Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Birch Forest Beckons

Acrylic on 40"w x 30"h x 1.5"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

The Christmas holiday season had me traveling and shopping and wrapping (and eating cookies), which occupied my time and thoughts so this painting was worked on over a longer period of time. The longer time resulted in another layer of birch trees behind the trees in the foreground. The birches in the background are a light blue and don't demand your attention .. they are content to hide in the hundreds of shades of blue in the sky behind them. Along with subtle twilight lighting, I enjoy adding 'leaves' to the foreground in many shades of burnt sienna and 'birch' gold. :) I'm really loving the crisp white birch trees, I think I'll continue exploring the birch tree as it's found in the landscape. The birch trees are beckoning me, gotta go...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Maple Valley

Acrylic on 12"w x 12"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

Part of painting is limiting yourself. You could go crazy with hundreds of paint colors and brush stroke sizes, not to mention glazes, mediums, textures, etc ... but what you're trying to do is convey an image. And that image always packs more punch when simply stated. I suppose you could say a successful painting is like enjoying a beautiful summer sunset from a cozy adirondack chair while on vacation versus sitting in highway rush-hour traffic and watching a sunset. Which one would you prefer? I know there are some who prefer the latter but I favor the former. The lighting in this series emanates from the ground up, a phenomenon of the twilight sky in contrast to the bright daylight shining down from above. This series has been called 'Twilight Maples' and includes many paintings who have found their way into people's homes and hearts just like a peaceful twilight sky. There's no limit when your limit yourself.

Up next is another 12"x12" maple landscape, it features rock formations, trees, mossy green ambient lighting and cranberry colored leaves. It will make it's way from my easel to the web in a day or so .. and then hopefully into someone's home ... and heart. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mossy Rock Inspiration Photos

During my hikes in the wilderness behind my house in Duluth, I've found myself drawn to elements in the landscape that I had previously taken for granted. Rocks. Majestic mountains get painted all the time but rarely does someone paint the smaller rocks found along trails and streams. I've been trying to incorporate more rock formations into my landscapes as of late because the rocks are so prolific in my area that it just seems like they belong in the composition. But, alas, people don't really notice them. They don't jump off the canvas, they're just there. And I don't want the rock formations to just be there, I want them to grab your attention just like the trees and skies I'm becoming known for do. I've been going back over reference photos and I've realized that I haven't been painting the rocks very ... what's the word ... authentically.

The rocks in the photos are covered with lichens and moss, not to mention leaves and sticks yet I've been focusing on their form and not so much their texture. This is just one of many things artists agonize over while they are working. People think we just paint pretty pictures but it's more than that, it's expressing yourself on canvas while being true to your subject matter and yourself at the same time. The image created must speak to the artist and I've often believed that if the work of art connects with the one who created it, it will also connect with it's audience. It's funny how the paintings that have quickly sold were also my favorites and I found myself not wanting to part with them. But I'm happy to be able to share my gifts with others, and the thought that my artwork brings the beauty of the land where I live to people's lives, then it makes the struggle of trying to capture the image inside of me on canvas all that more rewarding. It's this struggle that I've been facing lately, what to paint, how to paint it ... along with the change in seasons from colorful autumn leaves to bleak blue winter skies and endless oceans of white snow covering the ground like a thick blanket until the vibrant greens of spring and summer wake the land from it's slumber to produce life yet once again. I'm working on a couple 12"x12" studies at the moment, wrestling with those beautiful rocks in anticipation of incorporating them into a large 48"x36" canvas. Please return soon. God bless.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quite a Pair

Acrylic on 6"w x 6"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

A simple study of cardinals painted more expressively than usual. I'm planning on incorporating some cardinals into my Birch landscapes in the future, but due to their bright red coloring, I want to be comfortable with their size and proportion as they will definately pop off the canvas. These two mischievous little birds already found a home. Have a great weekend.

  1. (of a person, animal, or their behavior) Causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way: "two mischievous kittens".

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Twilight Birch Triptych

Acrylic on three 10"w x 30"h x 1.5"d canvases
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

It's no secret that I've been working on capturing twilight lighting on my canvases in recent history. There's just something about the deep blues and shadows during the last light of the day that compels me to paint with the rich colors that I use. I can't imagine at this point painting any other subjects without the depth of colors. I just dropped off this painting at Lizzard's Art Gallery in Duluth, it was fun to see the gallery all decked out for the holidays. Lots of unique gift ideas in the gallery, and soon I'll be back to take some photos of all my latest work hanging together, can't wait. :)

For now I'm content to stay here, deep in the forest as the sun sets. The birches contrast strongly with the fading light and even though the birches are clothed in crisp white bark, even they too will soon be covered in a deep blue veil of night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blaze Maple Rays

Acrylic on 36"w x 24"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

The title is self explanatory. This was painted during an overcast couple of days and as usual, I seem to paint the opposite of how I feel. So the colors are bright and punchy and full of depth and texture. This one just makes me smile. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bluestone Birches

Acrylic on 12"w x 12"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.


There's just something special about bluestone rock formations, birches, and deep blue skies. Maybe it's just the letter 'b' or it's the color and texture. I would opt for the latter, as I feel like exploring this theme with some larger compositions in the near future. :) Today was quite a productive day as I worked on a 24"x36" landscape and came close to finishing off a 24"x48" vertical landscape. While I anticipate wrapping both those works up tomorrow, I'm prepping a triptych of 10"x30" canvases which will feature cardinals on a rich green background ... and birch trees, of course. Now if I can just finish off my studio so I'm not spread all over my house with my artwork ... perhaps Friday will be the day I move into the new studio space ... can't wait. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Snow Falling in a Birch Forest

Acrylic on 48"w x 24"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

I was so inspired by the first snowfall of the year that I just had to paint a picture of the snow. I chose a Birch forest on a cobalt blue background to feature the first flakes of frigid November. I had to laugh as I finished up this painting and the temperature hit 50 degrees, effectively melting whatever snow we had. But Winter is well on it's way, set to return soon, and even though I signed this work on a rainy day, I know that soon more snow will be falling in the Birch, Maple and Evergreen forests surrounding this beautiful little town I live in called Duluth.

I'm finishing up some highlights and shadows on a couple more paintings which will be posted in the next day or two .. please stop back soon. God bless. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's on my easel...

It seems as of late that I haven't been posting as much. Art can be a hobby, a career, a side job, a therapy ... for many people art is beneficial, bringing healing and a sense of peace and purpose to their lives. For me, the latter would be an accurate summary of why I feel the need to create. Art is interwoven with my DNA and I couldn't exist unless I was creating. You could say it's a passion of mine, but really it's just me. That's all. :)

I've been painting pretty much non-stop lately, and I've been working on a 2' x 4' vertical piece titled 'Three Trees' that has been for me a chance to create just for myself. Sometimes artists need to do that, and now that I've almost completed that painting, I'm feeling as though I'd like to share it with whoever reads my blog or stops by my website. So look forward to that painting being posted this week, along with a fun little 12"x12" birch landscape I've titled 'Mossy Rocks'. What's currently on my easel is another 2' x 4' Birch landscape, this one is titled 'Snow Falling in a Birch Forest'. I hate to admit it but this painting has really hit me and I've found myself pausing to let the adrenaline stop while I've been working on it. I feel as though it's the light hitting the edge of the Birches and the contrast with the deep blues and crisp whites. It's a painting that I can't wait to finish, yet I'm being cautious with it at the same time, wishing to finish it correctly, letting the painting present itself and not overwork it. Lots of exciting works coming soon, and with the studio remodel project taking shape ... it will be a short winter. :)

Please stop back soon! God bless,

Monday, November 7, 2011

I've recently joined While this site doesn't offer a comprehensive selection of my work, it does allow me to feature several works and offer more information about who I am and what I do. I hope this website will allow me to network with other Minnesota artists, collectors, and galleries. Please stop by my home page at for more information.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Photo reference for Aerial Lift Bridge Painting

I've been working on a 24"x36" (approx.) vertical canvas that I'm thinking will have the simple title 'Duluth'. I took this photo while standing on the shore by the Great Lakes Aquarium. I've been working hard on my last large scale work titled 'Solace Triptych' and also working on my new studio space, and I wanted to work on a simple composition and just relax and enjoy painting. Watch for this painting to be completed soon ... due to the complex nature of the bridge, this painting may take longer, but I want to get it right. I have a couple of other smaller works on my small easel that will be posted later in the week that show by their subject matter that snowflakes will soon be in the air and the Northland of Minnesota will once again be covered in a thick white blanket of snow. Time to find those wool socks....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Solace Triptych

Acrylic on three 12"w x 36"h x 2"d canvases
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

Solace has a few different meanings in the dictionary, but the best definition that relates to this triptych is 'cheerful place' or 'place of deep peace'. For long periods of time I've sat and viewed this painting and it has been very calming to me during a time of busyness. In this piece the last light of the day is visible in the upper left over the distant rock ridge and casts shadows across the foreground. I was very careful with this painting to keep the color darker and I spent countless hours adding texture with subtle highlights and shadows. Hope it brings you peace. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardinal No. 2

Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

I'm lovin' the color punch the deep reds and blues are creating. The crisp white Birch helps make these 4"x4" paintings grab your eye. And the should ... cardinals are one of the most easiest birds to spot. I know if I was a cardinal, I'd sure have a tough time playing hide and seek with the other birds. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cardinal No. 1

 Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.
I'm working on some cardinal paintings for a future larger scale painting. The nice thing about the 4" size is that it brings the complete composition into view as I work on it .. as opposed to working on a small section of larger painting. This small size is also fun to set on a miniature easel and display on a shelf. The large painting I'm currently working on has been named 'Solace' and it will be ready in the next day or two. I'm finishing the final highlights now, and the painting is a triptych of three 1'w x 3'h canvases.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lone Leaf

This photo combines many of the elements I've been enjoying on my recent hikes through the woods. You can see bluestone, water, leaves, color and texture. I just had to take this photo as I was jumping across the stream on various stepping stones. Last time I slipped and fell in, this time I was more careful. :) This little leaf is saying 'look at me!' He's a resilient little guy, keeping his color when all his friends have faded to brown.

Work has been continuing on the studio, and the latest canvases on my easel. My triptych forest painting is well underway, the burnt sienna undertones already in place. I can't wait to unveil this painting later this week, as well as several small robin paintings. For fun, I've decided to chronicle my studio remodeling adventures on another blog which you can find here.

God bless

Monday, October 17, 2011

The last of the leaves

We went for a nice hike yesterday, revisiting some areas I'd taken some reference photos of before. I noticed I could get a better feel for the highlights and shadows with the leaves all on the ground. That aspect was helpful, but I found myself longing for the leaves to be back on the trees for just another week or two or three. The Autumn color is so intense and beautiful that it is difficult to see the leaves all over the ground. We took a few nice family photos, jumped across rocks to the other side of the stream, a feat that could never be done in the Springtime when this river is raging. But for now all is quiet and the leaves fill the stream which preserves their color for people to come by and enjoy before all is blanketed in snow.

For now I continue my large landscape triptych painting and just for fun a few red robins on small canvases to be posted later in the week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello Russia!

One of the features of blogging I enjoy most is the stats feature. You can see how many people have stopped by, and it keeps track of what posts are the most viewed. If you were into marketing, this feature would be immensely valuable to adjusting products to consumer demand. But in my case, it's just fun to see how many people have stopped by the blog. While the stats information is generic, you can still see what countries people have visited from, and I've noticed today that somebody from Russia stopped by so I just thought I'd say hi to whoever visited. Hopefully you'll stop back soon and see my greeting. Feel free to leave a comment. :)

I suppose I should give some information regarding painting too :) My next piece is ready to go, it's a triptych of 1'x3' canvases and it will be a landscape inspired by the moment I was standing at the base of the mountain staring through the trees at the setting sun. I'm hoping to have it finished this weekend.

My studio should be closer to completion next week as well. I'm taking some in progress photos of the project to share in the next couple of days, please stop back soon and say hi ... even if you're not from Russia. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lester Park Inspiration Photos

Hiking in Lester Park was filled with rugged trails with moss covered stones and lush vistas of Autumn golds and greens. The sunlight was filtering through the dense forest as we made our way along Amity Creek. The creek is was made famous by Samuel Snively who built a series of bridges in the early 1900's. When the seven bridges were complete they obtained the name Seven Bridges Road and the rest is history. Hiking along this creek past it's many rock formations, Birch and evergreen forests, and waterfalls ... I could imagine Mr. Snively having the same awe as I had. We have technology and modern conveniences like no other generation in history and yet I find joy in the simple pleasure of the forests. Perhaps that's why I live here in Duluth ... perhaps that's why I paint.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rock Quarry

Acrylic on 6"w x 6"h x 2"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please email me at for purchase information.

This painting makes me chuckle as I've been busy digging up my backyard, removing an old storm shed over a 12' x 24' tuckunder garage attached to my house. The garage had a asphalt driveway and block retaining walls on either side that were leaning precariously in. So after calling in some help from my folks, I've managed to make some progress digging and landscaping the entrance to my new studio space. I've unearthed at least 40 80 lb. concrete blocks and hauled them to the recycle center.

Duluth is full of rock quarries such as the one I painted ... it's just that no mere mortal man with a shovel and pickaxe could ever move them, and they shouldn't be moved, but left for all to enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Golden Glow

Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d canvas

More backlit Maples, I was experimenting with making the sky look like it was yellow leaves off in the distance. 
I've been busy working on my 'new' studio, pics coming soon. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

 Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.
This theme has featured large rock outcroppings which are scattered all over the landscape here in Duluth. I found myself focusing on the rocks, working to give them a rich textural quality while keeping their edges soft. I want the rock formations to complement the soft leafy shadows in the foreground, not contrast them. While the small size of the canvas is a challenge, the composition is simple. I'll work on these rocks a few more days before adding in more elements ... almost like a chef adding ingredients to a delicious dinner ... bon appétit!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Golden Shadows

 Acrylic on 8"w x 10"h Canvas Panel
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please email me at for purchase information.

At first I was going to feature the gold toward the horizon but decided to go big and cover the sky with gold. Sunsets can be captivating with their range of color in varying degrees of intensity. I often wonder if things were reversed and the sky was sunset colored all day and turned sky blue at sunset if we would be so captivated by the blue because it's different. We'll never know the answer to that thought but I find blue skies and sunset skies both captivating. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Inching Closer

Acrylic on 12"w x 22"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

I've been really enjoying painting the negative spaces of paintings. Some painters cringe at the thought of a vast blue sky and how to paint it to look interesting, but I've been looking for negative spaces within compositions, such as the space between tree limbs or other elements. This painting features four trees that are hanging on to each other, inching closer to the edge, just curious about what's down there. Whenever I hike along a rugged stream or lake, I want to look over cliff edges myself .. there's just something about coming close to the edge. It's better to have someone to hold onto if you slip too. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Casting Shadows

Acrylic on 18"w x 36"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please contact Lizzard's Gallery for purchase information.

Romping through the woods has given me lots of inspiration as of late and this painting reflects this. I've encountered rock formations that were so interesting that I just had to photograph them and place them in my memory for future reference. It's always amazing how the trees can grow right out of the rocks, it reflects a lot of determination of the tree's behalf. Growing where no tree has grown before. Maybe we can learn something from them. For now, I'm content to paint them and enjoy them in all their fall color. Casting their shadows on the forest floor and enjoying the view they have.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A New Look

As we've been hiking around the area I've enjoyed the change in the scenery from lush greens to thousands of shades of yellows, oranges, cranberries and browns. What I've been enjoying most lately is the forest floor, the fresh leaves fallen on mossy rocks and fallen trees. This photo sums up what I'm describing as the texture of the Birch is very compelling along with the leaves in an orderly row across the top. Almost like someone placed them there lol. I even signed this photo, as you can see my right shoe in the lower right corner of the photo. :)

With the change in season I've reviewed my blog and website and decided to lighten them up. I hope you enjoy the fresh look, my original vision was black backgrounds and heavy colors to really make my art pop off the page but I've felt the dark theme distracting ... and since I've never seen a gallery paint their walls black to feature their art, I've decided to go with a white background and user-friendly layout.

Currently on my easel are several smaller works along with a 18"x36" and a 12"x24" canvas.
I'm anticipating finishing them up this week as I'm prepping new canvases and making plans to expand my art space into a new studio space. More on that coming soon.  :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More Autumn Reference

With the Autumn leaves rapidly approaching peak color, I've been out in the woods snapping up photos as fast as I can. Yesterday we hiked along Skyline Parkway around 40th Ave. West in Duluth where there are some massive rock outcroppings reaching up towards the sky. I've always wanted to explore this area, and I was able to get right up to the base of the cliffs and snap some interesting photos in the shadow of the ridge, along with the setting sun filtering through trees. In these reference photos you can see the ridge in the background appearing like a mountain.

The rocks are crumbly, giving the impression based on their mossy texture that they've been there forever and the trees have grown up all around them. It's amazing to find pines and maples growing out of the face of the rocks or out of cracks, wherever they can find room. The leaves and ferns are blazing gold in color, but the green leaves mixed in tells me I still have time to enjoy the season's color. Today's expedition will be to Lester Park, the famous Seven Bridges Road and Lester Falls.

I'll be bringing my camera. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Inspiration

We took a nice evening hike through the rocky creek bed of upper Lincoln Park yesterday and I snapped up as many photos as my camera could hold. The sun was setting and the shadows and deep colors were so peaceful and beautiful that it was difficult to leave. Sometimes I forget how blessed we are to live in such a place surrounded by rugged wilderness that has remained for the most part untouched. I've been thinking about the direction for my next series of paintings and I've found myself drawn to compositions that feature bluestones with maples, birch and pine trees growing above the rocks. I suppose the rocks anchor the composition, much like the foundation of a house, but I'm drawn to the subtle shades of blue I see in the rocks featured in these photos. 

When I view art, I always want to know why the artist chose the subject matter. It is rare to speak to the artist and usually the closest you can get to an explanation is the artist's statement. That's where the internet comes in handy, to offer a place for explanation and inspiration. I'm drawn to what I choose to paint because the subject matter connects with me emotionally and I try with every painting to capture the feeling I had when I viewed the subject matter.

I'm excited to begin a new series. I can't wait to pick up the brushes and begin the creative process all over again. After I dropped off my work at The Vanilla Bean for my show, I spent a few days quietly thinking about where to go next, and while the next series may be similar to 'Twilight Maples', it will incorporate new elements that will stretch me as an artist, and I feel ready for the challenge. In the meantime, enjoy a few inspiration photos, these photos offer a glimpse into where my work is heading. Please stop by soon to view the new works as they come off the easel. -A

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vanilla Bean Art Show

Many thanks to The Vanilla Bean for hosting my art show in their gallery space. Here's a few images, please stop by sometime between now and Nov. 2 2011 to view the show.

Twilight Maples: Autumn Equinox

Acrylic on 60"w x 36"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

Last painting for the show, this one is breathtaking at this scale.

Twilight Maples: Forest Edge

Acrylic on 60"w x 36"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Not For Sale

I came across a clearing full of large maples and the forest began behind them. The shadows were deep and it was a place I wanted to remain in for a while. This is the largest canvas I've ever painted. Today I travel up the North shore to hang my work at The Vanilla Bean. It will be awesome to see all my work displayed in one place. I also feel that viewing all my recent work together will give me more direction for future paintings. I will finish posting the paintings for the show this week on this blog, and if you're in the area, please stop by the show and sign my guest book. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twilight Maples: Heading Home

Acrylic on 16"w x16"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

Just a peaceful little drive through the mountains.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Final Stretch

I've been so busy preparing for my upcoming show that I haven't been posting here my latest work, but I'll get things updated here and also post my new work to my website later this week. I have a nice 5'x3' finished (my largest painting ever!) along with a 16"x16" ... and I have another 5'x3' canvas on my easel already in the works, I feel that these last couple of paintings will really make an impression at my show. I will be sure to get some photos of my work when it's hung. I also can't wait to see all the work together at the show. Stay tuned! :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twilight Maples: Peaceful Feeling

Acrylic on 36"w x 24"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

My wife had the honor of naming this painting, and she doesn't even know it yet. :) She'll read it here in the not to distant future I'm sure, though. I finished this painting and hung it in the living room to view it as I often do with my work. I sat down and enjoyed the feeling this painting gave me and decided to call it finished. I had plans to add additional elements to this piece but found myself ready to stop when I finished the long shadows in the foreground. This painting is part of series of works featuring fall Maples. I often work in series, exploring sizes and compositions and subtle color differences, enjoying the creative process. What brings me the most joy is when someone connects with a painting as my wife did with this piece as she viewed it and said it gives her a peaceful feeling. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Twilight Maples: Sunset Maples Diptych

Acrylic on Two 6"w x 6"h x 2"d Canvases
Click on image above to enlarge.

These canvases look nice on a wall or together on a display shelf. I added a cool hillside in the background ... shades of purple grow deeper as the light fades down the hill to a deep purple. I'm going to be working in this theme for a while, exploring the effect of twilight shadows on the fall landscape.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Twilight Maples: Five Shadows

Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

Another small canvas, I'm really enjoying the transparent quality I'm getting out of the paint. It's a challenge as I'm varying the pressure with the brushwork, but it's getting the depth I'm looking for ... a layering of texture and color. Just like a late-Autumn forest floor. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Twilight Maples: Larger Than Life

Acrylic on 4"w x 4"h x 1.5"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

I couldn't resist giving this painting the title Larger Than Life as this is the smallest size I've ever worked in. Weighing in at a whopping four inches by four inches ... I must admit I struggled with my brushstrokes and found myself concentrating more than usual with this painting. As I view this work on screen, I find I can see the texture of the canvas, and I'm enjoying the depth the texture is giving to this work. This is why I wish people could view my art in person and not on screen as they are missing a wealth of detail on screen, but my show is coming up soon where people can view my work in person and also I'm hopeful to work with a local gallery or two to display my work on a regular basis. I enjoyed the challenge of this painting though, and will post a few more of these little guys before beginning my next challenge in a couple weeks ... a 5'w x 3'h painting. That size is definately larger than life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Waves of Mercy

Acrylic on 24"w x 36"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.

This is one of those paintings where the painter wishes to express themselves without agonizing over details. I envisioned five Geraniums in a landscape that had visual form and repetition. You'll notice this painting has five background layers: a white foreground of Sweet Alyssum, followed by the Geranium leaves and flowers, then the yellow perennial bushes, then greens (topped with yellow Daisies), and finally blue sky. The five layers repeat the same shape, reflecting the influence of the Geraniums. I felt that the Geraniums carried the significance in this piece, which is why I labored so much on the color and texture of this piece, wanting it to be right while letting it have a playful feel at the same time. I often feel like we can influence our surroundings and relationships more than we give ourselves credit for. Our lives can have a ripple effect on our family, friends, neighbors and community. I often find myself glancing too quickly at small things while ignoring the larger picture. If we don't judge at first glance but look deeper, we'll find our surroundings aren't so bad. 

For next week I'll be exploring the Autumn landscapes, trying to capture on canvas the special time of year when the Birches and Maples cover the forest in blazing color while brightening our lives. It is also a time of harvest, rejoicing and thankfulness. I have a 2'x3' canvas, a 16"x16" canvas and several 6"x 6" and even 4"x 4" canvases prepped. I'm thinking I'll build some miniature easels to set the smaller canvases on when they are finished for presentation. Stop back soon, I have a feeling next weeks works will be special. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Geranium Jive

Acrylic on 14"w x 16"h x 2"d Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please email me at for purchase information.

This painting and the one I'll post tomorrow are a lesson in patience and and perseverance. I wanted to capture the color and texture I saw in the flowers and their surroundings so I worked on layering the blues, greens, and pinks; many with transparencies; to get the color I was after. I don't feel like the photo does justice to the brushstrokes in this painting. I suppose you could count the thousands of brushstrokes in my paintings, but that's not the point. The point is for the viewer to identify with the mood and emotion of the subject matter. I realize that art is subjective and not everyone will identify with a particular painting, but as long as I'm jiving with the painting I know others will. Do you jive?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This week I've been busy working on a 2'x3' geranium landscape as well as a 16" square geranium close-up painting. While I'm happy with the background in both paintings, I've reworked the flowers themselves as I've really wanted to get the color right. I've looked at them several times in their natural setting in different lighting as well as on a computer screen, and the pink is really a challenge. I've labored to capture the texture of the petals without compromising the color, and I believe I'm getting very close. I anticipate posting the smaller of the two paintings tomorrow and possibly the larger painting by Friday.

I'm excited to start my next landscape series of birches and maples in fall color with the focus being on the vertical lines and hilly backgrounds. I'm thinking I'll try another 2'x3' as well as a 16" square and have some fun with a couple small 6" x 6" paintings as well. Stop back soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twilight Maples: Loaded Maples No. 2

Acrylic on 8"w x 10"h Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please email me at for purchase information.

This painting along with Loaded Maples No. 1 were painted during the time I completed Twilight Maples Diptych. Maple trees have a way of really loading up their leaves. I suppose they don't care for the hot summer sun so they attempt to block it with their leaves. They also keep all of their leaves to themselves in the summer, but they are more than willing to share their leaves in the fall as the leaves fall gracefully to the ground. The leaves provide a colorful textural carpeting for the forest floor and help fertilize the soil and provide shelter for bugs and small fuzzy critters. And a playground for children.

I think the maples smile when they see kids jumping into their leaves. :)

Twilight Maples: Loaded Maples No. 1

Acrylic on 8"w x 10"h Canvas
Click on image above to enlarge.
Please email me at for purchase information.

This painting along with Loaded Maples No. 2 were painted during the time I completed Twilight Maples Diptych. The vision for these smaller 8x10" canvases was to show a maple tree as I always remember them in the fall ... loaded with blazing leaves. There's nothing like a maple tree in the fall, and Northern Minnesota is covered with these magnificent trees, along with Birch, Aspen, and a host of different pine tree species. I'd like to continue this fall landscape theme, but I do need to pause and complete a few floral landscapes that are in the works in preparation for my upcoming show at the Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Twilight Maples Diptych

Acrylic on 2-12"w x 36"h x 2"d Canvases
Click on image above to enlarge.

This painting marked yet another step in my style progression. I've been working on keeping a consistent color saturation in my paintings, along with consistent brushstrokes .. yet I went off the deep end on this painting. I painted this one entirely in the square brushstroke style on black canvas and I really enjoyed painting this one. I love the negative spaces between the trees, the long shadows and transparency in the orange leaves. If you've ever seen sugar maples in the fall, you know what blazing color these special trees are able to achieve. Perhaps I'll linger a while here in this forest, enjoying the peace that this complete isolation can bring, listening to the leaves and twigs snap beneath my feet and smell the familiar fragrance of Autumn leaves and the changing of the seasons. Like a good book that ends too soon and you have to say goodbye to the characters in the story who have become like friends to you, I need to move on to the next painting. The next painting is calling me, and I think I'll continue in this brushstroke style for a while to see where it leads. Cheers. :)