Monday, December 28, 2015

Volunteer Parade of Lights

The parade of lights volunteer had to wait till the event was over to have time to pose. He grew up down the road from me so the conversation kept going catching up on what everyone is up to. 
11" x 14" oil on mdf 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Volunteer no. 44

I start with the face and often leave the rest for when I work at home. I was working on the shirt when I noticed that the orange looked out of place. I had to add a little bit of the shirt color into the face. That is what happens when I add a color that was not originally on my palette.
11" x 14" oil on panel 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Volunteer no 46

Another volunteer. I have 5 more to go. At one point we were not sure that we would make 52 but right now we are on track.
11" x 14" oil on panel

Friday, December 18, 2015

Lions Club Volunteer

I gave a demo for the Lion's Club's monthly meeting. The volunteer started out looking straight ahead but with all that was going on changed positions, looking to the side. I just worked with what I had and wiped the image off when I got home. This image is from the photo that I took. I sometimes wonder if that is how Picasso's Dora Maar Au Chat started out and he just said the heck with it I will work with what I have.
11" x 14" oil on panel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I am trying to play catch up on the volunteers. The original plan was to paint one a week, but I got behind. Now I am painting 3 this week. I also painted his wife and that makes 3 couples in the project. Volunteerism seems to be a good activity to do together. 
11" x 14" oil on panel 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas pins 2015

I try to make these every year to give as gifts. I only managed to get 5 successful paintings. They are watercolor and ink on mat board, then sprayed with a fixative. The beads are strung on a needle then dipped into acrylic gloss medium. Then carefully pulled the needle out(that explains the crooked bead lines). Finally a layer of gloss medium over the image and bead, Sign on the back and attach clasp.

Friday, December 4, 2015

After the Rain

This was in a previous post as a study. I had stopped on my way to another plein air painting location. This stream is close to a bridge which I could set up under to paint this plein air. I just need to buy rain boots. They now come in lots of fun colors and styles, not like when I was growing up on the farm and all you had were army green rubber boots.
16" x 8" oil on canvas

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


I painted this from a photo-shopped reference. The rabbits came from different scenes that throws off the lighting. 
10" x 8" oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Calendar for 2015

I decided to try my hand at creating a 2015 calendar using my animal paintings. They can be ordered from this site:
I played with the backgrounds in Photoshop creating some in plaid using sections of the paintings. 
Preview of the images since I could not preview it on the website.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Volunteer Vietnam Vets

This was tougher. I have seen Dean Mitchell's wonderful painting on the internet and I can't help but compare my attempt at skin tones. Even on the internet his are so rich with wonderful darks. When working from life you see so many different colors that do not show up in the photos I use to tweak these images. 
My palette from a couple of days ago with Photoshopped color samples. It may be a little late but I need to do color charts of skin tones. Just look at the many different colors of makeup out there. I remember my first pastel class when the instructor told me to add green to the shadow. I did what he said expecting weird results only to be amazed at the ability to create depth and dimension on a face. Just look at Rose Frantzen's portraits some have green and it works perfectly. There is a limit to blues and greens, sometimes too much with the wrong combination will give someone a dirty face or worse yet a five o'clock shadow on a woman.
11" x 14" oil on panel 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Heritage Roses

Taking a break from the portrait to do a quick study. I have two portraits today and 3 to finish tweaking.

Filling in the pinks

The rough in.
6" x 8" oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I still have trouble with grey hair. Sometimes I will just use black and white especially when I am in a hurry. 
11" x 14" oil on panel.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Volunteer of the year

This volunteer came in wearing a pink top and requested I change it to red. Neva also took a couple of classes with Carroll and me. I really don't know how she found the time, because if there was an event that needed volunteers she was there.
11" x 14" oil on panel

Monday, November 9, 2015

Volunteer for the new rec center

The volunteer representing the new rec center. A huge undertaking for the community. They just opened the fields this fall. Great for the youth of our community.
11" x 14" oil on panel

Friday, November 6, 2015


This is the wife of the volunteer from the post on October 30th. They are honored for volunteering for different organizations, although they often volunteer together. 
11" x 14" oil on panel

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I have not had a woman pose for a while. 
11" x 14" oil on panel

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vietnam Vet Volunteer

The first of two volunteers for the veterans. 
11" x 14" oil on canvas on panel

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hospital Volunteer

Another great volunteer from the hospital. There are several different organizations involved with the local hospital. He is of Italian descent and has great blue eyes. So many great faces with such a wide combinations of facial features. Every face is so interesting. 
11" x 14" oil on panel

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fishing in a Blue Boat

We went out plein air painting at Wilson lake. Although the trees lost there color early or did not have much this year I found this blue in blue fisherman. Painting as fast as I could I managed to get him done before he moved on. Then I worked on the landscape behind him with a tip from Jessica to paint the tree holes a darker shade of blue than the more open sky above. The sun was shining at me but that is what made the great light on the fisherman.
6" x 8" oil on canvas

Friday, October 30, 2015


I also painted his wife for volunteering for another group. He came in looking for her finished portrait which I am still working on. I don't know why some come easier than others. I guess as an artist I am also a work in progress.
11" x 14" oil on panel

Thursday, October 29, 2015

volunteer community foundation

This is the final I think. I thought I was finished but decided it needed more.  
Another volunteer from the Community Foundation. I knew him prior to this sitting. I was set up as the plein air painter in his place during the garden tour. 
This is one of the paintings that he purchased of his garden. A watercolor painting as most of my artwork at that time was.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Volunteer no 25

One of the volunteers for the community foundation. An organization to help make it easier for others to donate to causes. You can designate which organization you wish to donate to one year then change the next, they make the contacts and distribute the funds. While painting I talk to the volunteers and hear interesting stories. Merlin was the winning bidder for a family portrait to be painted by John Bybee, a professor at SCC. I don't think that Bybee expected the winning bidder to have 13 kids. 
11" x 14" oil on panel

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reminder of Spring

I have an animal related exhibit coming up in Normal, Illinois at the McLean County Arts in November. Besides myself the exhibit includes a fiber artist and a ceramic artist. I have just enough time to do small paintings. This painting does not seem to have the same impact as the cow painting, I am wondering if it is the rule of using odd numbers. The cow shows three legs with the front legs together. My daughter has a three legged cat, maybe I should paint her. Although the negative spaces are an odd number.
8" x 8" oil on canvas.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Portrait of a Cow in her Winter Coat

I wiped this panel of the image from the previous post and started over. This was what I wanted to paint in the first place, so it is just as well that the other one didn't turn out.  The heavy winter coat on this Hereford showed interesting shades of rusty brown. The white fur in shadow against the white snow in sunlight begged to be painted and the contrast of the grayed distant trees promised to give me depth. 
12" x 6" oil on stretched canvas

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Herefords Heading to the Barn

This was from a photo I took last year. I loved the reddish brown against the blue shadows.
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Paint Horse

This is the exercise of painting white in shadow. I think I may go back in. 
8" x 6" oil on canvas panel

Monday, October 19, 2015

The last of the Summer Grass

I spent this weekend studio painting with friends. This was the Southeast Iowa Artists Studio Tour weekend. Saturday was spent touring the various studios and Sunday I was at Gin Lammert's studio. The studio tour is a great way to enjoy the fall scenery and see the artists at work in their studios. This gives me a reprieve from all the greens of summer.
8" x 6" oil on canvas

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rabbits in the Garden

I took several rabbit photos and rearranged them to create this composition. This is the final for now. I created this 11" x 14" as a study for a 16" x 20" but that will have to wait. 

I gray scaled it to better see where it is weak. The background contrasts are too strong compared to the front where you want to pull the viewer into the composition. This is the top painting gray scaled after I made a few adjustments. 

This was the rough in. Notice the one rabbit on the left was deleted. After I stepped back I noticed the five on the top looked like a polka dot pattern, uniform and boring. I felt that taking him out also made the rabbit on the lower left stand out more. This was pushing myself to try something more complicated.
This was the Photoshopped image I was working from. The problem was right before my eyes but I did not see it til I was farther into the painting process. This seemed a little weak but I thought I could work it out in the painting,.. bad idea. I had a customer remark about my rabbit running paintings that she liked to see that in her garden, which is what prompted me to try this.
Still playing with this. I edited the current painting in Photoshop... will need a day or two to think about this. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sketching in the Park

Just a quick sketch. I was sitting with a friend at Art in the Park. This lady was holding the pose for quite a while but someone eventually pulled up a chair and sat it between her and me.  

Volunteer for the Lulac Club

This is the volunteer for the local chapter of lulac. Their mission statement is: "The Mission of the League of United Latin American Citizens is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States." They have a long tradition in Fort Madison, Iowa.
11" x 14" oil on panel

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Percheron Pasture with a River View

I think this will be the final painting. It is cropped to 12" x 9".

This is the painting as a 14" x 11".

I edited this photo to show more of the river view. I image the horses don't appreciate the great view. I liked the way the horse has a dappled coat and the dappled effect of the sunlight on him.
12" x 12" oil on canvas
This was the painting in progress. I took out the dappled sunlight on the hind leg and increased the dark shadows.