Archive for oil painting

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

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

Classroom demonstrations

I just finished teaching my “Painting with a Broad Brush” class. Always a lot of fun. My landscape painting class begins in five weeks and anybody can sign up for it by going to the Glendale YMCA for more details.

These are two of the more successful exercises that came from that class. The first is of the little girl. In this exercise, I limited both their brush size and their color pallette. I asked them to bring back photos of portraits from which to paint, and we had to create our paintings using only five colors: Cadmium Red Medium, Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ocher, Burnt Umber, and White. No detail brushes were allowed. I wanted them to break free from focusing on the detail that is inherent with portraits, and to instead look for the larger shape areas, scumbling them in with a wide, flat brush.

The second painting, of the peppers, was a still life project–real peppers were used for this painting. All colors and brushes were allowed in this particular project.

The challenge with this and all paintings worked on in this class is the time frame. It’s only an hour and a half class. For the girl painting, I did take it home to work on it a little bit, but I still limited my total time painting to 3 hours. The peppers, being a still life, had to be finished in the hour and a half.



A Day in Plein Air

Since I will be teaching plein air painting in a few weeks, I realized that I had better get back to the swing of things and start painting on location again. My last paintings have all been studio paintings, where I’ve had the luxury of working from photos, taking my time, and listening to the ball game while I paint.

Painting in the elements is a whole different story. The first hurdle is simply getting there. I packed my French Easel into my backpack, along with some water, Gatorade and powerbars, threw it in the back of my car and headed to Flat Irons Vista, 15 minutes from my house.

The trail is a beautiful one, especially at the beginning. However, I wanted to get some hiking done, so I hiked for about 1.5 miles before I realized that I could no longer see the Flatirons and that the trees were really starting to get thick. I turned around and finally found a location that provided a decent composition.

The second problem is that whatever you forget to bring, once 30 mins in, you will have to do without. I realized that I forgot to grab my camp stool.

The French Easel does not raise up high enough, so I had to find some way to elevate the painting. I found my fattest brush and used it as a shelf. I also brought along a huge tube of burnt umber, which I had thought was white, due to the fact the label had fallen off. Now I had to create this painting with no white! Thankfully, I grabbed ivory at the last minute. This now became my white.

In the elements, bugs fly into the paint, the wind will blow the canvas down into the wet paint, and the heat becomes a factor to contend with. It’s all part of the gig, the fun of the job. After three hours, it started to get real cloudy and look threatening, so I came to a stopping point and packed it up. The result is as you see here, just another day at the office.

This piece will be displayed at our upcoming show on September 10.

New Art: “In His Image”

This piece started as a tribute to an organization called Kimmy’s House. Kimmy’s House focuses on ministering to special needs orphans in India and Haiti.

The need is great. Either because of cultural beliefs or because of lack of resources, the special needs orphans of India and Haiti often times suffer great neglect, and can wind up on the street, unable to help themselves. By partnering with local ministers and pastors in the area, Kimmy’s House is able to help provide funding and resources to give these kids a chance at having a decent life. To learn more about their organization, click here.

We wanted to do something to help their cause, so we created this special tribute piece, in which 50% of the sales from this image would go to their organization.

They were inclined to the idea, so the next step was to create a piece that would speak of their mission statement. Shannon Neel, one of the executives of the organization, mentioned Genesis 1:27, and how she’s really been touched by the meaning of “image of God.” Even broken children, deformed by disability, are still part of that image of God. Letting the thought sink in, I realized how shallow I could be in my own life. We are all attracted to outwardly beauty. Surely, this represents His Image! With spiritual eyes, however, did I begin to see what Shannon was saying. There is an inner beauty that is so precious, that even deformed and mentally challenged humans are considered to be a part of His Image.

Wow. I was moved, but I struggled to find a way to get this message across in pictorial form. Finally, one night, the solution came to me in a dream. I woke up, sketched it out, and began the process of putting it together.

Finally, I really resonate with the struggles of special needs kids. While I have not been disadvantaged like they have, with my two transplants, and multiple hospital stays (all before the age of 16), I have lived a compromise life. Yet in the midst of all this, I am encouraged to know that God considers me to be part of His Image, just like considers each one of you.

Help us as we partner with Kimmy’s House. Purchase this image in either the journal or artist print. You’ll get a great gift and you’ll be giving back at the same time!

<< Purchase this as a blank journal!

<< Purchase this as a lined journal!


<<Purchase this as a signed and matted artist print! 












An Iris of Hope

This painting was created in response to the tornado disasters in Joplin, Missouri, Alabama and all across the South and the Midwest. Pictorially, we wanted to show how hope can grow even in the darkest times. This hope comes not from us or our own strength, but from above. By creating this piece, Painting for Life is saying that we stand with you as you encounter your own personal struggles, knowing that there is a hope that is everlasting.

The word ‘iris’ comes from the Greek word ‘iridium” which means rainbow, an indication of the vast array of species and colors associated with this flower. Usually blooming right as spring turns to summer, the iris has long held the symbolism for hope. Additional meanings include faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, valor and wisdom. The shape of the iris flower was the inspiration behind the French fleur-de-lis.

Will you help partner with Painting for Life and supporting our brothers and sisters in Joplin? For every signed and matted artist print we sell, we will donate $10 and for every card we sell, we’ll donate $1.


Octopus Tree: The story behind the art


Octopus Tree

New Art! The title of this painting is “Octopus Tree,” an affectionate name it has had for many, many years. This is an old tree that sits in Arapahoe National Forest, and its branches tell of its storied past. It is a limber pine (Pinus Flexilis). The limbs are very flexible and springy — perhaps an evolved characteristic to withstand intense high country winds.

Limber pines have 5 needles per bundle. Needles are between 1.5 and 2″ long.  They are a kind of white pine. They are thin-barked. They are considered an important or “keystone” species as corvids (jays and crows), especially the Clark’s nutcracker, and timber rats harvest their seeds and cache them all over the hillside.  Fire is rare at high elevation, but when it comes, most trees will die.  However, due to those seed caches, the limber pines will persist and even expand their territory post fire.

Limber pines are found in the Rockies and in the Great Basin. The oldest known limber pines are around 1700 years old (one in Idaho and one in N.M.). (Thanks to Margaret Ruby for this detailed explanation.)


You can own this 8” x 8” painting, as it will be part of RMCAD’s 4th Annual Art Bash, a silent auction supporting the Foundation’s student scholarship fund.

Online viewing of the Exhibition and bidding on the canvases begins November 23. The final evening of the Exhibition (Saturday, December 5, 2009, 6pm-9pm) is open to the public and will include a wine and cheese reception and a silent auction.

buy-now-buttonOr if you wish to order a print of this painting now, it is available as an 8″ x 8″ signed and numbered limited edition (30) giclee print for the great price of $35. Buy one for yourself or purchase one as a gift.