58. Calle Quetzalcóatl 118

•2020/04/27 • Leave a Comment

Calle Quetzalcóatl is a quiet street northwest of the central historic district of Oaxaca. The neighborhood has planted hundreds of jacaranda trees along its streets. By the middle of February, the urban landscape comes alive with purple flowers. This boldly painted house – I passed it dozens of times while walking to & from the local public market – is fronted by this gorgeous mature jacaranda tree in full bloom.

Technique

There are so many layers to this image – the interior through the window, the wall, the shadows spread across the wall, and then the purple blossoms. In my attempt to accentuate the depth of the image, I decided to lay down a first layer of soft pastels. I applied a fixative lacquer over this, then overlaid the image with oil pastels.

#Art For Good

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a nonprofit organization. For this piece, the buyer has donated funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier l’ecu & oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag Paper, 310gm
  • Dimensions 16″ x 20″, mounted on black foam core, single black matte, 20″ x 24″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Sold

57. Utah Juniper II

•2020/04/10 • 1 Comment

Earlier this year, I painted the first version of Utah Juniper. It was a smaller, only 8″x10″, my own limitation based on carrying the finished pieces in our travel luggage. That art work sold quickly when I offered my winter portfolio to raise funds for DiscNW. Two of my ultimate teammates requested Utah Juniper for their donation. Here is the second version, for my other teammate.

Technique

As this version is much larger than the first, I have more flexibility to work the details. This allowed me to deepen the cracks within the trunk, extend the background to include more of the background junipers, and several levels of background depth. As with the previous piece, I used a fine brush to detail the branch lines and trunk crevices (sepia, violet, umber).

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag Paper, 310gm
  • Dimensions 16″ x 20″, mounted on black foam core, single white matte, 20″ x 24″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Sold

Oaxaca Portfolio 2020

•2020/03/24 • Leave a Comment

I returned from Oaxaca, Mexico in the spring of 2020, where my partner and I had spent the better part of the winter. The city of Oaxaca and its surrounding countryside are a riot of color. Brilliantly painted homes in the city center. The countryside – especially in the high mountain pueblos of the Sierra Norte – are a step back to the 19th century.

When I took the photos below, I thought about how Vincent Van Gogh must have felt when he traveled to the south of France, to experience such a dramatic shift in the clarity of the light, the intensity of the colors, the images of the Provençal houses and the workers in the fields. And how he must have felt compelled to capture these qualities in his art.

My next portfolio of pastel pieces I plan to draw on these images. I hope to capture the essence of the Oaxacan landscape, its vibrant colors and its remarkable people.

55. Sagebrush

•2020/02/26 • Leave a Comment

In late September of 2019 found my partner, Michele, and I in The northern section of Yellowstone National Park. It was a grey and drizzling day, having snowed the night before on the tops of the mountains. We paused at a trailhead somewhere near the Slough Creek campground off of US Highway 212 when I took a series of photos of this clump of sagebrush. I was fascinated by the mix of colors in this one plant – the sage grey-green; and the burnished bronze of the flowers. The pattern of green and gold receded for hundreds of yards into the distance. I shortened the focal depth, so that the photos would emphasize the flowers & textures in the foreground.

Technique

I usually progress from background to foreground in my pastels. For the background, the emphasis is more to the overall textures of the scene without drawing any individual plants. I worked circular textures, especially in the lighter areas, as a way to un-focus the shapes. The foreground stems I found interesting – I could reveal the texture by drawing in negative space, where I emphasized shapes via painting the dark edges and the spaces between stems. I used a thin paint brush, loaded with a mixture of violets, dark greens and Painters Gray for those negative spaces.   

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Sold

54. Manhattan Energy

•2020/02/16 • Comments Off on 54. Manhattan Energy

New York City (especially Manhattan) has an electricity you can feel. It’s as if the city is wired to a higher voltage than wherever you came from. New Yorkers talk fast. Walk fast. You wait a half second at a changing traffic light, be prepared for the horn blast. Yet, this isn’t a nervous, neurotic energy. There’s creativity in the air. Murals on buildings. Jazz clubs. Buskers in the subway stations. Art galleries. Theaters. Restaurants. This city is alive with creative ideas. So when I snapped a photo from the bow of the Staten Island Ferry (October 2019) capturing the amazing skyline of lower Manhattan, I mused about what such a creative cloud would look like if it were visible. Not numbers, not letters, not musical notes – I think it would be something “sub-atomic”, particles of creativity. Like fragments of letters, bound by nested parentheses, clustered in clouds that constantly bounce off each other.

Technique

Cityscapes don’t have the same geometries as a living landscape. Except for the trees and the bay, man-made objects dominate the image. Yet, I didn’t want to get caught up in reproducing every building, story, window. I wanted to draw the viewer’s attention to this imaginary (made visual) cloud of ideas, like a mountain brooding over the city. I used a thin paint brush to sketch the lines within the clouds, rather than trying to hold an edge on the pastel.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. I’m dedicating this piece to NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund, created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Available, inquiries email contact@onehundredpaintings.art

53. Autumn Cottonwoods

•2020/02/07 • Comments Off on 53. Autumn Cottonwoods

Ghost Ranch, the former home and retreat of the painter Georgia O’Keefe, rests high in the foothills of the Jimenez Mountains of northern New Mexico. On my visit to Ghost Ranch in October of 2019, I took a late afternoon hike through one of the canyons above the main ranch. It was a perfectly cloudless autumn afternoon. The stark sunlight lit up every tree in that canyon, especially the big cottonwoods of the valley floor. I took several photos from that hike – it seemed that every photo had been washed in a bright yellow tint. The cottonwood trees shimmered in bronze and gold, like each leaf had been hammered out of metal.

Technique

In this piece, I paid attention to creating the various depths of field – sky, cliffs, trees, under story – and to render them in a way to lead the viewers eye forward & backward through the painting. I exaggerated the afternoon sky, bringing in the violet light of the high altitude New Mexico mountains. I wanted the sky to appear stark, as if we were looking directly into space (which I suppose we are.) For the leaves of the cottonwoods, I created several intermediate layers of color – base layers of tan, rose and bronze metallic colors that I overlaid with bright yellow and gold metallic. Because of the stark light, the photographs from which I worked showed a foreground of black shapes – junipers and sagebrush which had their own textures that I wanted the piece to capture.  I used a palette knife over the pastels to “carve” their textures into the paper.   

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150 – GiveLively.org
  • Status SALE PENDING, email contact@onehundredpaintings.art

52. Grand Teton

•2020/01/28 • Comments Off on 52. Grand Teton

In September 2019, I traveled to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The mountains are amazing. They appear to leap directly out of the earth, without foothills – prairie turns to river valley, to sky-reaching stone, to snow covered peaks.

Technique

In this piece, I’m experimenting with new techniques with which I abstract the various parts of the scene. In the foreground, I decompose spaces into diamond shapes, outlining them with contrasting light & dark lines. These become rock outcroppings, pines, snow masses, etc. Some lines I draw with pen: others with a fine paint brush that I dip into an “ink” of oil pastels dissolved in mineral spirits. I use a palette knife to create textures within each shape.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Available, inquiries email contact@onehundredpaintings.art

51. Float Plane

•2020/01/23 • Comments Off on 51. Float Plane

There are precious few places in the U.S. that are unreachable by car – Stehekin is one of them. The village sits at the northern end of Lake Chelan, in central Washington State. The Pacific Crest Trail passes within a few miles of the town, so it’s a popular stopping point, with a post office, lodge, general store and bakery. Most visitors arrive by ferry, but Lake Chelan Airways lands its float planes on the lake directly in front of the community dock.In the late summer of 2013, my family and I spent a long weekend at Stehekin – hiking, swimming in the chilly lake water. The afternoon winds were just starting to pick up when I took a photograph of a bright orange & yellow float plane. The plane seemed to glow, especially against a background of Pacific Northwest mountains and a windswept lake.

Technique

I’ve deliberately smudged the shaded surfaces of the plane with grease, suggesting the “veteran” status of an older airplane. 

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 300gm
  • Dimensions 10″ x 8″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Price US $150
  • Status SOLD

49. Utah Juniper

•2020/01/13 • Comments Off on 49. Utah Juniper

In the autumn of 2019, my partner Michele and I traveled through the western U.S. Our trip’s highlight was the week we spent in early October, tent camping near Cannonville, Utah. Although Bryce Canyon National Park was nearby, we enjoyed our hikes in some lesser known places. We spent a glorious morning hiking on the trails that wound through the hoodoos of Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest. The trails were lined with juniper trees in various stages of life – seedlings, mature trees, and some ancient wonders with gnarled black bark. This piece I worked from a photo I’d taken on the eastern side of the canyon.

Technique

In this piece, I’m attempting to texture the backgrounds with something akin to cross-hatching. I use a short, stiff paint brush that I load with an “ink” which I prepare from Sennelier oil pastels dissolved in mineral spirits. The background cross-hatching uses several light grays & sepia. But for the tree trunk, I wanted to create more texture and depth. For this, I inked painters gray and Mars black. For the textures between the fissure lines of the tree trunk, I used paper stumps to blend & texture.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 300gm
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Sold

I have received a prepaid commission for a 16″ x 20″ version of this theme, funds donated to the DiscNW Youth Development Fund.

48. Hug Point Sunset

•2019/12/17 • Comments Off on 48. Hug Point Sunset

Following a Christmas Day hike along the Oregon Coast, my family and I stopped to watch the sunset from Hug Point, a small cove of a beach just south of Cannon Beach. The sun had been pretty much obscured for most of the hike. But just as we reached this beach, the sun descended below the level of the distant clouds. As we looked out towards the sunset, we could see that the wet sand and shallow water extended hundreds of feet towards the surf. With the sun at such a low angle, the wet surface reflected light as a mirror. What had been such a grey day had suddenly become full of dazzling color.

Technique

In this piece, I experiment using various metallic oil pastels (pearl, bronze, gold, turquoise, aluminum, ruby…) to capture the effects of low-angle sun on water. Although the first-break waves here are tremendously powerful, booming with explosions of white spray, the final wavelets that pulse across the sand are only a few millimeters high as they finish their journey across the Pacific Ocean.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag, 240gm
  • Dimensions 15.5″ x 7.5″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown) 18” x 14”, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$175
  • Status Sold to a private collector

47. Belleisle Grenada

•2019/12/13 • Comments Off on 47. Belleisle Grenada

Michele & I traveled to the island of Grenada in January 2019. We stayed in the home of our friend Chase, in the rural village of Belleisle. Chase’s house sits at the top of a ridge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Strong, pounding waves boomed against the cliffs most days. I’d set out from here on my morning runs high into the rainforest interior of the island, climbing the steep, rural roads through groves of nutmeg, cacao and grapefruit trees. By mid-afternoon, strong sea breezes would whistle through the trees. The hour before sunset brought on the “airshow” – falcons and owls on the hunt.

Chase helped me set-up my art studio in the apartment. I promised him to send him a painting of his island paradise home.  Chase, here you go.  Thanks for all the great memories of our time on Grenada: our Sunday afternoon outings to Rocky’s on BBC Beach; Diego’s birthday party; but most of all, those peaceful late afternoons in Belleisle.

In this piece, I continue to experiment with the palette knife on oil pastels, using it to blend colors, create strong lines and textures. There are lots of verticals here, the sky textures, the foreground grasses and foliage.

Original Art Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Huile oil paper, 300gm
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted with double-matte (off-white & gold, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged

46. Tyne Pilot

•2019/12/08 • Comments Off on 46. Tyne Pilot

In the spring of 2019, my good friend David asked me to do a commission piece, of him on his sailboat. We arranged to meet at his home on Lake Union in the heart of Seattle. David had spent the previous weeks scrubbing the boat, kitting it out with its full complement of sails. David set off from his houseboat dock, and proceeded to make several passes of the lake. I took several photographs as he passed by from various vantage points along the lake shore.

Back at my studio, I made several attempts on a small study piece using oil pastels. I didn’t like the results. I found that the oils were too bold for the subject matter.  They gave the sky and water too much depth and texture – they made a pleasant, sunny June morning on Lake Union feel like a stormy ocean.

So instead, I decided to go with a softer pastel – the L’Ecu pastels from Sennelier. These seemed better suited to the subject material, as well as a much better match to the color palette of the original photos.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, my friend who had comissioned this piece has donated to Friends of Seward Park, “a group of citizens working to preserve the unique habitat and cultural legacy of this historic park.”

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier L’ecu pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 310gm
  • Dimensions 16″ x 20″, mounted on foam core, double-matte, 20″ x 24″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Status Sold

Palette Knife for Oil Pastel Textures

•2019/10/22 • Comments Off on Palette Knife for Oil Pastel Textures

Textures for sky and sails by using a palette knife

This week I began experimenting with how to use a palette knife to create textures in oil pastels. In the past, I’ve relied on other techniques, most notably:

  • Fingertips – to flatten colors to a uniform finish, for calm water, reflections, etc.; and
  • Paper stubs – for combining colors, drawing lines through colors, building raised areas.

I knew that oil painters use the palette knife with canvas, but I wanted to determine whether it would work for oil pastels on paper.

Scraping the oil pastel evenly across the paper works well to combine different colors into a very flat surface.  It also can suggest a uniform surface, for example, the texture of a canvas sail.  For the mainsail, I combine luminous yellow (Sennelier 233) with white & charcoal.  By dragging the flat edge of the palette knife across the paper, I create the horizontal lines of a canvas texture.  The vertical strand of pure white down the mainsail suggests a concave sail.

But as I gained more confidence, I learned that substantial papers – in the above case, Arches 140-lb. Oil Paper – can withstand serious pressure.  I can create both raised areas (e.g. cloud surfaces), as well as “negative areas”, where I create a depression against the paper that gives the image depth.  In the above example, I needed to avoid creating a lifeless, placid sky.  Sailboats move through (invisible) wind – my work needs to suggest moving air, so I wanted to suggest dynamic movement. Although close examination looks quite “busy”, that appearance dissolves when the viewer takes in the image as a whole, from a distance.  At that point, the viewer sees a very three-dimensional sky.  The small wisps of white become distant clouds, the greys draw the eye back towards the horizon, so that the boat & sail can pop into the foreground.

45. Seward Park Trail

•2019/05/16 • Comments Off on 45. Seward Park Trail

This piece shows one of my favorite spots in Seward Park. We’re looking north along the Spine Trail which runs along the center of the peninsula. This spot is deep in the forest. I often spot bald eagles here, their nest is perched high in the canopy nearby. On the trail to the left, I’ve spotted adult Pileated woodpeckers. This is a truly magical spot in the park.

Technique

In the late afternoon, sunlight filters down through the canopy of native alder, madrone, cedar and Douglas fir.  In this piece, I try to capture the contrast of light and shadow typical of a mature Pacific Northwest rainforest. The forest floor can be a dark place, even on a sunny day. But when sunlight does penetrate, its effect is transformative. Low-angle afternoon light brings golds and reds into places that, moments before, were deep green and brown.

#ArtForGood

This piece is part of my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds from art sales are donated to a good cause. For this piece, I will donate funds to a youth ultimate team from south Seattle – SOUF – who recently qualified for the 2019 USA Ultimate Regional playoffs.  My teammates and I are helping to defray the travel expenses for these young players.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag, 240gm
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$100
  • Status SOLD.

 

 

44. Retired Walking Friends

•2019/03/19 • Comments Off on 44. Retired Walking Friends

Exploring the hiking trails around the village of Tsagarada, on the Pelion peninsula, mainland Greece when we came across a stone hut nestled in a grove of chestnut trees. The Pelion peninsula – about two hours north of Athens – has amazing hiking. Thick groves of enormous chestnut trees cover the steep hillsides. As you descend, the forests give way to stony groves of gnarled olive trees, tamarisks and lemons, until you finally arrive by the sea. This country cottage sported windows with drying shoes – shoes that appeared to have been forgotten months ago, left on the window sill.

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag, 240gm
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$75
  • Status Available, inquiries email contact@onehundredpaintings.art

43. rue Saint-Jean

•2019/02/28 • Comments Off on 43. rue Saint-Jean

On our travels through Quebec last year, my partner and I were exploring the Saint-Jean Baptiste neighborhood of Quebec City. Late one September afternoon, just as the lights of the city were coming on, we came across a charming storefront – a grocery called “J.A. Moisan”. Something about the scene caught my eye. The green awnings, the orange brickwork, the flower planters in bloom, the bustle of people window shopping down the sidewalks. It was one of those moments travelers experience where the wonder of being in a place opens up something inside of yourself. I took the photo, always with the idea to try to capture the magic of moment in art.

Technique

I’m continuing to experiment with brushwork with this piece, something new for me, and is uncommon when working with pastels. I smudge (a mix of several) oil pastels onto a piece of plexiglass; then I load the brush with enough mineral spirits to stir into the smudges, making a mixture with the consistency of ink. The brush lets me paint much finer lines than I could otherwise draw using paper stumps.

#ArtForGood

This piece is part of my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds from the sale of this piece are donated to a good cause. For this piece, I will donate funds to a youth ultimate team from south Seattle – SOUF – who recently qualified for the 2019 USA Ultimate Regional playoffs.  My teammates and I are helping to defray the travel expenses for these young players.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag, 240gm
  • Dimensions 10″ x 8″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$75, excludes shipping
  • Availability Date September 12, 2019
  • Status SOLD to a private collector

41. Turtles of Edwards Bay

•2019/01/18 • Comments Off on 41. Turtles of Edwards Bay

Seward Park, Seattle, boasts a colony of box turtles on Andrews Bay. On most sunny afternoons, they clamber aboard a fallen Douglas Fir tree to sunbathe. The water lilies that line the shores of Andrews Bay begin to bloom at the start of summer. On summer afternoons, this vignette casts a magical spell on the park visitors – including myself.

In this piece, I wanted to capture the delicate light reflecting off the lily pads. The concentric ripples on the water’s surface. The images of turtle heads reflected onto the water. The single water lily flower just on the verge of opening, a torch of dazzling white light.

During the summer, I swim in Lake Washington (well away from the turtles and their protective ring of water lilies.) I’d been training daily, in preparation for the Seattle Children’s Hospital fundraiser swim – a 1.3-mile event across Lake Washington at the end of August. On one memorable swim, my head down surveying the lake bottom, one of these box turtles zooms past, ten feet below me along the bottom of the lake. Turtles are not the slow, languorous beings our culture believes them to be.

This piece represents the first of the #ArtForGood series, where all proceeds from sales are donated to a non-profit appropriate to the piece. Proceeds will be donated to Friends of Seward Park, a group of citizens working to preserve the unique habitat and cultural legacy of this historic park.

Original Art Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Canson Aquarelle Rag, 240gm
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation $75.00 SOLD 

#ArtForGood – Community Building through Art

•2018/12/26 • Comments Off on #ArtForGood – Community Building through Art

I believe art has the power to inspire, the ability to move us into new and sometimes unexpected directions. And I also believe it can do more. As artists, we can transform inspiration into the resources to support the common good. Because I believe when people possess art dedicated to a cause, we – the community, the artist and the art’s new-found owner – imbue that art with the power of social change.I’d tried donating artwork (e.g. for fund raisers) in the past, and sad to say, unsuccessfully. So here’s my idea how to convert art into community resources. As I complete the next series of my art pieces (inspired by images from places and causes in which I believe), I’ll place these for sale on the One Hundred Paintings site. All proceeds are donated to the cause paired with that piece. Buyers may elect to dedicate the donation in honor of a family member or friend they wish to recognize.

Here’s an example of how I see this working. I volunteer at local park as a forest steward, where I coordinate volunteers on reforestation projects. Over the last several years, the park’s magnificent Sword Fern population is under threat from an unknown pathogen. Here’s a recent photo of mine on the right – a Sword Fern coated in frost. I plan to create an oil pastel piece based on this photo.  When I’ve completed it, I’ll post the completed piece onto this site with the hashtag #ArtForGood. All proceeds from the sale would flow to Friends of Seward Park, a non-profit organization which is working with the city to find solutions to Sword Fern die off. I will be moving more of my future art work into the #ArtForGood program. The table below shows the pieces sold thus far.

PieceDonationOrganization
Turtles of Edwards Bay$75Friends of Seward Park
Bench Lake Sunset$50Sierra Club Foundation
rue Saint-Jean$75Seattle Youth Ultimate
Seward Park Trail$100Seattle Youth Ultimate
Tyne Pilot$250Friends of Seward Park
Hug Point Sunset$175DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Utah Juniper$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Float Plane$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Autumn Cottonwoods$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Sagebrush$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Autumn in the Tetons$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Utah Juniper II$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Calle Quetzalcóatl 118$150DiscNW Youth Development Fund
Total$1,775
#ArtForGood Progress to-date

40. Mist over Vela Luka

•2018/11/26 • Comments Off on 40. Mist over Vela Luka

On a misty October morning in 2009, I snapped the photo on which this piece is based. I’d hopped an early morning bus from Korçula’s main town across the island to the port town of Vela Luka. The crew aboard a blue fishing boat made its preparations before heading out to sea.

What prompted me to snap this photo was the unusual reflection on the water’s surface. The entire port was bathed in silver light, probably due to the refracted sunlight as it penetrated the low band of fog that hung over the hills above the town. The water reflected back that glow, diffusing it in all directions. It was truly magical – within moments, the fog bank dissolved completely.

In this piece, I attempt to capture the effects that the fog bank had created on that day.  I deepened the colors in the hills just above the town – I think this was caused by the fog’s shadow. Notice that the tops of the hills above the fog bank were in full sun. A light breeze ruffled the surface of the water just slightly, which distorted the reflections of the houses and boats.

I made use of the Sennelier oil pastels “Transparent Blue” and “Aluminum” to accentuate the reflected light on the water’s surface.  To create the illusion of still water, I blended Mars Grey with Indigo Light and French Ultramarine.

39. View from Iceberg Point

•2018/08/22 • Comments Off on 39. View from Iceberg Point

In July of 2018 Michele and I took a midweek trip to Lopez Island, a quiet island in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound. On our first morning jaunt, we visited Iceberg Point on the southern tip of the island. A morning fog had just lifted, a light breeze suffused the hillside in sea-cooled air that smelled of salt spray, spruce and kelp.

I took a dozen or so photos that morning. The one which became the basis for this piece is my favorite. I love the depths in this image. It’s as if the image leads your eye progressively deeper into the image, from one depth plane to the next. When I’d taken the photo I hadn’t noticed the reflections on the water.  Yet the photo showed them unmistakably, despite the waves’ distortions.

While I was working on this piece, I had been reading a book about Gustav Klimt’s landscape paintings.  Klimt was an Austrian artist better known for his portrait work.  A color plate of Schönbrunner Schlosspark 1916 struck me.  It amazed me how he’d abstracted the shapes & textures of trees into thousands of parallel lines of color.

So I focused on reproducing a similar abstraction, especially on the foreground grasses.

Special thanks to Carol, our Airbnb host, who’d suggested we visit Iceberg Point that morning.

 

38. Seascape, Cafe Levanat

•2018/07/09 • Comments Off on 38. Seascape, Cafe Levanat

On the last day of a vacation along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia in 2009, we discovered a small cafe overlooking the Adriatic.  It was a breezy October afternoon in the outskirts of Dubrovnik. The sun filtered onto the table through the leaves of the bottle brush trees that lay between the table and the cliff on which the cafe rested. Despite being in a big city, we’d found a quiet spot away from the city noise.  The wind blew the sea into a frothy texture. I snapped the photo of that textured sea, framed by a stone wall mottled in sun & shade.  Nine years later, I rediscovered that photo and resolved to attempt to capture the image in pastels.

The first issue with which I struggled was to duplicate the color of the sea. I didn’t have the “perfect” shade of blue in my pastel collection that matched the photo. I describe how I solved this issue in my previous blog.

I studied the photo’s details, especially the mottled texture of the tree trunk.  Although the trunk hides mostly in shadow (so therefore the texture should be more muted), I knew firsthand that people can see textures that cameras cannot.

What fascinates me about this piece is how those two textures – sea & tree – meld into their respective images as we step away from the painting. Up close, our eyes see blobs and lines of color.  But at a distance, our brains “mix” the colors – a process over which we have zero control.

 

 

Flat Seascapes in oil pastels

•2018/06/23 • 1 Comment

Working with oil pastels has its limitations.  While working on my latest piece – an Adriatic seascape – I discovered I didn’t have the “exact” color match from my blue oil pastels to the shade of blue I needed for the seascape.  The photo from which I was working suggested little variation in the sea.  I tried mixing several colors directly onto the paper, but I didn’t like the end result.

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color mix on plexiglass palette

What I came up with was to use a small piece of plexiglass as a palette. I selected the five colors which I wanted to blend (white, grey, violet, medium blue, ultramarine), and forced a bolus of oil pastel onto the plexiglass.

Then I pulled the colors I wanted to blend onto a fine-pointed paper stub. In most cases I blended just two or three colors at a time.

For the seascape, I wanted to make the surface of water appear more lively, to suggest a seascape where the afternoon breeze is stirring the water’s surface, but not so much as to suggest a storm.

I created a cross-hatched texture by making small ‘x’ and ‘y’ marks with the stub.  I made the effect more pronounced in the foreground, less so in the distance.  I deliberately chose a distinct texture for the leaves/branches in the foreground.

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sea texture using grey, white, violet & blues

Here is a sample of using the above technique.  The next posting will show the completed piece.

 

9. The Conductor

•2009/01/07 • Comments Off on 9. The Conductor

The Conductor, oil pastels on paper, 2007

The Conductor, oil pastels on paper, 2007

No matter how hard our techno-logical society tries to banish (or at least diminish the power of) myths, our nature as human beings prevents it.  We are storytellers, and modern mythology lives in our collective consciousness to help us bridge between the known and the unknown.

I was captivated reading Stephen Kotler’s book West of Jesus about the modern, surfer-borne myth of “The Conductor”, a supernatural being capable of creating weather, wind and waves by waving a human bone above his head.  The existence of  the Conductor is a moot point.  That surfers (and I) feel drawn to this modern myth speaks volumes about our need to navigate the bridge into that part of the real world that remains unknown to us.

I traveled to an “Ends of the Earth” several years ago–the Native American settlement of La Push, on the Olympic Peninsula on the far northwestern corner of the Continental U.S.  I photographed this trunk of driftwood, raised vertically into the damp grey sand.  In my mind, it was simple to bring this mythological being to life.  An eye.  The line of muscled arms.  A swirl of clouds that form at his beckoning.

For me, this piece has become a touchstone to remind myself that the wild and unknowable parts of our world are just as important to our psyches as the known & easily explained.

#ArtForGood

This piece is part of my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds from the sale are donated to a nonprofit organization. For this piece, the buyer has donated funds to Forterra, the organization which (among many other projects) sponsors the Green Seattle Partnership program, pairing Seattle City Parks with volunteer forest stewards (myself included) and support (funding, plant biologists…).

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on paper
  • Dimensions 14″ x 11″, mounted, double-matte, 20″ x 16″, unframed
  • Donation US$75, excludes shipping
  • Availability Date  December 8, 2019
  • Status SOLD to a private collector

56. Autumn in the Tetons

•2020/03/01 • Leave a Comment

Along US Highway 89 several miles north Teton Park Road (which leads to Jackson Lake, Wyoming), there’s a bluff overlooking Jackson Lake. In the late afternoon light of late September, the scene I witnessed in the fall of 2019 was a riot of color. The Teton Range made for a spectacular backdrop. The expanse of the lake shimmered in silver. The leaves of the cottonwood trees shone like polished metal – bronze, copper, gold. The colors were so intense as to almost be surreal. This gave me the idea for an artwork where I could shift the colors in other directions.

Technique

For this piece I ventured away from reproducing the photo’s colors, and instead try to capture the drama of the scene – the way the clouds piled onto each other; the deep shadows of the mountain valleys; the dazzle of the snowy peaks; and the depth of the prairie leading to the edge of the lake. I wanted to push a lot of texture & relief into the mountains, while keeping the sky relatively “flat” – virtually no texture from the pastels. I wanted the sky colors to convey the drama & depth, but without overpowering the overall image. I used the same approach for the surface of the lake. The far shore of the lake – this long line across nearly the entire field of view – became an artificial horizon. But in this case, the division between mountain-prairie rather than land-sky.   

#ArtForGood

This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. For this piece, I will donate funds to DiscNW‘s Youth Development Fund, which provides scholarships and program support for youth ultimate in the Greater Seattle area.

Specifications

  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 10″ x 8″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 14″ x 11″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Sold to a private collector

 
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