Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gate to the Middle Kingdom

I`m setting down the scissors. These collages were really fun but now I`m painting again. I highly recommend an abrupt switch to a different medium. The thought process was completely different and sort of hypnotic. I lost track of time.
watermedia on Yupo collage 10"x7"

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Friday, June 29, 2012


No title yet for this one but I`m still trying.
watermedia on Yupo collage 10"x7"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Her Grandmother`s Garden

It has been so satisfying cutting up my failed paintings for these collages. Sort of like revenge.
I know I have an adversarial attitude in my process. When I paint, I`m stalking and hunting. Sorry but true, the stakes seem high and I feel alert and alive.
watermedia on Yupo collage 12"x9"

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Monday, June 25, 2012

New Moon - Walking Rain

When I was in the library recently, I found a big fat book on Romare Bearden. He was an exemplary artist and human being, his work is deeply intelligent, inventive and compassionate.
So, I decided to break from painting and do some collage, see if I learned anything from the master. New Moon is the first, simple effort. It's become much crazier, I`ll post some soon.
My friend, the poet Maureen Doallas, asked me if I`d submit a painting and a poem of my choosing for a feature in the online poetry magazine Tweetspeak. For some reason I chose this watercolor from 30 years ago. In New Mexico you can see storms far in the distance, there's nothing in the way. The Native Americans called this 'walking rain'. I couldn`t come up with a poem, so she wrote one in response to the painting. And invited others to do the same. Some did. It was a very cool experience.
watermedia collage on Yupo 6"x6"
watercolor on paper 14"x11"

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Geothermal Pool - progression

I began with a pink gesso ground and used multiple photos to help me compose the structure of the painting. Again I had to work with this dilemma; when something is inherently unbelievable looking, when do you know if you got it right? Some of these pools in Yellowstone are so clear you can look deep within the turquoise 'mouth' from which flows the scalding water. Yet surprisingly, many had thick vegetation right at the edges. Even with the sulfurous smell, it`s all you can do not to jump in. It was chilly and rainy when I was there and these gorgeous 'hot tubs' were so inviting!
Oil on canvas 24"x40"

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brush Creek Slough

Though I suspect they dry up in summer, in Spring the creek is paralleled by small streams and sloughs. They wander through the pastures and are usually dense with plant life. I was sitting along one painting when I had my encounter with the moose. Apparently it was her home.
Another new discovery is Joan Eardley, a Scottish painter whose seascapes, painted on location, are especially moving to me. She died at 42 of breast cancer. This is infuriating.

oil on panel 6"x12"

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eastern Oregon Study 3

After posting 'Abstraction' last night, I returned to the struggle with this piece. It began as a red and green watercolor but soon went elsewhere. There are many layers here.
watermedia on paper 9"x12"

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Saturday, June 16, 2012


For days I`ve thought I was getting close to the end on two different paintings, but they`re still not right. So here is a watercolor from 2002.
When I take a break, I often wander around Pinterest or Tumblr looking at beauty. There are so many wonderful painters that I was unaware of. Check out Chen Jiang-Hong from China. He says a lot about landscape with his gestural abstract paintings.
watercolor on paper 12"x9"

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eastern Oregon Study 2

There are three different landscapes I`m trying to paint while my memory is still fresh; Brush Creek in Wyoming, the geothermal pools in Yellowstone and the red and green hills of Eastern Oregon. I hardly want to go anywhere or see anything new at all.
oil on panel 9"x12"

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eastern Oregon Study

Even though I`ve been home from the ranch and Yellowstone for three weeks, I`m still overloaded with with painting ideas. The drive through the eastern part of my state, in the height of spring, has stayed with me as much as the park. And having mocked traditional watercolor technique most of my life, I now find it a completely interesting challenge. So that`s what this is, a transparent painting of the gorgeous hills west of the Snake River.
watermedia on Yupo 9"x12"

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Overcast Yellowstone

This is a view from Mammoth Hot Springs into the valley north of the lodge. The clouds would lift and fall showing at times the sunlit valley below.
oil on canvas 24"x30"

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mammoth Hot Springs

With this Yellowstone painting the trees and gravity orient it as a landscape.
Oil on canvas 24"x24"

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Geothermal Study 3

I use abstraction to distill the essence of a place as I experience it. When I was looking at these geothermal pools, I wondered how or if to paint them. When something is so inherently otherworldly, what is the subject? Would anyone recognize it? What about them is so compelling? I`ve thought a lot about this and researched the art of Yellowstone. I found very few paintings of these strange openings into the earth. I don`t know if I can paint them 'right', but I can`t stop thinking about them. Watermedia on Yupo 12x9

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Flooded Grove

From my time as an artist in residence at the Brush Creek Ranch. As bone dry as that place was, its creek with its many spring sloughs, was a flowing oasis.
oil on canvas 30"x24"
I`m the artist today at ArtistaDay!
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