Working through Adversity

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November 11, 2017  Each year I am invited to participate in the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Quick Draw, this year held on September 17. As if there isn’t enough pressure in creating a finished framed piece from start to finish in 90 minutes – try doing it in 31 degrees, spitting snow and rain weather.  The participating artists do get to stand under small canopies, but with wind blowing the elements into the tent, it was rather a challenge this year.  I dressed for the weather as much as I could, including gloves with the finger tips cut out.  I had to position my table to shield it from the blowing rain as much as possible.  If a raindrop fell on the in-progress painting while it was still wet, that wasn’t a disaster, as it would likely blend into the wet paint.  But as the last final minutes were counted down a few raindrops fell on my already dry sky.  I decided it made the painting even more authentic, which I titled “Storm Clouds over Mount Moran”. In my introduction to the auction crowd  I described the “authentic raindrops” (they liked it!)  I thank Sandi and Bruce for embracing this explanation and making their purchase during the auction.  I hope the conditions are never as bad as this, in future years at the Quick Draw.  (PS.There were still hundreds of people watching the artists, and bidding on the finished artwork, in spite of the weather.  Love the support for the arts here!)

ECLIPSE

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Star Date 8.21.2017    ECLIPSE.  It is hard to write anything else because the word says it all. Just “Wow”. And “Do it again!” I had the good fortune to see the eclipse at the wonderful Darwin Ranch, in the Gros Ventre mountains and wilderness east of Jackson, in the path of totality. I didn’t take photos (my skills and equipment are inadequate.) But I painted tiny eclipse paintings for all of the guests and crew there. I just started painting and got on a roll, after figuring out a “secret” technique.   In several larger paintings in the gallery I took extreme artistic license (I have one) by putting the eclipsed sun over the Tetons to the west. I wanted to combine the experience of seeing the darkened Tetons WITH the total eclipse. Artistic license is a wonderful thing! Kinda like Photoshop, but messier.

Artistic License check

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July 14, 2017   I have been asked (by the inner me) to produce my “Artistic License”.  It proves that I am an artist that is “entitled to stretch the truth, bend the rules and push the boundaries while performing acts of creativity.  Use with reckless abandon.”  The unwritten assumption is that I also am allowed to change my mind – after sketching and painting hummingbirds, western tanagers and other wetland birds to consider for inclusion in my collection for the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s View 22: Field Studies project (see my previous post entitled  ) I completely switched gears today and painted this little study I will call “Hidden Treasure”.  It may become a larger painting as well.  I just love this little gem of a secluded wetland in Wilson, WY, particularly because this quiet little stream runs through it.  The light glinting on the surface is what attracted me to it as a painting subject.  This piece is painted on a silver board.  I will try it on a gold board as well.  Stay tuned….

    

View22: Field Studies

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June 30, 2017  I have been honored to join a group of artists asked by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to focus on various properties protected by the Land Trust.  The project will culminate in an exhibition and sale at the annual Jackson Hole Land Trust fundraising picnic on August 13th.  This is a first in a series I will post on my progress.  My assigned space is called the Wilson Wetlands, a small intimate wetland located right in the middle of Wilson WY.  I never noticed it before when I drove by.  But by spending some time there I understand it’s importance – besides being a very lovely respite to wander through for humans, it hosts a number of critters and plants that rely on wetlands for survival.  Wetlands are so often drained, altered, covered over to create more land for us humans.  Without these wetlands these critters, plants and birds would not be a part of our lives.  Though I often paint vast expansive landscapes, my theme for this collection will be something much more close up –  wetland birds.  I made a recording of bird sounds on one visit so I could not only identify who made the sounds, but have something wonderful to listen to while painting.  Come back to my blog periodically until August to see my progress, along with my images.

 

WYOMING WILD one of 8 finalists for Highwater Vodka label contest

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Jackson friends, please put FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 6 – 8 pm, on your calendar to come to a party and help me win this art competition 🙂 I am one of 8 finalists for the JH Stillworks Highwater Vodka label contest. The theme for the contest is “Wyoming” – reproduced on the label for a year. The 8 paintings will be on exhibit at the Voting Party at Jackson Hole Still Works (3940 S. Eagle Drive), and the the winner is chosen that night by popular vote – BE THERE! The original artwork will be auctioned off in September to raise funds for the JH Art Association. (There is an admission fee to the Voting Party, but HEY – FOOD and DRINK and ART!!!

Update:  Though my painting did not win the competition, I felt that the accomplishment was in being chosen by a qualified panel as one of the 8 finalists.  It was an honor.

My painting is titled Wyoming Wild  16 x 16  watercolor and gouache on silver shikishi board

 

Best of Show – Woohoo!!!

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May 31, 2017    Going to the mailbox yesterday was a fun surprise – I got a letter telling me that my painting “Three’s A Crowd” got BEST IN SHOW at the Wyoming Watercolor Society’s small works exhibition this month. Yippee!  (This piece is still available.  😉

from Inspiration to Execution

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Here are some examples of how I turn my inspiration into a finished painting.  Shown is the photo I took that eventually became the painting, below the photo.  My approach is to isolate what impresses and excites me the most, eliminate the extraneous, and create a dynamic composition.  As is my usual style, I accentuate shapes and colors.  As I state on the home page of my website, what I paint is the image you take away in your memory.  Often the title becomes a little play on words as well.

A raven taking off from a city fountain in Scottsdale, AZ becomes “Raven’s Spring

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A soak in a hot tub in Carefree, AZ becomes a glowing sunset titled “Carefree”.  (Notice the toes in the photograph – I was extremely “carefree” at the moment.)

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The view while driving home from the grocery store becomes “Harbingers of Spring”  (The sandhill cranes are returning to Jackson Hole, which is a special time for us.)

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My Alter Ego in the Studio

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January 24, 2017  Wow, first post of the new year, and it is a big one.  It is a little scary – I am introducing my “alter ego” for the first time.  First let me tell you that I am NOT abandoning my splash and pour watercolors on shikishi boards.  I love painting them, they are close to my heart, they excite me still and I will always paint them.  BUT every artist experiments and pushes the envelope at some time.  Sometime these wanderings in the studio don’t make it to the light of day.  But I have been pursuing this additional direction for several years now and am very excited by it as well.  I have developed a solid recognizable style that I am now comfortable introducing.  let me warn you, however – it is abstract.  

What I call my “Natural Abstractions” are watercolor + wax works focus on amazingly colorful natural occurrences that scream for exploration/exploitation/abstraction in an artist’s studio – from the bizarre and beautiful hot springs of Yellowstone to the mysteries of stellar nebula or northern lights in our night skies. My artwork always has presented more of the essence of a subject, rather than a realistic representation and this series/medium does as well, but even more so. In fact, I mean for my viewer to participate in deciding what the subject actually is. As usual, vivid colors are my signature, though an occasional monochromatic piece can be just as impactful.

People are familiar with watercolor as a medium and perhaps even encaustic wax. But I have combined both of these media in my work to present an interesting dichotomy. Watercolor and wax shouldn’t even be able to mix, should they? However, each medium becomes obvious upon close inspection, and the view from farther away brings the suggested subject matter to light.  The pieces themselves are splash and poured watercolors on rice paper, infused with encaustic wax (molten beeswax) that makes the paper translucent, allowing me to fuse layers together to create depth of color.  You must investigate the new Encaustic descriptions and images under About the Artist and Portfolio, as well as three video snippets of the process in action under “What’s New”.  Let me know what you think! 

OCTOBER ASPENS

Watercolor + Wax

 

TANGERINE DREAMS AND MARMALADE SKIES

Tangerine Dreams and Marmalade Skies

The Artists Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone

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October 24, 2017  Why did I choose “Thermophylic Bacteria” as my painting subject, to be included in the upcoming book The Artists Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone?  Because it gave me the opportunity to paint more Yellowstone hot springs paintings, which I LOVE to do.  Now you ask, what in tarnation are Thermophylic Bacteria and why should I care??  Tiny microbes that can survive the acid and heat live in these pools, surviving at different temperatures creating the multitude of colors you see there.  They are considered the first inhabitants of our planet, and their discovery in recent science has enabled DNA fingerprinting, and medical diagnoses among other things.  Karen Reinhart is the author of the essay that my painting accompanies.  Check out the book (to be published in early spring of 2017): www.artistsfieldguide.com.

The slippery metallic surface of the shikishi board is perfect to showcase how watercolor blends and flows.  The addition of the textured “watercolor crystals” around the edges makes it very obvious (well, to me at least) that the painting is of a hot spring, with all of the wild colors and textures that make these natural features so popular.

The hot spring in Yellowstone where this was all first discovered is called the Mushroom Pool.  That is the pool that the painting below depicts:

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Quick Draw and Auction at the Fall Arts Festival

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October 7, 2016  The Quick Draw and Auction at the Fall Arts Festival is now a memory.  Here are a few photos of the process, plus the auction itself.  I was pressed to finish in the allotted 90 minutes.The finished painting was titled “Teton Aurora”. I have seen northern lights twice in my life, and there was a display in Jackson Hole last year.  (How much time I had left determined how many stars I was able to reveal. Each star is created by a dot of water, scrub with a brush, remove the paint with a paper towel.  So to create the Milky Way would be a very time consuming process indeed.)  I have no problem having hundreds of people watch me paint and ask me questions, but I am really shy of getting up in front of those same people, with a microphone, to say a few words about my painting!

Finished just under 90 minutes:

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Paintings lined up, waiting for their turn on the auction block:

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The auction tent covers nearly a city block:

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Teton Aurora:

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