Monday, August 20, 2018

Namib Desert

After looking at thousands of photos and playing with composition, I finally came up with my Namib Desert painting idea.
Below is my drawing with a raw sienna turpentine wash for values. The painting will be 26" X 44."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

25,000 photos

After a research/reference trip, I usually have lots of photo reference. With two cameras shooting in Africa, I came home with over 25,000 photos and videos.
How does one even start sorting through such a volume?

For years I have used Phase One Media Pro as my photo organizer. There are many on the market but I found this easy to use and the price reasonable. (and no, I do not work for them!)

My first step is to set up a catalog. For the Africa trip, I made a blank catalog with every bird, mammal,  and reptile that I saw listed under the catalog sets. I then import the photos which turn them into metafiles for quick and easy viewing. The original files are unchanged and from the catalog, it shows me the location of the original file.

Below is a screen shot of thumbnails.

Each thumbnail can be opened to the media size which fills the screen. From thumbnails and media viewing, I can see if I might want to include the image for reference when building a painting. At a later date, I'll start dragging images into the appropriate catalog set for quick and easy sorting of species and locations.
The 84.9 GB file of photos from one camera made a catalog of 1.8 GB
The 140 GB file of photos and videos from the other camera made a catalog of 1.4 GB.
The original images are untouched.
Even though the catalog images are much smaller, I can still see all the detail in the media size and have enough information to know if I want to look at the original photo.

That's all the technical stuff. How do I decide what to paint first?
I knew as soon as I saw them, they would be one of the first things I would paint. Namibia's Skeleton Coast star dunes.  Seeing them before and during sunrise was breathtaking. Mauves turned to pink to bright orange. I thought of sand dunes as boring flat yellow but the sharp edges of these dunes created brilliant purples and blues in the shadows. Wow. Add to that, probably my favorite antelope, gemsbok can call this place home. We saw them throughout this region.

Time to look at all the dune photos and every gemsbok photo. I'll also go back to my notebook filled with details. For good color reference, I might even have some sand still in my sneakers from climbing Dune 45!     ;)

Friday, August 10, 2018


Just returned from a 4-week trip to Africa. It was awesome and one of my favorite trips there. This time I returned to South Africa and Namibia.

I could fill up a couple of months' worth of blog posts with my experiences. From climbing Dune 45 in Namibia, to walking among thousands of Cape Fur seals at Cape Cross, to climbing 1000 feet to a remote cave to see 500 year-old Bushman grain pots, to watching three month-old lion triplets come with their mother to get a drink at a waterhole, it was a trip to remember.

How refreshing to have the time to let Africa seep into me again. Sitting quietly watching, listening, breathing in the air. There is no substitute. 

Linda descending Dune 45

Cape Fur seal colony

500+ year-old Bushman grain containers
Note the coat - it got below freezing in South Africa.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Breath of Fresh Air
20.75" X 13.75"
Original Oil

Saturday, July 21, 2018


I've often painted water reflections. Here with the subject below water, the reflections are above not below him.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Green Sea Turtle

Painting detail

This green sea turtle was such to see while snorkeling. There were only four of us in the area and we didn't see him until he swam right up past us to grab a breath. Not bothered by our presence, he took 5 or 6 leisurely breaths, and then gracefully descended to continue feeding on coral. 
As I watched, I was transfixed by his reflections on the water's surface. Wouldn't that be fun to paint someday! Stay tuned.

Monday, July 16, 2018


There are different directions I could go with the coral. Bright and colorful, muted, a combination, or leave it off all together. I liked the idea of having something there, but really wanted to minimize its impact. A painting with intricate and colorful coral would be beautiful but not for this piece.
Using a limited palette creates a more peaceful scene and the reflections will aid in the story.