Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Babette's Artwork

5 x 7 inches, oil on gessoed board.
Kay and I bought this little bird and nest from my friend Babette at her studio sale last December. She's a fine artist and does unique and amazing work. Here's her website:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Magnolia Leaf

5 x 7 inches, oil on gessoed paper.
Just to prove to myself that I can do something in one sitting, I painted this in an evening.
I prefer, though, to work on something over a period of two or more days. There are usually things that bother me, things I didn't get right initially. Sometimes a painting will roll out effortlessly and perfectly, without anything to be fixed. It's rare. When that happens, I have to keep from meddling in it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Stream and Wildflowers, Mt. Hood

5 x 7 inches, oil on gessoed paper.
In the past few weeks I've set up and organized a painting area (not my studio, that's still an unfinished area in the basement) near the west-facing windows in the dining room. I've painted a couple 5 x 7s, such as this one, and feel that I've picked up where I left off many months ago.

This is spring on Mt. Hood, sometime in August. It was overcast. The red/orange flower is paintbrush but I don't remember what the others are. I do remember hiking past this precious little valley.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Pears, Magnolia, Apple

5 x 7 inches, oil on gessoed board.
It's been over a month since a post. In that period Kay started a new job, Portland was snowed and iced under (and over), and we hosted 5 houseguests over the holidays. It was great to have a house full of people; meals were shared, the fireplace was used, movies were watched, and games were played. With our foot of snow, which lasted over a week, we had a great snowball fight and built a towering snowperson.

Now everyone has gone home and the house feels very empty and quiet. I will use that quiet, however, to return to my painting practice.

This painting is my sole output for December. We have a huge magnolia tree in the front and it produces not only glossy and sturdy leaves but prehistoric-looking seedpods and flowers. I like the moody lighting in this painting. It feels like winter to me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sullivan Lake Early Morning

5 x 7 inches, oil on board.
Here's the other painting mentioned in the previous post, a study of Sullivan Lake in Washington.

I have been painting the past week and am feeling good about it, but have nothing to post yet. I will soon though. Much of my free time has been spent in the basement where I'm constructing a shop area for woodworking and picture framing, and a studio area for painting large landscapes. In the meantime I've been painting in the dining room using my paintbox-easel or a sketching easel.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sullivan Lake Early Morning

5 x 7 inches, oil on board.
I've started painting again but my first effort (after a 3-month hiatus) is very...tentative. Well, it is crap. I'll need some time to get back to wherever I was when I left off.

In the meantime, here's one from '99 I think. I think this was Sullivan Lake in northern Washington. I camped 100 yards from here, and in the morning painted a couple studies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poles and Tree, August

5 x 7 inches, oil on gessoed paper.
Here's the last painting I made...from August! A horrible state of affairs, to be sure. Not a particularly interesting study, either. This was the view from the dining room window of our old house.
Oh well...I think I'm on the verge of picking up brushes again. We're more or less settled in our new place and the To Do list is down to one page. Besides, with winter heading in all the outside work is either done, or on hold until next year.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Waldport Cottage

8 x 10 inches, pencil on paper.
This little cottage was next door to the place Kay and I rented when her son Dan came out to Oregon for a 5-day visit in 2005. We had a great view of the ocean from a nice deck (with an outdoor fireplace).

For Dan the highlight of the trip was when we rented ATVs and did our small part to desecrate the coastal sand dunes near Florence.
I must admit that it was a lot of fun.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Path to the Beach

3.5 x 5 inches, oil on paper.
Hey everybody! I have clawed my way to the surface once again. It was a very busy summer. Work was hectic, and in August Kay and I moved to a nicer house here in Portland. We're on the verge of being settled enough to resume "normal" activities, such as painting. My studio is still just a pile of boxes in the basement, but soon, very soon, I'm going to put together the bare bones of a painting set-up. And paint something.

For now, here's an older painting from the Oregon coast. The blue band on the horizon is the ocean.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rose on Blue

5 x 7 inches, oil on paper.
Here's a new painting.

This one was painted in one sitting. I'm realizing that if I keep it simple, I can finish something in 3 hours. My tendency is to widen my view and add elements to the picture. It's hard to simplify, for me at least.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Don't Know #2

18 x 14 inches, tempera on paper.
In the early 90's I went through a period where I allowed myself to paint "thoughtlessly" with cheap tempera paints. The idea was to paint freely and to remove expectations. I have always been primarily a representational artist and as such there is always a model to live up to (reality). For me (with perfectionist "issues") this can be overwhelming and intimidating.

These paintings were fun and always interesting since I had no idea what would result.

The thing I notice is that even when I'm free to paint flat pattern, I invariably strive to create space, depth and form.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pine Springs Canyon

12 x 17 inches, chalk pastel on paper.
This was from my stay in New Mexico in 2003. Guadalupe National Park is on the Texas/New Mexico border, along a desolate stretch of highway connecting Carlsbad and El Paso. The park highlights an ancient uplifted and exposed ocean reef, which these hills are a part of.

I drew 90% of this from our car on-site, and finished it later using my reference photographs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vehicles, morning

9 x 7 inches, color pencil.
OK, you've seen the curtain and you've seen the window. Now see the vehicles in the parking lot below the window.

Friday, July 18, 2008

West from 1500

14 x 11 inches, pencil.
Continuing with the window theme...here's the other window in my old apartment. A really cozy (450 square ft.) place in which to live and paint and picture frame. I remember spending a lot of time just looking for a place to set something down.

"Good times."

Thursday, July 17, 2008


12 x 8 inches, oil on board.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Riverside Park, Carlsbad NM

5.5 x 8 inches, chalk pastel on paper.
My apologies...the server that hosts my site was down for the past few days.

Drawn from the same spot as the previous post "Sunrise", this sketch shows the mighty Pecos River and some of the cottonwood trees lining this oasis. You can see from the bare trees that this was still very early spring. In the summer I'm sure people flock to this park and the water. We left in early May so didn't experience what I'm sure would have been a broiler.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunrise, Riverside Park, Carlsbad NM

5.5 x 8 inches, chalk pastel on paper.
It promises to be another blazing hot day here, so this picture seems appropriate.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

View from Cape Perpetua

8 x 7 inches, pencil.
Cape Perpetua is the highest point on the Oregon coast. It's a fantastic area with forest as well as rugged rocky shoreline with great tidepools and wild waves. The view from the top is what they call panoramic.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Studio Window, Shaver Street

8 x 12 inches, oil on paper.
My studio window from '91-'99. Maybe no one else likes these sketchy paintings, but I do because they point the way for me, towards something looser and less subservient.

I want to pick and choose from the elements in front of me, and rearrange them if necessary to suit my needs. This is a simple concept, but it is a constant struggle for me to follow. I am by nature cautious and deliberate, and to "paint outside (or over) the lines" feels like I'm doing something bad.

But when I am able to do it, it feels exciting and full of life. So this painting holds a good feeling for me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Workday Sketches

A few characters observed on the train or taking a smoke break in the IKEA parking lot.

I've returned to my old habit of always having a sketchbook with me when I leave the house. I really enjoy the challenge of getting some marks down quickly, and not worrying about literal accuracy. I also like letting my cartoonish side out.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Roses and Coreopsis in a Vase

7 x 5 inches, oil on board.
Finally, here's something new, painted over a 2 or 3 day period last week. I basically repainted it twice in the process of searching for the right value relationships and colors. I tried every red and admixture I have, but never found one that satisfied me in conveying the intensity of sun coming through the red petals.

I'm hoping to post new paintings at least once, preferably twice a week. But July and August promise many distractions for me. Be prepared for more "classics" from the past.

Although I have avoided the issue of purchasing my work lately, most everything is for sale. For now, please email me if you're interested in something.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blodgett St.

8.5 x 12 inches, chalk pastel on paper.
This early-morning study of light and shadow was the view from our bat-infested apartment building in Carlsbad, New Mexico, 2003. The weather that spring was mostly perfect, and consistent: sunny and warm, not yet hot. For an on-location (plein-air) painter day-to-day consistency is a good thing. It makes it possible to paint from the subject in more or less the same lighting.

The bats? They lived in the roof and we could hear them squeaking and moving about. At dusk they would shoot out into the darkening sky from under the eaves, one by one, like stormtroopers.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Don't Know

4 x 4 inches, oil on board.
I'd like to say something about this painting, but...what? From time to time I like to just move paint around, with no idea, no plan, nothing. And this is what I get, or something like it. I don't tend to produce straight lines, but I do love arabesque and flowing line. And I tend to give things form. This image seems soft and round and organic, but the sharp teeth are a little alarming.

I think it's interesting to see what kind of picture results from this process. I think it probably reflects one's basic artistic personality. I think I could enjoy studying abstract painting, and I have often thought that if I had enough years I might end up painting "nonobjectively", if I felt I had exhausted reality. But I don't know. For now, I still want to study light, and form, and the natural world I can still see.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rocky Beach

7 x 8 inches, pencil on paper.
Can't remember which beach this is, but it's somewhere around Yachats on the Oregon coast.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Coreopsis? (purty yellow flower)

5 x 4 inches, oil on board.
I think this is a Coreopsis, but I'm not sure. It's yellow, and growing in our front garden bed.
This was painted a few days ago.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

37th & Shaver

4.5 x 7 inches, oil on board.
One of my admirers has been clamoring for more pavement, so I offer this up with the hope that it satisfies.

This poor intersection has survived some serious cutting and patching.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I can scan an entire painting (matted and framed under glass), and find no evidence of glass reflection or blurriness. I cropped out the frame but left the mat on this image.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Trees, Oregon Coast

Here's a good example of the direction I want to move in my oil painting. I like the expressive lines, pattern and simplification in this drawing. For some reason oil painting still has a "precious" stigma for me and it causes me to try too hard, to be cautious or careful. I think I just need to do a lot of painting.
7 x 9 inches, color pencil on paper.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lovejoy Window

I've always liked windows and doorways, the portal between the interior and the outside worlds. And I like drawing with pencil. And I like plants. This drawing has all 3 elements! Wow.
8 x 7 inches, pencil on paper.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pavement, Morning

I like shadows.
5.5 x 6 inches, oil on paper.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1500 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

This was my view looking west towards downtown Portland in 2005. My apartment had the feel of a hamster cage, but it did offer an elevated panorama of the surrounding trees, rooftops, and sky. This study was done in color pencil on a fall evening.
7 x 6 inches, color pencil on archival matboard.