Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fallen Cottonwood

Well, I managed to get one more study together for 07. I was drawn to this image because of the opportunity to play with the reflected light in the shadows. I believe my new years resolution will be to get serious about edges. I have had quite a bit of fun as of late playing with these small studio studies.

For a larger image, please click on photo. 9 x 12 oil on primed board.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A couple of studies and a studio piece

First piece is a studio painting where I tried to concentrate of th subtle tonal qualities of the foliage in shadow. It ended up that my favorite part of the painting was the background blue of the sky sillouetting the sycamore.

"Oak Creek Afternoon"

16 x 20 oil on primed canvas. For a larger image please click on photo.

"Oak Creek Vignette"

This is a little 9 x 12 study from a photo taken the same day as the first studio piece. I liked the unusal composition of this piece and have been wanting to do a study to see if it would work for a larger painting.

"Transcendental Mesquite"

This last one is another 9 x 12 study. These always get mixed reactions. Some people think they are spooky, blah blah blah. I guess these are paintings that I do for me. I have always enjoyed the experience of gazing up at a tree and seeing the dancing figures and forms.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Melissa's Christmas Gift

Well this year has definately been a wierd year. I have continued to immerse myself into my creative side more and more. It has worked out that the economy has impacted my day job and made alot more time available. As a result, money has not been as available as years past. It also happened this year that I have my first major show opening on January 12th, which means that I have a small fortune invested in frames. I asked my wife Melissa if it would be okay if I made her Christmas present this year, she heartily agreed. Getting her blessing to make a gift was definately the easy part.

A common theme that has showed up in my painting has been trees. I often get asked, "Why trees." That question quite simply does not have a short answer. There is not as aspect of my life that has not been influenced by trees, in fact our whole culture has been shaped by trees. My grandfather was a German craftsman and I grew up in his shadow until I reached adulthood. I have been fascinated by building projects and carpentry since I was a a kid. I don't have an explanation for why, I simply know that to be the case. That interest has inspired a number of projects including log home construction.

The four woods that I chose for this project are ash, zebrawood, purple heart and ziricote. I chose ash not only for its beauty, but because it is indigenous to where I grew up. The other extotic hardwood are all tropical and chosen for their color and grain.

I wound up with a good sized challenge with the locking mechanism on the chest. I got some of the steps of fitting out of order and had to improvice mortising the the lock. I almost blew it on that step of the process. I was questioning whether or not to put a lock in at all because of the degree of difficulty. In the end, I am glad I did, since it is not a very good treasure chest without a lock.

I tried to capture the beauty of the purple heart lining in a few accents on the box without having in appear over the top. Who knew how important the balance that a painter learns in painting would apply to woodworking?

I used the same bookmatched zebrawood that I put in the lid in the bottom of the removable drawer. It made for a nice accent and helped to bring out the beauty of the purple heart. I found the hinge hardware at a local supplier and was extremely pleased with the outcome of that piece of hardware. Simple, elegant and functual, doesn't get any better that that.

Thanks for looking. for a larger image on any of the photos, simply click on the picture.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Celebration of Fine Art

The clock is ticking away and time is rapidly evaporating until the show. For anyone interested in checking out the venue, the website is . I just got off the phone with the frame manufacturer and they are shipping the order on Monday. What a pile of work this is. Anyone that has an opinion on how easy artist have it, has not tried to make a living at it.

I just finished an installation piece to accompany the painting they used to promote my booth on the website.


The painting is of a tree that was found on my dad's ranch in South Dakota.

I thought it only appropriate to make a hall table to display cards and brochures that was made from the same kind of wood as in the painting. I chose the inspiration for the table from Gustav Stickley, the godfather of the arts and crafts movement. He disigned and built furniture that celebrated the beauty of the wood in a simple but functional design. He typically used quarter sawn oak for his pieces, but I figured the same idea would apply for what I was hoping for.

The following pictures I have included in this post are of the table in the various stages of construction including the final dry fit.