Red Rocks drawing

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Arches drawing 1

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Red Rocks value sketch

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Murphy foreshortened 

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Abstract mountain shapes 

  I was sitting on my deck waiting for a storm when I noticed the waning light producing these wonderful abstract shapes on the cliffs to the north. I had to draw these and capture the definition of rock as described by the evergreens and shifting shadows. By the time the storm blocked out the light, I had a fairly good idea of what was happening, but had made the mistake of putting down my first pencil and picked up a harder one making some strokes lighter than I wanted. 

I learn how to make abstract shapes best through observing nature.

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Cabo Tree sketch new

I drew this tree in Cabo a long time ago, painted it, and have drawn it again to explore it’s weird, twisted ways.  I was originally drawn to it’s smooth bark and open branches against the blue sky. Then, I saw the o- shaped yawn in the middle of the trunk. It seemed out of place and foreboding. Suddenly, the branches appeared more twisted.

I keep returning to this tree to see what I can understand from it’s tangled reach into the sky as it seems to cry out for attention.

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100 drawings or paintings by the end of the year

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“Reflections” was completed a couple of years ago, before I had ever heard of the term ‘lyrical abstract’ painting. Yet, I would describe this small painting as exactly that. I was inspired to paint from a dream I had had and this was eventually the result.

I began the painting with some cadmium orange as the underpainting. I wanted to ensure that when I scraped away subsequent layers, a little dazzling contrast would shine through. I believe this, in part, is how the reflections were achieved along with the strategic use of white.

There were times when I worked on this piece at 3am. It possessed me occasionally. The painting is small but mighty and took many hours to complete. 

I believe it was worth it.


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“A Little Bit Further” – a painting with an unusual beginning 

I started the abstract painting “A Little Bit Further” with a wash of primary colors. I initially I magined the painting would result in an abstract landscape eventually, but after allowing the underpainting layer to dry, I felt differently.  The painting needed to sit for awhile, as it wasn’t speaking to me. Two days ago, that all changed…the canvas spoke to me loud and clear!

This canvas wanted me to employ the knife instead of the brush for paint application.

There was a conspiracy of color and music in my studio at the time. 

I couldn’t stop myself – In a scrape on, scrape off fashion, I pushed and pulled the shapes until I felt I had achieved what I 

A Little Bit Further

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“Windows” a Series of Happy Accidents

I hadn’t intended to create the effect of looking through windows in my new painting. I originally imagined the piece would have a looser feel using splatters and drips. I wanted to explore the color blue in this painting, and while I expected the result to have a quieter mood surrounding it, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the astonishing surprise viewed through the windows. 

I started with a light tone of blue and red for the under painting and then moved right away to the fun part- drips! The canvas was tilted while I applied darker blue to one end. I manipulated a few running drips here and there, but for the most part, let them be. 

Once the drips had set, I returned to the painting and felt it needed an emphasis on line. The way in which I wanted to do that was to apply painter’s tape to a couple of areas. I chose a corner of the canvas and crossed two pieces of tape one over the other in that section.

I applied some blue with gloss medium closest to the tape and a little white in the open areas to create opacity. I had an idea that the layer underneath the tape might appear more clear and transparent than the areas I left untaped. When I pulled the tape up once the paint was dry, I was pleasantly surprised. 

It was like peeking into another world. 

I enhanced a few areas that had been under the tape with India ink and white paint.  I loved the effect so much that I took a smaller piece of tape and repeated the experiment in a different area of the painting. The result in that area is less dramatic, but it works to pull the painting’s composition together. Finally, I added a few hints of red here and there. Every painting needs a little red.


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