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.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's Going on in the Studio

Below are three paintings that I have been working on recently. I normally have many paintings going at once and, right now, there are currently nine in my studio. To see all nine you can visit 'The Easel' page of my website.

The first painting is of a snow leopard hiding back amongst some rocks. I have actually been working on this painting off and on for an astounding 7 years! It is the largest painting I have ever done measuring 30"x48". Recently, I saw a television special on snow leopards that rekindled my inspiration. Will it be the final push? I don't know, but I am pretty sure it won't be another 7 years until it is finished.

This next painting is about a week old and it needs more details, especially in the background. I am really taken by the lighting and am trying to push it to an extreme to help this male Redhead 'pop' out three dimensionally. I am doing that by incorporating more color than I normally use into the shadows.

This mallard group has been posted before. I have struggled with the layout of the ducks and I think I am going to wipe out one of the males and add a beautifully plumaged wood duck male to it. There just needs to be a bit more color in it, which may play nicely off the blue-headed drake at the bottom of the painting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birds in Art Catalogue

Yesterday afternoon, the 2007 Birds in Art catalogue came in the mail. This is very exciting because I wasn't able to make the trip back to the opening this year. So, I eagerly turned each page as a feast for the eyes awaited on each one. Upon waking this morning and feeling inspired, I poured over it again and then started painting. If you are interested in ordering a catalogue, which is produced as a beautiful soft cover book, or in seeing which artists are participating in this year's exhibition, you can visit the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's website.

Monday, September 10, 2007

South Platte Sunrise

The commissioned piece that I have been working on for the past few months is finished! An earlier post below showed a near completed painting, but the one below is finished and if you click on it a larger version can be viewed. This large painting, which measures 30"x40", was a lot of fun to paint because I would find myself daydreaming about duck hunting while working on it. The new season is near, and for those who may not know, I am a duck hunting fanatic. The passion for hunting is how I got into wildlife painting and creating scenes like this are my favorite thing to do when the season is not in progress.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More Plein Air Paintings...

Here are a few more plein air paintings (these things are a blast to paint) from this past summer. It is weird to think that Fall is near. Anyway, the first painting is from north of Port Hardy in British Columbia...

This next one is of Suttle Lake near Santiam Pass in Oregon...

And this last one is from the Metolius River which is near Suttle Lake on the eastern slope of the Cascades...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Commissioned Painting

I haven't been on the blog much lately and for good reason. I have been working on finishing up a large 30"x40" commissioned painting (below) for a gentleman from Colorado. This sunrise scene is of his property on the South Platte River and will soon include a flock of ducks, more water detail and more foreground grasses to enhance the depth a bit more. It was inspired by my painting "First Flight" that is included in this year's Ducks Unlimited National Art Package. This second image is a detail of the upper right hand corner of the above scene . It shows the the cottonwoods and early morning mist in the background, as well as the detail included in the willows along the river.