Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Great Many Things!

A great many things have been done, painted, printed, and arted since my last post! What a whirlwind this summer and fall have been for me.

First off, it's that time of year! Everyone is thinking of gifts to give loved ones, friends, colleagues, and perhaps even themselves. While I suspect that I'm preaching to the artist-loving choir here, whenever you shop with small businesses and individual artisans, unlike when you shop at chain stores, you are much more directly supporting real people. Consider doing even just a little of your shopping with small businesses or artisans, even if it's not me!

If you do like my work, however, I've got a bunch of new things this year!

Jewelry lovers, I have many new pendants, with some more in the works for December. They are made with a lot of love, care, and really high quality materials.

I also have several new prints, originals, and other goodies in my shop. Feel free to browse!

In exciting news, the book that I did the cover for, "Song of the Summer King," has been printed in hardcover! They are lovely books, and for now the first edition are available only from the author or myself in small numbers. They are signed copies, and lovely to behold.

For those that want some practical art, I have a few calendars available, as printed through Zazzle. Zazzle often runs promotions, so it's worth checking them out on different days if you want to get a better deal. First off is a silly calendar, featuring photos of my silly chicken, Derperella. Then, there is a calendar featuring just some of the bird paintings I've done recently, called "Birds are the Best". Finally, there is a wildlife art calendar using my paintings, which features the same images as last year (just in case you already have one!).

My painting for the Werewolf Calendar
If you are into werewolves at all, there is also a special calendar project I took part of, called The Werewolf Calendar. This is a really cool project because each month features the art from a different artist, and each painting has been made for this year's calendar so it's always new art!  They are really reasonably priced, too. You can get them through this website.

I'm also trying something really new this year-- shirts! For the fantasy lovers, I have one of my watercolor Gryphons on shirts, here. For wildlife/bird lovers, my painting of a Lady Amherst's Pheasant is on these shirts, and for the chicken fans, I used the lyric of Three French Hens as an excuse to draw three Faverolles hens on a shirt!

Whew! Okay... now that that's out of the way!

It has been a very busy year for me, artistically. I've done so much painting in various media that I'm still surprised by how much art I've made. Here's a sampling!

"Watching the Life of Birds" - Digital painting

This painting was a delight. I was contacted to be a Guest of Honor at Midwest Furfest, which is an animal based convention. Their theme was "It Came From TV", and I was eager to jump into a painting of a group of birds watching a program with Sir David Attenborough (the scene on the television set is from "The Life of Birds" by the BBC). If you are lover of birds and have not watched this program, then please consider making the time to do so! It is well worth it!

"Hart of the Oak" - Digital Painting
Along with the painting above, I was asked to do several other artworks for the convention. One was a print for the sponsors, and as I've long wanted to paint Red Deer, out came this painting of a lovely hart on a foggy winter morning. A special thanks to Adrian Scottow, as he gave me kind permission to use his photos for inspiration on the setting.

Lanner Falcon Study - Watercolor
This was a piece I did in-between jobs for other clients, and is based on life observations and photos I took of this beautiful falcon!

"An Ancient Pursuit" - Acrylic on Board
This piece was a commission for a client, of a pair of Deinonychus-- they are intensely focused on the possible meal of a gobiconodon.

"Long-Tailed Ducks" - Arcylic on Board
I am sure by now none of you are surprised by my duck paintings! Here, a hen and drake Long-Tailed duck pair (formerly Oldsquaw) bob on one of the great lakes after feeding. I've got it for sale, if these ducks whistle your fancy!

"In the Crook of the Oak" - Digital Painting

"Atlantic Brant" - Acrylic on Board

"Gryphon Tag" - Ink and Watercolor

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New Cover art, Fund a book: get a book!

Entire wrap-around dust jacket book cover. Click to see larger!

Last month I finished up the cover/dust jacket artwork for Jess E. Owen's upcoming novel: "The Song of the Summer King"! Countless hours went into making the artwork look just right. Fantasy fans might get a real kick out of it! The main character is a gryphon named Shard, and the other characters are all animals. Pretty cool stuff.

If you are keen on this sort of thing, be sure to check out the Kickstarter to get it published as a gorgeous hardcover. This is the most awesome way to purchase the book-- because you're helping to fund it! The goodies you get for helping out are pretty great, too. Even $5.00 will get you a copy of the e-book and a spiffy postcard.

A close-up of the section that will become the front cover.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Personal blog

Talking to a few other artists at local shows and workshops lately, it seems that there is an interest in my silly writings about my life and what I do outside of my artwork. If such things interest you, feel free to swing by and follow my more personal blog!

Happy Spring to everyone out there! More exciting art is in the works, including a book cover for a fantasy novel!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pileated Woodpeckers

I recently (in February) completed a painting for Oregon's Conservation Stamp program-- this was the first year they've run this competition! There were a lot of species to choose from and I had a great time working on one of my favorite birds, the Pileated Woodpecker. These fantastic and large woodpeckers are in decline in some parts of the USA due to the loss of their prime habitat, and in particular the removal of dead wood... which is often viewed only as a liability, eyesore, or fire hazard. Dead wood is hardly dead though-- it is teeming with organisms, from insect life to amphibians, many bird species rely on dead wood for both a food source and nesting cavities; not to mention the plethora of plant life that dwells on dead wood!

To create a painting as accurate in all aspects as possible, I spent a few weeks just researching every species of moss, lichen, fern, and so forth that I would include in my painting. I was fortunate enough to visit Oregon in 2011 and collected a few photos of moss and lichens, though I had no idea that they would be so useful later on!

This painting shows a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers working over a dead western hemlock snag, searching for delicious wiggling tidbits to eat. Pileated Woodpeckers create nesting cavities that many, many other species depend on to raise their young, and greatly aid in the decomposition of fallen wood, accelerating its break down to create a rich loam at the forest floor.

I'm honored to say that this painting came in second place in the competition!

Forest's Benefaction - Pileated Woodpeckers, 16" x 20", Acrylic on board

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hyacinth Macaw

Anyone that's met one of these birds for more than a few minutes know that they are a special kind of blue!

The Hyacinth Macaw is a gorgeous parrot, and is the largest parrot in the world with exception to the Kakapo, which weighs more (the benefit of living on the ground). These gorgeous birds are endangered primarily due to habitat loss, and illegal smuggling of birds for the pet trade (illegal, black market).

Here in the USA we don't really need to worry about wild-caught birds being for sale any more, however something that we can do at home easily to help these birds is to source our coffee carefully! The biggest threat though is loss of habitat due to deforestation-- for agriculture. Coffee and the modern world's thirst for it is one such crop that is really hurting the land. Read more here:

 "A Special Kind of Blue - Hyacinth Macaw", Watercolors on rough, with small amounts of genuine copper leaf. Approximately 15" x 15"

 The circles around the bird are done in copper leaf; that is real copper applied to special glazing. The rough edges are intentional, to go with the crunchy watercolor edges. Sadly, metallic copper scans poorly. It looks way prettier in person, and flashes nicely.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tundra Swans

As usual, the beginning of the year sees me very busy painting for a few contests with early deadlines. Through December and January, I worked on the following painting of a trio of Tundra Swans, based on my studies of these beautiful birds both in the wild and from a local outdoor flighted aviary. I found out this week that it tied for 6th place out of 32 entries in North Carolina's Waterfowl Stamp Competition.

"Evening Elegance"- Tundra Swans. 16" x 20", Acrylic on board

  Since I get the painting back, I have custom framed it. I wasn't entirely happy with the frame as purchased, and so I set about embellishing it by hand; I used a sculpt-able epoxy that cures to a very, very hard set as I know that the corners of frames see the most abuse, especially when transporting them. I then carefully gilded the sculpted corner details with 23k genuine gold leaf, which is quite a process, and then used a professional furniture stain to antique the entire frame. This brings the details out, creates more warmth, and gives an aged and classic appearance to the frame. I couldn't resist adding little gold-leafed swans to the embellishments...

For those keen on this sort of thing,  I have it for sale in my online store. It will also be in a gallery / exhibition showing at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY for the month of April.