sitting (impossible to stand) on the shoulder of a busy highway very early on a chilly morning. I tried to imagine that I was somewhere warm and quiet. 14x11", oil on linen.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wildflowers Near Sunset

This was near the end of the day as the sun was getting very low in the sky. The wind was becoming quite chilly, but the light was really beautiful. Study 8x6", oil on linen.

Wildflowers Among The Oaks

The study above was painted about noon; it was a gorgeous day for a picnic among the wildflowers. The study below was my warmup painting -- not wild about my composition choices, but I liked seeing the still-snowy Sierra in the distance. Studies 8x6 & 8x4", oil on linen.

Spring Wildflowers

Last weekend, Ernesto Nemesio, Bill Cone and I went out to paint wildflowers on Table Mountain near Oroville, California. The swathes of lush color were gorgeous and challenging to compose around. The miniature wild lupines were particularly prolific. It reminded me of turn-of-the-twentieth-century early California landscapes, a la Granville Redmond.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

October Aspens

Painting fall colors, especially aspens are one of my favorite things. This small painting was painted from a series of studies I did in eastern Idaho a couple of autumns ago. 11x14, oil on linen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Snowy Forest

I can't seem to go very long before I have an irresistible urge to paint a snow scene. I like everything about them: being outside standing in the snow, the design challenges, the light and color, the interesting shapes and textures, and the quiet. This may be my Christmas card this year. I'm working on a series of smaller paintings for a show this fall; this is the first of hopefully many. The study for this was painted in northeastern Oregon. 14x11", oil on linen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

June Morning

I painted the study for this piece a couple of summers ago on a June morning just after daybreak. The air was very atmospheric due to a combination of moisture and the haze of distant wildfires. I may refine it a bit more before I call it done. 24x18, oil on linen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lazy Early Spring Afternoon

A small herd of young Holstein heifers kept me company as I was painting this study. Some of them were posing for me as you can see, but most of them were behind me and beside me watching me paint. Some came as close as a couple of feet to get a good view; they were very curious. One of them had a cough, poor thing. This was a perfect setting for a picnic. Study 8x6, oil on linen.

Grazing At Noon

This was the first study I painted yesterday, about noon. The new green grass has not yet grown above the height of last years dead grass, so there is an assortment of mellow tawny hues mixed in with the vibrant fresh greens. The evergreen varieties of trees look like summer, but there are many deciduous varieties that have yet to bud. There is a modest sprinkling of early wildflowers, but the main show is yet to come. Study 8x6, oil on linen.