Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jemez Pasture In Moonlight

This nocturne, Jemez Pasture In Moonlight, 10" x 16", is a plein air piece that was completed in the studio. I set up along the roadside near Jemez Springs, New Mexico. The tall cliff walls of this canyon region reveal a different, but equally impressive subject in moonlight as in sunlight. In this case, drama of late afternoon light and shadow had given way to the magic and mystery of the moonlit night.

Traffic along the road drops off considerably at night, and it was just me, the crickets and the black, indistinct forms (cows) that moved slowly in my direction on the other side of the fence line as the night advanced. The light green foliage of spring on the cottonwood trees as well as the foreground grasses also offered a good bit of reflectivity. As mentioned in the previous post, even with the bright light of a full moon, it is still necessary to render values lighter than they actually appear in the subject. I had to make some adjustments in this regard later back in the studio.

When working with nocturne scenes, forms are reduced to simple shapes more easily than when painting the same subject in daylight. This also serves to simplify the composition as most smaller details disappear into the larger value shapes. With either night or day scenes, it is the few big shapes that are most important in the composition, and night time removes all the extraneous details, making the artist's work easier.

With regard to color, moonlit landscapes tend toward blue, bluish green or purple hues. Objects in the foreground are usually "warmer"  versions of these colors. I've noticed some of the dark (shadow), non-moon reflecting areas tend toward a warmer tone, particularly in the trees. Here I used dark  yellow-brown mixtures and some alizarin crimson and purples. Of course, these are general rules and can change depending on the type of light source (such as artificial light). The variety (particularly analogous hues) and richness of color is one of the most appealing aspects of this painting.

BTW, I did not include any of the curious cows in this painting. That's not to say I didn't want to...

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mooney Rd. Bridge

Here is another painting, 14 x 18, oil, that started out as a plein air piece and was completed in the studio.

I was originally going to paint this bridge as seen from up on the road. But after exploring a bit, I found this vantage point down along the creek. I thought it offered more interest, particularly with the tree silhouetted in front of the partially obscured street light. The reflections in the creek contributed another element of interest and served to direct the eye into the painting.

I arrived early while there was still plenty of light. I had to analyze the relative positions of the primary light source, the street light, and objects in the landscape and make my best guess as to how it would look once it was dark. As it turned out, my guesswork paid off. Setting up early enabled me to start in on the drawing and have more familiarity with the subject before darkness set in. (By the way, once it was dark, I used a lamp to illuminate my palette and canvas panel.)

One of the first things you learn when you are painting landscapes at night is in most instances, you have to render the dark values much lighter. That was the case with this scene. I had originally made the darks way too dark, and even though it was truer to the real life scene, it just wasn't interesting. So, back in the studio, I adjusted the values upward a good bit, but left the darkest darks as they were. It is still a "low key" value overall.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Los Poblanos Moon

Los Poblanos Moon, 9 x 12 oil,  is one of 16 paintings I will have on display for a solo exhibition titled Twilight Skies: Sunsets & Nocturnes June 9 - 30 at Purple Sage Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque. Reception is 5 - 8 p.m. June 9, 2018.

This painting started out as a plein air piece and was later finished in the studio. It was my first attempt at painting on location at night using a new lamp attachment for my easel. Painting at night is different than daytime plein air painting. The environment seems quieter, but that might be a result of the fact that most everything is dark and there is a greater reliance on senses other than the visual. Different critters come out at night I noticed. A spider "parachuted" in from somewhere to establish a presence on my pochade box. I will post some other nocturnes with additional observations about night time painting in future posts. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nocturne oil painting class

Spaces are still available for my nocturne oil painting class at New Mexico Art League. Register at

Friday, November 24, 2017

Warm Air, Cool Rain — SOLD

This 12" x 10" oil is the third of three paintings of mine that is in the 2017 ArtsThrive exhibition at Albuquerque Museum. The exhibition is up through Dec. 3.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Late Morning Thunderstorm

"Late Morning Thunderstorm", oil, 9" x 14" is one of three paintings of mine showing at the Albuquerque Museum's annual ArtsThrive exhibition, which shows through Dec. 3.

Sunset Rain — SOLD

"Sunset Rain" oil, 10" x 16" recently sold during the 2017 ArtsThrive exhibition gala at the Albuquerque Museum.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Distant Rumble — SOLD

This painting is one I did some time ago, but I'm not sure if I ever posted it. The view is of a portion of the Sandia mountain range in Albuquerque during the latter part of the day. It is amazing what a little dramatic light and shadow can do for a subject.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Drifting Cumulus

Cumulus clouds were plentiful on a summer day near Abiquiu, New Mexico, the subject of this 11" x 14" oil.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Green Door — SOLD

The Green Door, 9" x 12", was one of six plein air oil paintings done during the Placitas Garden Tour in May, just north of Albuquerque. The owner of the garden purchased the painting during the exhibition at the Placitas Community Library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Along the Apache Trail

The Apache Trail east of Phoenix is a scenic stretch of mostly dirt road that winds through rugged desert topography connecting Apache Junction with Roosevelt Lake. Abundant wildflower blooms make springtime a particularly enjoyable time to make this drive. This 11" x 14" oil is available for purchase at the Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sonoran Morning

The subject for this oil painting, 14" x 18", is the Sonoran desert in the rugged region of the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The painting is available at Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Near Sycamore Canyon

This 12" x 16" oil painting is of an area just off AZ State HWY 87 between Mesa and Payson, Arizona. This is a favorite drive through the varied terrain of the Sonoran Desert. The play of light and shadow on the eroded hillside is what caught my interest. There are a number of paintable subjects in this immediate area, including the tree-lined Sycamore Creek. The painting is available through Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wild Flower Garden

This oil painting, 30" x 30", will be exhibited in the Biologique show January 17 - February 25 at New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Clouds & Sky class begins January 9

 June Storm, oil 14" x 18"

Spaces are still available for my "Clouds & Sky in the Landscape" oil painting class in Albuquerque. Class meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays beginning January 9 at the New Mexico Art League. Register online at

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunflowers Along the Rio Grande — SOLD

This 6" x 8" oil is one of three paintings of mine that will be exhibited in the Small Works Holiday Show Dec. 3, 2016 - Jan. 7, 2017 at New Mexico Art League, 3409 Juan Tabo NE, Albuquerque, NM. The show will feature works by New Mexico artists working in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and mixed media. Reception is 5 - 7 p.m. Dec. 10. All work is for sale. "Trailside Bloom," posted below, will also be in the show.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Approaching Storm

"Approaching Storm", 11 x 14,  oil. This is among five paintings recently delivered to InArt Santa Fe Gallery.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Trailside Bloom — SOLD

"Trailside Bloom," oil 9"x12", was painted at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve during the Santa Fe Plein Air Festival last week in New Mexico. What appealed to me about this back-lit morning scene, in addition to the rich red blooms, was the transition from vegetation of the wetland in the background to the surrounding high desert vegetation of the foreground. The painting can be seen at the festival exhibition through July 4, 2016 at InArt Santa Fe Gallery in Santa Fe.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Early Evening Light - SOLD

This painting is a 9" x 12" oil studio piece of the foothills area of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque.  It was exhibited in the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History's Miniatures & More Show.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fast Moving Storm — SOLD

"Fast Moving Storm" is a plein air piece done last summer at the Santa Fe Plein Air Festival. The location is near Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico.  Conditions were perfect for several days of painting. This painting was awarded an honorable mention and was sold at InArt Santa Fe Gallery. The gallery is hosting the SFPAF again this year, and I am looking forward to another fun event.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Summer Arroyo

Here is another 10" x 16" oil painting done in the studio. I had been wanting to paint this scene for some time. The arroyo is viewable from NM State HWY 285 near the opera house, outside of Santa Fe, NM. The Sangre de Cristo mountain range is poking up in the distance. Every time I passed by these interesting land shapes, I was reminded that I needed to get around to painting them. Well, here is the finished painting. Now that it is complete, maybe I can put that urge to rest.

Approaching Storm — SOLD

This studio oil painting, 10" x 16",  is fairly minimalist in design with a simple ground plane. I was striving to create a moisture laden atmospheric lighting effect. There is no blue sky evident, but, rather, refracted light consisting of shades of cool and warm grays. Lots o' fun to paint.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nancy's Garden

This plein air painting, 11" x 14", oil, was done at the tail end of the Santa Fe Plein Air Festival in June, 2015. It was too late to enter it in that show, but it has been accepted in the Plein Air Painters 2015 Member's Annual Juried Show, Oct. 2 - 25 Santa Fe Art Collector Gallery, 217 Galisteo St. in Santa Fe.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cloud 9 show

Here is a photo of me and a painting I am working on for my solo exhibition titled "Cloud 9" Sept. 18 - Oct. 18 at InArt Santa Fe Gallery,  219 Delgado St, Santa Fe, NM 87501. The show is a celebration of the Southwest monsoon. Opening reception is 5 - 7 p.m. Sept 18. I look forward to meeting you there!

Solo exhibition celebrates Southwest Monsoon

Hope you can make it to my solo exhibition opening Sept. 18 in Santa Fe. See flyer for details.