Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clumber Spaniel Commission in Progress

Below is a progression of a commissioned painting of a clumber spaniel named Truman that I am working on... There is still a way to go on this one but progress is being made. The biggest challenge of this piece has been handling all of the "so called" whites. This is a white dog in the snow and it has been eye-opening dealing with all of the different colors and different values. This is definitely one of the more difficult paintings I have worked on so far and I feel like I am being pushed which is always a good thing.

The Grouse is Finished!

The blue grouse was finished and delivered to the Oregon Department of Fish and Game on Friday for the annual Oregon Upland Bird Stamp competition. Recently, the blue grouse was split into two separate subspecies and this particular subspecies is called the Sooty Grouse and is primarily found in the westermost regions of it's range. Judging for the competition will take place near the end of February and results should be posted then...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blue Grouse Coming Along

Some habitat, like Indian Paintbrush, has been added that suggests this bird is heading into a mountain meadow. Some tighter detail will be added and maybe some more grasses, but it has to be sent tomorrow no matter what so back to painting I go...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cabela's Invite

Cabela's is having a grand opening celebration for their new store located in Lacey, Washington and I have been invited to be their guest for the weekend weekend of January 26th & 27th. This promises to be a fun and exciting weekend and I will post more information as the date nears.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blue Grouse Painting in Progress

This painting in progress will be for the Oregon Upland Bird Stamp competition. This year's species is the blue grouse. There will be some wildflowers in the foreground that will represent the edge of a mountain meadow. Right now I'm thinking some Indian Paintbrush because of it's red flowers and because they are generally found in the same habitat you might see a blue grouse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pheasants Forever Selects South Platte Sunrise

The painting South Platte Sunrise has been selected by Pheasants Forever to be a part of their 2008 National Art Package. The prints will be available at PF events throughout the country beginning in April and will raise money for upland bird habitat in the United States. Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Savannah Sparrow in Progress

Here is a new painting that I have been working on this week that is a result from the trip out to Ankeny Hill National Wildlife Refuge (mentioned in a post below). I am going for a somewhat different look with a blurred background. This focuses all the attention on the foreground which emphasizes the detail in the bird, grasses and barbed wire.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Albany Ducks Unlimited Banquet

The annual banquet for Albany DU is Saturday, December 8th at the Linn County Fairgrounds. The dinner features a raffle and an auction with the proceeds benefiting wetlands, waterfowl and the myriad of other wildlife associated with wetlands. Each year I donate artwork to the auction and this year I have donated "Spring Drake"(above). However, the national package print "First Flight"(right) will also be available and possibly an original piece of art as well. Doors open at 5:00pm with a no-host bar. Dinner is at 6:30pm catered by Burton's with the live auction to follow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cameron's Gifts and Gallery

My artwork will be exhibiting locally in Albany (OR) at Cameron's Gallery and Gifts in the Heritage Mall through January 15th. There are original studio paintings and plein air paintings, framed prints, and unframed prints available. For more information you can visit the Heritage Mall website or call 541.967.0564.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

September Bull

This healthy bull elk is in the peak of September's rutting season. During this time their haunting bugles can be heard throughout the intermountain west and many other states thanks to conservation efforts from organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This particular bull was seen in Yellowstone National Park and was moving to challenge another bull for his harem of cows.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ankeny Hill National Wildlife Refuge

Each Fall, waterfowl migrate to the Willamette Valley to winter. One of the more spectacular sights that one can see are the large flocks of Canada Geese. There are seven subspecies that call Oregon their winter home including the Dusky Canada goose - one of the most threatened waterfowl species in the world. These geese nest exclusively in the Copper River Delta of Alaska and winter exclusively in the Willamette Valley. Three refuges are set aside to help protect these geese - William Finley, Basket Slough and Ankeny Hill (pictured). I regularly visit these refuges to gather reference for my paintings and this morning I was fortunate to be able to see an increasing number of waterfowl (due to our recent storms and cold weather) including this flock of Canada geese coming in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Egret Finished!

I went ahead and decided to add a bulrush in the foreground. It is in a spot that I thought wouldn't be distracting and it seems to work by adding a bit more depth to the painting. As mentioned in earlier posts, the white was challenging to paint because it is actually never pure white. I seemed to mix every shade of the rainbow in with white to create the bird's plumage. The overall size of the painting is 12"x8" and for more information you can follow this link: Great Egret.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Elk and Egret Updates

The paintings are getting closer to completion. I am debating on adding a bulrush or two in the foreground of the egret and the elk still has more detail to go - especially in the facial areas and in the grasses.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Egret in Progress

I took a break from the elk (which should be finished soon) and started this egret painting. I always bounce around from painting to painting. That way, when I sit down to start working on an older painting, I see it with fresh eyes. Because there is so much detail in each piece I tend to get lost, so I have to set it aside for a while - sometimes a long while! In this painting so far, there has been a lot of time spent on the white feathers, which are hardly pure white, as there are shades of purple, blue, pink, orange, yellow and green subtly blended throughout. Also, there will be a few foreground reeds (hardstem bulrush) added to provide depth and to push the egret into the painting a bit. As always, the finished painting will be posted (soon... hopefully).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bull Elk in Progress

Here is the early stages of a new painting of a big bull elk in the rut. This is going to be a coloful painting with some strong lighting. The painting is small at 8"x10" which presents the challenge of painting such a large animal so small. I'll post progress as it's made...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lake Merritt Waterfowl

Last week on the way to the Peppertree Art Show, I stopped to visit my sister and her family in Oakland, CA for a couple of days. In the heart of Oakland is beautiful Lake Merritt - a lake that is somewhat well known among wildlife photographers and artists for it's viewing opportunities. Diving ducks that spend much of their time rafted out of sight on San Francisco Bay often frequent the lake. They are easily acccesible because of their proximity and because they acclimate to the numbers of joggers and other people that use the scenic walkway surrounding the urban lake. Lesser Scaup were the main species present when I was there and are pictured both above and in the video.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nevada Duck Stamp Contest Results

The painting "Pintail Pair" placed second in the recent 2008 Nevada Duck Stamp competition. This is both encouraging and frustrating knowing that the painting was so close to being selected. Open waterfowl stamp contests are filled with very talented artists and are extremely tough to win. I always look to learn from each competition so as to move forward with my artwork and I feel challenged to do even better in future art competitions. You can click here to view the Top 9 entries including the winning entry by James P. Edwards of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Monday, November 5, 2007

2009 National DU Award

I received some great news today! The painting Evening Sprig has been selected to be a part of the 2009 Ducks Unlimited National Art Package. This is a fantastic recognition and very difficult to be accepted into as there are hundreds of entries. Basically, what the award means is the painting will be reproduced as a limited edition print and the prints will then be auctioned off at DU banquets throughout the country raising significant money for wetlands and wetland habitat throughout North America. The painting is also being considered for the Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year award. Voting for this will take place online and I will post information about how to vote as soon as I receive it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November Peppertree Art Show

Next weekend, November 10-11, I will be participating in the Peppertree Art Show. To quote their website... "Now entering it's 31st year, the show, which is produced and directed by Trace Eubanks and hosted by Bob Eubanks, features over 400 works of fine art by highly accredited; nationally, and internationally collected artists. The art work includes magnificent bronze, wood, and paper sculptures, oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, and pencil, of incredibly beautiful western scenes, landscapes, southwest, Native American, wildlife, historical scenes, and much more. Primarily representing paintings and sculptures of American subjects, the artwork covers a wide spectrum of subject matter, styles, and mediums." If you are interested in receiving an invitation to this private/invite only show please click here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Great Blue Heron Update

Some progress on my great blue heron painting has been made. The lilies, leaves, and algea in the foreground were added to create depth. Now for some detail...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Red-Breasted Sapsucker

This painting is just about finished and I say that because I usually keep 'touching up' paintings until they actually get shipped out or hung in a gallery. The bird is a red-breasted sapsucker that I saw here locally in Western Oregon amongst some Oregon Ash trees. The misty, foggy background is used to create both depth and height in the painting. I also really enjoyed putting the intricacies of the mosses and lichens into the foreground tree to keep the viewer's attention toward the front of the painting.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Signing Prints

I spent the better part of yesterday morning signing and numbering the 2008 Oregon Ducks Unlmited Sponsor Prints. I am excited about Ducks Unlimited and all they do to set aside and restore wetland habitat throughout North America. I hope these prints do well in the state.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The results of the Federal Duck Stamp Competition have been released. When I entered this year's contest I knew that I might either win it or receive no votes at all. It seemed to be an all or nothing type of entry because I took a risk and painted an image in sepia tones to create an old-fashioned look for the 75th anniversary stamp. The idea seemed like a good one, but unfortunately the judges didn't think so. With that said, not all news is good news - I received absolutely no votes (LOL) finishing dead last in the contest. Normally, I finish pretty high - receiving votes and then points - but not this year. Although I still like the painting and what it represents, I am already looking forward to next year's competition. A result like that is motivation!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lots to Do!

I'm working madly to get some paintings done for the upcoming Peppertree Art Show. The paintings that were sent to Wild Wings earlier this month have sold which is a good thing, but it leaves me a bit empty handed at the moment. I recently have started work on four paintings, three of which are pictured here. To complicate things and add to the hustle of the past couple of days, I am setting up at the annual seasonal gallery here in town called Cameron's Gifts and Gallery. My art along with artwork from many talented Northwest Artists will show (and be for sale) through January 15th at the Heritage Mall in Albany, OR.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Elusive Blacktail Buck

I have in my possession an unfilled Western Oregon Buck Deer Tag. Deer tags in Western Oregon are very different than deer tags in most states - they are for one blacktail buck not having less than a forked antler. What is so different about that? The blacktail's habits (or lack thereof) and habitat make them very difficult to hunt. They spend their time in thick cover and are extremely elusive. On the other hand, whitetail deer are very habitual in their use of trails and mule deer often spend time in more open country. This season only has a week left after an upcoming one week hiatus and that final week is the beginning of the rut which should bring the bucks out a bit more. So far though, after hunting through thick wet cover, I have only seen does (pictured) and spikes. Maybe the last week will offer the opportunity at one of these elusive bucks.
PS - The photos are a bit blurry because of the low light conditions...

Monday, October 15, 2007


Ahhh... Monday. I am working on a commissioned painting today of a clumber spaniel named Truman looking alert and playful in the snow. Here is a photo from the painting in it's earlier stages. There will be more to come on this piece. On another note, I am also beginning to get organized for a couple of upcoming shows that I will post about later this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting Closer...

After a late night and a full day of painting, it is getting closer. The painting should be finished on time to ship it out tomorrow. Whew. Now, just one more night of fine tuning the details...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Pintail Day

The better part of today was spent on this painting of a pintail pair for the Nevada Duck Stamp. It actually needs to be mailed off by Thursday of this week so there are a couple of late nights in my near future. Right now the painting lacks the necessary detail of a duck stamp entry, but the image seems to be coming along as planned, which often isn't the case. When the painting is finished, I will post it...

Friday, October 5, 2007


After much procrastination, I have started a new heron painting. Although the sketch was already drawn on the board, the vast amount of white was intimidating and was preventing me from starting. I have heard that procrastination stems from fear. Maybe it was the amount of work that I know this painting will require with all the necessary foliage and reflections. Who knows? But, now that it is started, I am excited about it. I also have a couple of other ideas that are brewing in my head including a painting of a fawn that I may start this weekend. The picture posted here has a bit of a glare on it so the true colors aren't showing through correctly, but the idea is there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Artist's Magazine Award

The Artist's Magazine recently selected the painting
"Reflections" as a finalist in their 24th Annual Art Competition. The winners and finalists will be announced in the upcoming December 2007 issue. "Reflections" is the same painting that was selected for this years Birds In Art exhibition.

Monday, October 1, 2007


For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to see a tornado. Don't ask me why - it's some sort of sick fascination. I've even toyed with the idea of going on a 'storm chaser vacation' in the Midwest. Anyway, we don't get very many tornadoes on the West Coast and the ones we do get, thankfully, are very small. Last Thursday, while painting, I heard thunder roll over the house and looked out my window to see some dark clouds rotating a little bit. Having never seen such a rotation before, my blood started pumping faster but knew these clouds were far from being a tornado. However, I grabbed my camera and binoculars and jumped in the car regardless.The rotating continued at varying strengths as the storm moved towards the next town. I parked in a grass seed field and snapped a couple more pictures hoping a funnel would form out of these clouds when a bolt of lightning hit about 100yds from my car! Needless to say, thoughts like "What are the chances of a tornado forming in Oregon anyway?" went through my head, and seeing as my car was the highpoint amongst the grass seed fields of the Willamette Valley, I reluctantly headed home wondering if I was making a mistake. I reached home and told my wife about my experience thinking I had seen all of the excitement, but was I wrong! Here are the next morning's headlines:Ouch! Maybe next time....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wild Wings Fall Festival

It's Fall Festival time again! Each year in Lake City, Minnesota, Wild Wings puts on an original art showcase featuring their artists. This year I have four paintings being exhibited, which are below. If you get the chance, the show is well worth visiting. This October 6th & 7th there will be live animal exhibits, painting demonstrations, a poster signing, and a big barbeque dinner all set along the backdrop of beautiful Lake Pepin.

"Greenwing Reflections" 12"x24" Acrylic on Board

"Sunlit Sanctuary" 14"x18" Acrylic on Board

"Song Sparrow" 9"x12" Acrylic on Board

"Icy Ride - Hooded Mergansers" 13"x18" Acrylic on Board

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An Old Idea Turned New

Sometimes when I start a painting, something doesn't click and I end up painting over it with a new image. Well, recently, while digging through some old photographs, I came upon a few paintings that had been painted over. With some of them, I could see why, with others I was curious as to why, and with a couple I was downright mad at myself for doing so. Below is an example of a painting that I wiped out in it's very first stages about 10 years ago. I remember struggling with the lighting a bit but other than that I have no idea why. So, with this particular painting, I decided to try again and here is the result - "Evening Sprig" (above).

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Pheasant!!

The past two weekends at E.E. Wilson, a local wildlife area, a youth-only pheasant hunt was held and I had the opportunity to go along with my nephew (pictured). The hunt was set up to where only the youth could carry a gun while the adults guided with the only requirement being hunters have a valid hunter safety card and all of the necessary licenses and tags. All morning we hiked around in perfect weather watching the dogs Cody, and the next weekend Maggie, work their magic flushing birds. My nephew had a blast (both literally and figuratively) and ended up bagging his first pheasant - a beautiful rooster! The following weekend he bagged two more. The hunts were a complete success.

An important note about hunting: Because so much revenue for wildlife conservation is generated directly from hunting licenses and other fees, taking kids hunting is vital to passing on the ages-old legacy. As a result, the more hunters that get involved, the healthier our environment and the wildlife populations therein will be. Hunters also have a passion for conservation as is noticeable in the hundreds of millions of dollars raised through organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club, and the numerous other conservation groups.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Making Progress

I feel that I have made a breakthrough on this painting. I have changed two of the ducks into wood ducks and added quite a bit of water detail into the background to make the image a little deeper and a little more interesting. Also, to add a bit more life into the piece I turned the middle wood ducks head a bit and have it calling. The mallard in the older version was sitting straight sideways and the painting looked a little mechanical and too contrived. There seems to be more life now. To compare the development of the painting you can scroll down and see the prior version. Now to get back to work on it...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Duck Stamp Ideas

Here are some ideas for the upcoming 2008 Nevada Duck Stamp contest that will feature the Northern Pintail. These are thumbnail sketches which are normally the first step in developing an idea. The first one is only about 2"x3" while the second one is only about 1 inch square. The purpose of these loosely sketched drawings is to look at an idea and to play with the lights and darks.