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Stages of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever August 31, 2014 09:36

This painting is not finished but with each layer it continues to come to life. I wanted to share it and some thoughts about the work with you.

This Chesapeake has been a joy to paint from start to finish.  He has that feeling of movement in his body and intensity in his eyes. It’s funny that whenever I am in a duck blind, a good dog seems to know which direction the birds are coming in from. Perhaps they can hear the wing beats before me, but it is that moment I like to see in their eyes and capture in my paintings.

 

When this painting is finished it will be offered as a limited edition print. If you would like to know when it will be released, please use the “Contact Us” button or sign up form at the bottom of the page.

 

Every time I do a painting I have thoughts running as rampant in my head as a retriever chasing birds in the field. Bring all those thoughts into a narrow focus is one of the biggest challenges for me as I paint. I have to tune out everything and just focus on the value, shape and hue of a small part of the painting. Once I get to this place, then it is what I call the sweet spot. I believe it is what every artist loves to feel. Hours just seems to fly by and there is this feeling that all is right with the world at this moment. Some canvases I feel this way throughout the work and this is one of those paintings. I note that amateurs will wait for this feeling to wash over them before they start a painting and professionals view this feeling as a bonus to the work day. Of course, those who wait for this feeling will produce very few canvases in their lifetime. Perhaps it is this way with any endeavor that is worth the effort? Yoda was a wise little creature when he said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”


Vizsla Colors June 06, 2014 09:40 2 Comments

This little girl is starting to take shape. It's an exciting time in the painting.

 


The first layers of glaze on the Vizsla June 02, 2014 20:24

I am just starting to lay in the colors here. Of course, the colors you are seeing are just base colors that will be built up over several days. I look forward to working on this painting more tomorrow.


Start of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Painting May 31, 2014 09:36

Last night I started this Chesapeake Bay Retriever painting. The dog is absolutely gorgeous and I find him irresistible to paint. He just has the look of a Chessie that says, intelligence, loyalty, and a touch of mischievous in his eyes. This being just the grisaille, it perhaps is hard to see but with the additional glazes of color it will become apparent to the viewer.

I am taking a break from the Setter’s in the Sporting Dog Series and skipping around to some other breeds that I enjoy painting. 


Follow along with a Vizsla painting. May 30, 2014 14:29 2 Comments

Here is the start of a recent Vizsla commission. This is just the first layer known as a grisaille, a painting technique by which an image is executed entirely in shades of gray. I will set this aside for a couple of days in order for the first layer to dry and then begin to lay in all those juicy colors. I will post the progress of this painting a couple of times a week if you would like to follow along. 


Blaze of Glory. Start to Finish May 19, 2014 20:56

I wanted to share my entire process for the recent Gordon Setter painting. The painting is basically finished with just a few minor things that I will do to it. The photos are all taken with an iPhone so please excuse the quality.

Prints should be released sometime next week. Sign up below to be notified when they come out.

 Prints should be released sometime next week. Sign up below to be notified when they come out.


Thoughts about a Black Dog and Mature Artist May 18, 2014 07:55

This is a current progress picture of my latest Gordon Setter painting. Today I will start to develop the background. With each layer of glaze, this Gordon Setter Head Study becomes a little more true to life. This painting has two things that I like, black fur and the complimentary colors of orange and blue. I find black fur to be one of the most challenging things to paint. Black is an absorption color, meaning everything around the color black is actually a mixture of the colors surrounding the dog. The shadows and half-tones reflect the ambient color of the environment in a Gordon Setter painting. They become areas of passive reflecting pools for color.  This color becomes emotion and is the reason in my opinion; a good Setter portrait will have a life completely separate from the artist. An artist by the name of Bryan Moon taught me that back in 1989 when he was critiquing some work I did. I was always appreciative of the older artist teaching me as a young kid back then. It appeared to me that the older artist knew everything about what I wanted to accomplish and it was effortless for them. I now know they had a few million miles of travel time on their paint brushes. Painting a portrait of excellence requires my paint brush to travel over this one canvas numerous hours. 


Which Way from Here May 07, 2014 06:43

I thought I would share some progression photos and some thoughts about this current work in progress.

I recall when hand held GPS devices first came out on the market in 1994, and how I needed to acquire one of these miraculous gadgets. A person could go out into the middle of the woods anywhere and navigate back to their car after several hours of not knowing where they were. That was the idea anyway, so it was surprising to find out after getting one of these phenomenal inventions that they were more trouble than they were worth. My friend Bob and I went to Canada to chase grouse with our setters. We each pulled out a GPS unit and begin to read the instructions on how to use them. After a few minutes I laughed and said, “All they will find are the bones of two idiots holding brand new GPS’s along with the instructions.” We tossed the devices back into the truck and went with a more proven technology for not getting lost, a compass and our dogs. Dogs seem to always know where they are, as if they have a built in GPS.

This current painting I am working on reminds of that trip and how all the best bird hunting was on the edges of the woods, next to the grassy meadows. I love how grass turns orange in the autumn and look forward to putting in all those details. A Gordon Setter blends so well into the colors of the woods up North. It is something I want to amplify in this portrait and think Blaze of Glory might be a good name for this oil painting. There is still perhaps another 100 hours that need to go into this work and it is nice to remember past dogs, good friends, and time spent together in the woods.

  


A New Gordon Setter. Work in Progress. April 23, 2014 08:07

Of course, there are several more layers to go but I thought I would share where the painting is right now. 


Irish Setter Progress Report March 27, 2014 04:56

The first seven images are taken with my iPhone in the studio. The last image is taken with different camera and lighting. The painting still isn't done but it is starting to come to life.

If you would like to know when this painting  and the prints will be available, please click,"Sign Up For News of Your Breed & Other Art"  or in the lower right side of this web page.

Subtle Changes February 22, 2014 09:26

  

Here are a few photographs of the progress of my Gordon Setter painting. Painting is similar to life, because we all have goals that we are moving towards. During the activity, there are conundrums that creep up that we didn’t count on. In the middle of the process, we may notice the negative conditions happening more than the positive advances. We attend to the troubled areas and spend our time reacting to them. We might even think all is lost and question the point of our original goal.

Painting is this way for me. In the beginning, I am very excited to start the work and have visions of it being the best work I have ever done. Throughout the process, I start to detect issues that I didn’t conceive of. I react to these unexpected developments by making corrections to fifty percent towards what I want it to look like. To get it perfect in one painting session may not be realistic. If tomorrow I take it to an additional fifty percent towards the goal and repeat the process day after day, each period I can see the improvements. These subtle changes are what make the journey exciting. The complications exist to magnify the headway that continually takes place. Perhaps it is a glass half full attitude, but without this mindset I might become an abstract expressionist. "Not that there's anything wrong with that" as Jerry Sienfeld said.

If you would like to know when this painting will be available, please,"Sign Up For News of Your Breed & Other Art"  or in the lower right side of this web page.

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments.


Gordon Setter Values February 18, 2014 17:38

Here is the current Gordon Setter Head Study photographed in black and white to analyze values. This trick enables me judge the values without the colors influencing my critique of the work in progress. This process brought back memories of my first Gordon Setter, Sam.  When Sam first came to live with me in the spring of 1994, I didn’t know how much he would take over my life and my heart. I got him as a puppy at forty nine days old just as the author Walters, who wrote the book Gun Dog suggested. Sam went everywhere with me. I had an old shooting vest and I carried him in the game bag for the first month. If I went into the store, he came along with me and captured the hearts of everyone who saw him. His training started on day one. He was on birds by late August and in the field hunting grouse by September. Our first hunt was in Northern Minnesota where I am certain God lives. Sam, of course, ran far ahead and would report back about all the birds I should have seen. He was my first gun dog, so I think I had more learning to do than him. Eventually however, he learned in spite of me to hold a good point. We spent every day possible in the field chasing pheasants, woodcock, and grouse in the northern states.

Sam was comical in everything he did, at least in my eyes. He would sit in my studio chair if I got up. Perhaps he did this to keep it warm, I never knew, but it was a habit of his that I found endearing. One day, I ran into town and left him home alone. When I returned, every bit of flooring and furniture was covered in multi-colored foot prints and brush strokes. Sam had gone into the studio and chewed on about $100 worth of acrylic paint. He was a mess with paint all over him. It wasn’t toxic however, and for a few days we had multi-colored piles of rainbows in the backyard as if a Play-Doh fun factory was set loose.

When Sam turned three years old, a friend wanted to take me fly fishing in Rochester, Minnesota. It was only about two hours from where I lived, so I said I would go but had to come home before seven to let Sam out. He thought we could camp there for the night and leave Sam to be looked after by his wife. I had never been away from Sam before but thought nothing would go wrong. We went fishing and got into some pretty good hatches that day. The next evening we returned during a thunderstorm. My friend’s garage door was open and his wife was standing there crying. He got of the car to find out what the problem was, and that is when I learned that Sam was lost. I don’t really remember how it happened, but she had lost Sam. I never saw Sam again. Of course, flyers went up, doors were knocked on and people kept an eye out but I wasn’t one of the lucky ones in this story.

I wanted to write a story about my first Gordon Setter, and at this point I really don’t know what else to say. Sam was lost, and the story never had a proper conclusion. It just kind of hangs there like a missing arm in the sleeve of a civil war veteran. It was sudden and unexpected.

Today, when I see a Gordon Setter, I always think of Sam. He was able to know my thoughts without me saying anything. When we were in the field, he somehow knew to look back at me and wait for the hand signals to know which direction I wanted him to go. He was always ready to ride shotgun in my pickup truck and loved everybody that came across our path. This painting I am currently working on goes out to Sam. It will be the best I am able to give to a painting, and I hope when it is finished you will see a deep devotion and affection emanating from the dog in this painting.

If you would like to know when this painting will be available, please,"Sign Up For News of Your Breed & Other Art"  or in the lower right side of this web page.

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments.


Irish Setter is getting it's glaze on. February 17, 2014 06:30

  

While I wait for the glazes to dry on the Gordon Setter, I get to start glazing the Irish Setter. Here are a few progression shots. Once I get about four hours into a painting, the excitement that I feel for the work begins to turn to frustration as problems appear. I know from experience that this is a natural process and if I just stay with it, work through the difficulties, then I will have a painting that hits the mark I was aiming for.

There is a look in a dog that expresses love and devotion. I can't express how I get that look but I know it when I see it. At that point, the painting is finished. We are a long ways from that happening here but after twenty seven years of painting, I know the way to get there.

If you would like to know when this painting will be available, please,"Sign Up For News of Your Breed & Other Art"  or in the lower right side of this web page.

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments.

 


The First Layers of the Gordon Setter February 15, 2014 13:41

Today I woke excited as can be to begin the first layers of color on the Gordon Setter. You see I have been making color charts for a few years now. I just finished a batch that is all transparent colors. It took me about sixty hours to complete but the effort will pay off over a lifetime of painting.

There are fourteen color charts in the box.

The colors are glazed over the grisaille much like stain glass is placed over a window. The light travels through the transparent paint and the painting has a life like quality that is hard to beat.

  

Of course these are Iphone photos of the progress but when the detail starts to be put in I will use a better camera.


Follow Along, The Sporting Dog Series. February 13, 2014 08:32

I have decided to document this recent sporting dog head study series that I have started. There will be four groups of sporting dogs included. The setters, pointers, retrievers and spaniels, I want to paint every breed/coloration within the group over the next year. Here are the first two in the setter series done in the grisaille method.

 

A grisaille method is done by first painting the picture in a monochromatic underpainting as you see here. It almost looks like a black and white photograph. It is a method that dates back to the Flemish painters of the Renaissance. After the first layer is dry, I will begin to build up the colors of the painting, creating a highly detailed and resolved image on the canvas.

As the painting progresses I will be posting the progress here on my blog.