Saturday, September 12, 2015


Last summer while driving on the Trestle Creek road in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest looking for huckleberries, my daughter-in-law, Lee, and granddaughter, Madison (10 at the time), and I encountered acres of beargrass in bloom. We were gobsmacked. Then we found huckleberries -- and -- later encountered a juvenile moose on the road. It was the loveliest of evenings. 

This summer my daughter-in-law graduated with a masters degree in business administration from Western States University, so I gave her my painting, B is for Beargrass, an acrylic mixed media collage piece. My son -- who had never seen beargrass -- asked the question some artists dread, "What Is It?" But as an emerging artist I am happy with my location on the artistic style spectrum -- somewhere between Ordinary Realism and What Is It. (Note to self: Next summer take my son up in the mountains to see beargrass.)

Below is the evolution of this painting.

Collaged items include a gelli print sky, pages out of a sketchbook,
bird image, sheet music, and a salmon pic off a paper grocery bag. The
beargrass was haphazardly orchestrated in fluid black acrylic paint.

Basic colors were added. The bird and fish are now difficult to see.
In future paintings, I want to leave more collage items visible.

B is for Beargrass
16" x 20" Acrylic Mixed Media
(You can see the bird and the fish if you get up close and personal.)

Friday, September 11, 2015


In May of 2008 I was lucky enough to go on an artist trip with the Blue Horse Gallery in Bellingham, WA. We were in Paris a week and Normandy two weeks. Everyone LOVES Paris, but I couldn't wait to get into the countryside. Oh the pastoral landscapes, the villages, the old buildings. I fell in love with France. I think of Etretat about every other day -- still. And the fading tulips in Monet's garden in Giverny -- well I have painted them (from my sketches and photos) many times since. I have one in progress now. I will include the latest ones done just this summer, and I'll include the steps I took along the way. 

Detail of Grande Dame in Monet's Garden
16" x 20" Acrylic Mixed Media
This piece is now in the show, Itinerant, at Dakota Arts in Bellingham, WA

Here it is in its entirety. 
The same flower with collage background
8" x 10" Acrylic Mixed Media

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


While loitering on Pinterest one day I saw paintings made of mostly torn pieces of colorful papers. I had started an 8" x 10" portrait of a jack rabbit but did not like it much. So I tried my hand at this new method, using bits of paper from magazines, maps, and Gelli prints I had made in the spring. The evolution of J is for Jack rabbit speaks for itself:

With a barn wood frame from NORTHWEST HANDMADE in Sandpoint, ID
now proudly resides at the home of Sherry and Sam Irwin in Priest River, ID


Every summer I drive all over Northern Idaho, NW Montana, and over to Bellingham, WA, to be with people and landscapes I love. This last summer I also took a wonderful online art workshop with the fabulous mixed media collage artist in Colorado named Kellie Day and made art along the way. Basically, you use acrylic medium to "glue" meaningful scraps/pieces of paper -- old letters, images of birds, maps, flashes of color, poetry, etc. onto a canvas. Once that dries you sketch your main subject free hand with fluid black paint using an eye dropper -- which resulted (for me) in  a globby calligraphic outline. Then you paint the background, removing paint in some areas to reveal some of the collage elements. Then you paint the main subject. All paints/mediums are acrylic. At any time you can add more collage elements. YOU CAN'T GO WRONG with the fun method. You just keep playing until . . . well, that is the mystery. When is a piece "done?"

Here is the basic process in photos:
F is for Fireweed -- 12" x 24"
After  doing the collage I outlined the fireweed from a sketch I did years ago, and then painted
a cream background. I repainted the background in light blue. No cigar. 
Then I painted the fireweed and repainted the background a pale cream
 -- losing most collage elements. I threw and drew bits of white onto the fireweed.

I added a few more collage elements and touches of white. I gave the painting to Bobbie Ryder,
who has generously shared her cottage The Vinyl Villa at Sunnyside with me for many summers.
She had Ward Tolbom of Hen's Tooth Framing and Gallery in Sandpoint frame the painting in black wood.