Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Wind

Snow covered the fresh green grass two nights ago. The car door made a convenient wind break this morning, and my easel stood solid on top of this ridge.

Here is a overview of my spring workshop series. Last weekend, I gave my first workshop in what seemed like a long time. The workshop focused on painting the interior. We talked about values, and how to create the illusion of sunlight happening outside of a window, and pouring into the space. On the final day of the workshop, a storm rolled in while I was halfway through my demo painting. The sky was so dark, that the streetlights, which were a part of my composition, turned on. This dramatic change allowed for a teachable moment. Changing light is something that we deal with daily when painting from life and I was happy to work through the changes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Broadway Street, Baraboo, Wisconsin

This is Baraboo Wisconsin, again. This was painted in early February, when there was still plenty of snow on the rooftops and streets.
I was invited to paint on a private home's deck, and took them up on the opportunity. I was pretty secluded, and on the second day the owner was not home, but knowing that I had an open opportunity, I set up and went to work. A car pulled into the driveway, and not knowing who it was made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as the time the kids were shooting a gun over my head in the country, but even so. Everything turned out alright this time, as the visitor was the owners son, who was just checking the bird feeder.
These little midwestern towns are the places that I call home, and I love painting around here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Late Winter Sun

I've been painting smaller pieces, such as this 11 x 14" canvas, with the goal of clearing my voice. I will work my way back up to painting some larger pieces, but for now it seems like making several paintings in a day is the way to progress.
In painting, it is easy to second guess every move, but I just allowed myself to paint this one quickly, and let the accuracy happen. When I look at my favorite painters work, I can feel some of this as well, so I am glad when it happens to me.
The sun shines once in a while during Mud Season, and I was glad it did on this day.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Summer in Baraboo

We had some nice temperatures this past weekend, never mind the wind. This is a 16 x 20" painting from late last summer. The green grass gives me a good feeling to look at. It isn't yellow ochre mud color grass, but real sunkissed yellow green grass.
The building is the back of a bar in Bararboo, I believe it's named Gem City. There is an apartment on the top of the bar, and the Baraboo river is directly to the right of where I was standing. I have been painting some larger canvases in Baraboo during the mud season, and I'm hoping to finish them soon, at least before the trees and flowers bloom.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Terrytown Barns

Sunlight is my favorite condition to paint in, I'm sure it is the same for many painters. The sunlight casts shadows, which create shapes to design the canvas with.
A barrista at the local coffee shop commented that March gives the feeling of a hangover to those who don't drink. I haven't had a drink in a while, and I sort of enjoy the overcast days for reasons other than painting.
To me, these dreary winter days feel neutralized. I do not get a big rush when painting them, it is more of a steady pace rather than a chase. These barns have also felt the steady pace of season after season beating them up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Workshop at Blue Heron

I have posted my 2014 workshop schedule on a new tab, just above this post. The first workshop is coming up quickly, and is a workshop that is going to be held in the studio space above Blue Heron. I have been teaching a 6 week drawing class at UW-Baraboo, and am excited to get back into the swing of teaching. If you would like to hear more about the workshops, you can drop me a line at

Monday, March 24, 2014


This is Baraboo Wisconsin, a town that sits between two bluffs. I've spent time in Baraboo painting over the past five or so years, and this is an interesting vantage point that overlooks the downtown, with the Devil's lake bluff in the background.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Polar trees

I noticed these trees when I was at a birthday party. A friend of mine set up some snowboard jumps and rails to grind on on a hill in the country. They grilled out and had a couple cases of beer. The party was a lot of fun, it's always nice to hike a hill when snowboarding. It was a clear afternoon, and these trees were on fire when the last light fell on them.

Friday, March 14, 2014


The early light piece at the start of this post was done on a Wednesday. I was painting the factory, with the light intensifying the color of the smoke coming from the smoke stacks, when my friend Brian Brenner parked his car, and went to work at a different factory. I worked his car in. Sometimes there is an idea not to chase after things in a painting. I got some good advice on the subject from a seasoned painter who told me not to chase the light, unless it got better.
The barn is on Terrytown Road. I paint out there a lot, and his farm gets plenty of attention from me. I've painted the long view of his place a few times, but this is the first from inside my truck. I was parked at an abandoned school across the street from his place.

Polar Vortex

This winter was one for the record books. At one point, temperatures didn't go above freezing for 25 days. One intense cold front was dubbed the Polar Vortex, and these two paintings were created during this time. Buzz words aside, it was cold, cold enough that I would have to turn on the heat in my truck every 15 minutes or so. These were painted from the front seat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lesters Car - Ellison Bay Pontiac

The painting above was done for the Door County Plein Air Festival last summer. The car is an old Pontiac, that is missing the front bumper. The property is undergoing a restoration, but the building to the right of the car (that is being held up by stilts) will have to be tore down.

George Bentley, the owner of the car, shared some history. He wrote:

This is "Les Tour", Lester Bentley's car that was purchased new.  The car would carry a full size portrait frame from New York to CT through its pillarless window system. They would sit inside the frame while it rested on the window doorframes back to the studio where Les painted President Eisenhower at the pinnacle of his career. It will move into the grainery threshing floor to begin restoration this winter. Thanks for painting it!
                 -George Bentley.

Here is the portrait of Eisenhower, painted when Bentley was 44 at his studio in Connecticut.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's 2014~ How about a Workshop?

Happy Holidays! 
I graduated college a couple of weeks ago, and will finish student teaching at the end of January. Even though my college semester is finished, I will stick with my high school students until the end of their semester. I graduated with a BS in art education, so I will be certified to teach art in the public schools. I'm looking forward to finishing my student teaching in the coming weeks, and getting back to painting and teaching painting workshops full time.

Speaking of workshops, I have a couple coming up:

February 6-8 I'll be teaching a values workshop at the Peninsula School. I have taught several three day workshops over the past few years, and my values workshop is the best that I do. It's not that my other workshops are bad, I put a ton of work into writing the curriculum, it's just that the study of values and composition are extra exciting to teach. Click here to for more info or to register.

Starting March 4th, I will be hosting a 6 week night drawing course at UW-Baraboo. The class is from 6:30-8:30 pm. I have taught several night classes at UW-Baraboo, but the last one was in 2011. I enjoy these multi-week night classes, because they are filled with people who I don't know yet, but am excited to meet. The drawing night class is a great time to get to know my teaching style and you can read more about it by clicking here.

I will also be teaching a plein air workshop in Cedarburg on May 3. I will write more about that workshop once the details have been finalized.