Monday, November 30, 2009

Bigger Than Life

After painting a number of small pieces, it is time to start a big piece. Rarely do wildlife artists paint animals larger than life. (kind of hard to do with an elephant or blue whale.) It is done so seldom that I remember one conversation I had with artist Mort Solberg at the Birds in Art show, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. He commented that he liked my painting Bobwhite Quintet and that it was "gutsy" of me to paint the Northern Bobwhite larger than life size.

I knew I wanted to paint a large leopard piece. As I worked on the composition, the leopard kept getting larger and more cropped. Something about him just called to be "in your face."

At this stage, I am just starting to paint in the underlying turpentine wash.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo I took from our deck just outside from the kitchen.

And no, we are not eating any of our wild turkeys for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Little Paintings

Pachyderm Parade
Original Oil
6.75" X 14"

Well, maybe I should say small paintings.

I find playing with sizes less than one square foot interesting. With a small working space, I can try out ideas and use different styles. This painting is loose and I worked to bring in an expansive feel in a painting less than 7 inches high. As you can see from the tiger painting Cool Stripes posted below, I used a tighter style especially around the cat's face.

Another advantage to these types of paintings is that it gives me a breather from major "statement" pieces. I can work out problem areas as I go and don't need to have all the painting decisions made before I start. For instance, in Pachyderm Parade my reference had a lot more vegetation to the right of the lead elephant. I decided to take out the dense bushes to enhance the feeling of space. When I did my underlying sketch I put no detail in that area and then winged it. I also bumped up the contrast on the elephants. Countless other decisions were made on the fly.

In pieces of a medium size, 18" X 24", or large ones over 6 square feet, I spend a lot of time in the planning stage working out just how I will tackle certain areas before I even pick up a paintbrush. These small paintings let me try out fresh and intriguing paths and let my often logical intellectual approach take a back seat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Near Baltimore?

You are in luck! This weekend, November 13th, 14th, and 15th is the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland.

I will be exhibiting 21 new original oil paintings at The Elks. There is also another building of fine art paintings (The Tidewater Inn), 2 buildings for sculptures, a large building for carvers, dog trials, raptor demonstrations, goose and duck calling contests, great food, and more.
For complete details:
I hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cats and Water

Cool Stripes
7.5" X 13.5"
Original Oil

Tigers almost demand to be painted. This largest feline has a magnificent coat and likes water. Since I adore cats and enjoy painting the many moods of water, I find the "tiger in water" painting one of my very favorite subjects.

Friday, November 6, 2009

And now for something completely different

Tonight I will be singing in the Fox Theatre with the Spokane Symphony Chorale. This is an auditioned group of 83 selected to sing with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.

This evening will be a bit different. Rather than singing with the Orchestra, the Chorale’s pieces will be a capella (with some organ accompaniment on two pieces), and the Orchestra will have their own pieces.
All of our pieces are sung in Latin.

Crucifixus II [8] by Antonio Lotti
Crucifixus A’ 10 by Antonio Lotti
Pater Noster by Igor Stravinsky
Ave Maria by Igor Stravinsky
Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri

On the final piece, I was selected to be one of the 3 altos in the small group of 12 singing from the balcony. The main chorus, the chanters, and the small group sing at different times in the work until the end when we finish in 9 part harmony.

The Theatre holds approximately 1600 people and we expect to have a good audience tonight.

Lest you think all we do is "churchy" music, our Holiday Pops concert is Dec 4th, 5th, 6th. And, on Dec 31st, the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and the Spokane Symphony Chorale will be performing Beethoven’s 9th. (In German, of course!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playing It Fast and Loose

8" X 17"
Original Oil

Well, maybe not fast, but loose. After completing a painting like Good Day of Hunting with lots of intricate detail, I like to change it up by working with a more impressionistic touch.

In the Ngorongoro crater bottom I saw this group of lionesses. Midday, they were taking their ease. Of course I took lots of reference photos, but more importantly, I just watched them. The challenge in the painting was to figure out which positions I would use and how many of them would be included (I left some out) to capture that siesta moment.