Thursday, December 21, 2017

Night of Artists at the Briscoe Museum

"Whitewall Canyon" (12x12) o/p SOLD

This painting will be one of three to show at the 2018 Night of Artists at the Briscoe Museum in San Antonio, TX in March. It will have a nice, hand-carved 22k gold frame by Mayen Olson Framers, and I am thrilled to be invited to show with so many great western artists! 


Friday, December 15, 2017


"Autumnwood" (30x40) o/c

This painting will be exhibited (along with another, smaller piece) in the Maxwell Alexander Gallery booth at the 2018 LA Art Show, Los Angeles Convention Center, January 10-14.

This piece was a composite of references from field paintings, plein air sketchbook drawings and photos. I wanted a subtle "period" feel with the girls dress and hat, but for that to play second fiddle to the surrounding landscape. I spent some time this fall in Northern California (before the fires started) and did quite a few studies of dying trees, dead leaves and grass, combined with the late-day sunset where everything is in much more harmony palette-wise than any other time or season. 

The light source is weaker then, so I was mindful to keep the value range between light and shadow much narrower. I also chose the direction of light so that the ground shadows would direct the eye to the horse and rider yet without any direct sunlight on her face. This helps keep the composition working as a whole, integrating the landscape without over-emphasizing an obvious focal point...

The feeling I wanted was a 'contemplative pause'...the falling leaves and overall palette suggest not only a change in season, but perhaps a pivotal time in the young woman's life; a last ride on a favorite horse, or a farewell to a familiar place...whatever the situation, she has paused to consider it. 

Being in my fifties, I pause a lot more than I used to, season-to-season appreciating the beauty around me while contemplating the best use of whatever time I may have left...hopefully many more seasons and thoughtful autumns to come!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


 (Untitled) Final Drawing 6x8"

I was recently commissioned to do a 36x48" southwest desert scene painting for a public space in Oklahoma city... Not exactly mid-western fare landscape-wise, but the client's vision for the space required some "western" atmosphere, and of course this is a subject I can really get into~

I first did about 10 thumbnail sketches based on my plein air paintings and sketchbook doodles from a trip to southern Utah and Maynard Dixon's homestead/studio last year...

After reviewing the pencils and using examples from previous paintings on my website and social media, we agreed upon an amalgamation of several of my thumbnail roughs into the final design (at the top of the page)...


Here are the final canvas stained and ready to paint (background) and a 16x20 "test" painting (with altered composition) under way to make sure I've got my colour palette working...

So far I've done about a dozen drawings and 4 colour studies in various never can do too much homework before undertaking an important commission!

Saturday, November 25, 2017


 "Fertile Valley" (9x12) o/l SOLD

Thank you to my collectors and Maxwell Alexander Gallery yesterday for giving homes to these 3 paintings at the their Black Friday sale -- all 3 sold in the first hour!

 "Autumn Song" (9x12) o/l SOLD

These miniatures were done specifically for the sale, but also serve duel purpose in functioning as studies for larger paintings in progress~

"Desert Run" (9x12) o/l SOLD

VERY thankful this holiday season for the privilege to do this for a living, and for the support of my family, my galleries and all who find my work worthy to own -- Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Is it done yet?

 "When Work Is Done" (20x24) o/l

This new piece, "When Work Is Done" will be featured in March at the 2018 Night Of Artists at the Briscoe Museum in San Antonio, Texas.  

When I was invited a few months ago I began this painting, and since it was the first finished of three that I will send, I had extra time to scrutinize it. I painted it rather quickly and tried to not finesse it to keep it's freshness, but after looking at it off and on I've noticed things that needed changing... Its always nice to have a period of time to consider work before it goes out the door as often the little nuances that need to be added, deleted or corrected are not immediately obvious...

(Original background colour)

For instance, I realized I wanted more colour harmony between the background wall, the porch floor and the guitar -- this necessitated bending the wall colour toward a much warmer tone by scumbling over it with some of the peach tones I used in other areas, while not completely obliterating the green underneath. I also loosened up some of the shadow edges, and added some fall leaves to give it  extra depth as well as a few more colour notes to key the whole palette together.

One of the reasons I don't particularly care for alla prima paintings (single session painting) is that fact that I always want to go back in (or over) areas of a composition later to create a better outcome; this is partly due to the effects I prefer that cannot be accomplished wet-into-wet. Working into wet paint of course affords immediate gratification with blending, etc., but there are textures that can only be achieved when the initial foundation layer is at least tacky on the surface. More time between sessions on a painting also lends sufficient time to contemplate the work thus far, and decide if it is indeed time to stop or not. 

As a famous artist once said,  "A painting is never finished, just abandoned"....of course as painters our goal is to abandon them at the optimum time~

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Recent California Sketches

 "Laguna Canyon" (9x12) o/c 

Here are a few small paintings and studies I did on my two recent road trips to southern & northern California... In August we went down to L.A. for the opening of my solo show, "End of the Trail" at Maxwell Alexander Gallery, and also for family vacation time that took us to Mexico to visit my folks...

In September I drove back down for the Sonoma Plein Air event, which I enjoy immensely for it's beautiful hill-covered vineyards and rugged coastal scenes. I also got to paint with friends I only see once a year...

 "Blue Eucalyptus" (8x10) o/c

Painting in Sonoma is a kind of California "fix" for me as I miss my roots living in the northwest part of the country now; anytime I can get down to my home state (especially to paint) I take it!

"TwilightMoon"(6x8) o/l

 Laguna Beach is another favorite place for me having visited there since I was a kid in the 60's and 70's and then rented studio space in the 80's. It's not quite the same as back then, but still has a charm and beauty unlike any other on the west coast...

"Three Arch Bay" (9x12) o/l

I was fortunate to hook up with a childhood friend who now owns a quaint little beach cottage in Three Arch Bay (a very exclusive and hard-to-get-into place with it's own secluded beach). We were able to spend a couple of days there, swimming and painting; it was a beautiful and memorable visit -- thanks again Danny, see you next time!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Show Opening August 19th~

"Smugglers" (30x40) o/c

My new solo show, "End of the Trail" opens next weekend, Saturday, August 19th at Maxwell Alexander Galley in Los Angeles, CA.  This show will include 13 new oils ranging in size from 16x10 to 30x40. 

These paintings are all within the western genre and revolve around the metaphor of the "trail" (our life's journey) with it's various experiences, and emotions... Reception times are 6:30 to 8:30pm, and catalogs are available thru the gallery~

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

 "Sycamore Trail" (23.5x28.5) oil on linen

This image was comprised from sketchbook drawings, photos, plein air sketches and imagination...
I always go thru a series of thumbnails-to-tighter pencil drawings, working out a composition, and this was no different except that I had some small plein air paintings as a foundation to springboard from...

 Sketch book thumbnails

The painting below (sans the horse which was added later) was done in the foot hills of Saddleback Mountain in Orange County, CA last spring. The horse was added later via a photograph my dad provided from near his home in Mexico. For the larger, "Sycamore Trail" I wanted the rider and pack horse to be scaled way back in  mid-ground so the painting would be formerly a 'landscape' rather than the horses & rider taking the spot light. The supporting trees in the background came from another plein air sketch I did in Irvine Park not far from the painting below...

"Waiting" (field sketch 9x12) oil on panel SOLD

I am not quite adept enough yet at pulling accurate horse anatomy purely from imagination, so photo reference was necessary, especially for the horses in motion (something I am constantly studying) but overall I'm pretty happy with the somewhat early California Impressionist feel this one turned out having...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Outdoor quick sketches~

Scotch Church Road (9x12) oil on panel

These are just a sample of field sketches I've done lately, studying colour for my larger western studio paintings...

 Untitled (9x12 cropped) oil on linen

These were all done not far from home in Tualatin, Hillsboro and Sherwood, Oregon.

Summer Pond (9x12) oil on panel

Even when on a deadline with studio work for galleries, I still make time to get out and paint from nature -- the ONLY way to learn the subtle nuances of light and colour...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Signature Artist Member with California Art Club!

"Waiting" (12x16) o/c

So happy to be upgraded to "Signature" Artist Member of the California Art Club!

This is a very prestigious art club founded in 1909 and built on the foundation of promoting and supporting contemporary-traditional fine art.  CAC is one of the oldest, largest and most active art organizations in the country, boasting past memberships of such notable west coast painters as, William Ritschel, Euphemia Fortune, Hanson Puthuff, Edgar Payne, William Wendt, etc.

I am very excited and honored to be part of such a great organization, and look forward to many years participating in their events and exhibitions! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

"The Watchers"

 The Watchers (24x32) o/c SOLD

This is a new piece that will be included in my upcoming solo show opening this August at Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Los Angeles. Most ideas like this one start as a thumbnail doodle in my sketchbook where I jot down ideas from imagination, or from something inspired by real life (as was this one from my last trip to the desert earlier this year)...

(Original sketchbook thumbnail)

In this case it was a scene I imagined of trackers, bounty hunters revolutionaries...or? The main idea was whatever these guys are doing, it is punctuated by the rising moon and diminishing daylight -- contemplation of a trail gone cold perhaps...

 (colour sketch 8x10)
After I settled on the composition, I had a friend dress up and model for both figures, and I used reference from several plein air paintings I had done on site in the Anza Borrego desert not far from the Mexican border. I also like the element of mystery, not just from the early evening atmosphere, but from the figures facing away from us (and ones head being cropped off) that keep them anonymous and perhaps a little more vague as to their intentions.


 The paintings I like by other artists (and what I hope to achieve in my own) are the ones that give you a start to a narrative that the viewer has to complete; this gets the viewer involved on a more personal level even if they know nothing of the people in the picture.

(Another sketchbook thumbnail)

If a painting can be effective as not just a nice visual, but as a story telling (or "story starting" device) then you've accomplished something that makes the art twice as interesting...and I think people enjoy that a little bit more~

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New Work...

"They Will Pay" (16x16) oil on linen SOLD

This is a new piece going into my solo show at Maxwell Alexander Gallery -- this show will consist of western figures (Cowboys, Bandits, Smugglers, etc.) opening in L. A. august 19th, 2017. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Feliz Cinco De Mayo!

"Spanish Guitar" (16x12 cropped)

Another work-in-progress going toward my solo show in Los Angeles at Maxwell Alexander Gallery... Exhibition opens august 19th!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Jack in the Thicket

study for "Jack in the Thicket" (9x12) SOLD

Working on a number of new paintings for my solo show that will open at Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. This "study" above was done in preparation for a larger 24x30 canvas which is now complete but not yet photographed... 

Several more canvases are finished with more in the works: Mexican soldiers, peasant farmers, bandits, smugglers and some western landscapes. 

Show opens August 19th.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

More small sketches from my recent California trip...

 Irvine Sycamores (8x10) o/c

 Irvine Hills (8x10) o/l

 Indian Head at Sunset (12x16) o/l

Cleft in the Rock (12x16) o/l

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Due Diligence in the Desert

 "The Santa Rosa's & Coyote Mountain" (8x10)

I just returned from spending a few days in the Anza Borrego Desert in Southern California. Thanks to some friends who lent me their vacation home and SUV,  I was able to get to places a two-wheel drive car couldn't, and the weather was perfect; sunshine and 85 degrees!

 "Desert Rock Design" (8x10)

Ever since I was a little kid when my grandparents kept a trailer out in Palm Springs, I have had an affinity for the desert; from the sunshine and sand to the colour and expanse. It was not just a trip to collect reference sketches for paintings, but to recharge myself after a long, grey Northwest winter and reconnect with my past...

"Coyote Mountain Sunset" (8x10)

Studying your subject from life is essential, especially when one lives so far from it. I never paint landscapes from photographs, but from life (or from my field studies done from life). It's the only true and accurate way to capture colour, value, perspective and the other sensual aspects of temperature, sound and the whole experience of being there...

 "Desert Mountain Colour" (8x10)

The colour of the desert is the most appealing aspect of painting there -- it is so intense on the mountains at sunrise and sunset, and when coupled with the silence and warmth, it really has an impressing effect! 
  "Fish Creek Passage" (8x10)
I hope to get back there before too long where I can relax from the stress of everyday life and appreciate the beauty of this wonderful & mysterious place!

"Indian Head Mountain" (8x10)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Magazine Feature!

Thanks to Allan Duerr & Tom Tierney for featuring me in the new March/April 2017 issue of ART OF THE WEST magazine! I also got the back cover with Bonner David Galleries -- on sale now!

 "Interlopers" (24x36) o/c

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Land of My Nativity...

 To quote Thomas Wolfe & Ella Winter (or, The Shangri-La's) "You can never go home again" is apropos to where my mind is at these days.  'Middle-age' is (for me) a time of living in two camps; the here and now & the fond memories of my past... I know not everyone has fond memories of their adolescence, but I sure do...

"The Land of My Nativity" (24x30) oil on canvas

 I grew up in southern Orange County, California when it still had an abundance of citrus groves -- now there are but a scant few. In fact, the neighborhood where we lived in the 70's was built in an orange grove. Today the grove is long gone (as is the bareness of the hills that surrounded that small valley in San Juan Capistrano) but the memories remain; hide n' seek in the grove, building forts in the eucalyptus trees and coming home with our clothes wreaking of orange juice. 

"The Scarlet Conclusion" (9x12) oil on linen SOLD

In recent years when I've gone back to visit as a painter, the anticipation in my mind's eye never matches up with the reality that exists there now. The barren hills & vistas of the early California Impressionists (or even of my youth) have long since been plowed under in the name of urban sprawl. Those images of undeveloped Southern California are only to be found in history books now, or among the paintings of William Wendt, Edgar Payne and Hanson Puthuff from a century ago...

So although 'I can never go home again' literally, I can still revisit those idyllic places of my youth in my minds eye, and on canvas...  AND (as the Shangri-La's would sing) that's called, "Glad" ~