Perhaps the most endangered 'big cat' in the world, the Amur leopard ranges in the valley along the Amur River—which trails the border of China and Russia. This is an amazing animal from Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL. It was a joy to paint. After studying every inch of this cat, I am in awe of its beauty. The spots in themselves are each unique, none are the same. I can't wait to study another animal. So much to choose from.
It was fun to paint something a bit different, for the past month or so I have been painting animals. Animals are probably my favorite subject to paint, but it is refreshing to change it up a bit. This oak tree is one of the many beautiful trees my family and I saw this fall at Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton IL.
This is a painting of my Dog and my Son. Ever since my son came home from the hospital my dog has been very protective of him. When he was a newborn he was always by his side. My son is already 5 years old. I am amazed at how quickly time has gone by.
This is a painting of my dog Marty. He is a 10 year old yellow lab, but still has so much energy. My wife has trained him and competed in many agility competitions. Marty has won many awards. The painting shows Marty swimming in Lake Superior.
This is another painting from my Brookfield Zoo reference photos. It was a challenging painting with so much detail in the Buffalo. I also used my imagination a bit to create the background. This was a so much fun to paint and I learned a lot from it. Below is my original reference and a few close ups.
This is a painting of a Gray Wolf from Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. My family and I are members of the zoo and visit frequently. I love animals and enjoy observing them and how they interact with one another. Because of our membership, we can go and spend lots of time observing an exhibit or two and really study the animal. A benefit of this is that I get lots of photo reference for my paintings and maybe even a few drawings in my sketch book.
Wildlife is one of my favorite painting subjects. I enjoy the challenge of making an animal feel alive. I am very happy with the outcome of this piece.
Artists' Point is one of my favorite places to sit and relax in Grand Marias, Minnesota. It is a rocky peninsula surrounded by Lake Superior. I love to hear the waves crash against the rocks, watch the boats come into the harbor, hike the trail and smell the pine trees.
This painting was so much fun to paint and it brought back memories of my trip.
This is a painting from our trip to the North Shore in Minnesota. I took reference photos on a hike to "Devil's Kettle" a large waterfall at Judge C.R. Magney State Park. This trail was not the main trail to the waterfall, but the way the light hit the trees and the path really caught my eye. So of course I had to paint it.
This weekend was the Danada Nature Art Show in Wheaton IL. I am excited to announce that I received the first place award for my painting "Refuge"! This is quite an honor for me as there were so many wonderful paintings and talented artists in this show. I wish we could have gotten a better photo though.
This painting was a blast to paint. I usually do a brown or burnt sienna underpainting. This time I decided a cerulean blue underpainting would work nicely. I took the reference for this painting on our trip to the Grand Portage National Monument in Minnesota. My family and I were having a picnic and watching these seagulls standing on the rocks. I loved the way the waves washed over the rocks leaving a beautiful shine.
This painting is based on reference from my trip to the North Shore of Minnesota. The river is so beautiful with rich amber colors. The color of the water is fascinating, I was inspired to paint it the moment I saw it.. It is so peaceful along the rivers edge. I could just sit and relax for hours.
Here is a description of why the water has this unique color... The brown color comes from the water that drains out of the swamps and bogs into the river. The decaying organic matter in the swamps creates humic acid. This is what colors the water brown. The foam comes from the water tumbling over the rocks and waterfalls. The aerated water with the humic acid and natural organic matter causes the foam. Some of the dark color comes from iron deposits located along the river's course. How do we know it's not pollution? Because there isn't any development along the 17 miles of the Cascade River. The Root Beer look of the Cascade River comes from all natural ingredients. If you love nature and rivers with beautiful waterfalls, I would recommend a trip to the Cascade River State Park. There is so much to see along the North Shore of Minnesota. Here is a link for park info http://www.northshorevisitor.com/state-parks/cascade.html
This was one of those paintings that I was inspired to paint. I felt that it would be great as a large horizontal painting. The references were taken from a walk at Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton IL. where my family and I frequently visit for Sunday afternoon walks. I love horses and each one is unique and fascinating in there own way. I painted them so that they are kind of morphing from white to brown to add more interest into the painting.
This is by far the largest painting I have ever done. It was very challenging, but I was determined to finish. Now, I can't wait to move onto my next subject.
My family and I went on a camping trip to Warren Dunes in Michigan this past weekend. We had a lot of fun. I didn't do any plein air painting, but I did take my sketchbook along. It was very challenging to draw people and boats in motion. It forced me to draw from memory at times because the subject would move or go away all together.
I have not updated my blog lately, but I have been painting. Every night after work, I paint about an hour or so. I am currently working on this 72"x36" painting. It is really taking a long time, but I am determined to finish it before I start anything else.
I didn't make it to the Elmhurst Art Guild members show last night. So we went to check it out today... It is an amazing show with a lot of talented artists at the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, IL. I didn't get an award for my painting "Daddy's Little Princess". But, there is no reward that can make me more proud than the one I am holding in my arms.
My family and I had a great vacation on the North Shore in Minnesota. I took lots of reference photos of wildlife, waterfalls, boats and landscapes. I also painted some plein air. The weather was just beautiful. Much cooler than the 100 degree weather we have been having in Chicago. I wish I could have stayed longer.
I can't wait to paint some larger landscapes from my reference photos. Stay tuned.
I had fun painting this portrait for a friend of mine. It is painted on a Fredrix nature core paint board. The board consists of a blend of vegetable based and recycled components. Its a smooth canvas wrapped around 3/4 of an inch of a hard board and sandwiched with foam. Perfect for portrait work. I think I will paint on a board like this again in the future. I would recommend it.
Here is a portrait commission I have just recently finished. Portraits are always a challenge, but I really do enjoy painting them. Sometimes a likeness can be achieved rather quickly and other times it seems to be a struggle to get there. This painting was a bit of both. In the end I am very happy with the finished piece. I hope the family will be happy with it too.
This is a painting of my daughter doing what she loves to do best. Ride here little bike up and down the driveway. She is my little princess and that is what I love to call her. I am very pleased with the finished piece. I am looking forward to painting more people in the future.
I had fun camping with the family this weekend in our new old pop-up camper. This morning I did a small plein air painting of the creek at Kings Camp. It was fun to break in my new plein air easel and enjoy the wildlife around me.
I have been very busy with this painting for the past few weeks. It is much larger than I am used to but it was fun and I learned a lot from it. Its one of those paintings that seem to never be finished. I always find something that needs to be adjusted. In the end I am very happy with the finished piece.
Last Sunday, my family and I went on a walk at Blackwell Forest Preserve. The weather was beautiful! It was in the 80's in March! I always try to bring along my camera for painting reference. These beautiful clouds were rolling in and I happened to get some good shots. This one had to be painted.
I have really been enjoying painting these landscapes. It is so much fun and peaceful, especially with classical music playing in the background. I am happy with the results of this painting. Maybe I will have to do a larger cloud painting in the future?
photo reference provided by Lisa aka Fairiegoodmother
detail of face
I really enjoyed this one. People are always a challenge to paint and get a good likeness. One of the disadvantages to acrylics is that the paint often dries a darker color than when it is was originally painted in. This makes the portrait process even more challenging. Through trial and error I have been learning to mix my colors with more accuracy.
This was the first show that I have participated in that I have had my own booth space. It was also my first time painting in an art show. It was a lot of work, but also a great experience. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't sell more than a few paintings, however, the other artists seemed to be experiencing the same. It was fun to be in the show and I was proud of my work, even if it wasn't a huge success.
I always find it hard to create more depth in a painting from a photo reference. In an effort to do this, I made the trees and the distant hills much cooler and I warmed up the foreground. Is it a successful painting? I am not sure if I like it or not, but I did enjoy myself with this one.
After painting many other subjects in the past few weeks, I was in the mood for a still life. I wanted to do one with a bottle of some sort and thought this arrangement would be perfect. The background is very loose and I kept the subject detailed. I really enjoy painting in this style and can't wait to start another.
I decided to keep this painting very loose other than the detail in the face. I also enjoy letting the underpainting appear in areas of the painting.
Most of the time my paintings have to grow on me. I may not be happy with them when I finish, but love them later... The tricky part is knowing when to stop or to keep going. It is so easy to overwork it. Because of this, I like to take frequent breaks and step away, or post my progress on facebook. Not only to share it, but to study it.