Monday, July 25, 2011

An Apple a Day

"An Apple a Day" is a 16 x 20 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas that was inspired by our regular September trips to the Bradshaw's End of the Rainbow Apple Orchard near Caliente, Nevada.  This trip is an annual family favorite of ours.  As I began this piece, I couldn't help but remember all the family memories that are reflected by these three simple apples ripening on the branch.

In the painting, the warm sunlight reflects through the branches and seems to  kiss the apples with a warm glow of yellow and orange.  I know if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the warm afternoon breezes rustling through the leaves as you strain to reach for the really good apples that hang high above your head.  If you ever have a chance to take a drive out on Nevada Highway 317, through the "Rainbow Canyon", and it is during apple picking time you have to stop in at the Ranch, grab a bucket and head off through the tall grasses to hunt these beautiful treasures.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hiking Buddies

"Hiking Buddies" is a special painting that I created recently and is inspired by my adorable grandson Gavin.  He is such an energetic 3 year old who loves adventure.  Brad and I have had the pleasure of taking him on an overnight camping trip to the near by mountains.  When we went on a hike he insisted on caring a walking stick just like Antie Laura.  His mother sent me this picture a few months later when they were camping and he had remembered the fact that he needed a walking stick.  I love the photo and could see in my mind our little doggie Cookie as his hiking companion.  In my painting you can see dad is patiently waiting for his two little hikers to catch up.  When you are an curious rat terrier or a busy 3 year old the world is full of exciting things to look at along the trail.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Study on Rocks

I had the pleasure of spending a number of days this week on vacation in the beautiful state of Utah.  I can say that as for rock formations you would have to look long and hard to find a more stunning example of color and variation in the rocks than my neighboring beehive state.  I spent hours this week just studying the rock cliffs and formations that surrounded the area of Marysvale.   As I have stated in my last post, Rocks are an area that I seem to struggle with in my paintings.  My tendancy is to make them all uniform, outlined and smooth and as we all know if you have looked at rock that isn't what we see. 

When I returned to the studio yesterday I was determined to conquer my deficiency.  Armed with a number of new brushes that I purchased at the local Hobby Lobby store I set out to rework a painting I did last week called Hiking Buddies.  This painting is special to me because it is inspired by my little 3 year old grandson, Gavin and my very active rat terrier, Cookie. 

As you can see there are plenty of rocks in my painting but again I feel that they lacked depth and variation.  I find they are a distraction to the focal point of my painting, which of course are the two adorable "Hiking Buddies". 
No I have worked on the rocks by adding more variation in color and shading.  I have also brightened the trees and the dead branches, which I now feel direct the eye to my intended focus.  I also tried to create more contrast by adding lighting highlights on the rocks that would be facing the sun.  While I'm sure that many improvements could be made I feel that I'm heading on the right path when it comes to rocks.  Practice is the key and I'm currently working on a piece inspired by my stay in Utah that contains a number of cliffs and large boulders. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


From as early as I can remember I have LOVED rocks.  I might have gotten this from my grandmother who thought lining her very long driveway in Swedeborg, Missouri with alternating painted pink and blue SPONGE rocks was a legitimate landscaping accent.  There might also have been a few truck tires painted white serving as flower planters...You can't take the hillbilly out of the hills.   You can ask any member of my family and they will tell you that on almost everyone of my travels I have brought home "pretty rocks" to add to my growing front yard collection.

Now you would think that with my familiarity and long love of rocks that as an artist I would easily paint them but I just keep coming up against a ...."ROCK WALL".  I am determined to conquer my "Rock Deficiency" into a "Rock Proficiency".  I thought you all might want to come along as I practice, struggle and SUCCEED to paint beautiful and realistic rocks.  Remember I would love to hear from you.

Here is a couple of early examples to show just how much I need to learn:

As you can see, my rocks are uniform and lack shape and color variation.  They appear to be very smooth and rounded like the whole earth was made of polished river rock.  I certainly have my work cut out for me and since I am publicly discussing my deficiency, I would like to also publicly critique my successes.  Stay tuned as I "LEARN TO PAINT ROCKS!"