Sunday, December 13, 2020

Summer's Geranium


Summer’s Geranium 

8” X 10”

I have to confess, I’m a geranium thief. I love them and I can’t help myself. There’s something about the fragrance, the delicate flowers, and amazing variety of colors. It’s not what you think…I don’t slip pots into my pocket at the nursery or pull plants out of window boxes in front of stores. However, if I see a pretty geranium and the opportunity presents itself, I’ll pinch off a little piece, put it into water, and will it to grow.

I pinched this one over the summer in one of the rare times we ate at a restaurant, out on the patio. Ringed with containers over-stuffed with flowers, this white geranium caught my eye. Actually, several geraniums caught my eye, but I only had a moment to snag a small piece as we left. And I mean a SMALL piece: two quarter-sized leaves and about an inch of stem. I didn’t have much hope for its success, but it surprised me after one of the leaves died, a new one sprouted, and it started putting on roots like crazy. I planted it about a month later and by November, it was 10 times its original size and starting to bloom.

So I took it down to the studio and did this painting. White flowers are challenging to paint because they are not truly white. I had to break the art rules and use a little white gouache (opaque watercolor) to give it a little punch. Please don’t tell the transparent wa­­­tercolor art police.


P.S. All my paintings are for sale, by the way. I didn’t have a studio show this year because of Covid considerations, so the art is piling up in the studio. If one of my paintings is calling your name, reach out and let’s talk.

Sunday, November 8, 2020



Image 10" X 22" • with frame 16" X 28"

Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door

For nearly three seasons, the anti-deer apparatus set up around our back patio worked. However, in September a hungry doe preparing for winter, figured out a way around the fencing and the reflective tape. It took us a couple of nights to figure it out—thinking it might be a rabbit or raccoon. But no—a damn deer had found her way into our buffet of goodness.

In about a week, she’d eaten nearly everything. The ripening tomatoes, peppers, and squash we lovingly covered to protect through the usual two to three night September frost, which, every year tests gardening acumen across southwest Colorado. Those survivors had a good month to continue growing and ripening, but alas, instead they filled the doe’s belly.

I think what upset me the most was that she ate all my flowers too, which usually provide a spectacular show up until the October frost comes along. The calendula, the cosmos, the sweet peas—nipped off, stems held high with nothing at the tips where the flowers once were. After everything was gone, when a flower opened up, she would come back and chomp it off too. The only thing left was one snapdragon and a lavender plant I’d nursed from seed (which she later ate). I snipped a stalk from the snapdragon and brought it into the studio to paint as I lamented our lost fall flowers.

I painted this piece on an old cabinet door (upcycling!) which double-duties as a framed painting, thanks to the outside molding. This door is from a new batch I found at a yard sale. They are heavier, less rustic, and have a more complex profile, lending a more elegant result.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Return to Hop Valley


Watercolor painting of a brilliant sunrise

Return to Hop Valley Sunrise

10” X 8”



Sometimes a place sticks with you—and at the time—you may not think, I’m going to remember this forever, but you do. This is one of those places and times that I’ll never forget. 

We left before dawn to beat the heat hiking back out from La Verkin Creek where we’d spent a couple of nights. We were well into Hop Valley when the rising sun finally hit the far wall of the narrow canyon, the walls reflecting in the creek like fire, the shadows deep blue and purple where the sun had yet to arrive. As we rounded the curve and came into the full light of the sun, the valley ahead was a riot of orange and pink. It was breathtaking. The day grew warm quickly as the color faded to bone and buff like a song fading away.

I’ve painted this before (twice!) and I had to paint it again. Occasionally I’ll paint the same thing twice (rarely thrice), using different media. It’s as though I haven’t yet finished what I have to say about a subject. There’s still more of it inside that needs to come out in a painting, I guess.

We’ve seen some great sunrises and sunsets on our adventures. A couple of my favorites (along with this one) were at the DomelandWilderness (a wild, wild place) and HERE at Trail Camp just below Mount Whitney, the morning after we summited.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Piedra Canyon

Piedra Canyon

Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door

Image area: 12.5” X 22”

Last summer we packed a lunch and headed for the hills above Pagosa Springs to explore and go back to some potential fishing spots. However, after a big winter, those promising fishing holes looked much different; in one case, the torrent of the spring melt washed away the shore. In another, the river was a wide braid of shallow channels with not many places for fish to hide. Though the fishing wasn’t what we hoped for, the adventure was great fun—we tromped along the various forks of the Piedra River, got a few mosquito bites, and saw some beautiful country.

It’s difficult to capture the scale, depth, and drama of this canyon, not to mention the contrast of color and the layers of white and red and pink. A narrow trail runs along the steep shoulder of the far side; one of those trails where you dare not take your eyes from your feet.

This is the first painting on one of my “new” cabinet doors. We were lucky enough to find them at a yard sale, as I was nearly out of the original weathered doors. While these are not as rustic as the original, they still make a fine surface and I like that I can upcycle something with art. Though you can't see it in the photo, these doors have a raised center panel with a recessed channel that frames it and then there is an outer frame. I painted the recessed channel black, which sets the painting off from the outer frame.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hop Valley Sunrise

Hop Valley Sunrise
11.5” X 10”
Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door - upcycling!

A few years ago, me and “the boys” (Clint and our two hiking buddies Bob and Peter), went on a backpack trip in Zion through Hop Valley down to La Verkin Creek. It was October, but still very warm, so the morning we hiked out, we loaded up our packs and hit the trail in the dark wearing our headlamps. 

The walk started with a steep climb out of the canyon and by the time we made it to the top and started to cross the narrow valley, the sun was up. But, the cliffs blocked the sun—so it took a while before the light hit the west side of the valley in a blaze of color. But when it did, it was spectacular. Something I will never forget.

Apologies to my hiking mates, who were ahead of me when I took the photo, I didn't include them in the painting. As usual, I was bringing up the rear.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

High Country Afternoon

High Country Afternoon
24” X 18”
Acrylic on Canvas

One day last summer, when the rivers finally slowed down after an epic winter, we packed up a lunch and our fishing poles and headed to higher ground. We were excited to get out to a creek we’d scouted in the fall that had a promising fishing hole. Getting there requires traveling a hellacious road (that gets worse every year), but it’s worth every brain rattling thump and bump.

We wandered along the picturesque little creek and tried our luck, tossing our lines into small pools. It was a gorgeous day and to our delight, the mosquitoes had decided to spend their time elsewhere. I didn’t get so much as a bite—from the fish, that is—but enjoyed every minute, soaking up the beauty of the canyon and the burbling water. Clouds started to gather and when thunder clapped and the first few drops fell we decided to head back to the car.

We weren’t quite ready to go home and it was too late to fish, so we decided to explore a road fork we’d seen on the way in and perhaps find a nice spot for lunch. The road wound its way up a hill and alongside another small creek, where we found a hunter’s camp that looked out over the view that became this painting.