Friday, July 30, 2010


As a wildlife artist I am always looking for wildlife and it has been a great week. I try to get at least 3 or 4 hikes in every week. I love to hike in the woods. I say it is for the health benefits but really it is for the chance to get out into the trees to feel the quiet, under the leafy canopy and just absorb the wilderness. Usually I will see chipmunks, squirrels and birds. But this week has been stellar, I have seen 3 black bears. Two of our hikes brought us within 20 yards of a beautiful glossy black bear. The third I saw from our boat as we were boat camping. It was a young cinnamon bear as he came to the waterline to drink. I love the opportunity to watch bears in their own element. Seeing them becomes the birthplace for my paintings....maybe not this week or month, but I store the experience, savour it and someday......

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Patterson Award

I am delighted to say that I am the recipient of the John Edgar Patterson award for my painting "Steady and Swift." This is the top award for the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts.
It is a really pleasure to join the wonderful artists who have won this before me.

Large Art Work

Painting the large art work like my moose has issues that are slightly different than normal sized work. Most of them as you would expect have to do with the size and weight. First you have to realize that the canvas can only be pushed up as high as your ceiling will allow. That seems just like common sense but it can catch you by surprise when you want to work on the bottom corner of it and the top is touching the ceiling. My normal easel doesn't really do a good job of holding it in the horizontal position.....(may be because my easel is mad at me because of the gesso mishap) but it is very tippy. It is a good idea to clamp this in if your easel can, if not watch bumping the out side edges while working. The painting work can be hard on your back as for some of it you have to bend. Also big paintings are more difficult to the size makes it difficult to spray your varnish in one swoop side to side. For my" Out of the Dark Moose" I had a shipping box made (thank you Neil) to protect this painting in transit. The box is huge and heavy but protects the painting wonderfully. So painting big has been a bit of an effort.... but all of it is worth it when you see the end result.

Home for the Moose

My big black moose painting has found the perfect home. He will be traveling to a magnificent log cabin which is just being completed. The owners are the nicest people who have built this cabin as a place to relax and enjoy nature. They have furnished it with beautiful iron work and the main door is an amazing carving of a moose with an iron antler handle. The log cabin is a work of art that is a delightful home for my painting.

Summer heat is here

Well summer took a while to arrive this year but it is definitely here now. The studio with it's big bright windows is just sucking the heat in. My studio is one of my favorite room to be in but now its best attributes are causing the temperatures to rise. I have taken to painting earlier in the day and try to escape the studio by 2:00 when the sunlight starts to blast in. A window treatment help but still the studio days are much shorter at this time of the year. The paint also drys so quickly as to make work difficult.

Out of the Dark Moose

This is my largest painting to date. It is 4 feet by 6 feet. I wanted to paint a big magnificent moose and this was the way to properly reflect the size of him. It is amazing when you get a chance to see a moose in nature and I wanted my painting to reflect that feeling of awe. So the focus of the painting is the huge rack of antlers being lit by the sunlight against the dark woods. The mist is weaving through the trees behind the moose. It was a great project and very satisfying to complete.

Gesso explosion

This is a quick post on what not to do. Do Not....I repeat Do Not drop an open container of white gesso in front of your new easel......there by changing the color of it a kind of dirty white as the unfinished wood sucked up the gesso like lemonade. The gesso managed to smack down and shoot it self all over the floor (10 foot spray) covering a section of wall, one original painting, one glass frame, the pellet stove, my compressor and did I mention my beautiful new easel. It was like I had thrown thick pudding all over the end of the room.This changed my painting afternoon into a cleaning afternoon. With a great deal of scrubbing I have removed the gesso from most of what it came off the original with ease (thank goodness) but everything else was serious work......the floor has some white seams which will require further work.....but most has cleaned up OK. ....well I do notice that I have some on my knee, top of my foot, wrist and shirt.

Great Art Friends

Just want to take a moment and say how much I appreciate my great art friends. These are the people who are always ready to share in an art adventure, who get as excited as I do about a new paint colour or canvas, who readily share their knowledge and passion about art, who delight in long marketing talks and abstract conversations on art. I want to thank this long list of great art friends and say you guys are all great! Happy Painting to you all.

Out of the Dark series

My "Out of the Dark" series is all based on what you can see at dawn and dusk, when the light is soft. These paintings are of animals that are just caressed by those first or last remaining rays of light. These paintings are formed by the light and dark. It is as if I am sculpting the image out of the dark. I want to create the feeling of amazement when you see a bear as it steps free of the darkness of the woods, or a fawn as it peers back at you from the side of a meadow.

Storm Cloud Series

The Storm Cloud series right now consists of "Cougar Ridge" which features a beautiful cougar gracefully stalking down a rocky ridge. His face is still and focused and looking just past the viewer. Number two in this series is "Cloud Watcher" which is a mountain panorama with storm clouds wrapped around. On a solitary rock, a mountain goat stares out over the valley cloud.
The third is a Kestrel Hawk on a fence post under gray stormy clouds. Tendrils of flowering honey suckle wrap up the post and reach toward the resting hawk. In each of these paintings the clouds set both the feeling, tone and color for the painting.

Busy Summer

It has been a busy spring and summer with lot of projects. In the studio, my Storm Cloud series has progressed to three painting. My focus for this series is the dark stormy skies behind the wildlife subject. The sky gives more emotion to the painting, giving it a depth that sunny skies would not.