August 25, 2010

The Pastor's House

I seem to recall this was the pastor's house next to a church in Calumet, Michigan. I abandoned the normal artistic arrangement to take this photo straight on, to emphasize the strictly balanced facade, the dark shadow facing those who would approach the door, and the windows that don't let you see in, but reflect all that is around, the barred basement windows and the vivid blue windows of the upper stories.

August 24, 2010

In the garden

This work-in-progress will be my entry into an upcoming exhibition at the Columbia Art League: the House of Cards show -- that runs from October 19 through November 21, 2010. The show will include the work of 53 local artists, with each of their works illustrating one card in a deck of cards. The Art League plans to produce a deck of cards that will be offered for sale, and will include all the works in the show. I think it will be a great collector's item and memento.

I drew some inspiration from medieval illuminated manuscripts, and enjoyed bringing some of those ancient ideas into the design. Can you tell which card this illustration represents? 

August 1, 2010

Cattails at the Pond

Did you ever write an essay or make something that didn't seem right and you couldn't finish it but then one day you looked at it again and you appreciated it completely the way that it was? I struggled with this painting and didn't really like it and felt like I hadn't done what I wanted to do. I finally decided to frame it and put a final varnish on it anyway. I now enjoy this painting even though it might appear a bit unfinished and unrefined. I think  it adds a touch of mystery and a lyrical quality. I'll share another one down the road. Have you had the same experience?

Hanka Homestead Kitchen, Michigan

In home decoration, do you find yourself going back to the same colors? I've lately started saving photos that have particular combinations of color that I like. This time it was a photo of the Mad Hatter in the recent movie Alice in Wonderland. In the photo, he has a rich russet suit with white lace cuffs, orange hair, and a green hat with a pink headband. So I played around with the colors in my studio and decided to paint my walls pink, and my sink green, and elsewhere I picked up on the green and golden tones in the photo. Above is a different example of that color scheme at the Hanka Homestead in Michigan. I've always liked this photo and now realize it was pretty much the same color scheme. Do you have a favorite group of colors you like to see in a design or elsewhere?

April 29, 2010

Missouri bottoms at Mattson

Mattson Barns
acrylic on canvas
12 x 16 inches

On the second day of the plein air event, I found this lovely spot along the Katy Trail. Bicyclists in comfortable conversation passed by, enjoying a spring day in the 70s. The Missouri River is unseen in the distance on the other side of the barns at the foot of the distant bluffs. A small park across from the Katy Trail access memorializes Daniel Boone's presence in this area and from the maps, his family owned a considerable amount of land nearby, as part of a Spanish land grant.

 A neighbor to the trail stopped by to see the progress of my painting. He told me that there used to be a large burr oak in the view, but told me the tree I was painting was only a pecan tree. "Only a pecan!" I exclaimed. He said the barn on the right was actually a stone building, that was probably there when Daniel Boone lived in Missouri.It didn't look like stone to me, so I wished I could go over and look more closely.

I am trying to get these two paintings ready for the final show and sale this weekend at Mount Pleasant winery.

Augusta Missouri Plein Air Event

I attended part of the Augusta Missouri plein across Missouri and the U.S. In searching for my first subject, I was attracted to this beautiful and historic bed and breakfast in Augusta. I loved the multitude of textures and the classic lines of the home, the H.S. Clay house, once the home of the town's physician.

16 x 20 inches
acrylic on canvas

April 10, 2010

Spring Colors

I was headed out to capture the early spring colors of the redbud. However, the quince bush was in full bloom and ended up at the top of my favorite photos for the day.

 I thought this was henbit, but it might be dead nettle instead or something else, anyway isn't this a marvelous bug's eye view?

Another view of the quince bush, my absolute favorite flowering shrub.

Oh yes, and the redbud.

But one last view of the quince.

April 4, 2010

Virtual Paintout in the Canary Islands

This month's virtual paintout takes us to the Canary Islands. If you haven't had a chance to use Streetview to wander the roads of the Canary Islands, it's a very interesting place with very narrow streets and steep rocky mountains, with occasional pockets of trees and greenery. I spent most of my time in the higher reaches of the island, but on my descent to the coast I passed by a group of brightly colored buildings at the convergence of a few village streets. 5 by 7 inches, pen and ink on claybord.

April 3, 2010

Paintbrush Still Life

The assignment this week was to photograph a still life. I chose a selection of paintbrushes and since I mainly paint landscapes, I decided to photograph them outside against a landscape that I might paint.

I had trouble deciding which one of the following I liked best. The first is a relatively simple composition that allows you to focus on the individual brushes, but the second has a bit more interesting angles and a bit of light on the larger brush. Other than that, they are pretty much the same picture but the first is cropped more closely.

The third brings the light a little further down and creates an interesting shadow adding a little more depth. However it is a very balanced shot that I think takes a bit away.

The last shot is simply one of some old bamboo brushes that I have had for eons so they are a bit special, even though I don't use them very often.

March 27, 2010

Eggs in Space

Photo Workshop courtesy of

A pristine white egg didn't seem to jive with my love for old buildings and this blog. But then I was thinking of small discoveries, and suddenly the ubiquitous local ladybugs suddenly came into my thought and I thought "how like an egg they are!" 

 I particularly like this shot, as it appears the egg with ladybug attached has caught flight. 

This one captures the roundness and graininess of the egg shell a bit better. It reminds me of the moon craters.

March 21, 2010

Spinning Wool

A woman with a spinning wheel, spinning wool into yarn, early 1800s.
 Oil on canvas.
 16" by 20"
An inside view within the Finnish Hanka Homestead in upper Michigan. The calendar is dated 1912. I do not know if the pink-washed walls are original but the curtain and walls add to the charm.

March 16, 2010

Lake View near Stavanger, Norway

It was an incredible little drive along this lake and it was hard to find just the right place to stop to capture the view. The mountains seemed to go back on and on, and over to the right, beyond this view, a small group of white houses hugs the mountain slope on a little patch of sunny green. This is the last in my series of three for the Virtual Paint Out.

March 7, 2010

An abandoned Finnish homestead hidden in the deep woods of the upper Peninsula of Michigan.

March 6, 2010

Back Street in Stavanger Norway

Wandering again on the back streets of Stavanger, Norway,  I came across this lovely set of matching houses. I wondered about the walls around the front this a small protection from the wind or an attempt to keep the winter snows at bay, I can imagine enjoying a lazy afternoon on one of the porches here, with temperatures balmy and 50 degrees F not unlike today here. 5 by 7 inches on claybord, permanent ink and acrylic.

March 4, 2010

Olbergvegen, Norway

This is my first entry into the virtual paintout of Norway
This is a Google street view scene near Olbervegen, Norway. 5 by 7 inches, acrylic and permanent ink on Ampersand scratchbord.