Archive for Stories Behind the Art

Day Three: “Along the Road to Cape Cod, 2”

“Along the Road to Cape Cod 2″ $99 for today only as a part of the 10 day, 10 paintings, cyber week special.

Oil on board. Optional frame as seen in picture. Size of art: 11″ x 14.” Size of framed art: approx. 17″ x 21″ Comes with a certificate of originality.

Being a Colorado native, what amazes me about the East Coast is how much water can be found in the area. On our way to Cape Cod, along the New England coast, we were greeted by several bogs, lakes and eventually the ocean. These dreamy landscapes are not exact locations, but inspired by our drive.

Made to coordinate with “Along the Road to Cape Cod 1”.

“Safe!” New Art by Benjamin Hummel


He’s reaching to steal second. The pitch is low and inside, which most pitches tend to be at this level. The batter was told to swing regardless, to distract the catcher, while the runner on first waits for the sign from his coach… who happens to also be his dad.

“He’s scratching his nose. Does that mean it’s time? I forget what scratching of the nose was supposed to mean,” are the thoughts of number 4, but in the end he decides he can’t sit and think about it, and he takes off. Barely touching the bag and sliding low to avoid the tag, he makes it in safely to second.

The number on the kid’s shirt is 4. This is not accidental. Who can be the first to tell us the significance of the number 4 on his shirt?

“Safe!” Original Colored Pencil on Paper

Landscape to Paint: Colorado’s Hill Country

In today’s edition of New Art!, I’m always impressed with some of the spectacular scenery the state of Colorado has to offer, from the flat Eastern plains to the sharp cliffs of Ouray and Telluride. In the middle of teaching a landscape painting class, I painted this piece as a class demo from a photo we took on one of our Rocky Mountain excursions. If you are ever looking for a landscape to paint, Colorado is a great place to start.

Enter our contest!

This photo was taken from a very specific town in Colorado. Perhaps you may recognize it. The first person to guess the name of the town either here or on our Facebook page will win a box of Colorado Landscapes cards.



“Colorado’s Hill Country” oil on canvas

The Future of Children’s Literature: The Story Behind the Art

This new piece, co-illustrated by both Benjamin Hummel and Cherish Flieder, tackles the question, what role does children’s literature have as we move full steam into the 21st century?

We certainly live in a changing world. Book sales nationwide continue to drop–magazine and newspapers are going out of business left and right. We are in the growing pains of a new, digital revolution, in which everybody can become a contributor. There are pros and cons to this new digital age, but in the end, I believe that kids still want to be entertained, they still want to escape into a world of imagination.

With the new technology changes, we have newer and more innovative ways to distribute great storytelling to kids these days that could never even been dreamed of even fifteen years ago. From smart phones to tablets, kids can enjoy interactive e-books–filled with learning, fun, imagination and animation. As we figure out our way through these cool new changes, we as artists and writers and poets will still be called upon for our creativity and imagination.

We chose Steampunk as a theme for this illustration, to tie in with the juxtaposition between the past and the future. The books in the foreground countryside represent the fact that no matter what happens, paper pages will always be here with us. (Something about not needing batteries, never freezing, and never having to worry about data loss.) The tablets and smart devices in the distance form the booming and approaching city. And the pig? Why the pig? Well… Why not?

So what about you? What are your thoughts about the future of children’s literature? Reply using the form below and let us know!

Pikes Peak with Wild Lavender (or Purple Mountain Majesties)

I am reminded of a few lines from one of our most beloved patriotic songs. “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain…”The song was first written as a poem titled, “”Pikes Peak,”” written in 1895 by Katharine Lee Bates, inspired by a trip she took to Colorado’s own legendary Pike’s Peak. It was published on July 4th. The rugged beauty of the sculpted mountain reflected the rugged individual spirit that typifies so many Americans.

Thus, from this, this painting was created. It serves as an homage to the freedom we have in this country to celebrate life.

“Pikes Peak with Wild Lavender (or Purple Mountain Majesties)” original oil

Right Field: The Story Behind the Art

The phenomenon of little league sports can be pretty humorous at times. Attending many such outings with my younger brothers, there were always two or three (usually my siblings among them), who would find interest in anything other than the game in which they participated. It was easy to spot the casual player compared to the aspiring pro. The casual players would be the ones playing in their jeans.

Also, anybody who has played team sports in school knows the agony of being picked last, whether deserved or not. In baseball, the worst player was usually sent to deep right field, the part of the playing field where, except for the occasional left handed batter, the ball would never go. Often, the loneliness of such an isolation would draw the individual into the more beautiful or simpler parts of life, the cool summer breeze, the butterflies who seemed to float magically in the air, or the busy bee, working hard to provide for the comforts of the hive. Only then would this trance be shattered by the mad shouting of the crowd, several yards away, indicative of the baseball that just careened by the carefree child.

Additional fun facts about this illustration:

  • This is the first piece to make it into the Painting for Life collection and it solidified with finality what I wanted to do with my art.
  • The kid in the picture is my younger brother.
  • Yes, the child in the illustration is a lefty. He started as a right-hander, but the composition worked out much better with him as a left-hander. So I switched it at the last minute.
  • The bumble bee will find its way into my art on frequent occasions. “Hummel” translates to “bumblebee” in German.

The original for this is no longer for sale, but prints can be ordered. Contact us about pricing on a large giclee. Otherwise, we sell an 8″ x 8″ matted version.

“Right Field” artist print


A Dragon Named Trouble

This piece was co-illustrated by Cherish Flieder and Benjamin Hummel according to their acclaimed Been Cherished style. The story is simple. There is a dragon named Trouble who would love to come inside the kingdom. So he makes his appeal to the children guarding the gate. The boy thinks he remembers this dragon being here before, and the last time he was here, he lived up to his namesake, digging up flower gardens, spilling paint on the carpet, getting into the cooking jar, tracking mud throughout on the clean carpet. But this dragon is so enticing and after the children turned him away once, he comes back, this time tempting them by juggling cupcakes! Will the kids succumb to his antics, yet once again?

Cupcakes and dragons. What more can you ask for? Both lend themselves to a great birthday card!

“Dragon Named Trouble” A7 birthday card

After The Cattle Drive: The story behind the art

It’s the end of the 1800s and cattle ranching is a good profession into which a young man can invest his life. This isn’t to say that it’s easy living. For months on end, the elements of outdoor nature pound brutally against him as he tries to make sure not a single head of cattle gets lost. Bathing infrequently in cold creeks, there is no time to shave and hygiene is a thing of the past. He brings with him the clothes on his back, something special to remember his family by and not much else.

Yet, when arriving at their destination, there is nothing a cowboy looks forward to more than buying a new set of clothes and taking a nice, long hot bath. You see, a cowboy usually only purchased new clothes once, after the end of every drive, discarding his old stinky, sweat stained clothes in exchange for a fresh pair.

Hot baths were a luxury—requiring hot water to be heated from a stove or fireplace and then meticulously poured into the tub, over and over, until full. Hot baths was one of the amenities a hotel or an inn could provide its patrons. And it wasn’t just cowboys who took advantage of the muscle relaxing soothing water, it was also gold miners and prospectors, ranchers and herders, farmers and bankers.

Montauk Point Lighthouse original oil painting

Out on the tip of Long Island is a quaint little town called Montauk. Soft, sandy beaches churn up the Atlantic and the vegetation and humidity is thick. Take the road all the way past the town and to the end of the island and you’ll end up in a parking lot, and at Montauk Point, home of the famous Montauk lighthouse.

It was on such an occasion that we found ourselves recently, admiring the beauty of a structure that was commissioned originally by George Washington himself. The lighthouse is filled with rich history and legends, and of course, gift shop merchandise.

There are a number of trails surrounding the lighthouse, some that go to the rocky coast and some that submerge you deep into the lush New England greenery. This painting was created from one of those trails, looking up at the lighthouse. It invites the viewer in, to be a part of the hiking expedition. The sun was bright, but being late spring, there was still a slight chill in the air.

This painting is not that big, only 8″ x 10.” I wanted to create a textural feeling to the canvas, to reiterate the lush feeling of the environment. As with all paintings, I started with a rough under-painting in color. This formed the basis for my light and shadow patterns. On top of that, I was able to go back in and add details, such as leaves, blades of grass and sticks.

Prints of this image will not be made until the original is sold.

This item will be on auction until August 25th, 2012. Starting bid is $100. Email to place your own bid. Highest bidder will win the original oil with a signed certificate of authenticity.

or “Buy Now” for only $250!

Montauk Lighthouse Original Oil

20 Year Liver Transplant Anniversary!

This Thursday! Come and help us celebrate God’s gift of Life! Find our booth at the Denver Liver Life Walk event!

Painting for Life was partially named as a dedication to Benjamin’s renewed life due to his liver transplant, twenty years ago this year. In order to celebrate this event, we will be participating in the Liver Life Walk event, in City Park, Denver, Colorado.


There are three ways to join us in celebration:

  Come and hang out at our tent.


   Sign up to either walk or run the 5K event.


   Sponsor one of our team members.


For those who wish to do either 2 or 3, they can find more information about it by going online to: But hurry! The event is this Thursday!

To learn more about my transplant story, watch this quick video!

And as a part of our special celebration, on June 12, 2012, every item in our store will be 20% off.
Discount code: transplant.