This was my entry for Oklahoma's Duck stamp competition. With most of these competitions I am usually very conscious of what the judges might be looking for and try to cater to that, but with this one I decided just to have fun. I knew it probably wouldn't do well as a result, but that was okay with me this time!
Needless to say I didn't do well, but the painting was fun to work on.
I love turkeys but I haven't had the chance to paint them recently, so I jumped at the chance to do so for a game stamp competition. This is one of those paintings that fought me the whole way, but it ended up being a great learning experience and I think that is what counts!
While I did not place, my painting made it to the 'semi-final' round (always a relief when they don't think it's rubbish!).
"Rio Grande Turkeys" - 15" x 20", Acrylic on board
I love birds and have a great deal of fun painting them! The cormorant below was a cheeky sort of fellow, and I fell in love with his gem-like eye. The cockatiel is actually one of my own parrots (or should I say, she owns me), Zephyr. I've had Zephyr for nearly 11 years now, and she loves to sit on the arm of my chair as I paint and snooze with her 'cheek poof'. It is a great chance to paint from life.
Unfortunately you cannot get a sense of impasto from the scans.
"Double Crested Cormorant", Acrylic on 5" x 7" board
I'm behind in posting new works, but I'll remedy that.
Here are a few fanciful watercolors I've painted in the last month, both sporting mythological beasties. The first is a gryphon I've based on a peregrine falcon, stooping on some doves. The second is just for fun. I hope you enjoy!
On October 15th, my friend Grace lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis. She had just turned 25.
She was a fantastic artist in her own right, a really wonderful girl and a fellow 'bird nerd'. She will be dearly missed. She is survived by her family and twin sister, Caroline. I've adopted her two cockatiels that she had since she was a little girl and hope to give them the best life possible.
Grace was going to have a double lung transplant but couldn't make it long enough. Please consider becoming an organ donor if you have not already.
Just a quick post to share my Federal Duck Stamp entry for this year!
Judging was last Friday, and I was elated to watch round one live, broadcast online.
My piece did not make it past round one (5 "OUT" votes) but after seeing the other entries I didn't expect it to. Some really fantastic work this year! You can see them all here. Here are the scores.... And the top three!
Here is my entry. I think you can tell I struggled with it! It is not the best painting I have ever done. I will try again next year, if I can afford the entry fee. There are some really pretty species to choose from next year!
Northern Shovelers - 9" x 7" Acrylic on Masonite board
September's rushed right by without even a peep from me! How embarassing. I've been painting various pieces for duck stamps, both state and Federal levels. Sadly I cannot share them until they have been judged. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go!
Here's a painting that I can show you right now that I just finished this week!
Painted just for the joy of painting and as an excuse to experiment and 'warm up' with my paints again.
This painting was inspired by several photos and sketches I made of an ocelot at the Buffalo Zoo last spring.
There is a fair amount of impasto on this piece, and my scanner really didn't know what to think that nonsense so I regret that this scan is not entirely accurate to the original. It's a bit richer and the whites are not quite so blown out in the original.
"Ocelot" Acrylic paints on 8" x 10" masonite board
Hello everyone! Just a quick note to say that I'll be taking orders on a Limited Edition run of "Rise" until September 15th. These will be super high quality prints. If you're into Gryphons, have a peek for more details!
In other news, I just finished both my Federal and Oklahoma duck stamp entries this month, and now it's time for a brief break from ducks to get some other work done. In process: some more fantasy art, wildlife paintings, and some custom Windstones!
I am a bit behind; this time of year is endlessly busy with events and lots of painting deadlines!
A more whimsical piece of a Red Panda (Wah) enjoying some hot tea (Cha).
This piece was a special one, done with my longtime friend (and fantastic artist) Amber Hill.
She drew the sketch/drawing for this, which I then transferred, inked, and painted! You can visit Amber's gallery here!
All credit for the idea and original drawing go to her. The inkwork and painting are my own.
"Wah Cha", Ink and Watercolor on 300lb rough, 7.5" x 11.5"
Just for fun!
I love theropods in general, but especially dromaeosauridae.
This is a whimsical depiction of one, and is NOT intended to be scientifically accurate.
I did do my best not to fly in the face of science and do something crazy, I don't have enough paleontological background to claim this as being nearly 'scientifically accurate' to our current knowledge.
I based this off of a deinonychus skeleton, though as I understand that to date there is no irrefutable evidence for them to have feathers like this. I do however know that they found evidence of feather butts in the arm bones of velociraptor, which indicates that they did have arm/wing feathers! They are discovering more and more theropods had feathers, to varying degrees. They have even been able to find some color marker remnants in the fossilized feathers to determine some of the colors the feathers were. That's so cool.
Ink and watercolors, 11" x 15" cold press watercolor paper.
doThis is a memorial painting of Nikki, our family pet and friend. He was a shelter dog, and we suspect he was husky-German Shepherd mixed. We lost Nik to lymphoma recently and we miss him very, very much.
I painted this as a gift for my father, who cared about Nik as much as any of us, and they were best buds. Dad's birthday is today so this is a surprise gift for him.
Since I cannot travel to see wild gyrfalcons, sketching them from 'life' on the video was the next best thing for now at least. I was really taken by one of the fledglings that twisted her head every which way to follow some feather down floating around in the breeze in front of her.
My sketch-work has never been very good, but a few folks expressed interest in seeing it so here it is!
Immature Gyrfalcon Studies, approx. 11" x 8" pencil (graphite) and watercolor.
Whooping cranes have this crazy dance they do as a mating ritual. They bounce and hop and flail and looks beautiful, graceful, and completely ridiculous all at the same time. (video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzXiD88cqt8 )
Sadly there is not much footage of them doing this (at least online) because these guys are endangered. Right now I think that the latest numbers are only about 300 in the wild. If you've heard about the cranes that they raise from babies, then guys in ultralite aircraft show the cranes the migration routes, those are likely whooping cranes (though they have done this with other large migratory waterfowl). This is really inspiring and cool stuff. Check it out. http://www.operationmigration.org/
This piece is intentionally executed in a slightly unrealistic, 'romantic' way.
"Whoopin' it Up", Whooping cranes, 10" x 7" acrylic on board.
Done for an upcoming project calling "Preserving Love" which aims to sell a collection of works featuring male and female pairs of animals, the sales of which will go to benefit wildlife.
This piece was painted to enter in the Delaware Waterfowl Stamp Competition.
I have always loved buffleheads (affectionately known as butterballs by some) and jumped at the chance to paint them. They are a wonderful and I love that they never stop moving, even when sleeping. If you have never seen one of these little fellows diving and bobbing up in the water you are missing out!
Buffleheads are not a frequent visitor where I reside, and though I do hope to travel sometime in the future to their flyways to better observe and photograph these guys, my time was limited for this painting. Friend and amazing photographer Damian D. was very kind and gifted to me some unpublished photos of buffleheads for me to use in my painting. A great deal of thanks and credit for this paintings very existence go to him! Thank you Damian. You can see his spectacular wildlife photography here. It is well worth checking out.
This piece did not place in the competition, so I will be excited to try again next year.
Here is a painting I worked on for most of February. It was my entry for Colorado's Wildfowl stamp competition, which I just received back yesterday. I worked on this largely with no reference other than my studies and photographs from several waterfowl reference books I have. Since I did not have my own photographs to work from, all of the major aspects of this work were 'made up' - pose, composition, setting, and lighting.
Ironically, just after I had to ship the painting away I had the opportunity to study some live pintails and found a new understanding of their anatomy (I had only had the chance to study mallards and spoonies before). So, I see a lot of things that I would now do differently... but it is what it is for the time that I painted it! I feel that I am learning a lot every step of the way, which is very exciting to me.
It placed 12th out of 43 entries.
"Chilly Morning - Northern Pintails", 13" x 18", Acrylic on illustration board.
Over a month since my last post! This makes me look like I am falling behind, but I have been hard at work! I've completed four paintings in the interim, but sadly a few of them I cannot share in public just yet as they were entries for different contests. I will be sure to share once judging is complete!
With such tight deadlines and many hours stressing over making paintings that I hope will not be a complete flop, I found that when I finished I needed a short change in pace. Long have I admired kookaburras, and I found myself inspired by a wonderful photograph by Rob and Stephanie Levy (who granted their kind permission further to follow my inspiration..!).
Thus I set out and painted a quick painting of a Laughing Kookaburra; a most amazing and large type of kingfisher. I aimed to keep this fairly quick, fresh, and away from fiddly detail as a way to refresh myself after several very polished paintings.
Though it is not my calling in the same way painting is, I do enjoy crafting jewelry. It is the same primal feeling of taking things from the earth and working and combining them to create something new and hopefully beautiful. Wire wrapping is one of the oldest forms of jewelry creation, dating back to 2000 BC and possibly even earlier. I use nothing more than my hands, fingers, and some very simple pliers to craft these pendants.
Here are a few from the most recent batch; Labradorite, Moonstone, Lapis Lazuli and Smokey Quartz.
Not to scale.
There is something to be said about the timelessness and transience of jewelry. It is an item of luxury that is treasured amongst every demographic, culture, age, gender.. and I am immensely thankful for it, because it is what keeps me floating when the other types of art aren't selling. It can be a very zen-like art form, because I never know what's going to happen when I get out a stone and cut some wire. Each one is different and takes its shape with no planned thought.
Plus, you know... it's fun to play with the sparklies!
It's been a while in-between posts, but I've been working hard on a new piece.
Gadwalls - 13" x 18" Acrylic on board
This piece was my entry for North Carolina's duck stamp competition this year. It did not place, but I wasn't expecting to do overly well... this was my very first competition, and my first time painting ducks in acrylic. I had to bear in mind what the piece would look like reduced down to a very small stamp as I worked on it.
I have been wanting to get into the Duck Stamp "scene" for quite a while now, but have only recently been able to work up the courage (and finances) to do so. Going against this country's best waterfowl artists is very intimidating to me, but I am trying to overcome that since I do really love ducks and I hope someday to get to the point where my work is up to par with the competition. Maybe. :)