Friday, December 23, 2016

Woman in a White Fur Hat

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
Yesterday evening was the annual Christmas Party at Casey Child's studio, which was well attended. Last year we got to paint someone dressed as Santa Claus, whose outfit seemed to be mostly polyester beard. This year was better. Our model was a woman with long brown hair. She wore a wintry looking outfit of blue and white with gold accents, and bright silvery bling. 

The picture shown above is of the painting I made of the model yesterday evening. The oil colors I used were cadmium yellow, cadmium red, alizarin crimson permanent, ultramarine blue, ivory black, and titanium white. That's a couple colors more than I usually put out on my palette for a portrait study session, but I wanted to push the colors a little more and get some blue/violet tones in the painting.

I also want to wish everyone a...


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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Silver Hair

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
This portrait sketch is from a portrait session last week. It was fun painting someone who has "Emmylou Harris" colored hair! Oil paints used were yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, and titanium white. I never use a medium except to occasionally thin paint a little with odorless mineral spirits (OMS). One of these days I'll try experimenting with different mediums, but for now, I paint without them.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

One Early December Day

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
Here's a little landscape that was painted last week. It's of a grey, moody day near the lake west of town. Colors used were cadmium yellow, cadmium red, anthraquinone red (in place of alizarin crimson), ultramarine blue, and titanium white. Anthraquinone and ultramarine were mixed together with a touch of yellow to make the darks used in the painting.

I'm not quite used to the colder weather yet and didn't dress warmly enough for the day. I thought I was warm enough when I started out, but as it got later my fingers became cold and stiff. Then the rest of me started getting colder. By the time the painting was finished my hands were too cold to sign it. The signature had to wait until I got back home and warmed up.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Portrait Sketch From Last Thursday

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
It's been way too much time since the last post. Hopefully I'll be able to fit some blog posts in during this busy time of year.

This is a sketch made from life, painted in oils last Thursday. I've gotten into the habit of taking my little willow 6" x 8" pochade box to the portrait sessions. Colors used in this portrait were, as usual, yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, and titanium white.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Two More Portrait Sketches

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
The portrait studies continue. May they always continue. That's how new things are learned and skills are honed. The first picture in this post was painted at the portrait session last Wednesday. 

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
The second picture was painted at last Thursday's portrait session. The colors chosen for these two studies are my usual limited palette when I paint in oils at the portait sessions: yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, and titanium white.

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blonde Braids

8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel
It's been a little while since I've posted anything, so here's an oil sketch painted from life from one of last week's portrait sessions. Colors used were, as usual: yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black, plus titanium white.

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Blondie and Redbeard

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
The opportunity to practice painting from live models is so valuable to me. These two portrait sketches in oil paint are from this week's portrait sessions. The one shown above is from Wednesday evening's session at Howard Lyon's studio.

8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel
This next one was painted yesterday at Casey Childs Studio. Both were painted with a palette of yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black, plus white. One of these days I'll start throwing other colors onto the palette for my portraits, but for now, this simple color combination works. It's a limited palette, but it's not really all that limiting for portrait studies.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Group Show at Evergreen Gallery / October 21st

Tomorrow night, Friday October 21, is a new gallery stroll / artists reception for a new group exhibit at Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery, Inc. There will be lots of new work by lots of painters, including several new paintings I've recently delivered to the gallery! Click here for more information. Here's images of a few of my new paintings at the gallery:



I'll be at Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery, Inc. from around 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM tomorrow night. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Short Hike in a Wasatch Mountain Canyon

Sometimes I simply need to get out into the wild and enjoy the benefits of being in nature. I used to do more long, all day hikes, but these days a busy schedule restricts me to more shorter hikes. Sometimes all I have time for is a walk. The hike these photos are from happened in late September. The canyon is the same one I posted about in May, but this hike didn't go nearly as far. In spite of that, it was a well spent and enjoyable evening.

There had been a lot of rain the day before, with snow in the higher country. The rain continued throughout the night and tapered off in the morning, giving way to a beautiful mild autumn day. Much of the little-used and poorly-maintained trail I used for the hike up the canyon goes through thick brush. That brush held a lot of rain water from the previous day's storms. I tried using my hiking stick to knock water off of the the bushes and overhanging tree branches before passing by, but I still got plenty wet.

Much of the trail passes through thickets of scrub oak, rocky mountain maple, spruce and fir, plus a lot of different kinds of shrubby plants and weeds I don't know the names of. The farther up canyon I went, the thicker it got. Thick brush notwithstanding, The trail provided several spectacular views of the canyon.

Someone put this trail in a long time ago. These days, the trail isn't used very much at all. It's hard to find in the first place, and hasn't been maintained. As one hikes up canyon, the trail becomes increasingly difficult to follow. It eventually fades away completely. At that point I follow a scree slope down to the bottom of the canyon and the main trail. 

It was late in the day by that time, and much of the narrow canyon's steep slopes were in shadow. I paused to enjoy the glow of sunlight on higher peaks and ridges, and the bright red of a few maple trees. 

Daylight was fading fast. One more camera shot looking up canyon before it became too dark for taking pictures, then I headed down the the main trail. The rest of the hike was in the dark, but it's a relatively easy trail that I'm very familiar with.

It was a very nice day for a good hike, thoroughly enjoyed. I really must insist these hikes get scheduled into my busy life more frequently.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pink Hair

7" x 5" Oil on Panel
I don't know if Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, or John Singer Sargent ever got to paint a model whose hair wasn't a natural color. These days, however, those who practice the old craft of oil painting from life have plenty of opportunities for the challenge of painting from models who's hair (or even skin) is an artificial hue. Of course it's irrelevant to the quality of the painting, but it is different, and can throw a little fun into a painting session. The model for yesterday's portrait session had pink hair. An unnatural color, but one I could still approximate with a modified "Zorn" palette of cadmium yellow, cadmium red, ivory black, and white. Such a limited palette works for me at these sessions, but if one day a model shows up with neon green or electric blue locks, I'll have to break out another color or two for the ol' palette!

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Charcoal on Watercolor Paper

Charcoal on Watercolor Paper
When I got to the portrait drawing session last Wednesday, I discovered that none of the different kinds of paper I like to use for charcoal or pastel drawing were in my sketch box. There was some watercolor paper, though, even though I don't really do watercolor and had no watercolors with me. So I did charcoal on watercolor paper. The picture above shows the result.

This evening's portrait session starts in just a couple hours or so. I think I'll go check my sketch box and restock it now.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mount Olympus, Early Autumn

11" x 14" Oil on Panel
Mount Olympus, as viewed from Olympus Hills Park. Painted from right field in the south side softball field. Nobody was playing ball so I painted en plein air. I've wanted to paint that mountain when the trees turn bright red. Technically it's still Summer, I suppose, but Autumn colors are really coming on strong now in the mountains, on the downhill side of September.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Girl with Ponytail, Also a New Show Opens Tonight!

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
A little break from landscape paintings this week. This is a charcoal sketch of a woman who modeled at Howard Lyon's studio last Wednesday. It would have been good to get out the paints and do an oil sketch of her, but after a day full of driving halfway across the state and running errands (including delivering new paintings to a gallery and buying new picture frames), by the time I got to the portrait session I had only enough energy for a simple charcoal sketch. Of course, that's much better than not doing anything at all, and I'm glad I made it there.

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

Also, there is a new art exhibit opening tonight! Logan Fine Art Gallery's "Fall Salon" begins tonight and runs through October, I believe. I've had a preview of the show and can tell you there's a lot of really good paintings and other pieces of art in the exhibit. One of my plein air landscapes is in the show. For more information about the gallery, click here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Spring City Wrap Up.

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
On the last day of painting for the Spring City Plein Air event, I was tired and tempted to be satisfied with the three paintings I had completed the previous few days. But there was still time to paint, and it helped my motivation that I had already paid the entry fee for a fourth painting and was loathe to waste that money. Clouds were beginning to boil up as I scouted out a place to paint just a couple miles or so from the gallery. I set up by an alfalfa field edged by some wonderful trees, and with a great view of clouds building over the San Pitch Mountains. It was necessary to lay in the impression of those clouds on the panel quickly, since I knew they weren't going to stay that way. The clouds grew and spread rapidly, overwhelming the blue of the sky and bringing scattered drizzles of rain.The initial lay in and memory allowed me to refine and finish the painting in spite of the variable weather. The picture at the top of this post shows the result of that day's painting.

11" x 14" Oil on Panel
The last post mentioned a third painting I had made for the plein air event. That painting is shown immediately above. The day it was painted was stormy and overcast. Small groups of Canada Geese and some of sandhill cranes flew by during the afternoon. As evening approached the occasional small group of passing geese turned into flocks of forty or fifty. Even though the day was grey, and blustery, and rainy, it was a good day to be out and painting. It had been, in fact, a great week for painting in Sanpete Valley!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Spring City 2016

18" x 24" Oil on Panel
For the last few days I've been painting in Spring City for the plein air competition there. The show opens TONIGHT (Sept. 2) at 7:00 PM and runs through tomorrow afternoon. I've completed three paintings and hope to have another one painted and ready by 4:00 today. The painting shown above is the second one I've painted this week. The first one is here:

11" x 14" Oil on Panel
The third painting I think I'll wait and show show in the next post.

There will be a lot of different painters exhibiting in the show. Sales are usually pretty lively, so if you want a plein air painting to add to your collection (or to start one), come early! If you just like to peruse and enjoy the artwork, come visit and say hi.The show is free. For more information check out Spring City Arts website:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 29, 2016


12" x 16" Oil on Panel
The turnoff to Wallsburg is usually just a place I pass on the way to Midway. Last week, however, I took that turn. Wallsburg is a rural town tucked into a beautiful little valley full of great places to paint. At least, that's my point of view. The picture shown above is of the first painting of mine to come out of that valley. I think there will be more.

The Spring City Plein Air Competition is this week. More about that in my next post!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Edge of the Trees

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
There will always be good things to paint. I'm drawn to places out in the country and into wild places, as I have been all my life. It's not that I can't paint urban areas, that's just not what draws my interest. Even in heavily developed areas, however, one can find little patches of nature to paint. 

It seems like this entire valley is being developed. From the base of the Wasatch Mountains to the edge of Utah Lake; from Point of the Mountain to Santaquin. More neighborhoods are going in. More big buildings are going up. I realize there's a need for much of this, but there's less of the close by open space and stands of trees that I like to paint. 

There's a little pocket of Springville between I-15 and the lake where I've painted many times. It's a favorite place of mine. Ranch land there is slowly being squeezed out by businesses. A stand of big willow trees I've painted before and wanted to paint again has been knocked down and piled in a giant heap. There's still lots to paint in that area, but I feel like I'm in a race with the bulldozers. 

Hopefully I can keep ahead of the bulldozers for a while. There's still lots of good places to paint in that westernmost part of Springville; places like the one depicted in the painting shown above. While it's still there, I'll keep painting there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shade Tree

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
There's a place on the otherwise treeless bench trail where a tree provides welcome shade in the summertime. For anyone venturing onto the trail during the afternoon hours, that shade is sweet relief indeed from the searing pressure of the sun's rays. 

The irony is, to paint that shade I had to stand out in the sun, and in front of an outcrop of pale rock that reflected the sun's intensity. During the course of the painting I emptied every water bottle from my day pack and still ended the session thirsty! 

But then, hot sun notwithstanding, it was good to be out painting.

A passerby stopped briefly to visit and take a picture of my painting. Later that evening he sent a copy of his photo to me.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Dahlberg
Thanks Bryan!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mostly Cloudy, with Scattered Rain

6" x 8" Oil on Panel
Went out painting in variable weather conditions recently. Some sun, a little rain, mostly clouds. Also hot. Passing storms, with their dark clouds and curtains of rain, changed the appearance of the landscape dramatically while I painted. It was important to establish a plan for the painting and remember to stick with it in spite of the constantly changing weather. 

West of Springville, between the interstate and the lake, there's a lot of good places to paint. That's where I found these hay bales stacked neatly beneath a row of tall cottonwoods. Mountains visible through the trees contributed to a color combination of blue, green and gold.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One From Last Week

16" x 20" Oil on Panel
Found this nice secluded spot in a neighborhood on the east side of Salt Lake Valley last week. The sound of traffic could still be heard, but the place had the appearance of being out in the wild, in the middle of nowhere. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Partly Sunny

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
It was a great day to go painting, in spite of the threat of storms and my own, well, inertia. Most of the afternoon had passed when I drove out to find a place to paint. It took a bit of exploring to find a spot convincing enough to get me stop and set up a pochade box. Storms moved in over the mountains behind me, but stayed out of the valley where I was. Forecasted strong winds others had warned me about never became a problem, either. I painted until after sunset. Most of the storms had cleared by then. That was when soothing milder temperatures settled in, replacing the heat of the afternoon. Then the underside of clouds reflected a brilliant red from a sun already below the horizon, and a big full moon rose over the Wasatch Mountains. It was a great day to go painting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Painting on Decker Road

11" x 14" Oil on Panel
When I did this painting for Midway's plein air competition this year, I took some in-process photographs of it. These photos not only show some of my painting process, but also give an idea of some of the challenges of painting outdoors. You can click on any of the pictures to see a larger image.

At the Trailhead
The day of the painting, skies were partly cloudy. I parked at the gated trailhead in the Wasatch Back and proceeded to walk down the trail to a spot I knew of from previous hikes.

Headed Down the Trail
Some of the Wildflowers Along the Way
Upon arriving at the place I wanted to paint, a mile or so down the trail, I set up an easel with an 11" x 14" panel on it. That's when I discovered I had forgotten paints and brushes! There was nothing to do but march a mile back up the trail to the car and return to the easel with the previously forgotten items.

Headed Back Down the Trail
Might As Well Enjoy More of the Wildflowers
My Set Up
Finally I could get to painting! With everything needed at hand this time, I laid out the colors on my palette and mixed up the dark purple I like to use in place of black. I use a "split primary" palette, and add a cool green. You can read more about the paints and palette I use here

The panel is toned with a thinned film of the dark purple mix, then wiped. Before that layer can dry, the painting is sketched onto the panel with a brush, and general areas are painted in with the approximate color and value I want. The darks are placed first, then I work progressively towards the lights, generally - but not always - from front to back. Once that is done, I begin to refine the painting, working from back to front.

In the next photo, you can see that the sky and the mountains have been developed further. You can also see something else. Tiny dark specks. This was the beginning of ...

The flies and gnats were pretty bad that day. The flies were big enough that when they landed on the painting or palette, they usually stuck only momentarily before freeing themselves from the gooey colors. The gnats, however, stuck to the painting like iron filings to a magnet. I was beginning to worry I would have another experience like one I wrote about in one of my earliest blog posts. The little winged pestilences affected my painting rhythm, too. My rhythm was like: paint, paint swat swat swat, paint, paint swat swat swat, This went on for most of the painting. One big horse fly was particularly bothersome. Surprisingly, none of the flies bit me, but the gnats did. Plenty.

The next photo shows how the foliage on the trees was built up. You can also see more gnats stuck to the painting.

In the next photo, the foreground begins to be developed. I've also removed most of the gnats and repaired the damage. That was done two or three times during the course of this painting. 

At this point, the weather had gone from partly cloudy to completely overcast. That caused a shadow across the top of the painting from the easel. There was no way to avoid the shadow, so it shows up in most of the remaining photographs. Hopefully, the shadow won't hinder your ability to see the painting process.

The foreground and other areas continue to be developed, as seen in the next picture. The painting is almost finished. Also, more gnats have stuck themselves all over the painting.

The wind began to increase. I braced the easel to keep it from blowing over. The painting was finished, the final gnats removed (well, most of them), and their damage undone. The painting and equipment was packed up for the hike back. The sky grew darker and the wind increased dramatically. I was sandblasted by blowing dust as I walked back up the trail to the car, but the painting made it home safe and sound. The last photo shows the painting after it had been photographed a day or two later in good lighting, and a gnat-free environment. The painting sold that Saturday at the show.

Decker Road, 11" x 14" Oil on Panel