Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

12" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel
Last week Santa Claus modeled for us at  Casey Childs studio! For this oil sketch I used a three color palette: cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and ivory black, plus titanium white.

It was fun in spite of the challenges. I set up at a spot that had flat lighting and no shape-defining shadows. I absolutely love drawing and painting faces, but so little of the jolly guy's face was visible. The portrait is dominated by a shapeless red suit and a mile-long polyester beard. But maybe that's not important because, after all, I got to paint Santa!

Besides that, there was lots of cookies and chocolate for us to enjoy during breaks!

Here's a Christmas Video I enjoyed on YouTube. If you haven't had a chance to see it, here's your opportunity:

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Portrait Sketch from Life in Oil Paint

10" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel
It's been a long time since I last got the oil paints out at a live portrait session. I've only painted portraits from life in oils a few times before. It's easier to stick with mediums I'm more familiar with for portraits, such as pastel or charcoal. But Casey Childs has cajoled me on a few occasions to practice painting from life with oil paints. Last week I finally hauled a paintbox with oil paints into Casey's studio and did the oil sketch shown above. It was made with a limited palette; cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and ivory black, plus titanium white.

Don't forget that you can see several of my plein air landscape paintings for sale in galleries throughout the state. You can find out more about them here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Exhibits 2015

Evergreen Gallery in Salt Lake City has used a generous part of their wall space to show fourteen plein air paintings I've done. The photograph shown above and the one shown below are different angles of the wall that Evergreen Gallery is using to exhibit my work. All paintings are for sale.

Logan Fine Art Gallery in Logan, Utah and Juniper Sky Fine Art Gallery in Ivins, Utah (near St. George) also have for sale paintings I've made. If you're in any of these areas be sure to stop and visit the gallery, enjoy the exhibits and maybe you'll find something to brighten up the walls of your home - for the holidays and year round!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cemetery Statuary

12" x 9" Oil on Panel
This is a painting I made at a local cemetery in October. The plan was to use it for a Halloween post on this blog but that didn't happen. Maybe it just wasn't Halloweeny enough, but I think it's worth a spot on this blog. 

Besides being an experience painting something I haven't before, in a place I haven't painted before, this was also another practice using only three colors. This time those colors were cadmium lemon yellow, cadmium red, and ivory black, plus white.

The Day's Palette
I started by toning the panel gray and wiping out the light areas of the statue. Those areas were kept basic and kind of rough at this point. The focus was on keeping general shapes in correct proportion to each other. Details would come later.

Then I worked on building up the dark tones. 

As you can see in the previous two photos, the background is bright behind the statue. I wanted that dark evergreen on the right to be behind the statue in the painting. That would make the lighter statue stand out more, but I wanted the angle of the statue from this viewpoint. So - I moved the tree!

The last image shows some more progress on the painting.

The finished painting is shown at the top of this post.

This was a fun opportunity to paint something different. It was kind of a combination of plein air painting with figure painting. Hope you enjoy seeing the painting and the process!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Latest from the Pleasant Grove Portrait Session

15" x 11" Charcoal on Gray Paper
This is a charcoal drawing made a week ago from life at Casey Childs studio. It was drawn with charcoal pencils and a little bit of "white charcoal" on gray paper. 

I saw a Thanksgiving-themed poll posted on line yesterday. It was asking readers what they were most thankful for. For choices it listed things like: Health, Family, Friends, Church, Freedom, etc. I had a hard time choosing, so I didn't. I'm very thankful for everything the poll listed. 

Since this blog is largely about drawing and painting, I could add those two things to my list of things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for continuing opportunities to attend drawing sessions to build drawing skills. Oh - and the outdoors. I'm so thankful for wild places where I can go hike and paint!

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2015

This Evening, November 20th at 6:00 PM!

This evening at Evergreen Gallery in Salt Lake City a new group show opens. This blog is in a string of portrait drawings recently, but if you want to see some of my newest plein air landscapes, come to the show!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Studio Owner's Friend

11" x 15" Charcoal and "White Charcoal" on Grey Paper
Last Week I attended an event hosted by the Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting (CAS) in Springville. Painters were invited to a presentation of art supplies by the Trekell Company. There was lots of good food (of which I had way too much!) After the presentation was a free portrait session. The man who sat for us is one of the friends of the painter who runs CAS. I was certainly interested in the art supplies, and thoroughly enjoyed the food, but the portrait session was the main draw (no pun intended) for me. I love drawing people, specially from life. The picture above shows the drawing I made of the model that evening.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Monday, November 16, 2015

A New Group Exhibit Coming Up!

This coming Friday, November 20th, a new group exhibit will open at The Evergreen Gallery, 3295 South, 2000 East in Salt Lake City. Some of my newer plein air paintings will be in the show. Come enjoy the show, and maybe do some early Christmas shopping for gifts that can't be found in any big department store!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Young Woman from Russia

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
The models who have sat in the various portrait sessions I've attended over the years have come from all around the world. Probably most of the models have been locals, but a large percentage of them have come from other places, drawn to Utah for a variety of reasons. 

They've come from Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, Peru, Bolivia, Brasil, and other South American countries. They've come from Hawaii, New Zealand, and other Polynesian cultures. Others have been from Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, and India. Some have come from various West African nations and Europe. Not to mention - or maybe to especially mention - the Navajo, Sioux, Kiowa and other Native American tribes who have been represented in the different studios I've drawn in. This week has provided me with another opportunity to draw someone from Russia. 

The wide variety of nationalities, races and customs presented in the portrait sessions I've attended have been important to learning to draw individuals. To me, the individual is more important than the "ideal" that some painters pursue. It's the variety of individuals that bring a variety of good to the world.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Recent Pastel Portrait Sketch

12" x 9" Pastel on Coated Paper
Running a little bit late posting on this blog! Here's a pastel portrait sketch I did last month at the portrait session in Pleasant Grove. It started out as a charcoal study, but color found it's way onto the drawing. It was drawn with charcoal, Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastels and conte pastel pencils on Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel paper. Hope you enjoy it!

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rural Road in a High Mountain Valley

24" x 36" Oil on Panel
Here's a painting from a couple weeks ago. I've painted this scene before, but never this big. It was painted on a beautiful early autumn day in Heber Valley. At least, the day began and ended nicely. A strong gusty wind picked up during the afternoon. It became a real struggle to keep the easel from blowing over. The leaves of the willow trees turned over in the wind, dramatically changing how the trees looked. Even painting became difficult as the painting and easel wobbled around unpredictably in the wind. I considered quitting and wiping the panel. In spite of all this I kept on keeping on, using the initial lay-in and memory to paint the way the trees looked before the wind came galumphing through the valley. Later in the day, the wind died down, allowing me to focus more on painting and less on avoiding disaster. The painting was finished a little after sunset.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Drawing Neural Pathways

12" x 16" Charcoal on Paper
This is a drawing of the woman who modeled for us at the most recent portrait session. The sessions last for three hours, broken up into twenty minute segments with five minute breaks in between segments. I never intend for my drawings from these sessions to be "finished" works. Generally, when the timer sounds at the end of the evening's final twenty minutes, I'm done, even if the drawing isn't. Rarely do I work on a drawing after that. One of the main reasons I attend these sessions is to continually improve hand/eye coordination for drawing. Exercising neurons and strengthening neural pathways related to drawing are probably more important at these sessions than coming away with any "finished work of art." Skills developed and refined at drawing sessions (and, of course, at other times) can later be used on your own time and at your own place for drawings and paintings that are intended to be finished works.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Late Summer - Ranch Trees

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
This is a little plein air painting I did around a month ago. I'll probably never tire of painting trees. This stand of trees on a ranch west of Springville has been painted by me before. I'm often drawn back to paint scenes more than once, but they never look the same - that's one of the draws for me. I'm always kind of sorry to see late October storms strip the leaves from trees. Bare trees can be interesting elements in landscape paintings, too, but they don't have that glorious "full" look summer foliage has.

The owner of the ranch stopped to visit with me as I painted. During our conversation he said how this ranch was under water during Utah's flood of 1983. He took some photos of me painting to show to his wife later, then got back to his ranch work.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Edges of Autumn

24" x 36" Oil on Panel
Went out for another big painting a week or two ago. Seven hours or so set up by a dusty road, eating that dust as it was kicked up by passing cars. That's not unusual. At least there weren't too many passing cars. The weather was absolutely wonderful. Clouds stayed close to the horizon while directly overhead the sky was clear, blue, and wide open. Willow trees showed traces of gold around their edges. Some sandhill cranes landed in a meadow off to my right and spent a few hours there before taking flight again, passing directly above me as they left. All in all, a good day to paint!

Monday, September 21, 2015

End of Summer at Mt. Olympus

16" x 20" Oil on Canvas Panel.
This was painted from just outside a golf course in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was set up between the sidewalk and fence near one of the fairways. There were a couple very large trees between where the golfers were teeing off and where I was painting, so even though some golf balls landed fairly close, I was shielded from any direct fire. One golf ball actually ricocheted off one of the trees and bounced across the street into someone's front yard. Happily, my painting, my car, and myself ended the day unharmed by any flying little white dimpled projectiles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Two More from the Portrait Sessions

10" x 14" Charcoal on Gray Paper.
Here's two more charcoal drawings from the Thursday night live portrait sessions in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The first one was done a couple weeks or so ago. It was drawn using my usual method for gray paper; charcoal pencil for the darks and "charcoal white" for the lights. 

9" x 12" Charcoal on Paper
The next drawing is the most recent. It's evidence that when you show up late for a drawing session, you end up doing a profile. That's because the other painters showed up on time and took all the good spots in front of the model, leaving only the side views for the tardy. 

This drawing was made by toning white paper with stick charcoal, then rendering the darks with a charcoal pencil and lifting out the lights with a kneaded eraser. "Charcoal white" was used only in highlights where the eraser couldn't get all of the charcoal out of the paper's grain.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pictures from Spring City 2015

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
The Spring City Plein Air competition was last week. Here are some of my pictures from that event. Shown above is the first painting I did for the show. The view is looking west toward the little town of Wales, in central Utah.

The second photo shows the painting in the pochade box, with the subject of the painting in the background. You can see how the shape of the trees was changed in the painting. I liked where the trees were, but that tree sticking up on the right wasn't going to work in this composition, so it had to go!

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
The first painting I made on the second day didn't turn out, so I scraped and wiped it and reused the panel the next day. In the mean time I was able to complete another painting on the second day. That painting is shown above.

Here's the painting still in the box. The scene is out of view to the left of the photo. The box is turned to avoid bright glare for the sake of the photo.

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
It was very windy on the third day, making plein air painting even more challenging. The panel that was wiped the day before was used for my last painting of the trip, shown above.

Part of my trip was spent camped in a pasture at 7500 feet in the San Pitch Mountains west of Sanpete Valley. The accommodations were spacious, the scenery was great, and the price was right - free! Finding a suitably level spot in the meadow that was free of cow pies took a little hunting, but it worked out fine. A good tent, two stacked self inflating air mattresses, a pillow and a wool blanket, plus a fleece sleeping bag liner, made for a comfortable night's sleep. I was awakened three or four times during the night when small groups of lowing cattle passed the camp. What cows have to moo about at four in the morning, I don't know, but moo they did.

The Spring City plein air competition might be my last one for this year, but I always look forward to more outdoor painting, whether it's with an event or out on my own!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Painting, and an Upcoming Event!

24" x 36" Oil on Panel
As promised, here's the painting mentioned in my last post, finally photographed and uploaded! The unique shapes of trees are things I really like, whether to paint or just enjoy when I'm out for a walk. The trees pictured in this painting are willows.

I'm planning on painting for the next few days in Spring City, Utah, for the annual Spring City plein air painting event! Sanpete Valley is a wonderful place to paint. This event always attracts lots of high-caliber painters from around the region and is always a fun event. I've been attending this one for a few years now. For more information you can click on their logo (shown above), or you can go to:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Painting Big Again, and a New Video.

Most of the paintings I've made this year have been on the small side, mostly 9" x 12"s or 8" x 10"s. A few 12" x 16"s have been as big as I've done all year. Because of that, I was wondering if I should "ease" into making much bigger (24" x 36") paintings this year. But then I thought, "Nah - just do it!" So late last week I did. The photo above shows the 24" x 36" painting on location on the easel. I haven't photographed the painting by itself yet, but as soon as I do it'll be put on this blog.

Last year around this time I was painting large plein air pieces in the same area and was filmed by one of the local residents. The video shows me adding some final touches to the painting pictured at the top of another blog post. He put the video up on a website called "Springcreek Conservation." Here's a link to the video on their site:

Or you can see it on their Vimeo channel here:

If for some reason the links don't work, you can copy and paste those web addresses into your browser. While you're on their channel, check out some of their other videos. They've got some neat stuff there!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

From a Wiped Painting to a Buffalo Sketch

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Saturday I went to a place west of Springville to paint. Halfway through the painting I realized this was one of those few times when the painting was out of control and couldn't be corrected. When this sort of thing happens, the best - indeed the ONLY - thing to do is clean all the paint off of the panel and start over. Discouraged, instead of beginning again I decided to move on.

Wiped Panel
After wiping the painting I drove through Lake Shore - an area of ranches, farms, hay fields and scattered residences. I was on my way to West Mountain but became distracted when I drove past a herd of buffalo.

One of the photos I took of the buffalo herd.
Buffalo? Who put the buffalo here?

I pulled the car over, got the camera out and started snapping photos of buffalo. While doing that, I remembered the little piles of paint still on my palette and the freshly wiped panel from earlier. Why not try to do a study of buffalo in oil paint?

Another one of the buffalo photos.
It's a good thing my pochade setup is so portable. As the buffalo herd roamed around the field they were in, I had to move up and down my side of the fence to keep up with them as I painted. The result is shown at the top of this post. Oil studies of live animals is something I haven't tried before. The sketch was kind of quick, but I'm happy with it. Progress can't be made unless you make a start.

Friday, August 14, 2015

More Purple Hair

14" x 10" Pastel on Gray Paper
Recently a model for the Thursday evening portrait session had lavender colored hair. Too bad I had brought only charcoal to work with that day. Yesterday evening's model also had purplish hair, but this time I had my pastels with me. Charcoal was used for the initial drawing. Faber-Castell Polychromos Pastels were used to lay in the initial color, then Conte pastel pencils were used to finish the sketch. The picture shown above is of my sketch for that evening.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Drawing, Old Charcoal

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
On occasion when visiting relatives I discover small items that once belonged to my Dad, who passed away several years ago. Sometimes my interest in Dad's old possessions is more than just sentimental. I can use them. For instance, a couple years ago in my Mom's basement I found some of Dad's old fishing rods, which he had made. With them were some home-made fishing lures. I asked for them, put new fishing line on the old reels, and with the old tackle have caught myself a few fresh fish meals since then.

Another item I found (or it was given to me, I can't remember which) was this old box of charcoal sticks. Dad dabbled in drawing, and so had some sketchbooks and other assorted drawing supplies; pen and ink, pencils, watercolors, etc. Apparently, this old box of charcoal had never been used and was still in excellent condition.

Inside the box, besides the charcoal sticks, is an advertisement for another of Grumbacher's products, spray fixative. These things probably date back to the 1960's. Some of the attitudes and sensibilities back then were different than they are today, and it's fun to look back into those times.

Among other things the advertisement says the spray fixative is good for are "layouts and comprehensives," also "originals and carbon copies." It doesn't mention the old mimeographs. Those must have been too low end or something.

I enjoy the little graphics used in the advertisement. I even like the "politically incorrect" touch a couple of the images have (even if I do have Scottish ancestry myself).

This old box of charcoal travels with me to drawing sessions. Charcoal pencils are used for most of the drawing I do at the sessions. The charcoal sticks are generally used to quickly and uniformly tone white paper before I lay into it with pencils and kneaded eraser. This combination of charcoal sticks and pencils are what I used at last Thursday's live drawing session to make the drawing shown at the top of this post.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bridal Veil Falls

16" x 12" Oil on Panel
A week or so ago I made a return trip to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. Instead of moving on, this time I set up an easel and made the painting shown above. Like so many places in the canyon, the falls are a favorite destination for sight seers and people out for a little recreation. A painter who sets up and works in such a place can expect a lot of onlookers. I don't mind the attention, and in fact usually enjoy short visits from people as I work. Sometimes people take photos of me as I paint. Here's a couple pics from that day, taken by one of those visitors.


Thanks, Tanner Faragher for the photographs!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lavender Locks

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
Here's a charcoal portrait sketch made last Thursday at a drawing session. The session was at an artist's studio in a town about fifteen miles north of where I live. I took my charcoal drawing supplies with me to this session, but wish I had taken my bigger sketch box with the colors in it. That's because - her hair was purple! Or lavender might be a better way to describe it. I used what I had, that is, charcoal sketching supplies, so - no color. But you can imagine the model in the drawing pictured above with violet hair if you like. or you can imagine her with blonde hair, or auburn hair, or whatever color you can think of. However you imagine it, I enjoyed drawing her, even if it's just in black and white.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Haying Season

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Summer's heat. The sun's rays seem to have real weight this time of year. It's radiance presses down upon everything in it's broad path. Though the morning sky may begin clear, throughout the day hot air builds and gathers clouds into towering shapes of domes and anvils. Clouds can grow to crowd out blue sky, bringing scattered thunderstorms by late afternoon.

In the fields west of town it's haying season. Different fields have hay in various stages of harvest - cut, raked or bailed. The long, converging lines of mown hay greet my eye in a way similar to Japanese zen gardens. Fields of cut hay rows are among my favorite things to paint.

The hay field shown in the picture above was adjacent to a bike path that parallels the river. From the path I walked through a row of trees and set up a pochade box in a scattered patch of milkweed. A few monarch butterflies busied themselves about the milkweed blossoms. The picture at the top of this post shows the painting I made that warm summer's day.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wild Red Raspberries

One of these days I may do an in-depth post about spending time outdoors. And not just outdoors, but in the wild. I don't get out to hike as often as I used to, or like to. So many things clamor for my time these days. But spending time in the wild has so many benefits. Some of those benefits run deep and can be gained no other way. Until that post, here's a short post about one of the little joys of going out into the wild.

Yesterday I took time (wish I didn't feel like I was "taking" something) for a hike in the Wasatch Mountains. Halfway up a canyon a bunch of wild red raspberry bushes grow right by the trail. The raspberries are just reaching the peak of ripeness now. I wondered how many people walk past these little gifts of nature without noticing them. 

Pausing on my hike, I gratefully enjoyed a few handfuls of ripe raspberries, being careful not to take too many. Whether nature is being thoughtful or not in providing these gifts, I'm encouraged to leave plenty for others to enjoy. I won't say just where I found the raspberries. Part of the fun and excitement of exploring the wild is discovering these kinds of things for yourself.

A little cautionary advice: take time to thoroughly research wild edibles beforehand. Make sure what you're eating really are raspberries (or whatever) and are safe to eat. Some things out there aren't. Don't poison yourself!