"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Altitude attitudes

"Aspen Road," 12 x 12 acrylic, palette knives, brushes, gallery-wrapped canvas

getting altitude sickness--the good kind. 

Friends in New Mexico and Colorado are already posting photos of the signature colors of autumn in the high country, beckoning me again.

Though it will be a while before we can drink in the multi-sensory spells of that country, I can still dream, and try again to paint  the glittering,  quaking images of a high altitude beacon.

Almost everyone who knows about the magic of aspen has painted, or tried capturing their spirit, how they demand your attention and wonder, in original ways.

Aspen always catch my attention, even in summer--as you drive up into the mountains, gaining altitude, seeing the white trunks of the aspen always prompts an exclamation, "Aspen!" 

In the autumn, their changing leaves, twinkling in the clear alpine air, take your breath away with yellows, oranges, reds and more, even from a distance. To wander a country lane between an aspen grove is a walk of wonder. And somehow, photos never seem to quite do them justice.

It is difficult trying to come up with an original composition, not an imitation of some other work I've seen, and this is not the first time I've attempted to tell the story of their effect on me and others. But it is the first in acrylics, perhaps the second of my road paintings.

(Soon to be available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Road to Autumn

"Autumn Road," 10 x 10 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

porch thoughts as autumn nears next week--shorter days, cooler temperatures...leaves will soon be changing. The texture of the season looms in color, eagerly awaited after this summer of heat.

Dreams of a favorite season, and today's painting on back porch , in plein air, "Autumn Road," playing with a palette knife to grab the textures, and a few brush strokes. Soon available at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

"Sunset" thoughts

"Sunset," 16 x 20, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, see credit below

hundred years ago, the British Empire, with the most powerful military in the world, and  influence around the world, was nearing its sunset.

Today, it seems the American empire seems to be following history. The most powerful military, yes. Influence around the world? Yes.

But internally, the rampant signs of decay, not just political, but in technology and education and constant war and more are everywhere in America.

Consider China, the new super power of the the rest of the century, in technology and influence.. And it will also pass, as the pressures of population and acceleration of time take toll of "civilizations." 

'Tis not the first, nor the last, for sunsets on the British or Roman, or any other empire, including the United States, tearing itself apart.

Today's painting harks back to when another empire of freedom was in its sunset. That of wide open spaces, of peoples who lived in harmony with their world.. Not a utopia, nor an empire, but of existence, wiped out by  so-called civilization of aliens.

Gloomy thoughts? Perhaps, but also,  inspiration for freedom, for survival. 


Inspired by Harold Von Schmidt woodcut in "Death comes force Archbishop by Willa Cather, 1926.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Where is your cabin?

"Cabin Fever," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
Cabins have a long life in my memories, of people and places and photos and more.

Daydreaming of them all in the summer of heat that sapped my creativity,. I had to return to my roots.

Thus today’s painting, wondering “Where is your cabin?"

Monday, July 25, 2022

Journeys to Creation

"Journeys," 12 x 12 acrylic, gallery-wrapped canvas. Soon at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery

current definition of "God" is "infinity." Eternal present spirit tense. "I am that I am,"--Genesis.

All art has stories, has histories, encounters with spirit, and so it is with this week's painting.

It began this when when a friend and fellow artist  Jim Resnicek in In Your Eye Gallery bought my 5 x 5 acrylic of a spiritual ladder, "Journeys." Here's the original blog post on it, from a year ago--"From Dust to Dust."

While we were talking, about art and ideas, I found this painting in my mind.

It comes from inspiration by my second daily readings, of

Chickasaw elder, Okie  and Episcopal priest Steve Charleston, whose daily meditations a read every day. You should follow him on Facebook for this calming words and insights into the infinity of "Spirit." His book, Ladder to the Light, drawing on New Mexico pueblo religions and cultures, of ladders from inside kivas, speaks to our struggle in this un-spiritual world. 

Two more readings begin my days. They also influenced a part of this painting. First there is the daily calendar of comments  and insights by the Catholic Trappist monk and mystic, Thomas Merton. Though he wrote and died in the 1960s, his imagery and insights seem to fit todays turmoils, evidence again of eternal spirit and present tense. See A Year With Thomas Merton.

The third daily reading is always Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who is in charge of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. His daily email  seems to always fit within the scope of these other two.

So this painting calls to me of our journeys to infinity, step by step, rung by rung up a ladder, across the spectrum of light and life.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Mountain monsoon moods

"Mountain monsoon," 8 x 12 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

How to escape the heat storm  hitting 111 degrees here tomorrow?

Only in my imagination of course. and I think of my favorite New Mexico Mountains, the Truchas peaks, and the blue and gray monsoon thunderheads towering up late in the morning and spreading into the afternoon.

You can see them building in the late morning, from far away, and then they dominate the sky and landscapes, bringing cool shade and weather and rain to the high country, and down into the valleys of the high desert.

So here's today's watercolor, painting the Truchas from memory, combined with thunderheads we saw on trips a few years ago--I'm always taking photos of them--fascinating infinite colors and shapes, changing every moment.

From my paintings this week, you can tell where my mind and heart are, hunkered down with memories, as the heat climbs.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The word "monsoon"

"Monsoon weather," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

love the word "monsoon," especially in the mountains and high deserts of New Mexico and the Southwest.

It means billowing thunderheads, blue-gray and infinite in shapes and power, especially over the mountains. bringing life and relief in July and August.

Today's watercolor tries to approximate that, as I long for rain and clouds and far vistas...water for this parched part of the Great Plains. I will keep trying...watercolor is perfect for these times.

I still have work to capture the beauty of them, more blue, more gray, but as I keep dreaming of rains and a break from the heat, here it is.

Here is the origin of the word, from the online etymology dictionary:

1580s, "alternating trade wind of the Indian Ocean," from Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monçao, from Arabic mawsim "time of year, appropriate season" (for a voyage, pilgrimage, etc.), from wasama "he marked." The Arabic word, picked up by Portuguese sailors in the Indian Ocean, was used for anything that comes round every year (such as a festival), and was extended to the season of the year when the monsoon blows from the southwest (April through October) and the winds were right for voyages to the East Indies. In India, the summer monsoon is much stronger than the winter and was popularly spoken of emphatically as "the monsoon." It also brings heavy rain, hence the meaning "heavy episode of rainfall during the rainy season" (1747). Related: Monsoonal.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Dreaming of Rain

"Dreaming of Rain," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

I dream of rain these days.

Unrelenting heat, and it's not even August yet. Much is still green, but if this "dome: doesn't dissipate (geen wanting to use that word), brown will be the dominate color across the Great Plains.

Can't do much about it, other than pay an air conditioning bill. 

Or, paint some of my dreams, in "water"color, of course, live giving fluid in a hot, arid land.

Today's small effort.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Gathering Storms

"Gathering Storms," 16" x "20 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

seems to rule our lives these days, at home and in the world, as storms gather on all horizons.

The only places where people are smiling, completely out of touch with reality, are in the stupid TV commercials, trying to sell happiness, no matter the product.

Gathering storms--the war in Ukraine, with a real threat of another world war on the horizon. The infuriating proof of the Jan. 6 treasonous riot at the capitol, with another coup threatened. The string of mass shootings, as the NRA ownership of Congress, looms as more disaster at anyplace, anytime. The variant spreading pandemic, and climate change threatening human extinction. 

I find relief and peace from the maelstrom of threats and bad news only in reading the insights of religious mystics, in happy moments with families, in traveling the back roads, and in painting.

Even it takes effort to shake off the gathering storms. But again, I somehow returned to the valiant colors of The Ukraine, in a similar effort to my earlier smaller watercolor, "Storm Over Freedom."

Here it is, after a week of work, dedicated again to the Ukrainians fighting for freedom and survival against the war criminal Russians and their neo-Hitler.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

"When there is no peace"--Ukraine and U.S.A.

"Storm Over Freedom," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. Fabriano cold press paper

"They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying,'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."--Jeremiah 6-14

The colors of Ukraine keep unintentionally cropping up when I paint something these days.

That must be how deep in by subconscious the Russian war crimes against freedom  have me occupied.

Thus came to mind the verse from Jeremiah while I painted, but then it's obviously appropriate for America, this so called Independence Day.

The United States of Afraid, and Anger.

We are more divided that anytime since the Civil War, and there is no civility surviving in this country, in governments, in speech, in media, or in the streets. Right-wing "pro" lifers have rammed their vehicles onto protestors. Right-wing bigots have  threatened and  disrupted a patriotic parade in Texas with a decorated Marine as grand master. Mass shootings and murders are the norm, not the exception. 

What are we "free" from?

Where is the "Peace"? 

Today's painting was supposed to be titled, "Storm a' Coming." Not today, that I think about it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sizzling Solstice.

"Sizzling Solstice," 5 x 7 140 lb watercolor

storm...upper 90s and 100s all week. Saps everything, including motivation. So this was only thing that came to mind. And like everything else today, an effort. Drought in Oklahoma and the West.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Green Leaves of Summer...Calling...


"Calling Me Home," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

Summer sets in...as the heat rises and memories of summers past flood back.

Several songs capture those moods, and for me, one of them is "The Green Leaves of Summer," by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Weber.

That's probably because I first heard it as a teenager as the theme song to the movie, The Alamo. So romantic, especially for a youngster,  a Texas native, reared on the myths and glory of that Texas bastion, even if the battle occurred in a cold springtime.

Now, after reading and aging, I know the John Wayne movie was more myth than reality, and other movies have been more accurate, and less racist. But the song remains, better than the movie, always stirring haunting personal memories, and a memorial for brave men who died.

Thus today's return to watercolor.

"Twas so good to be young then
To be close to the earth
Now the green leaves of summer
Are calling me home."

Monday, June 6, 2022

Sunset and sandstone

"Sunset and Sandstone," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel

the Southwest, where the geology is an open book  on the past, on time, sandstone dominates much of the landscapes.

 Laid down layer by layer as sand in ancient seas, the strata takes multitudes of landforms and colors, up close or on far horizons. The rocks themselves, plus the ever-changing skies and weather captivate me attention, telling uncounted stories.

Today's painting, started last week outside during downtown Edmond's First Thursdays VIBES art event, needed finishing touches to fit the mood of wide-open spaces and dramatic  colors. 

Painted out of memories of New Mexico, it will soon to be framed and available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Desert Drama

"Desert Drama," 5 x 7 acrylic study on canvas panel

drama of far distances and spacious skies of the arid Southwest overwhelms the senses with an infinity of colors and light--and the sense of size. 
To me, rain storms are among the most dramatic, both as a contrast to the arid land and air, and because they dominate the wide open spaces, clouds always changing, always moving, and rain falling transparently across the landscapes.
The Navajo consider torrential rain from thunderstorms male rains and slow moving clouds and gentle rains and mist  female.
I'm captivated by those rains, their shapes and colors. Today's painting, a study for a larger piece, is another of my desert series, also an unintended work in complementary colors.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Seven Blues, for artists

"Blue Tree," 5 x 7 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

color is blue, and I find I use more blue paint than any other. 

And there are so many hues.  I ran across these quotes today, and had to follow Gauguin's advice. So here it is, courtesy all the blues I have,  Ultramarine, Cobalt, Prussian, Phalo, Cerulean, Teal  and Turquoise speaking to me.

 "If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue."

― Paul Gauguin.

"I never get tired of the blue sky."

― Vincent Van Gogh.

"The sky was a midnight-blue, like warm, deep, blue water, and the moon seemed to lie on it like a water-lily, floating forward with an invisible current."

― Willa Cather, 'Sunrise On The Prairie.'

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Adobe and Blues, for OVAC

"Adobe and Blues," acrylic on 12 x 12 gallery wrapped canvas

Every year the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition hosts its 12 x 12 fundraiser  and this is the third year in a row I'm proud to be one of 175 participating artists for the Sept. 16 auction.

Artists offer art measuring no more than 12" x 12"  for bidding, starting at $200 and OVAC gets a percentage to help fund its many activities.

I returned to a favorite subject, the colors of the Southwest, always multi-hued, so here it is, soon to be delivered to OVAC. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Desert inspiration

"Desert Mysteries," 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas panel

“The desert wears… a veil of mystery. Motionless and silent it evokes in us an elusive hint of something unknown, unknowable, about to be revealed. Since the desert does not act, it seems to be waiting — but waiting for what?”

--Ed Abbey

When you grow up in the southwest, a high arid land, the desert, the light, the colors, the wide open spaces, the varied landscapes all become a part of you.

The land of visible time, of rugged geology beckons the mysteries, the stories of creations and creatures, triggering the imagination, the questions, the inspirations.

So it is with me  when I view the prominent volcanic neck, Cabezon, jutting from the land in northwest New Mexico in the usually dry Rio Puerco valley. Spanish for "pig's head," it can only be reached on unpaved roads, though you can see it from many miles away frommany directions. 

Near its base is the decaying adobe ghost town of the same name.I've been there once, long ago, getting almost lost on sandy roads trying to get to Chaco Canyon.

I've tried several times to paint it, without satisfaction; years ago my Dad did an oil of the dusty ghost down that is long lost, but lives in my memory.

It draws me like a magnet still, and I keep a folder of photos on the computer, and scan the subject often. This week I found one I hadn't seem before, and it inspired this week's painting, in my desert series. Credit:  Look Visions in fineartamerica.com. 

I wanted to emphasize the dramatic sale and the mystery and mood. I probably prefer their purplish view, but mine shows the dusty almost sunset view, typical of the arid land. It towers more than 1,000 feet from its base to the top at 7,786 feet, the stark skeleton of a large volcanic field that erupted,  along with Mt. Taylor, more than 1.5 million years ago.

“What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote.” --Ed Abbey

Monday, May 2, 2022

Desert grit

"Desert Dawn," 5 x 7 acrylic on canvas pan

you live in or near the deserts, you know about grit...sand, rock, wind, and people...and landscapes and views. Raw.

Today's little painting, a study for something larger, reflects that grit in the strong palette knife textures. Probably not smooth enough to attract a buyer, but still, part of my desert series.

Navajo Country, with a hogan? Monument Valley? New Mexico, or out of my imagination?  The brilliant colors of the skies, the country, the dramatic landforms, where humans are small and ephemeral, and the world is  textured, like our lives, real. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

When you can see time


"Time Zones," 5 x 7 acrylic on canvas panel

Time--One of the many reasons I love the Southwest.

Out here,  the geology of this aging earth is always visible in dramatic landforms, constantly changing skies, light, colors and weather. 

So many stories laid one on top of the  other like the strata of sedimentary rocks, evidence of deep time. So many unanswered questions, like the mysteries of geologic unconformaties and fossils, gaps in knowledge of millions of years, all in front of our eyes. 

So many lessons of how recent we are, how small we are, how brief our lives. Out here  you can see forever,  into the universe and its daily reminders of time deeper than the rocks, the moon, the sun, the stars.

Thus today's little painting, part of what may be my desert series, with a multi-layered title, especially as another man-made month ends, and man-made time "zones" mean nothing--where you can see time.


Friday, April 29, 2022

When a moon rises

"Desert Moonrise," 5 x 7 acrylic on canvas board

 We're halfway between full moons according to our calendar, though ancients measured time by the phases of the moon.

The full moon influences more than just ocean tides, but those of moods, memories and more.

So here's today's little painting, thinking of time passing.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

"We will survive," Calm before Storm, and Ukraine's colors

"We Will Survive, dedicated to the Ukraine, 24 x 30 acrylic on canvas

My largest painting, "Calm Before the Storm."

While it was in progress I noticed it featured the colors of Ukraine, battling the monstrous Russian invasion. 

So my title has changed, "We will Survive."

As most have on the Great Plains of America, through hardship, drought and violent weather. 

This will be available in two weeks at  my @InYourEyeStudio&Gallery and in time for the @Paseo Arts District  Arts Festival May 28-30.

Dedicated to the real patriots, not with words, but fighting with their lives in Ukraine. Death to tyrants, here and everywhere.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Challenge of Skies and Paint--story

Almost. I've been staring at the blank canvas for a few months now, trying to get the nerve to challenge myself to try something that large. 

"Before the Storm," 24 x 30 acrylic on canvas, palette knives and brushes, 

the weather improved enough to set the 24 by 30 canvas up on the easel on the back porch. I'd recently sold an 11 x 14 of clouds moving across the Great Plains, from a photo I'd taken a few years ago.

I didn't want to try to copy that painting, because that just adds to the stress, and I'm uptight enough. But the idea and the colors seemed appropriate for a large canvas.

The painting is almost done, but like any journalist with time, I've learned its best to sleep on a project before putting the finishing touches on it, making final touch ups (editing). It's taken several days to get to this point. 

Today I tackled the foreground, which always intimidates me the most, and where I have ruined other paintings.  I picked up the brushes, mixed some colors and just started working.

So here it is,  first titled "Angry Skies,"  but now I think "Before the Storm," tells a better story. And here are the stages, the reference photo, and the previous painting.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Morning Thoughts

"Sunrise in the Judean Wilderness," 5 x 7 acrylic on canvas panel

Easter morning thoughts. Silence. Simplicity. Grief. Hope. Judea. Desert. Light not darkness. 

Palette knives.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

White unto Harvest the colors of Ukraine

Behold, the fields are white unto harvest, 12 x 12 acrylic 

“Behold, the fields are white unto harvest,” and then suddenly colors of freedom loving #Ukraine, blues and yellows only just happened. Life to freedom. Death to tyrants and their USA toadies.

Palette knives, on gallery wrapped canvas. Soon available at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District

Art Vibrations

Here's  my display at Prime Time Travel  during downtown Edmond Vibes First Thursdays. Had fun, met lots of people, and finished a little watercolor. So thankful to be inside on such a windy day. 

Next month, May 7, outside on the sidewalk at Citizens Bank!

First wash, display in background

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Ides of April

"Adobe and Blues," 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas panel

month is half over without a single blog post. It's been one zoo after another, with personal, business, art and family obligations. Little time to paint, and no impetus to blog.

But today I finished the second painting of the month, a commission gained during Edmond's first downtown Vibes event the first Thursday.

It had taken me at least three weeks to get ready for the event, buying materials and more to display my art inside Prime Time Travel on Broadway. That blog and photos are coming in next post today.

Because of the weather--wind with a capital W--the crowds were smaller, and I was glad I was inside. But in spite of virtually no sales, I met lots of people, learned a lot, had fun and gained this commission. 

I'll be more than ready for May 5th's session  outside on the sidewalk by Citizens Bank.

In the meantime, I completed this today, home again in my imagination in New Mexico, thinking of adobe and blue skies.

(Note, the sky is more a Georgia O'Keefe sky than here, cerulean blue,  because of the photograph).

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Good Vibe-rations

"Edmond Icon," UCO's Old North in the Snow,  8 x 10 acrylic, gallery wrapped canvas 

Next Thursday, April 7,  I'm excited to be one of 70-plus visual artists and many performing artists  taking part in Edmond Vibes,https://edmondvibes.org/ , the first Thursdays summer arts festival in downtown Edmond, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Come browse and visit--I'm hosted by Prime Time Travel, https://www.primetimetrvl.com/ 18 N. Broadway this month, and they offer refreshments. The program is an event of the Edmond Fines Art Institute. https://edmondfinearts.com/

I will have more than 30 works of art displayed --watercolor, acrylics and oils-- inside their spacious foyer, priced from $35, and I'll be  painting a watercolor landscape that evening too. You can also view some of my unique Christmas cards and view some of my commissions.

That's the reason behind this latest acrylic, just completed and for sale April 7 during Vibes:  "Edmond Icon, " UCO's uco.edu historic Old North in the snow,  8 x 10 on gallery wrapped canvas.  

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Full Moon Rising

"Full Moon Rising," 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas panel

at the moon.

When I need hope for today, for a future, in these dark days of war and hatred, of discrimination and unfairness, of propaganda and politics, of inhumanity and hypocrisy, in  Ukraine or the United States or even Oklahoma, we need hope. When helpless amid war crimes against a country, or hate crimes against races, or political crimes against genders and religions and beliefs and words,  I treasure nature, and especially the moon.

No, it won't make any of those attacks on our humanity go away. But it's one light in the darkness that we need so much...a reminder that we are brief, that you can count on nature, that creation can be beautiful in spite of us. And that is hope.

Today's painting. No matter humanity or its lack of humanity,  the full moon will rise.

Saturday, March 5, 2022


"Magic Forest," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

The world, creation, humanity, burdened down with the "reality" of  technology, science, cultures and "logic" spirals out of control with war, inhumanity, pandemics, with so-called "sapiens" living unintelligently, committing eco-suicide by killing the planet.

Most seem to have forgotten, or lost, or squandered or negated another reality--that of imagination, of the spirit, of magic.

Yet there are still places of magic, of the super-natural, of health and happiness in the crevices of our minds that we never touch or have drugged with everyday existence. You find them in all the arts, in nature itself, if you look, if you imagine.

We desperately need magic more than ever, to rescue us from our depressing "reality" that is not working intelligently for us. 

Amid this latest carnage, I began thinking of physical places that are magic to me, where I am closest to creation and the creator. Only then does creativity take place, from close contact, in my imagination.

A few of those are deep forests, in fact, or in fiction, like Tolkien's Mirkwood,  or Robin Hood's Sherwood, or the Pacific Northwest's rainforests, or ... 

Thus this painting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Remember Home?

"Homestead Memories," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

Where did you grow up? Was there an old family home? 

I was thinking of that this past week as more than a half-million freedom-loving people were being driven from their homes in Ukraine. Their flight for survival means leaving possessions and memories behind as a Russian tyrant invades and commits war crimes. Real patriots are fighting  and dying for real freedom there.

Meanwhile, in America, spoiled, selfish and shallow so-called patriots, in convoys and on street corners and in public meetings are protesting vaccination and mask mandates as violating their cherished inconsequential "freedoms."  It would be laughable if it weren't so stupid and tragic. That tells you all you need to know about what's wrong with America these past very few years. 

This anger has been brewing inside me for longer than the Russian invasion, but the character and courage of the Ukrainian people contrasts so strongly with these people who are wrecking America. They're causing a ruckus over masks and then go home to their air-conditioned  homes. Pathetic.

It's time for Americans to remember what is important, like the old home place. I didn't know it when I started this painting, but it is in response to my emotional reactions to all of this.

Thoughts took me down Oklahoma's back roads, though small towns, seeing the many frame houses, some still occupied, others abandoned, all carrying stories and memories.

Thus the painting, palette knives and brushes. Soon available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery at Paseo Arts District.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Which country is next?

Russian Rape of Ukraine, 5 x 7 watercolor

Eight years ago, March 5, 2014, I did this watercolor after the Russian Hitler invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Now it's the rest of the country. Remind you of someone back in 1939?

Which country is next? This is how WWII started. The rape of Ukraine shows history always repeats itself. Too bad the war criminal Putin hasn't been assassinated. Though his puppet pal tRump would be sad.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

When It's Springtime in the Rockies

"Spring Morning in the Rockies," 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas panel

"When it's springtime in the Rockies

In the Rockies far away...

The flowers with their colors are aflame... ."

                                                   --Gene Autry

Today it is 12 degrees out, sleet, snow. It has been a mild February so far, but I was still dreaming of springtime and travel and mountains and a cabin two days ago when I began a painting with that old song refrain in my head.

Now I'm really dreaming of the Rockies, New Mexico, travel, and a cabin, with the wildflowers blooming in the meadows between the evergreen forests, and lingering snow beckoning on the highest peaks in the distance.

I look at the weather map and see it's warmer in Santa Fe at 7,100 feet and Truchas at 8,000 feet with my favorite mountains, the Sangre de Cristos, the Truchas, covered with snow.

So yes, I have spring fever, and it helped me finish today's painting, palette knives and brushes, and remember Gene Autry's love song.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Snow Moon tonight


"Snow Moon," 5 x 7 watercolor

Snow is forecast. It was 70 degrees today, but a storm is swooping down the Great Plains.

By midnight, we could get rain, ice, hail, snow or tornadoes, or all of the above...it's Oklahoma and spring is still a month off.

But you can count on the stars coming out, and the full moon rises over the horizon----appropriately, named the Snow Moon.

Here's a little watercolor for the occasion, from my dreams and memories, after sitting on the back porch with a chiminea pinon fire.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Great Plains Drama

"Drama on the Llano Estacado" 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas panel

"Paint for yourself," advised a Taos landscape artist in an art magazine I bought yesterday.

The advice came at the right time, as I had started a painting twice and stalled. Sometimes art has to brew or stew, like good coffee or chili, needing more ingredients.

On my computer screen was a photo I'd taken a couple of years before on one of my many trips into and across the Texas Panhandle, heading west. There's always something to see out there on the Great Plains, in the sky, in the wide open spaces, in the weather, in the ever-changing light..

I've tried painting it in watercolor before and been too fussy. But I wanted use it as a reference for what I love to paint, what inspires me...the skies, the open spaces, the old buildings, the stories.

I made a value sketch, still stewing. Then I began mixing paint with a palette knife, experimenting, forgetting, or ignorant of, any rules, having fun.

Today's painting is all palette knife work, except for the two grain elevators and buildings. The sky is mixed with variations of only three colors, plus white--Ultramarine and  cerulean blue, and burnt sienna. The little foreground is yellow ochre, azo yellow, and burnt sienna, plus the blues for shadows

I took the photo driving about 75 on I-40, east of Amarillo with storm clouds rolling in, and abandoned elevators capturing my attention. Obviously I used my artistic license on composition and color.

I've noticed since trying to learn acrylics that most of my work is vertical, compared to most of my horizontal watercolors. I don't know why. This was easy though, to show the immensity of the sky, the open spaces, and the smallness of humans. 

Notes: I'm having trouble with a title that fits the painting I'm happy with, that I painted for myself. The photo darkened that main cloud a little more  than it is. This is also, I just realized, essentially a study in complementary colors, adding to the interest and contrast.It will be available soon at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Summer Dreaming

"Summer Dreams," 5 x 7 watercolor, 300 lb. d'Arches cold press paper

weather can be beautiful, but the cold gets tiring. That's when I start dreaming of lazy summer days, with lots of green, blue skies and feathery clouds, where you're not cooped up inside.

So that's the story behind today's little painting, reverting to watercolor, with memories of being outside in rural life in Oklahoma and Iowa. Composition from a friend's photograph.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Snow Moon Rising

"Snow Moon Rising," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel, palette knives, brushes

storm. Lovely. Quiet. Romantic. Thinking time. Memory maker. Poetry prompt. Art influence.  Prayer prod. 

As long as you're safe and warm inside, that is. The prayers and thoughts for those not as fortunate or who you care for...the hungry, the homeless, the cold, the ill, the lonely, and family and friends far away.

My thoughts also turn to memories of cabins, mountains, friends, special people, the list goes on.

Flakes steadily coming down outside my studio window  today took a while to percolate and inspire before I picked  up a canvas and brushes. I still wasn't sure where it would go, until I started to mix  colors.

Actually, I only mixed one color, Ultramarine blue, along with a touch of black, and lots of titanium white for grays. If it had been watercolor, the paper would have served as white, but I wanted to try acrylics.

I wanted to imply a story for imagination, given the weather, and then I also remembered the color of moonlight  on snow. Most snow is not actually white, so blue and the moon were essential. I also found that the February full moon is appropriately the "Snow Moon."

I've written about, and painting cabins many times,  and that's because they evoke so many memories over the years with family, friends and more. "Where's our cabin?" is an invitation to a journey. Thus today's painting. You imagine the story.

Soon to be framed and available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District