Monday, June 18, 2007


Well I made it to the Tetons. What a magnificent place to do some plein air painting. There is something to paint at every turn of the head. I am not sure I can do it justice. It is quite humbling just to be here. I spent the day yesterday scouting some possible locations and snapping some pictures for possible studio works.

I woke up this morning to a temperature of 32 degrees. Brrrrrr......... When I left Phoenix it was 85 degrees at night. I brought along an extra quilt but didn't think I would need it last night. I know better now. Today marks the first day of boot camp. I am a little nervous. I get a little uptight at these workshops. I told Melissa yesterday that I just don't want to look stupid. It is kind of rediculous, if I already knew everything I wouldn't need to be here.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ying Yang Grove

24 X 30 oil on canvas. for a larger image click on picture.

This will be the last studio work for a while as I am packing to head for Jackson Hole, Wyoming tommorrow morning to attend Scott Christensen's 10 day painting workshop. I am retooling again for another plein air adventure. It seem to be an ongoing process to find the ideal setup for outdoor work. I put together a setup that is light and fits into a backpack.

I haven't had time to let this one settle in to go over with the final value and color adjustments, but it is close enough to post.

This is yet another scene from the White mountains of California. The sky does some uniuqe things at 11,000 ft of elevation. You get a sense of being immersed in the sky. The sky is also a purer blue than I have ever seen before. The title of this piece is in reference to more than the obvious dead and live tree. The bristlecone are the Grandfathers of conservation. They survive the harsh elements an sparse rainfall by allowing the windward side of the tree to die off and keep the needles alive on the protected side. The found fallen trees next to living trees that were 7,000 years old and still intact. It makes me wonder how old the dead standing tree is in thin scene?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

10,000 Ft Grove

For a larger image, click on picture.

After painting some real dogs as of late, it was a pleasant surprise to get one that I like.

This is a scene painted from a photo that I took on my honeymoon a couple of years ago. My bride and I drove up to Shuman's grove to take a hike through the trees that rewrote time. Scientist finally had an accurate organic sample that was 10,000 years old to calibrate radio carbon dating equipment. On the east side of the White Mountains hiking back to car, I stumbled across this little scene. The trees and shrubbery were out of this world. I felt like I was on another planet. The pinon trees and creosote bushes were like none I had ever scene before. The park ranger said that the most amazing thing to her was the fact that creosote bushes at this elevation could live as long as 10,000 years. Everyone comes to see the bristlecones and overlooks the oldest living specimens in the grove.

I have no idea what kind of trees these are in this little grove. They had the darkest colored bark I have ever seen on a tree. I don't know if this due to the difficult slow growing nature of the plants at 10,000 ft above sea level or not. All I know is that I liked the contrast they provided against the distant mountains. This was taken in late October and I wonder if the maustard green foliage was caused by frost.

This is the first bank of clouds I have been happy with in a long time.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Leaning Tower of Mesquite

For larger image, click on picture.

It has been a painting or two since I have painted something that wasn't just a frisbee. Time for another tree portrait. That will usually break me out of a slump. Something theraputic about attempting to capture the personality I feel in the presence of a tree. Joseph Campbell once wrote that God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying Ahhhhh. I guess it is kind of that way for me since church is not a place I frequent.

This was a grey day in early spring in the desert and all of the light was soft and diffused. I was walking along the Salt River and happened to look up on the bank and saw this honey mesquite that contained alot of character. I simplified the heck out of the branches on this scene and still felt like it was required to to put alot of them in order to capture the lyrical quality of this tree. It is alot less color than I like to put into a painting, but I made a decision to keep it as truthful as possible.

Thanks for looking.