New Owl Art – The Gallery at WREN (Bethlehem, NH)

I’ve several owl paintings now on exhibit at the gallery at WREN in Bethlehem, NH and their gallery located in the Omni Mt. Washington hotel, Bretton Woods, NH.  Owls continue to be one of my favorite subjects to paint and even after several years of painting them, I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that creative well yet!  I see and hear owls with regularity and like to think this is nature’s way of telling me what I should be working on.  When inspiration finds you or sends you hints, I’m a firm believer in following the clues!  That said, I’ve also been seeing a lot of red foxes and coyotes this spring… I’m starting to think of changing the focus of my paintings to include some of our wild canines.

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Spring Fling – The Birds Are Back!

Despite the unseemly arctic temperatures this past April (22 degrees and snow until late in the month), the birds are migrating back!!   Saw a flock of Ruby-crowned Kinglets trilling away in the trees along the brook and suddenly the trees are teeming with warbles, finches, phoebes, tree swallows, catbirds and all manner of feathered friends, singing out loud.  The first of the hummingbirds appeared last week and the robins are nesting again on the beam up in the eve of the roof.  I had a wonderful day photographing a few of the many warblers, with a couple new species I could add to my “life bird” list this year.  It was very exciting!  Saw a Black-throated Blue warbler for the first time as well as this Black & White striped warbler.  The usual pair of Canada geese are nesting on the pond and we noticed ducks using one of the duck houses we put up a couple of years ago.  Finally!!  The tree swallows have taken over another duck house but at least something avian is putting it to good use.  I have LOTS of new images to use as references for new watercolor paintings of songbirds. Stay tuned for future artwork!

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Small Works Show – Copley Society of Art

I’m pleased to announce I have three paintings which will be exhibiting at the Copley Society of Art in Boston, Mass in the upcoming summer Small Works show.  This will be my first show with this gallery since my acceptance a few months ago.  The show has a theme “Port of Call”, which is a midway point of safe harbor for ships and boats.  Since it’s a themed show, a nautical tie-in is needed with broad artistic interpretation allowed!  So, I opted to paint birds found at sea, along the seashore or those coming to shore during the nesting season and looking for “safe harbors”.  I thought puffins would make a good subject because they are so colorful and fun to look at.

 

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A Conspiracy of Ravens (raven art)

A group of ravens is called a “conspiracy of ravens”, which sounds a bit ominous to me; however, they are anything but that as far as I’m concerned!  There is a wealth of legend and folklore about ravens and it seems every culture has stories or myths about them.  They continue to show up in our modern tales too… think “Game of Thrones” here.  Despite my best efforts to date, I haven’t been able to get any good reference photos of the raven family living around my home.  The birds at the Vermont Raptor Center are the models for this drawing since the wild ones around my house haven’t been cooperative.  In my visits to VINS, I find it fascinating to watch them calling to the ravens beyond their enclosure and respond in kind to the sounds of their wild brethren.  I’m intrigued and wonder what they are saying to each other.  So, the title for this artwork is “The Calling”.

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Drawing On Inspiration (Art Exhibit)

You are invited!!

To the opening of a solo exhibit featuring my graphite art

“Drawing On Inspiration”

The opening will be on Thursday, April 19th, 5:30pm – 7:00 pm. 

Equinox Village Gallery
49 Maple Street
Manchester Center, Vermont
(802) 362-4061

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March – In Like A Lion (pencil art)

(Title: “African Queen”,graphite, size 6″h x 9″w – Available)

Winter seems very reluctant to loosen it’s grip on us here in northern New Hampshire, making the transition to Spring still seem a long ways away.  And with four winter storms in as many weeks, March certainly came in “like a lion”, thus the inspiration behind this drawing of an African lioness.  The reference photo I used for my art was provided by the website, Wildlife Reference Photos.  A big thank you goes to Stephanie Swayne for the use of her image!  For a while now, I’ve found myself “drawn” to the wild ones further afield than my usual subject matter.  Maybe it’s because I keep seeing reports about elephants, polar bears and lions (to name a few) on the edge of extinction in our lifetime and the news recently informed us the last wild male white rhino had died.  It would seem we are not being very good stewards of this world!!  So, be on the lookout for more of my future paintings and drawings to feature wildlife threatened with extinction for an exhibit in 2019.  Yes, I’m already planning that far ahead!

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Canada Lynx Graphite Art

This is another work in progress for my upcoming “Drawing On Inspiration” show opening next month at the Equinox Village Gallery in Manchester Center, Vermont.  I took the reference photos I’m using for this drawing while on a trip to Maine a couple of years ago.  I’ve wanted to attempt this artwork since then and thought the medium of pencil would be perfect for capturing the snowy landscape and the contrasting darker areas of the composition.  The fur of the lynx blends in so well with the boulders that it looks just like another rock sitting in the snow, which is kind of the whole point isn’t it?  Clever kitty…

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A Conspiracy of Ravens (raven art)

A family of ravens nest on a small but densely forested ridge across the road from our house every spring.  I can hear them calling to each other at various times of the day.  When the chicks leave the nest, their parents lead them around the woods, always calling, crooning and making a variety of sounds.  On my walks, I routinely see them in certain areas of the fields and woods, around the pond and frequently in the trees around my yard in the mornings.  I like to think they know my face by now and don’t fly off when I come outside, although they remain careful not to let me come close.  After seeing them almost every day this past winter, I decided to create a pencil drawing featuring ravens.  So, being thus inspired, here is the work in progress of a “conspiracy of ravens” I’m working on this week.

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Black Bear Painting In Progress

Step One:  Here’s a step by step review of a painting of a black bear in progress this week.  The sketch is done and after masking the leaves and bear, I applied a light wash of Cobalt Blue.  It was a little stronger than I wanted it to be so I may lighten it later. Will see how it looks after the bear and leaves are painted in.

 

 

Step Two:  I blocked in the shadows on the bear and put a wash of color on the leaves.  I find this part a bit tricky because I want the layers of color to blend in without leaving hard lines.  A bit of damp paper towel, a brush just barely wet or a damp sponge (squeeze as much excess water as possible!) can be used to soften the edges later.

 

 

So far, so good!!  I did soften the sky a bit to help make the bear pop in the foreground more.  Again, using a soften sponge to lift the color slightly and it gives the sky a bit of texture that I like so it isn’t just a boring flat surface.  I drew the leaves overlapping the bear to help give the composition depth and because I think it’s more interesting this way.

 

 

The final layers of color and details were painted on the leaves.  I thought there was too much blue in the spaces behind the leaves at the lower left area of the painting so I added darker leaf layers.  This seems to make the leaves in the foreground “pop” a bit more too and gave the painting a more balanced feel.  And, here’s the finished painting.  That was fun!  Now to come up with a good title…  Any suggestions?

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Backyard Birding and Sketching

FB Banner SparrowWinter is when the bird feeders can be hung around the yard again.  During the summer and fall months we have to take down and/or bring the feeders indoors, otherwise black bears raid them, causing all sorts of mayhem that’s better avoided, for both the bears and humans.  I love being able to watch how the birds interact, the social groups of large flocks, the bullying of the bigger birds (yes, I’m talking about you, Blue Jays!) and having the opportunity to practice my quick sketching.

While lingering over my morning cup of tea, it’s my routine to check out what’s happening at the bird feeders before I head into the studio for the day.  I have a small feeder attached to one of the big windows in my studio too, so I get to observe them up close.  It’s just a tiny feeder held on with a suction cup and sized for chickadees, nuthatch or goldfinch.  Sometimes I look up to find a rose-breasted grosbeak, hairy woodpecker or blue jay finding ways to cram themselves onto it.  Apparently with enough success, to keep coming back!

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