Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last piece of 2011

Seeing the end of 2011 , or any year, can be a deeply personal thing. Some people say goodbye to the old year in a meaningful, ritualistic way, and some people just see it as another day.

I am always interested in seeing what the last piece is that I squeeze out before the year end!

This time it is an atmospheric piece-- of of my favorite things to paint, done on commission for Chelsea Howe of one of her fantasy critters. The scene and colors were pulled out of my head, while I referenced character sheets to try and make sure her character was painted true to its nature. It has the features of a winged polar bear / dragon and has horns like a ram.

"Mountainrise" - Digitally painted using Corel Painter
(Oil pastel, real bristle, and pastel tools used)

Here's a detail of the beastie:

And a Work In Progress from a few days ago. You can see where I have the clouds well built, and was just starting to block in the mountain:

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time Flies!! A boatload of new art.

My goodness, sometimes time really gets away from me. This year has flown by, and I feel like I've been left in its wake. What happened!

Here are some of the more recent pieces I've been working on.

Some wildlife....

 Mockingbird and Dogwood - 8" x 10" Ink and Watercolor

Rubythroat at Rest - Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, 4" x 6" Ink and Watercolor

 Keen on Fish - Bald Eagle-  8" x 10" Ink and Watercolor

The Fair Lady Coho of Avalon -- one of my Salmon Faverolles chickens! 8" x 10" Ink and Watercolor

Oviraptor - Illustration for a whimsical short story where an oviraptor is brought to modern day! Digital painting.

And a few fantasy critters!

Peaaria K'eidolen Al'ruaten - Golden Dragon - 10" x 15" Ink and Watercolor

Verdigris and Plum - Gryphon - 10" x 15" Ink and Watercolor

Tall Skies - Gryphon - 9" x 6" Ink and Watercolor

Whew! Now that I'm caught up, I will try to get some more interesting posts together with some looks at my process and such. I hope you all have a great new year!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Art Show!

If you are local to the Jamestown, NY area I'd like to extend an invitation to visit me (and many other talented artists!) at Art in the Woods this weekend! It is being held at the Audubon Center, and in addition to the great artists you'll find a wealth of bird-watching and fantastic information about birds (they also have a super cool exhibit where you can safely look inside a working beehive).

If you are local I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Show and two new paintings

First the great news: All of my Wildlife artwork will be on display at a Solo Show in the Wellsville Creative Arts Center in Wellsville, NY!
My show runs for the entire month of June, 2011. If you are local, please stop by and have a peek! I have over 20 framed originals in the show.
Because this is my first show and I am so excited: If you are able to stop in the Wellsville Community Arts Center in June while my show is up and can snap a photo of yourself there (cellphone photos are okay!) and send it to me, I'd be happy to offer an exclusive 10% off on anything in my shop in the first week of July!

Here are two new small paintings I completed just before the show.
The first is a Townsend's Warbler. I had a close and charming encounter with this little fellow when I visited the West Coast in January. He was often nearby and at one point perched on and around my feet as I was photographing some waterfowl. I knew I had to paint his portrait!

"Townsend's Warber", 5" x 7" Acrylic on Hardboard

This next painting is me poking fun at myself. I paint many super serious realistic ducks for duck stamp competitions. They are pretty serious events and can carry a lot of weight in the Wildlife art world. That said, I never take myself too seriously, and here is my own self-satire!

"A Different Perspective" (Mallards), 5" x 7" Acrylic on Hardboard

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This is an experiment-- this is the type of painting I really love to do but boy do I ever have a lot to learn! That's part of the fun.

We often have deer on our property, and one doe in particular seems to visit quite often. Our neighbor, whom we respect very much (Mr. Fred Evans, who is greatly responsible for some of the programs that repopulated Wild Turkeys in the Eastern US) told us that she fawns on the corner of our properties and gives birth to twins yearly. He affectionately calls her "Goldie".

"Goldie",  8" x 10" Acrylic on Hardboard.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whooper Swans and Lady Amherst's Pheasant

I have an intense love for birds-- all birds-- and cannot resist the urge to paint them. Give me a reason to paint them and sometimes I'll nearly turn inside-out to do so!

So it was that my friend and I were cruising through James Gurney's blog (check it out if you haven't) and stumbled across a link to the Share One Planet competition. A very neat project-- a global competition featuring the work of those that use computers as their artistic medium to raise awareness for wildlife conservation. This is something right up my alley... painting animals (birds), using the computer to paint with, and conservation! Unfortunately, I noticed that the deadline was less than a week away. Miserable luck, seeing as how it had been open for months. I applied, received a formal invitation, and got to work promptly. A week later, after working non-stop except for a few hours sleep each night, I got my paintings in just under the deadline.

"Forest Resplendence", Digital, using Corel Painter's Oil Pastel and Acrylic brushes.

For those not familiar, my method for digital art is remarkably similar to when I am painting with physical acrylic paints. I am presented with a canvas, and I will then create and refine a sketch to work from. Painting directly onto the digital canvas, I will build color up and blend as if working with traditional paints. While it does take less time than traditional acrylics (no dry time, and mistakes are easier to paint over), the computer does not do any of the 'work' for me and no computer rendering or effects are used.

"Veneration to the Sun", digital, using Corel Painter's Oil Pastel and Acrylic brushes.

Initial sketch and color mock-up for Veneration to the Sun. Parts of the composition were later adjusted and the image mirrored.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wood Duck

Here's a piece I painted in February for the Delaware Duck Stamp Competition. Judging was yesterday so I can now post the piece here!

This is a drake Wood Duck, gliding across a calm body of water. This painting was based on observation, and several photos I took while on the West Coast in January. Special thanks to my friends Hillary and Damian for taking me to the wild ducks and for lending a camera!

"Across the Surface - Wood Duck", 12" x 15" Acrylic on Hardboard.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Red-Crowned Crane

This has a little bit of a story to it!

I have some new fancy watercolor paper that I wanted to try. Because of the expense of the paper I decided I wanted to do a meaningful painting on it so I planned it out carefully and painted with my normal techniques. Well, this paper just didn't get along with me and we fought. My normal technique which serve me well on my other paper exploded into disaster... and since I was using staining colors I knew I couldn't lift it all back off and re-do it. I was frustrated and felt as if I had wasted some expensive materials and two days worth of time. I think we all feel this way sometimes, as artists!

Stubbornly, I scanned it in anyhow. Why the heck not! And using a photo edit program I simply removed all the color from the background. Suddenly, it made sense again! Though the washes are still a disaster (to me), now the patterns were far more interesting, and the unsaturated background against the minimum colors of the crane seemed to speak more loudly of their plight.

While there is possibly some merit to the color version, I think the edited one is more powerful for my original message.

This is a Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis), as with my other crane paintings it is inspired from seeing these birds in person. This bird is also called the Japanese Crane, or Manchurian Crane. These fantastic cranes carry much symbolism on their winged shoulders for Asian countries, where they can be known as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity. Despite this, it is rare, and endangered, with probably less than 1,500 of them left in the wild.

You can learn more about them and how to help if you'd like by visiting the International Crane Foundation: [link]

"Red-Crowned Crane" (modified) 10" x 16" Watercolor on Cold Press (background color removed digitally)

 "Red Crowned Crane" 10" x 16" Watercolor on Cold Press (as originally painted)

Which do you like more? Which one has a stronger message?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

White-Naped Crane

I've been pretty ill lately and while I haven't been able to sit and smush my brushes with acrylic paint, I was able to curl up into my chair and make some shapes with watercolors and a bamboo brush.
As an artist it always feels a little silly to say that I'm "in-between" projects.. because for me, every thing I do is in-between something else!  So while this was certainly painted in-between other things I am working it, it is no less of a painting.

This is inspired by the cranes at the Woodland Park Zoo; this individual was going through a long preening ritual that I find so engrossing. I love preening poses and hope to paint them more into my personal work over time.
"White Naped Crane", Watercolor on 140 lb. rough

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hooded Crane

A lovely hooded crane, inspired by some individuals that I 'visited' in January at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Chunky with impasto (which never scans properly of course).

Many species of crane worldwide are seeing a decrease in population, which is putting many on the endangered or threatened species list. To learn more about crane species and how to help if you want to, check out the International Crane Foundation: Some crane species are critically endangered.
Like many of my paintings, once I get this one ready for sale, I will pledge a % of the sale to be donated to the ICF.

 "Hooded Crane" , 5" x 7" Acrylic on Hardboard.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

North Carolina Gadwalls

Though the judging was on January 31st, the winning paintings for North Carolina's Waterfowl stamp competition were revealed last night. I am humbled and excited to say that my painting of a gadwall drake and hen placed 4th (honorable mention) in this competition.

The photo I took of my painting isn't very good (the color balance is a little goofy)-- truth be told, it was quickly done so that I could get it mailed off to meet the deadline, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Cypress Gadwalls - 15" x 20" (matted to 13" x 18" for the competition), Acrylic

Here's a link to the other paintings that placed in this competition:

Thank you to my friends who lovingly kick my butt to help me get better at this!
A special thanks has to go out to my friend Hillary Esdaile, who not only helps me with reference for these ducks, but gave me a tour of some of their favorite places to go so that I may collect photos of my own.

This piece is for sale in my web store.