Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cool Boo Studio Tour

I will be showing 20 new landscapes this Saturday at the Cool Boo Studio Tour in Baraboo! The new paintings are all from the first of the year until now, and many of them deal with treelines that are easily seen outside of my windows. If you'd like to get more info on the Studio Tour, check out their facebook page at

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

3 Day Workshop in Upper Sandusky, Ohi

This image is Clickable!

I'm excited to get the 2015 workshop season started! One of the first that I will give is a 3 day workshop in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, at the studio of Bonnie Wolfe. If you'd like to register, or get more info, click the image above for a class description, or drop me a line at

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Class!

give this image a click, and the text will become readable.

For years, I gave winter night classes at UW Baraboo during this time of year. It's nice to have a night of art making when cabin fever sets in.

I'm excited to announce my 8 week class for 2015, which starts on February 10. The class will be held at our home studio, which is heated :), and will include charcoal drawing, glazing and scumbling, and also direct painting. Beginners will love the information on composition, getting started, and the new techniques, while seasoned painters will benefit from the value and color work.

I have started a online newsletter, that can arrive in your email box weekly. If you would like to be included on the list, please drop me a line at


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Work, New Year

Looking West 16x20"

Cory Polanek's Jewerly
Happy New Year! 2014 was great, and now that Cory and I are living at our family farm, 2015 is sure to be a year of shared creativity. We both have new work available at Blue Heron with more on the way soon. Thanks for checking my blog this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a great holiday. I have much to be thankful for this year, and I hope you will get to spend time with friends and family today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Still Life

Here is a still life that I painted under a black light. The floral table cloth is funky and fun to compose objects on. Several people who saw this painting on the fall art tour commented that it appears to be a nocturne painted under moonlight. I like that idea, and am hoping to do more like these now that the snow is here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fall Art Tour 2014

We had a great 2014 Fall Art Tour at the Chicken Coop Studio. The weather plays a part in the success of the tour, and this year there was sun and decent temperatures. The autumn colors were at their height the weekend of the show, and I had 800 visitors come through the Chicken Coop.

Along with getting all the paintings ready for the show, we made some upgrades to the studio. Cortney found a great lighting solution, for the first time my paintings had light in the Coop. We also bought some new funky furniture for the space, repainted the floor, and cleaned up the brush at the farm.

The studio is literally a Chicken Coop that was built in the 1930's by my Great - Great Uncle. The plans for the Coop came from the University of Wisconsin, and they were state of the art at the time. The farm has been in the family since 1911, and my Grandma Schneider had 200 chickens in the building, which helped them pay for the farm. Eggs sold for a better price than milk at the time. I grew up around the farm, and am happy to say that we are moving into the farm house very soon! We will have a new heated studio in the house, but we will always keep the Coop as a showplace.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Its Figurative

I was fortunate enough to land a seat in Chris Gargan's summer figure drawing class. The class was three weeks long, with 8 hours of classtime per day. Some people freaked a little when I told them about the commitment, but for me it was great, even waking up at 5:30 am to get there on-time was worth it. This is the 37th year that Chris has taught the class, and he has developed a curriculum and style of delivery that is unique to him. Like me, Chris has a background in education, he got his Art Education degree and also his MFA from UW Madison. He worked as a teacher in the public schools before taking his post at MATC (I believe that they renamed the school Madison College, but it will always be MATC to me)

The class was very interesting to me because I got to see how he teaches, knowing what I know after graduating with a degree in art ed. Chris doesn't merely lecture, or demonstrate, or set the time for the pose, he actively participates in the education of his students. He does this in several different ways. For instance, the study of anatomy might not be of interest for some students, and some demonstrations might get a little long (not for me, but remember, I'm super interested). Instead of merely allowing students to die on the vine (technical educational term) and pass off responsibility onto the students, Chris takes the responsibility onto himself. He will follow some technical information with a funny story that relates to what he is teaching, which acts as a tie down in his students minds, and keeps them awake.

We covered a lot of ground in the class. We never stuck with a media for more than one day. We drew in several traditional medias including: Charcoal, Conte, Ballpoint Pen (is this traditional? It's sweet), Pen and Ink, Heightened Charcoal, Ink Wash, Pen and Ink Heightened with White Gesso, Acrylic, and Watercolor.

My favorite day of class, was when Chris gave his lecture on aesthetics. He contrasted the illustrative work of Stanislav Prokopenko with the visual economy Sherrie McGraw. Chris, of course has a deep respect for anyone who can draw at Proko's level, but asked his students to anaylize the content and feeling that they got from each of their work. This led many to convert to the McGraw edge of the spectrum. It was moments such as these that set the class above others figure room experiences that I have had. To be able to discuss the subjective nature of aesthetics with a class of 20 somethings, and to have them walk away with new, substantial ideas, was impressive.

Anybody around me knows that I am hungry to take my drawing skills to the next level, it can only lead to better paintings. I am not a naturally skilled drawer. Let me rephrase that, my temperment is not one that naturally facilitates skillful drawing. Some drawing media, like pencils, or ballpoint pen are just so small, that it's not easy to cover a large surface. I paint with big brushes, because I like to be able to do things quickly and broadly, and then move in for the specifics.So, some people are good at drawing, with those tiny pencils and pens, and because Chris has taught the class so often, he recognized that I am not, and showed me ways to combine my painterly ways with the techniques that he taught .

I know that I got my money's worth out of the class. I would pay just to hang out with Chris. I feel fortunate that he is my friend, and that he let's me tag along with him to go out painting. If you are a painter, or drawer, or sculpter, or whatever you are, who wants to take your work to the next level, do it. Figure out one component skill of the media that you are working with that you would like to improve upon, put it into words, and then attack it with passion.

We made sketchbooks in the screenprinting and binding department

My friend, Nick Loveland, and Chris showing the class how to bind the sketchbooks.

Chris giving a pen and ink demo

Pen and ink, with wash heightened with gesso.

Chris setting up for a two color acrylic demo.

I used baltic blue and yellow ochre in this piece.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Summer Farm

It has been a long winter. Spring is nearly here, and these cool days are great for all outdoor activities. Just smelling the air is worth going outside. There is rain in the forecast for five of the next seven days, and then it will be time for the big bloom.
I stocked up on a few of my favorite spring colors this week. I enjoy mixtures based on naples yellow light and prussian blue for some fresh spring greens this time of year. The painting shown above does not reflect that, it was painted in the summer, with plenty of lemon yellows thrown into the lit up corn stalks.