Monday, December 27, 2010

Painting horses from life

Painting outdoors can be challenging. Painting horses from life adds another level to that. Unlike a human model, "posing" a horse with the expectation of them staying in that position for 20 minutes is not possible. Plus, the light is changing every seven minutes. My goal in painting horses from life is to capture the essence of the horse, the feel of light, and be as anatomically correct as I can get. There is nothing more invigorating than painting from life, and living in the moment is where horses live. If I can connect to that horse and make a statement with paint, I can remember that and take it into the studio when I work on commissions and don't have access to a live model.
When I approach a commission I consider the feel of the horse, within the context of light and the surrounding landscape. Bringing the personality, spirit, and essence of the horse to life is my goal. It has been an honor to paint each horse that I have, because the final spark in the chain of inspiration is connecting with the viewer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Outdoor Painting Weather has Arrived!

The Fall weather signals a time to get outdoors in the desert. This is my favorite time of the year, the light, changing leaves, and the cool temperatures beacon me to grab my paint and "take it outside"! I have been able to get out the past couple of weeks and have been treated to sightings of coyotes, fox, javalina, and raccoons. This is the time of year when painting horses and the landscape from life is what I enjoy the most.

I also have several paintings at the SunDust Gallery in downtown Mesa. If you are in the area, please stop by for a visit. They can also be viewed online, and shipping can be arranged.
Today is also the start of the Plein air class I am teaching through Central Arizona College. I enjoy teaching, meeting new friends and making the painting process fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Auction to benifit Jeremy Cluff's Project Cowboy event

"Arizona Cowboy" Oil 16x20

Arizona horseman, Jeremy Cluff has been training my Percheron/TB cross for the trail. I had heard several friends talk about how much Jeremy had helped them with their horses so I gave him a call. He has done a great job with a big horse that could be challenging at times.

During one of Comanche's training rides, Jeremy told me about entering Project Cowboy, a competition event for trainers. The event held in Fort Worth, will require expenses of travel, entry fee, food and lodging. I told Jeremy that I would like to participate in sponsoring him. To this end, I am offering an original oil painting of Jeremy, titled, "Arizona Horseman". This 16x20 original painting is framed and ready to hang.

Auction terms: Starting bid is $100.00, with incremental increases of $20.00. Bids will be placed on the comments section of this blog and the ending time will be Friday, Oct. 1st, 8:00 p.m. mst. Payment is due within 72 hours at the end of the event, so funds will be available for Jeremy's trip. I am splitting the amount of the winning bid 50/50 with Jeremy Cluff. Please help me in support of his event and tell your friends too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mustangs, Plein air painting and new friends

Last week I traveled to Salida, CO via Cortez, CO to attend a workshop with Gabor Svagrik and Susan Diehl. On the way up, I stopped in Disappointment Valley and had the chance to observe, photograph and paint the Spring Creek Basin Mustangs. Thanks to TJ Holmes for the information on this herd. After leaving Cortez, I went through Del Norte and met up with Karen Bonnie. She is an artist I really respect for bringing color and life to her work.
The workshop was a wonderful time for learning and meeting new friends. To be able to paint outside this time of year was a treat. (It is way too hot to paint right now in AZ). Team teaching by Gabor and Susan was a delight that was infused with energy and information. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to learn from these two modern masters.
With all of the beautiful reference I gathered, and new tips and tools acquired, I look forward to the paintings that will result from this week of Mustangs, Friends and painting!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plein air at the Lower SaltRiver

Plein air painting on the Lower salt River.

Eagle in flight.

The two white specks in the center are Bald Eagles.

When I went out to paint this morning, I hoped to catch a glimpse of the small wild horse herd that lives along the Lower Salt River. I had my painting backpack, tripod and camera ready to go. After walking up and down the bank in the places that had a large quantity of sign, and seeing none, I looked for a place to paint. Although it had been several weeks since I had last been out to paint, I was surprised to not see any sign. The only footprint was from a raccoon.
Setting up with the sun at my back, I was looking down stream, and noticed a white speck on the brush. I got my camera out, and was delighted to see a Bald Eagle! There are a couple of nesting pairs in the area, and it was a treat to see not only one, but two just down stream from me. It seems like I spent more time watching the Eagles than studying the landscape, but i got a quick painting done despite the distraction. As I was packing up to go, one eagle soared overhead and gave me a nice in flight display. I am always rewarded with incredible beauty when out painting, and today was another unexpected blessing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bruce Greene workshop

Kenny, our Cowboy model.
The quick12x16 oil sketch of Kenny.
This past week was packed with intensity. The Bruce Greene workshop was full of painting, lecture and demos. Our class of 11 students, was a very talented group, yet I could see improvement in each one as Bruce pressed us to be the very best artist we could be. Working from live models, we had time to warm up with gesture sketches and follow that with quick oil paintings. Although we planned to use Adobe as our Equine Model, we got rained out that day.
In addition to improving our painting skill, Bruce really challenged each of us to pursue our own professional development at a more focused level. This involved three areas. One was to clearly define our goal. Two was to practice basic skills and develop new ones. Three was to be aware of our state-of-mind. As artists, being mindful of what it will takes to daily focus on our art and make a determined effort to keep focus despite alluring distractions or inconveniences is no small task. How do you stay focused and keep your spirit ready to create?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Up coming workshop with Bruce Greene

The week of April 19th I will be attending a Workshop with Cowboy Artist Bruce Greene. This is a juried workshop offered by Scottsdale Artist School, and promises to be a great time for learning. This week, the SAS is hosting several of the Cowboy Artists as instructors. Harley Brown, John Coleman, Mehl Lawson, Oreland Joe and R.S. Riddick will also be teaching workshops. The week will really start on Sunday with a Reception for CAA Instructors, SAS Board members and registered CAA students. It will be a great opportunity to meet these artists that I admire.
The workshop with Bruce will involve painting both horse and human models. I am pleased to be the host for the Equine Model. Bruce's top pick is my Palomino Quarter horse, Adobe. I have spent the last couple of weeks getting him used to umbrellas, being tied up, and being closely scrutinized. (For a horse that had surgery/chemo on his nose, sometimes he isn't too sure about that). I'm sure when he realizes that everyone want to portray him in all his beauty, he will quickly get used to the paparazzi!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vibrant growth and new challenges

I made a commitment to improve my blog and make it inviting and easy to read. So I signed up for the Blog Triage class with Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield. I will be posting my assignments here, so feel free to comment or make suggestions.
I would like to extend an invitation to artists, horse lovers and collectors to stick your head in and say "Hi", and to re-post to this to friends in your network. I write about my Studio and Plein air adventures to share my art world with you. But, in addition to that, I like to make the very personal connection to how I see painting and horsemanship as they reflect each other in my world. I would also like to make this a place that is interesting and inspiring for readers. So some of my future posts will be guest posts that I find inspiring and want to pass along to you as well. The inspiration for my artwork is, "The Heart of the Horse", please join me on my journey!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Panting and Horsemanship, a personal connection

Painting is what I "do". Being an artist is very much a way of being, seeing and living. That is also true for me in the way I view Horsemanship. It is a way of "being, seeing, and living". The Elements that make a painting successful are also inherent in horsemanship. Harmony, movement , rhythm, balance, and feel. Living in the moment and being aware of the reflective nature of horses and painting is part of what I want to express in my work.

The Horsemanship Connection. I have been thinking about the process of making the right thing obvious when teaching a horse something new. The best example I could think of was teaching Comanche to pick his feet up. When I got him, at 15 months old, he did not know how to balance and pick his feet up. I wanted to set him up to succeed, and teach him as much as I could. So, I taught him to back up one step at a time. I then picked up the foot that was poised to come off the ground next. This way his weight was already shifted onto his other three legs and he is set up to balance. Comanche is willing to pick up his feet for me without being pulled, pushed or jerked around. I know this concept of release will also translate into requests to pick up his feet while under saddle.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Painting a Mule Study from Life

This was the first really nice day we have had in a while, and I got out to Mammoth to paint horses from life. The second quick study I did was a portrait of of mule, "Charlie" is his name. He had wonderful color transitions around his nose, eyes and jaw area. Plus, there is something beautiful about mule ears. Curious and engaging at the same time. His rider had to leave before I was able to finish, but I enjoyed the time I was able to work on the study. (In the first photo, you can see him on the left.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arizona Horse Expo

Ginger Kathrens, producer/Cinematographer of the PBS series on Cloud, the Wild Mustang along with Michael Blake, author of "Dances with Wolves" were the keynote speakers at the first Arizona Horse Expo. In addition to these advocates for the Mustangs, there were quality trainers giving demonstrations in a variety of disciplines. The weather was perfect for those that Exhibited and the crowd was large enough that it will be held at a larger venue next year.
It was a special honor for me to have some time to talk with Ginger Kathrens about the her experience chronicling Clouds herd and the status of the Mustang herds. The herds are currently being rounded up and put into holding pens at an alarming rate, and at great expense. Without an independent audit on the herds population and the BLM's fiscal mismanagement, Americans Mustangs are in grave peril.
Most of you know that I had the opportunity to observe and photograph the Onaqui herd last June with Gene Praag. This was a deeply moving experience, and became the basis for a series of paintings, "Among the Mustangs". Please visit The Cloud Foundation's website for updated information on round-ups, the role of the Ruby Pipeline, and who you can contact.