Wednesday, July 31, 2013

African Big Cat Trio

African Big Cat Trio - Leopard
21" X 16"
Original Oil

This male leopard was one of my favorites of the nine I saw on my last trip to Africa. He was trying to gain the favor of an aloof female and his amorous attentions finally won her over.

The completed African Big Cat Trio below, which will be framed individually, will be available at the Safari Club International Convention at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, February 5th - 8th, 2014.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Moving on to the Leopard

For the last in this African Big Cat Trio I have the leopard. Maybe I shouldn't have a favorite animal, but I have an particular affinity for the leopard. The power, grace, and beauty of this cat coupled with its secretive and adaptive nature fascinate me.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Lion

African Big Cat Trio - Lion
21" X 16"
Original Oil

I certainly remember this lion. He was a magnificent male in the Masai Mara with battle scars illustrating his victories. At the time I saw him, he was with a lioness and they were ready to start the next generation. There was no doubt in my mind that he was king of the beasts.

Note: If you compare this to the last post, you will see I took out a stick in the lower right. It was distracting and needed to be edited.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Starting the Lion

As with the cheetah, I have fixed the eyes on the viewer. The pupils are small giving one the impression the lion is not happy to see you.

When painting animals, I spend a lot of time painting the eyes. A slight change can take a friendly cat into one afraid, hurt, hungry, satiated, territorial, or angry. It helps to have spent time in the wild with the big cats and watch emotions play across their faces.

Friday, July 19, 2013


African Big Cat Trio - Cheetah
21" X 16"
Original Oil

Wild cats are one of my favorite creatures to paint. So with a trio, I am in heaven.

For this set, I wanted intense eyes in the three paintings. The best way to accomplish that is to use a trick of visual perception. With the eyes focused directly out of the painting, they will appear to follow you regardless of the angle you view the painting. Just try it, move your head back and forth while looking at the screen. (click on the image for a larger view.) The effect is even more prominent when standing in front of the oil painting.

This "trick" has been around for centuries and used by many Renaissance painters. Most notably by Leonardo DaVinci in his painting, Mona Lisa.

Though you know you are looking at a flat surface, your brain creates a 3-D interpretation (at least if the painter works the lights and darks well.) You expect the eyes to stay focused perpendicular to the painting surface and when you move to the side your brain tells you they should look different because that is what happens in real life. But the painted eyes haven't changed. Your brain continues to create a 3-D object from the 2-D plane regardless of the viewing angle making the eyes appear to be following you.

This visual trick works particularly well on predators and I think best on the big cats.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I thought I would start with the cheetah. This piece will have the most muted colors of the three but I hope will be just as dramatic.
There will be more detail added to the face/head. Once I finish the rest of the coat, I will revisit the head, add the "white" around the mouth and add the whiskers. More texture and depth in the face and some warmer colors will help the cheetah stand out from the background.

Friday, July 12, 2013

African Big Cat Trio

I have started on the Big Cat Trio. Each painting is 21" X 16". Below you can see my raw sienna/burnt sienna turpentine underpaintings for each piece. I'm not sure which cat I'll paint first.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


                        Outgunned                       34" X 78"        Original Oil

As promised earlier, here is the completed SCI Foundation 2014 Conservation Artist of the Year painting. Yesterday I went over to my printer’s in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and picked up the painting after scanning.

Scanning is a tricky business. For a piece this large, especially so. On my printer’s machine, the painting is placed face-up on the scanning bed. The scanning unit which is attached to an arm over the painting (not touching it), moves back and forth capturing all the detail. Since the scanning bed is 36" x 48", two scans were made which were then spliced together.

Yesterday was my chance to review the scan and the scanning master made changes accordingly. My goal is to match the painting and make sure the giclee prints capture the colors and details I painted. By moving back and forth between the scan on the monitor and the painting, we made several slight adjustments to hue and contrast and added a little gamma correction. With that accomplished, proofs will be printed for me to review. I have set aside a day next week to spend at the printer’s to review the first proof, make changes, print another proof, make changes, etc. There have been times when it has taken a dozen proofs to arrive at the perfect result. As a painter I want an accurate representation of my work and, fortunately, the printer agrees.

Later this week I start posting my next project, a big cat trio.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Postcard Program

The juried Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum is quite an event. Painters, sculptors and carvers from around the world have had their work chosen for this prestigious exhibition.

The Museum added a fun event several years ago. The Postcard Program. Artists in the show are invited to sketch or paint a 4" X 6" “postcard” to be sold the Friday evening of Opening weekend. Attendees wishing to purchase one stand in line, make their selection and if they wish to get a second one, they must go to the back of the line.

And, the fun part? Each one sells for $50 and the artist is anonymous! Yes, we sign our name on the back, which is not revealed until the postcard is selected.

The money raised goes to support the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and can be used to purchase work for their extensive permanent collection.

Why no recent posted paintings on my blog? I have been working on and have now finished two “postcards” and I am very happy with them. BUT, I can’t show them to you. They need to remain anonymous until after the opening weekend September 6th - 8th.

I am starting a painting trio and will start posting them in several days.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Artists for Conservation

Today I am Artist of the Day with Artists for Conservation. If you haven't visited this web site recently, check out

Their mission:
The Artists for Conservation Foundation (AFC) is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the Foundation represents the world's leading collective of artists focused on nature and wildlife, with a membership spanning five continents and twenty-seven countries. The organization's mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage.