Monday, December 17, 2018

Rabbits in Snow with tracks

Plein air paintings gives you everything you need, the right light, the subtle shades of color, correct proportions and clear details. I put this together using summer photos of rabbits placed in a winter background. Just as I was getting ready to frame it I noticed that the rabbits need tracks in the snow, which I added to the rabbit in the upper right.
10" x 8" oil on canvas panel.

This is the rabbit from the previous post who needed some snow tracks. Next snow I need to plein air paint some rabbit tracks as I am not sure of these.
6" x 12" oil on panel

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Rabbit and snow

Small paintings just for the fun of it. 
6" x 6' oil on Raymar panel

I arranged this in Photoshop placing a rabbit on a snow scene.
6" x 12" oil on panel

Friday, December 14, 2018

Chicken Commission

 I did this study to warm up for a commission I have to paint chickens. I have not painted chickens much or even birds, so this was a good practice observing the details and form. One thing I missed at first is that they have drumsticks, notice the left leg on the one in front. A lot of birds that I have drawn in the past seem to just go from leg to body.
8" x 10" oil on baltic birch panel.

Monday, December 10, 2018

plein air painting

This weekend I participated in a plein air event in Bloomfield, Iowa. The temperatures were freezing. Definitely a challenge but that did not deter the competition. I brought watercolor but decided against it when the watercolor artists complained about the water freezing on the paper. Still they turned in some very impressive artwork.
10" x 8" oil on panel

The temperatures definitely slowed down my progress leaving me to warm my hands often. This was started with a pencil drawing of the horses. I have found that I can't block them in with paint as well as I can quickly draw the basic forms with a pencil. A thin wash of burnt sienna over the drawing and then paint the horses before they disappear completely over the hill. 
12" x 6" oil on panel

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


I did paint plein air at this location without much success. This is from the reference photos and some editing on the background.
20" x 10" oil on panel

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Sorrel Black Sorrel

I always find side views of horses easier than when they face you. Especially the back legs hidden behind the front. 
9" x 12" oil on baltic birch

process view

Rough in

Monday, December 3, 2018

Summer in the Horse Pasture

Composed using several photos. 
16" x 8" oil on panel

Rough in

Photo reference. I used Photoshop and cut out horses from photo references. I resized and moved them around until I was happy with the compostion.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Into the Woods

Working from several photo references to figure out where to place the horses.
12" x 12" oil on panel

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Painting Fall

Upped the color on this one and added the road. 
12" x 9" oil on panel

Friday, November 2, 2018

recent plein air paintings

Plein air painting from the old skunk river bridge. This is the view of the new bridge. 
12" x 6" oil on panel

Bridge pylons from the old Farmington bridge.
10" x 8" oil on panel

Wilson Lake 
12" x 6" oil on panel

Appleberry Orchard
watercolor on 140 lb.paper

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bluffstrokes plein air

Dubuque had near flood levels with the river overflowing into several areas. 
11" x 14" oil on panel

Monday, October 15, 2018

Eagle Point Park

Another painting from Bluffstrokes. The first painting I did was something that I was comfortable with.
9 x 12 oil on panel

Sunday, October 14, 2018

vista off Balltown Road in Dubuque county Iowa

This was done during Bluffstrokes Plein air in Dubuque, Iowa. I was there last year and tried a vista from a ski resort, not a successful painting. Scenes like this are something I don't do enough of. Trying it during a competition is risky but it was a great opportunity given this view with changing leaf colors. There is a lot you can take home from a competition besides awards and sales. Painting from life is a how you learn about atmosphere and color. This was a great learning experience, plus I did sell the painting.
12 x 16 oil on panel

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Herd of Three

I am feeling a little rusty on my watercolor painting. 

Worked out the compostition beforem trying to not loose their legs.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


The thing about hanging around with better artists is they push you to try things you are not comfortable with just to keep up. Scenes with multiple animals or people is one of those. 
8" x 5" sepia and india ink on paper

8" x 5" sepia on paper

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

process gif

click on and play. If I had enough time to try to figure out how to make it play without enlarging and hitting the play button.

More from Paint the Point

Mineral Point has it all, great architecture, beautiful far off vistas and great scenes like this.
16" x 12" oil on panel

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Paint the Point

One of my paintings from Paint the Point in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Painting cattle plein air is a challenge. I would place one in a spot and follow it around to fill in the details. These models did take a break when the farmer came around with feed. I was relieved that they came back to this spot giving me time to get some more details. 
14" x 11" oil on panel

This was the original. When I got home I reversed the Longhorn and a few other changes. Now I just need to leave it alone.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Little Free Library

My 2 hour quick paint from Mineral Point Wisconsin's Paint the Point. This was painted on an off white watercolor ground. I spray it with clear acrylic after I am finished and frame it without glass. 
12" x 9" watercolor on panel.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lessons Learned

I participated in a quick painting recently. The artists were told without notice a choice of two places and then they had to paint, frame, and have the art on the walls of the display in a total of an hour and a half. I have taken classes by some great teachers. Some students walk away from workshops expecting to leap into painting like the teacher. You may not feel like you benefited from the class til years later. This experience proved it. Along with years of subjecting my work to critiques, sometimes brutal; I learned a lot from the experience. I sat down and put this together, using lessons learned from those great teachers.

When I first set up, I started by centering my subject and realized this would not work and wiped it off. I noticed the triangle would lend itself to moving the sculpture to the right. Similar to a facial profile that faces toward the open space. By comparing the two versions, the triangle works leading to the sculpture.

Next is adding depth of color:
Using Photoshop I picked the green colors to show how it grays and moved toward blue to add depth. Also the brushstrokes went from short in the distance to wider in the foreground. Love a sunny day to use shadows to pull the eye toward the center of interest and add depth.

Repetition of Design:
This was an element that was drilled into me by one of those great teachers. It helps connect the center of interest with the environment. You can also see how the rectangular windows in the sculpture are repeated in the windows in the buildings behind it.

Friday, August 3, 2018


Sketching warm up. The deer in Thousand Hills State Park just stand there making it easy to take decent photos.

Sepia ink brush and watercolor

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

quick paintings

I was late setting this up, but managed to get some of the nice clouds yesterday. I used a no. 12 brush then a no. 4. This is a 6" x 6" study painted from an abandoned bridge. I great place to paint.
6" x 6" oil on panel

Another small study of the view from the west of the new bridge. 
7" x 5" oil on panel

Monday, July 23, 2018

plein air painting places

When I turned this painting in, the comment was, "Not many people know about this bridge". I am sure the locals know but I am not one of them. When going to a new location for a plein air painting event you can scope out the place on the internet. Start by doing a search on the area and Googling images. Pinterest is also a good place to find images. This one was found through: 
I also use Google earth and using the street view drive through the area hoping to spot a nice scene.
10" x 8" watercolor on aquabord

Sunday, July 15, 2018


A long overdue portrait commission. 
12" x 16" oil on baltic birch panel

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Painting horses in watercolor. I am trying out several types of paper, this is on soft press.

Painted on Arches which I found easier to work on.

Another one on the soft press.

One on hot pressed paper.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Watercolor plein air

More artwork on the Fabriano soft white watercolor paper. It has been a while since I painted in watercolor.