Thursday, November 29, 2007


There is a universe of great artists out there and if you snoop around enough in galleries, art museums, coffee houses, bookstores, online, etc., you are going to find some that really touch and inspire you. I found Stephen Doherty in the 2007 issue of American Artist's "Oil Paintings Highlights". This was AFTER I had done three acrylics that I call my "Working Man series". " U.S. Mail Truck Driver on Morning Break" is in an earlier post. The two in this post are titled "Car Wash Steam Wand Operator" and "Window Fitter" The only comparison here is the subject matter. In reference to Mr. Doherty's oils, what inspires me is his sensuous brush work and dramatic values. I have no desire to copy his painting style, but it is always wonderful to have someone at a higher level, if you will, that pushes you to push yourself (as soon as I can find a better way to phrase this idea, I'll edit my post!). I am very excited to continue my Working Man series with renewed vigor thanks to Stephen!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

En Plein Air Painting@Hunting

This Monday, I was out on the American River Parkway. What a beautiful Fall morning it was! About an hour later, fellow plein air artist Marti Walker showed up to pastel this idyllic scene. Then a gaggle of geese swooped down and landed in the water right in front of us! They then waddled up onto our beach. My car was parked only about 20 yards away, so I hot footed to it and pulled out my firearm kept locked up in the glove compartment (don't think I have ever put gloves in my glove compartment). I casually came back to my easel so as not to frighten our goosey friends. Taking careful aim, I shot the fat goose you see in the foreground of my canvas. Marti let out a scream not to be believed! I told her to chill out a bit. I explained that I was merely going to take the dead duck, uh, I mean goose, home to pluck it, gut it, freeze it, and on Christmas eve, cook it. Marti felt a lot better and proceeded to complete her pastel.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blog Title Change

Over the course of several recent postings, some comments from Mike Bailey, Silvina Day, and Terry Miura have got me to thinking about my blog title "Plein Air Wannabe". Added to this, I've had a good sales month in the two galleries I'm in. I've sold six paintings, four of which have been en plein air. So I have been convinced to change my blog title to simply my name... NOT that I'm satisfied yet with my plein air endeavors (do we ever get to that point?), but I guess it's a matter of degrees. I've got a lot more degrees up the plein air ladder that I want to go! Changing the subject now, I've just gotten back from a little mini Thanksgiving vacation where I took about an hour out to do two ink/wash sketches. One is from our motel window (second floor) and the other is looking back towards the unit our second floor room was in. These were done on a cheapo water color sketch pad. I first started out by drawing with a non-water soluble ink fine point Sharpie pen (no pencil drawing. Ink focuses the mind and eye better!). Then I added dabs of water soluble ink from a Tombow pen and made them into value washes with an all- plastic Waterbrush. I wrote a short article on this sketching technique in the January, 2006 issue of American Artist Magazine. It's great for travel and for painting composition/value studies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More or Less?

I'm still finding my way with plein air painting. These are two I did late spring of this year when I started outdoor painting seriously and on a regular basis. For a long time, I've considered them as somewhat unsucessful. The only problem with this assesment is that my wife, Cheryl, likes the bridge, and the owner of the latest gallery I'm now showing in accepted the field/ clouds/ skyline painting. What is common in both pieces is the direct simplicity in painting style as opposed to others that I've noodled more on (including studio time!) Come to think of it, these two were 90% completed on site! A rare occurance for this plein air wannabe. So where does this leave me? Maybe do some more! By the way, they are both 11"x17" on gessoed medium density board.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Steamboat Slough

This acrylic is about 36"x48" and painted on canvas ducktaped to my studio wall. It was done over a 3 day period about a year ago and before I started my acrylic journey en plein air. It now hangs in the Elliott Fouts Gallery here in Sacramento along with seven small plein air paintings that I did over the course of this summer 2007. I worked from a photo I took of this wonderful, old articulated bridge on the California delta. The bridge was designed by the same man who designed the Golden Gate bridge! Anyway, the point I'd like to make with this piece is that one should never do a literal translation of a photograph. What's the point of that? Do something with it. In this case, I painted in a warm yellow glow coming in from the right side and down river. People who have seen this painting always mention its appeal. Now that its in the Fouts Gallery, maybe that appeal will turn into a buy. I have attached a link to the Elliott Fouts Gallery where you can see samples of some of the other artists showing there.