Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Wellfleet Harbor"

Oil   6"x8"  Canvas Board   NFS

This little painting was done on location during a workshop I took on Cape Cod a few years ago. The instructor was Charles Sovek, an artist I greatly admire and respect. He passed away two years ago, and I felt as if I'd lost a dear friend, even though I had just gotten to know him briefly during the workshop. My painting is not nearly as bright and vibrant as the examples he painted that day. It was rainy and windy and I seemed to capture some of the grayness of the scene instead. But, to be out painting that week with a great artist in an amazing place was an experience I'll never forget.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Floats" - SOLD

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board  

Sometimes a painting subject is as close as your own backyard. These floats hang on the side of my garden shed and are my own little reminder of some of my favorite places like Cape Cod, MA and Monhegan Island, ME and Seaside, OR and Homer, AK. I may be a long way from the ocean, but it seems likes it's always in the back of my mind (and in the back of my yard.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Bar Harbor, Maine"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board   NFS

This is my favorite of the little plein air paintings I did on location in Maine. I set up my easel on the porch of our motel, high on a hill overlooking Frenchman Bay. The early morning sun was sparkling on the water and just catching the tops of the trees in the foreground. I painted quickly, trying to simplify the scene and not go back over the brushstrokes that were already working. So many times, I go back to "fix" some little thing and lose the fresh, "un-fussy" quality that I'm striving for, and I'm never quite able to put it back the way it was. A painting goes through so many stages on the way to being called finished, and the final version isn't always the artist's favorite. Still, I learn so much each time I set out to complete a painting that the ups and downs along the way are always worth it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Camden Beach"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board   NFS

This was painted on location on a little stretch of beach in Camden, ME, down the hill and down a flight of old wooden steps from our motel. We had the beach all to ourselves for a couple of hours that July morning. Of course the light changed and the tide changed in the time it took me to paint this, and I kept changing the painting to try to keep up. It's not a masterpiece, but it is the first painting I ever painted in Maine so it's kind of special to me. Over the next few months, I'll post many more paintings done from photos taken on that trip. Something about the Atlantic just keeps me coming back.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Sand Beach, Acadia, Maine"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board   NFS

I painted this on a windy beach surrounded by fellow wave-watchers, marauding seagulls, young sandcastle builders, and even some hardy souls who were swimming in the 50 degree water. The sun was high in the sky so the water was an amazing combination of blues and greens against the pink granite cliffs. It was hard to leave this spot after working on the painting for a couple of hours, but by then, the incoming tide was nearly lapping at our feet and there was so much more of Acadia to explore.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas  

Reflections are a lot of fun to paint. When I stop thinking about what the object actually is and, instead, focus on the colors and values, the impression of a shiny surface just happens. It's amazing when I step back and, sure enough, the painting really looks like the object I'm trying to paint. It doesn't always happen, but it's fun when it does.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Beside Still Waters"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

Another little painting of Maine...this one a salt marsh near Bass Harbor. I loved the way the tidal river meandered back into the distance and how blue the water appeared in the foreground. I found myself scouting out how and where you could launch a kayak in this body of water. It would have been so cool to explore and see where the river would take me. But, doing a painting of it is the next best thing. That way my imagination can take me where my kayak couldn't.

Monday, September 21, 2009

'51 Chevy

Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas  

What can I say? They just don't make 'em like they used to. Growing up, there was always a Chevy parked somewhere on the farm. We had two different pickups of this was nicknamed "The Blue Goose." What a vehicle. As crazy as it sounds, if given the choice between a hot sports car or a '51 Chevy pickup, I'd take the Chevy in a heartbeat. You can take the girl off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the girl.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas board  

There's something so appealing about a kid's box of watercolors. Somebody has used these with great gusto to produce artwork from the heart. Remember what it was like, opening up that new set and seeing those six colors (plus brown and black) all lined up and begging you to dip that brush in? What are you waiting for? Get yourself a little paintbox and just dive in for old times sake.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board   NFS

Another irresistable red building...this one perched on the shore of a quiet cove on a Minnesota lake, just down the hill from my brother and sister-in-law's cabin. I painted this early in the morning on the beach before the rest of the family was up. Again, I tried to keep it fresh and spontaneous and not overwork it. That was partly because the minute everybody was awake, there were places to go and things to do and the paints were packed away for the day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Yunker Farm Paint-Out"

"The House at Yunker Farm"
Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board

One really hot day in August, a group of us met at Yunker Farm and the adjacent Botanical Gardens to paint for the day. I painted the gardens in the morning and early afternoon, but this wonderful, old, red brick farmhouse kept calling to me. I only had about an hour's worth of energy and concentration left in me when I set up to paint this view, but it was fun to just put the paint down and not fuss with it. My record of the architecture isn't perfect, but I can look at the painting and remember exactly what my impressions were of the day and the place.


"Alphabet Garden"
Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board

At the Botanical Gardens, there's this wonderful area laid out with big ABCs made out of bricks or stones or whatever. The names of the flowers and plants around and within each letter begin with that letter. The garden is planted and kept up totally by volunteers. I tried to capture the path and the riot of colors backlit by the morning sun.
"Garden Shadows"
Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board

Most of the group set up in the shade near this little garden to paint. This patch of flowers only takes up a few square feet, but it was delightful. Just goes to show that good things often do come in small packages.... just like little paintings, right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Moon Lake"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

A little closer to home, these two paintings were done on location one quiet June morning at Moon Lake near Valley City. I set up my easel and umbrella on the dock and painted the trees and reflections toward the shore. The only sounds were prairie sounds like birds, the breeze, and rustling grass, and a muskrat who swam under the dock and startled me so bad, I nearly fell in the lake.

"Moon Lake Too" - SOLD

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

This view is toward the north shore of the lake. The water was just as calm this particular morning as when we used to come up to the lake and go waterskiing in the early evenings, back when we were much younger. Life was sure simpler then. We've all changed but the lake is still the lake.

It was a great way to spend a morning, remembering and painting a bit of our youth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Overlooking Camden, Maine"

 Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

This view is from the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park. I painted it after we got home from our trip to Maine this summer. This was early evening, looking out over Penobscot Bay and Vinalhaven Island in the distant haze. The next day we went sailing in these waters on the windjammer Surprise. The winds were stiff and the day was gorgeous. For someone from land-locked North Dakota, it doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Go Fish" - SOLD


Acrylic   24"x48"   Stretched Canvas

This is one of the largest paintings I've done lately. I just picked it up this afternoon from a show it was in at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, MN so I thought I'd post it today.

This is for all the fishermen in my know who you are. You're the ones who can thank Grandpa or the uncles (and aunts!) or your dad for teaching you how to stick a worm on your hook or how to tie that knot so you wouldn't lose your favorite spinner. There's no rhyme or reason to the lures I picked for this painting. I just liked the colors and reflections and those little eyes looking back at me. It reminds me of the tangle you might find in some tackle boxes and it speaks of the eternal optimism of fishermen everywhere who think, "If this one doesn't get a nibble, another color or shape or size surely will."

The title can mean either "Go forth and fish." ...or...
"Go, you fish!!! This is a trap! Don't fall for it!" ...You decide.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Kodak Moment" - SOLD

Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas  

Oh, if this old camera could talk, the stories it could tell...of birthday parties, weddings, 4th of July picnics, first days of school, Christmas presents being opened...
I found this camera in an antique shop and I wonder whose family it saw through its viewfinder. Where did they live? What did they celebrate? As I painted this, I was picturing my own grandma holding a camera exactly like this one, lining us kids up on the front steps of the farmhouse for a snapshot. How much richer we are for all those pictures and for all those people we were standing next to in them. This one's for you, Grandma.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Acrylic  6"x6"  Stretched Canvas 

I love baseball. And I love to paint. Lots of good memories were swirling around me as I tried to capture the leather and stitching. Playing ball with my cousins as a kid. Going to Twins games with my family. The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of summer. Summer's fading and so are the Twins' hopes of post-season play. Oh well, there's always next year....for lots of things.