Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anatomy of show set-up

Just returned from my biggest show of the year, Safari Club International. With a quad-island booth, I have 135 linear feet of wall space to fill. Completing that much work is a year- long project and you have seen some of it in progress on previous posts.
This year I decided to have fewer framed prints and greater spacing between the originals. Several of the posts I have read have said too much work crammed together can be distracting to potential customers. With that in mind, truck and trailer are packed and we have the long drive south to Las Vegas.
Setting the alarm early the first day of set-up, we arrive at the staging area and are placed 3rd in our group to drive into the building.
Day one of set-up: lay carpet, walls up, main and supporting bars added, complete all electrical.
Day two of set-up: paintings hung (except for a couple of outside wall pieces because large vehicles are still driving through), prints (one of each) in print racks, description cards for each piece, table cloths on 2 tables, Home Depot run for six 60 watt equivalent flood 2700K LEDs for the swing arm lamps. (some of my lights felt too bright and more subdued lighting I feel will better showcase several paintings.)
Day three of set-up: change old for new light bulbs, optimal light adjustment for each piece, hang two outside pieces, put out brochures, business cards, and guest book and tidy the booth for opening day.

stacks of panels                                      one of the first exhibitors in the hall
support bars                                             electrical

hanging name sign, last of paintings to place

Booth from main aisle

small canvas giclee print section

outside walls

  And I am pleased to say I had a great show. Thank you to all my previous patrons who added new works to their collections and a hearty thank you to my new collectors!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Ptarmigan Time
18" X 26"
Original Oil

Ptarmigan Time or should I say Ptarmigan Ptime.
After looking at my last post, I realized I didn't have the feeling of the fog-laden tundra I wanted. Also, the left bird's head was not distinct enough from the background. I didn't want him "popping" from the background like the other bird, but he needed more.
These two issues could have one solution. If I glazed the background with a cool blue, I could create fog and the cooler color around the bird's head would make his warm head stand out from the background. 
This glazing would be a bit tricky. In order to create the sensation of fog on an uneven terrain in close quarters, I didn't want a smooth and even glaze. The fog needed to "settle" more heavily in some areas than others. Also, the upper right would need more to create the feeling of distance. To accomplish this fog illusion I brushed on liquin mixed with King's Blue, paynes gray, and Titanium white and let it dry. The next day I added another coat changing the color slightly depending on the area. The next day, another coat. By putting on the layers slowly, I could carefully plan my fog.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


If you didn't guess the birds from the last post, they are ptarmigan. I saw a flock along the Denali Highway in Alaska. Fog was hanging low in the rolling tundra landscape. There were young of this year and adults and my 30 minutes with them was special. If I didn't move, one or more would come closer and pose.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Time for a couple of birds

Time for a bird painting. Wanting to paint a pair from the north country, below is the start of the piece. Maybe you can guess what birds they are.

This piece is inspired by some time in the tundra. I find this type of terrain fascinating. It may seem fairly flat but it is filled with rolling edges, tiny plants, short grasses, lichen, and wild berries including blueberries, raspberries, cloud berries, cranberries (which are wonderfully edible as is), soap berries and more. Of course it would be easier to paint this pair in snow but then this multi-hued landscape would be covered.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


22" X 50"
Original Oil

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


When I began this piece, I blocked in the background grasses first and painted a base for the foreground grasses. After living with the painting for a while, the background grasses didn't feel right. Some blades were too defined and drew attention from the cats and the overall color was a bit dreary. I just wasn't buying it.
Wanting to keep some of the feel of the grasses especially on the right side above the cat's tail, I used naples yellow as a base and glazed the whole top half with liquin. As I moved across the painting some glazed sections have raw umber, more yellow, some grays. After one coat, I knew it wasn't enough. Yes, it lightened and had the desired effect of softening the look but it only went part of the direction I envisioned.
Time for more glazing.

Above is the completed upper grass section. (Note: it looks much lighter in the center because of my studio lights. The actual color is fairly even throughout.)

Next step: finish the foreground grasses. The center section is almost done.

Friday, January 8, 2016

More cat

Usually I would continue on the female's body and paint her tail last but I decided to move to her tail to set the lightest color in the painting.
With the tail complete, it was obvious to me the fur under her neck and onto her chest needed to be lightened. Taking the tail's "white" (titanium white and cadmium yellow deep) and adding a little bit more cadmium yellow deep, I brushed more highlights on her chest. To make the new highlights stand out, I also added more shadow color (titanium white, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, raw umber, paynes gray.) Not only does her brighter chest now balance better with her tail but it also further defines her space from her partner's.