About Me

My photo
I am a native Arkansan and a painter. Join me as I comb my home state for all sorts beautiful and fascinating subject matter ranging from magnificent vistas, crystal clear rivers and streams, majestic mountains, desolate and decrepit structures, bizarre businesses and everything in between. I currently reside outside Little Rock, Arkansas with my 2 wonderful sons. Most all paintings shown here are for sale. Feel free to contact me for pricing and availability.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shutting this blog down???

I have been thinking for some time about shutting this blog down.  When I started it, I felt like I needed to separate paintings I did for my Painting Arkansas project from everything else.  But I have found that 1) I don't do enough that is clearly not Arkansas related to keep this blog space fresh and 2) I don't really feel the same compulsion to keep these paintings seperate.  I have had two solo shows entitled "Painting Arkansas" so perhaps I am becoming more comfortable with that as an identifier.  At one time, I wondered what I would do when the Painting Arkansas project was completed.  Would I want to keep blogging under that?  These aren't huge weighty topics with which to struggle but it is still something which crosses my mind.

I guess if anyone really wants to know what I am up to, please visit and follow the Painting Arkansas blog as I update it much more frequently.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Painting Arkansas Solo Show

I have a solo show opening next week at Cantrell Gallery.  The reception is Friday, June 28th from 6-8pm.  The show runs until August 17th.  If you are in the area, please come by and see it!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Nars #2

The Nars #2
24X30, Oil on Canvas

The Nars, or the Narrows for those of you who don't speak the English dialect peculiar to the Ozark mountains, is the last vestige of a once mighty mountain of limestone high in the Boston Plateau. Below and to the left is the Buffalo National River. As you stand at this location, I guess the river is about 100 feet below you. To the right and about the same distance down would be the Richland valley. Millions of years ago, Richland Creek scoured the mountain away and then slowly moved across the valley to it's current location at least a 1/4 mile away. As Richland Creek meandered away, the Buffalo moved in and took out the other side of the mountain, leaving this narrow strip of rock. The brave adventurous type can cross this strip and climb up the throne on the other side. At it's narrowest, the rock ledge is only a couple of feet wide and while the distance to the ground is not terrifying, a slip would certainly result in a broken leg or worse. The ride down that way would be extremely bumpy to say the least. This is a pretty isolated place and to fall here alone without a GPS transmitter would probably be disastrous, especially if you fell onto the Richland Valley side. I certainly wasn't brave enough to cross!
I have only been to the Nars twice in my life and when we went here to get reference pictures a few weeks ago, I was actually pretty concerned about being able to find it again. The first time I went was about 20 years ago and I was working for the Youth Conservation Corp building and maintaining trails in the national park. A county road runs right past it but that road is all but abandoned. The Nars is marked on some maps but there are no signs pointing you to it and if you have never been there, you could very easily walk right past the trail taking you up to it.
Downstream on the Buffalo side is a place now colloquially called Skull Bluff. It used to be called the Bat House by locals. This was the very first place I ever went camping with my dad, uncle and grandfather. We slept open air with the milky way stretched out across the sky above us. I think I was only about 4 or 5 but still have very vivid memories of that gravel bar.
The Nars is a very special location to me. Not because I've spent a lot of time here or any reason that most people might consider a place special. It's special because it was obviously very special to my family. Visiting my grandparents in Pindall as a child, I would hear them talk about The Nars all the time. It was a landmark for locating places and people in time. "Remember when old so and so went up the Nars?" "About a mile past the Nars is such and such." My dad and most of his siblings were born very close to here and it figured prominently in the landscape to them both literally and figuratively. And it took on mythical proportions in the mind of a child, much like Tir na Nog, a place of wonder and mystery.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Honorable Mention at Hot Springs Fine Arts Center Regional Show!

Burge's BBQ and Ice Cream
8X10, Oil on Panel
I am very pleased to announce that the above painting was awarded an Honorable Mention at the recent Hot Springs Fine Arts Center Spring Regional Show!  I had two pieces accepted into the show. The other accepted painting can be seen here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Resurrection! Volume 1

In previous post I discussed pulling out some old paintings and reworking them to prepare for an upcoming show.  I decided to start with a scene from downtown North Little Rock (aka Argenta.)  It depicts 3 figures waiting at a trolley stop in front of a purple building.  I chose the scene primarily because the purple building is a mainstay on Main Street in Argenta.  You really can't hardly miss it.  The painting was done in January of 2009 so it is almost 4 years old now.  Looking at it, I think it is obvious that my goal at that time was very similar to what my goal would be today if I started this painting from scratch:  a loose, immediate vibe with economy of brush stroke.

This first thing I see is that light pole on the left side traversing the entire canvas HAS to go!  Secondly, the foliage on the right side needs to either be eliminated or pruned back.  Refer to Figure 1.

Figure 1

Before I went any further in my analysis, I went ahead and took about 20 minutes to basically re-mass everything but the figures.  I knew something needed to be done about them but had not thought it through much.  At this stage, I enlarged the building ever so slightly and fixed some minor perspective issues.  See Figure 2.

Now I'm confronted with the big question of what to do about the people at the trolley stop.  The arrangement as it was painted in 2009 is cluttered.  The purple building and the trolley stop with figures occupy almost identical amounts of surface area.  The roofline of the trolley stop is perilously close to the same height as the purple building and this severely stunts any verticals in the composition.  (Perhaps that was why I hamhandedly included the light pole??)   So a critical decision must be made:  what is the painting about?  Is it about the people or the purple building?  I had named it "Waiting on the Trolley" thus making it originally about the people.  But if I genuinely want to make it about the people at the trolley stop then I really need to push the building back to subordinate it.  However, the building is the reason I wanted to paint this corner in the first place.  If I want to make it about the building then I need to subordinate the figures and the trolley stop.  Ideally, I would do this by pushing them back in space and further to the right in the picture, possibly even cropping part of the trolley stop.  This is the course of action I prefer but there is a critical consideration here.  The trolley makes a left turn right beside this purple building so the trolley stop must be clearly indicated as existing in front of that intersection!  In painting real locations, one must realize there are important details and not so important details.  This falls into the important detail column I think.  I could probably achieve the subordination I desire without sacrificing the reality of the location by increasing the presence of the road that cuts left to right across the scene.  In effect, this pushes the viewer closer to the curb and might require a slight modification of the perspective of the both the purple building and the trolley stop.

In order to prevent having to do that, I could also shift the near corner of the purple building to the left.  This would give the effect of moving the lateral street "back" relative to a diminshed size and location of the trolley stop figures without sacrificing the size of the building.

That's 3 options:
  1. Push the building back and keep figures where they are, figures are the focal point
  2. Increase the size of the building and street, move figures right and adjust perspective on both, building is the focal point
  3. Push building slightly left and figures to the right, should require little perspective change, building or street becomes focal point
Option 1 is the easiest to execute while option 3 will require the most effort.  Option 2 falls in between I think.  I opt for Option 1.  I pushed the building back by reducing it's size and reducing the saturation in the color.  After deleting the foliage on the right hand side I realized that this made too much open space and added a crepe myrtle tree further in the distance and much smaller in size.

Waiting on the Trolley

I have two more resurrections in progress.  Hopefully I'll bring them to completion soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Slowing it Down!

Slowing it Down
8X10, Oil on Panel
Apologies to those very few people who follow both of my blogs and have already seen this on Painting Arkansas.  I started this painting probably a year and half ago and could never find peace with it.  I set it aside for all that time and recently pulled it out from under a stack of junk and reworked it.
I guess this is keeping with my Trip to the Crypt series I'm working on.  By the way, the first one of those is done and I will post the results probably this weekend sometime.