Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of 2012....

2012 is coming to an end and, if you believe all the hype about the Mayan calendar, so is the end of the world. I thought I would take a moment and reflect on the past year, especially since it could be my last posting. (wink)

All I need is a HOT cup of coffee!

Andrew Wyeth

It has been a good year for me so far but not nearly as productive as I would like. I am evolving as an artist and I find great joy in painting on location. Even if the weather does not always cooperate, as you can see by my picture. I am in good company and follow in the footsteps of some of my idols.

Georgia O'Keeffe
I have reworked my artist statement AGAIN. A never ending process. 

I must admit I have neglected to blog as much this year as I have in past years. I can only hope that in 2013 I will be more consistent. Alas, that is in the future and my crystal ball clouded over years ago.

Today I can only hope that my Muse whispers inspiration into my ear in the days and weeks to come and that I am open, willing, and working to hear her song. Of course that is, if the world is still around.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Transporting Pencil Supplies

An artist friend suggest I share some of the tips I have learned over the years working with colored pencils. I thought it sounded like a good idea. Some you may already know about and others hopefully you will find helpful.

Tip number one: "Transporting my supplies" - I have used several different types of carriers to transport my pencil supplies. A tackle box originally designed for fishing was one of my first. I have since transferred to a tool caddy.

Sometimes shopping somewhere other than an art supply store can be quite beneficial.    

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Artist Statement.... YIKES!

At some point in your artistic career you will be asked to supply an artist statement. This is one of the best articles I've read on how to prepare one so I'm doing something I almost NEVER do... I'm re-posting it!

This is a re post from artist Hannah Piper Burns.

Artist statements: the bane of almost every artist’s existence!

Maybe it’s because artists are such visual thinkers, or maybe because it’s literally impossible to translate between mediums. Whatever the reason, writing a new statement is enough to make anyone pull out their hair. Am I right?

While I am certainly not immune to statement stress, I am fortunate enough to come from a writing background. In graduate school, I was often harangued for it, accused of being better at words than artwork. But as the years passed my peers began to appreciate my unique perspective and abilities. To this day, I am my classmates’ unofficial Statement Doctor! They know I am the one to email for help with exhibitions, academic reviews, grant proposals, and juries, and because I have a well-known and unabashed love of words, I’m happy to oblige. Now I pass my secrets on to you, Internet! Here are five tips for improving any artist statement:

1. Start Off With a Bang
Almost every artist statement I have ever read starts out with the words “My work is”, “My painting/drawing/sculpture/video/performance is inspired by”, or “In my work”. I hereby call an official moratorium on all of these openers! In a competitive field like this one, you need to stand out from the pack. When a dealer or curator or jury or grant committee flips through page after page of statements, you want yours to be a breath of fresh air.

2. Less is More
Seriously! My own artist statement is six healthy sentences long. I find that many artists hide behind verbosity, as if the more they write, the closer they can get to the truth. But if people need to read paragraph after paragraph, they might think your work can’t hold up on its own, and that is a big-time kiss of death. A big part of what I do with other people’s artist statements is trim sentences and words like so much fat off of a steak. Nobody, from dealers to curators to your audience to your own mother, wants to read a novel to get a gist of the work. So keep it short and sweet!

3. Learn to Love Language
Short doesn’t have to mean content-less: Maximize your impact with unique, fascinating verbiage. You’re an artist, after all! Make sure you have both long and short sentences, which create a syncopated rhythm that is enjoyable to read. Please, whenever possible, use active rather than passive tense, and find verbs and adjectives that really strike to the heart of what it is you do. Thesaurus.com, Dictionary.com, and Etymonline are your friends. Personally, I always love statements that utilize onomatopoeia, like “ooze”, “slither”, “flush”, et cetera. Which brings me to my next point:

4. The Words Should Match the Work
Is your work whimsical? Or is it violent? What is the scale? Make sure your prose reflects the qualities of what it describes. Using verbs and adjectives that really match the qualities of your creative output will create a statement that both excites and informs. Have you found a great quote from an artist, writer, philosopher, or theologian that you feel speaks to your process, form, or content? Consider using it as an introduction to your statement, or even as the statement itself! I recommend looking for inspiration online or in the art theory books gathering dust on your shelves.

5. Get a Second Opinion
Just like when we make artwork, sometimes we are so involved in the process of writing a statement that it can be hard to be objective. Make sure you get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your statement before you publish it or send it out. Try reading it aloud while showing some images or clips. That why, you can get a better sense of the rhythm and flow of the prose while your critic can see how well the words actually match the work.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have a statement that is fresh, creative, professional, and accessible. Of course, the best thing you can do for your writing is also the best thing you can do for your artwork: keep at it. Happy statement-ing!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


At the farmer's market today. Gus seemed quite happy hauling flowers to the market!
(Gus is the truck)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Old Twisted Willow

In the spring of 2011 I started working on birch board surfaces I prepared. To read more about the process go back to an older post : June 13th, 2012

This is one of the first paintings I did using this technique and I have to say I absolutely love this surface to paint on.

"Old Twisted Willow" 8 X 10 X 1 inches $160.00  

Plein Air season!

Plein air season is in full swing for me, not that there is a season. Kinda sounds like deer season, or salmon season. I guess in a way it is. I go out from mid May to about mid September with a group of local artists every Wednesday morning to paint. In a way this is our "plein air" season. Here in Oregon for the most part it is too rainy at other times of the year for most of us to venture outside the studio to paint. When I go out on Wednesday mornings I always have high expectations that today I will be triumphant and bring home a prize catch. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it does not.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I wanted to do a piece that captured the new growth of spring as it emerges from winter's long slumber.

It is 5" x 16" colored pencil and it will be at "The 21st Annual Colored Pencil Show" located at Keizer Art Association from April 7th thru 30th.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What to do with those old paintings?

I'm taking a short break from my plein air blogging because I have a predicament. After the start of a new year I, like most people start thinking about making new goals for the year ahead. I have been working on getting my body in shape and alas feel the need to also get my studio into shape.

After spending the last week or so mucking out my studio space, I have come to the conclusion that I have a lot of stuff that I no longer need. Old dried up paint and broken picture frames I can deal with but what to do with all those old paintings? I, like a lot of you have stacks of framed paintings lying around my studio.

What do you do with all those framed paintings from years gone by?