Monday, December 21, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka

We're in Florida for Christmas, but I chose this little Hawaiian church for my Christmas card subject this year. Finished a few weeks ago, I painted it with reference from my trip to Kauai last February. It's also in an advent art show right now.
The Waioli Huiia Church, Hanalei, Kauai, oil on canvas, 20" x 20"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sailing the Manitou Passage

Another studio painting, I'm missing those summer plein air days. This is from atop Sleeping Bear dune looking Northwest toward South Maintou island. I did several paintings when I was there and took lots of reference photos. I'd like to try painting there in the winter. Not sure how open the roads are though, or how long I'd last in the cold. I guess I'm really a fair-weather fan of the landscape. Oil, 10" x 20"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For the season

I painted this a few weeks ago for the December cover of The Covenant Companion magazine.

The road to Bethlehem, oil, 14" x 11"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Glen Haven

Another from my summer travels to Michigan. The historic town of Glen Haven sits on Sleeping Bear Bay on the north side of the dune. Once there was a large pier at this spot where lumber ships and travelers arrived from Chicago a hundred years ago. The small town has a few restored buildings and is now part of the National Parks. Next summer I'll return to paint some of those.

Oil, 10" x12"

Monday, November 9, 2009


I painted this for the bulletin cover of the Winnetka Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Bushels of squash at our local farmer's market. I don't like squash but I liked the colors.
Harvest, oil 8" x 10"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Vogue too

A few months ago I did a plein air painting of the Vogue Theatre in Manistee MI. Closed for several years, it's a local landmark in need of renovation. I just finished this studio version which is headed to River Street Gallery. It will also be available as a giclee print.
Yellow car at the Vogue, oil, 16 x 12

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Picking raspberries

Finally finished the commission I've been working on. It was not an easy task working from four or five-year-old snapshots. I made the composition from three different photos of the girls on their grandparents farm.
Picking raspberries, oil, 28" x 48"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Picking Raspberries

I've been working on a large commission off and on this summer. It's sometimes hard to keep the energy and drive going on a large piece when you have to keep starting and stopping to do something else. Here are a couple of close-ups of areas I'm about finished with. I have to get it done soon both for the client and my own sanity.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homegrown tomatoes

Despite a less than spectacular summer, we had a bumper crop of backyard tomatoes. They weren't the most flavorful. Maybe they needed more fertilizer and sunshine. Good subjects though.
Tomatoes on the sill, oil 6" x 8"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sketching at the farm

With such nice summer-like weather, I headed over to our local farm for some morning sketching. Just trying to get some practice in and not worrying about making a piece of "fine art."

You don't think about how fast an animal walks while grazing until you're trying to paint it. You have to put the paint down quick.

These are both oil on 6" x 8" canvas panels.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pyramid Point

Another great spot I discovered in N.W. Michigan, just north of Glen Arbor is Pyramid Point. Not having been there before, I didn't know exactly what it was like so I didn't carry all my painting stuff on the three-quarter mile hike in the heat of the afternoon. But I took a bunch of pictures and did this at home. Next time I will get there early in the morning, easel and brushes in-hand.

The View, oil, 14" x 20"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leland Harbor

Back in the studio working from reference from my recent trip. This is the ferry that takes people to the Manitou Islands from Leland. There are no facilities on the two islands--part of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore--so you visit for a few hours or you camp. I'd like to do that sometime with my painting gear for a few days.
The Manitou Isle, oil, 11" x 16"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Empire Bluffs

Painting daily makes a difference. I wasn't happy with every one of the pieces I did on my trip last week to Michigan. But I felt progressively better about each one as I painted. This is the last one I did. Looking North toward the Empire Bluffs and South Manitou Island.
Empire Bluffs morning, Oil, 6" x 8"

Monday, August 10, 2009

South Manitou

One of the things I love about painting on Maui is the views of the other islands, calling from the distance to be visited. I found the same this past week in Northwest Michigan. The views from Sleeping Bear Dunes are of North and South Manitou islands. Once logged and farmed, they are now uninhabited parts of the National Lakeshore. Someday I'll get over to them to paint, but for now, I'm happy to be a distant admirer.

South Manitou from Sleeping Bear, oil, 10" x 12"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More sand in my shoes

I just got back from three days of painting in Northwest Michigan, in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 450 foot high dunes with commanding views of the coast and the Manitou Islands. This painting was done atop the highest dune. Though discouraged by the park personnel, people run down this very steep dune and then climb back up on all fours. With the sand sliding under your feet, it's easily a heart-pounding, hour workout.

I stayed at the great, little, retro Honor Motel, in the town of Honor with easy access to the park and wi-fi too!

More to come.

South from Sleeping Bear, oil 12" x 9"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Michigan Dunes

A lot of the plein air tradition in America comes from the California artists of the nineteenth century. The California coast can be very inspiring. I've had a chance to paint there a couple of times in the Newport/Laguna Beach area. Some of today's best plein air artists are based there. I'm looking forward to going back, but it's along ways away. Luckily for me, I have Michigan. The dunes on the West shore are spectacular.

Last weekend I was up North to drop my daughter off at camp and had a day to paint. I did one at Point Betsie that I'm not real happy with. But it was good practice for a larger one I'd like to do. Then I went over to a coastal lookout in Elberta. This is a view looking South.

Michigan shore, oil, 10" x 12"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sailing through the trees

I sketched this scene out front of our cabin at our annual family trip to camp on Portage Lake in Onekama, Michigan a few weeks ago. I just finished this in the studio with photos I took as reference. Summer in Michigan is a beautiful thing.
Sailing through the trees, oil, 15" x 28"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Surrey (no fringe)

I went to the Grove here in Glenview, our National Historic Landmark. The Kennicott family built a house in 1856 that is preserved there. Parked out back, by their garden, is this carriage.
Surrey, oil, 12" x12"

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Vogue

While delivering some new paintings to my gallery in Manistee a couple of weeks ago, I set up my easel right out front and did this painting of the old Vogue Theatre across the street. Closed for the past couple of years, it holds memories for me of my summers on staff at camp nearby. Hard to believe that was thirty years ago. I saw Star Wars there—the first one, Episode 4. There's talk of a renovation, but with the bad condition it's in and the Michigan economy, it's not Coming Soon.
Oil, 12" x 9"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cedarburg Show

I submitted two painting for the exhibit after the Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Festival. This one sold in the silent auction part of the show. I guess at least a couple people liked it. It was bid up to nearly twice what I had as the starting price.
Morning paper, oil, 12" x 9"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Camp Canoes

A rainy week at camp in Michigan but I managed to do a couple of small pieces. This, one of my favorite subjects: along the water's edge, with an "up North" feel. I'm hoping for a couple more trips up there this summer. Everywhere I drove I was seeing paintings.

The weekend in Onekama, MI, feature a day of open studios by local artists. We had a chance to visit Parke and Kooyman, a couple who have studios at there home in Chief. Very inspirational. They have re-done a old property to make two studios. One is in a barn and one in what was an old store front.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A little one

I had about two hours the other day before I needed to head home from Cedarburg so I set up right in town and did this one. The color of this house, now shop, really was this ultramarine blue.
By the side of the house, oil 6" x 8"

I have a couple more that I'll post sometime.

This Saturday, June 27, I'll be at River Street Gallery in Manistee with some new paintings. Then a week of family vacation in the area. I hope to find some painting time then.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cedarburg Wisconsin

Just back from a weekend participating in the Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Event. It' a week-long painting festival in the historic town just North of Milwaukee. I couldn't devote a whole week to it, but I'll try and get back for another day and submit a couple of paintings for the show.

Country morning, oil, 9" x 12"

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I visited one of our local parks a few weeks ago and painted reflections in the pond. Some geese happened by, posing and looking for a handout so I took a few pictures. Now that the weather is nice here, I set-up my easel on the deck and painted this from my references.
Geese on the pond, oil, 12" x 12"

Monday, June 8, 2009

More of Michigan

The dunes along the Michigan shore have a lot of great things to paint. My favorite is a down the coast view. This one is looking inland from the beach.
Path to the clouds, oil, 12" x 10"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Morning Calm

Early morning on Portage Lake, Michigan
Oil, 16" x 12"

Monday, May 25, 2009

A stream to the lake

Last year, on a trip to Michigan, I stopped and did a little exploring of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A part of the National Park system, it's a beautiful stretch of beaches and dunes. I found this stream and started a small painting, but I struggled and gave up since I had a destination to get to. I just finished this studio version from photos.

Stream to the Lake, oil, 15" x 30"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gompers Park

Saturday I met the Plein Air Painters of Chicago at Gompers Park on the North side of the city. A nice little natural area where you can forget where you are except for the occasional sounds of sirens and passing city buses. 

Tree by the pond, oil 10" x 8"

Friday, May 8, 2009

Less is More

I recently joined the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. They are one of the larger, more recognized painter's groups. They're headquartered in Laguna Beach, CA, a town known for it's history of attracting artists, but have members from across the country. I hope to get involved in some of their shows and paint-outs. We've vacationed in Southern CA a few times and it's a great place to paint. I submitted four paintings for their upcoming "Less is More" show of small works. These three were accepted.

The show is at the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, May 16 through May 23.

Sedona Rocks, oil, 6" x 8"
Ko Olina Coast, oil, 6" x 8"
Afternoon Light, oil, 8" x 10"

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My Mom's cat for Mother's Day. (Don't tell her).
Mitzi, oil, 8" x 10"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grand Canyon

After a week of plein air it's hard to go back to studio painting. But the experience of direct observation, on location, makes for better studio efforts.

I didn't have a chance to paint at the Grand Canyon when we were there, but took a lot of reference photos. Someday I'd like to do a large painting of the canyon, but for now I thought I should begin on a smaller scale.

First Light, Grand Canyon, oil 16" x 11"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oak Creek and Cathedral Rock

While in Sedona I had to go see Cathedral Rock. It's shown all the time in the publicity of the area. My son and I drove late one afternoon to the state park and walked along the creek to find a view. We took our shoes off and waded across to this little rock island where I set up. I painted a couple of hours before I ran out of light. Just had a chance to finish it here at home.
Springtime on Oak Creek, oil, 14" x 10"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Sedona

Just about every mountain and rock around Sedona has a name. Mostly named after what somebody thought they looked like. There's Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Steamboat Rock, Camel Head, and Snoopy Rock. The morning light from the east gave us a nice view from our resort of Snoopy lying on top of his dog house. Oil, 8" x 10"

On another subject, I want to say thanks to Laurel Daniel for passing on to me the "Passion for Painting" award! Laurel's blog is one of my regular visit bookmarks for inspiration.

The rules of this blog award are that the recipient shares 7 things he/she is passionate about, and passes the award on to 7 other deserving bloggers.

7 of my passions in life:
1) My family: my wife, son and daughter (and dog, Chamois)
2) My faith and church
3) Time with friends and good food
4) Trying to depict something in paint with some feeling and emotion
5) The amazing natural world we've been given
6) Preserving and protecting that natural world
7) Tropical places, especially Hawaii
7 artists to watch and celebrate, I'm sure some of these have been recognized already, but these are artists that inspire me:
1) Carol Marine
2) Darrell Hill
3) Larry Moore
4) Eric Merrell
5) Bill Cone
6) William Wray
7) Robin Purcell

Monday, March 30, 2009

A quick sketch

I had a little less than an hour before leaving for breakfast from our condo here in Sedona this morning, so I did this quick one from our balcony. I think I got the darks a bit too dark. Hope to go to another location and set up for a little more time tomorrow.
Morning view, oil 6" x 8"

Monday, March 23, 2009


It's not nice enough for painting outside here yet, so for practice I pulled out some reference photos (from the thousands I've taken). And since I'm still missing being in Hawaii, I put on KPOA --live through the internet from Maui--and painted these.

The palms is kind of a combination of images. There was no distant island in the photos, but I thought the composition needed it. I'm learning to simplify palm fronds. It's always a temptation to over paint them. Palm study, oil, 19" x 6"

The surfer had just finished and was leaving the beach where we were boogie boarding on Oahu. Enough for today, oil, 8" x 6"

Next week: Sedona, Arizona.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Two more from Kauai

This taro fields painting was the last for my workshop. Friday morning started out with very iffy weather. First light revealed clouds and passing showers. Our group assembled on the West side of Hanalei at an open field with views of the mountains to the South. I wasn't very excited by the location, but after wondering around for a half hour while deciding if the weather would hold, we set-up. The sun came out and I found this spot to paint. After about an hour we had one more ten minute rain and the rest of the day was great. All the rain on this island makes for constant, picturesque waterfalls. This took about four hours. After three the worker showed up at just the right moment.

Taro fields and tea leaves, oil 16" x 10"

My last day on Kauai, I wanted to paint palm trees. I found this house with a view of Hanalei Bay and stood in the beach park to paint it. Hanalei Home, 12" x 9"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hanalei Outriggers

This is a fun subject for some like me who loves Hawaii. I think it has a strong composition, but I'm not sure I got the colors just right. Maybe a little tweaking in the studio. Hanalei outriggers, oil, 12" x 16"

Friday, February 27, 2009

Three palms

Thursday we painted on Hanalei beach right by the pier which was part of the scene in the movie South Pacific. I decided not to tackle the pier now, but took lots of pictures for a possible studio painting someday. Most people, including me, painted some outrigger canoes. I haven't had time to get a good picture of that yet, I'll post it later. Here's my second painting of the day, some palms just off the beach.

Three palms, oil, 12" x 9"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ke'e beach and Hanalei

The second day of our workshop started at the end of the road on the North shore: Ha'ena State Park. After watching the instructor's demo, everyone set up to paint the same view. Passing clouds and windy, appropriately, there's sand embedded in my painting.

Napali coast, oil, 11" x 14"

For the afternoon we headed into quaint, Hanalei. The local burger joint was the subject a few of us chose.

Burgers in paradise, oil, 12" x 10"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Workshop painting

The workshop I'm attending with Randall Sexton started yesterday at the studio of Saim Caglayan. Saim is Kauai resident artist who opens his home studio for visiting artist's workshops. After introductions and a brief orientation, we headed to Anini beach here on the North shore. Randall did a demonstration and then went around to give instruction to each artist set-up along the beach.

Here is Randall and his unfinished demo painting.

Here's the painting I did. A distant view of the Kilauea Lighthouse.