Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fracture #4

Charcoal and pastel on paper, approx. 40" x 26"
Private Collection

No new painting today, as I've been framing works for a show (details soon.) Meanwhile I'm occasionally posting works from my checkered past. This drawing dates to about 1985.

This beautiful ceramic piece by my longtime friend Tom Dimond was a treasured part of our collection and I felt terrible when it was accidentally broken. But looking at it shattered on the floor I couldn't help thinking "This is really interesting!" The pot became something of an icon to me--it ended up in many drawings and paintings. In this early one it seemed interesting to turn the broken side away so the pot seemed almost whole again, then lay the pieces out like "evidence." I'll post some of the other variations on it in the future.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rock Jack

Oil on board, 5" x 7"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

Those of you who live in deep soil country may not know what a rock jack is. Here in eastern Oregon much of the hill country has a thin layer of topsoil over a rocky volcanic base. Since it's next to impossible to dig a post hole, fence-building ranchers construct these triangular structures every couple hundred feet and weight them down with (what else) rocks, so they can stretch barbed wire tightly between them. The posts in between the jacks are often floating, not dug into the ground at all, and serve just to keep the wires separated and the fence vertical.

I've always loved the look of these jacks, punctuating the rolling grasslands in single-file processions. They make me think of ancient monuments, or cairns. Their simple forms have an architectural quality, and the piled boulders give them a presence akin to sculpture.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Grazing

Oil on board, 6" x 6"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
Email for purchase

After a winter on baled hay, these cattle are enjoying the new grass...probably the bovine equivalent of a home-cooked meal after months of TV dinners, don't you think?

After a several months hiatus from blogging, Canadian figurative artist Judy McClaren is posting again. She charges every brushtroke with energy and skill--take a look:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fresh Green

Oil on canvas panel, 6" x 6"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
Email for purchase

Spring has sprung! Or at least the beginnings of it. There's nothing like those early greens; later in the summer they gray out more and lose intensity. I drove to Walla Walla on Wednesday. It's only about 70 miles away as the crow flies, but weeks ahead of our valley seasonally. Wheat fields are up and growing strong, the trees are leafed out and flowering, bees are abuzz. Patience--we'll get there.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Untitled (work in progress)
Oil on board, each panel 23" x 23"
Click images to enlarge

These are some of the panels I've been working with in the "Heaven and Earth" series. The bottom photo shows the studio wall with a possible configuration of three panels. It may not end up this way; I might change the arrangement, add or subtract from it or completely repaint--everything is up for grabs at this stage. They also may or may not end up being linked with stone images in some way.

One of the things I like about working with a series of separate panels is the way they interact with one another in a kind of visual narrative. It's not a literal story of course, but as the eye goes from one image to another, the mind sequences them and builds connections that are not unlike storylines in some way. Another thing that intrigues me is the way multiple images can access notions of time and change.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Oil on board, 5" x 7"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

Here's a rock of a different color. I discovered this moss-covered stone at the edge of a Maui streambed. Roots from a large tree had grown around it, holding it in place. The grip seemed almost gentle, like a parent cradling a child in their arms.

And below is a dog of a different color; our Winslow as interpreted by my friend and fellow artist Brian Vegter, dog painter extraordinaire. Bri lives about forty miles from us in Baker City. He came to my studio a couple months ago and laid on the floor taking photos. Now he's come up with this great painting that I think really captures Winslow's character.

Check out Brian's blog: His wife Corrine is a ceramic artist who does these great retro-style clay travel trailers. She has a blog too:

Lion Tamer, by Brian Vegter

Acrylic on canvas, 12" x 12"
Copyright 2010 Brian Vegter

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rising (Heaven and Earth)

Charcoal and acrylic on rag paper, 22" x 54"
$1800 unframed, $2000 framed, plus shipping
Email for purchase

The other day I mentioned how projects begin to take on a life of their own; this series is no exception. A few days after my mother passed away last December, I shot some video of clouds rolling over the top of Craig Mountain. I began some charcoal drawings loosely based on the video. As the cloud drawings developed it seemed in my mind they were linked to the stones. I began experimenting with combinations, and this piece is one of the results. I've taken to calling the series "Heaven and Earth."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Oil on canvas, 79" x 79"
Price on request--email

Travelogue (detail)

Here's the latest painting in the stone series. I've posted other pieces in this series, on April 21st,

It is difficult to get any real feel on the computer screen for the scale and presence of this painting, which is nearly seven feet square. I've included a detail to give a little better sense of the surface. This work is painted over an earlier version, painted in 1994. I kick myself that I didn't photograph the previous state before beginning this revision. I have slides of it, but no ready photos to put on the blog.

The original Travelogue was a somewhat chaotic mix of many images, reflecting the various themes I was interested in at the time. I thought of it (and still think of it) as a kind of compendium of my creative "travels." The title was prophetic, as later that year we moved from Oregon to Arizona.

Some of the earlier imagery still shows through, such as the smiling face and landscape forms at the top and the repeated vessel shapes below. Other forms were buried beneath new layers as I tried to follow the visual logic of the developing painting; in other words: I tried something, and if it didn't work, I tried something else. There is no roadmap for work like this; I keep working until, with luck, the painting begins to tell me who/what it wants to be.

Click images to enlarge.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Alert

Charcoal pencil and ink wash on bristol, 9" x 9 1/2"
$100 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

Projects seem to take on their own life. I started out the other day to do just one drawing of Winslow, here I am on the fourth. I like that about this daily painting project, though--nothing is really pre-determined, I follow the muse around each day. Today she made me glance in my drawing kit, where I noticed a bottle of sumi ink that hadn't been opened in years. The result: a charcoal and ink wash drawing, with Winslow as the handy subject.

Thanks for the help, muse!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Studio Dog

Charcoal and pencil on bristol paper, 10" x 9"
$100 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

Yet another Winslow study, this one a more finished drawing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Winslow Study

Pencil on bristol paper, 8" x 10"
$75 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

Another study of the little rascal.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Backward Glance

Pencil on bristol paper, 10" x 8"
$75 plus $6 shipping in U.S.

A study for a painting I plan to do. Winslow loves the ritual of going to the studio every day, excitedly leaping into the back seat of the truck and throwing his front legs over the backrest, propped up so he can see everything. He zips up the three flights of stairs as if chasing a cat and clatters down the hallway into the main room.

I don't know why the dog is so eager; the hours up there must be awfully boring for him as I get focused on my painting and forget he's even around. But whenever I do "surface" and notice him, he's always watching me, intent on studying what I might do next. I think Winslow's even more interested in me than I am.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

My mural work is included in a beautiful new hardcover book titled Mural Art, vol. 2. Subtitled "Murals on Huge Public Surfaces Around the World,'' the volume is authored by Greek muralist and publisher Kiriakos Iosofidis.

I recently received a complimentary copy (thanks, Kiriakos!) The book is a visual treat, displaying a wide variety of approaches and styles from a diverse group of international artists. It's available at Amazon, among other places.