Sunday, November 27, 2016

Challenge Complete

12 Paintings in 24 Hours. Here are the 12 paintings I painted yesterday. I started at 6:30 am, Saturday and finished around 1:30 am, Sunday. All were completed in Scott County, Mn in less than 24 hours. They are all Casein on paper. 
7:05 am Murphy Lake
7:53 am Frosted Sunrise
9:33 am Green House
11:33 am Edge of Wetland
12:09 pm White Barn
2:06 pm Depot
4:14 pm Bargain Betty
5:08 pm Sunset on Hills
6:51 pm Store Front
8:41 pm St John The Baptist
10:20 pm Late Shopping
11:38 pm Factory Steam

Friday, November 25, 2016

12 Paintings in 24 Hours

Tomorrow, Saturday November 26, I will be doing a 24 hour painting challenge.
At 7 am I will start a 24 hour plain air painting session where my goal is to paint 12 paintings. I will be staying in Scott County and try to paint in the cities of Prior Lake, Savage, New Prague, Jordan and Shakopee. 

I don't have a schedule of the places I will be at, Im' hoping to work my way from town to town stopping at places that catch my eye. I might chose a spot hoping to be able to paint two views. That may be hard though. I have several places in mind but won't limit myself to them. With travel time and setup I will have to paint quickly to complete the challenge. One painting on average every 2 hours is a bit ambitious. I think my best day out painting on the North shore was 6 paintings in a day, but that was in oil and for an easel. I plan on painting in casein and mostly from my car.. I'll stay in my car since the weather is not ideal for painting with a water based paint like casein. As the temp approaches 32° the paint will stiffen up and could freeze.
As the sun sets I will need to find places that are interesting and pretty well lit. I am thinking factories, grain elevators and shopping areas might give me the best options.

I love to paint so I am excited for this challenge but worry as the day ends I will get a little burt out and be quite tired. That will either decrease the quality of the paintings or force me to be more direct with my brush strokes and prevent me from over working a painting. I hope it will be the latter. With some luck I can gat a little ahead on the painting count during the day so I can be a little more relaxed for the evening. Not too relaxed, though, I don't want too fall asleep.

On Facebook I will be posting photos as I go of paintings and possibly locations all through the challenge.

Also check back here for photos of all the paintings after I am done. Thanks

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Studio Open House Painting Preview

Over the past several years i have been working on large studio paintings based on my plain air work.  December 2, 5pm to 8pm and December 3 10 am to 4pm I will be having a Studio Open House. It is a great opportunity to purchase view and purchase some of my latest work. These paintings are of places that made an impression on me. Some are places I have visited many times while others were once in a lifetime locations. While they were based on plain air paintings I adjusted the compositions to best convey the feelings I had when I painted them. Below are several of these paintings.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quick Night Painting

I had an hour to kill while my son had basketball. Instead of making two trips I waited at the school and painted a quick painting. I really enjoy night painting. It adds another level of challenge to plein air painting. I painted this one in my car so I had some light from the interior lights. That helped greatly because usually I try to set up under a street light or lighted sign which have really bad color temperature and make the paints on my palette look off. That makes painting at night an exercise in painting warm and cool. Since I can't trust the colors I see on my palette or painting I paint cool areas with cool colors and warm areas with warm colors. Night paintings tend to be very high in contrast so it is important to get the values correct. I am happy with how this came out. I think I got an accurate representation of the street light lit corner. The subject is a little simple and the placement of the stop sign in the center aren't ideal but I am happy with my effort.

Corner Nocturne, Casein

St. Croix State Park

I might be biased but I think Minnesota has one of the best State Park systems in the country. This last weekend I went camping with my father-in-law and brother-in-law and a bunch of kids. We try to make it out a couple times a year and we typically camp at a state park. Having been to most of the parks in southern and eastern Minnesota I had never been to St. Croix. It was somewhat by accident we ended up there. I had wanted to go to Banning but it filled up before I had a chance to book a site. So we headed to St. Croix, which is just a little west and south of Banning. It must be one of the largest parks in the system. We drove over five miles into the park to just get to the campground and from there toy can drive over ten miles to the fire tower or lookout points on the St. Croix and Kettle Rivers. St. Croix State Park is home to many WPA built structures including: shower facilities, lodges, water towers and ranger stations all built with logs and stones. This painting is of one of those structures.

St. Croix WPA Building, Casein, 9"x12"

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Montgomery and Lonsdale

This morning I was fortunate to have a little time to enjoy the beautiful day painting. I again headed south to familiar areas. Montgomery, the "Kolacky Capital" was my first stop. I have painted here before but it has been a little while. I love the old buildings that line the main street. It has a timeless look. Accept for the car this painting could have been painted fifty or sixty years ago. I painted in the car because I left my tripod in the studio, which was fine, but I forgot that with the car I was in the lights stay on if the keys are in the ignition. So when I was done, a couple of hours later, the battery was dead. With the help of a nice elderly woman I contacted Dave's Cafe and Garage and got back on my way.
Ash Av., 9"x12", Casein
Next stop was in Lonsdale. Every rural southern Minnesota town seems to have a grain elevator of feed mill that look like these with the grey metal sides. I think they are the architectural equivalent to the 'grout-fit'.
Feed Mill, 8"x10", Casein

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Something a little different

I love the challenge of painting or drawing what I am directly seeing. Usually, for me, that means painting outside.  And if I am painting in the studio it is typically on a larger piece. This is a still life painting I did the other night. It was done in one session like my plain air work and the goals are similar to plain air painting; capturing the light, creating a sense of depth and telling a little story. I don't paint still lifes that often, but except for the being outdoors, I enjoy them just the same.

I really didn't put much thought in the selection of the items beyond liking the variations in value of the objects and the similarity of their color intensity. Meaning I had one dark object: the vase, one medium value object: the book, and one light object: the skull and all were near monochromatic in color. Typically I would put more thought into the relationship of the objects to tell a little story but this time I liked how they looked together and was mostly concerned with capturing a likeness for practice.

Incase you are interested the book is Gone With The Wind, the skull is a raccoon skull and the vase was given to me by a former employee.

Untitled, Oil on Linen, 12"x13.5"

Monday, August 29, 2016

Spring on Superior

This another large studio painting I painted from a plain air study. A couple of years ago I was up on the north shore in early spring. The weather was unseasonably warm after a long cold winter where much of Lake Superior was frozen over. The snow and ice was melting quickly but not before I got this great view of the lake ice. I was standing on the north bank of the Stewart River looking south west. On the south bank and across Hwy 61 from where I was is the very famous Betty's Pies. I did not stop after I was done painting but I was tempted.

Oil, 40"w x 30"h
 This painting is available for purchase. Email me if you are interested.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Last night I drove to New Prague, the town I grew up in, to do some painting. The subject I chose; the Chapel at the St. Wenceslaus Cemetery. It is a beautiful octagonal shaped chapel at the center of the old section of the cemetery. It's beautifully simple in design that rests at the highpoint of the cemetery. Some may think it freaky or macabre to be painting a graveyard but this one, when I was growing up, was like my backyard. It actually was directly behind the backyard of the home I grew up in. I, along with my siblings and neighbors would play here. It was a great spot for hide and seek, cowboys and indians or riding our bikes down the road from the chapel. We did though respect that it was a cemetery. We regularly saw the burials and the mourners and Memorial Days were it was lit up with flowers and flags. Though, last night while I was painting it was pretty quiet.

St Wenceslaus Cemetery, Casein
Then I drove north to Jordan, another town I love to paint. The old main street has many historic brick buildings. I set up just after the sun set. The streets of Jordan were almost as quiet as the cemetery.

Jordan Night, Casein

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Painting on My Easel

I thought I would share the progress of a painting I am currently working on in my studio. This is based on a plain air study I did while in the Black Hills of SD this spring. I came upon this spot as I many times do by driving down a forest road. Usually one not on a map, so I don't know where I will come out. Not to get too philosophical but I think it is good to to sometimes go in a direction where you have no idea where it will take you. It's good for painting and equally good for life. I found my favorite place in Minnesota going down a forest road north of Holland in a car that had no business being on such a road.
This road in the Black hills would narrow and then open up as it wound it's was through the hills. I stopped at this spot because I liked the dark mass the trees on the left made in contrast to the brilliantly lit tree on the right. There is nothing better than being in the middle of nowhere and all you see, hear and smell is nature.
These images show my first rough in where I establish the composition and values. The second image is with the rough color added. These stages go quickly. From here I refine and add details. Many times a painting will get put off to the side for I while if I am not sure what I think should be done. Time is a great tool to help an artist gain perspective on a painting. This one, though, I think will be on the easel for a little while longer.
These photos were taken with my iPad so the quality is not great.

Rough in, Oil, 44"x28"

Rough Color

More to come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Studio Work

The last couple of years I have been spending more time in my studio working on larger paintings. These are based on plain air studies. As much as I love getting out in nature painting in plain air, I equally love painting large in the studio. They are usually based on one or two studies. Sometimes I do a plain air study and like the light and color but not the composition or vise versa. I use the studies as seeds for these larger works. This is the first of several posts highlighting some finished studio paintings and some works in progress.

Bruce River Falls, Judge C.R. Magney State Park
Judge Magney State Park, Oil 24"x24"
The falls are the lower falls on the Brule River in the Judge Magney State Park, Mn. The park is known for the Devil's Kettle. It's a natural phenomenon where part of the river falls into a pothole. It is said that no one knows where that water goes. This is the first waterfall you come to when following the trail about a mile up stream. The trail follows the edge of the canyon and is a bit of a challenge when carrying painting gear. The trip there was not so bad but the trip back up hundreds of stairs was tough. The calves were burning. It was one of those perfect days in Northern Minnesota, sunny, temp in the 60s with a slight breeze. The mist from the falls would occasionally drift my way. I could have stayed there all day. Several people were wading in the river and enjoying the sun warmed rocks on the banks. This painting is available if you are interested in purchasing it. Email me and I can give you the details.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Today I had the chance to spend a little time in Welch, Mn and do a couple of paintings. Tubing on the Cannon River is a popular activity on warn summer days like today. The first is of the Welch tubing company bus. It made several trips up river with the tubers. I was able to catch it long enough while it loaded a new group. The second is a beautiful farm in the hills north of Welch. I love the layers of hills in this area. The couple who owned the farm came up and took a picture of me ant the paintings.

Tubing Bus

Welch Farm

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Great Day Out

Last Sunday my daughter Leah and I took the afternoon to do a little painting/urban sketching. We went downtown Minneapolis by the Guthrie and Stone Arch Bridge. It was a perfect afternoon. We sat by the path leading up to the bridge, leaning up against the ruins of an old grain elevator. Not much better than a day of painting with family.
Gold Medal Building, Mpls MN. Casein
Had time for a quick sketch before the meter ran out.

Corner of Chicago and S. 2nd Ave, Ink in sketchbook

Leah's Sketch Mill City Museum
Leah's Painting, Watercolor

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Memorial Day in South Dakota

Over the holiday weekend I took a 4 day trip to Wall SD where I painted in the Badlands National Park. It was a perfect time to paint the park; very little wind and temps in the 70s and 80s. Last time I painted there it was nearly 100° with 25+ mph winds. Rain threatened a few times but not much came out of it. I'm no meteorologist but it seems like storms build over the Black Hills but peter out when they get to the dry grasslands. The storm clouds made from some great skies.

Looking down at a dry river bed in an area called the Yellow Hills.
Drove off the main road onto a dirt road at the east side of the park. Saw several hikers passing below the base of this butte.
Had a park ranger tell me it was illegal to paint in the park without a permit while I was working on this one. I contacted the park when I was back home and they said he was mistaken.

Dozens of swallows would periodically fly out from under the bridge I was standing on while painting this one.

I love the dark contrast of the trees to the pastel formations. The land is so sun bleached they make a  wonderful subject.
This one sums up South Dakota to me; dirt roads, grasslands and distant storms. 
Wanted to squeeze in one more painting before the day's end. This is all about the sliver of light over the distant Black Hills.
I love the layers the landscape creates.
Squeezed in one in the Black Hills before the rain came. Back country road. Had no idea were I was going.
There was a hole in the sky. I stopped to paint it and hoped it would come my way. To the left and the right of me was thunder and lightening.
 Most are still available if you would like to purchase one. Just send me an email.