Saturday, December 18, 2021


 Shira's Suitor    Original Oil    24" X 48"

I found this painting particularly satisfying as it reminds me of a special close encounter. As I was hidden against a tree, the cow walked by me and then the bull. Though they were quite close, the pair were more focused on each other than any thing else. They walked up on to a grassy area so my lower angle made them look even larger. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

More Moose


I've used shades of purple for highlights on the bull's coat.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Award Winner!


My painting Crab Dinner has won a Merit Award for the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society's Fall Online Show.

There were 1600+ paintings submitted with 200 chosen for the show. You can view the show here:

Friday, December 3, 2021


 Before I started on the moose, I thought the mountains in the distance needed a bit more definition. I've added a hint of fall snow and a closer hill section for more interest.

Where to begin. I decided to start with the bull's antlers then focus on the heads.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021



For the trees, I start with their structure (trunk, large branches) then soften with loose edges and lighter greens on the sunlit side.

Blocking in the ground colors

From these base colors I'll build up the grasses and other vegetation after I've worked on the moose.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Going Bigger

After a number of smaller pieces, I decided to work on a larger painting. Its size is fitting for the subject. 

October seemed to be my month of moose. With good sightings of bull moose in rut at Turnbull Wildlife Refuge (about an hour from my house) and four visits from a cow and her calf to my property, moose have been on my mind.

The painting size (24" X 48") may be modest for some artists but it fits in to the large category for me.

I've drawn the moose from an angle which looks up at them, giving them a large and noble presence. 

The horizon line is kept low furthering the illusion of the size of the moose. For the wash I used yellow ochre rather than my usual raw sienna. With the purples in the painting, the more yellow (less orange) wash will work better for the piece.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

Linda's photo of a turkey in her yard

 I hope you have many people and joys for which to be thankful.


Friday, November 12, 2021

The Paintings Revealed

 On October 16, I showed you two of my paintings which had been disguised. 

Did you guess what they were?

Snow-ing at Blackwater     Original oil    15" X 21"
 Note: Blackwater refers to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, Maryland 


Taking Wing   Original Oil  10" X 16"

Come join the fun at the 50th anniversary of the Waterfowl Festival!

I'd love to chat with you.  Find me in the Armory location.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Larger than Life

 Rarely do wildlife artists paint their creatures larger than life. It wouldn't be very easy for me to paint a giraffe larger than life size even though I have a cathedral ceiling in my studio. I'd be on a ladder for the head and on my knees for the hooves.

I debated on these two pieces whether to paint them larger than life size. In the end I opted to paint them slightly less than two times their actual size. These are hummingbirds I see at my house from April to September.

Summer Jewels - Male Calliope     8" X 12"     Original Oil

The flower is one which grows naturally on our property and hummingbirds seem to love its nectar. To achieve the iridescent feathers on the calliope's throat, I painted the highlighted area titanium white. Once dry, I glazed it (using Liquin) with very thin layers of Michael Harding Crimson Lake, Richeson Quinacridone Red, and Daniel Smith Pearlescent Shimmer. I made sure the mixture did not touch the deeper shadow reds. The effect worked and is evident even after varnishing.


 Summer Jewels - Female Calliope    8" X 12"   Original Oil 

The challenge on this piece was to create the brilliance of the blossoms. I'm not sure how many combinations I tried until finally happy with this result. 


So why larger than life? We often see hummingbirds so fleetingly, never getting a chance to see the detail on their feathers and even less so the movements of their wings with the naked eye.  

Now, don't hold your breath for a larger than life giraffe! 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Welcome Surprise

It had been a trying morning. I had been on hold for two different issues for a long time. On one of them, each time I reached a representative I was told she couldn't hear me and the person hung up. I eventually found out the company was having phone issues.

This is not how I planned to spend my morning. With one issue handled successfully, just before 11 am on October 27 I headed downstairs and walked in to the kitchen preparing to make myself a cup of tea. I stopped dead in my tracks. Outside the kitchen window, right in the yard, was a cow moose!

It has been more than a decade since we have had a moose (which we have seen) on our property. My camera in hand, I quietly approached the window and found another surprise - a moose calf. 

From inside (so not to disturb them) I watched as they moved around the house. The calf smelled a lot of my plants (which he could have easily uprooted and destroyed) but he opted to snack on the remaining leaves of our columnar cherry tree.

Mom kept an eye on her calf and strolled over to see if there were any remaining goodies on the apple tree. After they had their fill, they slowly meandered down the hill.

After a very dry and hot summer, she looked surprisingly fit and had a full healthy coat filling in for winter.


I wonder. If I had not had a frustrating couple of hours first thing in the morning, would I have missed seeing this pair?

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Fox painting completed


                  Morning on the Marsh     Original oil    17" X 28"

Some of the colors in the above image of the painting may look different than in previous posts. The above is a scan of the completed painting.

 Morning on the Marsh will be going to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland. Come join the fun, great art, sporting dog demonstrations, and partake in some of the best food the east coast has to offer.

My work and I will be at the Armory location. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

More - On the Marsh

 "Building" the fox

The next and final stage is the foreground and the refining of various sections throughout the painting

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

On the Marsh

Unless you have a particularly vulnerable chicken coop, you are probably a fan of the red fox.

There is a wildness yet adaptability in this stunning species. 

Soft background painted and foreground roughed-in

I "cooled" the right side of the background to make the fox stand out

fox head detail

Saturday, October 16, 2021



No, I have not become an abstract painter. Let me explain.

The 50th anniversary of the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland is less than a month away.

I'm excited to be going and sell my oil paintings in the Armory location. Over the next several weeks I'll be sharing some of the new paintings I have completed for the show. (For instance, the previous post with Crab Dinner will be there.)

However, to leave some surprises, I won't be showing you everything. Two original oil paintings which will be there are above - but they are disguised. For the top image I used a kaleidoscope tool and for the lower one a ripple tool was applied.

Can you guess what they are?

On November 12, my blog post will reveal the paintings.

In the meantime, check out all the Waterfowl Festival has to offer. I'd love to see you there!


Friday, October 8, 2021



             Crab Dinner     Original Oil     10" X 17"

While this water took longer to paint than I thought it would, I think it helps in telling the story. 

And this is a sight I did not expect to see. Next time I will be less surprised watching a loon taking advantage of a tasty morsel found in salt water.

Thursday, September 30, 2021


 From this stage, you can see what intrigued me so much with this bird's behavior. The loon has grabbed a tiny crab. Since all the loons I have seen prior to this one were in fresh water, I never thought of crustaceans as part of their diet.

Usually I start with the head of a bird and work outward. On this painting I began by painting the parts of the loon touching the water. This helped me "settle" the bird in the scene.

Saturday, September 25, 2021



When working to paint the bird's underwater feet, I find myself thinking my brush is under the surface of my painting board. It is a strange illogical illusion since I know perfectly well there is no "under the surface" to my gessoed board. 

Okay, so we have a bird in the water. Doesn't seem that unusual or something I might not have seen before. It is what the bird is doing that intrigued me and caught my attention.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Playing with water

                                 I've added some more of the lighter water before I start blending. 

Once I blended the two main colors, the water didn't look like it had enough depth. I mixed a deeper richer mid-tone and brushed it in throughout before starting on the lower section of water.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Should I paint it?

Every now and then I see a scene so beautiful or interesting that I say to myself, "I can't paint that. No one would believe it." The sunset from our deck is too intense, or the clouds look just like an elephant, or the color of the water is too neon.

Much more common for wildlife artists is seeing a unusual animal behavior in the wild and trying to decide whether to paint it. 

Some of the questions I ask myself are:

1.) Is this a one-time event or something that happens but I haven't seen it before?

2.) Does it tell a new story and maybe advance understanding of the species for others?

3.) Will it make for a good painting and resonate with people?

Four years ago I saw something I hadn't seen before. I starting thinking more about this bird which previously I had only watched on bodies of fresh water. It is time to bring the memory of that encounter to "life."

For water I like to start with the dark shapes first.
Here I have blocked in some of the lighter areas of the water.

Monday, June 7, 2021

What color is fog?

This spring I have been working on eleven paintings for the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts.

On one piece in particular, I procrastinated. I had a vision of how I wanted the painting to feel but couldn't see the steps. I wanted fog. Usually one would think of fog as whitish gray. That would not work for this painting. I thought sleeping on it would help. It didn't. Giving it another day of rolling around in my head also failed.

 It was time to just dive in and start mixing paint. The reference photos I took had lots in the background: trees, other boats, and a few houses. I needed to ignore all of that.

Starting with a consistent (mostly neutral) color for the background, I painted from the top toward the lower half. As I moved down, I began adding more texture and then more vibrant color. 

In painting water, I work with it until it looks wet to me. Some stray colors add to the believability.

Tranquil    27" X 18"   Oil

This painting (along with 10 other paintings of mine) will be in the Louisa Gould Gallery for the July 1 Opening of the gallery's Icons of Summer Show.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Spreadsheet

 If you are an artist and your eyes started to glaze over at the title of this blog, The Spreadsheet, I understand.

We usually think of numbers with the word spreadsheet. Years ago I found keeping track of entry/competition/event deadlines difficult with just various folders and scraps of paper. There was the added complication of figuring out which paintings to enter. When would I hear from this show so I would know if I could enter a certain painting in another show?

That is when I created my Competition Spreadsheet. Of course, being an artist, the spreadsheet had to have colors!

The next step was to figure out the layout, what categories, and in what order.  Rather than get fancy with it, I opted for the basics in this order:

Date Due, Date Results, Name of Application, Submitted Date, Paintings submitted, and two additional info lines. The info might be size limitations, which gallery, whether the painting must be for sale, which painting was accepted, or when the painting needed to arrive.

For colors I use blue for submitted, green for accepted, tan for not accepted, yellow for did not enter, and neon pink for an upcoming deadline. 

For the next year I save the file with a new name, change all the backgrounds back to white and erase the details except the Name of Application entries. As dates become available, they are added and the process begins again. In the past few years I have added a number of shows/events/competitions.

Here is this year's current spreadsheet.

You might ask, why bother? I have a number of reasons.

  1. So I do not miss a deadline
  2. So I do not submit the same painting to two events at the same time
  3. To keep track of what was entered last year
  4. To gain exposure to galleries hosting various shows
  5. To gain exposure in various online formats or magazines
  6. To win cash or prizes 
  7. To sell paintings
  8. To participate in shows
For instance, last year for the first time I entered two paintings in the American Academy of Equine Artists. Both were accepted and Range Runners won the Jean Bowman Award. Also last year for the first time I entered the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society Spring International Online Competition. My painting Ice Bear won Best of Show. I have since joined NOAPS and have been in their 2020 Best of America Show, the 2021 Best of America Small Works Show, and the 2021 Spring International Online Exhibit.

This might seem like a lot of work but setting up this spreadsheet has made the application process so much easier and clearer for me.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Social Harmony


Social Harmony, 14.5" X 23", original oil

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sociable Weaver nest cont'd

 For the sunlit side of the nest on the left side of the vertical branch I used some of the deep orange for the shadows and a mixture with naples yellow and cadmium yellow deep for the highlights.


    While I could use a bit of freedom in creating the nest, detail needs to be painted for the structure of the supporting branches before I can add in the greenery.  Without compromising the careful balance created by the birds in crafting their architectural wonder, I have "moved" and modified some of the outlying branches for a better balance in the painting.

Above is a detail photo of the first perched sociable weaver for the painting. I decided to have five birds in the piece. Four are perched and one is flying. I could have painted dozens or just one. When I was fleshing out the composition, I tried numerous positions and placements and the five seemed to work the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sociable Weavers

   It has been a while since I have posted. My apologies. My brush has been busy and I will be sharing those paintings from start to finish.

  Sociable weavers are master builders. Living in congregate groups, their massive nests are impressive in large trees and are unbelievable when suspended in smaller ones. A particular nest in the Namib Desert of Namibia caught my eye for its miracle of engineering.

   With some editing and some strategic placing of some of the birds I was ready to start on the painting.

   One often thinks of a desert as a yellow mass of sand. The Namib Desert, considered by some to be the oldest desert on earth, is filled with color. Its age has contributed to the oxidation of iron in the sand. The color of the sand in sunlight is a warm orange and in the shadows it is a stunning blueish purple.


   The nest had sticks and birds everywhere. The trick was to capture the texture of the nest without painting every twig. On my palette I mixed four different colors for the rusty orange nest on the right side of the vertical branch. Using a small flat angled brush I started at the bottom.

   To give the nest that layered feeling and reflect the weathered condition of the outermost layer, some of the upper part of the nest was painted with splashes of the cooler background color.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Finished and scanned


Squabble    Original Oil    16" X 24"

 It has been a while since I posted. For this piece, I wanted to wait until I could scan the painting. My camera was not catching some of the nuances which my scanner was able to capture.

Much of the "pink" was painted with a mixture containing Michael Harding Crimson Lake. I have been having fun exploring my "new" oil colors from both Michael Harding and Richeson. Though many of my choices could be created from my Rembrandt standard palette, I am playing around with bolder selections of color.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Starting the birds


For this piece, I decided to start on the heads first rather than completing a bird and moving on to the next.