When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

acrylic painting

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Hypnoflakes

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

 

Hypnoflakes, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

Hypnoflakes, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

Fern Song

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Fern Song, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

Fern Song, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

Entry for The Square Foot Show in Bismark, ND on August 1st – 25th, 2017

First Snow 02

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

First Snow 02, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

First Snow 02, 12 x 12 inches acrylics on canvas

Entry for The Square Foot Show in Bismark, ND on August 1st – 25th, 2017

Monarda finished

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Monarda finished, 24H x 28W inches acrylics
Monarda, lower right detail of 24H x 28W inches acrylics
Monarda finished, 24H x 28W inches acrylic son heavy bristol board. Total size 32H x 36W inches with black suede mat, gold trim then 4 inch red suede mat and gold frame.

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Monarda

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Monarda, 24H x 28W inches acrylics on heavy bristol board

Monarda, work in progress 24H x 28W inches acrylics on heavy bristol board. Gold frame, total size 32H x 36 inches with black suede mat, gold trim then 4 inch red suede mat

Monarda photo compilation: in progress and finished piece framed

Special Orders

Thursday, February 11th, 2016


Zen Garden 02 replicated, 24H x 59W x 1D inches mixed media on canvas
Special order, Zen Garden 02, replicated 24H x 59W x 1D inches mixed media on canvas, special order finished, sent and received. Replications are unique from the originals.

Zen Garden 02 replicated for special order, general outline Zen Garden 02 replicated for special order, progression detail 02 Zen Garden 02 replicated for special order, progression detail 03

Transplanting Daisies

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012


 

Transplanting Daisies, 12H x 36W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas, wrapped sides painted, trim frame

Transplanting Daisies, 36W x 12L x 3D inches graphite and acrylics on canvas. Details of work in progress:

Transplanting Daisies, detail image of 36W x 12L x 3D inches graphite and acrylics on canvas, work in progress

Transplanting Daisies, stage 1 priming basics over yellow background, work in progress ransplanting Daisies, stage 3, work in progress ransplanting Daisies, stage 4 toning things down, work in progress


 

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Stepping Stones

Friday, March 25th, 2011


 

Zen Garden #01, 48 x 36 x 2, Nov. 2000, mixed media on canvas, 3 in. box frame, sold1.Prickly Pear Cactus, acrylics pins around 48 x 36 x 2 in. canvas, 3 in. box frame, Nov. 2000 - sold2.

Alpine Meadows, Acrylics using palette knife on foreground flowers, 48 x 36 x 2 in. canvas, 3 in. box frame, sold3.The Evolution of Communication, 48 x 36 x 2 in. acrylics on canvas, computer keys and handmade tiles in frame, 2000 - sold4.

While I was in Portland two weeks ago, starting the Texas-Oregon relocation process, I completed five new Zen Gardens, filling a request for one. All five are smaller, slightly different versions of ones made previously. Four are shown in thumbnail images below.

The very first Zen Garden was created in 2000 as part of a four-painting commission. The ideas established in that set foreshadowed new routes to trying methods I hadn’t before, like enhancing my paintings with 3D elements. That set is also the origins of the “box frame” design that I’ve used on several other paintings since then, where each main canvas is mounted on a wood platform, framing the work with about four inches of extra play-space.

Whereas some frames have the effect of abruptly ending a composition, this type of frame enables space for the subject to continue, softens the edges and adds an interesting twist to the overall impression. When items related to the main subject are placed in that area it adds dimension, not just in the physical sense, but also in the conveying of any abstract or symbolic stories beyond the presentation of the main painting inside.

Because of the challenges acheived in those paintings, 1) a series was born that I’ll continue with for the rest of my days. In Prickly Pear Cactus, 2005 acrylics and pins on 8 x 10 in. canvas, sold but will take commissions for other versions2) Prickly Pear Cactus, pins were applied around the main central frame, then painted. The smaller canvas done during 2005 (left) borrowed this technique, and the same principle of attaching things to the main frame can be used with any number of objects.

In 3) Alpine Meadows, I learned to use all the qualities acrylic paints offer by watering down the consistency for the distant mountains, then sculpted the flowers and grasses with a palette knife on the lower portion. Finally, the theme of 4), The Evolution of Communication has intrigued me ever since, but I still haven’t fully pursued the possibilities. This is the perfect means to learn about Art History hands-on by attempting to recreate it in some form, then to share that adventure and ideally, inspire interest in the topic at the same time. Two old keyboards have been collecting dust in my studio closet for a number of years, yet to be disassembled and incorporated into a new series of work with similar associations.

~

Some of our peers advocate that if we don’t concentrate our efforts to learn one medium well, we will never excel in any. They are right of course, in many respects, but scores of artists are not content with singing just one note. Some simply cannot. To be fair, what works for one does not work for another. Each of the above paintings are examples where a combination of skills and different media in one piece can be very effective. I’m here to say that integration is possible! It’s a longer, meandering road..but it is possible.

Zen Garden 09-02, 30L x 15W inches, mixed media on canvasThere are so many different paths artists can take, long and short term; opportunities every day. There are endless kinds of subjects, ready-made and unconventional materials, always something to start or finish, new methods to explore, and an overabundance of ideas to attempt in one lifetime. Self discipline is the order of every day, either to start working or know when to stop.

My philosophy is that doing something, unless naturally in need of rest, is better than doing nothing. However, being overly ambitious in too many areas is also how I, along with millions of other artists end up with a variety of different kinds of art (or just stuff!), and the arguements endorsing one type of study come into play. Should we restrain ourselves when it comes to making “stuff”? Why is consistency given more support than variety when it comes to showing and selling art?

Whatever choices we make; whichever direction we take depends mostly on the intention for the finished products. Who is it for, do you want it to sell it, where, how, and how quickly? Was work done as a personally cathartic process, as a lot of art is? …or is it just a thing with no emotional attachments or brainy messages? Artists who support themselves by offering a range of services, satisfied and busy enough by word-of-mouth sales, do well jumping from medium to medium. If the hope is selling work through galleries and art dealers though, what some call “too many voices” are apt to be a disadvantage.   Zen Garden 10-02, 18L x 24W inches mixed media on canvas

In one of his recent articles, Robert Genn writes sensitively about multi-media artists. While he supports that “for artists, exploration is like oxygen” and that “the nature of our game is to be distracted by our muse”, he also recommends that artists must present consistency in our approach if gallery exhibition/sales is what we pursue.

When a gallery represents an artist, they expect an overall consistent look and a clear statement. Where venues sell a number of artists’ work, the ambiance cannot be one that resembles a yard sale. If potential buyers view too many styles, subjects or media in one place or by one artist, they tend to lose interest, resort to window shopping, and walk away empty-handed.

Zen Garden 02-02, 30L x 15W inches, mixed media on canvasI can relate to that: the effect is like standing in the toothpaste isle at the pharmacy, where the senses are bombarded with colorful packaging, alluring titles and fine-print promises. Assuming beforehand that the choice would not be anything but simple, there have been times when I’ve said ‘forget it’ and gone back another day. With art sales though, you don’t want buyers to come back another day, because it may not be your art they choose then.

Gallery owners and dealers do not do us any favor if they display too much variety in typically limited spaces, so Mr. Genn has an excellent suggestion: bring art done in different medias to different galleries.

He also says to keep working no matter what.

Artists have a strong sense of mission. Periodically it needs reevaluation, and with that bigger picture clear, we create the way as it unfolds before us. If we are serious about selling, we first need to become familiar with what we are best at, what we love, what works and what doesn’t. We need experience in order to learn – that takes time – and there’s no getting around it. Experimentation is fundamental to this profession, but if it’s intended to be sold to others and by others, simplifying the look and clarifying the purpose of our art is crucial.

Zen Garden 02-03, a squished version of 02, 18L x 24W inches mixed media on canvasA viewer at one of my exhibitions commented, “You’re all over the place, arentcha?!” As disturbing as that was, it’s true and I needed to hear it, eventually concluding that I do need to clean up my act, but at the same time this is how I work. This is how my stuff works. Every so often there are paintings or a series of works that encompass all that’s been learned and all that I’m capable of; breakthroughs that define a solid new direction or validate the existing one. The commissioned set of paintings described above were like that, and their significance is still an influence on today’s work and will be on tomorrows’ too. They verified that I’m on the right path even though much of the time is spent off of it, experimenting. I call it serious play and paying attention… “playing attention”! Once in a while the bits and pieces come together in one big rewarding “Eureka!”.

Framing on Northern Delights 02 update

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010


 

Northern Delights 02, acrylics painting 24 x 36 inches with 36 x 48 inches canvas frame

Northern Delights 02, 24H x 36W inches acrylics on canvas, adhered to a 36H x 48W x 1D inches canvas. Mask/resist medium was used to maintain white spaces and pure colors in both sections.

The central painting was started in 2006, with the framing resolved today – a perfect example where some paintings just need to hang around for a while before they are well and truly finished. The scene of the central painting is extended onto the larger canvas, initially intended to have the same style, but stopping for a coffee break, then coming back with fresh eyes, decided  I actually like the clash of styles. I always say that art is the best place to exhibit any rebellious tendencies! Besides, formal frames can sometimes cut off the energy of a composition too abruptly. Every painting does not need a frame, but finishing the edges should always be considered.


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Zen Garden #10 almost finished

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010


 

Zen Garden 10, 40 x 60 x 3 inches mixed media on canvas

Zen Garden 10, 40 x 60 x 3 inches mixed media on canvas.

The final stages of this paintings will be finished as it hangs on a wall. As seen  in a realistic room setting,  it will be easier to spot whatever might make the composition more interesting. Some colors may need to be re-enhanced to add more depth and definition, but I also like the overall faded look, so we’ll see. The texture continues around all 3D edges. All paintings in the Zen garden series are wired to hang in any of 4 orientations; vertically or horizontally. Below: details of left central portion as seen in the above .

Zen Garden 10 details


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