Saturday, October 31, 2020

20 First Dates: November Horizon


November Horizon

November Horizon
12 x 36 inch oil on canvas

Earlier this week, my uncle passed away. His loss got me reminiscing fondly about my childhood in Wisconsin and the positive role that he and my aunt played in my life. In response to this nostalgia, I detoured on my choice of painting to feature for your next date and I decided to process my emotions through my work.

November Horizon is loosely based on my grandparents' farm in the central Wisconsin community of Chilton, where my family shared many wonderful memories together. To my artist's mind, Wisconsin is all about expansive skies, low horizons, and dramatic cloud formations. This moment captures the golden light of a late fall afternoon as winter approaches. I love the richness and broad sweep of this painting. 

Details of November Horizon

Framed view of the painting in a satin black canvas floater.
Framed dimensions of 13.5 x 37.5 inches.

Monday, October 26, 2020

20 First Dates: Study, Bear Bend


Study, Bear Bend

Study, Bear Bend
11 x 14 inch oil on panel

As I near the conclusion of my "20 First Dates" series, it's only fitting that your next date, Study, Bear Bend brought me a moment of unexpected magic. I ventured up to the Great Smoky Mountains to capture the peak fall foliage this past weekend and while painting this piece, three bears wandered into the middle of the scene along the opposite stream bank.

I'm such a city bumpkin that my first thought was, "Oh, for Pete's sakes, whose dog is off-leash?"

It was only after a moment that I realized, "Wait, that's a bear!" And then two more trailed along shortly afterward. It took two-and-a-half years of visiting the park, but I finally had my moment of Bear Zen. I was so excited that I finished my painting session floating on a cloud of giddiness.

My field easel in the Great Smoky Mountains

The painting in progress. There is nothing better than an
outdoor office in the Great Smoky Mountains!


Framed view of Study, Bear Bend
Framed view of Study, Bear Bend


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Celebrating the Beauty in the Everyday

One of my core artistic beliefs is that there is beauty around us, each day, every day. During this difficult year, it's been a little harder to keep this principle in focus. And yet it is more important than ever before.

The Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show recently invited me to do a Facebook Live event for their "5 O'Clock Club." This social media venue helps keep artists in touch with interested patrons during a year when in-person events have not been possible. For my session, I shared a behind-the-scenes look into my Knoxville, Tennessee studio with insights into my materials and process. I hope you enjoy the tour!

Monday, October 19, 2020

20 First Dates: Daybreak Over Sutherland


Daybreak Over Sutherland

Daybreak Over Sutherland, 10 x 25 inch oil on panel

My home city of Knoxville, Tennessee provided the inspiration for Daybreak Over Sutherland. This painting captures the first morning light over Sutherland Avenue, a main city street that runs across downtown near where I live. It was a rare occasion for me to be up early (I'm not a morning person), and the beautiful light in this moment happened to catch my eye.

Y'know, when you're a kid and you declare, "I wanna be an artist when I grow up," it's unlikely that you'll follow that statement with "...and I'm gonna paint gas stations!" But I don't consciously see a service station in this moment. In fact, almost every city subject that I paint is less about the actual "objects" in the composition and more about the placement of shapes and colors. In this instance, I loved the wide stretch of the moment and the play of reds and greens throughout the subject. Oh, and if I have an excuse to feature a gorgeous sky, then that's definitely a winner.


Framed view of Daybreak Over Sutherland


Saturday, October 17, 2020

20 First Dates: Waiting for You

Waiting for You, oil on panel

Waiting for You, 20 x 30 inch oil on panel

They say that patience is a virtue, and the next date in my series of "20 First Dates" offers this quality as well as the rich color and dynamic contrast that I love to explore with nighttime subjects the city. Waiting for You comes from a winter night in midtown Manhattan and it's a meditation on our "socially distanced" times. I understand the necessity of the sacrifices we're all making during this difficult time, yet I'm restless and anxious to get back to gathering with friends, mingling in the city, and venturing out more broadly to new places. The potential stories here are full of possibility, and I had a lot of fun painting this piece because of its vibrance and relevance to our current time. 


 Detail images of Waiting for You


Framed view

Framed view of Waiting for You in a satin black canvas floater frame,
framed dimensions of 21.5 x 31.5 inches.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

20 First Dates: Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza


Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza

Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza

6 x 12 inch oil on panel

A recent twilight sky over a shopping center near our home in Knoxville, Tennessee inspired me with its vivid color. The opportunity to swim in unabashed color like this is just too much fun for me to pass up. I firmly believe that with the right light and the right timing, anything has the potential to make a wonderful painting subject. Even a strip mall.

This painting includes Study in the title because I'll probably delve into this motif again as a larger piece in the future. These initial studies are a practice run for me, where I can try on an idea and just play around without fretting about the pressure of a big commitment of time and materials. As a result, I often derive great satisfaction from these small compositions because they feel more free and loose to me. 


Framed view of Sundown, Knox Plaza

 Framed view of Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza



Saturday, October 10, 2020

20 First Dates: Lyric


Lyric, original oil on canvas

Lyric, 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

I love to explore the pops of color from man-made lights and reflections against the backdrop of a rainy day in the city. I caught this moment along 31st Street in Manhattan, and I was drawn to the patterns of color and texture as framed by the city buildings.

When it comes to my cityscape compositions, for many years I've been fascinated by the down-the-street perspective because it affords a great way to narrow down all of the sensory overload in a place like New York City and just allow me to focus in on one key moment. In Lyric, the pedestrian with the red umbrella, surrounded by other touches of red lights and reflections, captivated me. 


Detail of Lyric
 Detail of Lyric

I like to use the texture of the canvas to add shimmering hints of other colors around the details. 

Framed view of Lyric

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

20 First Dates: Spill and Chill


Spill and Chill
Spill and Chill
8 x 10 inch oil on panel

When I need to regain my emotional footing, I head outdoors, preferably to places out of cell phone range. The sparkling rivers roaring through the Great Smoky Mountains always soothe me. I'm fascinated by the movement and contour of water, and the title of this painting describes the cascading spill of the water, combined with how it helps me to chill out.

Painted en plein air along the Middle Prong River, Spill and Chill is a meditation on crisp stream water and the kaleidoscope of shimmering colors that sing during an early autumn day. Shown here is a "Video Postcard from the Easel" with the painting in progress during an absolutely gorgeous early autumn day. Check out the colors in the river water!

Spill and Chill, framed

Spill and Chill in a bronze frame
Framed dimensions of 13.5 x 15.5 inches

Saturday, October 03, 2020

20 First Dates: Collide


Collide, oil landscape

Collide, 20 x 30 inch oil on panel

This new landscape addition to my "20 First Dates" series of original paintings comes from a summer evening bike ride. When I was a kid, I spent many summer afternoons riding my bike across the family farm-dotted countryside of southern Wisconsin. Because of those fond memories from my childhood, I've always been partial to the quintessential red barn as a subject. And when it's complemented by a dramatic summer sky, it's irresistible to me.

Study, Nexus

Study, Nexus 6 x 8 inch oil on panel
This was the initial study

I first explored this motif as a small study late last year and I decided to revisit it as a larger piece because, well, a subject like this is sort of like comfort food for me. The title is a reference to the way the clouds framed the barn, when the natural elements just magically fell into place.  

Detail of painting

Detail of Collide, 20 x 30 inch oil panel

Framed view of painting

Framed view of Collide,
in a bronze frame with dark gold highlights