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.