Saturday, January 30, 2016

Door County Ice Cream Factory Delivery Van - 30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 30

You Know the Place 9x12" oil on panel. sold

This is the last painting that I'll post for the 30 in 30 challenge! This is the old iconic delivery truck in Ellison Bay. When Cory, Maci, and I went to Door County for the first time, we went out painting on the first day in Gills Rock. Then we stopped for a pizza at the Ice Cream Factory. It was a lot of fun to page through their book on Door County shipwrecks, and see all of the historic photos from the northern Door. I shot this photo, on our way out, and finally gave myself a reason to paint it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Still Life

Lemon Still Life 6x8" oil on canvas $99

This is a painting that I painted during the first week of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. The best part of the challenge is that I've found myself painting at times of the day that I probably would not be during this month. If I had things to do during the day, there is no relaxing on the couch in the evening, it's firing up the stove in the chicken coop studio and chiseling away at another painting. This was one of those paintings, where it was late into the evening.

Today we set up for the Cool Boo Open Studio's. I'll be showing with several other painters and artists at the Baraboo Arts building on Saturday the 30th. Two of those people happen to be my girlfriend and bestfriend Josh! We set up our booths today, and I'm happy for how each of ours turned out.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Oranges - January 28 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Oranges - 8x10"
We are winding down the 30 in 30 Challenge. A few paintings, including these oranges, will be going to a still life show at Gallery Dillon. I've had a good time painting for the challenge, and I feel very warmed up for the month of February, when I'll be going on a painting trip to Door County with Matt Holt.

Grapefruit Slices 6x6" oil on canvas. $80

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Allis Chalmers Tractor - January 27 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I got out to paint today in the morning, and was glad that I did because clouds rolled in just as I was packing up. This is an Allis Chalmers covered with our fresh snow. My girlfriend had to drop me off and pick me up, because there's not where to park on this road. She asked me if I got cold, but all I can think about when I'm out there is chasing it down.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cows January 26

Another small study, this time of cows. I painted this in the studio from photo reference that I took this autumn. These are the neighbors cows.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Chug - January 25 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

A little study from today, painted from a photo taken on my trip to Florida in 2014.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Subjective Primaries - January 24 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Barn Shapes - 24x20" oil on canvas - sold

I got James Gurneys book this week, and it took me back to my days in commercial art school. I have not done much painting with a limited palette, but am open to finding out more about what color can do. In the book, Gurney talks about using a gamut mask to create color harmonies. With this method, it's not only about what colors you put in, it's also about what you leave out. A gamut mask is a shape that is cut out and placed over a color wheel.

Gamut mask, with an intense orange, and less intense magenta and green
This is the gamut mask for the first study. I used pure orange as one of my subjective primaries. For that, it was easy to use cadmium orange straight out of the tube. To lighten the tonal value of this color, I simply added white. To Darken the tonal value, I used burnt sienna, which is a darker and less chromatic orange.

The second corner of the triangle, is my next subjective primary. It is a green, but notice that the edge of the triangle is closer to the center neutral grey than the orange. In color space, this means that the green needs to be neutral. I neutralized pthalo green with burnt sienna for this primary, and then made two additional value stops.

The third corner is a neutralized magenta. I used quinacridone rose neutralized with some pthalo green and a little burnt sienna.

The painting that I worked from was a late afternoon study of light hitting my barn and grainery. The first limited color scheme worked well. The blues in this painting had to be created by mixing the neutral green with the neutral magenta, so they are no where near as blue as the original. The orange and yellow notes rang true to the origional. I think this is a good gamut mask to use to get late light. There is one piece of blue, in the green shadow on the foundation, just to the right of the darkest "doorway" note in the painting. That was the most intense blue I could make.
Gamut mask with intense blue, and less intense magenta and green
I used pthalo blue for my subjective primary in the second study. There are three different values, which I made with white. I used the same neutral green and magenta as in the first study. Notice that the color wheel is the exact opposite of the first study. In the first study, I could only mix blue from the neutral magenta and neutral green. In this study, I could only mix orange from the neutral green and neutral magenta. It makes sense that this subjective secondary is very neutral, just look at the space in between the magenta and green on the color wheel, it's very neutral. I found that there was a couple of moments when I felt this grey was looking orange, but in general, it was pretty dull. You can see the subjective secondary (orange) below the intense pthalo blue swatch on the study below.
 Pigments are different from light. Warm pigments are more sensitive than cool pigments (it's easier to cool a warm pigment than it is to warm a cool color), and white is a cool pigment. After the second study, I was hungry to see if I could make a color study that had just a bit more orange than the grey orange above. I mixed a neutral orange, that was warmer than the neutral orange above, but still very grey. The mixture was burnt sienna, with a pinhead of pthalo blue, and white to lighten it. This was a good learning moment for me, as I was able to capture something of the light, but in a very limited palette.

It was worthwhile to do these studies, I have some ideas for how to do it better next time. One last note, is that my subjective primaries were orange, magenta and green in the first. Orange and green are secondary colors, and magenta is a tertiary. On the second study, Blue is a primary, and the magenta is a tertiary, and green is a secondary. For reds, which is traditionally thought of as a primary color, I had to mix the magenta (tertiary) and the orange (secondary). It's cool stuff to think about. Check out Gurney's book and then visit to make your own gamut masks.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pollution - January 23 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Pollution 8x8" oil on canvas - $99

I was out in the field today for a few sketches. The day started out with sun, but became overcast around 3. This was my last sketch of the smokestacks of the day.

Workshop at Gallery Dillon

I have a three day workshop coming up at Gallery Dillon in Madison! The class is going to focus on simple still life items on a colorful and patterned tablecloth. I taught a similar class last year, and it was one of my most successful of the year. There are some photos showing the students at work. In this class, we work on the same painting over three days. On the first day, we design our values composition on paper, and then create an imprimatura underpainting on the canvas, scrubbing in our darks and pulling away the lights. On the second day, we paint all the still life objects. On the third day, we will paint the tablecloth and the edges between the objects and the tablecloth.  
Pat has some great work in the gallery, and I'm excited to teach the class. It's my first workshop in Madison. Give the image a click, to make the text larger. To sign up for the class, you can email Pat at, or me at

Friday, January 22, 2016

Door County Interior 8x8" oil on canvas - $99

I returned to my file of photo's today. I view my photos while painting on a canon projector (It's this model). I project the image on the side of the chicken coop studio, and then stand back at my easel from the image about 12 feet and paint. I took my time researching projectors, and I'm happy with the canon model. The image that I project is around 8 feet large and is very bright and colorful, even when I have the lights on in the coop.

I used to paint photo's from a tablet screen, but I find that having a large reference makes me feel like I'm there just a little bit more. The projector has a usb drive, so I just download photo's on a thumbdrive, and can then scroll through them. I also have my dvd player hooked up to it, and I watch skate video's when I ride my elliptical trainer in the mornings.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Little Cow

Here's a little backlit cow sketch. I enjoy painting subjects such as this because the rimlight simplifies the composition and creates great value and color contrasts. The frame came from an estate sale this past autumn. I'm hoping for sun so that I can get outside and paint. I enjoy working from reference, but after I do it for a few days I am ready to get back out there.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LC the Cat with Yarn

LC the Cat with Yarn 7.75x16" oil on panel - $199

Here is my cat playing with yarn. Her name is Little Cat, but we call her LC. She is a spirited tabby. LC will climb up your back to sit on your shoulder, or sometimes jump on it from a chair or the back of the couch. I can learn a lot about painting from the cat's behavior. Just jump right in and hope for the best.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Evening Light Cow

Evening Light Cow 11x14" oil on canvas $199

I've been in the studio, the last couple of days painting sketches from my inventory of photos. This is one of the 4 cows next door, photographed in the late evening. I shot this photo in early November. I liked how he looked kind of angry, even though it was a beautiful afternoon. I got the color harmonies from another painting, that I did under similar light this summer. I have a studio full of sketches painted en plein air, and it's good to give them new life by "borrowing" their colors.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has purchased work off of my blog during the 30 in 30 challenge. I am going to keep posting regularly after the challenge. Before the challenge, I would normally just paint, and let them dry in my upstairs studio, but now it's fun to photograph them and get them up right away.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Glazers Doughnuts January 18 - 30 painitngs in 30 days

Glazers Doughnuts 8x8" oil on canvas - $99

Alright more sugar. And it's a good time for it because I'm giving it up on Wednesday. Two years ago, I gave up sugar for three months, and I felt great. But it isn't going to stop there. Just like two years ago, I'm giving up gluten, eggs, peanuts, dairy, artificial sweeteners, soy, and corn. Those foods are hidden in a lot of what we eat and we end up eating so much of these foods them that we end up with varying degrees of food intolerance to them. By cutting out these seven foods, your body is given a break from them. The best part is that I have a great recipe book full of the foods that I love to eat, that also happen to be free of the 7 foods that are eliminated. It takes more effort to follow the diet than just grab food and go, but I'm looking forward to more energy for painting.

Oh, and the coffee that's in the painting, I will NOT be giving that up. It's alright to drink coffee on the elimination diet.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lemon Water - January 17 - 30 painitngs in 30 days

Lemon Water 12x12" oil on canvas - $199

We have great water on the farm. We have a unique well, meaning that we don't get a water bill, it comes straight out of the ground. There are several artesian wells (Maci calls them Indonesian wells) in the Rock Springs area, and there is even tankers a few miles down the road that supply a national bottled water company (I'm not sure which one). I start my day with a half lemon in a large mason jar with our water and ice, and this still life is a tribute to that. By the way, Cory drinks her morning lemon water warm, it's supposed to be more healthy :)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Christmas Cookie Leftovers - January 16 - 30 paintings in 30 days

Christmas Cookie Leftovers - 12x12" oil on canvas - $199

My sister made the Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie and my Aunt made the little lemon cookies with the white frosting. The doughnut was made at a bakery here in town. I'm glad I got this one done now, because I'm ready to give up sugar!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Barn Door January 15 - 30 paintings in 30 Days

Barn Door 6x8" oil on carton attached to stretched canvas - $75

This is a painting that I did last week. I only had a half hour to paint this morning, before running to Chicago to pick up my girlfriends daughter, so I'm glad to have one for reserve. This is our barn door out here on the farm, in late afternoon. The chicken coop studio is seen in the upper left of the painting as well. This painting was made on carton, from Gurella Painter. It is a modern, and formaldehyde free version of the support used by Toulouse Lautrec and Edouard Vuillard. I didn't leave much open areas of tone, as they did, but it was a fun surface to try out. Tomorrow, I'm taking a couple sheets of it to Madison, to do some heightened drawings at the Union, after we visit the Geology Museum, the Chazan Art Museum, Lao Laan Xang, and Gallery Dillon. This 30 in 30 challenge has shed some light into a otherwise grey month!

I'm also sending out a package to a repeat collector from Washington DC. I thought I'd share a photo of the contents of her package. The cow is a three color reduction print that I threw in as a surprise for her.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Just the Facts - January 14 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Just the Facts 8x10" acrylic on panel

Last evening, I noticed the light on the buildings by the Baraboo River. The buildings were built by the Ringling Brothers for their Circus. I knew that I wanted to paint there.

Today, there was sun for most of the day, but when I got my things set up, the clouds rolled in. I painted for a couple of hours under overcast skys, hoping for the sun to come back over the river and buildings.
Then at 4, the sun came out! It was the effect that I was looking for, the one that I remembered from last evening. I changed canvases, and painted this little one in a few minutes, and then the sun left again.
Painting outdoors is like that. When the light changes, there is a choice to make. Sometimes, it's possible to change the canvas that you have going, but sometimes it's better to start a fresh one. The rule is to not chase the light, unless it would strengthen the painting. This painting is just the abstract shapes and colors of the scene. I'm not trying to celebrate this sketch by posting it, it's just a record of the moment that we had today and nothing more. Often, that's what we get when we go out. I can say that to me, it's special, because the feeling of chasing those 15 minutes felt way better than recording the facts of the overcast day. Painting fleeting light will always be my favorite thing to do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Candy Hearts January 13 - 30 paintings in 30 days

Candy Hearts 8x8" oil on panel - $75 free shipping

I had a great day today. After I finished painting this still life of sweethearts, I went thrift shopping with my sweetheart! My best find of the day was a 3 pack of Fredrix Red Label canvas for $2, and also a simple frame for a painting that we are hanging in the kitchen. I got such a good deal, that I'm offering this small still life for a small price. Candy Hearts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gredes Foundries


Foundry at Noon 8x8" - $99

Foundry at Two 8x8"  - $99

The light was good today, so I wanted to get outside and paint. My painting didn't work out yesterday, so I'm putting up two today.
I painted these from the passenger seat in my car. It was 6 degrees when I started, and 8 when I drove home. The "feels like" temperature was much colder, and the windows that were not facing the sun were covered with thick frost. When driving home, someone ahead of me had a frost covered back window, and a cop was trying to pull them over. They couldn't see the officer, and were just driving around like nothing was wrong.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bathroom Window Interior

Bathroom Window Interior 9x12" oil on canvas - $99

Today I had an hour to squeeze in my painting for the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. After I painted, I drove up to Stephens Point, to drop off two paintings for a group show of Wisconsin Landscapes at the Scarabocchio Art Museum. The show opens on January 22, and I'm really excited because I'm showing with some great painters! It is my first museum show, so this is a big honor.

The following paintings are the two pieces that were selected for the show. Both are 24x36"