Saturday, March 28, 2015


When working on a painting like this, I often think about detail. How much detail goes into the section I am working on? You want enough detail to tell the story but not so much that it pulls focus from the main theme. The difference between the two is a very fine line.

If I had painted every outside line of the cobblestones into the background, you would not as readily notice the open violin case. If the people in the distance had sharp edges and lots of detail, your eyes would be drawn to them and linger there.

By the way, I had a blast painting the violin case. Those purple-y velvet colors are uncommon for my normal wildlife palette.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Title Character

All of the previous work has been setting the stage for the title character. You can catch a glimpse of him now.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More of the story

I've played around with the right side for quite a while. Adding colors, removing colors. Playing with the arch. One of the fascinating things about Genoa is how the movers and shakers of the town kept trying to outdo each other so they, not their neighbor, could welcome distinguished dignitaries with their grand home.
We'd be walking down a street and see an alcove and inside was a grand foyer with elaborate murals on all the walls and on the ceiling. This would lead into a courtyard complete with fountains and life size marble sculptures and then into the private home. Until you got to the private entrance to the home, all was open for anyone to view. If we hadn't walked the streets, we would have missed the amazing art and architecture. We'd walk back and forth across the small streets just to see what impressive display was next.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A little Imagination

If one just paints exactly what one sees, are you telling the whole story? I've been wanting to paint this since Oct of 2013. My memory of the scene was different than my reference photos. 
One of the problems with a camera is that it has no soul and no opinion. Each and every element has equal weight and no personality.

This scene has been playing out in my mind for a couple years. It was definitely a story which really touched me. Now, how do I recreate the feeling I had?
First, I threw away the literal look of the buildings. I liked the column but the yellow building in the back left is from a different part of Genoa. The building that is there was covered in brown paper for its remodel. That splash of yellow color fit what I was going for.  I saw arches and lots of beautiful architecture in this picturesque Italian town so why not take some elements and incorporate them into the story.

Will this be a true representation of Genoa? Hmmm. You would not be able to walk down a particular street and see this array of buildings. (though I did not walk every street.) Would I recognize the feeling I had of Genoa in this piece? Yes. In that way it is true to how I remember Genoa.

While Genoa is the place where I read the first page, the story could be in a number of places.

Stay tuned for the next page.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Good Day of Painting

A good day of painting. Every artist has them - and wishes they had more. When everything goes right with the painting and the whole experience flows like a symphony.

I just had one of those days. But this was much more special. My good friend Selena Schopfer had come up to the studio to work on her music while I paint. We take a lunch break and then go back to work. It had been a while since I was available so I was looking forward to the visit.

As usual, I showed her what I planned to work on and she let me listen to her latest work. After a little bit Selena said she didn't have anything old to work on so maybe she would start something new. I kept painting, she, composing. Before lunch she was ready to have me listen to what she had so far.

As the notes began to play, it was my painting! From my few words and reference images she had perfectly set the story and the mood to music. No lyrics were needed to say everything I was trying to say in paint. What an amazing talent she has and so inspiring to me.

After lunch she continued to work modifying the instruments and the very moving piece became even more touching. A very good day of painting. Thank you Selena.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Gold Collection

I got an idea one day to paint a portrait of Africa's Crowned Crane. A very showy bird, I thought a muted background would really make him shine. This led to the idea of doing Africa's Best Dressed List: Crowned Crane, Giraffe, Leopard, Sable, and Zebra.

Africa's Best Dressed List - Gray Crowned Crane
12" X 9"
Original Oil

Not wanting to leave out our North American creatures, I started the The Gold Collection Series.

The Gold Collection - The Crane Gang
Sandhill, Whooping Crane
Each 12" X 9"
Original Oils

The Gold Collection - Bighorn Sheep
12" X 9"
Original Oil

I'll be doing more of these in which I start with a gray gesso but next up a scene I have wanted to paint since October of 2013. My blog will show the painting step-by-step.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Oil Painters of America National Juried Show

For the fourth time, one of my paintings has been juried into the Oil Painters of America National Juried Show. Over 2000 paintings were entered and only 218 pieces were selected from members of Oil Painters of America.

This year the show will be held in historic St. Augustine, Florida at the Cutter & Cutter Fine Art Gallery and run from May 1st - 25th.

My juried painting is Last Boat.