Happily Superstitious.

When I was growing up we would go on long car rides and my mom would always say, “Oh look, there’s a white horse! Quick kids, make a wish.”

I have since heard that making a wish on a white horse tends to be an Irish tradition. I don’t know how much truth there is in that but I will always believe. Now, whenever I’m going down a road and see a white horse in the field, I happily hear my mom’s voice in my mind and I think of her, smile to myself, and with a slight bit of superstition … I make a wish.

Sharing with you today, my reminiscence of that happy superstition. Make a wish.

Stretching your comfort zone.

We all have our favorite subjects to paint or favorite pallete we tend to use and drifting into those comfortable places when we sit down to paint is perfectly ok. After all, we paint because we love what we do and time is often at a premium. It is easy to just launch and not search for a subject that makes a new statement but is instead a tried and true image or formula.

That being said, sometimes we need to stretch our creative muscles.

Occasionally I will look at photographs I have taken and think of what attracted me to the view or image at that moment. Was it redeemable? Could it be a worthwhile painting? That question is what stops me today and makes me wonder, ‘what is my purpose for any particular painting session?’ And yes, the reason can vary!

If our reason to paint on any given day is purely to relax and have fun then that can be enough. If, however, we decide that we want to expand our abilities beyond the improvement that occurs with practice, we might also be heightening the risk of failure. I wonder how much pressure I place on myself for the time at the easel to be fruitful, and equating fruitful to time wasted and the potential loss of revenue.

Although I may say I am not painting to make my living, I must admit I don’t want to purely paint in my own vacuum and store work or gift it like I did early in my career. Perhaps I am not being genuine when I say it then? I do want to sell most of what I paint. I would like to share what I do with others. It’s gratifying and lucrative and therefor, helpful.

That begs the introspection of assessing why we’re painting in any given day and as a result, the potential censure of painting something that may fail because to fail means it won’t sell. That’s a self defeating loop. We need to continually challenge ourselves and gamble with potential failure. Yes, sometimes we need to paint for the pleasure, and sometimes we need to paint for revenue. Improvement is dependent on challenge so perhaps we should also include, sometimes we paint to stretch.

As for myself, I know I need to continually stretch outside my comfort zone so that I can expand the perimeters of that comfort zone, improve the quality of my work, and succeed more often than I fail by facing the challenges head on. It might actually, potentially, result in more sales.

The captured moment.

This morning has been so relaxing. It has been enjoyable sitting at my easel painting and thinking about friends on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It’s delightful to me that while painting I can transport myself in my mind to particular moments in time. For those of you, my friends, who were in the encampment at the Grand Portage National Monument in August of 2019, you will recall the evening when the storm blew up quickly resulting in a lovely double rainbow. It’s been rare for me to be able to see both ends of a rainbow in my life, and most assuredly I had never seen the rainbow reflect off water like that, almost creating a circle. Circles are everywhere in our lives from repetitian within our visual spheres to our relationships with people, and are most certainly demonstrated in our paths of life.

Thank you for circling back to see how this painting turned out today, and thank you for walking the circles of my life with me.

Feel free to send me a comment about the work, or that day, or our walk together.

Laying out a painting and enjoying the memories.

undefined Laying out a new painting is truly an exercise of craft – the pleasure of color and canvas and paint. When I work I look at the photographs I took and revisit the time, revisit the place, and think about all of the emotions involved in that moment. I can hear the sounds and smell the smells or feel the excitement of the people around me. These things and more help me add the right extra elements to a painting to make it work.

For those who were present at this time and place last summer you might recognize what I have begun to lay out. I’ll post the finished work so comment then and let me know if I captured the moment as you remember it.

Take a deep breath and walk down the new path.

Christmas time. The holiday season. Breaks from work to eat, love, rest, and in my case, also paint. It is a time when we are in the process of finishing all of our tasks and projects, and scrambling to wrap up year-end commitments. With that, we all look to the New Year with some degree of excitement, nervousness, but most of all, hope. 2020 has all of the potential of a new year, a new decade, and a new path.

We may not always have control over what appears to be destiny, for that control I believe remains in God’s hands. We do, however, have a great deal of control over the things that happen to us through the choices we make, and the thoughts we form from our own observations and what we believe of the opinions of others. We must use our wisdom and our soul to choose, for it is why God gave us choice. 

As part of this next step of my walk in faith I am making some changes with the New Year. I won’t call them new years resolutions because in fact, they aren’t a promise because of the calendar but a promise because I need to make the changes.

One of the things that is changing is the look of my website. It will be just a freshening and a rebuild of my interaction with you. It also can serve as a reminder that many other changes are beginning their birth behind the scenes. I thank you all who have followed or are now following my walk in faith toward being a full time artist. 

This painting is inspired by a photograph taken by a friend on the beach at Kenosha, Wisconsin of the Christmas Morning Sunrise. My thanks to her for the permission. I enjoyed painting and contemplating through these last two days.

I would also like to extend the thanks to include those people in my life that surround me with love each day. Each action, no matter how small, matters greatly. Those who reach out with the spontaneous hug, the conversation in the street when I need it, the lifting text on a Christmas afternoon, the visit to my office to say “well done”, the help with the website, and the tender guardianship of my heart…  I thank you, truly.

Blessings to you all In the coming year. I will not be back here until the new look is launched.

Sentimental memories

As an artist, there are times that I choose my subject matter because it’s a dramatic scene, like a sunset or sunrise. Other times I choose my subject because it’s a particular face or lighting that strikes me as unique or stirring. Sometimes I just capture a singular image or an item that helps me remember fondly a visit or a moment in time that warms my heart and makes me smile.

This afternoon I’m wrapping up my weekend with a little time at the easel and remembering a lovely visit from a couple of years ago. It was a relaxing and enjoyable August evening. I hope you enjoy today’s painting, memories of that evening that I will entitle, Porky, in honor of this lovely little free range chicken and the dear folks who cared for her.

Color on black Friday

Today is considered black Friday in shopping circles in the United States. Personally, there’s nothing I really need, or at least want bad enough to go fight the crowds for a black Friday sale. The things that I do want but don’t happen to have, can’t be found in a big box store anyway.

That being said however, I decided to spend the day in the company of my sweetheart and work at my easel. I didn’t have a particular person in mind but wanted to practice on the human face. This experiment is with direct but slightly back light on a female face.

I like some of Vermeer’s chiaroscuro  lighting because of the drama but I didn’t want to be quite that severe so I just played with the puzzling of how light and dark behave in this instance. It’s been fun and good to keep stretching my knowledge through practice.

So today, I give you a little bit of color on black Friday.

Inertia wins the day

Today has certainly not followed the way I planned it but sometimes you just have to make a judgment call and roll with it. I was having a lot of fun this morning painting those horses that you saw in the post at mid-day, so I decided to sit down at the drawing board and keep going.

2 years ago I was at the Farm Museum on Washington Island for an event over the 4th of July, and I painted a plein-aire of a little calf that they had in a pen there. It was a sweet little thing and I enjoyed painting him. I called the piece, New Friend. Last year, when we set up camp again on Washington Island at the Farm Museum, I noticed they had two adult cows and sure enough one of them was my friend. Now of course the cow is an adult but I recognized the spot pattern and his affection for daisys. Since today’s theme seemed to be around painting animals that I like, I went ahead and painted that calf now grown. I guess I’ll have to name this painting Old Friend, in honor of the 1st painting. I’ve enjoyed painting all day. I hope you had a fun day as well.

Remembering the Little Bighorn hills.

I’ve been thinking about our wonderful trip out West last June and decided to revisit a few of our stops and scenes through the course of this Winter in the studio. That’s what I take those pictures for, after all.

This morning I was thinking about how we would encounter the wonderful wild horses at many of the places we stopped. I’ve always loved horses anyway and find myself taking pictures of them whenever I see them in the fields. In this case, they would often walk by where we were parked and I would just stand fascinated … because it’s their turf, not mine. This morning’s study is a small canvas, 11 x 14. It’s a quick study of a couple of the horses from the Little Bighorn battlefield area. This mare was a little bit nervous about me being anywhere near her colt and other mares began to move to the forefront to protect her.

Quickly done, it is good practice and fond memories.  Not sure if it’s done, but I’m done for now. Enjoy.