Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shall Wonders Cease to Amaze, 16 x 20

This painting was one that had been brewing inside of me for a while before I finally sat down and painted it. I wanted to silhouette the palisades against an early morning sunrise. I made an 8 x 10 study and then used that to create this painting.  My friend was confused by the title and asked why I just didn't title it "Sunrise on Clearwater Lake".  I'm getting tired of titles that state the obvious and trying to come up with titles that relate more to what I was feeling when I painted them. These types of sunrises are common in most parts of the world and I was wondering if I would ever become indifferent to them. I don't think so. They are always amazing.

It Must Be Amore, 16 x 20

This is a memory painting based on cloud formations and moonlight over Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains.  I have a small plein air sketch of the clouds (on a sunny day) that I used for the shapes and light effect. I had seen similar light effects on a few different moonlit nights and thought it would be cool to have big billowing mass of clouds, so often seen in the summer, drifting across the lake lit up by a full moon.

Clearwater Palisades, 16 x 32

Another painting done of my favorite Lake: Clearwater. This is a studio version of a smaller painting I did on location.

Cascade Falls, 16 x 20

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brewing Storm, 9 x 12

This is a view looking west (or down the shore) on the beach at Nanibijou Lodge on Lake Superiors North Shore. This beach is not far from my house and on an occasional Sunday, I'll enjoy the lodges infamous Sunday brunch with its blueberry sausages and planked trout. Its a great place to paint, too!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Ice Over" 12" x 20"

The veiw from the Pincushion overlook parking lot can be pretty benign sometimes, but when the weather is in flux there can be some pretty cool scenes. This was actually painted last winter when things were seasonally normal: cold, lots of snow and ice cover on Lake Superior. I never really feel like I live in a remote location dispite the fact that I'm 100 miles from any major city (Duluth or Thunder Bay, Ontario). In the summer there is more people traffic and its warm and its easy to move around outside. But these kind of winter days really makes it feel like I'm in the middle of ho-dunk nowhere! Note: My profile picture at left was taken the same winter on a painting outing about 2 miles from my house. I might as well have been camping with Earnest Shakelton.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Hellooo Down There"

This is the painting done during the Grand Marais Art Colony Winter Plein Air Festival. A few of us skied into Rose Lake in the BWCAW (and along the Canadian border) a few miles and then climbed up a section of the Border Route Trail, a hiking trail that follows the border lakes.
This location is becoming one of my favorite painting spots. I think in part because it offers a variety of views, particularly aerial, and because it requires a some effort through the wilderness to get there. These kind of excursion sustain my love of wilderness travel and love of painting the wilderness. I think of the Group of Seven, who ventured into the Canadian wild for their images and Edgar Payne, who would horse pack into the Sierras with his paints and set up shop for a few months to paint. With painting these days, there is lots of pressure to "produce" and there are other painters to compete against for the painting dollar and time=money. Consequently the easy and convenient routes (literally and figuratively) to making a painting are taken. To me, there isn't alot of potential for growth (personally or painterly) in the easy. I could have stayed home and made three paintings this day. They may have turned out really well. Instead I only made one, given the time spent skiing into and out of our location. But it was a good one. And it wasn't easy (ask my friend Holly about my ski's and the trek over the Duncan Lake Portage). But I did grow a bit that day. Personally and painterly.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Here Fishy Fishy Fishy!"

Ice fishing has so much visual imagery that you can't NOT find a painting on an outing. It was particularly comfortable this day. It was warm and there was no wind and we were on a favorite lake of mine (for fishing and painting), Clearwater Lake. My friend was sitting on a pale (classic ice fishing furniture) eating lunch between jigging for lake trout. We got skunked for fish but I got a nice painting out of the day.

8" x 10" Oil on canvas

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Leaving Storm

I thought I'd show the "unfinished" part of painting outdoors. Sometimes artists are afraid of putting ugly or crude works in front of the public but the reality is that is where we often find beauty. This 6x8" study was done in a light rain and I spent about 15 to 20 minutes on it. I wouldn't call it a "finished" painting, though others commenters disagree, but it does have lots in it. Particularly the feeling of storminess. Capturing a feeling VS. objects goes way farther in a painting. You can always go back to the spot and get certain details but you can't get back that particular feeling of the moment. Watch for this scene to show up in a bigger painting someday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coming up on Stairway Portage

This painting was done last winter on, or above, Rose Lake in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area on the Canadian border. It's about a two mile ski (one way) to get here and a bit of a hike up the Border Route Trail to get to this vantage. It was late February and the lake snow was crusty enough that skiing was effortless, even while pulling a sled with my painting gear. I painted a person pulling a sled (sort of a self portrait) to show scale and give a sense of remoteness. For those folks signed up for the Grand Marais Art Colony Winter Plein Air event, this is the location of the Friday ski/painting day trip.
For more infromation on the winter plein air event visit the art colony on line at :

Happy skiing!