Friday, October 14, 2011

Taos Chamisa — SOLD

This oil, done mostly in plein air, was painted during the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Annual Show at the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. I was among a group of members who painted directly behind the museum. The light was bright in the high elevation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Penasco Valley

The Penasco River is really a creek to those of us who grew up in the eastern U.S. The lushness seen in this part of the state — near Cloudcroft — is the exception to the mostly dry and barren landscape that surrounds this high country island of green. The region has been experiencing severe drought, and fires have consumed vast areas of timber around NM this summer. It was a real treat to paint in the cool, refreshing outdoors for three days in July — and a welcome change to the hotter temps of Albuquerque. Most of this painting was done on location, with a few revisions done later in the studio. I had to tone down the greens. Even though the place was extremely green, it just doesn't translate well to paint it as intense as it looks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cooper Ranch

This 12" x 9" oil was painted during Plein Air Painters of New Mexico paintout July 30 in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. It was painted on the ranch of fellow member Punk Cooper in nearby Mayhill. I added some finishing touches back in the studio.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Botanic Garden Sunday

It was a hot and humid day...

I painted this flower garden at the Albuquerque Bio Park Botanic Garden yesterday. The onset of the monsoon has made the humidity climb (We're still waiting for the first big rain event at our place) and I was dripping wet standing in the still air and sunshine. My original intent was to do this subject as a practice piece, and not intended as a finished work. It appears to stand on its own as a finished piece.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hondo Valley Farm

This plein air painting was done during a paintout in Lincoln County, New Mexico. It was quite a contrast from the farmland I painted in Sonoma County, California just the week before. New Mexico is in the midst of a drought. I was told that as of the beginning of June, Lincoln County had received no measurable rain since last year. What attracted me to this subject was the perspective created by furrows in the field and the telephone poles. This, along with the strong value contrast between the light roof against the dark trees made the house the center of interest.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sobre Vista Vineyard

This plein air painting was done along a quiet road, beside a vineyard in Sonoma County. It was an eventful day in beautiful surroundings. The first "adventure" happened when a sudden gust of wind knocked over my easel, sending my painting, face down, into a pile of organic debris. It was my official initiation into the brotherhood of plein air painters. Since it was my first accident, I wasn't sure if I could save the painting. I spent about 20 minutes excising bits of pine bark and compost from the wet paint, and, lo, I was able to salvage the painting. I guess I should feel fortunate it happened in a place like Sonoma rather than in New Mexico, where the painting might have landed in a cow pie.

I made the acquaintance of a friendly woman, Nan, who lived in a small house across the road from where I was painting. She was very generous in sharing refreshments and interesting conversation. She offered to show me some places close by that were potential painting spots. That was the second adventure. It was a pleasant walk through woods and tall grass, complete with ... a rattlesnake! First we saw a small snake that had the appearance of a viper, but without a rattle (perhaps an immature rattler?). A moment later, Nan spotted a large rattlesnake slithering in the tall grass in the trail. Of all the years I have lived and hiked in the Southwest, this was only the third rattlesnake I had ever seen, and it was, by far, the largest! Who would've ever thunk there would be rattlesnakes just north of San Francisco? I learned that they are, in fact, pretty common to that area, and that they are at least one reason why the grass is cut low in the vineyards (note the areas of dirt in the painting).

Getting back to the painting, what attracted me to this scene was the pattern created by the rows of grapes along the changing contours of the land, punctuated by tall coniferous trees and the blue of distant trees.

Oh, one more thing: While I was painting, I could hear the rattle of machinery and the voices of laborers who were singing — the sound echoing through the trees from afar.

These are memories and impressions left from a trip to a wonderful place.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vadasz Barn

This is an oil painting I did during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival May 18-23. The misty atmosphere and the geography of this wine country, just north of San Francisco, were quite different from what I was used to painting in the desert southwest. My intention with this painting was to convey a sense of the character of this rural country side, with its rolling, grass covered hills, ubitquitous oak trees and hazy late afternoon light.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rio Ruidoso

Rio Ruidoso flows through the Hondo Valley in Lincoln County, New Mexico. The plein air painting was done during a recent outing with artists from Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. Some finishing touches were done back in the studio later. I had just gotten back from a week of painting at the Sonoma Plein Air Festival in California. I will post paintings from that event soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tangled Sycamore

Here's a little colored pencil drawing I made recently. It is based on what I saw while hiking along a dry riverbed near Sedona. Even in a piece this small (4" x 6"), the laying down of multiple layers is very time consuming. This might explain why I haven't done many colored pencil drawings in recent years. Or, it might have something to do with the time I spent an entire day carefully laying down the initial layer of a large drawing, just to have the paper destroyed by my cat. Talk about a day totally wasted! It didn't deter me, however, and I started a new drawing the next day. (I've included a photo of the completed drawing titled "Entities," 30 inches wide) Either way, patience is a major ingredient of drawing with colored pencils.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quiet Rain — SOLD

In this miniature oil, my goal was to create a rainy day atmosphere with light from the sun breaking through the clouds. The painting was awarded a 2nd place ribbon in the miniatures oil division of the Masterworks of New Mexico 2011 show, which runs through April 29.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Three Kinds of Light

I really enjoy the interplay of light — natural and man made — at dusk, with ground objects silhouetted against the sky. Street lights often make the background sky look greener and more intense. This miniature oil is on display at the Masterworks of New Mexico exhibit in Albuquerque through April 29, 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

White Tree

This is a miniature I created in celebration of spring. It is not of a particular tree or place.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sandstone Cliffs — SOLD

This plein air painting was done today from the parking lot at La Ventana Arch, along Highway 117 in New Mexico. The region has some very interesting and varied geology. Dinosaurs once roamed the area. Nowadays, it's cows. One artist, who was painting within eyeshot, had to shoo away some bovine intruders that were getting a little too close. Most of the subject is in shadow, with just a couple small areas of sunlight illuminating the upper cliffs. The reflected light in the sandstone cliffs and the snow in shadow are what caught my interest.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Embudito Snow — SOLD

January 1 was cold in Albuquerque. The air temperature was 21 degrees when I did this painting in the Sandia Mountain foothills. However, the still air and solar heat made it tolerable. The biggest problem I encountered was trying to manipulate the brush wearing gloves. It is amazing how much your ability to move paint is compromised under such circumstances. So, I reworked the painting back in the studio to bring it to a level of respectability. This was the first time I had painted in low temperatures and I wondered if I would encounter problems with paint viscosity or other temperature-related handling problems. None occurred.